The number of USB ports on a laptop or a desktop is very limited. These days, it is not uncommon to use several devices at once. What if you want to connect more devices than just the regular external hard drive, keyboard, and mouse? You may also want quick access to your smartphone while it is charging beside you. A USB hub is a must-have device in everyone's house or office to meet the demands of today's world.
But do you know the different types of USB hubs available in the market? What about USB versions and how it affects data transfer and charging speeds? Don't worry. Our top 10 list featuring the best USB hubs from top brands like Anker, Amkette, Sabrent, and more will help you choose the right one for your daily needs. Don't forget to refer to our buying guide that follows. It has enough information to help you choose the best.
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Need more help to choose the right USB hub for your needs? Scroll down and read our buying guide. We discuss topics like types of USB hubs, port versions, port types, and many more in the sections below. Feel free to go back to our top 10 list after you have read our buying guide.
There are two types of USB hubs available in the market: self-powered and bus-powered. A self-powered USB hub draws power from the AC mains, while a bus-powered USB hub needs to be connected to a USB port on your laptop or desktop.
The USB ports on a PC only produce small amounts of current, which is not sufficient to charge devices like smartphones and external hard drives. That's when you need a self-powered USB hub. You can find this type of USB hub with data transfer provisions as well.
A bus-powered USB hub can be used to connect flash drives, keyboards and mice, controllers, etc. Bus-powered USB hubs are compact, portable, and much less expensive than the self-powered type. Consider the use case and buy one that gives you the biggest bang for your buck.
Do you have devices that can leverage the fast data transfer capability of USB 3.0? Then it's wise to buy a USB hub with version 3.0 ports. You won't see any speed increases if you connect a USB 2.0 device to a 3.0 port. But if you plan on buying any new devices, it is best to invest in a USB hub with version 3.0 ports.
When it comes to charging, a USB 3.0 port "could" charge your device faster. Well, it depends. Most devices will not draw the maximum power, which is 900mA, a USB 3.0 port can provide if it detects that the device is connected to a bus-powered USB port. So, it is unlikely that you will see any improvement in charging speeds. So, consider the port version only for data transfers.
Before you buy a USB hub, count the number of devices you already have. Also, the ones that could get added to your gadget collection in the future. Searching for a USB hub with the number of ports you require is not the important thing. You should check how many of those support fast charging and the number of ports dedicated to data transfer.
You should look for at least two charging ports if you have more than two devices that you need to charge through the hub. As for data transfer and connecting peripherals, decide how many devices you want to connect at once. For example, you may most probably want to connect a keyboard, mouse, and a hard disk at the same time.
Here is something worth considering. If you connect too many devices to a bus-powered USB port, the performance and charging time of the connected devices will get affected. We recommend going for a self-powered USB hub that also allows high-speed data transfer.
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Active Powered USB 3.1 Hub
Connect and Operate Power-Hungry Devices Without Any Drop in Performance
4-Port USB 3.0 Hub
With Individual Power Switches for Each Port
7 in 1 USB-C Hub
More Than Just a USB Hub
7-Port USB3.0 Hub
Option for Supplying Additional 5V for Running High-Power Devices
Extremely Compact Design for Ultra-Portability
4-Port USB Hub
Foldable Cable Design Prevents Damages to Laptop Surface
USB Hub 5 in 1
Comes With SD/Micro SD Card Reader
USB 3.1 Type C Hub
For Macbooks and Chromebook Pixels
Durable Aluminum Body With Desk Clip
USB 2.0 Ports That Can Reach 480 Mbps Data Transfer Speed
Wanna connect more power-hungry devices like smartphones and external hard drives at the same time? We recommend QZ Active Powered USB 3.1 Hub. It comes with four USB 3.1 ports that allow data transfer rates up to 5 Gbps (640MBps).
Voltage spikes can cause permanent damage to devices. This USB hub has a surge protector to protect your expensive devices from such undesirable situations. The only drawback we found is that the cable length is only 80cm. It shouldn't be a problem if you have a socket nearby.
Sabrent 4-port USB 3.0 hub is a bus-powered USB hub with individual switches for each port. Now you don't have to disconnect devices every time you are done using them. If there are multiple devices connected to the USB hub, and a data transfer is going on, you can experience reduced transfer speed if the other devices are also drawing power.
Just use the switch on the USB hub to temporarily turn off the power supply to the other devices. The power switches also have LED lights to indicate whether that port is currently operating or not. As for the build quality, the ABS body is durable enough to withstand accidental drops.
USB hubs make use of a USB port on your laptop or desktop to transfer data and draw power. Do you have a Type-C port on your device that you rarely use? Connect the PEATOP® 7 in 1 USB-C Hub to it, and save a USB Type-A port for connecting another device.
This is more than just a USB hub. Along with the three USB 3.0 ports that support transfer speeds up to 5 Gbps, you also get a USB-C port, an SD and micro SD card reader, and a 4K HDMI port that supports 4K video and audio output with a refresh rate of 30Hz or 30 fps and 1080p at 60Hz or 60 fps.
As you already know, when you connect multiple high-power devices to a bus-powered hub, the performance of every device gets affected. ORICO 7-Port USB 3.0 Hub is basically a bus-powered USB hub.
But it also has a micro USB port for connecting a 5V power supply to stabilize performance when multiple hard drives or smartphones are connected to the hub. The design is also quite impressive. It has a transparent body, and the entire bottom is lit with blue light when the hub is connected. The compact design and the 1-meter cable are also appreciable features of this USB hub.
Don't have enough space in your laptop bag for carrying a bulky USB hub? We recommend Anker Data Hub A7516011. You get four USB 3.0 ports on a thin and sleek body that is compact enough for you to carry it in your pocket.
The body may be small, but the build quality is extremely good. It has a sturdy body and cable that will definitely last a long, long time. The company sacrificed cable length at the expense of portability, which may be a drawback for some users. Anker Data Hub A7516011 weighs just an ounce with dimensions 261.6 x 76.2 x 25.4 cm.
Our previous recommendation is the most compact USB hub on our list, but it still has a USB connected dangling outside. If your only option is to carry the USB hub in the same compartment as your smartphone or laptop, the sharp USB connector could scratch and damage screens and laptop surfaces.
TP-Link UH400 4-Port USB Hub comes with a slot for storing the USB cable and connector. The size is compact enough to hold in your palm, but the cable is extremely short, so you need to keep it near your laptop. The sturdy ABS housing and PVC reinforced cable jacket will protect your USB hub from heat and accidental drops.
Gizga Essentials USB Hub 5 in 1 is the most affordable USB hub on our list. It has some excellent features and also some limitations. There are only three ports, all of them being USB 2.0, so you will only get 480 Mbps transfer speed.
It has a sturdy plastic body and a double-layer anti-interference USB cable. You also get an SD and micro SD card reader along with the three USB ports. This USB hub is extremely portable since it is only 10 cm long, 3.4 cm wide, and 1 cm thick. Looking for an affordable USB hub? Gizga Essentials USB Hub 5 in 1 is the best you can buy online.
QZ USB 3.1 Type C Hub is the most affordable USB 3.0 (also known as USB 3.1 Gen 1) hub on our list. It comes with four USB 3.0 ports on a compact housing, supporting transfer rates up to 5 Gbps.
The maximum power one port gets is 900mA, which may be sufficient to power some older smartphones, but not sufficient to fast-charge the newer ones. We could find reviews left by Mac users mentioning the good value for money this product offers.
Most USB hubs in the market are made of plastic. But it couldn't be any more durable than the aluminum body of ORICO USB 3.0 HUB. It also has a clip that allows you to fix it on your computer desk. Don't worry about the hub slipping off or damaging the desk surface.
The adjustable screw and the portion of the body that comes in contact with the desk have silicone pads to ensure extra grip and stability. There is a micro USB port on this USB hub, which can be used to supply extra power when you are running multiple high-power devices simultaneously.
Here is another affordable pick for those looking for a value-for-money product. The Portronics Mport 24 has a durable aluminum body and a body design that makes connecting devices convenient for users. The four USB 2.0 ports allow data transfer at the rate of 480 Mbps per second, but only if only one device is working at a time.
This is one of the main drawbacks of bus-powered USB hubs. The product comes with velcro straps so you can fix it firmly in one place, allowing you to connect devices without having to hold the hub with two hands. Customer reviews show that the cable length is too short, so only laptop users will find this USB hub useful.
Whether you are a student or a professional, a laptop and an external storage device are some things that you will need at some point in life. Below are the links to articles featuring the best laptops for college students, external SSD's, and external hard drives you can buy online in India. We have also included a comprehensive buying guide in every article to help you make the right choice.
We learned a lot while researching for this article. Hope you learned some new things too. Here is everything you need to know before you buy a USB hub. A self-powered one will need to be connected to the AC mains, so it can charge your devices and allow data transfer with no drops in performance.
If you are choosing a bus-powered USB hub, make sure that you pick one with USB 3.0 ports. You will get the maximum transfer speed the technology allows and also charge supported devices comparatively faster. Check the number of ports the USB hub has. Before that, count the number of devices you already have. Also, include the ones that you will buy in the future.
Author - Arun F Xaviour
No. 1: QZ | Active Powered USB 3.1 Hub | QZ-HB05
No. 2: Sabrent | 4-Port USB 3.0 Hub | HB-UM43
No. 3: PEATOP | 7 in 1 USB-C Hub
No. 4: ORICO | 7-Port USB3.0 Hub
No. 5: Anker | Data Hub | A7516011
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