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10 best USB-C cables and adaptors

Here's our roundup of the best products that will make your transfers easier

Find the perfect cable/adapter for all your data transfer and tech charging needs ( Moshi )

The arrival of USB-C has subtly changed the world of computers and other electronic devices. Not least because it's a connection that's capable of transferring power as well as data at the same time, so you can use the same socket to charge as to sync data.

USB-C can be very fast at both, too. The USB-C connector is symmetrical – it'll go in either way up. Seriously, why has that taken so long to arrive?

Anyway, it's here now and is used on laptops, mobile phones, headphones, cameras, tablets and more. Data and energy are both bi-directional, so you can charge your phone from your laptop or play a movie from your laptop on your TV, say.

The downside is that your older cables, usually ending in USB-A, the larger, more familiar USB shape, won't fit your new devices. In some cases, like the latest MacBooks and MacBook Pro laptops, USB-C is literally the only connection point on the machine (apart from a headphone jack).

So, as well as some decent cables with various connection options, this roundup includes adaptors to make your cables more versatile.

The USB-C connector is now becoming widespread, which makes the cables you need to take with you that bit simpler. Please note though, that Apple iPhone and iPad devices still use the company's dedicated Lightning connector even though its laptops are moving to USB-C.

There's another piece of jargon for your lexicon, Thunderbolt 3. This is essentially a series of capabilities and features such as guaranteed fast speeds, that work with Thunderbolt 3-enabled USB-C ports.

Not all USB-C ports are Thunderbolt 3-capable but the socket is the same shape, thankfully. It doesn't make any difference to what cable you use because of this.

But there are some low-quality cables available. The main rule is not to choose a cheap cable, it'll almost certainly be inefficient, especially in a Thunderbolt socket.

Moshi USB-C Multiport Adapter: £74.95, Moshi

Cable length: 11cm​
Connections: USB-C, HDMI and USB-A​
Requires power? No

Moshi makes gorgeous cables (not a sentence you often read) that are efficient and versatile.

This is a perfect addition for a laptop that's USB-C only. First, it has USB-C, so you can keep charging your laptop while using the other ports.

It's handy for something like the Apple MacBook which only has one USB-C socket. Second, you can connect any peripheral that uses the older USB-A shape connector, so you can charge a smartphone, for instance.

And the HDMI connection means you can play video from your laptop on your TV. These are versatile and colourful cables, so you can choose from satin gold, golden rose and silver finishes.

Buy now

Apple USB-C to Lightning cable: From £19, Apple

Cable length: 1m/2m
Connections: USB-C, Lightning
Requires power? No

If you have a new laptop with USB-C connection, this cable lets you charge an iPhone or iPad from it. Or transfer data such as music, video, photos and so on.

As you'd expect from Apple, this cable has high build quality. It's a highly useful addition if you're travelling for instance.

And although there are rumours that the next iPhone may work with fast chargers, there is very little chance Apple will abandon the Lightning cable in the foreseeable future.

A two-metre version is also available for £35 but the 1-metre length is likely to be enough for most uses.

Buy now

Belkin MIXIT DuraTek USB-C Cable: £24.99, Belkin

Cable length: 1.2m
Connections: USB-C to USB-C
Requires power? No

Not only does this cable look good, it's very strong thanks to the inclusion of Kevlar in its fibres. Belkin doesn't actually say that it's bullet-proof, you understand, but it is resilient and durable because of this material.

It also has neat design details like a longer-than-usual join between the cable and the connector head, which adds to the flexibility of the cable over time. It also has an attractive, braided nylon jacket.

Choose from black, silver, gold and rose gold finishes, exactly matching the choices of colours for Apple MacBooks.

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STK Binary 3: £17, Robert Dyas

Cable length: 1m
Connections: USB-C, Lightning, microUSB to USB-A​
Requires power? No

This is a brilliantly useful cable. If you have a premium smartphone like the Huawei P20 Pro or Samsung Galaxy S9, you need a USB-C to USB-A cable.

But iPhone users need Lightning to USB-A. And if you have a slightly older phone or tablet then you need microUSB to USB-A. This cable is all of them in one.

Clip the Lightning or USB-C connector on to the microUSB bit and you're sorted. Perfect for travelling because you can charge your tablet and phone using the same cable (though obviously only one at a time). Available in grey and gold finishes.

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Moshi Integra USB-C Charge Cable: £19.95, Moshi

Cable length: 2m
Connections: USB-C to USB-C​
Requires power? No

A simple but exceptionally durable braided cable, perfect to connect a laptop or USB-C smartphone to a compatible charging plug.

The extra length means this is enough to reach from desk to wall charger easily and may replace your original cable if you lose that (in any case, this probably looks better).

Like the Belkin above, this is reinforced with Kevlar and designed to withstand extended usage without problems.

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Native Union Key Cable: £26.99, Native Union

Cable length: 16.5cm
Connections: USB-C to USB-A​
Requires power? No

Keep your charging cable with you at all times by turning it into a key ring. Native Union's distinctive ball of cable sits on the end of USB-C and USB-A connectors which snuggle in to tight rubbery sockets.

The ring attached to this is where your keys fit. The cable is short, so it will fit your pocket easily and the cable ball is big enough to make it easy to find even when it's at the bottom of a bag. Choose from blue, gold or black and white.

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Belkin USB-C Express Dock 3.1 HD: £229.99, Belkin

Cable length: 1m
Connections: USB-C x 2, USB-A x 3, Audio Port, Gigabit Ethernet, Audio port out only, HDMI​
Requires power? Yes

This dock does just about everything. It's very capable indeed, though it's far from cheap.

So, what can you do with it? Well, first you plug it into the wall with the power adapter. Then, you can connect your laptop using your USB-C cable in the first USB-C socket.

If you have another USB-C gadget, that can go in there. An Ethernet cable means you can stay connected to a router even if wireless isn't an option.

Plug a speaker into one of the ports or listen to music either through that or the other audio socket which is for audio out only, like headphones.

You can additionally plug three USB-A cables in and the HDMI socket means you can output video at up to 4K resolution onto a TV. Up to eight devices, in other words, plug straight into this dock. You probably don't need anything else.

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Just Mobile AluCable: £19.23, Amazon

Cable length: 15cm​
Connections: USB-C to USB-A Adapter
Requires power? No

You have plenty of cables to charge your camera, smartphone, tablet, thank you very much. And you don't want to throw all those away. But now you've switched to a new laptop that's USB-C only, those cables are useless.

Unless you use this cable adaptor which means you can plug your current charging cable's USB-A end into the USB-A adapter socket, and the other end into your laptop. Now you can charge your gadget, transfer data and so on with your legacy cable.

Buy now

Moshi USB-C Multimedia Adapter: £55, Moshi

Cable length: 11cm
Connections: USB-C to USB-A (x2), SD, HDMI​
Requires power? No

Another elegant device from Moshi, in titanium-grey aluminium finish. This is a versatile add-on, including two full-size USB-A sockets, an HDMI socket and one for an SD card.

This is especially useful for Apple's latest laptops. The HDMI handles output of video, for example, to a TV.

The USB-A ones work with any legacy cables or adapters with USB-A fittings and the SD card is brilliantly useful for transferring images or video from a camera card. There's no USB-C connector so you can't charge your laptop at the same time.

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Belkin USB-C and USB-A Home Charger: £34.99, Belkin

Connections: USB-C, USB-A​
Requires power? Yes

Sometimes it's the last part of the connection, the one between the power socket and the cable, that is the missing element.

Belkin's handy plug has places for both USB-C and USB-A so whichever cable your phone or tablet or PC uses, you can connect it here.

Both sockets are more powerful than basic models – the USB-A connector lets devices draw up to 12 watts while the USB-C port can deliver up to 15 watts, which means faster charging for compatible gadgets.

Buy now

The Verdict: Best USB-C cables and adaptors

Plenty to choose from here, but the most versatile are the Moshi USB-C Multiport adapter and the STK 3 Binary cable which each mean most of your cabling needs are sorted.

True, the Belkin is the one device to connect them all, but it comes at a price. Overall, Moshi as a brand offers the best balance of great looks and solid reliability. 

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.

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