(Image credit: Gana)
Finding the best cheap HDMI switcher can be a daunting task. There are quite literally thousands of different models — most of which are clones of existing products. Complicating matters is the fact there are also “name brand” HDMI switchers, which are rebadged generic devices sold at a premium. In order to help you make the most informed choice, we’ve cut through the chaff and tested some of the best HDMI switches currently available.
You may not recognize some of the brands (we certainly don’t) but each of these devices gets the job done. Some of these switchers even offer support for 4K @ 60Hz, which is the best you’re going to get out of any switch on the market right now.
One thing to note is that you’ll see the same switches below under hundreds of different listings online. These are typically white-label products that are purchased in bulk by resellers who then slap a brand on them. So, the same switch might have a listing saying it’s made by “SGEYR” and another by “SkycropHD,” but they’re the same thing.
What are the best cheap HDMI switchers?
Our favorite HDMI switcher is the TOTU HDMI 4-in-1 Switch, a straightforward 4-port HDMI switch that lets you switch between inputs with an included remote, or automatically switch to a device when it gets powered on. Between the affordable price, the full-bandwidth support for 4K @ 60Hz and support for Dolby Vision and other HDR formats, it’s the best all-around option we tested – just plan on using a universal remote to control it.
For a budget-friendly pick, we like the Fosmon 5-port HDMI switcher (HD8205). Selling for under $30 and offering a compact 5-port design, it’s the best among the most affordable units we tested.
And if you need ports for a huge collection of home theater equipment, it’s hard to beat the 3. Univivi 7-port HDMI switch (QPThg-246), which has connections for up to seven different devices and a sleek low-profile design. The only catch is that it lacks automatic switching.
The best cheap HDMI switchers you can buy today
Cutting through the switcher chaff to find an affordable product that accepts the latest devices is tough, but this 4×1 unit from TOTU fits the bill. It accepts up to 4K at 60Hz input with HDR or Dolby Vision. It supports an HDMI channel bandwidth of up to 18 Gbps, so it’ll work with any HDMI 2.0 or older feature.
The TOTU has automatic switching, with no option to turn it off. However, this isn’t as annoying as it is on some models, as this feature only activates when one input is active. This eliminates issues with some devices that switch inputs even though they didn’t receive a legitimate HDMI-CEC power-on signal.
Unfortunately, though the unit itself is reasonably robust for the price, the remote is horrible. It’s a small plastic rectangle that screams to be immediately broken or lost. So, those who purchase the TOTU are best off using a universal remote to control it.
Presently, this product has been reviewed 2,157 times and received 4.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon. One who gave this switcher a 5 out of 5 reviewer said:
“This is perfect for older TVs with limited HDMI input connections. It also works for connecting just about anything with an HDMI cable to anything with an HDMI input. It works as an HDMI hub and allows you to switch to any of the HDMI inputs on the hub and transmit it to the output or TV. It’s visually appealing, compact and lightweight. I am very happy with this product.”
The Fosmon 5×1 HDMI 2.0 switch is one of the more unique of its type available. Instead of a long, rectangular, metal body, it takes the form of a small, plastic, black square. While it still needs to be powered (via micro-USB), it retains the small form-factor seen with most unpowered switches.
Since this is a smaller switch, especially for a 5×1 model, users must mount an IR sensor via a wire. While this makes for a more complex install process, it also allows you to hide the switch behind your TV or entertainment center, distinguishing it from its peers.
The plastic shell means this switch is a bit less durable than some of the other 4K devices on our list, but its compact form factor makes up for it. The remote, of course, is substandard, but as with other switches on this list, you can replace it with something a bit more robust.
This seven-input Switch from Univivi is one of the more expensive options on our list. Still, it’s worth the premium if you have a ton of devices you want to connect to your TV. Because of all the inputs, it’s a long device, coming in at 9 inches wide. However, it’s still relatively low profile at less than an inch tall, so it’ll easily tuck on top of another component without looking out of place.
HDR, Dolby Vision, and 4K at 60Hz are all possible with this HDMI 2.0 compatible device. The only mixed bag with the Univivi switch is that it lacks automatic switching. That’s great for those who have devices that display issues with auto-switching. However, with seven available ports, it could be frustrating to some to have to change inputs each time manually.
This HDMI switcher currently has 4.3 out of 5 rating on Amazon based on 741 reviews. “If you plan to hook up ANY 4k 60hz with HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2, you need this box,” said one reviewer who award the product 5 out of 5 stars.
This 4×1 switcher from SkycropHD is fully HDMI 2.0 compatible. It accepts and outputs 4K at 60Hz signals with HDR, Dolby Vision, and Dolby Atmos, and supports the full 18Gbps required by the HDMI 2.0 standard.
We’re unsure what the “upgraded” in the product name means, but it performed without issues and was one of the better switches on the list. One of our favorite “hidden” features is that automatic switching can be enabled or disabled by holding the switch button on the unit for five seconds. Turning off this function is not available on every switcher on this list, which can be a significant source of frustration.
Like many switches on the list, the remote is the weakest point. Its construction is a bit more robust than usual, but it’s still best replaced by a universal remote.
The product currently has a 4.4 out of 5 rating on Amazon (based on 290 reviews). A reviewer who gave it 4 out of 5 stars said: “While the auto-switching isn’t perfect, it does work with most things.”
The Ferrisa 4xw HDMI Matrix is a bit more complex than other products on this list. It features four inputs and two outputs, which give users the option to use the device as a switch, a splitter, or a combination of the two. It also includes optical and 3.5mm audio out, making it a more versatile device than a standard splitter.
These options do come with caveats. It’s more expensive than a standard switch, and those that don’t regularly need to output video to two different displays won’t find a need for the extra features. It’s also limited to the same resolution and framerate on both outputs, so you can only use the splitter functionality on two screens with similar specifications. Lastly, if you want 4K at 60Hz, HDR, Dolby Vision, or Atmos support, you’ll need to spend a bit more money. This Ferisa HDMI Matrix is limited to HDMI 1.4b and maxes out at 4K at 30Hz.
This HDMI switcher has been reviewed 962 times and received 4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon. A reviewer who awarded it 5 out of 5 stars said:
“I am extremely pleased with the performance of this switch! It not only solves the problems of the cheap switch I bought, but it out-performs my old switch, as well. The box is dang-near perfect so far; I cannot find anything wrong with it, and there is a whole lot right with it. ”
This switch from Avedio Links is one of the few unpowered models that works with HDMI 2.0 4K at 60Hz signals. As such, it has a smaller footprint, which is its primary advantage over the competition.
However, this switch has some shortcomings of which potential buyers should be aware. It can only be switched manually, which requires users to physically walk to the device and press a button, negating most of the convenience this type of device offers. It also draws power from HDMI, which is unsupported by the standard, so if all four HDMI sockets aren’t occupied, it may not function as desired.
Unfortunately, without automatic switching or remote functionality, this device is more of a niche product. It’s great for those who don’t foresee the need to change inputs often, but lacks compared to the powered 4K switches on the list.
This HDMI switcher currently has a 4.3 out of 5 star rating on Amazon, based on 2,171 reviews. “Definitely a great little device and a terrific value for the price,” said a reviewer.
This SGEYR HDMI 2.0 switch is surprisingly capable for the price. It’s in the lower range of 4K at 60Hz switches on the market, but it supports HDR, Dolby Vision, and Atmos and it’s powered by micro USB. However, it is missing some features that tech aficionados may be looking for, which might deter some potential buyers.
This switch offers automatic input selection, which can be hit or miss on these products. Unfortunately, there’s no way to turn this feature off (per port or otherwise). This makes it practically unusable with some devices, like PCs and laptops, that constantly trigger the auto-switch function. There are also no EDID toggles to help troubleshoot incompatibilities between devices.
On the upside, the construction is fairly robust. The chassis is made out of some sort of pot metal, if I had to guess, but it’s robust enough to stand up to the typical rigors of sitting in an entertainment center. The remote is also of decent quality, but there are some reports that it’s keyed to the same frequency as some TV remotes, which may cause issues for some.
This product has been reviewed 4,990 times and received 4.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon. “This is working well for me with an xbox and a nintendo switch. Seems well built and easy to operate,” said a reviewer who awarded this switcher 4 out of 5 stars.
Amazon Basics typically delivers a decent generic product for a fair price. However, the Amazon Basics 4K HDMI 3 Port Switch isn’t a great value for what you get. It only accepts 4K at 30Hz signals, which is too low for most modern consoles. It also can’t process HDR or Dolby Vision signals, limiting it to outputting SDR content only.
This switch is decent enough for a 1080p SDR screen, but for the price, you might as well buy one that can handle 4K at 60Hz for future-proofing. Despite the decent construction (aside from the remote), this is an outdated product that will hamstring many 4K TVs. The only reason to grab this switch over others is if you find it on sale. Otherwise, it’s best to choose from one of the more capable products on our list.
The GANA 3-port HDMI switcher is as low as you can go, both in price and functionality. It’s an unpowered switcher, which will be a positive for some people, but it’s not really reliable. There’s no provision for power transmission in the specifications for HDMI. However, HDMI devices do output +5V over pin 18 for EDID transmission, which is what these cheap, unpowered switchers use instead of an external adapter.
You get what you pay for with the GANA switcher. You can transmit up to 60fps at 1080p, but it can’t output HDR. The manufacturer didn’t actually list which version of HDMI this switcher uses, but I’d say it’s probably 1.3 since it claims to support 3D TV.
Rounding out the GANA’s featureset is the manual input selection, which must be done with a button located on top of the device. I had no luck getting it to auto-detect input, but it never claimed to have this function, so I wasn’t disappointed.
The GANA 3-port unpowered HDMI switcher is really only fit for applications in which thrift is the overriding concern. It’s an unattractive, limited device, and much better can be had for a handful of change extra.
This product currently has a 4.2 out of 5 rating on Amazon with over 39,725 reviews. “Now with this splitter, it reads new inputs with no problem! No more restarting! Excellent for the price and what it is,” said a reviewer.
How to choose the best cheap HDMI switcher for you
The best cheap HDMI switcher is the one that gets the job done. If you’re trying to spend the least amount of money possible, you’ll need to identify your minimum requirements for an HDMI switcher. So, you’ll want to figure out what the framerate and resolution are for each device you want to connect to the switch. Those that only need a max of 1080p at 60Hz can get a serviceable switcher for less than $10. For a 4K switcher, you’ll need to spend a bit more money, but these are rapidly coming down in price.
Another important factor when purchasing a switcher is what features it provides. The cheapest HDMI switches require you to get up and press a button on the device each time you switch an input and only have a few ports available. For a bit more money, you can get a model with a remote control or auto-switching that makes changing between your inputs less strenuous. If you plan to frequently change between active inputs on your switch, we highly recommend getting one with a remote. After all, if you have to get up and press the button often, having the switcher is only a modicum more convenient than just swapping a cable out every time.
If you’re looking for a cheap HDMI switcher, the biggest consideration for you is likely how much the device costs. However, keep in mind you often get what you pay for, especially with tech products. Since these devices are so cheap, it’s better to get one that has more ports and features than you need. That way, you have a more versatile switcher that you can use for years to come.
In particular, we recommend getting a switcher with a remote, even if you don’t plan on using it. That way, if you ever get in a situation where you need to control switching between inputs remotely, you won’t have buyer remorse. It’s also best to get one in a form factor that allows it to be secured to a surface, either using gravity or two-sided tape. Unfortunately, many of the lighter ones can slide off an entertainment center and will just end up dangling around the back of your TV.
How we test the best cheap HDMI switchers
We tested each of these switches with an LG CX OLED TV, one of our favorite 4K models on our list of the best TVs. We ran them through the paces by using them as an input for several types of devices and an output for both the TV directly and a Marantz NR1711 A/V receiver. We tested them using a PC equipped with an RTX 3090, a PS5, an Xbox Series X, and an Nvidia Shield TV.
Utilizing the devices above, we tested each switch’s ability to handle gameplay and both HDCP protected and unprotected content. Fortunately, the days of switches with dodgy EDID support and HDCP incompatibilities are gone.
and framerate. However, they did work well within the limitations of each switcher, and we didn’t get any duds.
For the most part, since the specs are (relatively) clearly marked for each switcher, we tested for usability under normal operating conditions. So, our tester used each of them in their entertainment center for several hours each and made observations based on what they experienced during that time.
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