Best USB-C Cables Android Central 2020
USB-C cables were once something that you had to be extra-sure of before you bought, back when the USB-C standard was first announced in 2014, but these days USB-C cables have reached a safe, stable standard (for the most part). Whether you need a USB-A port on the other end or you've gone full USB-C to USB-C, there are great, safe USB-C cables to be had out there without spending an arm and a leg!
USB-C to USB-C
- Top speeds: Anker Powerline II
- 4K ready: Cable Matters 10 Gbps Gen 2 USB C to USB C Cable
- Dark and durable: UGREEN USB-C Cable
- Double-braided durability: Anker Powerline+
- Many sizes and colors: AmazonBasics USB 3.1 Gen 1 USB-C Cable
- All the colors of the charge: WiRoTech USB-C Fast Charging Cable
- For the whole family: AUKEY CB-CMD2 USB-C Braided Cable (5-Pack)
- Long lasting: Anker Powerline+
- Best for OnePlus: OnePlus Warp Charge Type-C Cable
- Colorful and reliable: Monoprice Palette Series
- All the right angles: AUKEY USB-C Cable Right Angle (2-Pack)
- Durable and quick: RAMPOW USB 3.0 USB-C Cable
If you want the latest spec and the highest data speeds, you want USB 3.1 Gen 2, which can support up to 10Gbps data speeds and up to 100W charging speeds.
This unassuming black or white cable boasts the 3.2 Gen 2 spec, so it too can support 10Gbps data speeds at a slightly lower cost than the Anker.
Sporting the same USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 standard, this cable comes in the shorter ranges of 1.5-3 feet, making it good for using on a desk or with power banks.
This cable may not be as fast with data or power as the Powerline II, but it's a more durable double-braided nylon that can charge at up to 60W.
AmazonBasics sells a USB 3.1 Gen 2 cable, but since Gen 1 is available in more colors and sizes while still being fast enough for most phones.
Watch your generations
It's hard to go wrong with an Anker cable like the Powerline II, but the carrying case that the 6ft Powerline+ comes with is immensely helpful in keeping your cables tidy in your gear bag. The Powerline+ is still USB 3.1 Gen 1 and it does charge all of my Chromebooks at full speed.
USB 3.1 Gen 1/Gen 2 isn't the end-all be-all of C-to-C cables since, after all, short of outputting 4K video or charging a laptop, it's more than most users really need, so if all you need a USB-C cable for is to charge your phone, you can save a few bucks by opting for a USB 2.0 charging cable like the WiRoTech with its many, many color options.
USB-C to USB-A
While C-to-A doesn't offer nearly the speeds C-to-C Power Delivery 3.0 does, Qualcomm QuickCharge 3.0 is nothing to sneeze at. More importantly, most computers and chargers we already own have USB-A ports but might not have USB-C ports, so it's worth keeping some C-to-A cables around, especially if you own a phone by OnePlus or Oppo, whose fast-chargers use USB-A ports.
This 5-Pack has C-to-A cables in lengths from 1-6.6 feet, so you can stash a short cable in the car and a long cable in the bedroom.
Available in 3 and 6-foot lengths, Powerline+ cables should last until your migration from USB-C to USB-A chargers in the next few years.
If you want a cable that will work with the Warp Charger your OnePlus phone came with, you have to grab the snazzy red official cable from OnePlus.
Monoprice makes electronic accessories of every shape and size, and its USB-C cables come in eight colors, ranging from 6 inches to 6 feet in length.
This two-pack is right-angled on both ends, double-braided nylon in the middle, and all awesome. Right-angle cables are great in the car or on the go.
This isn't the wild west anymore
USB-C to USB-A cables are getting safer these days — though noncompliant cables still slip through from time to time — and it's hard to go wrong with any of the cables listed above, though I'm partial to the AUKEY 5-pack with its multiple lengths and spares, as this is a bundle you can buy and probably never have to buy a C-to-A cable again unless you lose cables once a month or your dog gets into them.
If you just need one, it's hard to beat the value of the Monoprice Palette Series, and after all, life's too short for boring tech, so get yourself a colorful cable that's easy to spot in your gear bag.
What you need to know before buying a USB-C cable
There are a lot of different specifications out there with USB-C cables and some of them overlap, so let's go over a few things real quick:
- USB Type-C rules are only for the physical connections — data speeds are covered by other rules. You can think of USB-C as a set of rules that only exist to make smarter USB plugs, cables, and connectors. So just because a cable says it's Type C doesn't mean that it works with every standard, it just means it plugs in with a Type C connector.
- USB Power Delivery is a USB certified standard designed to help improve charging speeds and flexibility when charging devices, as power can be sent or received by a PD device. Power Delivery charging can use up to 20 volts and 100 watts, which can cause serious damage if not used the right way, but PD's standards are designed to help prevent overheating and overcharging when using it with a wide array of devices with different power needs.
- USB PD 2.0 and 3.0 is different than USB 2.0 or 3.1, and many cables will include both certifications since USB Power Delivery is part of the USB 3.1. Power Delivery can also extend beyond USB to other types of connectors, but since we're talking about USB-C cables here, let's not get too far down the rabbit hole.
- If you plug a USB 2.0 cable into a USB PD 2.0 wall charger, the highest charge rate will only be 15W — the maximum of the cable. For charging a phone, 15W is a fast enough charge, but it won't be fast enough for many tablets or for Chromebooks and other laptops. If you want to buy a single C-to-C cable that can charge your laptop and your phone, buy yourself a USB 3.1 cable with PD charging; 2.0 is okay, 3.0 is better.
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