Best Hubs for the 12-inch MacBook iMore 2021
Anyone who uses Apple's 12-inch Retina MacBook is probably familiar with the constraints of one-port life on a Mac. You've got a single USB-C port, through which you can both charge your MacBook and send data. The good news is that USB-C is a versatile, reasonably powerful port, so you can also use it to expand your Mac's capabilities using a USB-C hub or dock. These can be especially useful when you're working at home, adding ports, slots, and more to your tiny Mac. Here are the best USB-C hubs for your MacBook.
- Great on a budget: Anker USB C Hub, PowerExpand+ 7-in-1
- A hub for all seasons: Satechi USB C Aluminum Multi-Port Adapter
- Take it with you: HyperDrive USB-C Hub Adapter
- All the ports: TOTU 11-in-1 Adapter with Ethernet
- Home base: OWC USB-C Dock
- Travel companion: OWC USB-C Travel Dock - Space Grey
- Slim Ethernet: Satechi USB-C Slim Multi-Port with Ethernet Adapter
- Rugged hub: USB C Hub Ethernet 8-in-1 Aluminum Adapter
- Tiny and tough: uni USB C Hub 4K
Great on a budget: Anker USB C Hub, PowerExpand+ 7-in-1Staff Favorite
An excellent budget option, Anker's seven-port USB-C hub is just a great option in general, too. It has two USB-A ports, two USB-C ports (one power-only, one data-only), SD and microSD card slots, and an HDMI port.
A hub for all seasons: Satechi USB C Aluminum Multi-Port Adapter
Satechi's USB-C hub has three USB-A ports, all of which are USB 3.0, as well as SD and microSD card slots and a USB-C power delivery port so you can keep charging your Macbook while you're using the hub. There's also a built-in Ethernet port, in case you need a wired internet connection.
Take it with you: HyperDrive USB-C Hub Adapter
An excellent portable choice from Hyper, this variant of the HyperDrive Solo feature seven ports, including two USB-A, an HDMI port, SD and microSD card slots, and a USB-C power port. It sits firmly against the side of your Mac, almost like it's a part of the computer itself.
All the ports: TOTU 11-in-1 Adapter with Ethernet
This truly is a hub for your Mac. It has two USB-A 3.0 ports, two USB-A 2.0 ports, 4K-capable HDMI, SD and microSD card slots, an Ethernet jack, a VGA port and a 3.5mm headphone output. It also supports up to 87-watt power delivery for charging.
Home base: OWC USB-C Dock
This is a dock meant for your desk. Featuring 10 ports and delivering 80 watts of power, OWC's USB-C dock is perfect for anyone using their MacBook predominantly at their desk. It has four USB-A 3.1 ports, two USB-C 3.1 ports, one of which is both power and data passthrough, an Ethernet jack, Mini DisplayPort, SD card reader, and a headphone jack.
Travel companion: OWC USB-C Travel Dock - Space Grey
OWC's travel dock is like a miniature version of its desktop units. It has two USB-A 3.1 Gen 1 ports, a USB-C power port, HDMI, and an SD card reader. It's a great travel companion and features storage for its built-in USB-C connection cable.
Slim Ethernet: Satechi USB-C Slim Multi-Port with Ethernet Adapter
This multi-port USB-C hub is slim and light, great for taking with you wherever you go. Impressively, this hub is svelte while offering a gigabit Ethernet port for wired connectivity, as well as two USB-A ports, SD and microSD, USB-C power delivery, and 4K-capable HDMI.
Rugged hub: USB C Hub Ethernet 8-in-1 Aluminum Adapter
Meant to be taken with you, this portable USB-C dock comes with a flexible, yet rugged case that protects the dock from drops and what's in your bag. It features two USB-A 3.0 ports, USB 2.0, USB-C power deliver, HDMI, SD and microSD card readers, and a gigabit Ethernet port.
Tiny and tough: uni USB C Hub 4K
The little sibling of the 8-in-1 Dock, Uni's smaller USB-C hub ditches the USB 2.0 port and Ethernet jack for a more portable package, which also comes with a rugged case to protect from damage. It has two USB-A 3.0 ports, SD and microSD card readers, USB-C power delivery, and HDMI.
Is it a hub, adapter, or dock?
For a solid combination of portability and expandability, the Anker 7-in-1 USB-C hub would be my choice for the MacBook. It has a great selection of ports while maintaining a solid light build that makes it great for travel. It's also less expensive than a lot of other hubs on this list.
Speaking of hubs, you might notice that many of these products are called adapters or docks rather than hubs. But what's the difference. A hub, for instance, gives the idea of a central location, a product with a lot of ports, into which you plug every accessory your Mac might need. A dock, like the OWC USB-C Dock, is generally a type of hub, one that's more suited to desk-based work.
An adapter is generally the opposite of that. An adapter tends to be simple, making your Mac more compatible with a certain type of product. It generally has one or a few ports, and it is often made for a specific purpose. While many of the products on this list call themselves adapters, it's probably best to think of them all as hubs or docks. They all have more versatility and convenience than you'd expect from a simple adapter.
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