Best USB Hub of 2021
If you're in the market for a simplistic USB 3.0 hub with some slick features, look no further than the Sabrent HB-UM43. This model has an LED-backlit switch for each port so that you can toggle which devices are talking to your computer without unplugging them from the hub. We love the 2-foot cable — with a cable that long, you can keep the hub entirely out of your workspace.
The main downside to the Sabrent HB-UM43 is that it doesn't charge devices. If you are looking for a way to charge phones, cameras, or other USB-powered toys, it would be wise to look into a hub that plugs into an additional power source rather than divide one USB plug's worth of power into four. Regardless of the flaws, this is the perfect device for those looking to have push-button control over several USB 3.0 devices plugged in at once.
Anker is well known in the tech world for making quality products, and their PowerExpand Direct is most definitely on the list. This newer style of USB hub attaches directly to the body of your Macbook, eliminating the need for any length of cable. The design looks good; it matches Macbooks, keeping your workspace looking as clean as can be. The PowerExpand Direct also includes a sleek cloth carrying case for those often on the go.
Although the PowerExpand Direct does have a USB C port dedicated to a Macbook power cord, some people may not like that it takes up both ports on the laptop at all times. It also won't work with many cases, so your Macbook likely needs to be bare-bones to use this model. This hub is far from the most affordable model. If you're shopping on a budget, it'd be wise to check out a different model. Despite the downsides associated with the PowerExpand Direct, we still think it's the best USB hub for newer Macbooks with two USB C ports.
If all you are looking for is a bare-bones USB 3.0 hub, the Anker 4-Port could be a solid choice. This hub is as simple as they come. Just plug it in, and you're transferring data at the USB 3.0 standard of 5Gbps. It is nice that Anker thought to include a handy velcro tie to keep the extra-long cord from getting tangled.
The Anker 4-Port is most definitely missing some bells and whistles. Other USB 3.0 hubs in our review include power buttons for each port or are even capable of charging larger devices such as phones and tablets. Still, this model works for those looking for a simplistic way to expand to several ports from a single USB 3.0 port.
If you need a 7-in-1 USB C hub but don't want to break the bank, check out the QGeeM. The ports included in this model are USB C, HDMI, SD, Micro SD, and three USB 3.0s — if that sounds like it would work for you, the QGeeM is probably a good bet.
Our main complaint with the QGeeM is that it only has one USB C port, which would presumably be used for the power cord if your device only has one port on it. Other than that, we did find it to be relatively big and bulky when compared to other models with the same functionality. Still, if budget is an issue, this is a great choice.
If you know that you will be connecting USB 3.0 devices and lots of them, the Atolla Powered USB hub is the way to go. This model has seven slots on top of the housing that each has power buttons so you can pick and choose which devices are connected to your computer at any given time. The Atolla also includes one smart charging port at the end of the device with a high enough power output to charge phones and tablets, bringing the total number of USB 3.0 ports to eight.
The Atolla Powered isn't exactly ideal for traveling for a couple of critical reasons. First of all, the use of the included power adapter cord is required, so you need to be sure that you're near a wall plug. This model is also very bulky — some USB hubs are a fraction of the size. When you consider the added bulk from the power cord, this package takes up quite a bit of room in a laptop bag or briefcase. Still, if you know you want a large number of USB 3.0 ports and that you won't be moving your hub around much, we'd say the Atolla is a fantastic choice.
If you live in the realm where style is key, we recommend the LENTION C13 USB hub. With a classy rose gold wrap, you'll be getting away from the monotonous grays and silvers of most other hubs. We also enjoy the T design of the C13 — it's a nice break from most other hubs' long, skinny design. This 4-in-1 hub includes one USB C port, one USB 3.0 port, and two USB 2.0 ports, so if that's all you need, then look no further.
The LENTION C13 does have a few pretty significant shortcomings. For one, it lacks an HDMI. If you have a newer laptop and you're looking to hook up to an external monitor or TV, this is a pretty big deal. The C13 is also devoid of any type of card reader. If transferring media directly from an SD or Micro-SD card is your goal, you're going to need a different model. If all you're looking for is an excellent-looking USB hub with a few ports, this is still a great choice.
If you're in the market for a Macbook Pro USB C hub, the CHOETECH HUB M14 is a decent choice. It plugs directly into the Macbook without cables, which helps reduce clutter and makes it more compact for traveling. It features all the standard ports you'd expect, including HDMI, USB C, USB 3.0, SD, and Micro SD, so that most bases will be covered for your data transfer needs. The CHOETECH is also a fraction of the price of many other USB hubs, which is always an attractive feature.
Sadly, we were not too impressed with the construction of the CHOETECH. It's so light that it feels like it would be easy to break. The housing of the ports doesn't quite align with the ports themselves. Flaws aside, it still functions perfectly fine and would not be a bad choice for those looking for an affordable Macbook Pro USB hub.
The HooToo SHUTTLE is another decent USB C hub. This model offers all of the standard ports you'd expect from this type of device, including Micro SD, SD, USB 3.0, USB C, and HDMI. One of the three USB 3.0 ports can deliver up to 100W of power to charge devices rather than just transfer data.
However, we were a bit disappointed to discover that the SHUTTLE has only one USB C input. Most people will use this slot for the power cable, so there won't be another port open if you have a different USB C device that needs data transferred. It's also a bit bigger than other models that offer a similar level of performance. The HooToo is still an excellent model to go with if you want this style of USB hub and want to be able to charge USB 3.0 devices.
The Satechi Aluminum offers similar performance to many of the other USB hubs in our review that are similar in appearance, and it has an Ethernet port. We also like that the Satechi has the SD and Micro SD card slots on the hub's front, but the USB 3.0s and the HDMI port on the back. This makes sense for those who will be using their hub in a more permanent setting than those who are always traveling.
The biggest drawback that we can see with the Satechi Aluminum is the price. Unless you can find this model on sale, it likely makes sense to go with a more affordable USB hub.
Why You Should Trust Us
Our full-time review editor Ross Patton took the wheel for this project. Ross has more than a decade of product review experience working on categories ranging from winter recreation equipment to camping gear to modern-age electronic devices such as Bluetooth trackers and ergonomic keyboards. Ross's professional experience, coupled with his passion for travel and his hobby of editing action sports films, ensures that he has used these products to their maximum potential.
After hours of research, we narrowed our selection down to the top models for several applications. We then purchased all of the best ones for a real head-to-head showdown. We carefully considered their capabilities, varying functions, and overall aesthetic feel. At GearLab, we always buy the same retailers' products as our readers to ensure zero bias, and we never accept promotional products or freebies from manufacturers. We tell it like it is.
Analysis and Test Results
Although it's hard to compare some of these products side-by-side due to their vastly different functions, styles, and features, we cover their strengths and weaknesses in the metrics of functionality, portability, and style below. The right hub for you will depend entirely on your specific applications — there is no "best" hub for everyone.
Before we worry about portability and looks, we need to discuss what each USB hub actually does. There won't be any benefit in owning a good-looking, compact model if it doesn't perform the tasks you need.
The QGeeM has a multitude of ports, including a USB C, SD, Micro SD, HDMI, and three USB 3.0s If you aren't worried about HDMI, Ethernet, audio, or card readers, the LENTION C13 works perfectly for a USB C power throughput and has two USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 ports. As far as Macbook specific USB C hubs go, we love that the Anker PowerExpand Direct 7 has all of the ports mentioned above except for Ethernet and audio and that it also has an extra USB C port.
When it comes to USB 3.0 hubs' functionality, it's hard to top the Atolla Powered model. With seven ports that each have their own power button and lights, plus a bonus port that charges devices such as tablets and smartphones, you'll have plenty of space to get your USB 3.0 jobs done. When it comes to smaller 3.0 hubs, the Sabrent HB-UM43 also offers lights and power buttons for each port; there are just fewer of them. If simplicity is what you're searching for, the Anker 4-Port is as basic as they come.
For those who are always on the move, portability is crucial. If you are working out of a messenger bag or a briefcase, you aren't going to want a bulky hub that needs a wall plug. On the other hand, if you're looking for a USB hub to be a permanent fixture in your home or workplace, this metric won't matter at all.
The best Macbook USB C hub for portability is the Anker PowerExpand Direct 7. Not only is this model tiny, but it also has no cables thanks to its direct plug design, and it comes with a plush fabric carrying case. The next smallest hubs are the Sabrent HB-UM43 and Anker 4-Port, but keep in mind these two devices are USB 3.0 only. The smallest USB C-specific hub is the LENTION C13 — it hardly takes up any room in a laptop bag at all.
The QGeeM is only slightly larger than the LENTION, although the orientation is different. The Atolla Powered is unequivocally bulky and is probably not the best model to travel with unless you have extra space, and you know you're going to need the additional USB 3.0 ports.
Finally, we must discuss style. We feel that a workplace that's easy on the eyes can make for added productivity, so looks can make a world of difference. As far as USB C models, we can't imagine a much prettier model than the LENTION C13. This model comes in silver, space gray, gold, and rose gold, so you can pick the color to suit your current setup or personality.
If you're looking for a Macbook Pro-specific version and want a minimalist look with as little added clutter as possible, the Anker PowerExpand Direct 7 is the way to go. It's the same space gray as Macbooks, and with no cables, it almost looks like part of the laptop.
USB hubs are an often necessary accessory for particular laptops, tasks, and applications. The difference in functionality, price, size, and style is boundless — we are here to help. It is our duty to help you make the most knowledgeable purchase possible so that you end up with the perfect USB hub for you and your wants and needs.
— Ross Patton