Best USB C Cable of 2021
$26.99 at Amazon
$16.99 at Amazon
$18.99 at Amazon
|$12 List||$10 List|
$6.99 at Amazon
|Pros||Durable, flexible, high current||Durable braided sheath, great charging performance||Braided cable, bulky overmold, fast charging||Inexpensive, good charging performance||Good charging rates, decently durable|
|Cons||Can discolor, pricey||Large cable connectors||Pricey||Slower data transfer||No cable organization, smaller overmolds|
|Bottom Line||If you want the best of the best when it comes to charging cables, this is an exceptional option||This heavy-duty braided option is a good choice if you want to take advantage of the most modern charging standards||We highly recommend this durable and fast charging cable for anyone seeking a premium quality cord for their USB-C devices||A bulk pack of USB Type C to C cables that are durable, charge quickly, and won't break the bank||This fairly run-of-the-mill cable does a solid job of charging most devices and is offered at a decent price|
|Rating Categories||Anker Powerline III...||Amazon Basics 3-Foo...||Anker Powerline+ US...||JSaux USB-C to USB-C||RAMPOW USB C 6ft|
|Charging Performance (40%)|
|Data Transfer (10%)|
|Cable Organization (10%)|
|Specs||Anker Powerline III...||Amazon Basics 3-Foo...||Anker Powerline+ US...||JSaux USB-C to USB-C||RAMPOW USB C 6ft|
|Connectors||USB-C to USB-C||USB-C to USB-C||USB-A to USB-C||USB-C to USB-C||USB-A to USB-C|
|Jacket material||Thick silicone||Braided||Braided||Braided||Braided|
|Available lengths||3', 6'||1', 3', 6'||3', 6'||3.3', 6.6'||8", 1', 3.3', 6.5', 10'|
|Strain relief||Bulky silicone overmold||Bulky plastic overmold||Bulky plastic overmold||Bulky plastic overmold||Bulky plastic overmold|
|USB/charging standard||USB 2.0, 100W||USB 3.1||USB 3.0||USB 2.0||USB 3.0|
|Max data transfer rate||480 Mb/s||5 Gb/s||5 GB/s||480 Mb/s||5 GB/s|
|Cable organization||Silicone Strap||Strap||Strap||Strap||No|
Best Overall USB-C Cable
Anker Powerline III USB-C
If you are searching for the best of the best when it comes to USB-C cables, then we highly recommend the Anker Powerline III. This cable can charge most smartphones as fast as they are able to, all while being supremely flexible and very durable — we've repeatedly sucked up the end of the cable in a robot vacuum with no ill effects. It can have up to a 100-watt max, allowing you to charge larger devices at higher rates and take full advantage of the USB Power Delivery standard.
This cable doesn't have the maximum data transfer rates with the USB 3.1 standard, which we don't think will be an issue for most people that are just focused on charging. We also noticed that while the jacket and overmolds are very durable, the lighter colors can discolor and show dirt and grime. However, this is our favorite cable by far in all our years of USB-C cable testing, and we highly recommend it to anyone shopping for the best.
Best Overall USB-A to USB-C Cable
Anker Powerline+ USB-C to USB-A 3.0
It's hard to go wrong with the Anker Powerline+ USB-A to C. In our opinion, this cable is one of the most durable options out there. It has a braided outer sheath to protect the cable and a hefty molded strain relief at the base of both connectors to reinforce a typical weak point on charging cables. It's USB 3.0 compliant, so you know you are getting excellent charging performance, and it's rated for transferring data at up to five Gbps. The Anker Powerline+ is available in both red and black in three and six-foot lengths. It also includes an attached Velcro strap to cut down on your charging clutter.
We honestly don't have many negative things to say about this cable. The reinforced braided sheath makes this cable a little stiffer than some options in our fleet, but we didn't find this a huge issue. The connector body on the USB-C side is also a little bulkier, so it could be a bit more difficult to use or completely incompatible with certain phone cases — particularly heavy-duty or waterproof options. It's a great all-around USB-C cable, and we highly recommend it.
Best Bang for the Buck USB-C to C
JSaux USB-C to USB-C
If you're looking to take advantage of the faster charge rates available with USB Power Delivery and our shopping on a budget, then the JSAUX USB-C to USB-C is a great option. This cable can charge devices quickly, with a maximum output of 3 amps — more than enough to charge most devices at their maximum rate. It also has a solid overmold and a braided sheath for enhanced durability.
Even though this cable offers better charging specs, it is only a USB PD 2.0 device. This means that it should charge most smaller devices just as fast as a 3.0 device, but it won't transmit as much information or status messages between the device and the charger, which can limit its output — particularly when using it for larger devices like laptops — and is limited to a data transfer rate of 480 Mbps. This durable and quick-charging cable is a great option if you've committed to USB-C power adapters and are shopping on a budget.
Our Favorite Affordable USB-A to C
Anker Premium Nylon USB-A to C
If you are looking for a USB-C cable and hoping to spend as little as possible, we suggest the Anker Premium Nylon USB-A to C 2-pack. These low-cost cables offer decent charging performance with a maximum power rating of 15 watts (five volts, three amps). They also have fairly substantial rubber over-molding at the base of each connector and a braided sheath for maximum durability. These cables are available in both 3' and 6' lengths in red, silver, or black.
Unfortunately, while these cables might be a great option while shopping on a budget, they aren't necessarily the best option if you want the fastest charging times possible. They will work with Quick Charge protocols but not with the new USB 3.0 Power Delivery, so devices like an iPad Pro or Nintendo Switch won't be able to use high-speed charging. These devices will still charge, just at a much slower rate — to the point where you might not be able to use them while charging without the battery percentage continuing to drop. However, the Anker Nylon USB-A to C is a great option for anyone looking for USB-C cables on the cheap.
An All-in-One Charging Solution
Anker Powerline II 3-in-1
If you're tired of keeping track of a cacophony of cables for all of your different devices, then the Anker Powerline II 3-in-1 cable is a fantastic option. This cable not only has a USB-C charging connector but also a Lightning connector for iPhones and a micro-USB port for other Android phones or accessory devices. This makes it invaluable for traveling or situations where you need to charge a wide spectrum of devices but don't want to carry multiple cables. It is still capable of "Fast Charging" a Samsung S8 using a QC 3.0 wall adapter as well, so you aren't going to be making too many concessions when it comes to charging performance.
However, the charging connector adapters can be a bit finicky to connect, and they seem like the weak point on this product when it comes to durability. Additionally, this cable doesn't have a braided jacket, though it does have decent strain relief at the connector end. We also found a handful of complaints about the Lightning connector offering reduced charging and data transfer performance compared to other cables, but we could charge an iPad without issue. It might not be the best if you want the absolute fastest charging or data transfer, but it's a great thing to throw in your car or bag to ensure that you always have the right charging cable at hand.
Why You Should Trust Us
Taking the lead on our USB-C cable testing and reviewing process, David Wise has over four years of experience comparing products head-to-head for GearLab. He has worked extensively with USB charging products, including wireless chargers, USB wall power adapters, charging stations, and portable chargers. In addition to his extensive experience with consumer charging electronics, he has formal training as a mechanical engineer with a specific focus on DC circuits and lithium battery systems, bringing all of this know-how into the design and execution of our side-by-side testing protocols.
After researching all the top cables, we bought the most compelling USB-C models on the market today to try out for ourselves. We compared their charging standards, measured their charging rate using USB multimeters, and timed how fast each could transfer large files. We also flexed each connector repeatedly to check for signs of wear and tear, and we rated and scored how easy it is to keep each cable organized.
Analysis and Test Results
We divided our comprehensive testing process into four metrics: durability, charge performance, data transfer, and cable organization. Evaluating each metric involved multiple tests, which we highlight accordingly.
When shopping on a budget for a USB-C to C cable, the JSAUX is a great choice. It's a durable cable that holds its own against the top-tier products — all while costing considerably less. If you are shopping for multiple cables, you can take advantage of the considerable cost savings offered via bulk packaging, like the Anker Premium Nylon.
We placed the greatest significance on our durability metric, which included rating and ranking the connector strain relief and the cable sheath and bending each cable over 100 times to see if they sustained any damage. Every cable passed this test and continued to charge after being repeatedly flexed. However, some cables showed a bit more wear than the others.
The Anker PowerLine III USB-C thoroughly impressed us when it comes to durability with its thickened silicone jacket and beefy overmolds. We subjected this cable to significant abuse, and it didn't show any sign of damage, just some mild discoloration. Even better, we love how flexible this cable is, especially when compared to some of the braided options.
The CyvenSmart USB-C cable immediately impressed us in this regard and is a sturdy option. This cable not only has a braided sheath to protect it from wear and tear, but it also has a larger plastic strain relief and a metal spring to maintain the integrity of the connector even after repeated flexing. It showed no damage and continued to charge after we folded it over 100 times in our connector fatigue test. However, the overall diameter of its braided sheath is a bit smaller than some of the other cables.
A large group of cables — the Anker Powerline+ USB-C to A, the Anker Powerline+ USB-C to C, the Anker Premium Nylon USB-A to C, the Belkin USB-A to C, the Syncwire USB-C, the JSAUX Fast Charging, and the Amazon Basics Nylon 3.1, and the JSAUX USB-C to C — all follow the Anker PowerLine III and the CyvenSmart USB-C when it comes to durability. These cables, except for the Belkin, have a braided exterior sheath for protection and showed no significant signs of wear after our tests. The Belkin doesn't have a braided jacket, but it is much larger and burlier than typical cables, leading us to conclude that it should be just as durable as its braided counterparts.
These cables also have a reinforced plastic barrel at the base of the connector to provide additional strain relief. They all passed our repeated flexing test, though we could see some definite creases and discoloration on the jacket of the Belkin.
The RAMPOW had a few more fibers coming loose after our bend test and has much smaller molded strain relief boots at the base of both connectors. The Anker Powerline II 3-in-1 came next in our durability assessment. The Powerline II 3-in-1 feels like a typical cable, albeit with a slightly thicker cable jacket. However, we are a little concerned with the different adapters and how they are attached. We could see them getting caught on things frequently and prematurely wearing out compared to the rest of the cable.
We compared the charging performance of each cable, checking their maximum rated power and if they could successfully charge a Nintendo Switch and a Samsung S8. We also checked whether the S8 could "Fast Charge" when using a QC 3.0 power adapter. The USB-C to C cables are at an advantage here because USB-A to C cables don't support Power Delivery and won't charge a device as fast, even if they are rated to higher current. However, all of the cables we tested were able to "Fast Charge" our Samsung S8 — a QC 3.0-compatible device — when we used the appropriate power supply, and we didn't have any issues charging our Switch as well.
The Anker PowerLine III is listed with a maximum power rating of 100 watts (20 volts, five amps) which should allow it to charge just about any device at full speed, including a MacBook, provided you are using a power adapter with enough output. The Apple USB-C to C and USB-C to Lightning don't list exact power ratings, but they're both fully compatible with Apple's 87 watt USB power adapter, and we would expect these cables to all perform the same — though going with the Apple cables will ensure compatibility with Apple devices.
The JSAUX USB-C to USB-C has a lower listed power rating of only 60 watts (20 volts, three amps) and the Anker Powerline+ states that it only has limited charging speeds with larger devices, like a MacBook Pro, dropping both of them in the rankings. The Amazon Basics Nylon 3.1 and the JSAUX Fast Charging came next. These chargers have a maximum output of 15 watts (5 volts, 3 amps).
Most of the other USB-A to C cables say they are rated for up to three amps of charging current. However, they likely won't charge that quickly because most devices can't request that much power without using the Power Delivery protocol. Therefore, you're usually stuck at a lower charging rate, even if the cable can physically carry more current.
Next, we compared the data transfer abilities of each cable, awarding scores off their USB standard and associated maximum transfer rates.
The Belkin USB 3.1 cable is the clear winner, theoretically able to achieve file transfer speeds of up to 10 Gbps.
The Anker Powerline+ USB-C to A, the RAMPOW, the Syncwire, and the Amazon Basics Nylon 3.1 all came next, with each of these USB 3.0 cables stating that they can achieve data transfer speeds of up to five Gbps — roughly 10 times faster than the 480 Mbps rate of the other USB 2.0 cables.
Our last metric looked at anything that made it easier to cut down on the cable clutter in your life, such as travel cases, Velcro ties, or elastic straps. This doesn't count for too much of each cable's score — since you can always purchase a separate organizer — but we did find some of the included features to be quite convenient.
The Anker Powerline+ USB-C to C easily snags the top spot, as it includes a travel case with a Velcro strap. This proved to be a convenient and easy way to keep your cable organized, especially when traveling.
The Anker Powerline+ USB-A to C, Anker Premium Nylon USB-A to C, Anker Powerline II 3-in-1, Anker Powerline III, and the JSAUX USB-C to C all include a Velcro or silicone strap that can stay attached to the cable.
This is a handy way to keep these cables coiled neatly and prevents you from losing the strap.
Regardless of your power requirements or budget, we hope that you have found this to be a helpful breakdown and analysis of the top USB-C cables currently on the market. We hope we've been able to aid you in your search for a new charging cable.
— David Wise