USB hubs can be incredibly useful for multiple reasons, but how useful it is depends on a few different things. With a USB hub, you can get around issues like not having enough ports, or having USB C ports but having original USB mice or keyboards.
Not all USB Hubs are created equal, with there being a large variation of ports, speeds and unique/extra functionalities. This guide will help you separate the wheat from the chaff and get useful information that you’ll need to decide on the right USB hub for you.
What to Keep an Eye Out For
One of the best things about USB hubs that connect to computers/laptops as opposed to plug sockets is that storage devices inserted into one of the ports on the USB hub can transfer data to and from the computer/laptop.
The max speed at which the data can be transferred depends on a couple of factors, but the main one is the transfer speed USB hubs have.
Before buying a USB hub, it’s important to know how much power your power supply has, and how much is drawn from other devices. If you’re a Windows user, you’ll likely need to download something like USBDeview to find out how much power is available to your USB ports.
There’s no need to worry, USBDeview is freeware, so you won’t need to pay to download or use it.
For Mac OSX users it’s a bit simpler. You just need to go to system information, and from there you can find out the power available to each USB port. By finding out how much power is available to your ports, you’ll know what the maximum wattage your new USB hub will be able to have.
If you connect a USB device with a higher required wattage than the USB port has available, you could kill the port or start an electrical fire.
- Best Choice – Anker SuperSpeed
Once again, Anker have produced a 10-port hub to rival any other. It wouldn’t be surprising to see multiple Anker USB hubs tripping over each other to claim the title of best overall USB hub.
With 7 USB3.0 ports capable of data transfer speeds of 5gbps, you can rest assured you’ll be able to use this to transfer HD movies in seconds.
Unsurprisingly Anker have made this device compatible with Windows, Mac OS and Linux from earlier versions than the current ones, but to be sure your device is compatible, double check before purchasing.
- 7 x USB 3.0 (USB-A)
- 3 x PowerIQ USB charging ports
- 2.4Ghz wireless device compatible
- Max transfer speed 5Gbps
- Built-in surge protection
Anker USB 3.0 SuperSpeed 10-Port Data Hub Review
This USB hub has another trick up its sleeve that makes it more useful than the vast majority of others, PowerIQ. The PowerIQ function allows the 3 USB charging ports to charge at a much faster rate than other USB charging ports.
Normal charging ports charge at about 1Amp, whereas the PowerIQ USB ports charge at 2.1Amps, which is significantly faster. Also included is built-in surge protection and an added 2.6-foot USB3.0 cable.
- Simple and solid design
- Helps reduce power loads
- LED light indicator
- Heavy power adapter
- Premium Pick – Sabrent 10-Port
Sabrent brings 10 ports to the party, which for most people is more than enough. There’s a lot to love about this hub, including backwards compatibility with USB2.0 and USB1.1.
All the USB ports are type A, which means your peripherals and the vast majority of charging cables are compatible with this hub.
To add to its appeal, it’s completely set up for plug and play, meaning you don’t even have to wait for drivers to install because there aren’t any.
- 7 x USB 3.0 ports
- 3 x USB Charging ports
- USB Type – A
- USB 3.0 – Data transfer up to 5Gbps per port.
- Backwards compatible with USB 2.0 + 1.1
Sabrent 10-Port USB 3.0 Hub Review
The compact design along with all the features and benefits mentioned above make Sabrents USB hub a top contender for the number 1 spot. 7 of the 10 USB ports are USB 3.0, meaning they’re capable of a transfer speed of 5Gbps.
That’s a lot faster than the 480mbps of USB2.0. Also included is a 6.5foot AC Adapter, just in-case your computer/laptop doesn’t have the power to support it. A 2foot USB cable.
Although most people use either Windows or Mac OSX, even Linux users are able to use this USB hub to its full potential.
- Individual switch for each port
- Blue light indicator
- Plug and play
- Bulky design
- Best Value – HooToo 6-in-1
Primarily an Apple compatible product, the Hootoo 6-in-1 USB C Hub and Adapter has a surprising level of functionality that makes it highly desirable for Macbook, iMac and iPad users.
Beware though, make sure to check your model of Apple computer against the list of compatible devices, because some Apple computers aren’t compatible.
Surprisingly, it is compatible with a select few non-Apple products, but not many. The exclusivity of the product likely hurts sales, but it seems to be doing okay with an average of 4.5 stars on Amazon.
- 3 x USB 3.0 ports
- 4K HDMI port (4K @ 30Hz / 2K @ 60Hz)
- Reinforced cables
- EMI protection (protection against wireless interference)
- 6 layer circuit chips for heat protection
HooToo 6-In-1 USB C Hub and Adapter Review
Technically speaking, it’s surprisingly innovative. With EMI protection that guards against wireless interference, as well as 6-layer circuit chips to protect against overheating, Hootoo have definitely designed something their engineers can be proud of.
Other than Google’s Pixelbook and other C Port Chromebooks, this hub works with the Microsoft Lumia 950/950XL. A range of other products are only compatible for data transfer, but it’s not a straightforward list so make sure you’re lucky enough for your device to be on it before buying one.
- Works well with many device
- Well constructed
- Solid built
- Short cable
- Best Design – AmazonBasics 7-Port
When it comes to Amazon and technology products, they never disappoint. The Amazon Basics range provides plenty of fine products to improve your everyday experience with technology.
This being the first of two prime USB-based examples, the Basics 7 Port USB3.0 hub is capable of data transfer speeds of 5Gbps for 5 of the 7 ports. The remaining 2 ports are USB1.1, which is capable of 12Mbps. An AC adapter is also included to eliminate the need for USB powering.
- 5 x USB3.0 ports
- 2 x USB1.1 ports
- Speed is dependent on the compatibility with the ports of your device
- Asynchronous mechanism – Can send and receive data simultaneously
AmazonBasics 7-Port USB 3.0 Hub Review
There are plenty of great features to admire from this hub, but the fact that they include a USB3.0 (USB-A to Micro-USB) cable that’s 3feet long, you can see why it’s got such great value for money.
One of the most attractive qualities is the ability for asynchronous data transfer, which allows the hub to both send and receive data simultaneously.
Automatic connection and speed detection allows Amazon’s Basics Hub to detect what speed the host (your device) can transfer data at. After it’s detected the speed and connection of the host, it’ll match it up to 5gbps.
- Compact size
- Long cable
- Great design
- Bulky adapter
- Best Charging Technology – AUKEY USB 3.0
AUKEY have outdone themselves with this high-end USB hub, including a sleek and compact design that is simply gorgeous. There’s plenty to shout home about with this device, including early version compatibility for Windows, Mac OS and Linux.
To put just how early the earliest compatible versions are, with Windows compatibility stretching as far back as Windows XP, meaning it’s accessible to the vast majority of computing devices.
- Data Transfer speed 5Gbps
- Backwards compatible with all USB versions
- AiPower charging technology
AUKEY USB 3.0 Hub Review
AUKEY’s USB3.0 USB hub is a sight to behold, and an extra addition to the lovely style choices used for this device, the ports of the hub are colour coded.
The green hubs are the AiPower charging ports, packing 2.4Amps to charge any of your devices faster than any other hub. The blue ports are all USB3.0, meaning you’ll have a data transfer speed of 5Gbps.
For power economy, AUKEY’s USB hub has an on/off switch. It also includes a power adaptor, meaning if your computing device can’t facilitate the power it uses, then the adapter can help.
- Fast data transfer
- Works straight out of the box
- Durable built
- Not very good for charging
- Best in Compatibility – HooToo 9-Port
HooToo have created a 9-port USB hub that features an intelligent smart charging feature. With both android and iOS devices, it assesses the needed current for the fastest possible charging, then supplies the needed current to your mobile device.
It also supports hot-swap, which allows it to be plugged/unplugged safely while the computer/laptop you’re using it with is running.
- 7 x USB 3.0 port
- 2 x Fast charging USB ports
- Transfer a 1080p film in 10 seconds
- Backwards compatible with USB 2.0
- Automatic detection of your gadgets charging requirements for optimal charging speed
HooToo 9-Port USB 3.0 Hub Review
With plug and play compatibility, you won’t have to worry about downloading and installing any drivers, which is always a convenient perk. This hub is backwards compatible with USB2.0 technology, even though it operates at 10% of the speed of USB3.0.
The downside is that the 7 USB3.0 ports won’t charge the connected devices, and the 2 charging ports won’t transfer any data. Even still, it’s a high performing USB hub with plenty going for it.
- Desktop shortcut
- Plug and play
- Compatible with Mac
- Large adapter
- Best for Multitasking – Sabrent 13 Port
For the person who has way too many USB-powered devices. With 13 USB2.0 ports, there’s plenty of data that can be transferred at a semi-decent speed. It’ll take 10x longer than USB3.0 would, but if you’re a patient person, this could be for you.
It definitely doesn’t have the highest performance on the market, but if you’re looking for a low-priced, high value for money USB hub, look no further.
- 13 x USB 2.0 ports
- Up to 480Mbps
- Backwards compatible with USB 1.1
- Plug and play capability
- Hot-swap ability – safely plug in/remove USB devices while PC is running
Sabrent 13 Port High Speed USB 2.0 Hub Review
A good factor for the economy side of things is the switches alongside each port that let you turn them off when not in use, saving on power.
The most interesting thing about this hub is that you can daisy-chain up to 127 devices using this as the source hub to the computer/laptop. Be careful though, as daisy-chaining can be dangerous, not just by causing your computer/laptop to crash, but potentially even causing electrical fires.
- Great for multitasking
- Plug and play connectivity
- Compatible with most device
- Power cord is not very long
- Most Affordable – Anker 4-Port
Anker have long been in the business of providing gamers with top-quality products to give them the edge over those brave enough to use less than stellar products.
Their gaming mice are definitely something to behold, and they’ve definitely imbued the same kind of magic into this no-nonsense, stylish, unibody casing with just as much quality.
Plug and play capabilities are always a nice touch, and Anker have the same attention to detail you’d expect from top-shelf engineers.
All 4 ports are USB3.0, and it’s also compatible with much earlier versions of Windows, Mac OS and Linux than today’s versions. Included in the package when you buy with beautiful aluminium beast is a 2-foot USB3.0 cable.
- 4 x USB 3.0 ports
- 2.4Ghz transfer with wireless devices
- Includes heavy duty hook and loop strap
- Multi-protect feature
Anker 4-Port USB 3.0 Hub Review
The beauty alone is an admirable quality in such a utilitarian piece of technology. Also included in the design is multi-protect feature, which includes 10 different safety measures that protect the hub, cables and devices.
Not all USB hubs have wireless technology, but this one does and it manages an impressive 2.4GHz.
To add a cherry to this wonderful cake, this hub comes with a worry-free warranty that backs the product for 18 months, but it’s a typical manufacturer’s warranty that won’t cover things like water damage.
- Solid built
- Compact but powerful
- Comes with Velcro mount
- Angled ports
- Short cord length
Frequently Asked Questions: Best USB Hubs
Do I need a powered USB hub?
The short answer is no, however, here’s how to tell what type you need to buy:
Powered USB hub: powered USB hubs are used to connect devices that draw a significant amount of power for example, Printers, scanners and external hard drives.
Unpowered USB hub:
Unpowered hubs are used when you have several low powered devices to use, such as, chargers, flash drives, keyboard and mouse etc.
Can you connect a USB hub to another USB hub?
Yes, it’s called daisy-chaining. The problem with it is that the more hubs you daisy-chain, the higher the likelihood you’ll experience either performance problems with a laptop, you’ll kill a USB port (no longer functions at all), or you’ll cause an electrical fire.
Are USB hubs safe?
Physically, yes provided you don’t over-do it with daisy-chaining. Digitally, it’s only as safe as your security practices.
Digitally: There is a risk of file corruption during data transfer should the device receive a surge of power. Some USB hubs have built in surge protectors.
Physically: Physically USB hubs provide no cause for concern and most have overheat protection.
Does a USB hub reduce speed?
It depends. If your device is capable of USB3.0, which facilitates a speed of 5gbps, but go for a cheap USB hub that’s only capable of USB2.0 which is only capable of 480mbps, then you will be slowed down. That’s why we advise spending the extra $10-$20 to get a USB hub with USB3.0 technology.