With LG, HTC, Huawei, and even Samsung making the switch to USB-C, micro-USB Android smartphones are clearly out their way out. The hot new USB Type-C standard is here to stay. Google, its partners and even Apple are starting to put this port anywhere they can. As it stands, I happen to use two devices with USB Type-C already (one of them being my laptop).
There are plenty of benefits for using USB Type-C. For starters, the port is reversible! But that is only the tip of the cable. And like ice bergs, there is much more than meets the eye in Type-C cables. They allow for faster transfers, charging, 4K monitor output and more.
Needless to say we will have to start populating our living spaces with USB Type-C chargers and accessories, but you shouldn’t just buy any cable you find online. There’s plenty of bad quality cables out there. And guess what? Some of them can even permanently damage your expensive gadgets. While Amazon recently has vowed to crack down on USB-C cables that don’t meet stringent standards, odds are that a few bad cables may still slip through, so it’s important to make sure you buy a cable that’s trusted to do it’s job as it should.
Why you need to be careful choosing a USB Type C cable
Googler Benson Leung ruined his Chromebook Pixel (and boy, are those expensive) by using a cable that doesn’t comply with USB Type-C standards.
To be more specific, these issues arise when bad USB Type-C to Type-A cables are connected to a computer. If, say, a phone is set for charging at 3 amps and a computer can only output 2 amps, the phone will try to draw too much power for the computer to handle.
Things would be just fine if you had 56kΩ resistor and a system for leveling power on the cable. In this case, the phone would only try to pull out as much juice as the source can handle.
With all of this in mind, Benson Leung has taken it upon himself to figure out which USB Type-C cables are good and which are bad. And he has some great advice, for those looking for even more options. That said, this list below highlights just a few of the great cables worth picking up — and without worry of damaging your device. You’ll notice almost all of these are Type-C to Type-A, meant for transferring data to a PC or for use with legacy USB wall chargers. For charging your device, it’s recommended to use the charger that came in the box, though the Google (and even Apple) C-to-C cables mentioned below are a trustworthy alternative.
More on the USB Type-C fiasco:
- Beware of cheap USB Type-C cables, warns Google engineer
- OnePlus responds to USB Type-C cable confusion: offers refunds
Google USB Type-C to Type-C cable
This cable is not exactly cheap, but it comes straight from Google and you can be sure the Search Giant went through all the measures to make this a good wire.
It measures in at 1.8 meters of length and can handle USB 2.0 charging, as well as up to 60W of fast charging power. Not bad at all, even if it costs $19.99.
Also, you may want to look into Google’s Universal 22.5W Dual Port USB Type-C Charger. As the name entails, it allows for charging a couple devices at once. Pretty cool!
Apple USB-C Charge Cable
We know… we know. It’s almost a sin to recommend an Apple product around here, but they do make some great accessories. Among them is the Apple USB-C Charge cable, which they mainly made for the MacBook, but you can charge any product with it.
As it usually goes with Apple products, this cable is not cheap. It is among the priciest in this list at $29. It does measure 2 meters, though. It also supports 29W of power and USB 2.0.
Belkin is known for its quality cables and accessories, so you can bet it didn’t take them long to join the USB Type-C game. This USB Type-C to Type-A cable measures 6 feet and does support 3 amps of charge output.
Oh! And because this is a legacy cable (Type-C to Type-A), it’s important to mention that is is standard compliant and safe to use. It also supports transfer speeds of up to 480 MB/s. At $13.99 and coming from a renown brand, it is not a bad deal.
Anker USB Type-C to Type-A Cable
Anker is another well-known accessory brand. This USB Type-C to Type-A cable measures only 3.3 feet in length, but it packs a punch under the hood. Thanks to its USB 3.0 compatibility, it can handle transfer speeds of up to 5 GB/s (yes, GB with a “G”). And at only $9.99, it is a pretty good deal.
RAVPower USB 3.1 Type-C to Type-A Cable
We all love when cables work properly, but many of us also want them to look good too. RAVPower’s USB Type-C to Type-A cable has a metal housing that will be aesthetically pleasing while dispersing heat more efficiently.
It is 3.3 feet long and supports USB 3.1, which means those transfer speeds can go up to 5 GB/s, as well. And yes, there is a 56kΩ resistor keeping things safe in there.
Monoprice USB 3.0 Type-C to Type-A Cable
Long known for selling quality accessories at super affordable prices, Monoprice is certainly not a company that will let you down. I have never had a bad experience with their cables, and this one looks to fit the norm.
It’s short, though. It only measures 1.5 feet, but it is built on the USB 3.0 standard. 5 GB/s transfers will be a breeze. Best part? It’s only $11.99. It looks basic, but works perfectly, as well as safely.
iOrange-E USB Type-C to Type-A Cable
Here’s another good-looking, well-made cable. This iOrange-E Type-C to Type-A accessory comes with a braide
d cable made of nylon fiber and aluminum ports. It is pretty long at 2 meters, so you also won’t have to struggle to use your phone while charging.
Now, there is one downside. It only supports charging at 2.4 amps and data transfers at 480 MB/s. That is still plenty fast, though, and it only costs $10.99.
GearIt USB Type-C to Type-A cable
If what you want is affordability, this GearIt USB Type-C to Type-A cable is what you need. It costs only $6.98. And considering the price, it has plenty to offer. This cable measures 3 feet in length, supports USB 2.0 and can charge at 2.4 amps.
BRIDGEGEN USB Type-C to Type-A Braided Cable
Here’s another great option, this time coming from BRIDGEGEN. This cable has aluminum ports and a nylon braided cable that will aid in keeping tangles away. Specs include 2.4 amp fast charging, 480 MB/s data transfer speeds, a 56kΩ resistor and 2 meters in length. All for just $9.99.
We recommend the Charged 6 Port USB Wall Charger. Why? It has a USB Type C Port and a Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 port alongside 4 other fast charging ports. What this means is that it will charge all your devices at the fastest speeds possible . Currently priced at $29.99 at Amazon.
Other USB Type-C content:
- Best USB-C portable battery chargers
- USB Type C and 3.1: clearing up the confusion
- USB Type-C: Not living up to the potential it can B (for now)
These are our 10 favorite USB Type-C cables around. They are all safe to use and offer a good overall experience. Which one you pick is only a matter of preference and budget. Are any of you ordering one of these cables? I am personally sticking with Google’s for now.
In addition to USB C cables, also be sure to check out our recommendations for the best USB-C car chargers.