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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 get 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!
The best USB-C cables
- Amazon Basics USB-C cables
- Anker Series 7 and Thunderbolt 4
- Cable Matters Thunderbolt 4 Cable
- Belkin BoostCharge Pro Flex
- Apple USB-C cables
Editor’s note: We’ll regularly update this list of the best USB-C cables as new options launch.
Things to know
The unfortunate truth is that USB types are still a mess. And even understanding USB-C cables can get messy. 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 to as much as 240W of output power, thanks to the USB PD Revision 3.1 update. 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.
Amazon Basics USB-C cables
Amazon has a lot of different types of USB-C cables under its Amazon Basics 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.
If you want very fast charging speeds, we recommend trying the Amazon Basics Aluminum Braided 100W USB-C to USB-C. As its name entails, it can charge at up to 100W, which is enough even for tablets and some laptops. The only downside is that it uses the USB 2.0 standards, which means data transfer is limited to only 480Mbps.
If you want faster data transfers, and don’t mind slightly lower 60W charging speeds (which is still pretty fast), the Amazon Basics USB-C to USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 Fast Charging Cable might be a better bet. This one can transfer data as fast as 10Gbps.
Anker Series 7 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.
The Anker 765 from the Series 7 lineup is a perfect example of what we mean. It’s a USB-C to USB-C cable that comes in a convenient six-foot length. It also offers a braided nylon construction and blisteringly fast speeds. The 765 supports 140W charging. It can also handle data transfer speeds of 480Mbps.
Cable Matters Thunderbolt 4 Cable
Most cables offer one of two benefits: either they charge fast, or they transfer quickly. The Cable Matters Thunderbolt 4 Cable does both. Thunderbolt 4 ensures fast 40Gbps transfer speeds, while Power Delivery 3.0 support can also charge as fast as 240W. Of course, that is as long as your charger and device support such speeds.
This cable is on the expensive side of the spectrum, but it’s a good option if you need real performance or want to future-proof yourself.
Belkin BoostCharge Pro Flex
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. Our favorite is the Belkin BoostCharge Pro Flex.
This cable may not be the fastest around. In fact, Belkin doesn’t give us the exact certifications. All we know is it does support Power Delivery. Regardless, it’s a more affordable cable and focuses more on design.
The braided construction looks great and can handle more than 30,000 bends. Not to mention it looks really nice, and it even comes with a magnetic strap that makes cable management a breeze.
Apple USB-C cables
Apple has a design language of 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.
Luckily for MacBook and later-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 18W, 20W, 29W, 30W, 61W, 87W, and 96W USB‑C adapters. Unfortunately, Apple’s first-party cables never seem to offer much in the way of reinforcement or durability, though.
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 ensure you make the most of the cables we recommend here.