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Best USB-C hub 2023: Expand your laptop or tablet’s connectivity with the top USB-C hubs and slimline docks

Short of ports and crucial connections on your laptop, tablet or PC? Splash out on a USB-C hub and enjoy all the connectivity you need

Today’s slimline laptops don’t go big on ports and sockets. Where you used to be able to rely on having ample connectivity to hook up a display, mouse, keyboard and some kind of storage, now you’re lucky to get more than a couple of USB-C ports, one of which may double up as the power-in socket. This is where USB-C hubs can be so useful. At the most basic level, they can convert one USB-C port into multiple USB-C or even USB-A ports, allowing you to connect a bunch of drives, USB memory sticks and peripherals at once. Beyond that, you might get power inputs and display outputs, enabling the hub to function as a dock.

Your only problem? There are dozens of USB-C hubs to choose from, with prices ranging from £10 to over £300. What’s more, all these hubs are different, offering various combinations of connections, with different capabilities and supporting different speeds. Going cheap can lead to disappointment, but you also don’t want to spend too much. That’s why we’re here to guide you towards the best USB-C hub for your needs and budget.

Best USB-C hub: At a glance

How to choose the right USB-C hub for you

Your first step is to work out what you need. There’s no point in shelling out £80 on a fully featured hub with 4K-capable HDMI output if you’re just looking for a way to connect a USB hard disk, mouse and keyboard, and need somewhere to plug in a USB memory stick from time to time. You can buy a cheaper hub and save yourself some cash. Conversely, if you want something that can work as a permanent dock to connect your laptop to a full desktop setup, then it makes sense to pay more and get everything you need.

In short, look for a hub that has all the connections you need right now and any you think you’re likely to need in the near future. Once you’ve done that, check the specs for the ports. USB-C ports can cover a range of standards, from basic ports with a 5Mbits/sec maximum speed to USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 ports that can go all the way up to 20Mbits/sec. Cheaper hubs won’t support the fastest options. Similarly, HDMI or DisplayPort outputs may not be capable of running higher resolutions or refresh rates. For example, they might not support a 4K monitor or projector, or they might only support it at a half-speed 30Hz refresh rate.

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Is there anything else worth looking out for?

Some hubs, especially those designed for Apple PCs, laptops and iPads, support Intel’s Thunderbolt connections as well as USB-C, which is definitely a plus if you want connectivity for high-performance storage or compatible 4K displays.

Otherwise, the big thing to look out for is a USB-PD input. These allow you to plug your USB-PD charger into the hub, then charge your laptop or tablet from the hub, giving you an effective way to hook your device up to a desktop setup with just one fast connection. What’s more, most laptops should still have a spare USB-C port. It’s worth checking how much power the hub can supply. Most will deliver up to 80W or 100W if used with the right charger, but some may be limited to 45W or 50W. That’s still going to cover the needs of most devices, but if your laptop needs 65W, you could find that you’re not getting the power you need.

Finally, check the warranty. Some USB hubs have a nasty habit of overheating, leading to permanent failure. If the brand has enough confidence in its product to give it a two- or three-year warranty, you can have more confidence that your hub is built to last.

How we test USB-C hubs

We test the full functionality of each USB-C hub by hooking it up to a Windows laptop and connecting a selection of devices to the hub, including a USB mouse and keyboard, a USB headset, a microSD card reader and, where there’s an external power supply, a USB external SSD. Where Ethernet is supported, we also connect to a wired network through a Gigabit Ethernet bridge. We check the responsiveness of the hub to devices being connected and disconnected, and we also test the speeds of specific ports using high-speed SD cards and/or the external SSD. Finally, we connect any HDMI or DisplayPort outputs to a 4K monitor, to check whether high resolutions are supported at a full 60Hz refresh rate.

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The best USB-C hub to buy in 2023

1. Uni Slim Type-C to 4-port USB 3.0: Best basic USB-C hub

Price when reviewed: £16 | Check price at AmazonIf your priority is to get some USB-A connectivity on a device that only has USB-C, this slimline Uni hub is hard to beat. It’s an all-aluminium unit that will look great with any slimline laptop or tablet, and the braided cord looks the part and is well reinforced at both the hub and connector ends. Plug it in and you have four USB 3.0/3.1 Gen 1 ports ready for action, and it will happily support USB memory sticks, mice, keyboards and headsets – or anything else that doesn’t require much power.

It’s not such a great option if you need more storage, as USB HDDs really need something with a power input. There is enough power for a USB SSD, though. You get a choice of cables, with both 18cm and 1.2m versions available. This is as basic as hubs get, but it’s a good way to use existing peripherals, memory sticks and USB dongles with a device that wouldn’t otherwise support them.

Key specs – Upstream connection: 1 x USB-C 3.0; USB ports: 4 x USB 3.0/3.2 Gen 1 (5Gbits/sec); Other ports: N/A; Power: N/A; Maximum power load: Not stated; Dimensions: 46 x 80 x 14mm; Weight: 45g; Warranty: 12 months

2. UGreen USB C Hub 6-in-1: Best budget USB-C hub

Price when reviewed: £30 | Check price at AmazonAt first, UGreen’s USB-C hub seems too good to be true, giving you features such as a 4K HDMI output at a price close to half of what some competitors charge. You certainly get plenty of connectivity for your money, with three USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports available, alongside the HDMI, SD and microSD card slots. However, there’s no power passthrough, no USB-C connectivity and the 4K video output seems a little hit and miss. It only ran at a 1080p resolution on one test laptop, and at 4K with just a 30Hz refresh rate on another, although the specification states that it should manage 60Hz. What’s more, even at this resolution, the image looked slightly fuzzy.

All the same, the UGreen is worth considering if you want to occasionally hook up a screen or a projector and connect a keyboard, mouse or memory stick – and we had no issues connecting a USB SSD, either. If you want a full-on desktop setup, however, you’ll need to spend a little more.

Key specs – Upstream connection: 1 x USB-C 3.2 Gen1; USB ports: 3 x USB 3.0/3.2 Gen 1 (5Gbits/sec); Other ports: HDMI 2.0, 1 x SD, 1 x microSD (104MB/sec); Power: N/A; Maximum power load: Not stated; Dimensions: 34 x 115 x 13mm; Weight: 100g; Warranty: 24 months

3. Twelve South StayGo Mini: Best compact USB-C hub for use on the go

Price when reviewed: £55 | Check price at AmazonThe StayGo Mini is a great hub for travel. It’s very compact – just over 3cm wide and 7cm long – and can either be plugged in directly or through the bundled nylon-braided extension cable. Once connected, you get a USB-A port for memory sticks or dongles, an HDMI 1.4 output, high-speed SD card and microSD readers, a 3.5mm headphone socket, and a USB-C port for passthrough charging. You can use the latter to connect an HDD or SSD, but we wouldn’t recommend it; our test SSD could only transfer data at a miserable 30 to 40MB/sec. It’s also worth noting that if you use a 4K monitor, you’ll be limited to a 30Hz refresh rate.

Despite this, image quality on our 4K display was crisp and free of any fuzziness, and it’s easy to get a working desktop setup on a laptop or tablet. You might want an extra Type-A port with a higher spec, but if you’re looking for a hub for life on the go, this one’s tough to beat for portability or convenience.

Key specs – Upstream connection: 1 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 1; USB ports: 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C (5Gbits/sec); Other ports: HDMI 1.4, SD card, microSD (312MB/sec); Power: 85W USB PD; Maximum power load: Not stated; Dimensions: 32 x 72 x 8mm; Weight: 99.8g; Warranty: 12 months

4. UGreen 10-in-1 USB-C Hub: Best budget USB-C hub with power passthrough

Price when reviewed: £53 | Check price at AmazonThis 10-in-1 hub from UGreen could work well as a budget dock, thanks to a generous lineup of USB Type-A ports, Ethernet ports and HDMI and audio outputs. However, check the fine print of the spec and you’ll find that speeds top out at 500MB/sec USB 3.2 Gen 1, while the HDMI port can only output a 4K signal at 30Hz. If you have problems with flicker or less-than-smooth motion, that might not be enough. To balance this out, it has a full 100W USB PD passthrough, enabling you to plug the single USB Type-C cable into your choice of laptop to get all the power you need through that, rather than from a separate power brick. The Anker model is a better bet if 4K/60 video matters to you, but this is a fine budget solution if you run a lower-resolution screen, or just don’t care.
Key specs – Upstream connection: 1 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 1; USB ports: 3 x USB 3.2 Gen 1, HDMI 1.4, Gigabit Ethernet, 100W USB PD passthrough, 3.5mm audio out; Power: Optional 100W USB PD passthrough (no adapter supplied); Maximum power load: 900mA per port; Dimensions: 52 x 123 x 19mm; Weight: 160g; Warranty: 2 years

5. Kensington UH1400: Best USB-C hub for value

Price when reviewed: £75 | Check price at AmazonWhile it’s more expensive than some hubs that promise similar specs, this Kensington unit wins as a functional, reliable option. Our full lineup of keyboard, mouse, memory stick, 4K display and SSD worked flawlessly first time, and the USB-C port will work as an 85W USB PD passthrough to keep most Type-C laptops and tablets charging fast.

Unlike cheaper hubs, it supports a full 60Hz refresh rate over HDMI, while there’s a Gigabit Ethernet RJ-45 port for when you need a physical network connection. The Type-C and Type-A connections could be faster, with our SSD speeds limited to around 458MB/sec, but this is a great fully featured hub that’s still affordable and – most importantly – just works.

Key specs – Upstream connection: 1 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 1; USB ports: 3 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A (5Gbits/sec), 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C (5Gbits/sec); Other ports: HDMI 2.0, SD card, microSD, RJ-45, 3.5mm audio; Power: 85W USB PD; Maximum power load: Not stated; Dimensions: 52 x 105 x 13mm; Weight: 132g; Warranty: 24 months

6. Twelve South StayGo: Best USB-C hub for flexibility

Price when reviewed: £100 | Check price at AmazonThe bigger brother of the StayGo Mini, Twelve South’s full-sized hub is still fairly compact while coming with a wider range of ports. You now get three USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports plus a USB-C for power passthrough, along with a 4K HDMI output, microSD and SD card slots and a Gigabit Ethernet RJ-45 port. The USB-C port is faster than on the StayGo Mini – we measured transfer speeds at up to 448MB/sec – and while 4K output is still limited to 30Hz, image quality is otherwise perfectly good.

We also like the choice of cables, with a short, pull-out cable that stows inside the case for travel, plus a longer desktop cable for when you need to stretch a little further. It gives this unit a little more flexibility than other USB-C hubs.

Key specs – Upstream connection: 1 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 1; USB ports: 3 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A (5Gbits/sec), 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C (5Gbits/sec); Other ports: HDMI 1.4, SD card, microSD (312MB/sec), RJ-45; Power: 85W USB PD; Maximum power load: Not stated; Dimensions: 62 x 127 x 15mm; Weight: 133g; Warranty: 12 months

7. Anker 551: Best USB-C hub for tablets and iPads

Price when reviewed: £100 | Check price at AmazonThe Anker 551 is designed specifically for use with tablets, doubling as a stand with a pair of sturdy hinges as well as a USB-C hub. While it’s mainly aimed at users of iPad Air and iPad Pro devices, we found it also worked well with a Microsoft Surface Go 2 and made it easy to get a desktop setup up and running, complete with 4K monitor, keyboard and mouse. What’s more, the HDMI outputs a full 4K/60Hz signal, with image quality as good as it gets.

The USB-C port is for power delivery only, passing through up to 100W, but we had decent connection speeds for our SSD through one of the two 5Gbits/sec Type-A ports, with speeds maxing out at 449MB/sec. Throw in high-speed microSD card and SD card readers and a 3.5mm headphone socket, and you’ve got a great extension to any high-end tablet, whether for creative work, productivity or play.

Key specs – Upstream connection: 1 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 1; USB ports: 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A (5Gbits/sec), 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C (5Gbits/sec); Other ports: HDMI 2.0, SD card, microSD (312MB/sec); Power: 100W USB PD; Maximum power load: Not stated; Dimensions: 143 x 141 x 28mm; Weight: 650g; Warranty: 18 months

8. Anker 563: Best USB-C hub for a full desktop setup

Price when reviewed: £260 | Check price at AmazonThe Anker 563 is more a full-on docking solution than a hub, coming with its own mains power adapter and a power switch to turn it on and off. However, you get what you pay for in terms of ports and sockets, with two USB 3.2 ports, a USB 2.0 port for low-bandwidth dongles and a single USB 3.2 Gen 2 on the front, along with a socket to connect to your laptop at the rear. The latter can convey up to 100W to power your laptop, while the front USB-C gives you 30W fast charging for your phone.

Best of all, you get three display outputs, with a single 4K/60Hz HDMI 2.0, a lower-spec HDMI 1.4 and a 1440p-capable DisplayPort, giving you the option of using two or three screens at the same time. It might have been nice to have a faster 10Gbits/sec Type-C or Type-A port for your storage, but for connecting a laptop to a desktop setup, this is one of the best hubs around.

Key specs – Upstream connection: 1 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 1; USB ports: 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A (5Gbits/sec), 1 x USB 2.0 Type-A (480Mbits/sec), 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C (5Gbits/sec); Other ports: 2 x HDMI 1.4, 1 x DisplayPort, RJ-45, 3.5mm audio; Power: 100W USB PD, 30W USB PD; Maximum power load: Not stated; Dimensions: 143 x 141 x 28mm; Weight: 1.5kg; Warranty: 18 months

9. Kensington SD5700T: Best USB-C hub for high-end laptops

Price when reviewed: £250 | Check price at AmazonLike the Anker 563, this is a heavy-duty dock with its own power supply, but this one has a slightly higher spec to match the needs of MacBook Pro and high-end laptop users. The big deal here is that it supports Thunderbolt 4 as well as USB-C, with three 40Gbit/sec Thunderbolt 4 ports that can drive displays or connect to high-speed storage. This means you’ll need the required USB-C/Thunderbolt to DisplayPort cables, but once you have them you can have two 4K/60Hz displays up and running and still have one port left for a speedy SSD. Plus, with three USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports and a single USB 2.0 Type-A, you’re well equipped for other desktop peripherals. In tests, our SSD could transfer data at speeds of up to 999MB/sec.

Add 90W USB PD passthrough, a Gigabit Ethernet port and an SD card slot, and you have one of the most fully featured docks around. For anyone using a high-end laptop both inside and outside the home office, this is the hub to buy.

Key specs – Upstream connection: 1x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2/Thunderbolt 4; USB ports: 3x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A (10Gbit/sec), 1x USB 2.0 Type-A (480Mbit/sec); Other ports: 3x Thunderbolt 4 (40Gbit/sec), RJ-45, 3.5mm audio, SD Card (312MB/sec); Power: 90W USB PD; Maximum power load: Not stated; Dimensions: 75 x 195 x 30mm; Weight: 435Kg; Warranty: 18 months

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