Do you need some extra USB ports to connect two or more peripherals? Well, you can use a USB hub for the task. Some top USB hubs accommodate up to 13 additional connectors, including SD card readers, USB-C, USB 2.0 and 3.0, and Ethernet.
Times are changing, and laptops are getting thinner and lighter with each day that passes. To achieve the required thickness, one of the greatest factors to be sacrificed is connectivity. For instance, the latest Apple MacBook has only one USB-C port. What happens when you want to connect an extra device like a mouse, connect to an external display or use the laptop to charge your phone? You’ll need extra ports. That’s where the USB hub comes to the rescue.
USB hubs are handy devices that connect to your laptop by plugging and opening up a world of connectivity capabilities. Most of them come with up to 13 additional USB ports, and some come with unique connectivity connections like the ethernet and card readers. You won’t find the former on the latest MacBook. Whether you’re looking for the sleekest hub that doesn’t clutter your desk space or a quality and powerful dock station for your peripherals, then here’s where you’ll get the best USB Hubs in 2021.
Before we look into the best USB hubs in 2021, why don’t we remind ourselves what to consider when choosing a USB hub?
Things to consider
USB hubs are not as expensive when compared to other tech gadgets. Top-notch USB hubs go for around 50$ while reliable but budget-friendly choices are available for just under 10$. Therefore, price is not something to lay much weight on, as you might lose much while trying to squeeze an extra coin.
Number of ports
Prioritize looking for the USB hub with the number of ports you need and, most definitely, meet your requirements. If your laptop or Mac only has a USB type C port, look for USB hubs that only connect via USB type C cables. If you only require to use a few USB sockets, don’t go for the USB hub with the maximum number of sockets, as you’ll only buy yourself a bunch of excessive features you might never use.
USB hubs Vs. USB-C hubs
The common term USB hubs can be used to refer to USB type-A hubs. USB Type-A ports are the large and most commonly found USB ports in laptops. USB type C connection has become the new standard type of USB connection. It supports higher data transfer speeds, higher video quality, and the ability to charge devices like smartphones faster. Above all, USB type C is slim and versatile, as you can plug it either way into your laptop or Mac.
Recently, laptops are upgrading their connecting ports, and some, like the most recent MacBook, come with a USB type C port. Other newer laptops and Macs have a mixture of type A and type C ports. You, therefore, have to be careful about the type of USB hub you’re going on shopping for.
Powered USB hubs and charging devices
The powered USB hubs plug into external power sources and your laptop as well. That can be a wall socket or a portable battery. You don’t have to worry about the USB hub draining your laptop’s battery anymore.
Some USB hubs support power delivery that lets you fast-charge your laptop, phone, or tablet over USB C. However, if you’re charging your laptop this way, you have to make sure that the USB hub can handle that much power. You should, therefore, check the specifications carefully.
Other USB hubs are only meant to connect accessories but not charge them. Some brands don’t stress that feature or mention it in the fine print. You should be overly careful with the product specifications, and if the device doesn’t mention charging, it is probably not designed for it. Nonetheless, some quality USB hubs have dedicated charging slots with them.
Best USB-C hubs for Macbooks and Mac
You’ll get every possible port you might need to use on the Anker PowerExpand+ USB hub. To be precise, the hub provides every port you need while still supporting laptop power delivery as well. When you plug it into a socket, you’re sure to get 100W of power, enough to charge your laptop and facilitate any other service. The Anker PowerExpand+ offers you a USB-C power delivery port, two USB 3.0 data, SD and MicroSD reader ports, 4K HDMI, and a USB-C data port.
The USB hub is a slim and versatile accessory and matches the look and thickness of Apple laptops, perfectly attaching to the USB-C port. The hub cord is not long enough, which doubles as an advantage and disadvantage at the same time. You won’t have cables hanging from your Mac, but you will not achieve effectiveness, especially when you either have to share the hub with someone else or when trying to connect to distant devices like a wall-mounted TV.
Only the HDMI and multi-function USB-C ports support crystal clear dual-media display. The USB slot is universally compatible with all TF cards (MicroSD, MicroSDXC, and MicroSDHC). Enjoy data speeds of up to 5GBps on the hub’s USB-A or USB-C ports with just a simple connection.
|Pros||USB 3.0 ports for faster data transfer|
Slim and matches the Apple laptops’ aesthetic feature
100W power output
|Cons||Doesn’t charge multiple items at once|
Reduces a pair of Thunderbolt 3 ports into one
The QGeem USB C Hub is a cheaper way of utilizing your laptop’s USB C Hubs. It includes an HDMI port, a microSD and SD card reader, and 2 USB A sockets that facilitate external devices like portable drives, a monitor, mouse, or keyboard. The QGeeM USB C Hub is tiny but completely covers the basic needs of several laptop users. If you seek to perform fancy operations or charge your devices, you might need to spend a little more. Nonetheless, the device is small and lightweight and will be your best choice if you don’t want to clutter your work desk.
In addition, the QGeem USB C hub allows you to transfer files into your laptops and MacBook from your SD and microSD card of up to 2TB in storage. Furthermore, it offers a clear video display of 4K resolution. The USB hub also allows faster transfer of data to some of the devices which are compatible with USB 2.0 at a high speed of 5GBper second.
It has a useful array of ports
|Cons||It doesn’t have extra USB-C sockets|
Not designed to charge devices
Anker Power ExpandDirect 7-in-2 comprises an HDMI port, two USB 3.0 ports, SD and micro-SD card readers, and a Thunderbolt 3 USB C port with 100W PD charging. The device is mostly used on Apple laptops, where you attach it to the USB C slots on the side of the laptop. By using the hub, you won’t have any cords hanging loose off your computer. The major downfall of this USB-C hub is that you will plug it into two Thunderbolt 3 ports but get only one in return, but it may be fine if you have a MacBook with four USB C ports.
The USB 3.0 ports on the Anker Power ExpandDirect 7-in-2 facilitate fast file transfer at astounding speeds of around 40GBps. Streaming media is also buffer-free and of unrivaled clarity. You also enjoy fast charging because the hub is supported by a multi-function USB-C port that provides up to 100W of power. The hub supports a multi-monitor display, and you can connect both displays and still enjoy crystal clear streaming.
100W power delivery
Matches the design of Apple laptops
USB 3.0 ports for speedy file transfer
|Cons||Doesn’t charge multiple devices at once|
Reduces two thunderbolt3 ports to one
The Anker 3-port USB 3.0 Data Hub has three high-speed USB ports. It is a portable data hub that will save your day when running out of USB ports. The Anker USB 3.0 has a “power-bar” style that takes up very little room on your desk. Its three USB 3.0 ports are located on the top surface of the black plastic, which has a mirror-like finish, and an Ethernet cable is connected on the lower edge for a high-speed internet connection. The detachable 1.6-foot USB-Type-A-to-USB-Type-B cable links the hub to your laptop and may be replaced with a cable of a different length or one with a USB-C connector.
The Anker 3-port USB hub boasts a data transmission rate of up to 5Gbps, allowing you to transmit an HD movie in seconds. It works with Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux versions 2.6.14 and above, making it a versatile and compatible USB hub choice. Moreover, there is an installation patch available for Mac OS users. For a simple solution to your problems, this hub is a good option.
|Pros||High-speed data and file transfer|
Tiny and convenient to use
|Cons||Few USB ports|
The HooToo 9-Port USB 3.0 Hub has a total of nine ports, as suggests its name. The bottom two ports are smart charging connectors that detect the attached device and automatically adjust power output accordingly. The hub’s two Smart charging ports offer fast charging at full speeds and ample power to charge any Apple or Android smartphone. The remaining ports support USB 2.0 at standard transfer rates and up to 5GBps data transfer rates.
There are LED lights inside the hub’s mirrored surface that display the connection status of each port. The 8-foot AC adapter powers the two smart charging ports, ensuring that the charging does not deplete your laptop’s battery. Moreover, the HooToo 9-Port USB 3.0 Hub enables hot-swapping; you may safely connect to or disconnect the hub while your computer is running (no drives required).
The HooToo 9-Port USB 3.0 Hub is a wonderful option because it comes with a quality 12V/5A AC power adapter and uses all nine ports. The USB hub is designed with the best quality materials and technology to improve both performance and safety. The hub is efficient in size and lightweight, making it easy to carry with you.
|Pros||Tiny and easy to carry around|
Has 9 USB ports
Supports 4K media streaming
It has a 3.5mm aux port
|Cons||A little pricey|
Above are some quality choices when it comes to USB hubs in 2021. However, there are many more good preferences that couldn’t go without mention. Such include the Sabrent 10-port USB 3.0 USB hub with 10 USB ports, the Sabrent 13-port USB 2.0 hub with 13 ports, and the ALLFU 8-in-1 USB-C hub. Those are quality USB hubs that offer fast data and file transfer speeds, while some still offer fast-charging options for the connected peripherals and laptops. Most importantly, these USB hubs give you multiple options to connect external accessories.
USB hubs are becoming a necessity to every work-from-home station in recent days. Why? This is because your desktop might only offer an ethernet and HDMI connection port, and its system unit will mostly comprise two to four USB-A connection ports. Your MacBook, on the other side, might have only one USB-C connection or a pair of the same, making things a little hard for you if you want to connect additional peripherals.
With USB hubs offering USB connections ranging from three to 13 in number, you have a wide array of choices to pick from regarding the type of USB you want and, probably, the number of connections you’d want it to offer. It is advisable that you go for a USB hub with multiple connections so that you don’t have to buy another one later, just in case you obtain a new external device. Enjoy a quality connection with your favorite USB hub!
Jeremy has been running several online businesses behind his laptop for the past 5 years and he has worked as a freelance web developer previously. A trained marketer by profession, he also has Ruby on Rails and web development knowledge. His forte lies in eCommerce, SEO and content marketing. He’s been featured on Vice, Thrive Global, YFS Magazine, Forbes and several other publications. He prefers to connect with people on LinkedIn.