What is a powered USB hub and why do you need it? Here are nine reasons why you should choose powered USB hubs over non-powered ones.
In this post:
- Faster Computer Speed
- Charge Multiple Devices
- Can Run Heavy-Duty Components
- Can Run Multiple Components
- Ideal for Apple Computers
- More Durable
- Faster Charging
- Less Damaging to Your Laptop
- Faster Data Transfers
Powered USB Hub Explained | 9 Reasons to Get One
What Is a USB Hub?
USB hubs are devices that allow you to connect multiple USB-powered devices to a single laptop or computer device. You just attach them to your laptop then you instantly get multiple working USB ports.
This is ideal for users who need to connect multiple devices to a single computer. Let’s face it, two or three ports isn’t enough for most people.
There are generally two types of USB hubs: powered and non-powered.
- Powered USB hubs are devices that generate their own power from an electric socket. That means the number of devices you attach does not rely on your laptop’s battery power.
- Meanwhile, non-powered USB hubs generate power from your laptop’s USB port. This means the number of devices you attach is limited because it relies on your laptop’s battery power.
1. Faster Computer Speed
Is using a USB splitter slowing down your computer’s speed? You can try switching to a self-powered USB hub.
Since a powered USB hub generates its own electricity, it won’t need to take any power from your computer or laptop. That takes a lot of stress off of your computer.
This is perfect for users who have multiple programs and apps running at the same time. You might notice a significant difference in speed as compared to using a regular USB port hub.
2. Charge Multiple Devices
USB hubs allow users to charge multiple devices at the same time. For example, if you use multiple mobile devices, then you can attach them all at the same time to your laptop.
The only downside is that regular USB hubs take power from your computer. This means you’ll have to sacrifice your laptop’s battery power just to charge your mobile devices.
If you don’t want that, then you can try switching to a powered USB hub. It generates power from an electrical socket so no matter how many devices you attach to your laptop, its battery power won’t decrease.
3. Can Run Heavy-Duty Components
Regular USB hubs that generate power from your laptop are ideal for small devices such:
- Mouse and keyboard set
- Flash drive
- Video game controller
However, if you want to use larger, more high-powered devices such as external hard drives/disc drives, scanners, or printers, you’ll need a powered USB hub.
Since it has its own source of power, its capacity to run large devices doesn’t depend on your laptop’s battery power. On the other hand, a regular USB hub can only run devices that your laptop can accommodate.
If you choose to run large devices on a regular USB hub, you might shorten the lifespan of your laptop.
4. Can Run Multiple Components
Of course, all USB hubs can run multiple devices. However, powered USB hubs have the capacity to take on multiple devices regardless of how much power they consume.
- Let’s say you have to print and scan documents from your external hard drive while charging your mobile phone.
- Do you think your laptop has enough power to run all of those components?
While it’s not impossible, it’s still harmful to both your non-powered USB hub and laptop device. So if you have to simultaneously use multiple components on a regular basis, consider switching to powered USB hubs.
5. They’re Ideal for Apple Computers
MacBooks require a lot of power to maintain their fast processing speed. This is why connecting a non-powered USB hub greatly limits their capacity.
If you’re only using one or two flash drives, then it may not affect your speed. But connecting multiple large components can be very stressful to your Macbook’s hardware.
6. More Durable
Powered USB hubs are generally more durable than their non-powered counterpart. They were built to handle heavy-duty components that consume a lot of power.
Meanwhile, non-powered USB hubs can only handle small devices. So, if you force multiple components to a single non-powered hub, it definitely won’t last you very long.
Tip: Powered USB hubs might be a bit more expensive, but if you take good care of them, they can last a very long time. So make sure not to drop, shake, or bump them very often.
7. Faster Charging
Have you noticed how your phone charges slower if you add one more device to the USB hub it’s connected to? That’s because non-powered USB hubs force your devices to share the laptop’s battery power.
So, not only will your laptop’s performance decrease, but your devices will also charge at a much slower rate. Additionally, not many laptops really have the capacity to charge multiple cellular devices. This is why it’s not ideal to treat them like power banks.
If you need to charge multiple phones at once, you should use a powered USB hub instead. It’s basically using power from the electric socket so no matter how many you charge, it won’t decrease your laptop’s battery power.
Tip: Charging a mobile device? Put it on “airplane mode” while charging it to speed up charging time. Just remember, your cellular networks will be turned off while this is enabled so you won’t be able to receive and take calls and won’t have access to the Internet during this time.
8. Less Damaging to Your Laptop
Attaching devices to your laptop might be convenient, but it eats up a lot of energy. Adding more ports from a non-powered USB hub only intensifies the stress.
If you don’t want to shorten your laptop’s lifespan, then you might want to consider getting a powered USB hub. Since it generates its own power, it acts as a second source of energy for your devices to feed on.
You may not notice it, but reducing that much load on your laptop can really improve its speed, performance, and lifespan.
9. Faster Data Transfers
One issue with non-powered USB hubs is the slow data transfer. You might notice a delay when transferring files from one drive to another.
If you only transfer files occasionally, then this won’t be an issue, but if you constantly rotate files from one device to another, then it can definitely affect your work speed.
By using a powered USB hub, you can significantly speed up data transfers from a couple of minutes to a few seconds.
Generally, powered USB hubs are ideal for people who need to connect multiple devices to their laptop’s USB ports on a daily basis. Meanwhile, non-powered ones are good for people who prioritize portability over function and speed.
When choosing between the two, keep in mind that the best USB hub to buy is the one that best suits your specific needs. So before you pull out your wallet, make sure that the USB hub you plan to get suits your lifestyle.
Do you use a powered or non-powered USB hub? Let us know in the comments section below!