The best USB-C hubs let you connect as many devices as you need, even if the number of ports on your laptop, PC or Mac is limited. But which one should you buy? In this article, we brings together the very best USB-C hubs, to help you find the right one for your needs.
So what exactly is USB-C? Well, USB connectors all used to look the same a few years ago. However, a new type of connector emerged called USB-C that delivers faster transfer speeds than its older brother, USB-A.
USB-C is now the industry standard, enabling users to transfer data in a speedy fashion and output video at higher resolutions and faster refresh rates. It's worth noting that the fastest USB-C connectors support the Thunderbolt protocol, so look for this if you're in need of a particularly zippy USB-C hub.
You can learn more about USB-C below, or read on to discover the best USB-C hubs available today...
The best USB-C hubs of 2021
The best USB-C hubs of 2021
This USB-C Hub basically ticks all the boxes. It It has a wide range of ports, allowing you to connect up to seven devices at once. It offers pass-through charging via one of the two USB-C slots, allowing you to charge your laptop with up to 60W of juice. You can also use one of the USB-A slots to charge your smartphone.
The Kingston Nucleum’s includes slots for both SD and microSD cards, making it a great choice for working photographers and other creative people. You can also use the HDMI port to output to a 4K or HD monitor or projector.
The aluminum case is sturdy, durable and smart looking. It’s also small and relatively lightweight (at 1.3kg), making it very portable. All this, for a very fair and affordable price, makes the Kingston Nucleum our clear choice as the best USB-C hub available today.
Watching the pennies? Then you can get a USB-C hub that’s almost as good as the Kingston Nucleum for an even cheaper price, in the form of the Anker PowerExpand+ 7-in-1.
To save this money, you’ll need to make a few small compromises. Firstly, there’s just one USB-C port in this hub, and passthrough taps out at a maximum of 48W, so it’ll take longer to charge your laptop. Also, you can only stream 4K to your TV or monitor at a 30Hz refresh rate, so you’ll need to switch to HD to get the full 60Hz experience.
However, the plus side, this device is lovely and light, at 99g. There’s again a wide range of ports, including SD and microSD slots. And unlike in the Kingston Nucleum, you get an Ethernet connection too. Along with an 18-month warranty, this makes this USB-C hub an absolute bargain in our eyes.
The standout feature of the Corsair TBT100 Thunderbolt 3 Dock is its two HDMI 2.0 ports, enabling you to stream to two 4K displays at once, at 60Hz, if you so wish. It’s also one of only two USB-C hubs on this list to include a headphone/microphone jack.
And that’s not all. The Corsair TBT100 supports Thunderbolt 3, for faster transfer speeds. It provides up to 85W of passthrough charging. And with nine ports in total, you’re sure to find all the connectivity you need here, well unless you need a microSD slot. Besides that, the only real disadvantage of buying the Corsair TBT100 is its price, which is eye-watering high.
Got a MacBook, and need to connect lots of devices to it? This 7-in-1 one USB-C hub is a fantastic buy. Not only is it very affordable, but it hosts a wide range of ports, including three USB 3.0 ports with fast 5Gbps transfer speeds, an HDMI 1.4 port that supports 4K resolution at 30Hz, and two SD card readers.
It’s fabulously light and compact too. It’s a little niggling that you can’t remove the USB cable, but on the plus side that means you can’t lose it either. On the whole then, this offers everything most MacBook users will need, at an unbeatable price.
Not sure whether you want a docking station for the office, or a USB-Hub for when you’re travelling? The Kensington SD1600P USB-C Mobile Dock is a hybrid device that basically gives you the best of both worlds. While it’s ostensibly a docking station, it can also be powered by your laptop’s battery while you’re on the move, making it viable as a USB-C hub. You might think that would make it expensive, but it’s actually very reasonably priced.
It should allow you to connect all the devices you need to your USB-C powered laptop. There are output options for HDMI (4K at 30Hz) or VGA Full HD (1920x1080p) to an external monitor, TV or projector. You also get two USB 3.0 ports, supporting up to 5Gbps, and an extra USB-C port for data synchronization, supporting up to 5Gbps. And a built-in charging hub allows you to charge mobile devices (up to 2.4A) when you’re not using it as a dock.
For photographers and creatives, the customizable Kingston Workflow Station is the most well thought-out and versatile of all USB-C hubs when it comes to data transfer. Build it with exactly the connections you want, transfer to and from them all simultaneously if you want to, and relax safe in the knowledge that you're getting the speed and reliability of one of the biggest names in data.
It's a minor quibble that the dock can't be used without power, and there are currently only three connections offered (USB-A, USB-C, SD and microSD) – we would love to see a CFexpress Module, for instance, but we're sure that's on the drawing board. And currently this is strictly a solution for data transfer – so there are no HDMI or ethernet options. Regardless, this is a brilliant hub that will genuinely improve the way you handle transfers to and from memory cards and cameras.
This Dell DA300 6-in-1 USB-C Hub is both small and beautifully formed, with an attractive circular design and a retractable cable. In fact, we'd argue it's the best looking USB-C hub on the market, full stop.
It's also wonderfully portable, weighing just under 82g, and includes six ports in total which should cover most bases: namely, an HDMI port, a DisplayPort, a VGA port, an RJ45 Ethernet port, an USB Type-C port and an USB 3.1 port. Note that it doesn't offer passthrough charging, though, and there are no slots for SD and microSD cards.
It’s handy when you can use your USB-C hub to charge your laptop, especially if it’s one with only one USB-C slot in total. And you need this feature but don't want to spend much money, we’d suggest you check out the HooToo USB C Hub, which offers an impressive 100W of passthrough charging.
It’s also wonderfully small and light, includes SD and microSD card slot and an impressive three USB-A ports, and is surprisingly cheap. Its only real downsides are the lack of Ethernet connectivity and the fact that you can only stream 4K at 30Hz. Also it has a very bright LED light that you can't turn off and can be a little annoying.
For some people, mixing and matching an Apple laptop with non-Apple accessories can be a frustrating experience, both in terms of functionality and aesthetics. So if you’re a true Apple fan, there’s no doubt about it: you’re going to want the brand’s official USB-C hub.
Admittedly, there are only three ports here: a Thunderbolt USB-C port, a USB-A (USB 3.0) port, and a 4K HDMI port. But if that’s all you need, then you’ll be able to avoid sullying your set up with non-Apple equipment, and you certainly won’t have any worries about compatibility.
Want to connect a LOT of USB-A devices to your USB-C Hub? Then check out the Dell WD15, which offers five ports for this purpose, with three featuring USB 3.0 and two featuring USB 2.0. With 11 ports in total, you also get a range of options for display and video, in the form of HDMI, VGA and Mini DisplayPort.
On the negative side, it’s a bit disappointing there are no extra USB-C ports, 4K output is only at 30Hz, and there are no SD or microSD slots. Plus, overall this is quite expensive for a USB-C hub.
If outputting high-resolution video to a range of monitors is your main area of interest, you’ll want to take a look at the Dell D6000. Impressively, this USB-C hub supports up to three HD or 4K monitors, or one 5K monitor, all running at a smooth 60Hz.
Also note that this is not just a USB-C hub but can also be connected to your laptop via USB-A. The main negatives are the lack of support for VGA, SD or microSD cards, and the high price.
If you want to output to two 4K displays, but don’t want something big and bulky, then the Elgato Thunderbolt 3 Mini Dock could be the choice for you. At just over 100g, and with a handy tuck-away wire, it’s small enough to fit in your pocket. Which makes it very impressive that it can drive dual 4K displays at 60Hz simultaneously.
Beyond that, though, there’s not much to shout about. it supports only four ports: one USB 3.1 port, an HDMI port, a DisplayPort and an RJ45 Ethernet port. It doesn’t offer passthrough charging. And it’s pretty expensive. So if 4K output and portability aren’t your main priorities, you’ll probably wish to head elsewhere.
USB-C hubs explained
What is a USB-C hub?
As technology progresses, the trend for ultra-thin and lightweight devices has followed at breakneck speed. While this is fantastic on a purely-aesthetic level, this has meant that the number of ports available on modern computers have dwindled over the years. For example, the Dell XPS 13 is an excellent laptop, but it has only two USB-C ports, a microSD slot, a headphone jack... and that's it.
This means that if you want to upload images from your SD card, connect your laptop to an ethernet cable or stream a movie to your TV with a HDMI cable, you're extremely limited. Plus, if you have a wealth of perfectly good hard drives with a Type A USB connector, you'll probably feel a little put out if you can no longer connect them to your computer. This is where a USB-C hub is worth its weight in gold.
A USB-C hub is essentially a small adapter that you can plug into your laptop's USB-C port, enabling you to connect a range of different devices to your computer through it.
• See also Best laptop docking stations
Why do some USB-C hubs cost more?
The best USB-C hubs can actually vary wildly in price – but what's the reason for this? Well, aside from a superior build quality, more expensive hubs will typically feature a wider variety of ports and more ports in total. If you have a lot of different devices that you regularly use, then it'll likely be worth investing in a more expensive model.
You'll also find that high end USB-C hubs will also feature passthrough charging. This means that you can use the USB-C hub to charge your laptop at the same time as connecting your other devices. This is particularly useful if your laptop only has one USB-C slot, as otherwise you'd need to choose between charging your battery or using your USB hub (and if you're ever on a deadline, this will be a particularly frustrating choice to have to make!).
However, if you really only need a small selection of ports and you have at least two USB-C ports, then you might want to consider saving your cash and investing in a more affordable model instead. To help you decide, we've listed the exact ports that each model features above.
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