May 12, 2022

Best USB Hub (2022) | ZDNet

A USB hub is a great way to expand the connectivity options of your desktop, laptop, or tablet computer. While many models simply have a large bank of USB 2.0/3.0 or USB-C ports, it’s possible to find units with numerous types of ports to connect a myriad of devices. You can even find USB hubs that support device charging and video output, making them closer to docking stations than just port extenders.

USB hubs have nearly universal compatibility, often working smoothly with Windows, Mac, Linux and ChromeOS devices, although there are system-specific models like the Kensington SD5750T; so before you buy, check that the USB hub you want will work with your computer. I’ve rounded up five of the best USB hubs available and broken down their features and connectivity to help you decide which one best suits your needs and budget.

Also: Best cheap USB hub: Add more ports to your PC or Mac

Kingston Nuclear

Best USB Hub

Kingston Nuclear

kingston

Number of Ports: 7 | USB-C: Yes | HDMI: Yes | USB 3.0: Yes | SD reader: Yes | Supports USB-C charging: Yes | PC connection: USB-C

It’s an almost perfect choice for a USB hub. It has 7 ports, including a USB-C power input for charging mobile devices and laptops. You can connect a second screen to your laptop or tablet with the HDMI port or quickly offload photos and videos with the microSD card reader slot. It is compatible with Windows, ChromeOS, and Mac devices, so even if you use different computers for different tasks, you won’t have to worry about connection issues. The aluminum outer shell is designed to protect delicate components from bumps and drops as well as magnetic fields that can corrupt data.

Advantages:

  • USB-C charging
  • 4K HDMI connection
  • SD card reader

The inconvenients:

  • Single USB-C charging port
  • No USB-C display output

UGREEN 9-in-1 USB Hub

Ideal for Apple devices

UGREEN 9-in-1 USB Hub

UVERT

Number of Ports: 9 | USB-C: Yes | HDMI: Yes | USB 3.0: Yes | SD reader: Yes | Supports USB-C charging: Yes | PC connection: USB-C

If your home office or workspace primarily uses Apple devices, the UGREEN 9-in-1 USB-C Hub is a great addition to your setup. It has USB-C data and power ports to quickly transfer files and charge your laptops and devices. It also has an SD card reader for offloading photos and videos for editing, a VGA port for connecting older monitors to your laptop, an HDMI connection for display support 4K and USB 3.0 ports for wired peripherals and storage devices. It even has an Ethernet port for wired Internet connections without having to be connected to a router. The cable that connects the device to your computer folds up neatly for more compact storage, while the aluminum enclosure helps dissipate waste heat more efficiently while fitting your Apple devices perfectly.

Advantages:

  • 4K HDMI output
  • USB-C charging
  • ethernet port

The inconvenients:

Wenter 11 Port USB Hub

Ideal for charging devices

Wenter 11 Port USB Hub

walk in

Number of Ports: 11 | USB-C: No | HDMI: No | USB 3.0: Yes | SD reader: No | Supports USB-C charging: No | PC connection: USB3.0

Having different types of connections in one hub is great, but if you need a simple way to keep all your peripherals and storage devices connected and charged, the Wenter 11-Port Hub is ideal. It has 7 USB 3.0 ports for connecting things like mice, keyboards, and thumb drives to your computer, as well as 4 USB ports for charging mobile devices, wireless peripherals, and laptops. It is compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux and ChromeOS with true plug-and-play operation: no complicated driver installation is required, just plug the hub into your computer and easily set up the perfect workstation. Each USB port has its own power switch, allowing you to reduce power consumption when not using a particular device. Each switch has a convenient LED indicator to let you know when the port is on or off.

Advantages:

  • Tons of ports
  • 4 charging ports
  • Individual power switches

The inconvenients:

  • No USB-C ports
  • Requires AC adapter

Satechi USB-C Multiport Adapter

Best all-rounder

Satechi USB-C Multiport Adapter

Satechi

Number of Ports: 11 | USB-C: Yes | HDMI: Yes | USB 3.0: Yes | SD reader: No | Supports USB-C charging: Yes | PC connection: USB-C

The Satechi Multiport Adapter is a great option for anyone looking to consolidate their computer accessories while increasing connectivity options. Not only does this hub have USB-C, USB 3.1, and HDMI ports, it also has a rear slot for an M.2 SATA SSD to turn the unit into a portable hard drive. The USB-C connection enables charging as well as data transfer, while the HDMI port enables 4K output at up to 60Hz. It’s compatible with both Mac and Windows operating systems, so as long as you configure the SSD, you won’t have to worry about connection issues.

Advantages:

The inconvenients:

  • Does not support NVMe M.2 SSD
  • No USB-C display output

Kensington SD5750T

Best for Surface users

Kensington SD5750T

Kensington

Number of Ports: 11 | USB-C: Yes | HDMI: No | USB 3.0: Yes | SD reader: Yes | Supports USB-C charging: Yes | PC connection: USB-C

If you’re a hardcore Microsoft Surface user, the Kensington SD5750T is designed specifically for your devices. It aims to be more than just a USB hub, allowing you to use it as a docking station. It has 11 ports: an SD card reader, Gigabit Ethernet, a 3.5mm audio jack, 3 USB 3.0 ports, 3 Thunderbolt 4 ports, and a Thunderbolt 4 host port for power, data, and video. Thunderbolt 4 ports not only enable data transfer speeds of up to 40 Gbps, but you can connect up to 2 external displays with 4K resolution or a single 8K display. It already has a super compact design, but if you really need desk space, you can mount the unit out of the way under your desk or behind your monitor. It also has security cable locks to prevent theft. The USB-C charging port delivers up to 90W of power for ultra-fast charging of devices and laptops.

Advantages:

  • Thunderbolt 4
  • Dual 4K output
  • 8K output

The inconvenients:

  • Only works with Microsoft Surface laptops

What is the best USB hub?

The best USB hub is the Kingston Nucleum, designed for all devices, with seven ports including SD, USB C, etc.

How did we choose these USB hubs?

Price aside, I tried to choose a variety of hubs to fit a myriad of use cases. It’s important to make sure that each USB hub on this list meets different needs. Although more budget-friendly options give you more connections, you won’t get features like individual power switches or multiple port types. And while high-end products can be expensive, the cost is backed up by the latest technology.

Which USB hub is right for you?

It is important to know how your peripherals and storage devices connect to your computer. If everything uses a USB 2.0/3.0 cable, a simple multiport hub will be best for you. If you need to charge a device, make sure your hub supports it via USB-C or 3.0. If your devices all use different types of connections, you’ll need a hub with matching ports.

What is a USB hub used for?

A USB hub is a simple and affordable way to expand the connectivity ports on your tablet, laptop or desktop computer. It plugs into a USB 3.0 or USB-C port, which then powers the hub’s USB ports. You can then connect wired peripherals like headsets, mice, and keyboards with external storage devices without having to rearrange your entire setup or drop a fortune on a new computer with more ports.

What is the difference between a USB splitter and a USB hub?

A USB splitter acts like a splitter for a headphone connection: it allows a single USB device to be connected to two different computers. This is useful for anyone who works on multiple desktop or laptop computers and needs to quickly transfer files from a flash drive to each computer, or who wants to control both computers with one mouse and keyboard. A USB hub, however, allows you to add more USB ports to your computer so you can connect more external storage devices or peripherals.

Can I plug a USB hub into another USB hub?

Yes. Unlike a power strip or surge protector, you can safely plug one USB hub into another without risking electrocution or damaging your devices. However, it will look like a tangled mess, so I suggest getting a USB hub with 10 or more ports if you need a lot of stuff plugged in.

Are there other USB hubs to consider?

There are tons of options for USB hubs. Here are a few other choices that I thought were great, but didn’t quite make the list: