How to Choose a USB-C Hub, Docking Station, or Adapter

What is a USB-C hub, a docking station, and an adapter?

A USB-C hub, docking station, or adapter is the solution to the problem of how to connect multiple essential or “nice-to-have” devices to your laptop through one cable when you don’t have enough or suitable types of ports.

The answer is they’re lifesavers if you are:

This article will help you understand the importance of having the correct hardware to support your device usage at home and on the go. These days, we’re using more devices than ever, and it’s not always obvious which accessories are necessary to support them. Below we explore the key benefits of and differences between USB-C hubs, docks and adapters to help you find the one that’s right for you.

Today’s sleeker, more portable laptops may be easier to carry, but they have fewer ports. A USB-C hub expands the number of ports available to connect your devices and peripherals, and options range from hubs that add USB-A ports to multiport USB-C hubs with Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, or SD connections.

USB-C hubs are usually easier to use on the go than a full-sized docking station, but they aren’t just designed for work or play away from your desk. USB-C hubs are a cost-effective and space-saving solution for adding ports to your laptop, PC, or gaming system, so you can connect those extra monitors or other devices or peripherals you’d love to use.

9-in-1 USB Type-C to HDMI docking HUB+USB3.0+RJ45+Audio docking HUB
12 in 1 Type-C expansion dock _USB3.0 Expansion dock scheme design _PD quick charging

USB-C Dock Features & Benefits

A docking station allows employees in the office, remote workers, freelancers – anyone who needs a powerful, fully functional, stationary workstation – to create one. By connecting a laptop to a USB-C docking station with ports that support external hard drives, microphones, keyboard, multiple monitors, and SD card readers, you can connect everything you need. Docking station options include models with a power passthrough feature that also includes a power supply unit (PSU) that charges your laptop while connected, so you don’t have to carry your laptop’s PSU around. You can also select a mountable dock that reserves desk space and improves security.

USB-C Adapter Features & Benefits

Newer laptops have fewer ports, limiting your ability to connect older devices, like projectors, displays, or USB sticks. A portable USB-C adapter provides you with additional ports, bridging the gap between older and newer technology. It also enables simplicity, port expansions, and increased productivity.

Options include USB-C adapters that provide you with a secure, wired internet connection and adapters with powered USB-C ports, so you don’t have to worry about finding a separate power source to keep connected devices charged.

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All three tools solve similar problems, but they each have their own unique features:

USB-C Docking Station

12 in 1 Type-C expansion dock _USB3.0 Expansion dock scheme design _PD quick charging
USB type-c TO RJ45 adapter 1000Mbps converter with an indicator

USB-C Adapter

Fills the technology gap between old and new devices Examples:

Although some people use the terms “USB-C hubs,” and “USB-C adapters” interchangeably, you can see that they’re quite different, with hubs traditionally offering more port options and features.

When do I need to buy a USB-C hub, docking station, or an adapter?

When your productivity is limited by the ports your laptop offers, or if you’re looking for solutions to equip a remote workforce, a USB-C hub or multi-port adapter is the ideal choice to connect more devices quickly and conveniently.

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If you’re looking to create a stationary desktop workstation, a dock can provide your laptop with multiple ports such as HDMI/Display/Port/VGA input, Gigabit Ethernet, SD card reader, and more USB ports, all while powering the laptop through a single cable. You can connect more devices without the clutter. Docks also offer the flexibility needed to support hot desking, which helps companies save in the long run by investing in fewer workstations.

How do I choose the right USB-C hub, dock, or adapter?

Whether you are leaning toward the portable, plug-and-play convenience of a USB Type C hub, the versatility of a USB-C dock for your workstation, or an USB-C adapter to connect legacy devices to new laptops, there are two questions you need to answer first:

1.What am I connecting?

Consider all of the devices – keyboard, mouse, microSD storage, external hard drive, USB-A devices, and more – that you need to connect now or may use in the future. Do you need a USB-C headphone adapter, USB-C to lighting adapter, or USB-C multiport adapter? Will you need a wired network connection via a Gigabit Ethernet port? Choose the option with the right type of port for each connection you need.

2. Do I need a power source?

Do you need to power the devices that you plug in through the hub, docking station or adapter – or do you plan to charge your smartphone or additional devices with a fast-charge USB-A port -BC1.2? This will determine whether you need power passthrough.

Pro tip:

USB-C hubs and adapters that support power passthrough provide the convenience of charging the devices you plug into them. You don’t have to carry a power adapter with your laptop or choose between using and charging the device – just plug it in and work worry-free.

Some docking stations also come with their own power adapters. That means you don’t have to plug your laptop into an outlet to keep it charged when it’s connected to the docking station if there is sufficient wattage for all of your devices.

It’s smart to estimate your power needs and invest in a tool that can power your laptop.

3. Displays:

Determine how many displays you will use and whether they require HDMI, Display Port or VGA connections. You also need to consider the hub, dock, or adapter’s compatibility with your display, i.e., 4K UHD-, 1080p Full HD- or 8K-ready

4.Hardware compatibility:

Research whether your laptop’s main port connector is Thunderbolt or USB-C. Additionally, consider your device’s operating system (OS) – For example, M1 MacBooks (2020) may require a specific hub, dock, or adapter if you’re looking to achieve dual displays (SKU: INC002) compared to a Windows laptop or Chromebook. You also need to investigate what your laptop’s USB-C port can support to determine whether you need an adapter or a DisplayLink dock.


Ensure your USB-C hub for your laptop won’t slow you down. Make sure it delivers the data transfer speed and refresh rates you need.


Depending on how you will use the hub, docking station, or adapter – whether a dedicated workstation or on the go – consider its size and weight in your decision.

Why Hty?

Htyusb is a R&D based manufacturer committed to designing, developing and producing affordable USB HUB series, charging solutions and new product of electronics.We design and manufacture various of products in different areas with high quality and keep the good reputation. Such as industrial multiport USB HUB, desktop USB HUB,we only work with the best and trustable suppliers and build a long term business cooperation, such as MeanWell, Realtek, TERMINUS, CSR, QUALCOMM etc. and the local components supplier with strictly quality control, because the quality is always the heart and everything we did. All the products are manufactured to order, so you can get exactly what you need.

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