If you are someone that uses multiple PC’s or consoles in your gaming or work set up, the last thing you will want to worry about is multiple keyboards and mice.
The best solution to this issue is a KVM switch. This is an abbreviation of keyboard, video monitor, and Mouse. It works by allowing you to connect multiple PC’s or consoles to your monitors, keyboard, and mouse.
They are so useful when it comes to saving space, and not having to have multiple components. However, as there are many KVM switches to choose between, it can be difficult to know what the best option is for you.
In this article, we have chosen and reviewed five of the best KVM switches, focusing on aspects such as connectivity, number of ports, and the output quality.
Best KVM Switch
Optimum resolution and refresh rate
Additional power supply needs to be purchased if you want to plug the KVM switch into the mains
Our top choice for the best KVM switch is Ablewe’s USB and HDMI KVM Switch. This is a fantastic option because it is fairly inexpensive to purchase. While it is a great option if you are shopping on a budget, this does not mean that it lacks at all in quality.
It has a resolution and refresh rate of UHD 4K @ 60Hz, which is the specifications that are ideal for a KVM switch. In addition to this, it features 2 USB ports, and 2 HDMI ports. You can connect two PCs to the device, and the controls are easy to manage. Switching between both PCs is seamless and simple.
The KVM switch is not too large, and being compact, it fits nicely on a desk. It has an LED light that changes color according to the computer that is attached too, which is useful. While its main use is typically for PCs, it can also be used with PS4, PS3, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and most laptops too, making it versatile.
It is driver free. If you want it to draw power from the mains, you will need to purchase a power supply in order to do this. However, this is a fantastic option overall.
4 USB connection ports
Inexpensive to purchase
Easy to switch between connections
It does not feature HDMI port connections
This is another Ablewe KVM switch that is a great option to consider. If you are on a budget, this is certainly an option to consider because it is one of the least expensive options featured.
This KVM switch is easy to use, and to switch between the two connections, all you need to do is press the push button. The switching is easy and simple to do. If you are looking to connect multiple devices with USB ports, this is a great option to consider as it features 4. They are all USB 3.0 ports.
You can use this KVM switch to connect devices such as printers, card readers, PCs and flash drives. However, as it doesn’t feature HDMI ports, you cannot use it to connect devices such as laptops or gaming consoles, which can be disappointing.
It features a stable connection, and is covered by a 12-month warranty, which is great. The LED lights allow you to see which connection is being used, and this is a useful option on the whole.
One button switch
Good valued for the money
4 USB 2.0 ports
Power supply will need to be purchased separately
The Ugreen KVM switch is another inexpensive option that is great if you are shopping on a budget. It features 4 USB connections that can be used simultaneously, and you can connect things such as a printer, and U disk, which is useful.
There is a one button switch, which allows you to connect and use the KVM switch quickly and efficiently. In addition to this, it features an LED light that will alert you of which PC the device is connected to.
The device features stable connections that are quite versatile. If you are looking to connect the switch to your mains, you will need to ensure that you purchase an additional power supply. When purchasing, you will need to ensure that the power supply is not too high, as this will damage the KVM switch.
The switch is driver free, and the USB ports that are featured are 2.0. It is compact, and will not take up too much space on your desk. This is the perfect option for use with two computers, rather than gaming consoles.
Great for gaming
Can be used with wireless keyboards and mice
Will be replaced if it runs into any issues
One of the more expensive options featured
The Aimos KVM switch is a fantastic option to consider for gaming. This is because it features both USB 1 ports, and HDMI ports. While this is one of the most expensive options featured, it is not overly expensive. It is still reasonably priced when you take into consideration all that it can do.
You can connect two different computers or devices to this KVM switch. It has a gold-plated interface, and a high-encryption chip. While it does feature wired connections, you can also connect wireless keyboards and mice to the switch.
This is useful because it allows you to have more connections overall, and it takes away the need for any extra wires. It also means that if your mouse is compatible, you do not have to worry about buying a replacement.
The resolution for the Aimos KVM switch is 4K @ 30Hz, which is fantastic, and means that this is a great option for gaming. The compatibility is good, and you can connect devices such as a Nintendo Switch, Apple TV, Laptop, PS4, and Xbox.
This is a well-made KVM switch that is long-lasting, and features non-slip rubber feet to help keep it secure. In addition to this, if you run into any problems with the device, it will be replaced free of charge.
Plugs into the mains
Supports dual monitors
Significantly more expensive in comparison to the other KVM switches featured
If you are looking for a top of the range option that is more expensive, the Greathtek is a great choice. It is for something that is looking for a more professional and solid set up. It features a hotkey switch, and as it plugs into the mains, no adapter is required.
Given that it plugs into the mains, it will run at high speeds, and does not need to rely on power from the PC. It features both HDMI and USB ports, which allows this KVM switch to be versatile.
It is a great option for gaming given the HDMI ports, and the UHD 4K @ 30Hz resolution. Furthermore, it is also downwards compatible, and does not require cables. It can be used to connect two different devices, and will support dual monitors too.
Here are a few things that you will want to take into consideration before purchasing a KVM switch.
The first thing you will want to take into consideration is the cost of a KVM switch. As far as PC components go, KVM switches are far from the cheapest devices you can purchase. While they may be less expensive in comparison to a new CPU or GPU, when you take into consideration their size, many people will assume that they are overpriced.
However, when purchasing a KVM switch, it is important to understand that it is a high-tech component, and it is also very useful. Given this, if you have a multi PC setup, it is worth considering.
When looking at the different KVM switches featured, they do range in price slightly. We have chosen a wide variety to suit most budgets. Ideally, you will want to choose the option that suits your budget best.
If you are looking for a KVM switch that can connect more than 2 PCs, this is when the price will start to increase significantly.
Given that you will be connecting the KVM switch to multiple components, you will need to ensure it is compatible. While it is likely that it will be, you will need to check your monitor, keyboard, mouse, and PC’s.
The vast majority of KVM switches will feature USB 3.0 and HDMI ports, which are compatible with most devices. Some may even feature micro USB ports, However, some may lack any additional connections and ports needed, and you may need to purchase a converter in order to use it.
This is why it is important to research into the KVM switch before purchasing because they will all be slightly different when it comes to compatibility and connections. If you are looking to connect a gaming console to the KVM switch, you will also need to ensure that this is compatible too.
Here are some of the connections that a KVM switch can have – HDMI, USB, USB-C, VGA, DisplayPort, DVI, and DP. Not all KVM switches will be compatible with every connection. As a result, you will need to choose the best option based on your set-up.
There are two types of KVM switch that can be purchased, one that has its own power supply, one that will draw power from the PC’s it’s connected to.
When it comes to choosing between the both, it can be difficult to know which is the better option.
With KVM switches that draw from the PC’s power supply, you do not have to worry about connecting them to the mains. This means that you have one less connection to your power supply to worry about.
In addition to this, because they draw power from the PC they tend to be less expensive to purchase, which is great if you are looking for a less expensive option.
While these KVM switches do work well, sometimes there is the potential for them to be not quite as consistent in how they work overall.
When thinking about KVM switches that do need a power supply, these tend to be the more powerful option. As they have their own power supply, they will not be putting any pressure on your PC at all.
However, they will be taking up an extra power socket. It is worth noting that even KVM switches that draw power from a PC can also be connected to the mains. While they don’t always come with an adapter to do this, you can purchase one of these separately.
When you take into consideration that you want to purchase a KVM switch in order to connect multiple PC’s to the same KVM’s, the port numbers are important.
This is where the majority of KVM Switches differ. While some KVM switches will only have a few ports, others will have multiple. The option you decide on will ultimately depend on your PC or gaming setup.
If you have a large setup, you will benefit from a KVM switch with multiple ports. However, these do tend to be more expensive on the whole as a result.
While there is the potential for Daisy cabins to increase the amount of ports, this is not always recommended and will depend on the individual KVM switches.
To avoid having too few ports, it is always best to purchase a KVM switch with one or two extra ports. This allows you the option of adding more devices in the future.
The output quality is one of the most important things to consider. You will want to ensure the output quality reflects the output that your devices and components are capable of. For example, if the available output from the KVM switch is less than the output of the monitor itself, for example, then it is not the best option to use.
In addition to this, you will want to ensure that it has the correct output types needed, and that it is not going to lower the refresh rates of your monitor. This can have a big impact if you need a higher refresh rate for gaming.
Some set-ups will only have a VGA output. While this is not always the case, you will need to ensure that you are checking for this when purchasing to ensure that the output is the correct option needed for your set-up.
When it comes to the resolution and refresh rate, where possible, we would recommend that you choose a KVM switch capable of producing 4K UHD @60Hz. This will then provide you with the best possible resolution.
The length of the KVM switch cable is something that many people may overlook. However, it is important, given that you will need to ensure that all the components can be attached without strain on the cables.
If you are looking to have good cable management, the longer the cables are the better. This will not affect how the KVM switch operates. Some cable will be a few feet in length.
We would always recommend measuring how large you need the cable to be before purchasing, as you don’t want it to run short. Even so, it is possible to purchase KVM switch cable extenders if needed. This is useful if your set-up is more spread out.
Things To Consider
Are KVM switches OK for gaming?
In the past, KVM switches haven’t been recommended for use with gaming. This is because the IP-based KVM did not work well with low-latency gaming. However, in recent years, technology has improved drastically. As a result, they are now seen as a valuable option, especially if you game on both PC and console, and don’t want to have more than one monitor in use.
Before purchasing a KVM switch for gaming in particular, we would recommend choosing an option that has a good resolution and refresh rate. This will help to ensure that you are not losing out on quality, and that your gameplay is not going to be affected by this.
Do KVM switches support 144Hz?
Whether the KVM switch supports 144Hz, will all depend on the type of KVM switch. As they all will have slightly different specifications, you will want to check the refresh rate in addition to the resolution before purchasing.
This is particularly important for gaming. Ideally, you will want to choose a KVM switch that has a good refresh rate and resolution.
DO KVM switches affect refresh rate?
The refresh rate that the KVM switch is capable of will all depend on the amount of bandwidth it has. The refresh rate will then work within this bandwidth, and the higher the bandwidth is, the better the refresh rate will be on the whole. The same can also be said for the resolution too.