If you’ve run out of HDMI ports on your television or monitor, you need an HDMI switcher. An HDMI switcher has multiple input ports so you can connect several devices to a single HDMI port. You can set up several gaming consoles, laptops, DVD players, and more.

You won’t lose audio or video quality or have increased latency or lag as long as you get an HDMI switch that’s made well and technology that matches the connecting device. The key is matching the technology. For example, 1080p resolution is fairly standard on most HDMI switchers.

However, if you have a 4K television, you need an HDMI switcher with 4K technology. If you have full HD, then the HDMI switcher has to be 4K with a 60 Hz (hertz) refresh rate, or you won’t get that HD experience. You need to be careful about the audio technology you’re connecting to as well, especially if you’re connecting to a home-theater system. Our list of the best HDMI switchers includes high-quality models that are made well and have a range of tech specs to fit different setups.

— Best Overall: Kinivo HDMI Switch 4K HDR
— Best Picture-in-Picture: Zettaguard 4 Port 4x1 HDMI Switch
— Best for Multiple Displays: FERRISA 4x2 HDMI Matrix Switch
— Best for Audio Compatibility: ROOFULL 5 Port 4K HDMI Switch
— Best Budget: NEWCARE 4K @ 60Hz HDMI Switch

How We Picked the Best HDMI Switchers

We started our search by looking for build quality. Low-quality HDMI switchers can cause lag, latency, or poor visual quality. The models on our list are made well with a proven record of durability. We then considered the number of input ports, looking for those that had at least four, with an exception for our budget pick.

Tech requirements included supporting at least 1080p resolution and common standard audio like DTS Digital Surround and Dolby Digital. Ease of installation and control also factored into our choices. We also looked for intuitive designs and multiple control options, like manual, remote, or voice control.

Best HDMI Switchers: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: Kinivo HDMI Switch 4K HDR

Reliable Quality. Kinivo

Why It Made The Cut: Five input ports and 4K HDR technology, along with a strong, durable build make the Kinivo our pick for the best HDMI switcher.

Specs:
Input/Output Ports: 5/1
Supported Resolution: 4K @ 60 Hz
Control Options: Manual, remote, automatic

Pros:
— Five input ports
— 4K resolution
— Compatible with Dolby Vision and 3D content

Cons:
— Auto switching is not supported with all devices

The Kinivo HDMI Switch 4K HDR takes the top spot with its five input ports, technology, and ease of use. Kinivo is known for the quality of their HDMI switchers, and this model doesn’t disappoint with 4K technology with a 60-Hz refresh rate. It’s also compatible with Dolby Vision and the latest 3D content.

The Kinivo automatically switches devices based on which one is active, or you can use a manual button on the switcher. However, the auto switching feature isn’t compatible with all devices, and the manufacturer lists devices that may not be compatible. You can still use these devices, but you’ll have to use the remote control to switch between input ports.

Best Picture-in-Picture: Zettaguard 4 Port 4x1 HDMI Switch

Convenient Picture Preview. Zettaguard

Why It Made The Cut: This model's PiP preview combined with HDR color and 4K technology compatibility makes it the best with picture-in-picture support.

Specs:
Input/Output Ports: 4/1
Supported Resolution: 4K @ 30 Hz
Control Options: Manual, remote, automatic

Pros:
— PiP (preview only)
— Build durability
— Rear port location

Cons:
— Takes three or four seconds to transition between ports
— Doesn’t support full HD

The Zettaguard 4 Port 4x1 HDMI Switch has a sturdy build that feels solid in your hand, and it comes with a few extras that we love. First and foremost is the picture-in-picture support. Using the remote control, you can get a preview of all the media playing on connected devices. It’s preview only, which unfortunately means you can’t watch two pictures at once.

The Zettaguard supports 4K with a 30-Hz refresh rate, so not full HD. It automatically switches to active devices, or you can use a remote control. Users particularly like the convenient rear port location, making the cords easier to hide. On the downside, it can take a few seconds to transition between ports.

Best for Multiple Displays: FERRISA 4x2 HDMI Matrix Switch

Simultaneous Display. FERRISA

Why It Made The Cut: This HDMI switcher’s two output ports can simultaneously display signals coming from one of four input ports.

Specs:
Input/Output Ports: 4/2
Supported Resolution: 4K @ 30 Hz
Control Options: Manual or remote

Pros:
— Matrix and splitter modes
— Headphone jack for any of the input sources
— Intuitive remote control design

Cons:
— Requires identical input/output formats for simultaneous display

The FERRISA 4x2 HDMI Matrix Switch features four input and two output ports and operates in two modes for versatile display options. Matrix mode displays input from different ports on each connected monitor or screen. Splitter mode displays the same input on both monitors. However, we did notice that when in matrix mode, the audio/visual format of the devices must be the same, or there can be some display issues.

The FERRISA also has a headphone jack that can be used for any of the devices connected to the input ports. This model also got bonus points for ease of installation and the intuitive design of the remote control.

Best for Audio Compatibility: ROOFULL 5 Port 4K HDMI Switch

Great for Sound. ROOFULL

Why It Made The Cut: Support for 4K UltraHD and an upgraded A/V design supports advanced audio formats makes this pick the best for those seeking a cinematic experience.

Specs:
Input/Output Ports: 5/1
Supported Resolution: 4K @ 60 Hz
Control Options: Remote, manual, automatic

Pros:
— Excellent audio compatibility
— Automatically connects to last used or powered device
— Five input ports

Cons:
— Could use a longer adapter cord

The ROOFULL 5 Port 4K HDMI Switch is designed for those who value both the audio and visual quality of their games and movies. This HDMI switcher offers excellent and wide audio compatibility, including DTS-HD, LPCM7.1, Dolby TrueHD, and more. It also has 4K technology at the 60-Hz refresh rate with the option to connect up to five 4K devices.

The ROOFULL offers three control options, including auto switching. It also automatically returns to the last powered device for a faster start. The only improvement we wish it had is a slightly longer adapter cord.

Best Budget: NEWCARE 4K @ 60Hz HDMI Switch

Simple and Affordable. NEWCARE

Why It Made The Cut: Simple installation and operation make this an easy and affordable HDMI switcher to add to your setup.

Specs:
Input/Output Ports: 3/1
Supported Resolution: 4K @ 60 Hz
Control Options: Manual only

Pros:
— Simple installation and operation
— Supports 4K@60 Hz
— No external power supply required

Cons:
— May require more than one device to be connected to the input ports

The NEWCARE 4K @ 60 Hz HDMI Switch is a simple HDMI switch that doesn’t require its own external power supply. The devices plugged into the input ports power the switcher. You can plug in up to three devices with 4K resolution and a 60 Hz refresh rate for full HD. You have to manually switch between the input ports, but for the price, that’s not too bad of a trade-off. Installation is fast and easy, and this HDMI switcher doesn’t use up an electrical outlet.

However, sometimes if you don’t have more than one device connected and powered on, the HDMI switcher doesn’t have enough power to operate. That means you have to connect at least two devices and keep them powered.

Things to Consider Before Buying an HDMI Switcher

Number of Inputs

The number of inputs indicates how many devices you can connect to the HDMI switch at once. HDMI switchers have anywhere from two to eight ports. If you plan to add an additional device (like the latest game console), you might consider getting an HDMI switcher with an extra input port or two.

Audio Formats

The audio requirements of the HDMI switcher must match your system. Today’s HDMI switchers can all handle DTS Digital Surround and Dolby Digital audio signals. However, if you need an HDMI switcher for a home-theater system that uses Dolby TrueHD, DTS: X, DTS-HD Master Audio, or other advanced audio formats, you need an HDMI switcher compatible with your existing system.

Output Resolution

The HDMI switcher’s output resolution must match the device you’re connecting it to. For most TVs and laptops, the switcher should support at least 1080p, making it compatible with Dolby Digital and DTS audio signals. If you have a 4K device, the HDMI switcher must also be 4K compatible.

Check the refresh rate on 4K capable switchers. Full HD requires 4K with a 60-Hz refresh rate or 4K @ 60 Hz. Many HDMI switchers are 4K @ 30 Hz, which isn’t full HD and could compromise your viewing experience if you’re highly attuned to HD images. Additional technology like 3D video or HDR-encoded will need to match your connected device for the best viewing, too.

FAQs

Q: Do HDMI switchers reduce quality?

As long as you buy a high-quality HDMI switcher and there are no connection issues, the HDMI switcher should not degrade the output quality. However, a low-quality HDMI switcher or a connection problem between devices can cause quality disruptions. You also need HDMI cables to ensure the signal strength.

Q: Do HDMI switchers have lag?

It’s possible for an HDMI switcher to cause poor audio/visual quality, input lag, or loss of signal. However, that’s more likely if the switcher is poorly built. The amount of lag, if any, depends upon the switcher model used.

Q: How do I choose an HDMI switch?

Choose an HDMI switch that’s compatible with your existing audio and visual equipment. If you have a 4K TV, you’ll need an HDMI switch that is 4K-compatible. The HDMI switcher also needs to be compatible with your sound system. The last thing to consider is the number of input ports you need. HDMI switchers come with anywhere between two to eight input ports.

Q: How much do HDMI switchers cost?

Depending on the number of input ports and the technology with which the HDMI switcher is compatible, an HDMI switcher can cost anywhere from $15 to $125. A two-port model that’s 1080p and Dolby Digital compatible may only cost $20. However, one that’s equipped with 4K technology at 60 GHz with eight input ports will be at the high-end of the price range.

Q: What can I use an HDMI switch for?

You can use an HDMI switch to increase the number of inputs to a device. Usually, they are used to connect game systems, DVD players, and laptops to televisions and home-entertainment systems. Some people may be better off with an HDMI splitter. Taking a look at the best HDMI splitters will help you figure out if that option would be better for you.

Q: Is there a 4K 120 Hz HDMI switch?

Yes, there are 4K HDMI switchers that can handle a 120-Hz refresh rate. There are also HDMI switchers that are compatible with the latest 8K technology. However, you don’t need to pay more for one of these devices (and you will pay more) unless you already have an 8K TV or pair with one of the best computer monitors. Using an 8K- compatible HDMI switcher alone won’t improve the quality of audio or video.

Final Thoughts

The best HDMI switchers make it easy to keep all of your devices connected and let you seamlessly move between them. The Kinivo HDMI Switch 4K HDR offers easy installation, excellent quality, and simple switching between devices. It can also handle 4K @ 60 Hz for full HD viewing. For those on a smaller budget, the NEWCARE 4K @ 60 Hz HDMI Switch is easy to install and still offers full HD viewing.

This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.


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