USB Type-C is the port of the future, because it draws power, sends data and even extends displays. Unfortunately, some laptop makers are rushing to the future -- producing laptops with just Type-C ports, while consumers are still using older drives, monitors and accessories. Fortunately, Type-C hubs exist to give users the USB Type-A ports, HDMI outputs, Ethernet jacks and SD memory readers that have gone missing from laptops (especially Apple's MacBooks).
But since few hubs are sold by well-known brands (sure, you may know Anker or Aukey, but what about Hyper Drive, Atolla, Lention and Euasoo?), we've done the hard work of testing these to find out which is best. Along the way, we've noticed little quirks, such as ports too small for USB sticks and HDMI outputs that don't work as well with PCs. Here are the best (and worst) USB Type-C hubs.
Latest News and Updates (October 2018)
We just reviewed the MacBook Air (starting at $1,199) and it's outfitted with only two Thunderbolt 3 ports.
The Kingston Nucleum USB-C Hub at the top of our list just recently dropped in price from $67 to $49.
Elgato recently announced its Thunderbolt 3 Mini Dock, which comes with ports for HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.2, USB 3.1 Gen 1 and Gigabit Ethernet.
Kingston Nucleum USB-C Hub with HDMI, 2 USB 3.0 Ports, Type-C
Kingston’s Nucleum USB-C hub is small and slick, with access to two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, a SD and microSD card slot, one USB-C charging port and one regular USB-C port. It doesn’t feel too light or cheaply made, and even the cable is sturdy. The Nucleum is an overall quality hub, but it is pretty expensive.
You may not have heard of accessory-maker Landhoo before, but this snap-on hub, available in silver, space gray, black, gold and rose gold, is starting the company out on the right foot with us. Not only does it offer an HDMI output port, dual USB 3.0 ports, a SD memory reader and a microSD memory reader, but Its pass-through-charging Type-C port means it's good for those with only one Type-C port. The only thing I disliked is that its connection didn't feel as stable as others, as it jiggled uncomfortably when I connected devices to it.
Pros: Type-C charging port; Adds HDMI, SD memory ports Cons: Not the strongest connection Ports: 5
It's easy to see why this is a best-seller on Amazon. Pass-through charging, SD card readers, three USB 3.0 ports and HDMI out mean it has everything we look for in a Type-C hub. But unless you want those card readers, you're better off saving $25 and buying Aukey's squarish-puck hub, which packs one more USB 3.0 port.
Pros: Every port you need Cons: Comparatively expensive Ports: 7
If you weren't ready for the USB Type-C apocalypse, this hub is here for you. Four USB 3.0 ports. It's only $18 and provides four USB Type-A ports (at the 3.0 speed) in exchange for a single Type-C port. Best for those whose laptop has more than just one Type-C port.
Pros: Clean design Cons: Least affordable Type-A only hub Ports: 4
We'd never heard of Atolla until now, but this adapter makes a good first impression. The casing features a fine texture and shiny bevelled edges, and its four USB 3.0 ports work well. If, for some reason, your laptop's Type-C port isn't providing enough power for this hub, you can connect a power source to its microUSB port, which we didn't need to use during testing.
Pros: Most affordable; Attractive design Cons: Only packs USB Type-A ports Ports: 4
The Euasoo hub has a slim, sleek design with a plentiful amount of ports for a decent price. That includes a USB-C charging port, 3 USB 3.0 ports, a 4K HDMI port, RJ45 port, MicroSD card slot, SD card slot and a headphone/mic jack. The spacing between the USB ports are enough so that connectors don’t touch, but its wire connecting to the laptop is annoyingly short. I also found that the audio jack was unreliable in producing sound through both left and right earphones, as the right ear would only produce sound if I held the cord a certain way and even the mic won’t work at all.
Pros: A ton of ports; Pass-through Charging Cons: Audio jack is unreliable; Lacks regular USB-C port Ports: 9
Lention USB-C Hub with 3 USB 3.0 Ports and SD card slot
While Lention’s USB-C hub has a petite design with a decent number of ports, it feels rather cheap. It has 3 USB 3.0 ports accompanied by discount LED lights that don’t even light up the whole section. It also has an SD and a microSD slot, but both ports are a little finicky. The SD card slot feels loose and the microSD slot doesn’t click in like normal slots do. Not to mention, the hub doesn’t have a USB Type-C port, which puts you at a disadvantage if you only have one USB C port in your laptop.
Pros: Decent amount of ports; Affordable Cons: Feels cheap; Finicky card slots; No USB-C slot Ports: 5
Built just for 2016 and 2017's 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pros, this hub takes up two USB-C ports on your laptop, but replicates all the ports you miss from previous machines. That means, one Thunderbolt 3 port, one USB Type-C port, a microSD reader, an SD memory reader, an HDMI out and dual USB 3.0 ports. The only problem? Its USB 3.0 ports are too small to connect certain Flash drives, even if nothing is next to them, which is a serious problem whether you're spending $10 or $100.
Pros: Multiple Type-C ports; Everything else you'd need Cons: Tight USB 3.0 ports; Expensive Ports: 7
We love these snap-alongside hubs, as they can stay attached to your notebook when you travel, and look like they were made for certain MacBooks (available in gold, silver and space gray). And as long as you have more than one Type-C port, or don't rely on one to charge your laptop, you're likely considering this hub, which adds a trio of USB 3.0 connectors, an SD memory reader and a microSD reader. Unfortunately, as is the case with some of these hubs, its USB 3.0 ports are a little too narrow for some drives, so they couldn't fit inside. This meant I could use only some of my flash drives, and not the one I personally rely on. It might be less expensive than similar-looking hubs, but it doesn't have the charging or the HDMI-out that competitors do.
Pros: Snaps against laptops; Adds SD memory ports Cons: Tight USB 3.0 ports. Ports: 5
AmazonBasics USB 3.1 Type-C to 3 Port USB Hub with Ethernet Adapter
Typically, AmazonBasics accessories are less expensive than the competition, but that's not the case here. If you trust Amazon more than anyone else, consider it, but this cheap-feeling plastic hub is $10 more expensive than Aukey's (though it's smaller) and it offers the same three USB 3.0 ports and Ethernet jack.
Pros: Smaller than similar hub Cons: Feels cheap Ports: 4
Sometimes an affordable gadget's super-budget price is a warning. Although this hub from Lention looks like one of the better peripherals for new MacBook owners on tight budgets, (it adds two USB 2.0 ports and one USB 3.0 port), its promise falls apart quickly. First, we had to make sure that the hub was resting on a surface so that it wouldn't slowly pull itself out. Later, its USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports stopped working altogether, so its only use became as a pass-through charger, making it worthless.