Which HDMI switcher is best?
If you have multiple devices like gaming consoles and streaming sticks that you use in conjunction with your television, then you probably know the pain of not having enough HDMI ports in your TV for each of those devices. With an HDMI switcher, you can stop constantly unplugging and replugging those HDMI cables as needed and simply use the switcher to decide which signal goes to your TV.
The best HDMI switcher is the Philips 4 Device HDMI Switch. This HDMI switcher is optimized for 4K ultra high definition signals and comes with a remote, so you never have to get up from your couch to alter which signal sends to your TV
What to know before you buy an HDMI switcher
HDMI switchers toggle between signals using automatic, remote or manual methods.
Automatic: Automatic HDMI switchers typically switch to the source that was activated the most recently. It’s incredibly convenient but frankly imperfect as certain variables can interfere with the switching. They also tend to cost more.
Remote: HDMI switchers with remotes allow you to remain comfortable on the couch instead of making you get up to change the signal. However, you likely have many remotes in your home, and might not be looking to add to the collection.
Manual: Almost every HDMI switcher has a manual button on the device if the automatic switch or remote doesn’t work. The manual-only options tend to cost the least.
Number of ports
HDMI switchers generally have between two and eight inputs, usually just one HDMI output (though some have two outputs for two different displays). More inputs cost more money but selecting an HDMI switcher with one or two more ports than you need could save you some hassle and money should you purchase more devices later.
What to look for in a quality HDMI switcher
Picture-in-picture compatible HDMI switchers allow you to see the signals from your currently unselected sources in a little box before swapping to them. It can be useful for various reasons but streaming different sports matches to one display is beneficial.
If your source device sends signals of the 4K UHD variety or better, you’ll need to ensure your prospective device is compatible with those signals. High dynamic range and 3D signals could also require specific switchers.
Some HDMI switchers can send their sources to a display using wireless technology instead of a wired connection, which can benefit wire management or aesthetic purposes. Ensure all your devices are compatible before purchasing a wireless switcher, as the ability adds quite a bit of cost.
How much you can expect to spend on an HDMI switcher
HDMI switcher costs typically change based on the number of ports available and the quality of the compatible signals. You usually can find HDMI switchers that get the job done for less than $20, while the best quality options can go up to $40. Certain premium potions can cost far higher than $40, but these options generally don’t feature anything you can’t find for less.
HDMI switcher FAQ
If the HDMI switcher I bought uses automatic switching, will I still need a remote to control it?
A. This is a situation where it’s better to have it than wish you did, as some HDMI switchers have various complicating factors that might impact their ability to successfully auto-switch their signals. With a remote, you won’t have to constantly get up to alter the signal, which is the situation you wanted to avoid when you bought the switcher.
If I buy a smart TV to replace my old TV will I need as many HDMI ports as I did before?
A. The whole point of a smart TV is that it connects to the internet and most streaming services natively, without extra equipment. This will more than likely mean you won’t need any ports for a Roku or Google Chromecast, but you’ll still need ports if you have a Blu-ray player or several gaming consoles. If you don’t want to use an HDMI switcher with your new smart TV, then purchase one with enough HDMI ports for your needs.
What are the best HDMI switchers to buy?
Top HDMI switcher
What you need to know: Philips is one of the best tech brands available for several reasons and this HDMI switcher is one of them.
What you’ll love: This HDMI switcher is optimized for 4K UHD content but still works great for lower resolution signals.
What you should consider: You have to pay for the brand, making this option a little pricier than others.
Top HDMI switcher for the money
What you need to know: If you need a great HDMI switcher for the lowest price, this GANA switcher is a perfect choice.
What you’ll love: One of the easiest HDMI switchers to use; all you have to do is press the switch button on the device.
What you should consider: The bright red “select” light can be distracting in the dark and without a remote, you’ll need to walk to your device and back to switch signals.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This is an inexpensive HDMI switcher that has some great bonus features.
What you’ll love: Two output ports let you send signals to two different displays at once.
What you should consider: There is no support for HDMI 2.0 in this switcher.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Jordan Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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