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The best USB-C hubs in 2021: add more sockets to your laptop with an adapter

best USB-C hubs
(Image credit: Vava)

The best USB-C hubs for laptops and desktop computers come in many shapes and sizes. And as the worlds of computing, photography and data are transitioning away from older USB Types at different speeds, getting the right combination of connections can be complicated… and, if you're not careful, costly.

This guide is here to help you get the best USB-C hub to suit your needs – but what exactly is USB-C? There was once a time when all USB connectors looked the same, but in recent years a different type of connector has emerged called USB-C – and it is rapidly becoming the industry standard. 

USB-C, or USB Type C, is smaller and more oval than the older type of USB connector, which is nowadays referred to as USB Type A. It enables you to transfer data at faster speeds, as well as outputting video at higher resolution and faster refresh rates. (Note, though, that not all USB-C connections are equal, and the very fastest support the Thunderbolt protocol, which is the gold standard for speed).

What is a USB-C hub?

The rise of USB-C has dovetailed with a trend for ultrathin and lightweight devices, which typically feature a very limited number of ports because there just isn't room for them. 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.

So how can you use an SD card with such a laptop? What if you want to connect it to the internet via an Ethernet cable, or stream video to your TV via an HDMI or VGA cable? And what do you do with all your aging USB-A devices, such as your hard drive or flash drives? That's where a good USB-C hub comes in. 

A USB-C hub basically a small adapter that you plug into your laptop's USB-C port, and which features a range of slots so you can connect other devices to it.

The only problem is that there are a vast array of USB-C hubs on the market, and many of them don't work particularly well. So we've narrowed things down for you, bringing together the best USB-C hubs we've found.

• See also Best laptop docking stations

Why do some USB-C hubs cost more?

You'll notice that USB-C hubs range hugely in price. So apart from superior build quality, what else do you get with the more expensive models? 

Well for starters, you can expect a wider variety of ports, and more ports in total. That said, it's worth thinking about whether you want all of these, or whether you're better off saving the money and just having the few ports you need. We've listed the exact ports each model features, to help you work this out.

Pricier USB-C hubs also typically feature passthrough charging. This means you can use your USB-C hub to charge your laptop, at the same time as connecting other devices. This is especially useful if your laptop only has one USB-C slot, because otherwise you'd have to run it on battery while using your USB hub.

The best USB-C hubs of 2021

Editor's Choice

(Image credit: Kingston)

1. Kingston Nucleum USB-C Hub

The best USB-C hub overall

Total ports: 7 | Ports: One USB-C data port, one USB-C charging port, two USB-A (USB 3.0) ports, one 4K HDMI port, one SD card slot, one microSD card slot | Passthrough charging: Yes (60W) | Size: 12.7 x 4.5 x 1.42cm (5 x 1.77 x 0.56 inches) | Weight: 1.3kg (4.8oz)

Wide range of ports
Small and portable
Affordable price
No Ethernet port

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.

Recommended

(Image credit: Anker)

2. Anker PowerExpand+ 7-in-1 USB C Adapter

The best USB-C adapter for those on a budget

Total ports: 7 | Ports: Two USB-A (USB 3.0) ports, one 4K HDMI port, one USB-C port, one Ethernet port, one micro SD card slot, one SD card slot | Passthrough charging: Yes (up to 48W) | Size: 11.7 x 5.3 x 1.6cm (4.61 x 2.1 x 0.65 inches) | Weight: 99g

Cheap
Ethernet connection
4K only streams at 30Hz
Charges at 48W

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.

(Image credit: Corsair)

3. Corsair TBT100 Thunderbolt 3 Dock

The best USB-C hub if money’s no object

Total number of ports: 9 | Ports: Two USB 3.2 Type-C port, one USB 3.1 Type-A input, two HDMI 2.0 ports, one Thunderbolt 3 port, one Gigabit Ethernet port, one headphones jack, one SD card reader | Passthrough charging: Yes (85W) | Size: 28.7 x 15.24 x 11.18cm (11.3 x 6 x 4.4 inches) | Weight: 1.13kg (2.5 lbs)

Stream 4K to two monitors 
9 ports in total 
85W of passthrough charging
Very expensive

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.

(Image credit: Kingston)

4. Kingston Workflow Station

The best customizable USB-C hub

Total number of ports: Customizable; up to 8 | Ports: Customizable; SD, microSD, USB-C, USB-A | Passthrough charging: No | Size: 160.27 x 70.27 x 55.77mm (6.31 x 2.76 x 2.19 inches) | Weight: 292g (0.64 lbs)

Completely customizable
Transfer 8 data sources simultaneously 
No ethernet, HDMI, CFexpress
Modules involve extra cost

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. 

best USB-C hubs - Dell DA300 6-in-1 USB-C Hub

(Image credit: Dell)

5. Dell DA300 6-in-1 USB-C Hub

The best looking USB-C hub

Total number of ports: 6 | Ports: One HDMI, one DisplayPort, one VGA, one RJ45 Ethernet, one USB Type-C, one USB-A (USB 3.1) | Passthrough charging: No | Size: 7 x 7 x 2.5cm (2.75 x 2.75 x 1 inches) | Weight: 81.6g (2.9 lbs)

Small and light 
Hidden cable 
No MicroSD or SD card ports 
No passthrough charging

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.

(Image credit: HooToo)

6. HooToo USB C Hub, 7-in-1 Type C Adapter

The best cheap USB-C hub for passthrough charging

Number of ports: 7 | Ports: One HDMI port, one SD card slot, one microSD slot, three USB A (USB 3.0) ports, one USB Type-C port | Passthrough charging: Yes (100W) | Size: 4.5 x 1.8 x 0.5 inches (11.43 x 4.57 x 1.27cm) | Weight: 90.72g (3.2oz)

100W charging
Good range of ports
SD slot
Only streams 4K at 30Hz

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.

(Image credit: VAVA)

7. VAVA USB C Hub, 7-in-1 USB C Adapter

The best lightweight USB-C adapter

Number of ports: 7 | Ports: 3 USB-A (USB 3.0) ports, one HDMI port, one USB-C charging port, one SD card reader, one microSD card reader | Passthrough charging: Yes (100W) | Size: 10 x 4 x 1.3cm (4 x 1.5 x 0.5 inches) | Weight: 60g (2.12oz)

Weighs almost nothing 
3 USB-A ports 
SD card reader
No Ethernet

Here’s another great option if you’re looking for a cheap USB-C hub that can charge your devices at up to 100W. It's small and very light at just 60g, making it super-portable. And with SD and microSD card slots, three USB-A ports and HDMI connectivity, it's going to serve most people's needs well. Note that there’s no Ethernet and you can only stream 4K at 30Hz, but at this low price, that seems more than fair.

best USB-C hubs - Apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter

(Image credit: Apple)

8. Apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter

The best USB-C adapter for Apple loyalists

Number of ports: 3 | Ports: One Thunderbolt USB-C port, one USB-A (USB 3.0) port, one 4K HDMI port | Passthrough charging: Yes | Size: 7 x 3 x 1cm (2.6 x 0.67 x 6.1 inches) | Weight: 59g (2.08oz)

Official Apple product 
Sleek looks 
Thunderbolt support
Limited ports

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.

best USB-C hubs - Dell WD15 USB-C hub dock

(Image credit: Dell)

9. Dell WD15 USB-C hub dock

The best USB-C hub for connecting lots of USB-A devices

Number of ports: 11 | Ports: Three USB-A (USB 3.0) ports, two USB-A (USB 2.0) ports, one HDMI, one Mini Display Port, one VGA port, one RJ-45 Ethernet port; one Headphone/Mic 3.5mm port; one audio-out 3.5mm port

Wide range of ports 
5 USB-A ports
Expensive 
No extra USB-C ports

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.

(Image credit: Dell)

10. Dell D6000 USB-C hub

The best USB-C hub for 5K

Number of ports: 11 | Ports: One USB-C, four USB-A (USB 3.0), two audio ports, one HDMI ports, two display ports, one gigabit ethernet | Passthrough charging: Yes (65W) | Size: 5.6 x 2.5 x 10.4cm (2.2 x 1 x 4.1 inches) | Weight: 121.9g (4.3oz)

Supports multiple monitors 
Supports 5K 
Four USB-A ports 
Expensive

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.

(Image credit: Elgato)

11. Elgato Thunderbolt 3 Mini Dock

The best portable USB-C hub for multiple displays

Number of ports: 4 | Ports: One HDMI, one DisplayPort, one RJ45 Ethernet, one USB 3.1 | Passthrough charging: No | Size: 5.6 x 2.5 x 10.4cm (2.2 x 1 x 4.1 inches) | Weight: 121.9g (4.3 oz)

Supports two 4K displays 
Supports Thunderbolt 3 
Small and portable
Expensive

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.

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Tom May is a freelance writer and editor specializing in art, photography, design and travel. He has been editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine. He has also worked for a wide range of mainstream titles including The Sun, Radio Times, NME, Heat, Company and Bella.