From wireless headphones to cameras and external hard drives, USB devices are everywhere. But many laptop makers seem to be slimming down their USB port offerings. It might seem like a necessary compromise for smaller, lighter laptops, but that doesn’t mean you need to pick and choose which devices you’ll be able to use on a given day. USB hubs are the simple solution to making sure you have ample ports for all of your devices.
There are two major kinds of USB hubs, and the kind you choose will come down to what you need your hub for. Bus-powered hubs draw power from the host computer through the USB port. Self-powered hubs rely on a power adapter, such as an AC wall plug. Bus-powered hubs are smaller and more portable. By design, they offer fewer ports and are better suited for a computer mouse or hard drive, rather than for charging devices. Self-powered hubs offer more ports and can support more energy-thirsty devices.
Whether you just need to plug in a couple of devices, or you need a lot of ports, we’ve rounded up some of the best USB hubs out now.
1. Sabrent 7-Port USB 3.0 Hub
Sabrent offers hubs with between 4 and 10 USB ports, all from the same Amazon listing. This particular hub has 7 hubs and relies on a power adapter. The best feature is that each port has a corresponding power switch. That means you have some of the devices running and others off, and the LED indicators will let you know whether or not a device is on.
Pros: Affordable option from one of the top USB hub brands. Each port has a corresponding power switch. Plug and play, no software needed.
Cons: LED indicators are dim, so it may be hard to see when a device is on or not.
2. HooToo USB C Hub
This slim and portable USB hub has a range of features. In addition to its 3 USB 3.0 ports, it has an SD card reader and even a 4K HDMI port. It connects via USB-C, which means it won’t work for some older devices. However, if you’re looking for a travel-friendly and multifunctional device for your MacBook or Chromebook, this is a great option.
Pros: Includes an SD card reader and an HDMI port, in addition to 3 USB 3.0 ports. Plug and play design.
Cons: Cord is short. USB-C limits device compatibility.
3. Anker USB 3.0 Data Hub
For a very compact on the go option, this bus-powered hub from Anker features 4 USB hubs and one USB cable. The ports and cable are USB 3.0, for ultra-fast data transfer speeds. The cable is 7.8 inches, so it’s an ample length. The unit itself is only 4.2 inches by 1.2 inches, making it easy to take with you.
Pros: Very slim and compact, doesn’t require a power adapter.
Cons: Not intended to be used for charging devices.