Do you need more USB ports? Are your devices constantly running out of power? If so, you need a USB hub! There are many different types of USB hubs available, but not all of them are created equal. Avram Piltch discusses the best USB hubs for desktops, laptops, and tablets. He will also provide tips for choosing the right USB hub for your needs. Stay tuned!
A USB hub is a device that allows you to connect multiple peripheral devices (like mice, keyboards, and external hard drives) to your computer using only one USB port. It's like a splitter for USB ports; instead of having just one USB port on your laptop or tablet, you can add more with a USB hub.
There are two main types of USB hubs: powered USB hubs and unpowered USB hubs. A powered USB hub has an external power source that provides additional power to the devices connected to it. An unpowered USB hub does not have an external power source, so it relies on the limited power provided by the connected host device. Some USB hubs are designed with specific port configurations, such as hubs that have only 4 ports or hubs with additional features like USB charging ports.
When shopping for a USB hub, make sure to consider how many devices you will be connecting and the total amount of power they need. If your devices draw a lot of power, you'll want to look for a powered USB hub. Also, pay attention to the number of USB ports available; if you need more than four ports then look for a USB hub with 6 or more ports. Finally, consider any extra features that might be useful, such as USB charging ports or wireless connectivity options.
We've tested many USB hubs to find the best ones for desktops, laptops, and tablets. Topping our list is the Sabrent HB-B7C3. This hub offers a total of 10 ports: 3 dedicated to power and 7 for power and data. This hub is powered, meaning that it takes a separate connection to provide additional power. All in, this hub is able to provide a total of 60 watts of power to its ports. In addition, each port also offers a switch for each port, making it easier to enable and disable devices.
Next up is the poorly named Anker PowerExpand 4-in-1 USB-C Hub. Truly, this hub is closer to a small docking station than it is a traditional hub. It connects to a PC via USB-C and provides 2 USB-A ports. That is where this device's standard features end. It also provides power throughput, meaning that you can provide power to a laptop through the hub. It also provides an HDMI port for extended displays and a memory card reader. But, the feature that really sets this hub apart is the built-in 256 GB SSD.
To learn about the rest of the list, check out the full article on Tom's Hardware.
Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLUGHITZ Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the rhythm game community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bay Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and helping with ROBOTICON Tampa Bay. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors, currently housed at AMRoC Fab Lab.
Avram's been in love with PCs since he played original Castle Wolfenstein on an Apple II+. Before joining Tom's Hardware, for 10 years, he served as Online Editorial Director for sister sites Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where he programmed the CMS and many of the benchmarks. When he's not editing, writing or stumbling around trade show halls, you'll find him building Arduino robots with his son and watching every single superhero show on the CW.