Investing in the best USB-C cable may not be the most exciting of purchases you'll make, but it could prove to be one of the most useful.
USB-C (also known as USB Type-C) is the most recent type of USB connection - and it has quickly become incredibly popular, with most laptops, tablets and smartphones now making use of it.
There are several reasons for this. The first is that USB-C is incredibly fast, especially if you have a device and USB-C cable that supports advanced data transfer tech such as Thunderbolt 4 and USB4. This is particularly useful for photographers and videomakers who need to move large amounts of files and data between devices.
Many modern cameras come with USB-C ports, but if you use an older camera you can still use USB-C with a memory card reader. It also makes backing up files from a computer to a external hard drive extremely quick.
USB-C is also incredibly versatile. It doesn't just transport data, it also can carry video, audio and more. USB-C can also transmit power, so you can charge up devices while they are plugged in, whilst simultaneously using it to send data.
Even the shape of the USB-C port and connector is useful. Unlike the common USB-A connection, which can only be plugged in one way, it doesn't matter which way the USB-C connector is plugged in – which makes inserting it into devices even easier.
Not all USB-C cables are created equal, however, and some may lack all the features of USB-C. Others can combine both USB-A and USB-C connectors on either end, allowing you to connect older equipment to newer devices.
To make buying a new USB-C cable as easy as possible, read on for our picks for the best USB-C cables you can buy right now…
The best USB-C cable in 2023
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The best overall USB-C cable for photographers is the Anker PowerLine II USB-C Gen 2 Cable. It supports USB 3.1 Gen 2, which can offer up to 10Gbps in data speeds, which means moving data to and from a camera or external hard drive, is incredibly quick.
It also supports up to 100W power delivery, so as long as you have a compatible charger and hardware, it means you can charge your devices at their fastest charging speeds.
While we found this not to be the most durable of USB-C cables, it is USB-IF certified for reliability and safety, which is important if you're using the full 100W to charge, and it also means you can depend on it to transfer your important files. It also comes with a lifetime warranty, so while it might not have the kind of durable outer casing some USB-C cables come with, this is still a cable you'll be able to rely on for years.
Amazon Basics is a dependable brand when looking for budget cables, and its USB Type-C to USB-A 3.1 Gen 2 Cable proves why. Despite its low price, its dependable, and with USB 3.1 Gen 2 certification, it's able of speedy 10Gbps data transfer speeds, so you're not sacrificing performance to save money.
This cable is an excellent choice for connecting older devices to newer ones, as on one end is the (relatively) new USB-C interface, while on the other is the older USB-A interface. As it's backwards compatible with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0, it means you'll be able to connect pretty much any older device to a USB-C enabled product.
Of course, there are some compromises. It's not the fastest USB-C cable on this list, and it can only support 15W charging speeds, so it can't fast charge your smartphone, for example.
Our pick for the best USB-C cable for pure performance is the Cable Matters USB4 Cable. As the name suggests, it comes with the new USB 4 specification, allowing it to offer up 40Gbps data speeds.
For Mac users, it also supports Thunderbolt 3 and 4 support, as well as backwards compatibility for USB 3.2, 3.1, and 2.0. The wire is also USB-IF Certified. With this cutting-edge USB tech, transferring large amounts of data is incredibly quick, so if you work with a lot of high resolution photos - or 8K video files - then you should seriously consider investing in this cable.
It supports 100W charging speeds, so you can fast charge your smartphone or laptop. The only thing we're not too keen on with this USB-C cable is its relatively short length, which may limit how useful you'll find it (although you can opt for a 1m version, rather than the standard 80cm one).
The big selling point of the Jsaux 90-Degree USB-C to USB-C Cable is the right-angled connection on one end, which allows you to easily connect it to devices that might otherwise prove to be extra fiddly, such as devices in enclosed spaces.
Despite its low price, the cable is braided, which makes it more durable, which is useful if you're looking for a cable that you'll be moving around a lot. With support of up to 60W charging, it's a great choice for quickly topping up your devices with extra battery when they're running low.
The catch is that this USB-C cable is better used as a charging cable than a data transfer cable. That's because it uses USB 2.0 tech, which means speeds are relatively slow. You also can't use this cable to transmit video, so if you want a USB-C cable to connect to a monitor, this isn't the one to get.
If you're looking for a USB-C cable to primarily charge and power your devices, then the Baseus 100W PD USB-C LED Display cable is the one to get. Its 100W power delivery means devices can be charged rapidly, and with a built-in chip that regulates voltage and currents, along with PD and QC 4.0 fast charging, this is a fantastic cable that will charge your devices quickly - and safely.
It also has a built-in LED display, which displays the power output the cable is currently providing, which is a great extra feature. It also comes with a braided casing, which ensures the cable is protected from potential damage.
However, while this is an excellent USB-C cable for charging, when it comes to data transfer, it's not the best, as it's limited to just 480 Mbps - which is a lot slower than some of the other USB-C cables in this guide.
As with the Cable Matters USB4 Cable above, the Spigen ArcWire USB4 Cable uses the latest USB technology to offer excellent performance, with data transfers of up 40Gbps and support for transmitting up to 8K video content.
It can also charge up your devices quickly with 100W power delivery, and it is also USB-IF certified, which means this is a powerful USB-C cable that you can depend on. As with other USB 4 cables, however, this isn't the longest cable out there. If you need pure performance when it comes to transferring data, then this is a great USB-C cable to consider, but if you want a long cable, you're going to need to look elsewhere (and sacrifice some speed, unfortunately).
The UGREEN 240W USB-C Cable has two major things going for it which has secured its position in our best USB-C cables list. The first is that it offers a huge 240W of charging capability. While not many devices can actually make use of all that, it means with the right hardware, you can charge up a MacBook Pro 2023 in under 40 minutes.
This makes it a great investment for charging your devices, and with an E-Marker chip to ensure charging with this cable is both stable and safe, plus braided cable sleeves to protect against damage.
The other big selling point is its long length, which makes it a great choice if you want to charge your device but not have to hover near a wall socket. However, there is a compromise, as this cable is just USB 2.0, which means there's no video output, and data speeds are a lot slower.
The Belkin Thunderbolt 3 cable comes in 1.6-foot, 2.6-foot, and 6.5-foot lengths, which makes it an excellent choice if you're looking for a long USB-C cable. It doesn't skimp on performance either, as it offers speeds up to 40Gbps, and charging of up to 100W.
It supports Thunderbolt 3, so you get plenty of flexibility with this cable, including the ability to transmit 4K and 5K video files, which makes it a versatile USB-C cable that can be used to connect a camera or laptop up to a USB-C monitor, as well as quickly charge your devices and transfer files.
Belkin has a strong reputation for making dependable cables, and this cable feels durable and dependable. This does all come at a cost, however, as it's one of the most expensive USB-C cables on sale, especially if you go for the longest length.