USB - Hubs

USB Hubs are a way to extend the number of devices you can connect to a computer. As computers become more compact, they lose some ports and connectors. USB hubs are a great solution to this problem and allow you to add between 4 to 28 USB ports to your computer. In the following article, we will discuss some things you will want to consider when purchasing a USB hub.

What is the difference between a USB Hub and a USB Dock?

USB hubs only have USB ports, while USB docking stations can have multiple connections. If you want to connect your laptop using an Ethernet cable and add a display, you should check our USB docks below. A USB hub will allow you to plug in more USB devices, like keyboards, mice, or flash drives, to your laptop or desktop computer. 

4-Port USB Hub

USB Hub, 4-Port

USB Docking Station with Ethernet and VGA connectors

USB Docking Station

Types of USB Hubs

Do you need a USB-C or USB-A Hub? 

A USB-C hub uses a smaller universal connector that will allow you to connect multiple devices and device types. These ports are more common on newer computers. Another advantage of a USB-C hub is that it can be powered from a wall outlet using a power cable. This will allow you to run multiple devices off the hub to charge your phone or tablet or read an external hard drive.

If you need to support older USB devices, you will want to look at a USB-A hub and make sure it supports USB 1.0 and 2.0. If you have newer devices, they will run on USB 3.0 or higher and have a blue USB connector. Remember, black and grey connectors show a USB 1.0 or 2.0, while a blue connector is USB 3.0 or higher; these USB 3 devices provide faster data speeds for file transfers. If you need speeds upwards of 10GB, you should make sure you purchase a USB 3.1 compliant device, and for speeds of 20GB or higher, a USB 3.2 device. 

Small Micro and Pocket Hubs

The small or Micro hubs are great for fitting more ports into a tight space on your desk, and the compact size allows them to be quickly stored in a pocket or bag. These hubs are best for peripherals like flash drives, keyboards, or mice, and they will charge USB devices but will do so at a slower speed than a powered hub. These would be a great way to add additional ports to a laptop desktop or even game controllers or devices to an SBC project, allowing you to expand your project beyond the limitation of the two to four USB ports on most project boards. 

USB Hub, 4-Port
USB Hub, 4-Port

Flash drives, keyboards, mice, speakers, peripherals

SuperSpeed Hubs, USB 3.2 Gen1/2

USB 3.0 Superspeed hubs provide faster speeds for USB 3.0, 3.1, and 3.2 devices. You can tell these are faster hubs because of the blue connector, which shows that they support USB3.0 or higher. These are the devices you will want to use if you plan to send and receive large amounts of data. For example, if you have a USB drive with lots of photos or videos, that USB 3.0 connection will make file transfers faster and more efficient. If you would like to work with two or more drives, remember to get a power cable and check that your USB hard drive is compatible with a USB hub. 

A super-speed USB hub is designed for high-quality rapid data transfers between devices. So if you want to look at images or move videos or files between devices, you will want a USB 3.0 or higher hub. Our Superspeed hubs support both USB 3.1 and USB 3.2, which will offer speeds of 10GB and 20GB, respectively. A non-powered hub will likely power one USB- Hardrive. Beyond power, you will notice an increase in performance and can read off more than one drive with a powered hub and a compatible external hard drive reader or enclosure. 

Flash drives, hard drives, keyboards, mice, speakers, peripherals

Desktop Hubs

These USB hubs get data off multiple flash drives or can write to multiple drives simultaneously. If you need to re-image or put a new OS on all your office or lab computers, this is your device. With this device, you can flash multiple drives at once, reducing the time spent creating bootable drives or promotional USBs for your next event. You could also use these to add additional charging or data ports to your computer and charge multiple devices simultaneously. For the fastest speeds, make sure your hub has USB 3.0 ports. 

USB Hub, 28-Port
USB Hub, 4-Port

Flash drives, hard drives, video editing, digital photography, Keyboard and Mice, Speakers, Peripherals 

Powered Hubs

If you would like to charge your device, or multiple phones or tables, you will want to look into a powered hub. Powered hubs let you use and charge multiple devices while also offering high-speed data transfers between your devices. If you have a few hard drives, then a powered hub will come in handy, allowing you to read, move, and transfer files between devices, much faster while also powering the devices. Alternatively, if you need to read multiple hard drives that aren’t attached to an enclosure, you could consider a Hardrive dock, more often called a hard drive toaster.

USB Hub, 4-Port

Uses: Digital photography, video editing, hard drives, using multiple flash drives