Last updated: September 10, 2020

How we pick our products

14Products analyzed

21Hours invested

7Studies researched

81Comments collected

More and more laptops have a compact, lightweight, and highly transportable design. But these models tend to get rid of several of their input options. In fact, it is becoming uncommon for computers to offer the four ports that they all featured just a few years ago.

Fortunately for us, technological innovations lead to the appearance of new products that fill the gap left by the constant search for portability and minimalism. In the following guide, we will introduce you to the very best USB hubs available out there and how to identify the right one for you. That way, you can enjoy all the peripherals you need at the same time.

Key Facts

  • USB hubs are devices that integrate several ports to allow the simultaneous connection of various peripherals. While most only include USB ports, you can also find models that offer other types of input.
  • There are different kinds of USB hubs: they can be passive or active, depending on their type of power supply. You can also identify them based on the number of ports they have.
  • The number of ports and the price of the product aren’t the only factors to take into account when buying your USB hub. There are several other criteria that will influence your final decision, depending on your use of it. These aspects will include the types of ports, data transmission, type of power supply, or portability.

Our Selection: The Best USB Hubs on the U.S. Market

In the section below, you will discover our very own selection of the best USB hubs currently on the market. We have briefly detailed the main characteristics and functionalities of each model so that you can compare them to get an idea of what’s out there. You may even find the USB hub you’ve been looking for. Are you ready?

Best-Selling USB Hub

With literally thousands of positive reviews and high ratings, this affordable USB hub by Sabrent is a favorite among online shoppers. Featuring a total of four USB 3.0 ports, this plug-and-play device is extremely compact and, therefore, ideal for traveling. Compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux systems, it comes with individual power switches for each port, so you’re never wasting energy you don’t need.

Most Versatile USB Hub

The space-grade aluminum design of FlePow’s USB hub is certainly attractive, but it is its versatility that most stands out. Incredibly portable due to its minimal size, it features six different ports that include USB 3.0 ports, SD card readers, and even a 4K HDMI port for all your multimedia needs. Whether you leave it on your desk or take it around with you, this USB hub is a top-of-the-line device when it comes to connectivity.

Best Budget-Friendly USB Hub

This basic and extremely cheap USB hub is Amazon’s Choice in the category. AmazonBasics’ products are known for their affordability and reliability, and this device isn’t any different if you believe thousands of past users. Featuring four USB 2.0 ports – three on one side and one on the other, it is a lightweight, plug-and-play model that is more than enough if you simply need to increase the connectivity options of your computer.

Best High-Capacity USB Hub

Sometimes having four USB ports just isn’t enough, and this Anker USB hub is ideal for you if this is your case. Integrating a total of 10 different ports – seven of which are USB 3.0, it comes with the plug-and-play technology. In addition, the remaining three ports operate with the manufacturer’s very own PowerIQ advanced charging technology to allow you to charge up to three devices simultaneously.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About USB Hubs

It’s impossible to know everything, and your knowledge in terms of technology may not be extensive. If that’s the case, you may find yourself a little lost among the wide array of options on the market, each one with distinct features and cost. This is where we come in! In the following section, we will answer the most frequently asked questions regarding USB hubs to help you make the right purchase.

Human hand is putting the USB drive to USB hub

A USB hub is a device with several USB connection inputs to expand the number of ports available.
(Source: Chainarong Chokrung: 80650397/ 123rf.com)

What is a USB hub exactly?

This electronic device features several USB connection inputs to expand the number of ports available. That way, you can connect various peripherals simultaneously. These devices generally integrate both USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports, but they can also include HDMI and USB-C ports, as well as micro SD slots, among others.

What is the plug-and-play technology?

This type of technology allows any computer system to configure itself automatically. That means that it doesn’t require the installation of drivers or software, and you won’t have to worry about configuration parameters since the device will identify itself automatically. Nowadays, most systems are configured this way.

What this technology does is make life much easier for those of us who don’t know much about computers. That way, you can connect a device and use it immediately without having to waste time on its configuration. Your computer also needs to integrate the plug-and-play technology for it to work.

Hub-USB

Data transmission with USB hubs is generally measured in Mbps (Megabits per second).
(Source: Kudoh: 94649734/ 123rf.com)

What is the difference between USB 2.0 and 3.0?

The acronym USB stands for Universal Serial Bus, and the difference between the two types lies in the data transmission speed. The USB 2.0 has a rate that can reach up to 60 Mbps (Megabits per second), and it is gradually being replaced by the USB 3.0, whose performance is ten times faster (600 Mbps).

The former works well with peripherals such as keyboards, mice, speakers, or even USB sticks. However, with devices or files that require faster read and write speeds, such as HD movies, USB 3.0 is your go-to. The latter is compatible with USB 2.0 devices, but the other way around isn’t true.

How can I configure my USB hub?

While these devices are generally equipped with the plug-and-play technology, some USB hubs give you the opportunity to customize how the ports operate. You can, for instance, adjust the amperage or turn them on and off. Note that you will have to install specific drivers and customize the configuration parameters in order to do so.

Hub-USB

Don’t overload your USB hub with devices. This could cause it to overheat, damaging or breaking a component in the process.
(Source: Jipen: 103548179/ 123rf.com)

What types of USB hubs are there?

First of all, we identify two types according to the number of ports the device includes. Single-port hubs offer up to four ports (usually all USB), while multi-port hubs feature at least eight ports and sometimes include different types of connections. These may be HDMI or DisplayPort, for example.

Single-port hubs Multi-port hubs
Ports Up to four ports Numerous ports
Disadvantage Their functions are much more limited. They consume more energy (when active).
Advantage You can generally transport them more easily. They allow you to connect many peripherals, sometimes of different types.

A USB hub is either active or passive, depending on the type of power supply it uses. Passive models simply act as a physical connection link and do not allow you to manage data traffic. They do not consume energy. Active USB hubs, on the other hand, require power because they amplify the signal that passes through them or the other devices connected to the different ports.

What are the best manufacturing materials?

Since electrical energy passes through these devices, they will generate heat. This overheating can cause some components to melt, which is why the manufacturing materials are fundamental. We strongly advise you to opt for a high-quality product, or you will end up spending more when your USB hub breaks down.

In that regard, you should choose a model that favors cooling and whose materials can dissipate heat. This means that you should prefer USB hubs made from aluminum rather than plastic. Make sure that its structure is sturdy so that it is resistant to shocks, especially if you plan on carrying it with you everywhere you go.

Here are some useful tips to extend the life of your USB hub:

  • Do not overload it with devices. This will prevent it from overheating, which can cause a component to break down.
  • Choose quality materials. Cheap products always end up costing you more.
  • Keep the dust away. Your device will quickly overheat if its ventilation system is blocked.
  • Choose shock-resistant materials. This is particularly important for clumsy people and those that often travel with their USB hub.

Shopping Criteria

The price isn’t the only relevant factor when we buy any product. Making great savings on a device that doesn’t meet your needs is completely pointless. Similarly, investing more than you should on a sophisticated model with functionalities that you will never use doesn’t make sense either. In the following section, we will delve in the key criteria to consider while making your purchase:

Number of Ports

You might think that the more ports your USB hub offers, the better, since you will be able to connect more devices simultaneously. However, you also have to keep in mind that the power is divided among the different connections. That means that your device will consume more energy and therefore cost more.

This is why we recommend you buy a USB hub that is tailored to your personal needs. If you have a compact laptop with too few connectivity options and only want an extra couple of ports, you can opt for a single-port model (four ports). If you need a larger number and variety of ports, on the other hand, you must choose a multi-port USB hub.

smart mobile phone charge battery with USB hub

Your computer must also integrate the plug-and-play technology for it to work.
(Source: Maturee Moonhirun: 108814846/ 123rf.com)

Variety of Ports

Many products available on the market offer more input types than simply USB ports. As we mentioned earlier, there are two different kinds of USB: 2.0 and 3.0. In addition, you can find USB hubs that include USB-C to charge your cell phone, memory card slots, or HDMI input, to name but a few.

Note that the increased functionality of USB hubs that integrate different types of input, as well as their rarity on the market, make them more expensive devices. That being said, we encourage you to go for it if you need or find them more useful. Anything that simplifies your life is worth investing in!

Design & Portability

Portability goes hand in hand with the size and weight of the USB hub. If you only want to use your device at home, you can easily choose a multi-port model that is powered by a cable plugged into the outlet. These products tend to be heavier.

If you constantly transport your device from home to work, take it on vacation or business trips, you will undoubtedly prefer choosing a more compact USB hub, with reduced dimensions and weight. As you can see from our selection of products, these aspects can change dramatically from one model to the next, so pay close attention to this.

Power Supply

USB hubs can be passive, meaning they won’t need to be plugged into an outlet or have their own power supply since they are mere physical connection points that don’t consume electricity. This is often the case for models that have a fewer number of ports or more basic functionalities.

Active USB hubs, on the other hand, need to be connected to a power outlet, as they amplify the signal and pass it on to the other ports. Some models come with a power cord in case the used ports require a lot of energy. As you may have noticed, the USB hubs with the highest power consumption need to be continuously plugged in.

Data Transmission

The data transmission of USB hubs is typically measured in Mbps (Megabits per second). Pick a model based on the devices you want to connect to it on a regular basis. The most basic devices on the market will only offer USB 2.0 connectivity, which allows you to meet your needs at an affordable price if you don’t require high transmission capacity.

If you do need a higher transmission capacity, however, you should opt for a USB hub that integrates USB 3.0 ports. As we stated earlier, it is also compatible with USB 2.0. That way, you won’t have to worry about not having enough capacity for reading and writing data. Remember that USB 3.0 is ten times more powerful than its predecessor, the USB 2.0.

Summary

As you now know, choosing the right USB hub can be much more difficult than you originally thought. Of course, there are very basic models that consist of a few USB ports and do not offer any other functionality. That being said, you also have a world of options if you want to go a little further or need something a little more sophisticated.

Finding your way through this ocean of models is challenging, which is why you should consider the devices you have and what you want to use them for. In order to buy the best option for you, don’t forget to evaluate the information and criteria we have detailed throughout our article. We hope that we have helped you in your quest for the perfect USB hub.

If you found this shopping guide useful and informative, feel free to leave us a comment in the section below. We’ll be happy to get back to you as soon as possible. You can also share this article on your social media with your friends and family!

(Source of featured image: Vladdon: 117263687/ 123rf.com)

Why you can trust me?

Brett Holmes Technology Geek
Brett is a keen observer of the latest technology trends and knows his way around the industry because he runs an electronics store. He writes about it in his spare time and wants to help others learn more about the technology industry.