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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.
What to Consider When Buying USB Hubs
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.
Your best bet is to consider what you want to add on to your computer. If you’re just looking to add an extra mouse, you won’t need to go crazy with multiple ports that range from HDMI to USB 3.0. However, if you’re looking to upgrade your WFH setup which includes a monitor, mouse and keyboard, it’s best to future-proof your situation with a USB hub that can handle all of your work accouterments.
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 four and 10 USB ports, all from the same Amazon listing. This particular hub has seven 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. Anker USB 3.0 Data Hub
For a very compact on-the-go option, this bus-powered hub from Anker features four 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.
3. WONKEGONKE 4 Port USB 3.0 Hub
If you’re looking for a sleek and simple option, this option from WONKEGONKE is stick-like in its design to offer a slim and easy to transport option for travel. It has four total ports: three on the side and one on the end. The entire unit is slightly over a quarter of an inch thick, making it a great option for taking on the go. Three of the ports are USB 3.0, which offers faster transfer speeds compared with USB 2.0, although there is a 2.0 there as well.
Pros: Sleek and highly portable option. USB 3.0 for faster transfer speeds.
Cons: Can potentially interfere with Bluetooth or WiFi, causing the user to need to reconnect.
4. Sabrent USB Hub 3.0
If you’re looking for a sleek option for your desk, this portable hub has a triangular shape that sits upright on the desk, preventing it from moving too much when multiple devices are plugged in. It comes in silver or white to match contemporary laptop or desktop styles. It has four USB 3.0 ports for your devices, plus one on the side to connect it to your computer. The cable is also included. The detachable cable makes this a great option because if the cable breaks, you won’t have to replace the entire unit.
Pros: Sleek desktop option. Utilizes USB 3.0. Compact design with 4-in-1 option
Cons: Unplugging one device can occasionally interfere with the others.
5. UGREEN USB C Hub
This slim and portable USB hub has a range of features. In addition to its three 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 three USB 3.0 ports. Plug and play design.
Cons: Cord is short. USB-C limits device compatibility.
6. Anker USB C Hub
USB-C is quickly becoming dominant, with some newer laptops doing away with USB-A ports altogether. If that’s the case for you, then this five-in-one adapter is a good option. It has a variety of port options, making it a good pick if you expect a lot from your laptop. There’s an HDMI port, three USB 3.0 ports and even an Ethernet port. The USB-C cable is braided, helping to reduce wear and tear. Plus, the ultra-sleek design makes it great for taking on the go.
Pros: Slim design, good option for newer laptops with USB-C ports. Uses USB 3.0. Features other ports like HDMI and Ethernet.
Cons: Can get somewhat hot.
7. Targus 4-Port USB 2.0 Hub
Targus is a top brand for tech accessories, and this simple and affordable USB hub is a great option for expanding the USB ports on your laptop. It has four USB ports, so it’s great for expanding to a few basic accessories like a wireless mouse and external flash drives. It’s also lightweight and compact, making it easy to take on the go.
Pros: Lightweight and compact option from a trusted brand. Easy plug and play design.
Cons: Uses USB 2.0, unlike some which have USB 3.0.