Compared to the complexity of buying a new graphics card or switching out your motherboard, a USB hub definitely makes for a simpler purchase.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should simply grab the first one you see off the shelf at the electronics store. There is a vast range of features, build quality, and safety between each all of the different models. Here we’ll cover what you need to get the best possible results and find the right hub that meets your needs.
What is a USB Hub and Why Should I Get One?
While desktop computers come with USB ports—sometimes up to 6 of them—many people require even more for their USB-based devices.
It’s common for a home user today to have a USB-connected mouse, keyboard, scanner, printer, and memory card readers, along with syncing and charging cables for a variety of devices such as iPhones and other smartphones, ebook readers, and other portable devices.
Even if you reuse the same USB cables for a few devices, you may end up without an available USB port. The location of your computer can also make USB ports inconvenient to reach, particularly if it’s beneath a desk. Laptops, on the other hand, typically don’t come with more than one or two USB ports.
There are many different features available to choose from when shopping for the perfect USB hub.
One of the most important features that end users don’t often consider is safety and internal construction.
Make sure you get a custom USB thumb drive from a reliable brand, as cheap knock-offs are often poorly wired, protected, and insulated, potentially leading to fried USB devices as a result of their poor design.
In extreme cases they can even result in catastrophic failure that leads to serious injury or even death, which is why it’s important to make sure you get a high-quality hub from a trusted brand.
Buy the Most Up-to-Date Standard
It’s been a long time since people have regularly used USB 1.0 hubs, and USB 2.0 devices, while common, are also outdated. USB 3.0 is currently the highest standard, with 4.0 presumably on the way pretty soon. It’s worth purchasing the most current standard to help avoid incompatibility issues down the road.
Keep USB Hub Ports in Mind for Future Use
While you may consider simply purchasing a 4-port USB hub when you only need 4 ports at the moment, this could be inconvenient in the future. Consider the many future devices you may want to connect to the device, and purchase accordingly.
Read Fine Print Regarding Smaller Features
Once you’ve considered the many basic features, including solid and safe construction, powering option, and number of ports, it’s time to take a look at the smaller less appreciated features.
For instance, some have LED numbers beside each data-port on the strip, indicating when devices are connected to a host computer. Such a feature may seem small, but visual feedback can be helpful when trying to configure a device.
With these features in mind, you can effectively locate the ideal USB hub to meet your needs.