7 Best USB-C KVM Switches

7 Best USB-C KVM Switches

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Cables! They’re essential for a computing system, but man, do they look ugly! Of course, once you’ve spent your hard-earned earned bucks on a sleek computer setup, you don’t want the look to be ruined by big sturdy cables. Not to mention how much of a pain it is to reconnect all the cables every time you switch between computing systems.

But the sad thing is unless the tech for wireless data transfer drastically improves in the coming years (it doesn’t look like it), we’re stuck with cables, and cables are stuck with us.

There are a few ways to reduce the number, though, and if you’re working with multiple PCs but using the same peripherals, a KVM switch is going to work wonders for your setup’s aesthetics and efficiency.

A KVM (Keyboard Video Mouse) switch’s job is to make your life easy if you use the same peripherals and display on more than one PC, for example, if you have a gaming PC and a work laptop. You can hook up your display and other peripherals to the KVM switch and then connect the KVM to your computers.

Then, you can switch between each computer with a click of a button, exterminating the need to disconnect, and then connect cables every time you switch between your gaming PC and work laptop.

In the past, KVM switches were only used in workplaces to increase efficiency, but with the number of computers in every home increasing, these switches have found their way aboard home stations as well. The market is medium-sized, with several local and international power electronics companies producing these.

We’ve assembled a list of KVM switches equipped with USB –C ports, making them easier to be hooked up with your monitor and other peripherals. Do read our buying guide at the end as well, and it’ll help you decide on which switch is better for you.

The Best USB-C KVM Switches – Comparison Table

ImageProductDetailsCheck Price
Sabrent 2-Port USB Type-C KVM Switch on Amazon
Sabrent 2-Port USB Type-C KVM SwitchDevices: 2 USB-C
Video: 4k 60Hz
Audio Jack: Yes
USB-C Charging: Yes
Check on Amazon
IOGEAR - Access Pro 2 on Amazon
IOGEAR - Access Pro 2Devices: 2 USB-C
Video: 4k 30Hz
Audio Jack: No
USB-C Charging: Yes
Check on Amazon
Tripp Lite 2 Port USB-C KVM Doc on Amazon
Tripp Lite 2 Port USB-C KVM DocDevices: 2
Video: 4k 30Hz
Audio Jack: No
USB-C Charging: Yes
Check on Amazon
StarTech.com 2 Port USB C KVM Switch on Amazon
StarTech.com 2 Port USB C KVM SwitchDevices: 2
Video: 4k 60Hz
Audio Jack: No
USB-C Charging: No
Check on Amazon
TESmart USB-C + HDMI KVM Switch on Amazon
TESmart USB-C + HDMI KVM SwitchDevices: 4
Video: 4k 60Hz
Audio Jack: Yes
USB-C Charging: No
Check on Amazon
Black Box USB-C 4K on Amazon
Black Box USB-C 4KDevices: 2
Video: 4k 60Hz (4:4:4)
Audio Jack: No
USB-C Charging: No
Check on Amazon
Monoprice Blackbird 4K 3-Port USB-C on Amazon
Monoprice Blackbird 4K 3-Port USB-CDevices: 3
Video: 4k 60Hz
Audio Jack: No
USB-C Charging: Yes
Check on Amazon

1. SABRENT 2-PORT USB SWITCH – Efficient Power and data transfer on a budget

Sabrent 2’s KVM switch offers you a lot in a very narrow price range. The device can provide 4k video at 60Hz and has two USB-C inputs (thunderbolt compatible) that you can switch between. In addition to that, you can use two USB-C out ports to charge up your laptops/gadgets at almost 60W. You can also use one of these USB-C out ports to transfer video instead of the HDMI 2.0. The switch does a wonderful job of using up all of the sweet power and data transfer capabilities of the USB-C port.

The switch does not use a power adaptor. Instead, it gets power from the USB bus. Of course, that means that one of your computers or the monitor power supply will end up charging the other, but it is still a better power consumption profile than if you have to power the switch and your laptops separately.

The package also contains a jack that you can use to mount the device. Of course, no device is perfect, but we think it is safe to say that for the price Sabrient is asking, this KVM switch is the best option on the market right now.

If you are an avid gamer, the 60Hz upper limit on the refresh rate might be a problem, but the truth is you’re going to have that problem with most KVMs. For any other purpose, you’re all set with this device! The switching can be done by a remote toggle that is connected to the device.

Ports

  • 2 x USB-C In
  • 2 x USB-C out
  • 2 x USB 2.0 out
  • 1 x HDMI 2.0 out
Our Take

The Sabrient KVM switch tops this list because it hits every benchmark we were looking for! It can charge devices, use USB-C for video, be mounted easily, and has s sound video output at 4k and 60Hz. Unless you use an unusually powerful keyboard or mouse, this device won’t let you down.

PROS
  • The device is very affordable.
  • The switch does not need additional power.
  • You can use the switch to charge your computer/gadget.
  • You can use USB-C instead of HDMI 2.0
  • Mounting jack included
CONS
  • USB 2.0 out might be slow for some users. (No hotkeys)

2. IOGEAR Access Pro 2 – Functionality, portability, and aesthetics all packed into one device

IOGear’s increasing market share in the computer electronics world is no surprise to those using its KVM switches. The Access Pro 2 is a very user-friendly, power-packed KVM switch with an intelligent and portable design. The device can transfer video with 4k resolution at 30Hz, which is sufficient for most day-to-day tasks. The two USB-C ports can charge up any MacBook device or your phone. One of the ports delivers up to 75W of power while the other can deliver up to 10W.

The design caught our eye as well. Apple users are usually more conscious about aesthetics, so IOGear decided not to disappoint them. The switch is thin and light and can be transported in your backpack or handbag quite easily.

IOGear recommends a 100W power supply for their switch, but unfortunately, you’ll have to buy that on your own.

Ports

  • 2 x USB-C Ports
  • 1 x USB-C (75W charging)
  • 1 x HDMI 2.0 output
  • 1 x Remote Connector

The USB ports are seamlessly compatible with most Mac and Windows devices. In addition, the switch is plug and play, so no additional drivers are required.

Our Take

IOGear’s Access Pro 2 is the perfect companion if you have a newer laptop and are not an avid gamer. It provides fast speed, portability, and good looks. We’re confident you’ll love this switch, especially if you’re an Apple consumer.

PROS
  • USB 3.1 obliterates latency and data lags.
  • You can charge your laptop or phone
  • The device is very portable.
  • Excellent Design
CONS
  • Only USB-C connections, so you’ll need a connector if you have an old laptop/phone.
  • It cannot be used for gaming because of the low refresh rate

3. Tripp Lite 2 Port USB-C KVM Dock – Quick charging, 4k video at 30Hz

Next in line is the last KVM switch on this list that can provide quick charging to your USB-C devices, and it is quick! The separate USB-C PD can deliver 85W of charging power to your phone or laptop; however, you won’t be able to transfer data through this port, so you can’t charge your device and use it at the same time.

There’s no power source for the switch so that the charging will be at the expense of your laptop’s charge or the monitors. (We suspect the laptops)

The HDMI 2.0 port can deliver 4k Ultra HD content at 30Hz, which is sufficient for office tasks and daily use, but you can’t do much gaming on it. The USB 3.1 ports are better than what you usually find, so the device should theoretically be able to provide hotkeys on your keyboard. Still, TrippLite hasn’t given that option in the device description.

Ports

  • 2 x USB-C Ports
  • 1 X HDMI 2.0
  • 1 x USB-C PD Charging
  • Remote Connection
Our Take

Besides the charging port being separate, the TrippLite KVM switch offers decent functionality and better power transfer capabilities. The price might be a little higher than expected, but that is probably to compensate for the protection electronics needed in the device due to that high Power Transfer.

PROS
  • Quick charging
  • USB 3.1 is faster than what is offered in this price range
CONS
  • You can charge your machine while using it

4. StarTech 2 Port USB C KVM Switch – A mini USB-C switch with no power lead

Startech’s KVM switch might be the most miniature switch on this list, but it packs quite a punch. Your first reaction when you buy it will be that of surprise. It is pretty tiny in size, and it does not use a power adaptor but is instead powered by the USB bus. We’re not sure about that feature; after all, it means the switch will draw power from your laptop, so the adaptor hasn’t vanished as much as it has moved to a different device. However, its power efficiency is still quite impressive, especially for a device in this price range.

The switch can deliver 4k video at 60Hz, which is quite impressive for such a small device. You’ll get two USB-C inputs and two USB-out ports on the same side. The HDMI out port is on the other side, so you’ll have trouble choosing a wireless side to face you when you put the switch in your workstation. The device is compatible with most manufacturers. There is no remote, though; a single button lies on the device for switching.

Switching might take more time than most KVM switches, probably because of low power consumption.

Ports

  • 2 x USB-C ports (thunderbolt compatible)
  • 2 x USB-out ports
  • 1 x HDMI-out port
Our Take

This device does everything a KVM should do, but nothing else. That’s not a bad quality though, for the size and price this switch offers, it gives you more bang for your buck. First-time KVM users will especially enjoy it because of its portability and simplicity.

PROS
  • The small size and portability is quite impressive
  • 60hz at 4k is more than what you’ll usually get for this price range
  • No power adaptor, so less of a cluster
CONS
  • Switching is slow
  • Ports are not all on the same side

5. TESmart USB-C+HDMI KVM-Switch – Great for the workplace but works for light gaming as well

This particular device has four inputs, but there are other variants available as well. The switch can display 60Hz at 4k display, which is more than decent for graphic designing, while most games won’t give too many problems. Of course, first-person shooters might go above 60Hz, and you’ll probably experience light tearing, but at this price, we would say the switch offers more than expected.

There is one USB-C port, so it’ll be wise to connect your PCs to the HDMI ports and use the USB-C for your laptop when you need it.

An audio jack is also present, which you connect to speakers. Unfortunately, the sound is transferred via HDMI, and you can experience poor sound quality at higher frame rates.

Ports

  • 1 x USB 2.0 out
  • 2 x USB 3.0 out
  • 4 x HDMI Inputs
  • 4 x USB-B inputs
  • 1 x USB-C
  • 1 x HDMI out
  • 1 x Audio Jack
  • 5V DC Power Input
Our Take

The switch works well for most workplaces, and unless you’re an avid gamer, the video quality won’t disturb you. Some buyers use the switch to display directly from security cameras while hooking up one PC and laptop.

PROS
  • Sufficient video quality for most work.
  • Audio jack for speakers
  • The build is thin and solid, so you can mount it on a wall or under your desk too.
  • Wireless mouse and keyboards supported.
CONS
  • Only one USB-C
  • The switch can not transfer power via USB-C, so you’ll need to charge your laptop separately

6. Black Box USB-C 4K KVM Switch – Specific and pricey

Blackbox’s KVM switch is on the pricier side, but it is also one of the few actual USB-C switches available in the market. The switch has a DisplayPort instead of HDMI, so you won’t lose the quality of content due to the weaker Audio-Video bridging in HDMI 2.0. Displayport is the first A/V protocol to be transmitted over USB-C. That said, the volume might not be as high, but you can get over that in a KVM switch. USB C’s high speeds have made the comparison between HDMI and DisplayPort more confusing, but most users prefer DisplayPort if it is present.

The switch also uses color sampling, which means, theoretically, it should provide better contrast ratios. However, a lot depends on the monitor you are using.

The switch also offers two settings on display, a 60 Hz 4k resolution with (4:4:4) sampling or a combination of 60H 4k resolution (4:4:4) and 30Hz 4k resolution at (4:2:0). Theoretically, that would provide a better display for the same color gamut, but again the quality of the monitor is more important. We are sure most users won’t bother with such precise adaptability features, and we can’t blame them either.

One major drawback is the lack of charging via USB-C, which is present in all other KVM switches in this price range. In addition, the switch is heavier than average, so it won’t move a lot when readjusting the cables but is less portable.

There is ample USB space on the device with 4 USB 2.0 and 2 USB3.0 outputs for all your peripherals. The abundance of these ports means Blackbox’s KVM switch can be used as a decent USB docking station.

Ports

  • 1 x Display Port
  • 4 x USB 2.0 outputs
  • 2 x USB 3.0 outputs
  • 2 x USB-C Ports (Thunderbolt compatible)
  • Power Plug-In port (9-12V)
PROS
  • A better image quality due to DisplayPort and color sampling
  • Ample USB space
  • Front Panel Hotkey for toggling between PC’s
  • Mouse and Keyboard Plug-and-Play without drivers
CONS
  • No USB-C charging
  • Not portable
Our Take

Blackbox’s KVM switch is a good choice if you are well versed in display functionality and have very specific uses; otherwise, these functions will not mean much. The ample USB space is a plus, but the price can be a turn-off. Thus, it is better to consider some low-priced options if you’re an esoteric user.

7. Monoprice Blackbird KVM Switch – Only one USB-C device but more functionality

This KVM switch won’t provide you with the option to attach many USB-C devices; however, if it’s just your laptop that needs a USB-C hookup, the MonoPrice BlackBird KVM switch can give you a diverse functionality spectrum. Overall, you can transition between three computers using this switch. The other two will be connected via a USB-B/USB-A and HDMI cable each.

You can change your laptop or gadget with the USB-C port, but the 7.5W power rating is lower than expected with USB-C charging.

The switch can support 4k resolutions at 60Hz, which is typical for this price range; however, you’ll get a more comprehensive array of video transfer capabilities. For example, the device can provide DisplayPort Alt on the USB-C connection if your monitor has a USB-C port. The switch also supports the newer HDCP 2.2 along with the conventional HDMI 2.0 capability.

HDCP 2.2 will provide better contrast ratios and lesser response times on 4k content (keep in mind that older monitors might not be HDCP compatible, so do check what kind of a monitor you’ve got).

Ports

  • 3 x HDMI ports (two in, one out)
  • 1 x USB-C port
  • 2 x USB Outputs for Mouse/Keyboard
  • AC Power Adaptor Port
PROS
  • Supports HDCP 2.2
  • Can transfer power via USB-C
  • Not power-hungry (Power transferred via USB charging, same used in old phones)
CONS
  • Not enough USB-C Devices
  • Slow charging
Our Take

If you’ve got only one USB-C device, the switch can be a good option, especially with the Display Port Alt compatibility and HDCP 2.2 port. The controller does a great job protecting 4K Ultra HD content but does little to increase connectivity to multiple devices.

The Ultimate Buying Guide for USB-C KVM switches

People usually go for a KVM switch after they’ve spent a lot of time and money on setting up their Computing system, so they end up not paying attention to the KVM switch. That could be a mortal sin because a bad KVM switch will end up rendering most of your functionality useless. By a bad KVM switch, we do not necessarily mean a device of poor quality but rather suitability. If you’ve spent thousands on a high-end monitor, but you supply it from a switch with standard video outputs, then you’ve virtually blown away all that money for nothing!

It doesn’t matter what you’re buying; the first question should always be why. You need to know precisely what your requirements are before you wander into a store, or all the tech will fog your judgment, and you’ll end up wasting your money.

Are you buying the switch for your home setup or an office? What kind of work do you do on your computers? Are you a gamer? How far will the KVM switch be from your computer and peripherals? You should consider all these factors before you buy.

In this guide, we’ll talk mostly about domestic buyers or small office workspaces; however, if your needs are larger, you need a pre-buying audit before you go into the market.

Number of computers

If you’ve only got a laptop and a PC to switch between, you can buy something portable and efficient, with perhaps some extra features such as charging or wireless remotes. If you’re switching between a lot of computers, then you should look for KVM switches with excellent protection and synchronization capabilities.

So check the connectivity options on your PC/laptops, and then buy a switch that is compatible with them.

Video Output

You need to know what kind of video is being transported through the KVM switch. For example, if you’re watching 4k resolution on a 30Hz refresh rate, all switches on the list will be enough; however, if you’re a gamer or graphics designer, you probably have a graphics card and a monitor capable of handling higher frame rates and better resolution. In that case, you’ll need a KVM switch with the same specs.

If you’re using more than one monitor, you should buy a switch that can transition between monitors as well. In that case, you might have to settle for a lower resolution or response time, or the switch will be too slow.

Audio Support

Most KVM switches transfer audio via the HDMI cable or a DisplayPort unless they’re using USB-C. If your professional work deals with a wide range of audio frequencies, these connections might not be enough, in which case you’ll need additional transfer ports for sound as well. For everyday use such as office work or gaming, these ports will suffice.

Many low-budget KVM switches have audio out as well, which you can connect to speakers or headphones. But the sound quality will be poor unless you go for costly devices.

Cable length

This depends on how far your peripherals, monitors, and computers are from each other. For a setup in your home, most cables that come with the package will suffice. If your computers are in another room than your monitors, you’ll need Cat5 cabling to ensure quick switching.

Keep in mind that the switch button is often on the KVM device, which means the device should be close to you.

If your switch has a remote toggle, then check the range of that toggle; it’s usually 15 feet for domestically used KVM switches.

Compatibility

Most KVM switches work with all the commonly used Operating Systems. However, you could face problems if your OS version is not updated or the switch requires Access to some hardware that you have installed proper drivers for. If you’re using a USB-C port to transfer video to your display, make sure your computer supports HDMI alt over USB-C or DisplayPort Alt over USB-C. Most newer models have it figured out, and all you need is a cable, but if your laptop is old or is a variant from another country, you might need some extra checks.

Electrical Power

KVM switches with only a few PC connections usually do not have a dedicated power supply; they just take power from the monitor’s power supply or through the USB bus. Bigger or higher rated KVM switches usually have dedicated power supplies, especially if they can charge connecting devices. The absence of a dedicated power supply seems attractive, but we only recommend smaller KVM devices, like the ones switching between two or three computers.

[higlightbox]While a dedicated power supply does add to the cable bundle, it also helps protect your system against poor electric efficiency. A manifestation of this fact is the heating up of the monitor’s or PC’s power supply when connected through a powerless KVM switch.[/higlightbox]

If you have only two computers/laptops, then it makes more sense to get a powerless device and save your desk space from clutter.

Ports

Other than the PC/display connections, a KVM switch has multiple USB ports to connect peripherals such as a mouse, keyboard, Bluetooth headphones, etc. Wireless mouse and keyboards work best with USB 2.0 or above, while if you want to use hotkeys, you’ll need USB 3.1 or higher. Check the specs for what kind of USB ports are available, and that’ll give you an idea of the range of peripherals you can attach to your system.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will my computer detect the KVM switch?

Computers won’t detect KVM switches. You’ll system will boot normally, and your laptop/PC will detect all peripherals as if they were directly attached to it.

How are USB-C ports helpful on KVM switches?

USB-C ports can transfer data and power simultaneously, so you’ll reduce the number of cables needed for the connection, and you can charge your laptop as well. Make sure you use a USB-C cable with enough transmitting capability, there is a variety of USB-C cables available, but most of them do not have enough transfer capability. Ideally, look for a cable with more than 10Gbps (you can find this rating on the wire).

Are the included cables going to be enough?

Probably not! KVM switches are usually difficult to make and don’t sell a lot, which means the vendors save up on the packed extra’s. Plus, universal cables that work with a wide range of laptops are quite expensive, and vendors can’t include them anyways. Check what cables are provided with the package and buy any extras you might end up needing.

How reliable are KVM switches?

Very reliable, but only if you get the right one. Users do complain about issues when switching or inconsistencies in data transfer, such as latency, but these problems are often credited to poor compatibility of the attached devices and the switch. Since KVM switches are not manufactured by the same companies that make laptops, displays, or peripherals, compatibility issues are frequent. You’ll need quite a lot of research to find the ideal KVM switch for your system, but once you have it, the switch won’t bother you for a very long time.

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