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Search Wirecutter For: Search Reviews for the real world Browse Close. Browse Close. After 120 hours of doing research, consulting with electrical engineers, and testing hubs, we determined that the is the best USB hub for most people. It’s compact and reliable, and it has well-placed ports aplenty. In our tests, it rose above the competition mainly because of its usability and design: Compared with most of the hubs we tested, it’s smaller and equipped with more ports, and those ports are easy to get to. It also has three high-speed charging ports, something our readers told us they wanted.
The has seven upward-facing USB 3.0 data ports, with a helpful LED indicator for each; it also has three 2.4-amp power ports for charging power-hungry devices like iPads. As a bonus, it’s aesthetically inoffensive—it doesn’t look like a greatest hit of ugly ’90s technology, unlike some of the other hubs we tested. Much of the competition has side-facing ports that are too close together to allow for simultaneous use, or make USB plugs and devices stick out from the sides, taking up space on your desk. A USB 3.0 hub is for anyone who has a computer with at least one USB 3.0 port and either wants more ports or wants those ports in a more-accessible place. Many laptops have only one or two USB 3.0 ports; many desktop computers have USB ports in difficult-to-reach locations.
This guide currently focuses on traditional, rectangular USB-A connectors. But USB-C ports are becoming more common on computers, phones, and other devices. While the new standard has yet to supplant the legacy USB-A port that all of these hubs use, new USB-A hubs seem to have stopped coming, and older models are getting discontinued without replacements. If you’re looking for accessories for your USB-C device, check out. If your computer doesn’t have enough USB 3.0 ports, or if you want a more-convenient place to plug in your USB 3.0 hard drive or flash drive, you should consider a USB 3.0 hub. If you have a computer with USB 3.0 ports but a slow USB 2.0 hub, you should consider upgrading, as you’ll see significantly faster transfer speeds across all your devices with a new hub.
If you need a dedicated charging port for your smartphone or iPad—and you’d rather not use —or if you’re experiencing dropped connections or other undesirable behaviors with connected devices, you should upgrade to one of our picks. What makes a great USB hub. We surveyed more than 700 readers and added the results of our own research to come up with the criteria for choosing the best USB hubs.
A great USB hub must have USB 3.0 ports and should have dedicated power. It needs to be reliable, practically designed, compact, and (for portable hubs) light. LED indicators for each port and a decent warranty are also useful. USB 3.0 hubs tend to be more expensive than USB 2.0 hubs, and the 3.0 standard has. Still, we chose to focus on USB 3.0 hubs, because the USB 2.0 standard is ancient—it was introduced back in April 2000, while USB 3.0 debuted in November 2008—and many times slower than 3.0. For example, our transfers files at about 150 megabytes per second on a USB 3.0 connection, but on USB 2.0 it maxes out at just 40 MB/s—if you think you’ll ever want to plug USB 3.0–capable external hard drives or flash drives into a hub for data transfer, you’ll want the extra speed that a USB 3.0 hub provides. Using a dedicated power cord or adapter is a smart idea if you don’t want to risk accidentally corrupting everything on your hard drive.
Dedicated power is a must-have for most hubs—but not for all of them. (More on the kind that don’t require it in a moment.) To explain why, we first need to talk about how power flows through USB hubs. According to, each USB 3.0 port must provide 900 milliamps of current at 5 volts, or 4.5 watts. If you have a four-port USB 3.0 hub powered solely by your computer’s USB 3.0 port (in other words, without a dedicated power cord or adapter), that means you theoretically have four devices running on the amount of power usually provided to one.
This arrangement can lead to devices losing power and disconnecting improperly from the computer, which can cause drive corruption and data loss. However, it’s important to recognize that this theoretical setup has a lot of flexibility. The 900-milliamp-current requirement for USB 3.0 ports is a minimum rather than a fixed level, and manufacturers often provide more power to their hubs’ ports.
The power consumption of devices also varies wildly based on the kind of device and what you’re doing with it at a given moment. For example, in its user manual for our top-pick hub, Anker provides the following estimates of power consumption by device: A mouse consumes about 100 milliamps, a keyboard uses a maximum of 500 milliamps, and a portable USB 3.0 hard drive consumes a maximum of 900 milliamps. Those are very generous estimates, intended to encourage caution so that you don’t accidentally overload your hub. Devices generally draw the most power when you first plug them into the hub and while transferring data, but very few draw the theoretical maximum, especially for extended periods.
Still, using a dedicated power cord or adapter is a smart idea if you don’t want to risk accidentally corrupting everything on your hard drive; and for a USB hub with more than four ports, a dedicated power cord or adapter is an absolute must. (It’s not entirely necessary for a travel-friendly four-port USB hub, but an unpowered setup requires caution to avoid having devices trying to draw more power than your laptop’s USB 3.0 port can give. We cover this topic in more detail.) Beyond minimum power, we know from our research on that people prefer ports that can charge their phones and tablets more quickly; an informal Twitter survey of readers confirmed this.
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So we looked for hubs with high-speed charging ports, a feature that requires external AC power, and with the exception of portable hubs, we ended up focusing on powered models. With those power requirements in mind, we eliminated any USB hubs without enough juice to fully power all their ports. For example, our top pick has seven USB 3.0 ports and three 2.4-amp charging ports. According to the USB 3.0 spec, that means this hub could need as much as 47 watts to power all its ports at their theoretical maximums—and because it includes a 12-volt, 5-amp (60-watt) power supply, it gets enough power for all its ports at their theoretical maximums.
Many hubs without adequate power aren’t significantly smaller, lighter, or less expensive to make up for that, so we ruled those models out. Vertically stacked ports (front) make it easier to connect larger plugs and thumb drives than horizontally arranged ports (back). A great USB hub also has to be designed with usability in mind. The ports should be spaced far enough apart that you can connect bulky thumb drives and card readers next to one another.
In our tests, we found that vertically stacked ports were generally preferable to horizontally aligned ones. A hub should also be small and light, especially if you’ll use it for traveling, and it shouldn’t make the devices you plug in take up too much room on your desk: Hubs with ports on top (as opposed to around the edges) are better because the plugs you connect will stand vertically instead of fanning out around the hub and taking up even more space. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, of course, but it’s also nice if a USB hub doesn’t look like it fell out of the ’90s. And a decent warranty is useful in case you wind up with a faulty hub. We found that an LED indicator for each port on the hub made troubleshooting much simpler when things didn’t work as intended, because we were able to tell which port was having issues.
In our reader survey, 51 percent of respondents told us they wanted a USB hub with five to seven ports, while 29 percent favored four or fewer ports. The remaining 20 percent said they wanted eight or more ports. Based on that feedback, we looked for picks with four, seven, and 10 ports.
Nearly a third of respondents said they were interested in a travel USB hub, and 72 percent of them told us they wanted a travel hub without a dedicated power cord. So for the four-port category, we tried to find a USB hub that could work without a power cord but came with one; that way, the power cord would be available when you needed extra power but wouldn’t be a mandatory nuisance. How we picked and tested. The hubs we tested for our 2016 update.
After working out the finer points of what makes a great USB hub, we combed the websites of prominent USB-hub sellers, and others, and we looked at some of the top-rated and best-selling hubs on Amazon. For the initial version of this guide, after eliminating hubs that didn’t fit our criteria, we tested three hubs for the seven-port category, four hubs for the upgrade category, and eight hubs for our four-port travel pick. For our 2016 update, we tested two new four-port hubs, two additional seven-port hubs, and two more 10-port hubs. In 2017, we’ve tested only one new model, while eliminating models that have been discontinued as manufacturers turn their attention to USB-C. We consulted with a few electrical experts and engineers—most notably Richard Baguley (owner/blogger of ) and Dan Siefert (founder of )—about how USB hubs work, how power flows through them, and what problems they commonly have.
Then we worked with our experts to devise a testing plan that would both tax the hubs and use them the way normal people would. We tested all 21 hubs in a variety of real-life situations, using The Wirecutter’s picks for, and, as well as a USB 3.0 card reader and a handful of 16 GB and 32 GB versions of our, to run simultaneous file transfers while charging a phone. We also used each of the finalists for a full day of work, which entailed using our, charging a phone, and having a number of other USB devices plugged in. We monitored transfer speeds as well as surface temperatures (using a Fluke IR thermometer) during heavy file transfers. We also checked the power flow of the dedicated charging ports with an iPad Air 2, an iPhone 6s Plus, and a Samsung Galaxy S5 using a.
We paid close attention to design choices such as the port spacing and location, the sturdiness of the hub and all its connections, and how noticeable dust and fingerprints were (aesthetic concerns, but concerns nonetheless). We also checked for nonfunctioning ports, connections, LEDs, power buttons, and the like. The USB hub for most people. The is the best hub for most people because it has a great, usable design that most competitors lack. It sports seven USB 3.0 data ports plus three charging ports, each capable of supplying 2.4 amps, and all 10 ports face upward to reduce desk clutter—you won’t have a bunch of USB plugs sticking out in every direction.
This Anker hub is reliable for simultaneous USB 3.0 file transfers and device charging. It’s also sturdy, designed with an LED indicator for each data port, equipped with lengthy AC and USB cords for easy setup, and covered by an 18-month warranty. This Anker hub’s compact design and convenient port layout are its strongest assets. It measures just 5.7 inches long, 1.7 inches wide, and 0.9 inches tall, and it weighs 3.7 ounces. Its efficiently stacked ports let you connect bulkier USB plugs and devices; in our testing, bulkier items couldn’t fit next to one another on competing hubs with horizontally arranged ports.
And because the ports are located on top of this Anker hub—rather than arranged around the sides, as on most of the hubs we tested—plugs and devices stick up instead of fanning out and taking up valuable desk space. We connected seven of our to the hub and transferred data to them while also charging an iPad Air 2 on one of the hub’s charging ports. It was just as speedy as the best of the other, worse-designed hubs we tested. Although Anker advertises the three charging ports as providing 2.1 amps of current each, we measured them at 2.4 amps each. (Anker told us that when all the ports are in use, individual ports “might not reach the max 2.4A value,” so the company underpromises on performance.) This means that the hub can charge even power-hungry tablets, as well as smartphones and other devices, at fast rates. (There’s no harm in plugging your phone into a 2.4-amp charging port—the phone will draw only as much current as it needs.) This Anker hub also kept all our devices connected and charging—we didn’t experience any unexplained disconnections during any of our tests. (The charging ports work even if the hub is connected only to its AC adapter and not to a computer.) We originally didn’t think LED indicators were crucial features.
Over the course of testing these hubs, however, we learned that a light indicating that the hub is turned on, along with individual port-activity lights, makes troubleshooting much easier by helping you figure out when something in the setup isn’t connected properly. Each of this model’s data ports has an adjacent numbered LED light, and the hub has a red power light at the top. The LEDs are just bright enough to see in a well-lit room but aren’t distracting in the dark if you sleep in the same room as your computer. This Anker hub is sturdy and doesn’t creak or bend under moderate pressure, and because it comes with a 3-foot USB cord and a 9-foot power cord, you can easily put the hub where you want it. Anker also provides an 18-month warranty, a coverage length that we found to be standard across most of the hubs we tested.
Some hubs, including the, appear to have problems with particular operating systems. We tested this Anker hub with both a Mac running OS X 10.12 Sierra and a PC running Windows 10, and we had no compatibility issues with either. Few publications review USB hubs, but currently this Anker hub has a across 1,259 customer reviews. Flaws but not dealbreakers. The Anker 10-Port USB 3.0 Hub costs $40 at the time of this writing, a possible strike against it considering that only 38 percent of our survey respondents said they were willing to pay over $30 for a USB hub. However, most of the surveyed readers told us they wanted a hub with five to seven ports total, and the majority of the hubs we considered in that category cost between $30 and $38—in other words, a price of $30 or less for a hub with seven data ports isn’t realistic. If you’re looking to spend less, check out our instead.
Despite being the best-designed hub we tested that has at least seven data ports, this Anker hub still has a couple of annoying quirks. The top plate is made from a glossy-black plastic that shows every fingerprint, smudge, and speck of dust. It’s easy to clean but just as easy to get dirty again the next time you plug in or unplug a device. (At least this model doesn’t have that glossy plastic on all sides like some of the other hubs we tested.) The upward-facing ports are great for making plugs and devices take up less room on your desk, but the port orientation means that the ports are susceptible to dust collecting inside. That said, they’re easy to clean out with a bit of compressed air. Like most USB hubs, this Anker model comes with a chunky power supply.
It’s a necessary evil, and the Anker’s is the same size as, or smaller than, the power bricks for the other seven- and 10-port hubs we tested, so it’s not a dealbreaker. This Anker hub also doesn’t have a power button, but only five of the hubs (and none of the seven-port options) we tested did, and we don’t think most people have a real need to turn off a USB hub (if you need to, you can just unplug the power cord).
A pick for more data ports (nine of them!). If you need more than the seven data ports of our main pick (who are you?!), the is exactly the same size and shape as our main pick but designed with a different mix of connections: nine USB 3.0 data ports and one 2.1-amp charging port. (Unlike the 2.1 A ports on our top pick, which according to our measurements actually put out 2.4 A, this port maxed out at 2.1 A in our tests.) The AH231 also has glossy white plastic around the sides and a different LED color than our pick, but the two models weigh the same and come with the same power brick and cables, and they worked similarly in all of our tests. The Anker 10-Port USB 3.0 Hub (bottom) and the Anker AH231 (top). The AH231 typically costs more than our top pick, and it has just two extra data ports—and two fewer charging ports—so make sure you really need that many data ports before springing for the AH231. If you do require that many connections, we couldn’t find another hub with more than seven data ports that came close to the AH231 in design and performance—the other ones we tested all had dealbreaking flaws. One of our editors has been using the AH231 since September 2014, and it has been working great, providing plenty of power for any USB device hooked up to it and allowing reliable data transfers.
The charging port has also worked flawlessly. The most portable four-port option. We couldn’t find a four-port hub we were in love with, but if you need something small and portable, the is your best bet. At just 4¼ inches by 1 inch by ¼ inch, it’s the smallest hub we tested. It’s available on its own or, which you’ll need if you plan on plugging in any bus-powered drives (those that draw power via USB instead of an internal source).
We don’t like how this Anker model’s four data ports are arranged in a horizontal line along one edge, closely spaced, such that fat plugs or thumb drives partially block adjacent ports. In addition, our data transfers failed when we attempted to use two portable hard drives at a time, even with the hub’s optional power adapter connected. We don’t recommend this hub for people who want to use theirs for multiple hard drives or other high-powered devices at the same time. But if you mostly use low-power-draw devices such as flash drives, mice, and keyboards, and you need something portable, it’s a handy alternative to our top pick. Devices that don’t work with USB hubs. Some devices must be plugged directly into the host computer’s USB port—they don’t work at all when you plug them into a USB hub. For example, the works only when you plug it directly into a USB port on an Apple laptop.
It’s impossible to account for every setup, scenario, and device, so our advice is to do a bit of research before you buy: A quick Google search will usually turn up common issues with the devices you’ll be plugging into your hub. We also recommend testing, right when you get a new hub, compatibility with your existing USB devices so that you can return the hub if it has a problem. A note on wireless devices and USB 3.0. USB 3.0 ports and devices have been shown to using the 2.4 GHz wireless band; such devices include wireless mice and keyboards that use an RF dongle for wireless communication. The RF noise can come from anywhere along the USB 3.0 connection. For example, if you have a USB 3.0 hard drive plugged into a USB 3.0 port, the interference can come from the port on your hub, the USB cord, or even the drive’s USB port.
This noise isn’t always an issue, but if your wireless mouse or keyboard constantly drops its connection, or if you lose clicks or keystrokes, you should try connecting the mouse or keyboard to a USB 2.0 port and keeping RF dongles and devices away from active USB 3.0 connections. If your computer doesn’t have any USB 2.0 ports, you can use a to move the RF dongle farther from the source of the interference. The competition. The ships with a power adapter, but it provides less power than our requirement.
The is appealing on paper, but in our real-world use it turned out to be rather disappointing. It has only three data ports, with the fourth port reserved for charging. Though the company claims charging at 2 amps, we measured only 1 amp of charging output. The power adapter’s connector also fit far too loosely into the hub, suggesting poor manufacturing and leaving us uncomfortable with how this model might hold up over the long term. Our previous top pick, is still solid, but it’s not quite as appealing as the Anker hub that took its spot. Aesthetically, the HT-UH010 is almost identical to the Anker: It has the same body and a similar port array, including the same number of data ports.
It also has charging ports, but only two instead of the three of our top pick. HooToo labels these charging ports as 1-amp and 2.1-amp, yet in our testing both supported 2.4-amp charging; on the other hand, when copying data to seven flash drives at once, we saw the transfer rate of some of the drives drop. In our long-term testing, we noticed that a bit of the soft-touch coating started flaking off the bottom surface, but that isn’t a major concern because it doesn’t impact the usability or look of the hub when it’s sitting on a desk.
Again, the HT-UH010 is a good hub, but it’s not as good as our top pick. Is physically larger than any other hub we tested. Rather than the clean, side-by-side power- and data-cable ports of our top picks, it has a port on each vertical end of its horizontal layout, making for more cable clutter.
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The is larger and uglier than our 10-port pick, and it was problematic in our testing. The first time we plugged it in, the first power-indicator light took about 30 seconds to turn on. We also encountered random disconnects, heard an annoying coil whine, and saw speeds slow down during multiple-device transfers. This model doesn’t have an overall power-indicator light, and during testing this hub got warmer than others.
The doesn’t have LED indicators, and the ports are too close together—we couldn’t connect a card reader and a SanDisk Extreme USB 3.0 flash drive next to each other. The hub’s charging ports provide extra charging current only when the computer you’ve attached it to is asleep or off, or when you physically disconnect the hub from the computer. That’s fine if you need all seven ports to connect devices to your computer, but not fine if you want to charge your smartphone or iPad at full speed while other devices remain connected. The has all the same problems. At the request of a reader, we tested the (now-discontinued) Anker AH240 seven-port USB 3.0 hub, which included a.
We didn’t like this hub as much as we liked our top-pick Anker, because the AH240 lacked 2.1-amp charging ports and its sideways ports took up a lot of desk space. Also, the AH240 measured 7 inches wide, but more than 8 inches deep with our recommended flash drive and other devices plugged in. (And that’s a lenient measurement that required aggressively bending the power and USB cables that protruded from the back of the hub, which, obviously, you shouldn’t do.) This model’s seven BC 1.2 ports offered up to 1.5 amps while simultaneously working as data ports, but because recent iPhones and iPads can do so at 2.4 amps, we concluded that our top-pick Anker’s dedicated charging ports were more useful for most people. In our tests, felt flimsy, bending and creaking under minimal pressure. It doesn’t have individual LED indicators, its glossy surface attracts dust and shows fingerprints, and many of the ports seem wobbly and cheap. The is larger than our four-port pick, and its power cord supplies only 2 amps, in contrast to the Sabrent’s 4 amps. It also has a glossy surface that shows grimy fingerprints and scratches easily.