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 Type 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 Macs 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 - Best hub for USB-A 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, and is an easy way to connect memory sticks, a printer or other older devices that don't come with USB-C.
Twelve South StayGo - Best portable USB-C dock
The StayGo is, as its name suggests, one for the home, office or on your travels. It's lightweight and much more compact than most USB-C docks.
It features a full array of ports, including: USB-C 3.1 for 85W Power Delivery (PD) charging of the laptop; an HDMI port (4K at 30Hz) for attaching to an external display; two 5Gbps USB-A 3.0 ports and another USB-A port with 7.5W for faster charging; Gigabit Ethernet for wired Internet; and SD and Micro SD card readers.
It comes with a 1m USB-C cable to connect with your laptop, plus a detachable travel cable that hides inside the dock when not in use.
It's pricier than most of the adapters reviewed here, but it's got the lot if you need everything, and we like it a lot.
VAVA USB C Hub 8-in-1 Adapter - Best multi-port USB-C adapter
A cheaper option is the multi-port VAVA USB C Hub 8-in-1 Adapter that 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. In the US, the 9-in-1 adapter includes an additional 3.5mm audio-out port.
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 Gigabit Ethernet port, which we think 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 - Best adapter with pass-through charging
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 VAVA, 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 doesn't feature an Ethernet port, so you'll have to stick to Wi-Fi.
it’s designed to complement Apple’s MacBook range with availability in Silver, Gold, Rose Gold, and Space grey colours.
Kingston Nucleum 7-port USB-C Adapter - Most robust 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 no Ethernet port with this adapter, but most of us are fine with Wi-Fi anyway. But if you need a wired Internet connection, look elsewhere.
There's also an HDMI port for adding an external display (4K at 30Hz), and an SD and Micro SD Card reader slot.
Pick it up from Amazon for around £35/US$50.
Satechi Type-C USB Passthrough Hub - Best USB-C adapter for 12in MacBook
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. No Ethernet port, though.
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 £83.99/US$79.99.
Satechi USB-C Dual Multimedia Adapter - Best adapter for two-port MacBooks
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.
Satechi USB-C Dual 4K HDMI Adapter - Best adapter for 4K displays
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.
Plugable USB-C to HDMI Multiport Adapter - Best alternative to Apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter
Apple got a lot of flack when moving to USB-C because it meant that many of its users had to buy one or more adapters to replicate the ports they were used to, and needed.
It wasn't so much that we needed adapters, but more to do with the price Apple was charging for its simple USB-C hubs and adapters.
Take, for example Apple's USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter, which cost over £70/$70, for an HDMI port, one USB-A port and a passthrough-power USB-C port.
Plugable has a much cheaper alternative, at about a third of the price. And it looks pretty identical.
The one drawback is that the HDMI connection can connect a 4K external display at 30Hz rather than the full 60Hz, which may put off gamers.
But otherwise, this is a great alternative at a fraction of the price, and can charge at 60W.
Moshi Symbus Q - Best adapter with Qi wireless charging
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 - Best hub for powerful charging
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 - Best USB-C 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 (315g 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.
While the Apple USB-C Charger costs £69/$69 (61W) or £79/$79 (96W), the Satechi Type-C 75W Travel Charger is priced at £59.99 in the UK (via Amazon, though is discounted to £43.99) and just $60 in the US at the time of writing.
Satechi Type-C 75W Travel Charger - Best 2x USB-C 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.
Satechi Stand Hub for Mac Mini - Best USB-C hub for Mac mini
We tend to think of hubs for laptops, such as Apple’s MacBooks, which lack more than one or two USB-C ports and so require a dock to add further devices.
The Mac Mini, you’d think, has an army of ports in comparison to Apple’s laptops.
The latest models boast four (count ‘em) Thunderbolt 3 (fast USB-C) ports, two old-school USB-A ports, HDMI 2.0, Gigabit Ethernet, and 3.5mm headphone jack.
That sounds like a lot, but Apple accessory specialist Satechi believes the Mini needs maxing.
Satechi’s Type-C Aluminum Stand & Hub for Mac Mini expands these capabilities with six ports: including a USB-C data port, three USB-A ports, micro/SD card readers, and another 3.5mm headphone jack port.
(Note that you can't charge devices connected to the USB ports, as they are there for syncing and data transfer only.)
The crucial point is that these points are front-facing, and not tucked around the back with the unwieldy and unsightly power supply. It also lifts the Mini off the desk, and its built-in air vents help regulate temperature and encourage airflow.
Available on Amazon for £74.99/US$79.99.
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.
Apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport
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 £75/US$69.
Apple 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.
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
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.
So, one option is a USB-C to lightning cable (for more options, see our separate round up). Once you take the hit, you're likely not to need another iPhone to MacBook cable for a while.
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. Available from Amazon for £17.99/US$24.14.
SD cards are also a very inexpensive way to add portable storage to your laptop. You can pick up a 64GB card for under £20/$30.
Nonda USB-C to USB-A adapter
There's a misconception that USB-C is an inconvenience, hence the existence 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.