Best USB hub (2022) | ZDNet

2022-05-28 10:53:16 By : Ms. Sally Kang

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A USB hub is a great way to expand your desktop, laptop, or tablet's connectivity options. While many models simply have a large bank of USB 2.0/3.0 or USB-C ports, it is possible to find units with many types of ports for connecting a myriad of devices. You can even find USB hubs that support device charging and video output, making them more akin to docking stations than simple port expansions. 

USB hubs have almost universal compatibility, often working with Windows, Mac, Linux, and ChromeOS devices without issues, though there are system-specific models out there like the Kensington SD5750T ; so before you buy, double-check to make sure the USB hub you want is going to work with your computer. I've gathered five of the best USB hubs available and broke down their features and connectivity to help you decide which is the best fit for your needs and budget.

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

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

This is 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 display to your laptop or tablet with the HDMI port or quickly offload photos and videos with the microSD card reader slot. It's 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 the delicate components from bumps and drops as well as magnetic fields that can corrupt data.

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 uses mostly Apple devices, the UGREEN 9-in-1 USB-C hub is a great addition to your setup. It features USB-C data and power ports for quickly transferring files and charging 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 4K display support, 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 tethered to a router. The cable that connects the device to your computer neatly folds away for more compact storage, while the aluminum case helps dissipate waste heat more efficiently while perfectly matching your Apple devices.

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

Having different kinds of connections in one hub is all well and good, but if you need a simple way to keep all of your peripherals and storage devices connected and charged, the Wenter 11-port hub is great. It features 7 USB 3.0 ports for connecting things like mice, keyboards, and flash drives to your computer as well as 4 USB ports for charging mobile devices, wireless peripherals, and laptops. It's compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, and ChromeOS with true plug-and-play operation: no complicated driver installation needed, 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 energy consumption when you're not using a particular device. Each switch has a handy LED indicator to let you know when the port is powered on or off.

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 who is 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 features a slot on the back for a SATA M.2 SSD to turn the unit into a portable hard drive. The USB-C connection allows for charging as well as data transfer, while the HDMI port allows for 4K output at up to 60Hz. It's compatible with both Mac and Windows operating systems, so as long as you configure the SSD correctly, you won't have to worry about connection issues.

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 die-hard 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, 3.5mm audio jack, 3 USB 3.0 ports, 3 Thunderbolt 4 ports, and a Thunderbolt 4 host port for power, data, and video. The Thunderbolt 4 ports not only allow data transfer speeds up to 40Gbps, 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 the desk space, you can mount the unit out of the way either 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 super-fast charging of devices and laptops. 

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

Aside from price, I tried to choose a variety of hubs to fit a myriad of use-cases. It's important to ensure that each USB hub on this list meets different needs. While more budget-friendly options give you more connections, you won't get features like individual power switches or multiple types of ports. And while the higher-end products may be on the pricey side, the cost is backed up by the latest technology.

It's 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, multi-port hub will be best for you. If you require device charging, make sure your hub supports it via either USB-C or 3.0. If your peripherals all use different kinds of connections, you'll want a hub with ports to match.

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

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 desktops or laptops and needs to quickly transfer files from a flash drive to each computer, or 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.

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

There are tons of options out there for USB hubs. Here are a few more picks that I thought were great, but didn't quite make the list: