USB-C hubs for Chromebooks
Chromebooks are built light, lithe, and long-lasting. Still, as more Chromebooks shed USB-A and card-reading ports for future-proof, multifunctional USB-C ports, users are faced with a choice: You can try to upgrade all your peripherals to USB-C, or you can get a USB-C hub and keep using your USB-A keyboard and ripping photos off your camera’s SD cards. Many USB-C hubs also support HDMI monitors, Ethernet, and Power Delivery charging too, so no matter your needs, there’s a great USB-C hub out there for you! Here are some of the best Chromebook USB-C hubs you can buy right now.
Anker USB C Hub, PowerExpand+ 7-in-1 USB C Hub Adapter
Anker makes a wide, wide array of USB-C hubs, but this one stands out. In addition to having a PD port for pass-through charging, there’s also an extra data port for plugging in a USB-C peripheral like a USB-C flash drive or keyboard.
Uni USB-C Hub
This credit-card-sized hub allows you to swap out the host cable for a longer C-to-C cable and keep the hub on your desk while your laptop sits in an elevated stand. It also comes in two sizes: a 6-in-1 without Ethernet and an 8-in-1 with Ethernet.
Wide compatibility and ports:
AUKEY CBC71 8 in 1 USB C Hub with Ethernet Port
This is another refinement of our previous favorite USB-C hub, the Aukey Link PD, but this model adds an Ethernet port yet is somehow more affordable. You also get 3 USB-A ports, 100W USB-C pass-through charging, 4K HDMI, SD, and microSD card slots.
Just the essentials:
7-in-1 Plugable USB-C Hub Multiport Adapter
Plugable is better known for its docking stations, but it also makes a surprisingly capable and compact USB-C hub for an excellent price. If you need a hub to connect a monitor and a few peripherals, it’s hard to beat the Plugable 7-in-1’s value and durability.
Ethernet for stablity:
VAVA USB C Hub, 8-in-1 USB C Adapter
Does the Wi-Fi in your dorm suck? Do you need a constant, top-speed internet connection while you’re streaming an uber-important conference for work? Then you need a USB-C hub with Ethernet. While most of those will run you a pretty penny, VAVA packs one into its 8-in-1 hub while keeping prices reasonable.
HooToo 6-in-1 USB-C Hub
This hub sports most of the same ports as the AUKEY into a narrower and more affordable hub. The HDMI port supports 4K output, the pass-through charging supports 100W speeds, and the aluminum housing will wear scratches and scuffs better than Aukey’s black plastic.
Long and lean:
Anker PowerExpand 6-in-1 USB-C PD Ethernet Hub
This sleek hub from Anker only has two USB-A ports, but it makes up for that by also featuring HDMI, Ethernet, and the ability to plug in a USB-C peripheral in addition to the USB-C port for pass-through charging. This means that you get exactly the ports you need, a little bit of futureproofing, and no wasted space.
Super long cable:
Uni USB-C Hub with 4ft Cord
Need to reach some peripherals to your Chromebook without crowding everything right next to it? This hub has a 48-inch cord so you can sneak the cables for your keyboard, USB webcam, and microphone out of sight, out of mind. Just be mindful that this hub doesn’t have a USB-C pass-through to recharge your Chromebook.
Between dock and hub:
Anker PowerExpand 12-in-1 USB-C PD Media Dock
This is technically a docking station, but it’s powered by Power Delivery just like USB-C hubs and is on the smaller side for a hub, so I consider it a happy medium between lightweight hubs and hulking, expensive docks. You get three USB-A ports, both HDMI and DisplayPort video output, SD and microSD slots, Ethernet, and the ability to keep it out of the way.
Pick the hub that’s right for you
Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central
The Anker PowerExpand+ 7-in-1 and Uni USB-C hubs offer essentially the same hub in two flavors: with Ethernet and without. I’m exceedingly grateful for the choice because Ethernet usually adds bulk and always adds to the price. On the other hand, if you live somewhere with excellent Wi-Fi, you shouldn’t need to pay the Ethernet tax unless you want it as a backup. Anker’s durability also helps give it an edge if you travel with your hub and need it to withstand the barrage inside your black hole of a backpack.
Since I got the Uni USB-C hub two years ago, I’ve been absolutely in love with it. I can swap out the short cable it comes with for a longer USB-C to USB-C cable to organize cables further away from my Chromebook on my standing desk (it’ll probably come in handy for you if you work from home). Just be mindful if you’re using it for an external monitor that you’ll need the best USB-C cable rated to 10Gbps to ensure the picture doesn’t stutter. It’s also the size of a credit card with the cables detached, making it one of the easiest hubs to pack for frequent travelers or students.
Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central
Want something beefier and more stationary for your office desk? You may want to consider upgrading from a USB-C hub to a full-fledged docking station instead. Docking stations usually have their own power supply, a wide variety of ports, and longer cables so you can keep your desk less cluttered.
Note: Unless you know you’re going to be using headphones through it every time you plug it in, you might want to avoid USB-C hubs with a headphone jack. When I use hubs and docking stations with headphone jacks, it sometimes mixes up the input/outputs while using video calling services like Google Meet and Zoom.
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