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The Best USB-C Hubs For Every Use: Reviewed and Ranked

Are you frustrated by the lack of ports on your sleek new laptop? While the transition to USB-C is a clear upgrade in terms of speed and versatility, it often means sacrificing the variety of ports we‘re used to. Thankfully, a high-quality USB-C hub can solve all your port problems in one convenient accessory.

As a computer expert passionate about the latest digital technology, I‘ve thoroughly tested and ranked the best USB-C hubs for every type of user. Whether you need a hub for travel, gaming, creative work, or you‘re on a tight budget, I‘ve got you covered with my top picks. Let‘s dive in and find the perfect USB-C hub for you!

What is a USB-C Hub and Why Do You Need One?

A USB-C hub is a device that plugs into the USB-C port on your computer (or tablet/phone) and provides a variety of additional ports in a single, convenient accessory. It essentially acts as a central connectivity station so you don‘t need to use up all your USB-C ports or buy new cables with USB-C connectors.

The main benefits of using a USB-C hub include:

  1. Increased port selection – Transform a single USB-C port into multiple USB-A ports, SD card slots, HDMI, Ethernet, and more.

  2. Streamlined cable management – Rather than having various dongles and adapters plugged in, a hub consolidates them into one hub.

  3. Charging and data transfer – Many USB-C hubs offer pass-through charging so you can power your laptop and connected devices simultaneously. USB-C‘s Power Delivery and Thunderbolt technology also enables incredibly fast data transfer speeds.

  4. Enhanced productivity – With more ports available, you can connect all the peripherals you need to get work done like external monitors, storage drives, a mouse and keyboard, and wired internet.

So if you‘re looking to expand the connectivity of your USB-C equipped computer, a USB-C hub is an essential accessory. But with so many options out there, which one is right for you? Read on for my top recommendations.

Things to Consider When Choosing a USB-C Hub

Before we get into my specific USB-C hub picks, let‘s go over some key factors and features to look for when evaluating different options:

Port selection – Think about what you‘ll be connecting most often, and make sure the hub has the appropriate ports. Common options include:

  • USB-A for connecting older USB devices
  • HDMI or DisplayPort for external monitors
  • SD card slots for photographers/videographers
  • Ethernet for wired internet
  • 3.5mm audio jack

Power Delivery (PD) – To charge your laptop and connected devices via the hub, look for Power Delivery. The higher the wattage, the more power it can provide. 60-100W is ideal for larger laptops.

Data transfer speed – For shuffling large files around, choose a hub with fast data speeds. USB 3.1 Gen 2 provides transfer speeds up to 10 Gbps. Thunderbolt 3 is even faster at 40 Gbps.

Portability – If you‘ll be traveling with the hub, choose one with a slim, lightweight design. Some even come with a carrying case. For a permanent desk setup, portability is less critical.

Compatibility – Make sure the hub is compatible with your specific computer model and operating system. Some hubs have unique features like an Ethernet port that only work on certain systems.

Durability – Since the hub will likely be plugged in most of the time, choose one with durable construction. Look for reinforced cables and premium materials like aluminum.

Now that you know what to look for in a USB-C hub, here are my top recommendations for every type of user:

Best Overall: EZQuest USB-C Multimedia Hub

For most people, the EZQuest USB-C Multimedia Hub provides the best combination of ports, performance, and price. It packs an impressive array of ports into a sleek, compact design that‘s easy to take on the go.

Ports include:

  • 1 USB-C PD (100W)
  • 1 HDMI (4K@30Hz)
  • 3 USB-A 3.0
  • 1 USB-C data
  • SD & microSD slots
  • Gigabit Ethernet

The EZQuest really shines with its 100W Power Delivery, allowing you to charge even power-hungry laptops at full speed. The Ethernet port is also great for those who need the reliability of wired internet.

In my testing, the EZQuest performed flawlessly, with fast data transfer speeds and a stable connection. I had no issues daisy chaining a second monitor via HDMI. The aluminum casing feels very high quality.

The only minor downside is the lack of a headphone jack, but that‘s not a dealbreaker for most. For around $70, the EZQuest USB-C Multimedia Hub is a fantastic all-around choice combining performance, portability, and value.

Best for Power Users: CalDigit TS3 Plus

If you need maximum performance and an expansive port selection, the CalDigit TS3 Plus is hands-down the best option. It‘s pricey at around $300, but offers an unrivaled combination of ports and power:

Ports include:

  • 2 Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps)
  • 1 USB-C PD (87W)
  • 1 DisplayPort
  • 5 USB-A (2 charging, 2 5Gbps, 1 480Mbps)
  • SD card slot (UHS-II)
  • Digital optical audio (S/PDIF)
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • Analog audio in & out

With a strong 87W of power delivery, the TS3 Plus can easily charge a 15-inch MacBook Pro while also powering your other devices. Dual Thunderbolt 3 ports allow for insanely fast 40Gbps data transfer and the ability to connect dual 4K monitors at 60Hz.

I tested the TS3 Plus with a variety of devices and it didn‘t flinch. Transfer speeds were the fastest of any hub I tried. The SD card slot in particular is extremely fast with support for UHS-II speeds.

Build quality on the TS3 Plus is top notch. The aluminum enclosure is sleek and solid and stays firmly planted on your desk. A handy on/off switch on the back lets you turn off all your peripherals with one button.

While expensive, the TS3 Plus is a dream hub for creatives, programmers, and other power users who want the best performance. If you need maximum speed and lots of connectivity, the TS3 Plus delivers.

Best 2-in-1 Laptop Stand + Hub: Twelve South StayGo

If you want to elevate both your USB-C port selection and your posture, the Twelve South StayGo is a clever 2-in-1 device combining a laptop stand and USB-C hub.

On the hub front, it offers a well-rounded port selection:

Ports include:

  • 1 USB-C PD (85W)
  • 1 HDMI (4K@30Hz)
  • 3 USB-A (2 USB 3.0, 1 USB 2.0)
  • SD & microSD slots
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • 3.5mm audio jack

85W of Power Delivery is enough to charge most laptops, and the variety of ports should have you covered for all your common peripherals. I like the inclusion of an audio jack for headphones or speakers.

But the StayGo‘s real differentiating feature is the laptop stand functionality. It provides an ergonomic tilt for your laptop, raising the screen height to a more comfortable viewing position. As someone who spends hours per day hunched over a laptop, this made a huge difference in my neck and shoulder comfort.

When you need to hit the road, the StayGo quickly folds down into a slim package. A nice touch is the optional "desktop" and "travel" cables which let you choose a short 1ft cable for your desk or a longer 6ft cable for more flexibility.

Build quality is excellent, with a sturdy aluminum design. My only wish is that the laptop stand was height adjustable for even better ergonomics. But if you‘re looking to improve your laptop ergonomics and port selection in one fell swoop, the StayGo is a very compelling option.

Best for Nintendo Switch: GENKI Covert Dock

The Nintendo Switch is an amazing portable gaming machine, but its included dock leaves much to be desired. Enter the GENKI Covert Dock – a pocket-sized USB-C hub that turns your Switch into a portable gaming setup.

Ports include:

  • 1 USB-C PD (30W)
  • 1 HDMI (1080p@60Hz)
  • 1 USB-A 3.1

While it has a limited port selection compared to other USB-C hubs, the GENKI Covert Dock includes everything you need for gaming on the big screen. I love how the slim design lets you easily pack it with your Switch for gaming on the go.

In my testing, the Covert Dock worked perfectly, both in docked mode with my TV and as a USB hub for connecting controllers and other accessories. The 30W of Power Delivery was able to fast charge my Switch as well.

Emulating the look and feel of the Switch, the Covert Dock is also one of the most attractive USB-C hubs I‘ve seen. The build quality is excellent and it feels very durable.

While you can find cheaper third-party Switch docks, the GENKI Covert Dock is worth the premium for its reliable performance, thoughtful design, and portability. If you want to get the most out of your Switch, the Covert Dock is a fantastic addition.

Best Budget Pick: Anker PowerExpand+ 7-in-1 USB-C Hub

You don‘t have to spend a ton to get a great USB-C hub. The Anker PowerExpand+ 7-in-1 offers a versatile port selection and solid performance at an affordable price point.

Ports include:

  • 2 USB-A (5Gbps)
  • 1 USB-C PD (85W)
  • 1 HDMI (4K@30Hz)
  • SD card slot
  • microSD card slot
  • Gigabit Ethernet

85W of Power Delivery is very impressive for a budget hub, and allows you to charge most USB-C laptops at full speed. The HDMI port supports 4K monitors, although only at a 30Hz refresh rate.

Anker is known for their high-quality charging accessories, and the PowerExpand+ is no exception. The matte black plastic has a nice soft touch feel and seems durable. There‘s a handy LED to indicate when it‘s powered on.

In my usage, the PowerExpand+ worked reliably for charging my MacBook Pro, transferring data, and connecting a 4K display. I did notice the hub gets a bit warm under heavy usage, but never concerningly hot.

The compact design is perfect for travel. You can easily toss it in your laptop bag and have a variety of ports at the ready.

At around $35, the Anker PowerExpand+ is an excellent value. It covers all the essentials most users need, with quality construction and reliable performance. If you want a affordable, no-nonsense USB-C hub, this is my top budget pick.

Other USB-C Hubs to Consider

While the above USB-C hubs are my top recommendations, there are a few other quality options worth mentioning depending on your needs:

Best for iPad Pro: HyperDrive 6-in-1 USB-C Hub for iPad Pro
If you want to expand the capability of your iPad Pro, this hub adds 6 useful ports in a sleek design that matches the iPad aesthetic. HDMI, USB-A, SD, microSD, 3.5mm audio, and 60W PD.

Best for 2+ displays: CalDigit Element Hub
With the CalDigit Element Hub, you can connect up to 3 additional displays to your laptop via the 3 Thunderbolt 4 ports. Pricey, but unmatched for multi-display setups.

Best for Ethernet: Belkin USB-C Hub with Gigabit Ethernet
If your main priority is a reliable wired internet connection, this Belkin hub is a great pick with a high-quality Ethernet port. Also has HDMI and 2 USB-A ports.

How to Choose the Right USB-C Hub for You

With such a wide variety of USB-C hubs available, it can feel overwhelming to choose the right one. But by considering a few key factors, you can narrow down the field to the best options for you.

First, consider your budget and how much you‘re willing to spend. USB-C hubs range from basic $30 models up to $300+ for advanced docking stations. Knowing your budget will help you focus your search.

Next, think about your specific port needs. Make a list of all the devices and accessories you use regularly, and ensure the hub has the appropriate ports. For example, photographers will want SD card slots, while multi-display users should look for HDMI or DisplayPort.

If you‘ll be using the hub to charge your laptop, pay attention to the Power Delivery (PD) rating, measured in watts. Higher performance laptops like the 16-inch MacBook Pro require around 96W, while smaller ultrabooks may only need 30W. Choose a hub that matches or exceeds your laptop‘s wattage.

Data transfer speed is another important consideration, particularly for those working with large files like video. If you frequently transfer data, choose a hub with fast USB 3.1 Gen 2 speeds (up to 10 Gbps). For maximum performance, Thunderbolt 3 offers an even faster 40 Gbps transfer rate.

Finally, consider the portability and durability of the hub. Frequent travelers will want to choose a lightweight, compact hub with a sturdy build quality. For those who will mostly use the hub at a desk, portability is less of a concern.

By evaluating your budget, port needs, charging and data requirements, and portability, you can select the USB-C hub that will best meet your needs and elevate your computing experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the difference between a USB-C hub and a docking station?

A: USB-C hubs and docking stations are very similar, with docking stations typically offering more ports and power delivery. Docking stations are usually meant to stay on your desk, while hubs prioritize portability. But overall, the terms are largely interchangeable.

Q: How do I know if a USB-C hub will be compatible with my laptop?

A: Most USB-C hubs will work with any USB-C equipped laptop, but it‘s always a good idea to check the manufacturer‘s specifications to ensure compatibility. Some hubs have specific system requirements for certain features like Ethernet or Power Delivery.

Q: Can I charge my laptop through a USB-C hub?

A: Yes, as long as the hub has a USB-C port with Power Delivery (PD). The wattage required depends on your specific laptop, but 60-100W is common for most laptops. Make sure the hub has a high enough wattage for your needs.

Q: Are USB-C hubs safe to use?

A: Yes, as long as you choose a reputable brand with good reviews. Avoid very cheap, generic hubs as they may not have sufficient shielding or heat dissipation. Stick to trusted brands like Anker, Belkin, and CalDigit.

Q: Can I connect multiple monitors to a USB-C hub?

A: Many USB-C hubs allow for dual monitors, either through multiple display outputs like HDMI ports or via Thunderbolt 3 daisy chaining. For more than 2 monitors, look for a Thunderbolt 3 docking station specifically designed for multiple displays.

I hope this in-depth guide has helped you understand the different types of USB-C hubs available and narrow down the best options for your needs. By selecting a high-quality hub with the ports you need, you can dramatically expand the capability of your laptop and create a more powerful, efficient setup. Happy hubbing!