The 10 Best USB Hubs
10. Plugable HUB7-81X
9. Nekteck 4A
8. HooToo UH010
7. Juiced Systems 6HUB-01
6. Anker AK-A7
5. Sabrent HB-UMA7
4. Aukey CB-H6
3. Latorice 3.0
2. Sabrent HB-MNCB
1. Anker B14A
How Does a USB Hub Work?
If you don't live under a rock, then you are likely familiar with USB ports and their basic functions. In fact, if you are on this page, you are clearly using some type of technological device such as a computer or smartphone and have discovered a need for additional USB ports.
While current computers are often equipped with multiple USB ports, sometimes as many as six or eight, it's still often necessary to have more. After all, we tend to use a large number of USB-based devices to cut back on the inconvenience of cords and to make our work stations more mobile.
It's highly likely that whatever mouse you are using right now requires a USB connection. You might use a USB-based wireless keyboard or plug your phone, tablet, or MP3 player into a USB port to charge or transfer files. And what about printers, game controllers, and external hard drives?
Regardless of the particular devices, you likely need to utilize more than one USB port at once. That's where the USB hub comes in.
The USB hub operates similarly to a surge protector. You get to plug multiple devices into it at once without affecting your computer's overall performance, while multitasking, and still managing to go about your day. This is especially helpful if you have a netbook with a limited number of USB ports.
The right USB hub will seemlessly manage all of these devices while freeing up space on your desk and helping you to stay on task or enjoy your media. If you have one of those thin netbooks for convenience and enjoy traveling or working remotely, but you need to multitask, you need a USB port.
The type of work you do will help to determine the type of USB port that you need. As with any product, you should consider your individual needs and carefully peruse the available options before making a final decision.
Advantages of USB Hubs
In case you're still not sold on buying a USB hub to make your office space or gaming experience run more smoothly, take a look at some of these advantages to purchasing the right one for you.
First, USB hubs use their own power. That is if you purchase a powered hub. Some hubs are unpowered and operate off of your computer's USB power. These split the power and drain your computer's battery much faster than a powered USB hub that runs on AC power. Powered USB hubs will allow your computer to run at full power and are completely worth the extra cord.
Second, they are better equipped than your computer to handle the large components such as gaming controllers, external hard drives, scanners and printers. This prevents these items from draining your computer's power so you can keep working or playing without missing a beat. You can run all of these items at one time. You can charge your cell phone or tablet while running your printer and transferring files to your external hard drive.
Third, they are a top choice for both PC and Macintosh users. PC's are often used to perform a number of office functions. In an office setting, many large components are necessary to keep things running smoothly. A powered USB hub enables office computer to handle a number of tasks at one time. Apple iMac computers are increasing in popularity, especially among graphic designers and gamers. Powered USB hubs help these people get through work and play with no interference.
Finally, there are many powered USB hub options to choose from. Depending on your needs, you can buy a USB hub that connects four devices or as many as fifteen. Some are created for long-lasting, industrial use. Others are more attractive and can be placed on a desktop. You can even purchase some that stand upright for more space-saving convenience.
A Brief History of the USB Hub
Computers were originally designed with a wide range of different port types. The ways in which people could connect additional devices were severely limited and made it difficult for the average user to understand whether or not he was purchasing the right device for his computer.
USB stands for "Universal Serial Bus" and was designed as an easier, more universal way to connect external devices and transfer important data. USB 1.0 was introduced in 1995. It greatly simplified and sped up data transfers between devices.
Apple developed the iMac G3 in 1998 making it the first computer designed for the average consumer to do away with the legacy ports and convert to USB. By the turn of the millenium, USB was taking over and nearly eliminating the need for other ports altogether.
USB flash drives began to replace floppy disks for file storage and transfers. External devices began to be designed with USB connections for a more user-friendly experience. Now, printers, scanners, smartphones, tablets, game controllers, and other external devices can all be connected to a PC or Macintosh using USB.
This transition prompted the need for USB hubs with multiple connectivity ports that would run all necessary devices at one time without slowing down the computer. The patent for the original USB hub was filed by Yea Huang in 2002. Since then, the device has grown in popularity, and demand for it has only increased.