Your Guide to Buying a USB Switch

Sometimes you want to share a USB device with another computer, but you don't want the extra costs and hassles of establishing a network. With a USB switch, found in this large eBay collection, you can share one or more devices on two or more computers without creating a network or unplugging the whole system each time you want to change devices. This switch simplifies the work task for many people.

What is the difference between a USB switch and hub?

A USB switch works opposite of a hub. Where a hub allows more than one device to interface with the same computer, a switch allows more than one computer to interface with the same device. Just plug two or more computers into the USB switch. When you want to use external equipment like a printer or hard drive on one computer or the other, flip the switch to the proper machine.

What are some brands of USB switches available?

Several companies make USB switch cords that are available in new and used condition on eBay that can accommodate a different number of computers and devices. Here are a few styles and brands to consider:

  • DTECH 2 Port - This model is designed to share one USB printer with two different computers.
  • UGREEN USB Switch Selector - This model is designed to connect two different computers with up to four different USB devices like printers or scanners.
  • StarTech 4X4 - This 3.0 switch works with Mac, Windows, or Linux. It allows four different computers to connect with four different devices. This model enables you to share USB printers, portable hard drives, mice, and keyboards.
Can you use all computers at the same time?

No. With a switch, your external device can only access one computer at a time. However, a switch can save you time and money by allowing you to share the peripherals without purchasing multiple items or creating a costly network. You can switch from one computer to another with the press of a button. Whether you are sharing one device or more, this is an option many people employ.

Are there any other USB switches on the market?

Technically there is only one application of a USB switch device, namely to share external devices on multiple computers. However, there are USB hubs that have switches that turn on and off the port to the connection. Many people call these devices USB switches also. They are USB hubs with switches. These hubs are helpful if you need to turn off power to a device without powering it down or unplugging it. However, this is not the same as a USB switch proper.