In this article, we’re going to take a look at what is the best KVM switch. Before looking at the best KVM switches, we will look at what a KVM switch is and why you might benefit from it. In summary, a KVM switch will allow you to control two or more devices with a single monitor, keyboard, and mouse. This is beneficial as it allows you to cycle between multiple devices without needing individual components for each device.
Another area a KVM excels in is situations where machines run headless (without a monitor/keyboard/mouse) and periodically require GUI access. A KVM will allow you to switch to the device, confirm everything is working properly (or make the necessary changes), and then switch back. In summary, if you have multiple devices, a KVM switch could be a great tool to add.
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How Does a KVM Switch Work?
A KVM switch works by connecting multiple computers or servers to a single set of input/output devices, such as a keyboard, video display, and mouse. The switch establishes a separate connection to each system, and users can toggle between computers with the push of a button or a keyboard hotkey.
This allows seamless control over multiple systems without physically moving between them, saving time and resources while maintaining an organized workspace. We will look at some of the best KVM switches below.
One thing I want to be clear about when looking at the best KVM switches is that some KVM switches emulate the keyboard and mouse. This means that some devices that have special features (gaming keyboards or mice, generally) will appear as if they stopped working when the emulation software simply doesn’t understand what to do with the command being sent.
In scenarios where I wanted to use a gaming keyboard or mouse, I purchased this IOGEAR KVM Switch, as you can disable keyboard/mouse emulation and simply treat the USB device as a passthrough (explained in the IOGEAR instruction manual).
Best KVM Switches You Can Buy
The items below are some of the best KVM Switches you can use. They each have their unique differences, so check each and confirm that the features are what you’re looking for!
GREATHTEK KVM Switch – 2 Port Switch
The GREATHTEK KVM Switch allows you to control two different devices with one monitor, keyboard, and mouse. This device is capable of running two monitors at 4K@60Hz and comes with four USB 2.0 ports.
A unique feature of this KVM Switch is that it has smooth image transmission due to EDID. While not necessary, it’s a nice benefit.
ABLEWE USB and HDMI Switch – 2 Port Switch
The ABLEWE USB and HDMI Switch allows you to control two computers with one monitor, keyboard, mouse, and/or printer. What separates this KVM switch from others is the fact that it’s capable of handling 4K at 60Hz (if your monitor supports it). It also supports various gaming consoles, as well as all operating systems (Windows/Mac/Linux).
IOGEAR GC62HU – 2 Port Switch
The IOGEAR GC62HU is a KVM switch that allows you to control two computers using one keyboard, mouse, and 1080P monitor. It supports all major operating systems (Windows/Mac/Linux), and its biggest benefit is that it supports USB passthrough, meaning that gaming keyboards and mice will continue to operate exactly as they do when plugged directly into this KVM switch. Please keep in mind that mouse/keyboard emulation must be disabled to get it to work.
For anyone who has run into this issue when attempting to find a KVM switch that works with their gaming keyboard or mouse – this is the one. Just make sure you set it up to disable keyboard/mouse emulation (explained in the IOGEAR instruction manual).
ABLEWE KVM Switch
The ABLEWE KVM Switch is a 2-port KVM switch that lets you control two computers using one keyboard, mouse, and 4K@60Hz monitor. It’s also unique in the sense that it offers USB 3.0 connectivity which allows for transfer speeds up to 5Gbps.
While it does allow for fast USB transfer speeds, please keep in mind that there are only two total USB ports!
CKLau KVM Switch – 4 Port Switch
The CKLau KVM Switch is a KVM switch that allows you to control four computers using one keyboard, mouse, and monitor. The maximum resolution is 4K at 60Hz and supports all major operating systems (Windows/Mac/Linux).
A benefit of this KVM switch is that it supports a wireless keyboard and mouse. It also supports EDID emulation (the device continues to think the display is attached). The VKLau KVM Switch requires power (5V 2A power adapter included) so please keep that in mind before purchasing!
TESmart KVM Switch – 4 Port Switch
The TESmart KVM Switch is a KVM switch that allows you to control four computers using one keyboard, mouse, and monitor. In addition, you’re able to add a USB device such as a printer or USB camera. The maximum resolution is 4K at 60Hz and supports all major operating systems (Windows/Mac/Linux).
Similar to the CKLAU KVM switch above, the TESmart KVM switch must be powered (5V 2A power adapter included) and supports EDID emulation, meaning that devices connected will continue to think the monitor is connected. The main reason to purchase this over the CKLau KVM switch above is if you’ll utilize the USB 2.0 port.
MT-VIKI KVM Switch – 8 Port Switch
The MT-VIKI KVM Switch is a KVM switch that allows you to control eight computers using one keyboard, mouse, and monitor. This device is rack-mountable and supports resolutions up to 4K at 30Hz. It can be controlled in three ways, by using the device itself, or the included remotes. There are an additional two USB ports that will allow you to control a printer, USB camera, or any other USB device as well.
Conclusion: Best KVM Switches
This article looked at what is the best KVM switches. As you can tell, there isn’t necessarily a best KVM switch. There are many different KVM switches and the device that you select generally depends on the number of devices that you’d like to control.
For most people, a simple two-port KVM switch will suffice, but there are also four and eight-port options if you’re interested in any of those. If this article helped you, please check out some of our other hardware recommendations!
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