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Published Jun 30, 2022 3:15 PM

Unifying video and audio connections in a single HDMI cable may have simplified home theater setups for the majority of people, but some of us home theater masters and PC power users still find ways to complicate things. For example, if you want to send a single video source to multiple TVs or monitors, you’ll need to use an HDMI splitter, which duplicates or “mirrors” from a single HDMI “in” connection, and provides multiple HDMI “out” ports so you can plug in many displays. Of course, HDMI splitters can cost as little as a few dollars or run into the hundreds. They can offer a wide range of different capabilities depending on your needs. A quick search on your favorite shopping site will also reveal that there are a lot of them to choose from, which can make it tricky and frustrating to find a good one. We’ve collected some of the best HDMI splitters for dual monitors, and more, currently available right so you don’t need to guess which one will work well.

How we selected the best HDMI splitters for dual monitors

Unlike 4K TVs or gaming monitors, there isn’t a library of in-depth professional reviews on HDMI splitters for dual monitors that you can quickly turn to for trusted recommendations. Luckily, I’ve covered A/V gear for publications like Engadget, Popular Mechanics, and Reviewed, so I can step in and make some recommendations based on personal experience and hands-on time using them. In addition to my own testing, I turned to user impressions from comment sections and feedback in enthusiast forums so I could learn more about the quirks of each individual product.

What to consider before buying an HDMI splitter

Before you buy an HDMI splitter for dual monitors, you should have a plan. This is a specific little accessory that does a very specific thing. If you don’t have a device, like a game console, cable box, or PC, that you want to show on multiple monitors simultaneously, you should hold off on buying this until such a need arises.

If you are looking for a device that allows you to plug multiple devices into a single HDMI port, you’re actually looking for an HDMI switcher, rather than a splitter. There’s also a wide range of HDMI adapters that convert signals to different kinds of ports. We totally understand if you got mixed up: Terms like splitter, switch, or adapter are sometimes used interchangeably, but they refer to completely different things. It certainly doesn’t help that HDMI switchers often come up in search results for HDMI splitters, and vice versa.

Considering how complicated it gets just talking about whether or not you need an HDMI splitter, we’re going to walk through some basic information we think everyone should know before buying one.

HDMI adapters and HDMI splitters

Like we said, a lot of people, including manufacturers and retailers, play it fast and loose with A/V terms like “HDMI splitters.” Technically, HDMI splitters turn one HDMI signal into many identical HDMI signals. It’s HDMI end-to-end, and all they can do is mirror the screen.

That said, there is also a category of HDMI adapters that can plug into a laptop via USB Type-A, USB-C, or Mini DisplayPort, and output to two monitors. These adapters will give you a more robust set of display options, including an extended desktop across multiple displays. (They can also mirror your laptop across multiple displays.) Usually, these accessories will be called adapters, because they take one connection type and convert it into another. In some cases, they will also be called HDMI splitters, either because that’s what people expect them to be called, or because they want to make our lives harder.

We realize that there is a very real possibility that you’re actually looking for an HDMI adapter that can serve as a splitter so you can plug your laptop into a dual-monitor setup. Rest assured: We have recommendations for both conventional HDMI splitters and various adapters that output video to two HDMI ports.

Picking the right splitter

HDMI splitters are fairly simple devices but they don’t all have the same capabilities. First and foremost, figure out how many video-out ports you need. Personally, I’d suggest mapping out your exact setup, including the positions of each monitor or TV and the video source, as well as a cable management plan for your HDMI cables.

You’ll also want to pay attention to the maximum resolution and refresh rates that the HDMI splitter supports. Many splitters, particularly affordable ones, will only support 1080p at 60Hz. If you’re using 4K monitors with high refresh rates, make sure their specs are supported. Increasing a splitter’s bandwidth can be just as expensive as buying a larger splitter with extra ports. 

Lastly, you’ll find that some HDMI splitters require an independent power source, while others feature internal power. The latter can be more convenient and may be sufficient in some cases, but we recommend using a splitter with a dedicated power source, as they generally work more reliably.

All of this also applies to HDMI adapters that can output dual-HDMI signals. Most adapters will not be able to handle the same bandwidth as a direct HDMI 2.1 or DisplayPort 1.4 connection. Refresh rates, in particular, will likely take a pretty serious hit going through an adapter. On the plus side, most HDMI adapters we’re aware of will take power from your laptop, so there’s no need to plug them in independently.

The best HDMI splitters for dual monitors: Reviews & Recommendations

Our recommendations for the best HDMI splitters range from basic and inexpensive options to pricier, more capable devices for advanced home theaters or commercial setups. Whether you’re looking to feed video to two displays or eight, you’re sure to find a solution here to meet your needs and make sure the equipment mounted on your sturdy workstation works its best.

Best overall: OREI UHD-PRO102 HDMI Splitter

Buy it used or refurbished: eBay

Why it made the cut: OREI’s UHD-PRO102 does almost everything we want in an HDMI splitter, supporting high resolutions and scaling automatically in a compact, affordable package. 

Specs

  • Number of outputs: 2
  • Max resolution/refresh rate: 4K at 60Hz
  • Power: Micro USB (wall adapter included)

Pros 

  • Support for 4K at 60Hz
  • Built-in scaler will match the TV’s resolution
  • Affordable

Cons

  • May cause issues with Dolby Atmos

It costs a little more than a basic HDMI splitter, but the OREI UHD-PRO102 HDMI Splitter is still fairly inexpensive and offers just about all of the capabilities you’ll need if you’re simply looking for a splitter with two HDMI outs. It supports resolutions up to 4K at 60Hz and automatically scales your video source to match the resolution of each screen. It requires independent power via Micro USB, and OREI does include a wall adapter, which isn’t a given with some of the cheapest splitters. 

One small caveat: Some customer reviews report that video quality takes a hit when you try to pass Dolby Atmos through the splitter. It doesn’t officially support Atmos, though, so that’s to be expected. On the bright side, it does offer full support for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD.

Best 4-out: OREI UHDPRO-104 4K 1×4 HDMI Splitter

Why it made the cut: An upgraded version of our top overall pick, the OREI UHDPRO-104 matches does all the same things right, while adding support for two more displays.

Specs

  • Number of outputs: 4
  • Max resolution/refresh rate: 4K at 60Hz
  • Power: Micro USB (wall adapter included)

Pros

  • Support for 4K at 60Hz
  • Automatic video scaling 
  • Compact design

Cons

  • Doesn’t fully support Atmos

If you need to mirror more than two displays, OREI also makes an equally effective 4-output version of our top overall pick. The OREI UHDPRO-104 offers all of the same key specs as the dual HDMI-out version, including support for 4K at 60Hz along with automatic scaling to match your TV’s resolution and, just like the OREI UHD-PRO102, it’s powered via Micro USB with a wall adapter included in the package. As you’d expect, this one is larger than the two-out model, but it is about as compact as a 4-output splitter can be and you shouldn’t have any trouble tucking it away out of sight. It’s also substantially more expensive but, again, you’ll be able to mirror twice as many displays.

Best 8-out: Tripp Lite 8-Port HDMI Splitter

Tripp Lite

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Why it made the cut: Tripp Lite’s 8-port HDMI Splitter may be pricey, but it will easily handle the most demanding multi-display setups thrown at it.

Specs

  • Number of outputs: 8
  • Max resolution/refresh rate: 4K at 60Hz
  • Power: AC power supply

Pros

  • Support for 4K at 60Hz
  • Solid, all-metal construction
  • Three-year warranty

Cons

  • Expensive

If you need to split your image among eight displays, Tripp Lite makes the splitter for the job. It’s considerably more expensive than the others but it’s also capable of outputting a video source to eight screens in 4K at up to 60Hz. It’s a suitably heavy-duty unit with all-metal construction, and it even comes with mounting hardware if you want to attach it to a wall or a desktop. 

One small issue, considering the expense: Tripp Lite recommends you keep the HDMI cables to no longer than 15 feet to ensure the best performance. Even with that issue, though, it’s a small compromise to make if you want to get your image on eight screens at once.

Best USB-C-to-HDMI splitter: Targus USB-C Dual HDMI 4K Docking Station

Targus

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Why it made the cut: While there are plenty of simple USB-C-to-HDMI adapters out there, Targus’ USB-C delivers the best possible HDMI splitter performance and throws in plenty of ports to match.

Specs

  • Number of outputs: 2
  • Max resolution/refresh rate: 4K at 60Hz
  • Power: USB-C powered

Pros

  • Supports 4K at 60Hz
  • Mac and Windows compatible
  • Functions as a full-fledged docking station

Cons

  • Only one of the USB ports supports fast charging

While it may feel like overkill, Targus’ USB-C Dual 4K HDMI adapter is a stellar, relatively affordable USB hub that can both mirror your laptop display or “extend” it across multiple monitors. There are plenty of dedicated USB-C-to-HDMI adapters out there, but many of them come with caveats: Some either limit 4K playback to 30Hz. Others only support Windows. Meanwhile, Targus’ portable hub turns a single video-enabled USB-C port into two HDMI ports that support 4K at 60Hz, plus two standard USB 3.1 ports, an Ethernet port, and both SD and Micro SD card readers. Only one of the USB ports supports fast-charging, which is annoying because you’ll need to remember which one, but you’re adding a ton of functionality to your laptop, and it only costs a little bit more than a simple USB-C-to-HDMI adapter.

Best Mini DisplayPort-to-HDMI splitter: C2G Mini DisplayPort to HDMI Monitor Splitter

Why it made the cut: While it has a few drawbacks, this adapter from C2G is a better option than standard USB adapters for Mini DisplayPort-enabled devices.

Specs

  • Number of outputs: 2
  • Max resolution/refresh rate: 4K at 30Hz
  • Power: Micro USB (required in some instances)

Pros

  • Portable solution for Mini DisplayPort-enabled devices
  • Mirrors or extends displays with Windows
  • Three-year warranty

Cons

  • Will only mirror, not extend display on Mac
  • May require power from USB port in some instances

Have a laptop with a Mini DisplayPort but no video-capable USB-C port? This adapter from C2G will let you easily mirror or extend your display and should give you better performance than an adapter that simply relies on standard USB. Unfortunately, while it supports mirroring across all laptops, it can only output extended displays on Windows systems. The company also notes that the adapter may require external power by plugging it into a spare USB port on your computer “in some instances.”

Best budget: Avedio Links HDMI Splitter

avedio links

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Why it made the cut: The Avedio Links HDMI Splitter gets high marks from customers and will be more than adequate for most setups, especially if you’re only concerned with 1080p video. 

Specs

  • Number of outputs: 2
  • Max resolution/refresh rate: 4K at 30Hz
  • Power: Micro USB (wall adapter not included)

Pros 

  • Very affordable
  • Compact 
  • USB-powered

Cons 

  • 4K limited to 30Hz
  • USB wall adapter not included

The Avedio Links HDMI Splitter might be inexpensive, but it will easily get the job done for anyone that doesn’t have especially demanding needs. It’s small enough to easily be tucked away, and it’s USB-powered, which means you can use either a wall adapter (which isn’t included) or a spare USB port if you have one. The two HDMI outs will handle video up to 4K, although the splitter only supports 30Hz at that resolution—you’ll need to drop down to 1080p for 60Hz.

FAQs

Q: What HDMI splitter do I need for dual monitors?

Any HDMI splitter will let you use two monitors, but it will only mirror the image on both displays. To “extend” your display, or expand your desktop to span two monitors, you will need to use an adapter or USB-C hub that converts video out from a compatible port, such as a Thunderbolt or DP Alt Mode-enabled USB-C port, or Mini DisplayPort, to a dual-HDMI connection.

Depending on your computer, you may also simply be able to connect two monitors using two separate ports. Most desktops, particularly gaming PCs, support multiple DisplayPort and HDMI connections. Some laptops may feature a single HDMI and a video-capable USB-C port.

Q: Does an HDMI splitter reduce quality?

At this point, most HDMI splitters (or adapters) can output your PC to multiple screens at up to 4K resolution, so you shouldn’t lose any visual fidelity. That said, most splitters and adapters will cap and reduce your PC’s refresh rate to 30 or 60Hz, which may be well below your PC and monitors’ capabilities.

Splitters and adapters may also introduce lag, which would be more noticeable in gaming than in other uses, and you may run into problems with longer lengths of HDMI cables, especially when using a non-powered splitter. 

Q: What is the difference between an HDMI splitter and a switch?

Though the terms are often used interchangeably, HDMI splitters and switches are literal opposites.

An HDMI splitter takes the signal from a single source (like a streaming device, game console, or 4K Blu-ray player) and sends it to TVs or monitors, so you can watch the same image on many screens at once.

An HDMI switcher lets you plug multiple video sources into a single HDMI port on your TV or monitor, then switch between them, which can be handy if you have more game consoles, streaming devices, and computers than HDMI ports. If you’re having this problem, you might also consider buying an AV receiver, which can provide more HDMI ports and can improve audio fidelity if you have a surround sound system.

Final thoughts on the best HDMI splitters for dual monitors

Clearly, HDMI splitters can be a very confusing topic, but sometimes you just need one. Whether you’re actually looking for a proper HDMI splitter or an adapter to create a dual-monitor setup with a compatible laptop, make sure you figure out exactly what you want before you buy anything. It is especially easy to buy the wrong thing and get discouraged or frustrated, so we hope our guide to HDMI splitters for dual monitors has helped clear the confusion.