As more laptops and devices use the latest USB-C connection standard for ports and power delivery, users are looking for the best USB-C hubs and adapters that will allow the use of legacy USB accessories as well as display, memory-card, Ethernet, and HDMI ports.
The great news is there is a wide choice of quality USB-C adapters and hubs now available, and at reasonable prices.
Laptops used to be loaded with an array of different ports, but often now include only one or two USB-C ports for power and connectivity - especially Apple's MacBooks. If you want to add external hard drives, memory sticks, DVD drives, phone chargers, you will likely need some more-standard USB 3.0 ports, and then you might need an HDMI slot for connecting another display or projector in meetings.
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 and add multiple and varied other connection ports.
First, consider what you need from the hub or adapter. Most are multiport, so have more than one type of connection functionality included.
USB A: Also known as USB 3.0. Do you just need to attach some accessories that use older standard USB connections? If so, there are many simple adapters at low cost.
HDMI: Need an HDMI port for your laptop? There are plenty of USB-C hubs that include HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface), including 4K.
Power: Some laptops have just the 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 port so you can continue to power your laptop while using the adapter. This is known as passthrough charging.
Chargers: And some hubs are really chargers with built-in adapters. Check out our Best USB-C Chargers roundup for a selection of recommended products.
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 RY45 Ethernet port - and make sure it's a Gigabit Ethernet connection for faster data transfer.
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.
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.
VAVA USB C Hub 8-in-1 Adapter with 4K HDMI
This USB-C hub from Vava is super portable for travel - it's slim and lightweight (63g), and could slip into your pocket without you noticing, although the dangling cable might attract some puzzled looks.
It attaches to the laptop by a 15cm flexible cable, and includes eight ports in its slim body. It also has a 100W Type C Power Delivery (PD) charging port, so you can keep your laptop charged while using the hub.
There are three standard USB 3.0 (USB-A), which should be enough for most people. The HDMI port is 4K compatible (3,840-x-2160 at 30Hz).
There's a Gigabit RJ45 Ethernet port, that fits the slim hub by means of a drop-down flap.
Camera and memory card users will appreciate the SD Card and MicroSD Card readers.
Lenovo USB-C to 4-Port USB 3.0 Data Hub
If all you need is a bunch of older, standard USB 3.0 (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 Lenovo USB-C to 4-Port USB 3.0 Data Hub, which is inexpensive and ultra-portable.
It has four USB 3.0 ports. No HDMI, no extra USB-C port for passthrough charging. But, who cares, you just want a few old-style USB ports and this has enough to satisfy the most ardent accessorist.
Satechi USB-C Multi-Port Hub Adapter
Available in a range of colours (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 pass-through charging, so you can keep your laptop powered up while it's in use.
The flexible cable is 15cm long.
Moshi USB-C Multimedia Adapter
This Moshi hub is a simple 3-in-1 adapter with four ports.
It features two USB 3.0 (USB A) ports for adding extra peripherals, a built-in SD card reader for transferring photos and videos, and a 4K UHD (30Hz) HDMI video adapter for connecting to an external display.
The card reader slot supports both SD and SDHC/XC memory cards with transfer speeds up to 104Mbps.
It doesn't boast an extra USB-C port, so if your laptop has just the one USB-C port this hub won't allow you to charge at the same time as you're using it. Laptops that boast more than one USB-C port can of course use those for charging.
The adapter attaches to the laptop via a 12cm flexible cable, and weighs 64g.
Anker 5-in-1 Premium USB C Data Hub
The space-grey Anker 5-in-1 Premium USB C Data Hub calls itself a "USB, Video, and Internet Data Station".
Its width of just 2.3cm is one of the smallest - and weighing in at 52g, is one of the lightest - we tested.
It has three standard 5Gbps USB 3.0 ports (great for connectivity but not powerful enough to charge the connected accessory), 4K HDMI display output, and a Gigabit Ethernet Port Network Adapter.
There's no extra USB-C port for passthrough charging.
Lenovo USB-C Hub, Aluminum Type C Adapter
Available in either Grey or Silver the Lenovo USB-C Hub, Aluminum Type C Adapter features an HDMI video output port, a Gigabit Ethernet port (RJ45 port), two USB 3.0 ports and an SD card reader.
Handily, it also includes an extra USB-C charging port for powering the laptop while the hub is in place. As with other hubs tested here, this is especially important if your laptop has just the one USB-C port.
As it features a full-depth Ethernet port it is slightly deeper than the Vava hub above, which uses a drop-down flap. Lenovo's solution is probably more durable, if thicker.
Satechi Aluminum Type-C USB 3.0 3-in-1 Combo Hub
While aimed at MacBook users (with its brushed aluminum design and choice of Space Grey, Silver, Gold and Rose Gold) the Satechi Aluminum Type-C USB 3.0 3-in-1 Combo Hub will work with other USB-C laptops too.
It doesn't have the cable but attaches straight into the laptop's USB-C port. This makes it tidier and more compact but maybe a less flexible solution.
It features two USB 3.0 ports, an SD and Micro SD card slot, and a passthrough USB-C charging port - but no HDMI.
LC-Dolida USB-C to HDMI and VGA Adapter
It might not be a super-multipart hub but the LC-Dolida USB-C to HDMI and VGA Adapter tackles that awkward moment when your prehistoric host proffers you the projector's VGA cable.
This handy adapter takes audio and video signals via a laptop's USB-C connector and switches to a display, TV, or projector equipped with HDMI or VGA input terminals.
While you can't use both at the same time, you can extend the computer screen and set up in mirror mode.
The HDMI port supports video resolution up to (4K) at 3,840-x-2,160 at 30Hz.
There are no extra USB-C or even USB 3.0 ports. This adapter has one purpose only, and that's to rescue you when there's no USB-C display option.
HP Z9G82AA Travel Hub
One of the benefits of the HP Z9G82AA Travel Hub is the length of its flexible cable - measuring about 35cm, so longer than most on offer here.
It has a VGA port for old-school projectors, and HDMI, plus two USB 3.0 ports and a USB-C passthrough charger.
We're not sure it will charge an Apple MacBook - for these, check out our best USB-C chargers for MacBook - but HP laptops should work well with this portable hub.