How to choose a USB Hub

Posted by Lucas Smith on

Choosing a USB Hub? Choosing the ideal USB Hub for your needs can be overwhelming when there are so many.

When choosing a USB hub, the most important things to consider are,

The number of USB Ports.
The speed. i.e. USB 2.0 or USB 3.0.
Powered or Unpowered.
Switched or Unswitched.

The number of USB ports. How many USB ports do you need?

USB hubs come in a wide range of Port quantities with the most common being 4 Port and 7 Port. We recommend counting how many USB ports you require and then allowing for 1 or 2 extra USB ports for future proofing.

Powered and Non-powered USB hubs.

What is the difference between Powered and Non-powered USB hubs?

As the name suggests, the main difference lies in how they draw power.

Powered hubs come with an adapter and plug into the mains. A powered USB hub is also known as a self-powered hub or an active hub.

Some usb hubs come with an optional use power socket built-in. This lets you purchase a power supply and connect only if required. They are still known as a powered hub even if they may not include a power supply.

Unpowered hubs plug into a computer’s USB port and draw power from its battery or internal power supply. An unpowered USB hub is also known as a bus-powered hub or a non-powered hub.

This difference is all-important when it comes to establishing which hub would be most suitable for your devices.

When would you choose a Powered USB hub?

Use a powered USB hub if you need to use several devices at once or devices that operate on higher voltages, such as External hard drives, Printers or Scanners. When charging a phone, tablet or other mobile computing device, a powered USB hub is recommended.

When would you choose an Unpowered USB hub?

Unpowered USB hubs take power from the USB port that they are plugged in to. As computer USB ports produce small amounts of current, they are best used to power devices that need only low voltages, such as Flash drives, Game controllers, Keyboards, Mice, Smartphone chargers.

USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 (Speed).

USB 2.0 transfer speed is 480 megabits per second (Mbps), while USB 3.0 transfer speed is 4,800 Mbps. This means USB 3.0 is approximately 10 times faster than USB.

Frequently Asked Questions about USB hubs.

Q: What are the benefits of using a USB hub? A: Using a USB hub provides the following benefits:

  1. Increased connectivity: You can connect multiple USB devices to your computer, freeing up USB ports for other devices.
  2. Convenience: All connected devices are within easy reach, reducing the need to constantly plug and unplug devices.
  3. Improved organization: Devices are kept in one place, reducing clutter and making it easier to manage your cables and peripherals.

Q: What types of USB hubs are available? A: USB hubs come in various shapes, sizes, and types, including compact and portable hubs, powered and non-powered hubs, and hubs with additional features such as charging ports or built-in USB cables.

Q: What is the difference between powered and non-powered USB hubs? A: Powered USB hubs have an external power source, which provides more power to connected devices. Non-powered USB hubs rely on the computer's power to run connected devices, which may not be enough for some devices, especially those with high power requirements.

Q: Can a USB hub also be used as a USB splitter? A: Yes, a USB hub can also be referred to as a USB splitter. The term "splitter" refers to the functionality of the hub, which splits a single USB port into multiple ports.

Q: Can a USB hub increase the speed of my devices? A: No, a USB hub does not increase the speed of your devices. It simply provides additional USB ports for your devices to connect to. The speed of a device is determined by its own specifications and the speed of the USB port it is connected to.

Q: Is it possible to use multiple USB hubs to expand the number of USB ports on my computer? A: Yes, multiple USB hubs can be used to expand the number of USB ports on your computer. However, keep in mind that the overall speed and performance of your connected devices may be reduced as data is passed through multiple hubs.

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