Today, gadgets, especially computers and laptops, are designed with fewer ports, in most cases, two ports. This makes getting an external port hub a necessity if you need to plug in an external keyboard, memory key, cords, etc. Getting a port hub is a solution to sort the issue of limited ports on a device. So what is a port hub?
An Overview of a Port Hub
Over the years, port hubs have become seemingly prominent as it provides an avenue to expand the connectivity for a single port. A port hub is a device that transforms a lone port into several ports.
People use port hubs on their computers and laptops, especially when there is a limited connectivity port. In addition, to providing connectivity, most port hubs provide connections for HDMI, Ethernet, VGA, USB, Memory Cards, etc.
Generally, a port hub enables a computer to connect to a host of other interfaces, including USB, enabling tons of connections. Since most laptops today feature only USB-C connectivity, the need for a port hub is essential to connect these gadgets to a screen through HDMI, broadband through Firewire, Ethernet, headphones through a jack socket, or hard drives through USB.
Types of Port Hubs
There are two significant types of port hubs.
1. Powered Hubs
Powered hubs provide a power supply for devices. A powered hub uses its power source to provide power for connected devices. It comes in handy when connecting USB devices with higher voltages.
For instance, you can use a powered hub to connect a printer, scanner, or large external hard drive. A powered hub solves the issue of data transfer once several high-voltage devices are connected to your device.
With a powered hub, every device that is linked to it draws power from its USB connection. Hence, one USB port does not need to dispense power to several devices simultaneously.
Pros of Powered Hub
- Generates its power
- Suitable to power high-voltage devices
Cons of Powered Hub
- Must be plugged into a power outlet
- The size is larger than other ports
2. Unpowered Port Hubs
Unlike the powered port hubs, the unpowered port hubs are suitable for connecting smaller devices. These port hubs cannot power high-voltage devices.
For instance, you can plug devices like keyboards, flash drives, gamepads, smartphone chargers, etc., into an unpowered port hub. In addition, unpowered port hubs come in handy as they are more portable and easy to carry than powered port hubs.
Pros of Unpowered Port Hubs
- Compact in size
- It does not need to be plugged into a power outlet
Cons of Unpowered Port Hubs
- It cannot power high-voltage devices
- Unpowered port hubs have fewer ports
5 Uses of Port Hub
There are tons of things you can do with a port hub. Below are some of them:
- Set up a workstation
- Improve a tight workspace
- Make mobile gaming easier
- Transfer files
- Serves as a charging devices for gadgets like phone, tablets, etc.
5 Best Port Hub in 2021
Below are our top pick ten best port hubs in 2021:
1. Anker USB C Hub
Anker USB C port hub is an 8-in1 USB C port that connects through a 7-inch USB C cable. With this port hub, you can access two USB 3:1, one USB C port, HDMI video capable of up to 4K resolution, ethernet networking and a 60hz refresh rate. In addition, you can use this port hub to access an SB and micro SD card from a camera or phone.
The Anker USB C port hub is portable and lightweight. Also, it transmits data at a flow of 10Gbps and can supply up to 85 watts for charging gadgets like phones, tablets, or laptops.
Features of Anker USB C Port Hub
- 8-in-1 USB-C PD
- 10Gbps Data Hub
- Crystal-Clear Display
- Universal SD Card Compatibility
- Pass-Through Charging
- 4K Media Hub
Pros of Anker USB C Port Hub
- Lightweight and portable
- Supports up to 100W
- High-Speed Data Transfer
Cons of Anker USB C Port Hub
- Not compatible with Nintendo Switch and USB SuperDrive
2. Sabrent 4-Port USB 3.0 Hub
Sabrent 4-port USB 3.0 hub is a simple and budget-friendly port hub. This port hub turns a single USB 3 port into four downstream outlets. You can use this port hub to connect a mouse and keyboard to a printer or scanner.
It features LED indicators that show active ports when transferring data. You can power off each port on this hub with a click of a button. This USB hub has a support speed of about 5Gbps. Also, it is compatible with windows, Macs, and Linux computers.
Features of Sabrent 4-port USB 3.0 Hub
- Number of ports – 4
- LED indicator display
- Transfer speed – 5Gbps
- Operating system – Windows, Macs, and Linux
Pros of Sabrent 4-port USB 3.0 Hub
- Lightweight and portable
- High-speed transfer
- Easy to set up
Cons of Sabrent 4-port USB 3.0 Hub
- Cannot charge or power accessories
3. Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Express Dock HD
Unlike other port hubs on our list, the Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Express Dock HD is big and heavy. However, it is exceptional. It is capable of high-speed transfer of up to 40Gbps and can link up to five devices.
It features three UBS C, Ethernet wired networking and two USB 3 connections. In addition, it can drive a pair of 4k displays and has two audio-out jacks for headphones or external speakers.
Features of Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Express Dock HD
- 170-watt AC adapter
- Number of ports – 8
- 85 watts charging power
- Hardware interface – USB, Thunderbolt, USB 3.0
- Up to 40Gbps transfer speed
- Dual 4K video output
Pros of Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Express Dock HD
- Easy to set-up
Cons of Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Express Dock HD
- Limited port selection
4. ioGear USB-C Laptop Docking Station
ioGear USB-C Laptop Docking Station is an outstanding 14-inch long port hub that suits all connection needs. It is a long and narrow device that can connect with ten devices via a single USB C cable.
You can use it to charge your phone or tablet, and it has about 85 watts of power. It features 3 USB 3 ports, USB C ports, SD and micro SD card readers, and Ethernet wired networking.
In addition, it is compatible with multimedia as it features an audio jack for headphones or external speakers.
The USB-C Laptop Docking Station supports up to three video streams at 4K resolution and supports mini DisplayPort, HDMI, and traditional VGA monitors. It is compatible with Windows Mac and Chromebooks
Features of ioGear USB-C Laptop Docking Station
- Sd and Micro SD card reader
- Number of ports – 10
- Supports versatile video options such as HDMI (4K ultra HD), Mini DisplayPort (4K Ultra HD) and VGA (one 4K UHD or dual 1080P)
- Number of USD ports – 3
- Compatible with Window USB-C laptop
Pros of ioGear USB-C Laptop Docking Station
- Sturdy design
- Multiple video outputs
- Compatible with any USB Type-C laptop charger
Cons of ioGear USB-C Laptop Docking Station
- Video limitations on Macs and Chromebooks
- It does not come with a charger
- Non-removable cable
5. TP-Link 7-Port USB Hub
TP-Link 7-Port USB Hub connects various USB devices to your computer. With this port hub, you can connect external hard drives, thumb drives, etc., to your device. It is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux computers.
In addition, it has a data transfer rate of up to 5Gbps. Also, it features two dedicated 5V, 2.4A USB charging ports.
Features of TP-Link 7-Port USB Hub
- 2 powered USB ports
- Power adapter
- 7 USB 3.0 ports
- Compatible operating system – Windows, Mac and Linus
- Data transfer rate of about 5Gbps
Pros of TP-Link 7-Port USB Hub
- Slim and compact design
- Status LED indicator
Cons of TP-Link 7-Port USB Hub
- Short USB cable
- Not sturdy
Port hubs become a necessity when you have multiple devices to connect. And as mentioned above, there are different types available in the market.
With our recommendation, you can get familiar with some of the famous port hubs in the market and decide on a suitable one for your needs.