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The best USB-C cables you can buy
USB-C has become the universal charging standard over the past few years. Phone reviewers and consumers are now disappointed if a new smartphone comes with a micro-USB port, and even affordable smartphones now sport USB-C. If you need a new charger, here are the best USB-C cables you can buy!
More: What is USB-C
The best USB-C cables
- AmazonBasics USB-C cables
- Anker Series 6 and Thunderbolt 4
- Maxonar TB4 cable
- Belkin Boost↑Charge USB-C cables
- Apple USB-C cables
Editor’s note: We’ll be updating this list of the best USB-C cables regularly as new options launch.
Things to know
The unfortunate truth is that USB-C is still a mess. USB-C cables from various OEMs and third-party manufacturers may look the same, but they’re vastly different. Not every cable is made equal, and some can be downright dangerous for your device. It’s gotten much better than what the situation was three or four years ago, but there are things you should look out for.
- USB-IF — USB-IF (USB Implementers Forum) announced a Certified USB Charger Compliance and Logo Program back in 2016 to offer USB chargers for compliant USB-C devices. Looking for “certified by USB-IF” or the USB-IF logo is one way to check whether a third-party cable is a good choice. If you aren’t sure of a device, you can check whether it’s listed on the USB-IF Product Search page.
- USB 2.0/3.0/3.1/3.2/4 Thunderbolt 3/4 — Currently, we have cables that could be compatible with USB 2.0, USB 3.0, and USB 3.1 with the version number defining function and speed. The USB 3.2 and USB 4 standards were also introduced within days of each other. USB 2.0 offers a theoretical transfer speed of up to 480Mbps. USB 3.0 and USB 3.1 Gen 1 ups that to 5Gbps, and USB 3.1 Gen 2 doubles the speed. Finally, Thunderbolt 3 and 4 are the fastest by far, with an impressive theoretical data transfer speed of 40Gbps. However, consider that factors like cable length (shorter the better for faster speeds) also play a role.
- Wattage — This gives you an idea of charging speed. USB Power Delivery augments the basic USB charging speeds for up to 100W of output power. The amount of available energy is split into different power ratings, which operate at different voltages. The 7.5W+ and 15W+ modes are best for phones, while 27W and above are for laptops and other higher power devices.
Checking compatibility is very important when buying a USB-C cable.
- The cable may support faster data transfer and charging speeds, but the device you are using may not. You also need a charger compatible with the cable’s standards and specs.
- If you are looking for a cable capable of carrying video, you’ll need one that meets at least USB 3.1 Gen 2 or Thunderbolt 3 standards.
- Cables that meet higher standards are also more expensive. A USB-C (USB 2.0) cable may be more than enough if you want to charge a smartphone. That said, backward compatibility isn’t an issue, so you can go with higher standards to future-proof yourself.
- Cable length is an essential factor as well. You may want a longer cable, but this will impact data transfer speeds.
Also read: Understanding different types of USB cables
AmazonBasics USB-C cables
Amazon has a lot of different types of USB-C cables under its AmazonBasics brand, and all of them are USB-IF certified. You get a 1-year limited warranty as well. Cable lengths usually range from three to 10 feet.
See also: USB-C and 3.1: clearing up the confusion
Amazon also offers AmazonBasics cables of all types. Whether you want USB-C to USB-C cables or need a different kind of cable, Amazon likely has it. Not to mention they’re pretty affordable compared to ones from other brands.
Anker Series 6 and Thunderbolt 4
Anker sits at the top as one of the leaders in the charging game. It does everything from power banks to cables, and it does the job well.
See also: The best USB-C adapters you can get
The Anker 643 from the Series 6 lineup is a perfect example of what we mean. It’s a USB-C to USB-C cable that comes in a convenient three-to-six-foot length. It’s also blisteringly fast — the 643 supports 100W Power Delivery charging. Even better, the cable is strong and can endure 25,000 bends and tugs. The price is also very reasonable for all the features you get.
Another high-speed alternative from Anker is the Intel-certified Thunderbolt 4 cable. It tops out at speeds of 100W and rapid 40Gbps data transfer. This makes it possible to output video in 8K. If there’s a drawback, it’s that the Thunderbolt 4 is short at just 2.3ft long. Cables with so many powerful features are usually short, though.
Maxonar TB4 cable
The Maxonar TB4 cable is a little pricier than standard cables, but it comes with a stunning construction, good looks, and all the features you could ask for from a modern USB-C cable. It meets both USB 4 and Thunderbolt 4 standards. Its speeds are blazing at 40Gbps, and it can charge your devices at 100W. It also supports video output at 8K resolutions and 30fps.
This is truly a cable you could use for everything and get the most performance across the board. Whether you’re charging a phone or using it to blow out your screen to an 8K monitor, this cable can handle it all.
Belkin Boost↑Charge USB-C cables
Belkin is widely known in the mobile accessory industry, and for good reason. Their accessories are usually top-notch, featuring great value, quality, and functionality. All three cables we’re showing you here are part of Belkin’s Boost↑Charge line and come with double-braided nylon that makes them both good-looking and very resistant.
See also: The best USB-C portable battery chargers
All cables are USB-IF certified, and the last option even comes with a sweet leather strap for better organization. All that said, other cables in this list of the best USB-C cables might technically be better, but these perform very well and are likely the better-looking option for those who care about aesthetics.
Apple USB-C cables
Apple has a design language all its own, and it excels at making things complicated for everyone else. Charging is part of the rule rather than the exception due to Apple’s insistence on using the Lightning connector. Many of the cables you’ll find in this section support that Lightning connection, and many of them come from Apple itself as a result.
See also: The best Apple MacBook accessories
Luckily for MacBook and latest-generation iPad users, Apple has embraced the USB-C revolution with a long USB-C to USB-C connector. It comes in white — it’s an Apple product, after all — and it stretches out to a total length of one to two meters, which should be plenty.
If you’re looking for a Lightning-based replacement instead, Apple offers a USB-C cable in both one-meter and two-meter configurations. It’s the fastest option for most iOS purposes as the USB-C to Lightning cable is compatible with 29W, 61W, and 87W adapters. Unfortunately, Apple’s first-party cables never seem to offer much in the way of reinforcement or durability.
Last but certainly not least is Apple’s USB-C to USB-C Thunderbolt cable. It’s Cupertino’s quickest cable, supporting 40Gbps transfer speeds and charging at up to 100W. Sadly, there’s no Thunderbolt to Lightning option because that would be too shocking for Apple. The Thunderbolt 3 cable measures a maximum of 0.8 meters long.
Those looking for the absolute fastest charging cables in existence should take a look at our favorite fast-charging cables and USB cables buyer’s guide. Also, you should read our list of the best fast chargers to make sure you make the most of the cables we recommended here.