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Large number of USB ports with fast 3.0 speeds. Comes with 3 dedicated charging ports that can be used with a number of smart devices. Offers speedy recharging.
USB data hub surface is susceptible to fingerprints and dust.
Small form factor with short cord makes it easy to carry around. 4 USB 3.0 slots are fast and compatible with a variety of USB devices. Can work with large files.
Does not recharge USB devices effectively due to the lack of a dedicated power cord.
Long 2' USB cable offers more reach and position flexibility than most other small options. Aluminum construction is durable compared to common, cheap plastics. Sleek look with no screws or seams.
Included Velcro to strap USB hub down is difficult to remove from hard surfaces.
Dedicated power adapter allows hub to reliably recharge smart devices without noticeable speed issues. Fast data transfer even with multiple devices plugged in. Lightweight at under 3 oz.
Only 3 ports offer the full USB 3.0 speeds with faster performance than 2.0.
13 dedicated data ports are capable of fast transfer speeds and device recharging. Aluminum construction makes the device great and durable for travel uses. Surge protector keeps devices safe.
Certain ports can unexpectedly stop working after some use, requiring repair or replacement.
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Electronic devices are pivotal parts of our lives, but when it comes to transferring data and charging those devices, space can be limited and time is a factor. Most e-readers and smartphones, tablets, flash drives, and keyboards and wireless mice connect to computers and outlets through USB ports.
A USB hub is a great way to save space, energy, and time when it comes to using and charging your devices. Also called a data hub, this device offers multiple USB ports by connecting to a single one, much like a power strip features several outlets while only taking up one wall outlet. The hub may have a few ports or over a dozen. The main function of a hub is to allow you to connect multiple devices to a central device, likely a computer or smart TV. Some hubs allow certain devices to charge as well.
One popular brand of USB hub is Anker, an international company focused on charging technology and convenience. It offers a range of USB hubs that cater to all your power and devices needs. Our buying guide can help you determine the right USB hub for you, and we’ve included some of our favorites, too.
USB (Universal Serial Bus) has long been the way to connect electronic devices to one another in order to charge them or transfer data. Current hubs have USB 3.0 ports. Also referred to as SuperSpeed USB, these ports provide the fastest speeds for transferring data, with a maximum transfer speed of 640 megabits per second (MBps).
The earlier generation, USB 2.0, is still common but slower. If you have any USB 2.0 devices, they will work on a USB 3.0 port but more slowly, with a peak of 480 Mbps.
If your main priority is charging multiple devices quickly and simultaneously, it’s better to purchase a USB charger rather than a USB hub. (Note that some Anker USB hubs feature ports that are specifically made for charging, with the other ports for data transfer and device usage.)
That said, Anker USB hubs can effectively charge some devices that don’t require a lot of power, such as e-readers. Smartphones and tablets can receive a charge, but it likely won’t be quick or efficient. What’s more, using the hub to charge devices from your computer, for example, can drain the computer’s battery and diminish power usage more quickly. Some USB hubs simply won’t charge certain items, such as external hard drives, which require too much power
Consider the number of devices you want to connect to the hub at the same time. These might include a mouse, keyboard, thumb drive, smartphone, e-reader, tablet, or flash drive. Some ports are dedicated to transferring data or using a device like a gaming controller, while others are solely for charging purposes. On smaller data hubs, there is likely no option for exclusive fast charging; these are available on hubs that have more than six ports. You might buy a USB hub with ten ports, but not all of them may be used to connect devices and transfer data between them.
Consider where you will use the USB hub most often, and note the length of the connection cable because these can vary significantly. The USB connection cable on Anker hubs may be as short as 6 inches or as long as 30 inches. If you’re investing in a hub that makes connecting and charging devices more convenient, make sure that the hub connection is convenient as well.
If you and your devices are often on the move, perhaps working in various locations, it would be wise to seek a compact, lightweight hub.
However, if you intend to use the hub in one place, such as at your desk, then size and mobility may not be huge factors. Some Anker hubs also come with hook-and-loop fasteners or adhesive, so you can stick your hub in a convenient spot for regular access. The adhesive can also be used to cleverly hide your hub while still keeping it accessible by placing it on the side or bottom of a desk.
On/off switch: The larger Anker USB hubs may have an on/off switch or button for the power supply to the entire hub. This is useful if you regularly plug in multiple devices and don’t want to unplug each one individually.
One-handed use: This is often overlooked, but consider where the ports are located on the hub. If they’re on the top, it’s likely you can easily plug and unplug USB cables with one hand. However, if they’re on the side, connecting and disconnecting the cables might require two hands.
Some Anker USB hubs come with a power adapter to connect directly to a wall outlet. This is useful if you charge devices often or you’re concerned about draining power from the central device.
Not all data is transferred via USB cables. If you have a digital camera or other device that uses SD cards, you’ll want an Anker USB hub that includes an SD card slot.
USB charger: Anker USB-C Wall Charger
If your hub is primarily or exclusively used for transferring data and connecting devices, a wall charger, or power port, is a useful investment to exclusively charge your devices. Anker makes plenty of quality ones, including this five-port charger.
USB-C cords: Cable Matters USB-C Cords
Needing to charge a device and not being able to locate an extra cable can be incredibly frustrating. USB 3.0 cables are relatively cheap and often come in multi-packs. Cable Matters has a cheap pack of three that are just over a yard long.
The number of ports directly affects the price of Anker USB hubs. While some hubs may have extra features, the number of ports affects the price more than anything else. While it’s not a set rule, you’ll pay around $4 to $6 per port.
Inexpensive: The smallest Anker USB hubs have four ports, and you can find these for less than $20. These hubs are ideal for transferring data but shouldn’t be expected to charge devices efficiently.
Mid-range: For between $20 and $45, you can find an Anker hub with up to seven hubs. One or two of these may be exclusively for charging, and the unit may come with an AC adapter as well.
Expensive: Spend $45 to $80, and you can find Anker USB hubs with 12 ports, some of which are fast-charging. These are likely the most powerful hubs available.
Anker USB hubs come in many different sizes. We found a few more in case you don’t see what you need in our matrix. Among the lower-priced hubs available, this four-port Anker USB-C Hub is powerful, quick, and has a sleek, compact design that makes it easy to transport. At almost double the price, this aluminum Anker Unibody USB 3.0 Hub features seven ports while supporting both a USB connection and power adapter to plug into the wall. Last, this Anker USB-C Hub has three USB ports, a microSD card slot, and a standard SD card slot, allowing for easier transfer of data.
Q. Does the Anker USB hub plug directly into an outlet?
A. Anker USB hubs have a USB connection that can connect to a laptop, for example, to offer more ports. Some larger hubs have an additional AC adapter connection, allowing it to be plugged into the wall for charging purposes.
Q. Does the hub work with USB 2.0 connections?
A. Yes. USB 3.0 technology is backwards compatible, meaning it will work with the previous iteration. In some cases, a USB 2.0 cable is preferred if the device is of an older generation.
Q. How do I keep my USB ports clean?
A. Over time, USB ports may collect dust and debris. You can use canned or compressed air to gently blow out dust and use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol on the outer edges to keep the ports working well.