Most modern consumers find themselves using a huge variety of different electronics, but more electronics means that there’s more things you have to charge. And even as computers race to keep pace with new technologies, we often find ourselves with simply not enough ports for our needs. The fact that so many devices make use of USB cords is both an advantage and a frustration. Hard drives, keyboards, mice, and thumb drives all run on USB, but that also means they’re vying for real estate.
If you find yourself running out of space for your devices, it may be time to upgrade to a USB hub. Portable and easy to use, hubs are essentially miniature power strips for USB devices. Here are 10 of the best USB hubs available today.
- The Best USB Hubs
- 1. Sabrent 4-Port USB 3.0 Hub
- 2. TOTU 12-in-1 Type C Hub
- 3. Anker 4-Port USB Slim Data Hub
- 4. Belkin 4-Port Powered Desktop USB Hub
- 5. AmazonBasics 7 Port USB 2.0 Hub
- 6. Anker USB 3.0 SuperSpeed 10-Port Hub
- 7. HooToo 9-Port USB 3.0 Hub
- 8. Anker USB 3.0 Portable Aluminum Hub
- 9. AmazonBasics 4 Port USB Hub
- 10. Anker 5-in-1 USB C Hub
- Best USB Hubs Buyer’s Guide
The Best USB Hubs
1. Sabrent 4-Port USB 3.0 Hub
Sabrent's 4 port USB hub is an incredible deal by any metric. Not only does it come in at an eminently reasonable price of $15, all of the ports support the latest format of USB 3.0. The inclusion of separate power buttons for each port means that you don't have to worry about eating up energy on peripherals that you aren't using. Not only can it offer transfer speeds of up to 5 Gbps, but it's also compatible with earlier USB formats, so you don't have to worry about your older devices not working with it.
It also includes a power adapter that runs at 2.5 amps, so energy hog devices won't be a problem when you use this USB hub for 3.0 devices. The sleek and lightweight design on this mini USB hub means this is an ideal choice if you're looking to travel.
2. TOTU 12-in-1 Type C Hub
Four USB ports is good, but if you're a real power user, you might need to step up to bat for something more heavy duty. This TOTU model is possibly the best USB hub around in terms of sheer versatility. Twelve separate hubs crowd its small frame, and they go well beyond USB standards. Practically any type of cable you'd need to hook up to a home or office computer is supported by this powerful multi port USB hub.
You get multiple versions of multiple formats of USB in addition to outputs for video, charging, and a plethora of different memory cards. If you're looking to extend your screen across multiple panels while still maintaining a crystal clear resolution, this is the USB hub for you. And despite its vast amount of ports, it's compact in design, making it easy to just unplug and take on the road with you.
3. Anker 4-Port USB Slim Data Hub
Anker's USB port extender comes with four outlets to meet your needs, and while that puts it on the smaller end of the scale as far as current models are concerned, this is a high speed USB hub capable of transferring at speeds of 5 Mbps from every single slot. When you take into account the tiny and portable profile of this hub along with the rugged design built to withstand both serious impact and overheating, and you're left with what's easily one of the best USB hubs in its class. This truly is a slim hub - less than half an inch in width and capable of fitting in most pockets.
4. Belkin 4-Port Powered Desktop USB Hub
Compared to most of the multiple USB port devices available, the Belkin sports an interesting design. Rather than take on the look of a simple stick, it resembles a flat box, more in line stylistically with Belkin's modems than with a micro USB hub. And while this isn't a top shelf hub in terms of compatibility or portability, it still earns its position on our list for its price. Less than $20 gets you this model, and it should be enough for anyone who's not in need of ports for high-end gaming peripherals or looking to transfer HD movies from one device to another. There's not a whole lot special about this hub, but it's a reliable standard that can get the job done for most consumers.
5. AmazonBasics 7 Port USB 2.0 Hub
AmazonBasics products are, as you might have guessed, basic by design. Their 7 port USB hub doesn't utilize the latest generation of USB technology, and it doesn't come with any innovative bells and whistles, but it does provide reliable design and quality workmanship in a product that's priced to move. Basic doesn't mean cheap, and that's evident in the build of this hub.
Where it does distinguish itself is in its aesthetics. The AmazonBasics resembles a router or modem more than anything and comes with a steady stand that holds it vertically. That makes it less portable, but it does prevent the risk of it slipping around while mounted on your desk. If you want something to keep in the office, this is a great option. This is also a powered USB hub with a quality 4 amp adapter. All of that is available for just under $20.
6. Anker USB 3.0 SuperSpeed 10-Port Hub
The Anker SuperSpeed is more than just a variation of the Anker hub reviewed earlier with a few new ports added in. It's a top of the line model that makes use of the latest innovations in hub technology. This upgraded model is a self powered USB hub that supports 3.0 standards in every output and allows sending and receiving data. That means that it can be used to both hook new devices up to your computer and as a way to charge your existing devices.
Despite all the power packed into this little external USB hub, it's incredibly lightweight in design. Only 6 inches at its longest point and barely an inch in width and height, it can slip easily in your backpack or even into your pocket when you need to travel. It may be slightly pricey, but it's also conceivably the only hub you'll ever need.
7. HooToo 9-Port USB 3.0 Hub
HooToo isn't exactly the most well known name in the world, but their expansive USB hub is well worth your attention. If the internal USB hub in your computer isn't up for the task of connecting all your devices, the HooToo offers 7 expansion slots that you can use to make the most of your space. All of the outputs here are up to speed with 3.0 protocol for the fastest USB transfer rates possible, and the plug and play interface also supports hot swapping.
While many USB port hubs allow data transfer both ways, few contain outlets dedicated exclusively for charging. The HooToo offers two in addition to its traditional 7 ports, leaving you with plenty of space to charge your phone or tablet while still having space to keep everything up and running. And the small size means it works well as a USB hub for a laptop.
8. Anker USB 3.0 Portable Aluminum Hub
The Anker aluminum hub possesses something that's absent in a lot of USB C hubs: a distinct sense of style. While it's a little bigger than a lot of its contemporaries, it's still only roughly the size of a candy bar, and it's good to look at as well. The aluminum finish creates a nice sheen that's free of any seams or screws. The wedged shape adds its own distinct sense of style while also creating a sense of balance that's hard to find in a micro USB splitter.
This hub may look solid on the outside, but the inside is just as resilient. Anker has employed 10 different security measures to keep your data and your electronics safe, but the velcro strips ensure that it's always easy for you to access. This model comes with just four ports, but they support the highest transfer rates available today.
9. AmazonBasics 4 Port USB Hub
Our second featured AmazonBasics model offers a comparable level of value despite the reduced footprint and more limited variety of ports. But this USB C to USB hub comes with its own power source, an eyebrow raising prospect given the low price point. It even supports auto switching between its core power unit and whatever device it's plugged into based on the circumstances.
Beyond that, this is exactly what you can expect from a budget priced but quality model. The design is as slim and basic as you could expect, but you're still getting a lot of bang for your buck. It supports superspeed data transfer rates along with compatibility with all earlier USB versions. Don't come to the AmazonBasics expecting a reinvention of the wheel and you won't be disappointed.
10. Anker 5-in-1 USB C Hub
If you're looking for a network USB hub, you'll find it in this Anker model. Three superspeed 3.0 USB connections are further complemented by an ethernet outlet you can use to streamline your network connection. There's even an HDMI cable for streaming 4K video through the device. It may be slim in terms of the USB ports offered, but the variety here is a relative rarity, and most users won't find themselves needing the huge selection of USB outlets that many of the other hubs on the market offer.
Anker has taken measures to make sure everything runs smoothly with this USB hub too. Cooling technology ensures that overheating is a thing of the past regardless of how high energy the hard drives or other devices you plug in are. And a travel pouch makes it easy to take his hub with you wherever you happen to be going.
Best USB Hubs Buyer’s Guide
The specs and features you can expect from USB hubs are pretty standard, but that doesn’t mean that they’re all built equally. A USB hub for gaming will likely look different from a USB hub for travel, and that’s why we’ve outlined some key points and answered some common questions below.
Are These Hubs Thunderbolt Compatible?
Apple has a reputation for bucking common hardware and software standards in lieu of their own proprietary technology, including USB, so you wouldn’t be wrong for wondering whether or not they’ve made compatibility with common USB hubs difficulty. Things get a little more confusing with the standard output for USB hubs.
USB-C is the standard used for connecting most modern hubs to a PC, and they look largely indistinguishable from the Thunderbolt 3 cables that Apple uses. In practice, that’s halfway true. All USB-C cables are compatible with all Thunderbolt 3 ports, but Thunderbolt cables won’t necessarily work in USB-C ports. That means that any hub that’s listed as using a USB-C connection is essentially a Thunderbolt USB hub by default.
Why Are There No Wireless USB Hubs Listed?
Readers commonly ask for us to spotlight wireless USB hubs, and it’s a nice idea. Plug your devices into a hub without having to interact with the computer at all. Unfortunately, Bluetooth USB hubs are not and will never be a thing. The protocol for wireless technology and USB are too different to work compatibly together. Luckily, most USB hubs sport very small and very portable designs. You can just plug them right into your computer and more or less forget about them.
How Important is the USB Generation?
Technology never stops changing, and that’s as true of USB connectivity as anything else. USB 3.0 was first introduced in 2011, and it’s quickly become the standard for most users. It also signifies a pretty huge jump in terms of quality. A USB 3.0 cable can transfer 5 gigabytes of data per second, making it roughly ten times more powerful than a traditional USB 2.0 port. Those speeds allow you to transfer high definition movies in a matter of seconds.
While we often warn readers off from going for the latest technology just for the sake of having the coolest new thing, we generally recommend opting for a USB 3.0 hub when possible. The differential in speeds is incredibly noticeable, and the difference in pricing between devices that support USB 2.0 is largely negligible at this point in time. But if speed really isn’t a big deal to you, we do have a few great models that natively support USB 2.0 listed.
As one final note, you don’t need to worry about backwards compatibility with your USB hub. Any generation of USB will be compatible with any generation of cable that came before. If you plug a USB 2.0 cord into a USB 3.0 port, it will still deliver 2.0 speeds, but it will absolutely work. This is true for USB 1.0 cables as well. That means that when USB 4.0 is introduced and widely adopted, you can still count on your hub to suit your needs, even if it won’t offer you the best speeds around.
Are Powered Units Preferable?
It’s generally a good choice to get the latest generation of USB, but whether or not you need a powered unit is going to be more a matter of personal preference. If your hub doesn’t come with its own power supply, that means it’s relying on the bus (generally the computer it’s connected to) for energy. Self powered USB hubs offer their own batteries that provide them with juice.
The latter universally offer more power than the former, but whether or not you need that power is going to count on what you plan on plugging into your hub. If you’re just using a mouse and keyboard, a bus-powered hub will suit you just fine. But once you start introducing more resource intensive devices like hard drives, a self powered hub becomes practically a necessity. A bus connection can only provide as much power as the single USB-C port can offer, and that means dips in power to critical components.
If you know you’re just going to be using your USB hub for a few peripherals, go ahead and get an unpowered hub. They tend to be both less expensive and more portable. But if you have any intention of plugging in more powerful devices, you should absolutely invest in a powered alternative.
A USB hub can be an incredibly useful little gadget to have, but it’s the kind of thing that you might not understand the value of until you’ve tried it out. We hope our guide has helped you understand the advantages that come from a USB hub, and we hope you’ll find the model that suits your needs.