The need for an un-powered and powered USB 3.0 hub had been around even when desktop PCs with more port slots were not being replaced by laptops so quickly. And now they are all the more important. Many manufacturers (read: Apple) are designing computers with less gaping holes on the sides.
Moreover, there always are some of us who just want more connectivity. You bought another device that you want to attach using a USB 3.0 port, but there’s no spare slot. In situations like these, you will find these port hubs really useful.
Top Powered USB 3.0 Hubs with Four to Ten Ports Reviewed
In order to cater to your requirements, we have tested and reviewed a variety of sticks. The tests included hubs ranging from four USB ports to as many as 13 USB ports. Now that we are down to the top five, we’ll be sharing our findings with you. That being said, don’t forget to head on to our buyer’s guide at the end for some useful tips.
For instance, a first-time buyer wouldn’t know that despite the universality of USB connection, there could be certain iOS devices that have different types of ones like the USB-C ports. In that case, you will need a powered port hub with an adapter for the said laptop or tablet. Similarly, you’d want to learn about surge protection and how powered USB hub can harm the devices without it.
SmartDelux 13-Port Powered Hub
Maximum ports in aluminum.
Aluminum gives everything a premium profile and this SmartDelux hub is nothing short. With ten data transfer ports and three 2.4 amp fast charging ports, this is as good as it gets.
Anker 10 Port 60W Data Hub
Large number of ports, great quality!
In case you don’t want a huge stick over a dozen ports on it, the Anker USB hub offers seven super fast data ports as well as three 2.1 amp charging ports at the finest quality standards.
The first thing you’ll note about the Sabrent USB hub is that it comes with separate power buttons for each slot. While it is not a feature exclusive to this model and other Sabrent hubs have featured similar buttons, it is nonetheless a nice addition.
As a result, you will not have to unplug the device every time you are done using it just for the sake of turning it off. Needless to say, unplugging the connectors so much also has an effect on the life of the cable. So you get to keep the connectors in place perpetually and simply turn the buttons on or off.
Technically, while having a mega 10 port hub is great, you’d hardly need so many ports. Needless to say, there is backward compatibility for USB 2.0 and USB 1.1 devices too. This means none of the old gadgets get left out.
Another handy feature that a few good products have missed is LED indicators. These give you the power status for the ports on your hub. As a result, you don’t need to fidget with the connectors thinking the power is on when it isn’t.
On the downside, the Sabrent USB hub only features syncing functionalities. Which means that you will not be able to use any of these ports to charge a mobile phone or a tablet.
- Individual power buttons
- LED indicators
- Affordable powered hub
- Solid build
- No charging ports
- Only four ports
Amazon makes a variety of USB hubs. All of them priced around the mid-tier, and all of them performing fairly well. We looked for a mid-sized port hub that would make the list a whole for all types of needs. And the 7-port hub came out as a good choice.
Unlike the Sabrent hub above, this one comes with fast charging ports. So you don’t have to worry about finding a separate slot for your smartphone. You will, however, pay a more for the three extra ports it offers over the Sabrent model.
While the hub gets full stars in terms of looks and build quality, there still are some nooks and crannies that need more effort. For instance, we found the ports were placed too close together for some connectors to be used side by side. As a result, we would have to either skip one of the port as useless or find a small bodied connector to fit there.
One more thing that some users would consider a problem is charging speeds. The AmazonBasics 7 Port USB 3.0 hub does offer faster charging speeds but only when the hub isn’t connected with the computer. Otherwise, you get to charge your devices at a slower pace.
- Good build quality
- Dedicated quick charging ports
- Appealing design
- Ports are slightly too close
- Fast charging works when PC isn’t connected
There are a number of USB 3 hubs from Anker that we love. Primarily because it was the only company with not one but two top performing products. But also because each of these ports hubs caters to different needs. The two models we tested had seven and ten ports respectively.
The 60W powered USB hub we are talking about now comes with 10 high-speed ports. Out of these seven are for data transfers while the remaining three are dedicated charging ports. Anker delivers super fast charging thanks to their PowerIQ technology that will allow 2.1 amps.
But the USB 3.0 technology offers the same transfer speeds almost everywhere. And this is no different for the seven data ports. Nonetheless, 5 Gbps will remain good enough for a while now. Talking of time relevance, the build quality of the 10 port Anker hub is quite sturdy and compact. Which is why we expect it to stick with you for a while.
Additionally, the company provides an 18-month long warranty too. Therefore, we are expecting it to be more durable than many others. If the stick had to end up with a problem it would be plain old overheating, since the ports are so packed together.
- Large number of ports
- Lasting build quality
- Good charging speeds
- Very compact for such high temperatures
One of the primary reasons why you might need a USB hub is that you need more ways to connect a larger number of devices to your computer. While your needs might get fulfilled with a four-port hub, the SmartDelux 13-Port Powered Hub is there if you want the greatest number of ports.
On this eight inches long stick, you get as many as ten USB 3.0-speed ports. There also are three other super fast charging ports that claim between 1 to 2.4 amps. So this means from your external SSD to the USB drive, and from your tablet to mobile, everything can be connected to the USB hub.
Moreover, this is a powered USB 3 hub which means you don’t need to worry about the power source letting you down. Instead of the USB port of your computer, it will need an independent power source, making it capable of actually holding a load of so many devices together.
Usually, when you get a peripheral that focuses more on quantity, the quality aspects are inadvertently ignored. But the SmartDelux hub has a solid aluminum build as well as quality USB 3.0 ports that offer up to 5Gbps transfer rates at least. Unlike many of the others, you get a good five feet long power cable too.
In the end, the only question is do you really need 13 ports? Because you could always get a more affordable USB hub that would only offer enough to fulfill your needs.
- Greatest number of ports
- High quality build
- Long cable allows flexibility of use
- Most expensive of the lot
- Needlessly large number of ports
We have shared our review on the elder brother of this port hub above. But if you are not really looking for dedicated charging solutions, this is the go-to device. Not only because it will save you a few bucks for dropping the dedicated ports, but also because the product quality remains unchanged.
Similarly, the size of the 7 port Anker hub is smaller too. It is important to mention that even the 10 port stick above was a very compact model, and taking three more ports off of it gives you a palm-sized lightweight hub. And since it doesn’t come at the cost of a feature, why not!
You will still be able to use any one of the seven ports to charge the mobile but charging speeds won’t be as fast as the previous Anker hub as they max at 0.9 amps. Except for the seventh data port, which claims a top speed of 2 amps but maxes out lower.
Nonetheless, it also has the 18-month warranty cover and the same solid quality of build. Which means you will not need to worry about a replacement except for a USB 3.1 hub. We are suggesting anyone who wants to buy a USB 3.0 hub to go for either this or the ten port variant.
- Seven data ports with charging
- Very compact and solid build
- Good value for money
- Charging ports aren’t dedicated
While essentially a USB splitter is also enabling you to share one USB port with two devices, that is about it. Splitters are mostly used to split a single port into two, mostly in cases where a device like a printer has to be shared with two computers. On the other hand, a USB hub is a dedicated peripheral that allows you to multi-connect up to 10 devices using a single port, carrying a power source of its own.
Last but not least, USB adapter is a totally different device. You would use one if you wish to change the type of USB port being used from, say USB-C to USB 3.0. There also are some hybrid USB hubs that can also function as a USB adapter for select devices.
What is the difference between an unpowered and powered USB hub?
The first and physically observable difference between powered and unpowered hubs is that the former comes with a cord to plug a power source for the hub independently. On the other hand, unpowered USB hubs don’t use external power. Instead, it relies on the USB port they are using to stick with the computer.
As a result, unpowered hubs might fail to work on multiple devices. Primarily because the power it can draw from the USB port will be limited. If you have a setup including multiple gadgets you need to connect, stick to a powered USB 3.0 hub.