The Best USB and USB C Hubs of 2023 (Plus What to Look Out For)
If you’ve been in the market for a new laptop lately, you’ve probably noticed that more and more models are being designed with fewer and fewer ports. Some recent MacBook models, for instance, have just a pair of USB C ports and nothing else.
Computer makers may be done with external devices, but that doesn’t mean the rest of us are. USB hubs give back the flexibility that manufacturers have taken away, letting you connect to all of those things that don’t have USB C ports: HDMI TVs and monitors, Ethernet cables, SD cards, or just a simple memory stick. Some let you charge your laptop or other devices from them as well.
We’ve pulled together our favorite USB and USB C hubs for various needs including travel and those on a budget, plus the best choices overall. Be sure to determine whether you’ll be plugging yours into a USB-A (old-school) or USB C (the newer type) port on your computer before you start shopping around.
What to Consider When Choosing a USB Hub
Compared to most tech gadgets, USB hubs don’t cost much. Even top of the line versions cost under $100, and reliable budget models can be found for under twenty bucks. However much you spend, look for a USB hub that meets your specific requirements and includes the ports you need.
If your laptop only has a USB C port, make sure to only look for hubs that connect via a USB C cable. If you only need a few extra USB-A sockets, don’t go wild with a 12-in-1 hub that has a bunch of features you’ll never use.
Powered USB Hubs and Charging Devices
Powered USB hubs plug into an external electrical source as well as your laptop. This is usually a wall outlet, but can sometimes also be a portable charger. Since they have their own power, you don’t have to worry about draining your laptop’s battery while using them.
Some powered USB hubs support Power Delivery (PD), which lets them provide power to your laptop as well as whatever else is plugged into them. If you’re planning to charge your laptop like this, make sure the hub has enough power to do it. While some laptops need as little as 30W, others need double that or more to charge at full speed.
Even with a powered hub, don’t expect to charge all of your devices at once. Just because the hub has the right ports, it doesn’t mean they’re designed for charging. Most give one additional port for charging at most.
USB-A or USB C data ports are only designed to connect accessories, not charge them, but some brands gloss over the difference or only mention it in the fine print. Read the product specifications carefully, and assume if it doesn’t mention charging, it’s not designed for it.
USB Hubs vs. USB C Hubs
Simply put, USB hubs connect to USB-A ports and USB C hubs connect to USB C ports. Those big, flat USB-A ports were the standard for many years, and odds are you still have an old USB memory stick lying around with photos, documents, or movie files on it.
Older laptops likely have a few USB-A sockets for charging and using older accessories. Newer laptops may have a mix of USB-A and USB C ports, while the latest models often don’t have any USB-A ports at all.
Left: USB-A. Right: USB C
Since it’s far more powerful and versatile, USB C is the new standard for most industries. It can support better video quality, transfer data at higher speeds, and charge devices faster, all with a slimmer design and a plug that can be inserted in either direction. If your laptop has a USB C slot, that’s the way to go. Otherwise, look for a regular USB hub.
Bottom line? Make sure the hub can connect to your computer, and that it has the right type and number of ports you need.
Best Powered USB Hub: Atolla 5-Port USB 3.0 Hub
USB hubs are becoming less common as more and more laptops and other devices switch to USB C cables. If you’re still in the market for one that plugs into a USB-A port, though, check out Atolla’s 5-Port USB 3. 0 hub.
Compatible with most Windows, macOS, and Linux systems, the hub ships with an optional wall adapter for when you’re using power-hungry devices. It includes four data-only USB 3.0 ports on the top of the hub, along with a fast-charging port that can put out up to 2.4 amps (12W).
In a useful touch, each of the ports on top has a separate on/off switch and lights up to let you know it’s in use. This simple, inexpensive hub is ideal for transferring files, charging a single device, and connecting external accessories like a mouse, keyboard, or card reader.
- Fast-charging port
- USB 3.0 data ports for faster file transfer
- Individual on/off switch for each port
- Only has USB-A ports, nothing else
Buy on Amazon
Best Powered USB C Hub: Anker PowerExpand 8-in-1
The Anker PowerExpand 8-in-1 USB C hub has all of the extra ports you’re likely to need, while also supporting Power Delivery (PD) for charging your laptop. Plug it into a wall socket, and you’ll get pass-through charging of up to 85W.
Onboard, you’ll find a 10Gbps USB C PD port, USB C data, two USB 3.0 data, 4K HDMI, 1Gbps Ethernet, and both SD and microSD card readers. That’s a lot, and should easily cover most requirements. Thanks to that pass-through charging, you don’t even lose a USB C port when you’re using it.
Unusually for hubs like these, you get 60Hz refresh rate at 4K resolution from the HDMI port. Most top out at 30Hz, which makes for a less-smooth viewing experience.
The only real downside is that you can’t charge from the USB 3.0 ports or the USB C data port, so this isn’t the answer for powering a bunch of devices at the same time. For almost anything else, however, it’s the way to go.
If you don’t need the Ethernet port, 4K/60fps HDMI, or the faster 10Gbps USB C data transfer, there’s a 7-in-1 version of this hub that’s often around half the price. It’s a noticeable trade-off, but for some users, one that may be worth making.
- 85W PD pass-through charging
- 10Gbps USB C data transfer
- 1Gbps Ethernet
- 4K HDMI port (60Hz)
- 18-month warranty
- Larger design than some other hubs
- Only one charging port
- Higher price
Buy on Amazon
Best Powered USB C Hub (Alternate): StarTech USB Type-C Mini Dock
As I mentioned up top, it’s rare to find hubs that offer much in the way of extra charging options. That’s especially true when it comes to the USB-A ports: despite there often being two, three, or more of them available, they’re almost always data-only.
That’s why this StarTech model is a breath of fresh air: as well as 88W USB C passthrough, you’ll also get up to 12W from one of the two USB-A ports. It’s dependent on how much the connected device actually requires, but I measured a consistent 6-8W when charging an older smartphone.
If you’re not using the USB C socket in passthrough mode (in other words, there isn’t a cable plugged between it and a wall socket), you can also use it to charge your smaller devices. Don’t expect huge output, but I was able to at least charge a phone at normal speed.
It’s a relatively expensive hub, but you get a lot for your money beyond just extra charging ports. There’s a 4K HDMI socket that properly handles 60Hz refresh rates, SD and microSD card readers that are as quick as any I’ve tested, and a 1Gb Ethernet port, as well as those two USB-A ports and a single USB C Power Delivery port.
It’s relatively thin and lightweight, taking up minimal space on your desk or in your bag, with a roughly 12-inch cable that provides a bit more flexibility about where you place it. That’s especially true if, like me, you use a laptop stand most of the time: it won’t hang awkwardly in the air when connected.
If you want two USB C (data-only) ports on your hub, you’ll be better off with the Anker 8-in-1 mentioned above. If extra charging options are more important than that second USB C port, however, the StarTech is the way to go.
- Can charge from one of the USB-A ports, plus the USB C port in a pinch
- 1Gb Ethernet
- Properly handles 4k 60Hz HDMI video
- Thin and lightweight
- Only one USB C port
Buy on Amazon
Best USB C Hub For Travel: Anker 5-in-1 USB C Hub
If you like to travel light, you’ll appreciate Anker’s slimline 5-in-1 USB C hub. It weighs less than two ounces, but still manages to pack in three USB 3.0 data ports, an HDMI port, and an Ethernet port. It also comes with a convenient pouch to protect your hub on the move.
The USB 3.0 ports are all data-only, and aren’t intended for charging. They’re designed for connecting external devices such as a hard drive, mouse, or keyboard, and will quickly transfer files to or from your laptop.
If your laptop supports USB C PD, however, or you know you’ll need the extra USB C ports or card readers, it’s worth considering the Anker 7-in-1 USB C Hub mentioned above. It’s a bit bigger and heavier, but the extra ports and pass-through charging will justify the size for many travelers.
- Slim, lightweight design
- USB 3.0 ports for quick file transfer
- 4K HDMI port (30Hz)
- Ethernet port for old-school hotels
- 18-month warranty
- USB-A (3.0) ports do not support charging
- No USB C ports
Buy on Amazon
Best USB Hub On A Budget: Sabrent 4-Port USB 3.
The Sabrent 4-Port USB 3.0 hub is a simple and effective budget USB hub that lets you turn one USB port into four. All ports supports transfer speeds of up to 5Gbps, but since they’re not powered, don’t expect to charge your devices from them.
Compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux operating systems, the hub is lightweight and includes individual on/off switches for each USB port.
It also comes with a two-foot cable, which may be good or bad depending on your needs. The cable will get you closer to other devices like an external monitor or television screen, but it can get in the way if you don’t require the extra length.
You won’t be adding any extra power or functionality with this hub, but it’s a cheap and easy way of adding a bunch of USB ports to your laptop or desktop computer.
- Low price
- Compact design
- USB 3.0 ports for faster file transfer
- Only has USB-A ports
- Not designed for charging devices
Buy on Amazon
Best USB C Hub On A Budget: QGeeM 4-in-1 USB C Hub
The QGeeM 4-in-1 USB C hub is an easy, low-cost way of making better use of your laptop’s USB C ports. The hub includes a USB C PD port, an HDMI port, and two USB-A sockets, ideal for adding an external mouse or keyboard, connecting to a monitor, or transferring files via a memory stick or portable drive.
It’s a useful little tool, does what it needs to for the price, and covers the basic needs of many laptop owners. You can charge devices from the USB C port, or plug anything up to a 100W charger into it to power your laptop. That’ll also provide extra power to the USB-A ports, handy when you’ve got hard drives or other high-draw gadgets plugged in.
The HDMI port, as usual with cheaper hubs, supports [email protected] or [email protected] Note that the USB C PD port is only for charging, and can’t transfer data. Don’t plan to plug in a hard drive or run a monitor from it.
The manufacturer advises against charging from the USB-A ports, but they will put out up to 1.5amps (7.5W), so you may still be able to slowly juice up your phone or other small USB device.
Lightweight, small enough to fit in your pocket, and with an 18-month warranty, this is a simple, inexpensive way of adding a few extra ports to your laptop.
- Low price
- Compact design
- USB C PD passthrough charging
- 18-month replacement warranty
- Not intended for charging devices
- USB C socket is only for charging, not data transfer
Buy on Amazon
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Best USB Hub For MacBooks: Anker PowerExpand Direct 8-in-2
Apple has been ruthless about removing ports from most of its laptops, forcing users to resort to expansion hubs to add them back. USB C ports may be the way of the future, but chances are you’re still lugging around some tech from the past, and if you’re not, those around you are. When you get tossed a USB key to grab a file, you need to know you can connect it.
The Anker PowerExpand Direct 8-in-2 USB C Hub for MacBook includes a Thunderbolt 3 USB C port with 100W PD charging, a USB C data transfer port, two USB 3.0 ports, SD and microSD card readers, Lightning audio, and an HDMI port.
The slim device matches the look of Apple laptops, attaching directly to both USB C slots on the side of your laptop. This means you won’t have any cords hanging loose off of your computer, but you also won’t get any closer to other devices if you’re trying to share ports with friends or reach a wall-mounted TV.
The downside to this hub is that you need to plug it into two Thunderbolt ports, but only get one in return. That might be if you have a MacBook with four USB C ports, but if yours only has two, you might want the bulkier 7-in-1 version of the hub instead.
We did an in-depth review of the previous version of Anker PowerExpand Direct USB C Hub when it came out, and were impressed by it.
- 100W Power Delivery
- USB 3.0 ports for faster file transfer
- Matches the aesthetic of Apple laptops
- 18-month warranty
- Reduces two Thunderbolt 3 ports to one
- Not meant for charging multiple devices at once
Buy on Amazon
No one wants to carry around extra tech gadgets they’ll never use. When choosing which USB hub is right for you, consider which ports you need and how often you’ll actually use them. If you don’t need all of the bells and whistles, save yourself some money and space by going for the smaller, simpler models.
If you think you’ll use extras like card readers and HDMI ports or want to charge your laptop and other devices from your hub, on the other hand, it’s worth the additional size and cost to grab a model that includes those features.
🎤Looking for some great accessories to plug into all those extra ports? These are our favorite USB microphones, headsets, and flash drives right now.
Main image via Yogas Design, USB-A to USB C cable via Fructibus / CC0, product images via Amazon
About the Author
The Best USB Charging Stations and Hubs for 2022
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Most households have more cords than they can keep track of. Instead of daisy-chaining surge protectors and playing find-an-outlet, you could just buy a single USB charging station. With options including a multiple-device public charging station and a portable charger that’s mostly a bunch of USB ports on a long charging cord, simplifying your charging situation is easy with these USB hubs for charging and syncing.
We’ve reviewed the best USB charging stations for 2021, whether you need a few extra ports or many. You’ll be able to find a charging station that reduces your outlet headaches and meets your device power needs at home or in the office.
This article concerns mostly those options with USB ports, so you’ll need to check out the best wireless chargers if you’re looking for options to charge your phone wirelessly. If you’re after speed and nothing else, then check out the best fast chargers or the best portable battery chargers if you need to keep your smartphone juiced on the go.
The best USB charging stations
Wyness Tower Power Station
- Ports: Six USB-A
- Output: 30W
Vertically arranged hubs are a godsend when physical space is at a premium, and Wyness’s Tower Power Station provides six USB ports, two of which provide fast charging. As a smaller tower, it’s perfect for sitting on a desk or nestling into a community space like a living room. The design isn’t anything particularly unique, and it doesn’t provide the fastest charging speed available, but the black model will easily blend into a variety of environments, and there’s a blue and white, purple and white, and pure white version if you’re looking for a slightly different style.
SuperDanny Power Strip
- Ports: Four USB-A, two AC outlets
- Cable length: 5 feet/10 feet
Perfect for tucking into a smaller space, SuperDanny’s Power Strip gives you a small boost in charging ability for a wide range of devices. The four USB ports can keep smartphones and tablets topped up, while the two AC outlets on top can charge up laptops, power lamps, or anything that requires an AC outlet. The outlets are widely spaced, so you can fit in two bulky plugs at once, and the USB hub itself has a range of safety features like surge protection, to make sure you’re well protected against faults. A great choice for a crafting space, shared area, or bedside area.
Bull USB Charging Station
- Ports: Four UAB-A
- Cable length: 6 feet
Simple and small, Bull’s USB hub can charge up to four devices, while taking up about as much space as a credit card. That’s an impressive achievement, and it means it’s a great choice for a bedside table, or anywhere space is limited. Granted, it won’t be the fastest charger around, and the white body is likely to get grubby over time (as white plastic often does). But at this price, this is a pretty good bargain.
Hercules Tuff Charging Station
- Ports: Six USB-A
The intelligent design of the Hercules Tuff charging station is one of its strongest assets: The plastic dividers divide the charging dock and can easily accommodate phones of a variety of sizes (including their cases), and will glow blue when being charged so you know when one is already active. It’s a good fit for a family charging hub or similar situation where everyone can benefit from quick use. This model has six ports and comes with four Lightning cables for Apple devices, a Micro USB charging cable, and a USB-C charging cable, but we recommend stocking up on a small pack of smaller cables to suit your device if you’re not using a number of iPhones or iPads.
Microsoft Surface Dock 2
- Ports: Two USB-A, four USB-C, one Gigabit Ethernet, one headphone jack
- Output: 199W
While Microsoft’s dock is technically designed with Surface laptops in mind, it’s an excellent fit for any office, classroom, or similar space where professional connections are important. There are two front-facing USB-C ports for easy connections and charging, with two rear-facing USB-C ports to make UHD video connections to external monitors easier to handle. There are also two USB-A ports on the back, and a Gigabit Ether port to support streaming. The Surface Dock 2 station also supports security locks like Kensington brand to keep them safe if they need to stay in specific rooms.
Anker PowerPort 4
- Ports: Four USB-A
- Output: 40W
- Cord: None (plugs directly into outlet)
This charging station supplies ample power to sustain an entire home’s worth of active devices. You get four USB ports, and Anker’s PowerIQ and VoltageBoost technologies ensure your device is charged as quickly as possible without exceeding the supported rate. The maximum output for a single USB port is 2.4A, with a total maximum rating of 8A and a combined output of 40W. It plugs directly into the wall with fold-out prongs that slot neatly away for travel. The Anker Power Port is an efficient, durable, and portable option. Anker prioritized usability with this charger, alerting users that it’s ready to charge with a blue light that turns on when you connect it to an outlet. Fast charging power is quite strong with this port, offering 2.4A at every plug-in. Unfortunately, there isn’t a Qualcomm Quick Charge port, so you won’t get QC-fast charging.
Powkey Power Bank with AC outlets
- Ports: Four USB-A, two AC
- Output: 200W
- Powerbank capacity: 42,000mAh
Powkey’s power bank isn’t pretty, but it’s very powerful, offering not only four USB ports but two AC outlets for charging larger devices. An informative LED light system shows how much power you have left in the charger, making it a great option for fishing and camping trips. It’ll charge a range of devices, including Android phones, iPhones, iPads, and pretty much anything, and so is perfect for when you want to make sure you’re not stuck without juice. Also, note the two available charging input options: A traditional outlet connection and an alternative for solar power. Enormous power output requires serious preparation, so it will take a good three to four hours to fully charge this bank.
Frequently asked questions
What are the benefits of a USB charging station?
But why should you even buy a USB charging station? After all, you probably have a bunch of USB adapters just lying around. Well, it’s for the same reason you might have a power strip — for ease of use and expanding your options. If you have three devices that need charging, a single AC outlet and USB adapter aren’t going to cut it. Instead, plug a USB charging station into that outlet and charge all of your devices at once.
Which type of USB charging station best suits your needs?
Your choice of USB charging stations is going to depend heavily on the devices you have to charge. Have a lot of smartphones and tablets that often need charging in a single area? Then get a charging station with as many USB ports as possible. Have a laptop too? Keep an eye out for a charging station with at least one AC outlet as well. There’s a massive range of charging stations available, and a number even function as power banks as well, so you can take them outdoors with you too.
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Usb-hub, or what should a USB splitter be like: choosing a USB hub for home
Now we have so many gadgets on our hands that it seems that we will soon need another hand: a smartphone, a tablet, a tracker, and a smart watch, and all this most often has an internal battery that needs to be charged. Yes, charging cables are included in the kits, but USB sockets are not so common. Have to twist.
Attention! Agreeing with this idea, you accept the need to buy a USB-Hub, or, as they are also called “USB-splitter”.
A joke, of course: no one forces you to do anything. And yet.
USB hub – what is it?
In consumer terms, we mean a compact multi-port USB hub that makes it easy for you to charge multiple devices at the same time.
Types of USB hubs
Miscellaneous. You can find small “boxes” connected again to USB for several ports, but the question is where to connect it in this case. There must be more, goes out, and a corresponding socket.
There are integrated surge protectors, you may be familiar with Xiaomi extension cords. Also, the USB hub can be connected to the network directly through a standard socket. There are also numerous functional design solutions.
In order – which USB hub is better
A USB hub that connects to the USB output of another source doesn’t seem very practical. Therefore, we recommend using something more versatile for home use. Not the worst solutions include Allocacoc.
What’s the point?
The design solutions of this company are widely known: first of all, the so-called PowerCubes are popular – these are network splitters with integrated two USB ports. Such a USB hub is convenient to use at home, since, occupying one outlet, it allows you to connect standard plugs and charge gadgets.
The company also has a separate four-port USB hub. They are conveniently located on the sides, which eliminates the risk of tangling wires, etc.
A notable feature is that this device also performs the functions of a mobile power bank!
USB hubs as docking stations
Less versatile, stationary device – docking station. The device also connects to a regular outlet and allows you to charge multiple gadgets at the same time. Such a USB splitter is perfect for use at the desktop, it will be a great gift for a “gadget lover” who always needs to “power” his devices.
Examples – Avantree. Four ports, one of which has an increased current supply, which allows you to quickly charge one device.
USB-hub is an extremely practical thing in the modern world, where one family has several gadgets. It is most convenient if the USB hub itself does not require a USB socket to connect: these include socket hubs, extension hubs, and some docking stations.
A splitter would not be a splitter if it included only one port: so at least 2! Otherwise, it’s just a normal adapter. Allocacoc “cubes” have two ports, Xiaomi has three ports, Avantree has four sockets and four outputs have a USB splitter from the same Allocacoc with the PowerBank function.
Do not discharge!
Tags usb-hub, usb-hub
adapter (hub) OTG Micro USB HUB, 4 ports, 3 x USB, 1 x power supply (charging)
Adapter cable, or so-called. “hub”, OTG Micro USB HUB for 4 ports (3 USB ports + one Mini USB for a charger) is used to connect various USB equipment to a tablet or smartphone. Equipped with a connector into which the power adapter is connected to charge the gadget. Through this hub, you can connect a mouse, USB flash drive or an adapter to another interface, such as USB-C.
Why is there a switch on the adapter body?
Some devices support simultaneous charging and working with USB. But, unfortunately, many gadgets of the previous generation do not know how to do this. That’s what this switch is for. It has two positions – “Charge” and “OTG”. In the “Charge” position, charging is carried out, and if the device can simultaneously charge and work, for example, with a connected keyboard, then with this switch position it will do it. In the “OTG” position, all USBs work, but charging is disabled.
Is it possible to charge the battery and use USB at the same time?
Yes, but unfortunately not all devices support it. The list is constantly expanding, so you better check with the manufacturer of your mobile device. At the moment, our store “Asiada” has the following list. Supported: Samsung Galaxy Note, Samsung Galaxy S2, S3 or S4, ThinkPad 8, Galaxy Tab 3 8.0, Sony Xperia NX-02D, Sony Xperia Acro HDIS12S, Toshiba REGZA Phone T01D, Sony S series tablets.
What should I do if my device does not support simultaneous USB and charging?
For these cases, a switch is provided on the OTG HUB case. You can choose either charging mode or OTG USB mode.
Upgrading the firmware or installing software can “combine” the two modes?
Unfortunately no. This is set by the manufacturer at the production stage and cannot be changed so easily. Either you can charge and copy from a flash drive at the same time, or you can’t.
Which charger should I connect to this USB OTG hub?
It is assumed that you will use the charger that you use every day.
What can be connected through this hub?
Any USB hardware that supports your phone or tablet.