In the old days, laptops used to have lots of connectors and ports dotted along their sides. But recently, makers have slimmed down their devices even more and left no room for such things as an HDMI output or Ethernet socket.
Indeed, more and more laptops (including Apple MacBooks and Dell’s XPS line) and tablets (such as Apple’s iPad Pro) use the latest USB-C connection standard—or its faster Thunderbolt 3 or 4 siblings—because it’s small and versatile: the port can be used for a variety of things including connecting peripherals, displays and charging.
But if you still need to connect non-USB-C devices to your USB-C laptop or tablet you’ll need a USB-C hub or adapter. This will let you attach external hard drives, memory sticks, DVD drives, phone chargers, wired Gigabit Ethernet connections, and external displays or a projector for meetings.
An adapter usually just replaces one port, while a hub offers multiple ports. For more serious, but less portable, multiport solutions, look for a fully fledged USB-C docking station.
Below the list of our favorites, we explain all the different ports you might require on the hub or adapter; such as USB-A, USB-C, Gigabit Ethernet, SD and microSD card readers, HDMI, DisplayPort, power and audio.
The great news is there is a wide choice of quality USB-C adapters and hubs now available at reasonable prices. Here are our recommendations.
Plugable USB-C 7-in-1 Multifuction hub – Best Affordable Multiport USB-C hub
7 ports inc. 4K HDMI
4K at 30Hz
Slow card readers
The compact and very affordable 7-port Plugable USB-C Multifunction Hub has seven ports from one integrated USB-C connection, including a 4K HDMI output for adding an external display, power pass-through (at an impressive 87W) to charge connected devices, three 5Gbps USB-A ports, and SD and microSD slots.
You can use the HDMI 1.4 port to output to a 4K (at 30Hz) or Full HD 1080p monitor or projector.
Pass-through charging is especially handy if your laptop or USB-C device has just one USB-C port. The 87W power is more than you get from most hubs.
At 88g, it’s lightweight, and, as with many hubs, features a short integrated cable so works well as a portable travel device.
There are a generous three USB-A ports that can also provide 7.5W power pass-through to charge other devices.
There’s just one USB-C port, so look elsewhere if you need more of the newer USB standard.
Wired Internet is also not present, but, fear not, Plugable has a longer 7-in-1 USB-C Hub that drops a USB-A port for Gigabit Ethernet.
Baseus 8-in-1 USB-C Hub – Best USB-C hub with Gigabit Ethernet
8 ports inc Ethernet, 4K HDMI
3x USB-A (5Gbps)
4K at 30Hz
Slow card readers
You get 8 ports to add to your laptop with Baseus’s good-looking 8-in-1 USB-C Hub. It features excellent PD USB-C pass-through charging (up to 100W) so you don’t lose a valuable USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 port on the laptop if you need to charge or sync. There are three USB-A ports pushing data at 5Gbps but a little underwhelming on device charging at 7.5W each.
There are SD and MicroSD (TF) slots for storage cards, so you can slot in a camera card, or use the flash memory for extra laptop storage.
Gigabit Ethernet is there, too, as is an HDMI port that can support 4K displays at 30Hz—not a refresh rate to excite gamers but enough for most of us.
The business end of the integrated USB-C cable can be stored in a special slot, creating a handy loop to keep things tidy, and could also be used to hang from a hook, if desired. And there’s an LED indicator to show activity.
Baseus has a range of USB-C hubs if you want fewer or more ports; available at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.
Kingston Nucleum 7-port USB-C adapter – 7-port USB-C hub with two USB-C
7 ports inc 4K HDMI
2x USB-A (5Gbps)
2x USB-C (5Gbps)
4K at 30Hz
Slow card readers
The quality 7-port Kingston Nucleum boasts seven ports from one USB-C connection, including a 4K HDMI output (30Hz), power pass-through (60W) to charge connected devices, two USB-C (5Gbps) ports, two 5Gbps USB-A ports, and SD and microSD slots.
You can power up a USB-C laptop while also connecting to a USB Flash drive and charging your smartphone. It’s compact in size and lightweight, and features a short built-in cable so works well as a travel accessory.
The two old-school USB-A ports also provide power pass-through to charge devices such as your smartphone or Bluetooth headphones.
One USB-C port on the Nucleum can be used for charging, and the extra USB-C port can connect your other more modern devices for data.
One port it does lack is Gigabit Ethernet. If you’re happy with Wi-Fi, this won’t matter, of course.
Hyperdrive 7-in-1 USB-C Hub Stand – Best combo USB-C hub and laptop stand
7 ports inc 4K HDMI
2x USB-A (5Gbps)
4K at 30Hz
Slow card readers
This clever hybrid device is both a laptop stand and a 7-port USB-C hub. It may be all you need to carry around with you when travelling and works just as well sat in the home or office.
The portable stand is lightweight and collapsible, raising a laptop (up to 17in) to a healthier viewing angle, with five ergonomic settings.
Along one side are the six built-in ports, and a USB-C PD (100W) to keep your laptop charged via the integrated cable.
There are one 5Gbps USB-C port, two 5Gbps USB-A ports, a 4K 30Hz HDMI video port, and SD and microSD card readers (104MBps UHS-I).
EZQuest USB-C Gen 2 Hub Adapter 7-Ports
4x USB-C (3 at 10Gbps)
3x USB-A (5Gbps)
USB-C ports just 2.5W charging
This USB-C hub eschews HDMI or Ethernet ports for a solid seven USB ports: four modern USB-C and three USB-A, so you can connect old and new devices as you see fit, including Ethernet or HDMI adapters if you need those too. While you may need to buy extra adapters, this hub offers more flexibility.
Three of the USB-C ports are rated at a speedy 10GBps (USB 3.2 Gen. 2) for fast data transfer, with the other at 5Gbps but aimed at 100W pass-through charging for your laptop. The three USB-A ports all offer 5Gbps bandwidth.
The data transfer is excellent but the charging capacity of all but one of the 7 ports is weak.
The integrated USB-C cable is 22cm (9in) long.
Satechi USB-C Hybrid Multiport Adapter – Best USB-C adapter with SSD enclosure
4K HDMI at 60Hz
2x USB-A (10Gbps)
The Satechi USB-C Hybrid Multiport Adapter isn’t just a 4-port USB-C hub. Its hidden secret is its enclosure that allows you to add SSD storage to boost memory space, backup data, and transfer files at 5Gbps, without taking up an additional USB-C port.
Of course, you can add an SSD drive to most USB-C hubs but this one allows you to carry just one gadget around with you, as the SSD fits inside the adapter. It supports SATA M.2 SSD only (no SSD is included in the price).
There is a 100W USB-C PD charging port (15W is required to run the hub itself), and an impressive 4K 60Hz HDMI display output to connect an external monitor. The two USB-A 3.1 ports support fast data transfer at up to 10Gbps.
Nonda USB-C to USB 3.0 Adapter – Best simple USB-C to USB 3.0 adapter
This is your simplest solution to needing to add a USB-A (USB 3.0) device to the USB-C slot on your laptop, Mac or PC.
Quite simply, it’s a one-port male USB-C to female USB 3.0 adapter, rated at 5Gbps. Attach a charging cable, memory stick, or keyboard, etc.
Other adapters have a bunch of ports. This has just the one, and that might be all you need. Actually, it is sold in a pack of two, so it’s doubly useful at a great price.
UGreen USB-C to 4-Port USB 3.0 Hub – Best USB-C hub for old-school USB ports
Simple USB-A hub
If all you need is a bunch of older, standard USB-A ports to add a phone charging cable, memory stick or external hard drive, then you won’t need a more versatile hub—just an adapter with a row of USB 3.0 ports.
There are plenty of these about, but for a quality brand take a look at the UGreen USB-C to 4-Port USB 3.0 Hub, which is inexpensive and ultra-portable.
It has four USB 3.0 ports, and even a 12W micro-USB power port for extra power supply for devices that require it—although this is weak and nowhere near enough to charge a laptop!
Even with this handy extra, you should really just consider most of the four ports for data transfer rather than powered devices.
There’s no HDMI, no extra USB-C port for passthrough charging, no memory card slots or Gigabit Ethernet. But who cares: you just want a few old-style USB ports, and this has enough to satisfy the most ardent accessory fan.
Satechi 4-Port USB-C Hub – Best USB-C hub for multiple USB-C
No passthrough charging
Low port charging
Laptops often have just two USB-C or Thunderbolt ports, so some users will yearn for more of the modern connectors.
Satechi’s well-named 4-Port USB-C Hub boasts four USB-C, which will at least double most laptops’ port count and help add Type-C SSD drives, flash drives, and other peripherals.
The USB-C is rated at 5Gbps.
The EZQuest USB-C Gen 2 Hub reviewed earlier is more expensive but includes 4x USB-C ports and 3x USB-A ports, plus 100W passthrough charging.
Caldigit Thunderbolt 4 Element Hub – Best Thunderbolt 4 hub
4x top-end Thunderbolt 4 ports (40Gbps, 15W)
4x speedy USB-A ports (10Gbps, 7.5W)
May require extra adapters for displays and Ethernet
Backwards compatible and foreseeable-future-proof, Caldigit’s Thunderbolt 4 Element Hub is great for modern laptops that can feel the benefits of the latest connectivity standard.
It boasts four 40GBps Thunderbolt 4 ports (compatible with USB-C, Thunderbolt 3 and Thunderbolt 4) plus four 10Gbps USB-A ports. One of the TB4 ports is upstream, so connects to the computer; the other three are downstream for connecting other devices.
Power delivery to external devices is more impressive than other hubs reviewed here, up to 15W on the Thunderbolt ports.
You can use the TB4 ports to add external USB-C displays or, with a USB-C display adapter, to multiple HDMI or DisplayPort monitors—as well as other devices, all at top speeds.
Read our full
Caldigit Thunderbolt 4 Element Hubreview
HyperDrive 6-in-1 USB-C Hub for iPad Pro and Air – Best USB-C hub for iPad
Built for USB-C iPads
6 ports inc 4K HDMI at 60Hz
Works with any USB-C computer
Non iPads must connect via cable
Slow card readers
iPad Pro and Air (2018 and 2020) users will appreciate this aluminum USB-C hub that turns the tablet’s single USB-C port into six ports: 5Gbps and 60W PD charger, 5Gbps USB-A, 3.5mm audio, HDMI (4K at 60Hz), and UHS-I MicroSD and SD Card readers.
Hyper claims it was the world’s most crowdfunded iPad Pro accessory and USB-C hub.
Available in iPad pro-matching Space Gray or Silver, this good-looking hub features a grip that secures it onto an iPad Pro without damaging the surface. You can remove the grip if you use a third-party iPad case.
It comes with a USB-C extender cable so you can also use it as a USB-C hub for your computers other than the iPad, too, including MacBooks, Windows laptops and other tablets.
Startech.com USB-C Multiport 4-in-1 Video Adapter – Best USB-C adapter for display port choice
Multiple display options
4K at 60Hz via miniDP
The Startech.com USB-C Multiport 4-in-1 Video Adapter can connect your USB-C laptop to a VGA, DVI, HDMI or Mini DisplayPort (mDP) display. It has pretty much everything except full DisplayPort.
It features USB Power Delivery (PD), so you can power your laptop while outputting video using the same USB-C port. And it does this at up to 95W so can charge most laptops at full speed.
The short breakout cable features a magnetic retainer that secures it in place while you’re not using it.
The HDMI and mDP outputs support UHD 4K resolutions. All of the outputs (HDMI, mDP, VGA, DVI) support high-definition resolutions up to 1920 x 1200. The adapter is compatible with USB-C DP Alt Mode devices.
It’s available in Aluminium, Rose Gold, and Space Gray trim, which will please owners of Apple MacBooks—but it will work with Windows laptops too, of course.
Moshi USB-C to HDMI Adapter – Best for 4K HDMI
This simple compact and lightweight (23g) adapter lets you connect any USB-C device to a display, projector or TV with HDMI—be it your laptop, USB-C phone, iPad Pro or USB-C tablet.
The Moshi USB-C to HDMI Adapter supports 4K displays at 60Hz for smoother quality, and HDR (compatible with HDR10). It also supports HDCP 2.2 for Netflix, Amazon Prime and other streaming services.
It will also allow pass-through charging to your device while you use the display with USB PD 3.0 up to 60W.
TrendNet TUC-ET5G – Best for super-fast Ethernet
Many of the USB-C adapters tested here have a Gigabit Ethernet port, but none except the TrendNet TUC-ET5G can boast 5X gigabit speed for the absolute fastest wired transfers.
This is the first-to-market USB-C to 5GBASE-T (5Gps) Ethernet Adapter that is compatible with existing Cat5e cabling or better. Now you can add super-fast Ethernet (which you usually find only on top-end workstations such as the Mac Pro) to your laptop.
It’s not cheap, but it is the fastest. TrendNet also sells a TUC-ET2G model that can handle 2.5GBASE-T (2.5Gbps), which is about half the price and still 2.5X faster than Gigabit Ethernet. But if you want the very fastest only the TUC-ET5G will do.
Moshi Symbus Q – Best USB-C dock with Q1 wireless charging
5 ports inc 4K HDMI at 60Hz and Ethernet
Up to 15W wireless charging pad
2x USB-A (5Gbps, one fast-charging)
The Moshi Symbus Q is a similar offering to the HyperDrive hub above. It offers slightly less functionality at a slightly higher price, but you’re really paying for the sort of premium finish and build quality that Moshi delivers.
As with the HyperDrive, this is a USB-C hub that doubles as a 15W wireless Qi charger. Beyond that it packs in two USB-A 3.1 ports, 4K HDMI at 60Hz, and Gigabit ethernet, while it offers 60W USB-C PD pass-through charging to whatever laptop it’s plugged into.
The main body is built out of aluminum, so feels pretty sturdy, while there’s a soft fabric and rubber finish to the top to keep any glass-backed phones from sliding around. It’ll also happily charge through most phone cases.
Bear in mind that this only takes power from the mains, so even if you don’t want to use it for charging you’ll still need to plug it in, meaning this is best suited to leaving on your desk, rather than a hub for travelling.
Startech.com USB-C Audio & Charge Adapter – Best audio jack adapter
Simple audio jack adapter
If your laptop, tablet or even USB-C phone lacks a 3.5mm audio jack, then this simple and compact 2-in-1 adapter is what you need if you still use wired headphones, speaker or microphone.
It doesn’t just feature the audio jack, it has a USB-C port for pass-through 60W power delivery (PD). You can attach it to your USB-C wall charger, or untethered it can be bus-powered.
Long in length and connecting directly rather than by cable, it may cover up other ports on your computer.
OWC USB-C Travel Dock E – Mini USB-C dock
4K HDMI at 60Hz
The OWC USB-C 6-Port Travel Dock E is tiny, but includes at least one of each port you might need, whether out and about or just on your desk at home or in the office.
There are two 5Gbps USB-A ports, one pass-through USB-C PD port (100W), HDMI 2.0, an SD Card reader (fast UHS-II), and Gigabit Ethernet for wired Internet access.
The version 2.0 HDMI is an upgrade on most adapters with HDMI 1.4, and can get to 60Hz with 4K displays.
At 174g, it’s heavier than most of the USB-C adapters tested here, but we like it compact and robust shape.
Note that the USB-C cable that connects to your computer is quite short (15cm) so it will have to sit right next to the host. Of course, the ports can accept any length of cable for the required devices and accessories.
As a mini dock, rather than in-pocket adapter, it’s compact, solid and well built and includes Gigabit Ethernet.
There is also a slightly cheaper model without Ethernet, although we’d argue that wired Internet access is essential for any device calling itself a dock.
Satechi Aluminum Type-C Slim Multi-Port Adapter 4K – Lightweight USB-C hub
Available in a range of colors (silver, gold, rose gold, and Space Gray) that match Apple’s MacBooks—but compatible with any USB-C laptop—the Satechi Aluminum Type-C Slim Multi-Port Adapter 4K is one of the lightest and smallest multiport USB-C hubs we’ve seen.
Weighing just 46g and both slim and short, the hub/adapter boasts dual USB 3.0 ports for standard accessories and a 4K HDMI port for displays and projectors.
It also has an extra USB-C port for 60W pass-through charging, so you can keep your laptop powered up while it’s in use.
The flexible cable is 15cm long.
What is a USB-C hub?
While these products are often described and named as adapters or dongles (as so many devices hang off them) they are really hubs that take one port on the laptop or tablet and add multiple and varied other connection ports.
If you want something more substantial to anchor your laptop to at home or in the office, with a lot more ports and a proper power supply, you should consider a full USB-C docking station that has even more ports and full power delivery (USB PD) that charges your laptop at the same time.
The latest connection standard is Thunderbolt 4 or USB4. We’ve tested the best Thunderbolt 4 hubs and docks.
First, consider what you need from the hub or adapter. Most are multi-port, so have more than one type of connection functionality included.
USB-A: This is the classic non-reversible USB. Do you just need to attach some accessories—memory stick, hard drive, webcam—that use older standard USB connections? If so, there are many simple adapters at a low cost, and nearly all his boast at least one. Speeds range from 480MBps (USB 2.0) to 5Gbps (USB 3.2 Gen 1) and 10Gbps (USB 3.2 Gen 2).
USB-C: This is the latest reversible USB. There aren’t as many accessories as you’ll find with USB-A, but an extra Type C port can be used for data and, if labelled as such, for pass-through power delivery from a USB-C wall charger.
Thunderbolt: It looks exactly the same as USB-C but Thunderbolt 3 and Thunderbolt 4 are much faster at 40Gbps compared to 5Gbps or 10Gbps. If your laptop boasts either Thunderbolt 3 or 4, it’s wise to buy an adapter, hub or docking station that has the same connection. TB4 is backwards compatible with USB-C and TB3, although some TB3 Windows laptops and PCs might not be supported; all recent Apple MacBooks will be. Check out our roundup of the best Thunderbolt 3 docks and the best Thunderbolt 4 docks.
USB4: Using the same connector as USB-C, USB4 is, like Thunderbolt, a more sophisticated and often faster connection standard.
Make sure you check the USB speed rating when choosing your hub, as they range from 480Mbps (USB 2.0) to 40Gbps (USB4, Thunderbolt 3 or 4). Learn more about the differences between USB-C, USB4, Thunderbolt 3 and Thunderbolt 4.
HDMI: Need an HDMI port for your laptop? There are plenty of USB-C hubs that include HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface), including 4K. Most of the HDMI-packing hubs listed here support 4K displays at 30Hz rather than the fully powered 60Hz 4K that offers higher graphics for sharper video and gaming.
DisplayPort: These, er, display ports are more often found on full docking stations (see link above) but you can buy USB-C DisplayPort adapters.
VGA: This is quite an old video port rarely found on modern displays, but if you are moving between offices a lot (or have an old monitor), then the option might be useful to you.
Power: Some laptops and most tablets have just one USB-C port, so add an adapter and you have nothing left to charge your computer at the same time. In which case, you should look for a hub with an extra USB-C Power Delivery (PD) port so you can continue to power your laptop while using the adapter.
This is known as passthrough charging. 85W and over will power most laptops at full speed. The best docks will offer enough power for the connected devices as well as the laptop, but a well-powered hub might be enough if you don’t use all the ports at the same time. Remember that for most you will need a separate wall charger to supply this pass-through power—your laptop charger should suffice. Check out our Best USB-C Chargers roundup for a selection of recommended PD chargers.
Tablets mostly require less power. For example, the 12in iPad Pro will charge at full speed at around 40W.
Ethernet: Even with Wi-Fi so prevalent you still can’t beat the speed of a wired Ethernet connection, still found in hotels and of course from your router. If so, you want a hub with an RJ45 Ethernet port – and make sure it’s a Gigabit Ethernet connection for faster data transfer. Much more expensive adapters use the latest 2.5GBASE-T or 5GBASE-T ports that provide multi-gigabit speeds capable of up to 5Gbps over existing Cat5e or better cabling. But 1Gbps Ethernet will be speedy enough for most.
Memory cards: Fewer laptops these days include memory-card slots—certainly none from Apple. If these are important to you, look for SD-, MicroSD- and TF-card slots on the hub or adapter. You can quickly and very cheaply add portable storage to your laptop setup.
Audio: Many people use wireless Bluetooth headphones and speakers, but if you want to connect wired headphones or speakers to your laptop, then you need a 3.5mm audio jack on your hub.
Second, think about portability. If it’s your laptop that uses USB-C then you are likely to want the hub to travel with you and not be a giant brick. So, look for portability in size and weight. There are enough small and lightweight adapters that you can slip in your laptop bag or even pocket and not notice.
And third, of course, is the price. There are certainly some very cheap USB-C adapters out there, but we’ve tried to pick the quality end of the market (but still at reasonable prices) so you don’t risk the safety of your device or even home with a dangerously cheap adapter.
Cables: Read our roundup of the best USB-C cables if this is all you’re looking for.
Docking stations: Larger, abler (and usually less portable) docks can include many more ports and connect dual displays at 4K in Extended Mode; see our Best USB-C docking stations roundup for more choices.