USB-C is a newish standard of USB that allows transfer speeds of 10Gbps, as opposed to the current 5Gbps rate available with USB 3.0, while it also offers faster charging times. It's no one-trick pony, either - USB-C handles data transfer, video output and power input.
You'll find USB-C on the 12in MacBook, and a faster variant of it (called Thunderbolt 3) on the MacBook Pro (13in and 15in) and newer (post-2018 models) of the MacBook Air.
Thunderbolt 3 MacBooks can use USB-C accessories, but may lose some of their extra bandwidth (T3's 40Gbps vs USB-C's 5-10Gbps).
Similarly to Apple's Lightning connector, USB-C doesn't have to be plugged in at a certain orientation, which means that you can wave bye-bye to the age-old USB guessing game of "Which way does it go in?"
Fortunately for those without a full range of USB-C gear, Apple will provide you with an adapter to extend the functionality of this port... for a (high) price. Other companies offer more budget-friendly alternatives, along with a range of other USB-C cables, chargers and accessories. You can also add extra USB-C ports to a MacBook.
For more detail on USB-C, take a look at our guide to Mac and iPhone ports.
Most of the products tested here work with non-Apple USB-C laptops too, but you can read our more general roundup of the best USB-C hubs.
If you're after a full desktop setup for your MacBook, look out for our recommendations for the best USB-C and Thunderbolt docking stations for MacBooks.
With adapters that offer passthrough charging (so you can charge your laptop even though you are using up one of the laptop's USB-C ports), look for the charging power it offers. 12in MacBook and MacBook Air charge at 30W; the 13in MacBook Pro at 61W, and the 15in MacBook Pro at 87W. You can certainly use a charger at a lower power, but remember that it will power up slower than when using a higher-wattage charger.
Most of these adapters include older USB-A (3.0) ports for older devices (although plenty of accessories still use this standard). if you want to use these older USB slots for charging your phone, look out for chargers that include IQuick Charge 3.0 ports. If your smartphone is compatible, you can charge your phone up to 80% in just 35 minutes.
UGREEN USB-C Hub 4 ports
If all you need from an adapter is the ability to connect a bunch of older USB-A devices to your MacBook, this simple adapter should do the trick.
For laptops that support only USB-C the UGREEN USB-C 4-port hub is a slim and inexpensive adapter that allows you to add four full-size USB 3.0 ports that can handle data transfer at up to 5Gbps.
It looks the part with most modern MacBooks.
Moshi USB-C Multimedia Adapter
Moshi has a good selection of USB-C accessories for the MacBook and MacBook Pro. This is one of our favourites. Its premium build quality and reliability is exactly what Mac users are looking for.
It offers two USB-C A ports, a godsend for users of recent generations of MacBook and MacBook Pro. With an HDMI port, connecting to a larger monitor is a doddle, while the SD card slot tops it off for a true multimedia advantage.
It's not a problem on the MacBook Pro, but 12in MacBook users should bear in mind there is no USB-C port, so using this while charging is not an option.
VAVA USB C Hub 8-in-1 Adapter with 4K HDMI
The multi-port AVA USB C Hub 8-in-1 Adapter features an Ethernet port, USB-C charging port, a 4K HDMI port, SD card reader, TransFlash (TF) memory card reader, and three USB 3.0 ports.
The 4K HDMI supports up to 1080p at 60Hz or UHD 3840-x-2160 at 30Hz.
You have to pull open a flap for the RJ45 Ethernet port, which might break if opened and closed too many times but does nicely reduce the size of the hub/dongle/adapter.
It has all the features you need in a USB-C hub but is small enough to fit in your pocket, and matches the Space Grey of the MacBooks - but also works with non-Apple laptops.
Satechi USB-C Multi-Port Hub Adapter
Like the Moshi USB-C Multimedia Adapter, the brushed aluminium Satechi USB-C Multi-Port Hub Adapter offers two USB 3.0 Type-A ports and 4K HDMI.
It lacks the SD card slot found on the Moshi but does include a USB-C pass-through port so you don’t sacrifice your laptop’s type-C port - allowing you to charge your laptop while using the adapter’s other outlets. This is especially handy for owners of the 12in MacBook, which has just the one USB-C port.
it’s designed to complement Apple’s MacBook range with availability in Silver, Gold, Rose Gold, and Space grey colours.
Satechi warns that it isn’t compatible with Apple’s SuperDrive CD/DVD drive. We've found only one USB-C dock that is compatible with the SuperDrive, the Caldigit USB-C Pro Dock.
Kingston Nucleum 7-port USB-C Adapter
This is a very well-constructed USB-C hub that adds access to seven ports from one USB-C connection.
It includes two USB-A 3.1 ports, and two USB-C ports - one of which allows for passthrough charging at up to 60W.
There's also an HDMI port for adding an external display (4K at 30Hz), and an SD and Micro SD Card reader slot.
Satechi Type-C USB Passthrough Hub
A neat, super-compact solution for owners of the 12in MacBook is Satechi's USB-C Passthrough Hub that features two USB 3.0 ports, an SD and Micro SD card slot, and a charging port.
It fits directly into the 12in MacBook, but will also work with other USB Type-C devices such as the Chromebook Pixel.
Its brushed aluminium design compliments Apple's MacBook 12in range in Rose Gold, Gold, Silver and Space Grey.
Satechi also has a double-C-port adapter for the larger MacBook Pro range, for example the Type-C Pro Hub with 4K HDMI, USB-C port, 2x USB 3.0 ports and SD/Micro Card Reader for £89.99/$89.99.
Satechi USB-C Dual Multimedia Adapter
This is another Satechi multimedia adapter that uses the dual USB-C ports of a MacBook to connect to a hub of ports, including two USB-A ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, SD and Micro SD Card reader, a USB-C charging port (60W) and two HDMI ports.
It is compatible with MacBook models with two side USB-C ports, such as the 2019/2018 MacBook Pro, and 2018 MacBook Air, plus the 2018 Mac Mini. It does not support MacBook models with a single USB-C port.
One of the HDMI ports can handle 4K at 60Hz port, while the other supports 4K at 30Hz.
Available in either Silver or Space Grey.
Satechi USB-C Dual 4K HDMI Adapter
This simple double-HDMI adapter also includes a USB-C PD charging port (at up to 60W) so you can keep your MacBook charged while it's in use.
It is compatible with MacBook models with two side USB-C ports, just like the Multimedia adapter reviewed above.
Satechi promises that this adapter can handle two 4K displays at 60Hz.
Available in either Silver or Space Grey.
Moshi Symbus Q
If you don't mind spending a little more, the Symbus Q dock from Moshi offers a lot of functionality in a seriously slick package - it just doesn't come cheap.
There are dual USB-A 3.1 ports, along with Gigabit Ethernet and HDMI on the other, and it supports USB-C PD passthrough charging, so it will double as the charger for your MacBook. Best of all, the top of the dock is also a 15W wireless Qi charger - above the max charging capacity of the latest iPhones.
The main body is aluminium, with a soft fabric and rubber top to keep any charging devices from slipping around. The whole things feels solid but slick, a perfect match for your Apple gear.
The big downside is that this is very much a desk dock - it won't function at all unless plugged into the mains, so you can't use it on the go, meaning it's more for beefing up your MacBook at your desk. There's also no USB-C port, so if your laptop only has the one port then you won't be able to use this dock along with any other USB-C accessories.
There are plenty more MacBook docking stations, but this is the only one with Qi wireless charging for your iPhone.
OneAdaptr EVRI USB-C Charger
OneAdaptr makes the innovative Twist World Charging Station, and now has a USB-C adapter that makes life much easier for USB-C MacBook and MacBook Pro owners.
Not many reviewers mention the power charger Apple ships with the MacBooks. But try plugging one of these giants into a travel adapter and then fitting the whole thing into a hotel or meeting room power socket. Then you'll learn that the brick is so big that it often just won't fit or so heavy that it falls out of the wall!
The problem is the closeness of the plug prongs to the charger itself. OneAdaptr's slimmer Evri 80W USB-C charger solves this travel misery by separating the charger 'brick' from the power source with a handy cable. Now you should be able to fit the plug to a travel adapter and access any power socket.
It's also a neat solution for office or house-bound MacBook users who need extra standard USB slots for charging other devices.
Evri provides enough power to charge any USB-C laptop on the market today - not just Apple's MacBook and MacBook Pro, but others from the likes of Dell, HP, and Lenovo, etc.
It boasts four Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 ports that allow fast-charging of many smartphones and tablets. This will quick charge iPhone X/8/8+ and iPad Pro up to 2-3X faster with a USB-C to Lightning cable (not included). Plus it has one extra USB-C port – so five ports in all.
For the USB-C laptop traveller, the Evri looks like the only charger you need to take with you; yes, leave the Apple charger behind. Of course, you'll need the usual travel adapters too when visiting countries with different plugs.
Satechi Type-C 75W Travel Charger
We've actually ditched our Apple USB-C Power Adapter - that shipped with the MacBook Pro - for Satechi's superior Type-C 75W Travel Charger.
It's smaller than Apple's chunky square charger, which we sometimes find too large for the space given to hotel power sockets (often stuck behind desks, or near the bedside table). And it's a little lighter (366g compared to Apple's 380g).
Best of all it also offers three extra standard USB ports so you can charge your phone, tablet or other device at the same time as your laptop. And one of those ports features Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 that offers up to 38 percent faster charging than Quick Charge 2.0.
The USB-C PD port is powered up to 60W. That's a little less powerful than the 87W Apple Charger that ships with the 15in MacBook Pro but basically the same as Apple's 61W Charger that ships with the 12in MacBook and 13in MacBook Pro.
The AC plug is removable for compact, easy storage, and could be swapped for any international plug cable, or just have a travel adapter added when required.
Satechi Type-C 75W Travel Charger
This charger is much like Satechi's 75W Travel Charger, except with two USB-C ports and two USB-A ports for owners of more than one USB-C device.
One of the ports charges to 60W, and the other to 18W, so it's ideal if you have a MacBook and another USB-C device.
Like all Satechi products, it will blend in with your Apple kit, and doesn't disappoint sat next to your laptop.
Syncwire Nylon-Braided USB-C to USB-A Cable
Cables are one of the classic accessories where people like to save money - especially after they look at the prices Apple itself charges for replacements.
Unfortunately, being a cable cheapskate can sometimes be a false economy - you save money on each cable, but they break and require replacing so often that it doesn't really work out any cheaper in the end. Luckily, Syncwire's nylon-braided cables are impressively solid, without breaking the bank.
The nylon jacket will resist damage from moisture or bending, without sacrificing any flexibility, and it supports data transfer speeds up to 5Gbps, and charging output up to 3A.
USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter
Apple's USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter allows you to connect your USB-C enabled MacBook port to an HDMI display, a standard USB device, and a charging cable - all at the same time. The USB port allows you to connect incompatible USB accessories (flash drives, cameras) to your USB-C enabled MacBook.
The adapter supports full 1080p HD video output to your TV (HDMI-enabled, of course) where you can mirror your MacBook's display or play movies. There's a catch, though, as the actual HDMI cable doesn't come with the adaptor and you have to buy that separately, which comes as a surprise when you consider that the adapter costs £49.
There's another variation available that supports VGA displays, also costing £49.
USB-C VGA Multiport Adapter
Some older displays and especially projectors still use the VGA standard for connection. Unveil your shiny new 12in MacBook or Touchbar MacBook Pro at your next meeting, then die of frustration when the projector has a VGA connection.
All is not lost, except that meeting then and there and a pile of cash, as Apple's USB-C VGA Multiport Adapter costs £69 or $69. Gulp.
But, hey, Apple doesn't own USB-C, so there are far cheaper options out there. Check out our round up of the best USB-C-to-VGA adapters we found online.
Apple USB-C to Lightning Cable
Apple will have its reasons, but if you have an iPhone and a MacBook or new MacBook Pro, you can't plug in your iPhone to your laptop. Even the latest iPhone 7 ships with a Lightning to USB-A cable for old connections.
So, one of the only options is a USB-C to lightning cable like this. Once you take the hit, you're likely not to need another iPhone to MacBook cable for a while.
A 2m version is also available here.
USB-C to USB Adapter
For those of you that only want to make your older USB enabled devices compatible with USB-C, there's a cheaper alternative available. Apple sells a USB-C to USB adapter, which allows you to connect pretty much any standard USB accessory to a USB-C port.
This will also let you plug an iPhone into one of the new USB-C MacBooks.
While this method only enables you to use one device at a time, it's better than having to buy a host of USB-C devices to go with your new MacBook! As we mentioned, it's a lot cheaper than the multiport adapters.
Apple Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter
This adapter is designed to help you smoothly transition to using USB-C. You may well have devices such as hard drives and external displays that use Thunderbolt 2 connections. This little gadget lets you keep using them with your MacBook or new MacBook Pro.
It also allows new Thunderbolt 3 devices to connect to a Mac with Thunderbolt or Thunderbolt 2 ports - but to take advantage of it this way round Apple advises you need to be running macOS Sierra or above.
SanDisk Extreme Pro SD Card USB-C Reader
If you're a digital professional or just a photography enthusiast, chances are you might be slightly peeved that the new MacBook Pro you held out for doesn't have an SD card slot.
SanDisk is here to save the day. This neat SD card reader is USB-C compatible and will allow Thunderbolt 3 speed transfers of all your high-resolution photos and videos.
SD cards are also a very inexpensive way to add portable storage to your laptop. You can pick up a 256GB card for around £40/$40.
Nonda USB-C to USB-A adapter
There's a misconception that USB-C is an inconvenience, hence the exitence of little adapters like this one from Nonda. USB-C isn't so much an inconvenience as a completely new tech standard, so products like this are just there to help us bridge the gap. Positivity, people.
This cute little adapter is simply to allow you to plug in one standard USB device or cable at a time, great for charging or syncing your iPhone or using a USB stick. Just don't misplace it, it's tiny.
Griffin BreakSafe USB-C
One of the gripes some Apple enthusiasts had with the introduction of USB-C to the MacBook is the lack of MagSafe connector. It’s impossible to incorporate a magnetic connection similar to Apple’s usual MacBook Air/Pro connection flush to the casing with USB-C.
It does however mean that if someone trips over your charge wire, your shiny new MacBook could go flying. USB-C has a pretty tight connection, meaning your cables are a potential hazard now.
Enter Griffin with its excellent BreakSafe Breakaway Power Cable. The company has built a 6ft USB-C charge cable that is compatible with the MacBook’s wall charger with a built-in magnetic connection.
If tugged this safely pulls apart from the small connector on the MacBook, averting certain damage to your machine. Highly recommended, and used frequently by us here at Macworld.
It is only for power though – so you won’t be able to use it to connect accessories or a display. It provides 60W when connected to the 87W power adapter, so is fine for the 13in MacBook Pro but is insufficient for the 15in under heavy load.
Moshi Integra USB-C Charging Cable
Moshi's Integra USB-C to USB Charge Cable is a two-metre-long charge cable with smart LED indicators that keep a track of your charging status.
This is great, as the MacBook doesn’t have such a feature; one that might be missed by those used to it on the current MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.
It can handle up to 100W, and is super durable.