The best HDMI switcher

From bestreviews.com
By
Amber Van Wort
BestReviews

If you’re an Apple TV user, be aware that the “always-on” feature may interfere with your HDMI switcher’s auto-switch function.

The days of having a single media device are long gone. Your entertainment stand is likely filled with multiple consoles, streaming boxes, blu-ray players, and more. Whether you have limited HDMI ports or you just want a way to quickly change inputs, an HDMI switcher is a must-have for any entertainment setup.

HDMI switchers vary in their number of inputs, switch function, compatibility, and other aspects, so finding the right model for your entertainment needs is important. In our shopping guide below, you will find everything you need to know to buy your own HDMI switcher. We also included a few product recommendations at the end, like our top pick, Zettaguard's 4K x 2K 4-Port x 1 HDMI Switch, which has a great picture-in-picture mode.

Considerations when choosing HDMI switchers

Inputs

Most HDMI switchers have between two and eight inputs. Naturally, devices with more inputs will sit at a higher price point than those with fewer inputs. However, to avoid having to change devices in the future, it's best to opt for more ports than you need to account for any future media components you may add. Keep in mind that an HDMI switcher only requires one input on its own, so depending on your TV, you may have a few spare ports.

Auto vs. manual switch

Many of the more advanced HDMI switchers feature an automatic switch function. This means that your switcher will automatically display media from whichever device was most recently turned on. This feature, while convenient, will end up costing you slightly more. It's worth noting that auto-switch features don't always work as expected, either.

HDMI switchers without an auto-switch function will require manual switching via a button on the device or a remote. Some models with an auto-switch function also have a manual switch button on the device as a backup.

Features

Device compatibility

Not every HDMI switcher will be compatible with your TV and media devices. For example, if you plan to use the switcher with an Ultra HD 4K TV, you will need to find a 4K-compatible HDMI switcher. In addition, not all switchers are compatible with 3D devices.

Some switchers may not work with certain media devices like the Nintendo Switch or PS4, so be sure to double-check what devices are compatible before you buy.

Wireless

You will find a few switchers that support wireless connectivity. These devices have the standard HDMI output as well as a wireless option that sends a signal to a display. If cord management is a concern of yours, a wireless option may be best, though you can expect to pay a higher price for this convenience.

Picture-in-picture

Some HDMI switchers come equipped with picture-in-picture mode. This feature allows you to see check in on another feed without leaving the one you're currently on.

Price

The most inexpensive HDMI switchers start around $10 will typically offer two to three ports and can support 1080p. As you go up in price you can expect to see four to five ports and 4K support, and additional features like auto-switch and handy remotes are usually found in models costing close to $40.

FAQ

Q. Is there an easy way to make sure I get a switcher that supports all of my media devices?

A. Not really. The only way to ensure your devices will be supported is to carefully read through all of the specs and reviews before purchasing.

Q. If my HDMI switcher has an auto-switch function, will I still need a remote for the device?

A. Since the auto-switch function doesn't always work as expected, it's a good idea to get a remote as a backup option.

HDMI switchers we recommend

Best of the best: Zettaguard's 4K x 2K 4-Port x 1 HDMI Switch

Our take: An easy-to-use, sleek HDMI switcher capable of connecting up to four HDMI devices.

What we like: Offers a picture-in-picture feature that lets you see your other inputs and easily switch between them. Includes a remote and a manual switch option. Compatible with 3D devices.

What we dislike: Some complaints of unexpected signal drops.

Best bang for your buck: GANA's 3-Port 4K HDMI Switch

Our take: A simple but solid HDMI switch that sits at an attractive price point.

What we like: User-friendly setup that takes little time at all. Easy-to-use "switch" button. Doesn't take up much space.

What we dislike: The red light on the device can be distracting at night.

Choice 3: Univivi's HDMI Switch 4K 5-Port

Our take: Offers a large number of ports. Ideal for anyone who needs to switch between multiple devices frequently.

What we like: Quick and simple setup. Includes both a remote and a manual switch button. Automatically switches to an active device.

What we dislike: Some customers experienced interference with other remotes, which can be frustrating.

Amber Van Wort is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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