USB-C Hubs Buyer’s guide: Our top recommendations for connecting your peripheral devices

Why do you need USB-C hubs anyway? The reason is because most laptops today come with less and less ports. We are almost moving to a future where laptops like smartphones will have just one or even no ports at all. USB-C however, is emerging as the dominant and universal port for just about any Tech product. USB-C offers video, data and power delivery capabilities. It’s really up to vendors to decide what they integrate in their products.

However, not every Tech vendor or product is moving at the same pace. And you might still have legacy products that use older interfaces and connectors such as projectors and external monitors, keyboard, mouse, external hard drives etc. USB-C Hubs give your new shiny progressive Tech product interoperability with older legacy Tech. For instance, I recently got a Samsung Galaxy Go Chromebook which comes with just two USB-C ports, 3.5mm headphone jack and Micro SD card slot. Also I have the latest M1 Mac Minis which have two USB-A and two USB-C ports. No Ethernet or HDMI ports are included with any of these computers. But I have a HP 21” Monitor which takes HDMI input. This is precisely where a USB-C Hub comes in handy.

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USB-C Hub ports explained

USB-C hubs come in all shapes, sizes and prices. Choosing what’s right for you can be a challenge. But a good place to start is to understand the Tech products you already own and understand your needs. Typically a USB-C Hub comes with several ports for data, video, audio and power delivery and they include none, one or more of the following ports;

  • USB-A 2.0 and 3.0
  • USB-C
  • HDMI
  • VGA
  • DisplayPort
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • SD/TF reader
  • Ethernet

HDMI and VGA are mostly video and audio interfaces. VGA is an older display port found in very old computer monitors. It was replaced by HDMI which is ubiquitous in flat screen LCD external computer monitors, projects and TVs. HDMI which carries both video and audio signals in a single cable supports Full HD, 4K and 8K video resolutions.

Related post: Guide to USB-C Hubs and Adapters

The 3.5mm headphone jack has mostly been found in smartphones until recently, speakers, laptops and TVs. Wireless Bluetooth audio has mostly made this port obsolete.

SD/TF slot is used for reading and writing into SD and Micro SD cards. Photographers, Videographers, Youtubers and content creators still need this port to transfer photos and videos from their camera SD cards and their computers. Aim for USB-C Hub that supports multiple types of Micro SD/SD cards such as SD, SDHC, SDXC, SD3.0 UHS-1.

The Ethernet port has also been made redundant by WiFi. Most newer laptops no longer ship with an Ethernet port. However, ethernet is much more secure than WiFi and so most enterprises prefer it for security reasons. Ethernet is also faster than WiFi, and so if you’re moving big files around computers, then you could be better off with ethernet. Aim for Gigabit ethernet port.

The USB Confusion

USB-A is mostly a data port. There are two common standards supported here; the older and slower USB 2.0 port which supports data speeds of up to 480 Mbps. If you’re buying a USB-C hub today, you should forego the ones with USB 2.0 ports all together and instead consider the blue color-coded USB 3.0. Get the USB 2.0 port models if you plan to connect a mouse, keyboard or other low power rated devices.

USB 3.0 and higher support data speeds of at least 5 Gbps. Unfortunately USB is a very confusing standard. The USB Implementers Forum, a nonprofit organization created to promote and support USB hasn’t done a good job creating consistent marketing and branding for the evolving Tech. Summarily here are all USB 3.X generations and supported data transfer speeds;

  • USB 3.2 Gen 1(USB 3.0, USB 3.1 Gen 1): 5Gbps
  • USB 3.2 Gen 2(USB 3.1 Gen 2): 10 Gbps
  • USB 3.2 Gen 2 x 2: 20 Gbps

USB 4.0 is the latest standard with data transfer speeds of upto 40 Gbps and support for power delivery through USB-C Power Delivery or USB-C PD standard. Note that USB 4.0 strictly uses the oval-shaped and smaller USB-C port.

Related post: USB 3.0, 3.1, 3.2, 4.0 and Thunderbolt specs and feature comparison

USB-C is simply a physical connector which supports video, data and power delivery. However, it’s common to have a USB-C connector that supports only data transfer or only power delivery or both. If you want to charge your laptop through a USB Hub, make sure your laptop’s USB-C port supports Power Delivery symbolized by a lightning bolt icon.

Related post: How to Tell If Your Laptop Has USB-C Power Delivery (PD) Port

The USB-C physical interface is supported by both USB (USB 3.2 Gen 1 & Gen 2, USB 4.0) and Thunderbolt 3.0 standards. Thunderbolt is a proprietary standard developed by Intel and mostly used in Apple’s computers and a few high-end Windows PCs. Thunderbolt 3 supports power delivery upto 100W, data transfer of upto 40 Gbps and support for external 5K displays.

Related post: Thunderbolt 3 vs USB Type-C: The spot-on difference

Buying the right USB-C Hub for your needs

In summary,

  • If all you need is connecting to an external monitor and your laptop doesn’t have HDMI or DisplayPort, then get a USB-C Hub with just an HDMI port. Note that your laptop USB-C port must support “DisplayPort Alt Mode”.
  • Need to transfer huge files between flash disk or portable SSD, then get a USB-C hub with USB 3.0 or USB-C if the portable drive supports it.
  • If you need to keep your laptop charged while you transfer data or connect to an external monitor, then get a USB-C Hub having a USB-C port with Power Delivery of at least 100W. If you’re connecting to power hungry devices such as more than one external hard drive, then you need a hub with USB-C Power delivery for additional external power.
  • Have a Macbook Air/Pro, then get a USB-C Hub with Thunderbolt 3.0 support.
  • Need to transfer data between Camera SD card and laptop, then get USB-C hub with SD/TF slot.
  • Need to connect to an ethernet network for better security and faster network speeds, then prioritize USB-C with Ethernet port.
  • Need to give your laptop as many ports as possible, then get a USB-C Hub with all the ports.

Now let’s dive into some of our best recommendations for you;

USB-C Hubs for connecting to HDMI Monitor and data transfer

Mokin 5-in-1 USB Hub

Mokin 5-in-1 USB Hub

This USB Hub is great for connecting to HDMI external monitors, transferring data to and from portable drives and SD/Micro-SD cards. It has a Unibody aluminum alloy exterior, is lightweight, small and can fit in your bag. Top features include;

  • 4K video output at 30Hz refresh rate
  • SD/TF (SD/SDHC/SDXC and Micro SD/SDHC/SDXC) card reader with speeds up to 104mb/s
  • 2* USB 3.0 Ports with upto 5Gbps data transfer
  • One USB 2.0 port.

This USB-C hub goes for $22.99 on amazon and the model that has an additional 100W USB-C power delivery port costs $25.99. This USB Hub is ideal for just about any USB-C laptop computer that needs to connect to an external monitor via HDMI with additional data transfer ports.

Anker 5-in-1 USB C Adapter

Anker 5-in-1 USB Hub

Anker is a premium accessory vendor with a great reputation for quality products. This USB Hub comes with 2 USB-A ports, 1 HDMI port, a micro SD card slot, and an SD card slot.You can’t connect multiple HDD/SSD at the same time due to power limitation of laptops and it doesn’t have USB-C Power delivery port for extra power. Top features include;

  • 4K HDMI at 30Hz and [email protected]
  • USB 3.0 ports with 5 Gbps transfer speeds.
  • Compact and portable with Travel pouch

This hub costs $34.99. However, you’re better off with this 7-in-1 model that also includes 100W USB-C power delivery pass-through charging for $34.99.

USB-C Hubs with Power Delivery pass through

QGeeM 4-in-1 USB C Adapter

This USB Hub offers the bare minimums; one 100W USB-C Power delivery port, an HDMI port for connecting to external monitors, one USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 port. It’s made of Unibody aluminum alloy, is lightweight making it ideal for travel. Top features include;

  • [email protected] HDMI video output
  • 100W USB-C PD charging port
  • Fast data transfer speeds up to 5Gbps via USB 3.0 port.
  • Plug and play, there is no external drivers required,

It costs $19.99. If you are looking for more ports, then consider the 7-in-1 model which adds two more USB 3.0 ports and SD/TF card slot for $24.99.

Hiearcool 7-in-1 USB Hub

This USB dongle features 7 ports including two USB 3.0, one [email protected] HDMI port, SD/TF Card slot, and up to 100W Type-C Power Delivery charging port. This Hub is ideal for connecting to an external monitor via HDMI while connecting to storage devices like external hard drives. The more hungry devices can receive additional juice thanks to the USB-C PD port which also can charge your laptop. It’s ideal for Macbook Air/Pros and USB-C powered laptops. You can get it for $24.99 on amazon. For additional $15, you can get the 8-in-1 model which comes with two HDMI output ports.

Other recommendations include;

  • UGREEN USB-C Hub 6-in-1 Dongle with HDMI port, three USB 3.0 ports and SD/TF card slot – $23.99
  • Aorz 7-in-1 USB-C dongle with 4K HDMI port, 3 x USB 3.0 ports, SD/TF card slot and 100W USB-C port – $23.99

USB-C Hubs with Ethernet port

Anker 5-in-1 USB-C Ethernet Adapter

If your priority is a USB-C hub with an Ethernet port, then this 5-in-1 hub from Anker is a great option. It comes with one Gigabit Ethernet port, three USB 3.0 ports and one 4K HDMI output port. The USB Hub is an aluminum surface that dissipates heat, and the braided nylon cable is designed to withstand up to 2000 bends. It goes for $45.99 on amazon. If you want an additional SD/TF slot and USB-C power delivery port, then go with this $59.99 7-in-1 model instead.

Totu 9-in-1 Type C Hub with Ethernet Port

This TOTU USB C hub includes an Ethernet/RJ-45 Port, USB-C PD charging port, an HDMI port, SD/TF card slot, USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports. The Ethernet port provides Gigabit speeds which is great for connecting to fast wired internet or transferring data across wired networks. This Hub has aircraft grade aluminum enclosure and looks premium. It goes for $47.99.

AUKEY CB-C75 USB C Hub Adapter

This 5-in-1 USB-C Hub turns a single USB-C port into five ports for data transfer, display expansion, internet connection, and charging. The Gigabit Ethernet port supports 10/100/1000Mbps network speeds. It also comes with a 100W USB-C PD pass-through charging port that keeps your MacBook or other compatible USB-C laptops fully charged. HDMI port outputs resolutions up to [email protected] to a connected display. It’s priced at $32.99 on the Aukey website.

Other recommendations include;

  • Satechi USB Hub with with 4K HDMI (60Hz), Gigabit Ethernet, USB-C Charging, SD/Micro Card Readers, USB 3.0 — $79.99
  • VAVA 8-in-1 Ethernet with 4K HDMI, USB-C PD, USB 2.0 & 3.0 ,TF/SD cardUSB-C Hub – $54.99

USB-C Hubs for Macbook users

Selore 6-in-1 USB-C Hub

Offers three USB 3.0 ports, SD/TF card slot and a thunderbolt 3 port that provides upto 87W power delivery, 40 Gps data transfer and connection to 5K displays. It connects to Macbook Air/Pro through dual-USB C ports. It’s designed for 13″/15″ MacBook Pro 2020/2019/2018/2017/2016, MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and Touch ID 2019/2018/2017/2016 and 13″ MacBook Air 2020/2019/2018. Top features include;

  • Thunderbolt 3 port: 100W PD charging / 40 Gbps data transfer / 5K display
  • SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports: Data transfer rate up to 5Gbps
  • Convenient SD/TF Card Reader: Read: 50-104MB/s; Write: 30-40MB/s; SD and TF Card can work simultaneously.

It costs only $17.99 on amazon.

UtechSmart 7-in-2 Dual Type C USB Hub

Offers dual Type C input ports for Macbook Pro/Air and comes with three USB 3. 0 ports, USB 2.0 Port, Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports and SD/TF card reader. Top features include;

  • Thunderbolt 3 with support for [email protected] 60Hz video display, 100W power delivery and 40 Gbps data transfer.
  • SD/TF (SD/SDHC/SDXC and Micro SD/SDHC/SDXC) card reader with data read speed up to 104Mb/s and support for capacity of up to 2TB.
  • USB 3.0 ports with 5Gbps data speeds and one USB 2.0 port.

This USB Hub costs $15.99 on amazon.

Other options include;

  • UGREEN 6-in-1 USB-C Thunderbolt 3 hub – $24.99
  • Mokin 7-in-2 Thunderbolt 3 USB Hub – $30.99
  • Anker PowerExpand Direct 7-in-2 USB C Adapter – $59.99

USB-C Hubs connecting to anything

iKling 9-in-1 USB C Adapter

This USB Hub from iKling has all the ports you would want on a laptop for video output, data transfer, wired internet connection and charging. This USB hub includes;

  • USB-A 3.0 x 2
  • SD/RF Slot x 2
  • 3.5mm audio jack
  • HDMI Video Output
  • VGA video output port
  • Ethernet Gigabit port
  • 87W USB-C Power delivery pass-through charging

It costs $37.99 on amazon.

TOTU 13-in-1 Hub

This USB hub comes with 13 ports for connecting to just about anything. You can connect to upto three displays via two HDMI ports and one DisplayPort. However, your laptop must have a USB Type C port that supports “DisplayPort Alt Mode” and USB Power Delivery. This USB Hub includes;

  • USB-A 3.0 x 2
  • USB-A 2.0 x 2
  • SD/RF Slot x 2
  • 3.5mm audio jack
  • HDMI Video Output x 2
  • DisplayPort
  • VGA video output port
  • Ethernet Gigabit port
  • 87W USB-C Power delivery pass-through charging

It goes for $69.99.

Anker PowerExpand 11-in-1 USB C Hub Adapter

This Anker USB Hub is all you need if you want to connect any of your peripheral devices. Comes with all the ports apart from a VGA display port. Full specs include;

  • USB-A 3.0 x 2
  • SD/RF Slot x 2
  • 3.5mm audio jack
  • HDMI Video Output 4k @ 60Hz
  • DisplayPort
  • Ethernet Gigabit port
  • USB-C data port
  • 87W USB-C Power delivery pass-through charging

It costs $99.99 on amazon.

Other options include;

  • Falwedi 10-in-1 USB Hub with VGA, Ethernet, HDMI, USB 3.0 – $39.99
  • Mokin 12-in-1 Docking station for Macbook Air/Pro – $69.89
  • AUKEY CBC78 12 in 1 USB C Hub with Gigabit Ethernet, Dual 4K HDMI, VGA – $69.99
  • LENTION USB C Docking station – $79.99
  • VAVA 12-in-1 Dual 4K Docking Station – $99.99

Alright that’s it; top USB-C dongles you can use for connecting various computer peripherals. If you have any other great recommendations, let us know in the comments below.