It’s a familiar story: you go to plug in a USB device to your new laptop only to find that technology has passed you by once again, and the familiar USB 3.0 ports have been replaced with sleek new USB-C ones that provide several new benefits.
You’ll need a USB-C hub, which allows you to quickly and easily plug in many different devices to your MacBook. Prices for a USB-C hub can vary, and many different features and build qualities are available. So how much does a USB-C hub cost, and what should you look for? Keep reading to find out.
4 Reasons USB-C Hub Price Is So Different
Just like with laptops, the body material of a USB-C hub can make a huge difference. A plastic USB-C hub can cost as little as $10 and provide a simple way to expand the number of ports on your computer. However, they come with their own set of disadvantages.
USB hubs made of metal, particularly aluminum, have a huge advantage in heat dissipation. Metals are not only better conductors of heat than plastic (think of a stove), but they are stronger as well. An aluminum USB-C hub will allow the heat from the electronic components and circuitry within the hub to dissipate quickly and efficiently. This makes metal hubs a safer choice, particularly if you plan to plug in many external devices or transfer large amounts of data.
What’s more, if you have a shiny new laptop such as an M1 MacBook or Samsung Galaxy Book, an aluminum USB-C hub is an attractive addition to these modern design masterpieces.
Number of Interfaces
A good rule of thumb is that more ports usually correspond with a more powerful, more expensive USB-C Hub. This 10 in 1 USB-C hub, for example, has three USB 3.0 ports and one 100W USB-C charging port and spaces for a 4k HDMI adapter, VGA video output cord, and 3.5mm audio jack, Ethernet cable, and SD & TF cards.
Essentially, anything you could want to plug into your computer is compatible with this USB-C hub. If you need to plug in a lot of devices, for a home recording studio maybe, the 10 in 1 USB-C hub is all you need. At $60, it is a more expensive option simply because it offers the most versatility and port options.
A more budget-minded USB-C hub, like this 6-in-1 USB-C hub, by contrast, only includes space for an HDMI adapter, three USB 3.0 ports, and SD & and TF cards. If you don’t need functions like an Ethernet adapter or VGA input, this is a perfect choice at $24.99 – less than half the 10-in-1 USB-C previous hub’s price.
Types of Interfaces
Maybe all that sounded like gibberish to you – that’s ok! Let’s look at a brief overview of the types of ports available in the best USB-C hubs and how they differ.
You’re probably familiar with HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) ports, as they’re standard on most modern TVs and monitors. If you’ve plugged in a game console or streaming box to your TV or attached an external monitor to a laptop, you’ve used an HDMI port. However, not all HDMI ports on USB-C hubs are created equal! This is another reason why “How much does a USB-C Hub cost?” is a question with many possible answers.
For example, the HDMI port on this UGREEN USB-C hub supports UHD 4K@60Hz and 3D videos, the highest video resolution currently supported. If you want to get the most out of your external monitor or TV, you’ll want to look for this standard. Some cheaper USB-C hubs may offer HDMI ports, but they may only support 2k or even 1080p or lower resolution.
Thunderbolt ports are used for charging and connecting peripheral devices. Thunderbolt technology was originally developed at Intel and has spread to many laptop manufacturers. It is currently standard in many laptops, such as the Apple MacBook, which uses Thunderbolt 3 and 4 ports. Thunderbolt ports can transfer data extremely quickly, up to 40Gbps than the 10Gbps maximum of the USB-C.
If you need to transfer large amounts of data regularly, consider a USB-C hub with a Thunderbolt port attachment. Hubs that support Thunderbolt Hubs are expensive and can put a hurt on your wallet. However, The staggering increase in data transfer speed makes it well worth it for many buyers.
Though not standard on many computers or phones, PD charging is the fastest and most efficient way to charge a device. Many USB-C hubs support a PD power supply, which can charge your phone or laptop with up to 100 watts of power at a time. This allows you to charge faster than a USB-C and much faster than most traditional power supplies.
However, as with HDMI ports, look carefully at what you buy. Some USB-C Hubs do not offer PD charging ports, and some offer them with reduced charging capacity, such as 60W.
More people are working from home than ever, and a stable internet connection is essential. If you find yourself in Zoom meetings or downloading large amounts of data, you may want to consider plugging directly into your Ethernet cable rather than relying on Wi-Fi signal strength. Wi-Fi strength can be spotty depending on where in your house you prefer to work.
Many USB-C hubs allow you to plug an Ethernet cable in, which can increase your internet speed and stability. Higher-end USB-C hubs support speeds of up to 1000Mbps for truly blazing-fast upload and download speeds. Some Cheaper USB-C hubs may offer Ethernet but limit you to only 100Mbps.
Despite what you may think, not all USB-C hubs work with everything with a USB-C port. Differences in the smart chip inside your USB-C hub will affect its interaction with different technological devices. Consider what devices you will want to use with your USB-C hub, and research what you buy accordingly – not all USB-C devices are compatible with all laptops and smartphones! For instance, this USB-C hub is compatible with many modern laptops and smartphones, but it also supports Nintendo Switch.
Related Article: Nintendo Switch Not Charging? 9 Easy Tips to Fix It
As the dominance of design-forward companies such as Apple has proven in recent years, the design is as important a part of technology as functionality. When choosing a USB-C hub, it is important to consider both your functional needs and your aesthetic ones.
For instance, too many cables can clog up a desk, making your workspace unattractive. A messy desk can even affect your brain, making you less productive and more anxious. Decluttering your desk is an unexpected major benefit of USB-C hubs.
For example, this USB-C hub is designed to use no cables at all, plugging directly into the side of your laptop as if it were already part of the machine itself. This 5-in-1 USB-C hub has a cable that lays flat to avoid winding. This seemingly small feature has the advantage of making the USB-C hub easy to reposition and compact to carry.
So How Much Does A USB-C Hub Cost?
There is no one right answer to this question. Technology changes every day, and it can be overwhelming to keep up with the number of different adaptors, plugs, features, and compatibility requirements modern devices require.
What’s more, the average USB-C hub price can range from only $10 to over $100. We suggest that you weigh your options carefully and strike a balance between your needs and your budget.
Whatever your needs for your computer, whether it’s downloading large amounts of data at high speed or simply plugging in the occasional flash drive or monitor, you will be sure to find a USB-C hub that suits you on our website. We wish you the best in your journey to lightning-fast data transfer and a serene, decluttered desk!