Data is the real currency of the modern world. And with the proliferation of data-driven devices, keeping track of all your info can sometimes be a challenge. Enter USB hubs. Yes, it’s another device. However, it also makes life simpler and more efficient. Basically, a USB hub expands a single universal serial bus (USB) port into many ports, connecting to your computer and allowing you to connect multiple USB-enabled devices simultaneously.
Portable hubs can sit easily on your desk, near your computer. They can also act as charging stations, keeping your phone, camera, and other electronics at full power and ready to go. Whether you need to download photos or project a PowerPoint presentation, the best USB hub that is fast, user-friendly, and up to date.
- BEST OVERALL: Rosonway USB Hub 3.0 Powered
- BEST BUDGET: Anker 4-Port USB 3.0 Hub
- BEST WITH ETHERNET PORT: uni USB to Ethernet Adapter
- BEST WITH ETHERNET & HDMI: UtechSmart 6 In 1 USB C to HDMI Adapter with Ethernet
- BEST WITH SD CARD: WARRKY Multi-Card Reader Hub for 3 USB 3.0
- BEST FOR MACBOOK: FlePow USB C Hub Multiport Adapter
- BEST FOR CHARGING: Sabrent 60W 10-Port USB 3.0 Hub
- BEST 10 PORT: ACASIS 10 Ports 48W USB 3.0 Data Hub
What to Consider When Choosing the Best USB Hub
First things first—make sure your hub is compatible with your computer’s operating system: Mac OS, Windows, and Linux are the most common. Beyond that, you’ll want to make sure your hub measures up in the following ways.
Powered vs. Unpowered
As the names suggest, a powered USB hub comes with its own AC adapter and plug, while an unpowered hub draws electricity from your computer. When considering which type of hub to buy, consider your usage needs first. Do you need a lot of power to run big devices like printers, scanners, LCD displays, or external hard drives? If so, go with a powered hub. Or do you simply need extra USB ports for plugging in a mouse, joystick, keyboard, or phone? In that case, an unpowered hub will more than likely suffice. For folks with mixed needs, go with a powered hub that offers a number of USB ports as well as different types of ports for different purposes. It’s possible to connect a powered USB port to a plug outlet via a power strip as well.
You want to expand and maximize your computer’s functionality. So your USB hub should have multiple ports—at least three. In general, look for hubs with four, seven, or 10 ports. This is typically enough for most household and even office usage. However, hubs do exist with 13 and 16 ports too, though the price goes up with the number of ports.
The kind of hub you’ll need depends on your devices and media-sharing needs. Often laptops and even desktop computers don’t have all the types of ports required to plug in and transfer data from cameras, video cards, and LCD screens, for example. In this case, you’ll want a hub that contains different kinds of ports in addition to standard USB 3.0 ports.
Need to transfer big files or connect with another screen for presentations or video sharing? Look for Ethernet and HDMI capabilities. Ethernet is a super-fast, hardwired internet connection, which allows you to transmit large amounts of data via cable versus wireless technology. HDMI ports transmit high-definition video data across devices and additional screens, which you can control from your laptop. These require different connection types but are often found on multipurpose hubs.
Finally, some powered USB ports are equipped with both data ports and charging ports. Ports exclusively for charging are helpful if you want to keep devices plugged in and powered up at all times. Look for smart charging hubs that are ultra-efficient and won’t waste energy or overheat your devices.
USB Version and Data-Transfer Speed
Like all technology, USB hubs have been going through regular updates since USB ports were first released in 1996. The current standard version is 3.0, which features the highest data-transfer speeds possible at this time. The best USB 3.0 hubs can move data between devices at a rate of 5 gigabits per second—5 Gbps. All USB 3.0 hubs should feature 5 Gbps speeds, which can handle up to five billion bits per second of information.
Our Top Picks
The best USB hubs should be easy to use: plug and play, as they say. They shouldn’t require additional software or lengthy installation. But they should be made of quality materials (typically premium-grade aluminum or plastic casing), with at least four additional USB ports, if not more. The following recommendations are based on durability, user-friendliness, and super-fast data transmission.
With seven USB 3.0 ports and data-transfer speeds up to 5 Gbps, the Rosonway has all the technical specifications to warrant good reviews. But does it hold up in the real world? Yes, thanks to its user-friendly design and high-quality materials. Constructed of aluminum alloy, this 3.0 USB hub also features individual on/off switches, so you can maximize power usage and minimize energy waste. Blue LED indicator lights display power and transfer status immediately.
The Rosonway is compatible with most operating systems: Windows, Mac OS, and Linux 9 and above. It instantly expands your computer’s connectivity, allowing you to access multiple devices simultaneously, from mice, keyboards, flash drives, and card readers to printers, scanners, and hard drives.
Slim is what you get with the Anker 4-Port 3.0 Hub. This low-profile, unpowered USB hub doesn’t come with any plugs but instead draws its power from your computer. If your laptop or desktop doesn’t have enough USB ports for your liking, the Anker hub swiftly transforms your capabilities, providing four additional ports. What else do you get? This USB hub syncs data at 5 Gbps speeds, which is fast enough to transfer an entire HD movie in seconds.
The 2-foot cable is compatible with both laptops and desktop computers. Simply adjust the length to your liking with the cable tie (included). This Anker USB port is simple to use, highly efficient, and will withstand heavy demands—all at a highly affordable price.
Just plug in uni’s Ethernet adapter and go—no additional drivers or software required. No matter what type of computer or operating system you have, this USB hub should work for you. It’s compatible with Windows 10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP, Mac OS, Chrome OS, Android, and Linux (but does not support Nintendo Switch). This three-port USB hub provides 5 Gbps high-speed connection, supercharging your data transfers.
The Ethernet port enables hardwired connection to a network, facilitating secure and fast downloads of large files, stable online group meetings, and easy syncing of group projects. Its soft braided-nylon cable makes it ultra-durable, while the aluminum case provides better heat insulation and strength than plastic. Monitor status updates and diagnostics via the two indicator lights.
UtechSmart’s six-in-one hub is among the most versatile you can find. It features an Ethernet port, a USB C charging port with power delivery, a 4K HDMI port, and three USB 3.0 ports. In simple terms, the built-in advanced dual-core VL817 chip offers lower power consumption, quicker heat dissipation, and higher data-transfer speeds than many comparable models. With the UtechSmart hub, expect data-transmission speeds up to 5 Gbps. The HDMI port supports a large-screen liquid-crystal TB or a display compatible with 4K max output. It is also sleekly constructed of milled aircraft-grade aluminum. It’s compatible with Apple, Google, Samsung, Dell, Asus, HP, Lenovo, XPS, and many other laptops.
No more plugging and unplugging. Whether you need to download photos, edit videos, or transfer large files, with Warrky’s Multi-Card Reader Hub, you can simultaneously read and write on four cards, plus connect three USB devices. Streamlined and widely compatible, the Warrky contains a built-in card reader designed with four card slots. This allows you to read and transfer data from a range of SD card types. Comparable with the fastest USB hubs, the Warrky operates at speeds of up to 5 Gbps, transferring movies and files in seconds. With its 2.5-foot-long braided-nylon cable and nonslip shell, the Warrky is built to last and will stand up to years of data transfer, at the office or at home.
Every port you could possibly need is built into FlePow’s slim silver USB hub. This pocket-size hub easily fits into your laptop sleeve or briefcase. It also makes for a helpful desk accessory. The premium-grade aluminum shell won’t overheat and is portable and sturdy enough for all your data-transfer needs. No complicated installation is required, so you’ll be using this seven-in-one hub in no time. It contains three standard USB ports with 5 Gbps transfer speeds. In addition, you’ll get one HDMI port, two SD card slots (including one micro SD), and a USB C power-delivery charging connector. While this hub is compatible with most Apple laptops, double-check the specifications if you have a 2019 MacBook Air, which has Thunderbolt 3 ports instead of USB C ports—you may need a Thunderbolt to USB connector.
This 10-port USB hub is useful for data transfer as well as charging devices. Its seven USB 3.0 ports provide speedy data transfer up to 5 Gbps. It also has three smart charging ports, safe for powering up phones, tablets, and other devices—simultaneously. In this way, you can get work done and keep all your devices connected and powered up safely. Each port has a blue LED indicator light as well as on/off switches for optimal power usage. Universally compatible with Windows, Mac OS, and Linux, the Sabrent is surprisingly small for the amount of power and data it can transfer: It’s about the size of a large remote control and cased in mirrored black plastic.
The Acasis 3.0 USB hub can transfer data and charge your devices, thanks to a 12V/4A power adapter and transfer rates of 5 Gbps. The charging/transfer ports won’t overload your devices but will deliver up to 2.4 amps of current, ensuring fast, reliable power. Each port also has an on/off switch, allowing you to monitor each device independently. Widely compatible with most operating systems, the Acasis ensures your computer and devices are connected and protected at the same time. A built-in surge protector keeps all electronics safe and prevents overheating. With an external power source, you also won’t need to worry about overtaxing your laptop battery. Each hub comes with a 3.28-foot cable, 12V/4A power adapter, and user manual.
FAQs About USB Hubs
Don’t get bogged down in the technicalities, but do know the basics when it comes to your USB hub. These devices allow you to monitor and transfer data across all your devices, using your computer as the main interface. Make sure you buy a version 3.0 hub, with ports that match the types of devices you need to plug in.
Q. Will a USB hub charge devices?
Yes, but the more devices that are plugged in, the slower the charging rate will be. For faster charging, invest in a USB hub that has specified smart charging ports.
Q. What is the difference between a USB hub and a USB port?
A port is a standard cable connection, allowing two devices to share data and/or power. A hub contains many USB ports, allowing multiple devices to communicate.
Q. What is the advantage of a powered USB hub?
They are the most versatile option. Powered hubs can handle large power-hungry devices like printers, scanners, and display screens as well as smaller devices like phones and memory sticks.
Q. Do USB hubs affect performance of your laptop?
An unpowered USB hub may affect laptop speed and battery power, especially if you have multiple devices plugged in. A powered USB hub shouldn’t affect the performance of your laptop.
Q. Can you connect two USB hubs together?
It’s possible to connect two powered USB hubs (not unpowered ones).