USB Hubs: Powered vs Unpowered

USB hubs add additional USB ports to increase the number of devices that can be connected to a computer. If you’ve been shopping around, you’ve seen USB hubs in all shapes, sizes and price ranges.

While grabbing any USB hub may seem like an easy fix, there is a catch. With an unpowered hub, each device has to share the power supply and bandwidth from the computer’s USB port. This means the power and bandwidth are the same no matter how many devices are connected.  

Low-powered devices like mice and keyboards will work, but you will find that high-powered devices like webcams and external hard drives may fail to work or generate error messages if the USB hub does not have the right amount of power.

When you have a powered USB hub, the allocation of electric power means that any device connected to it will be relatively unaffected. If you’re looking to connect multiple high power consuming devices, you should consider a powered USB hub.

We believe the best hub is one that allows multiple device connections and can maintain high data transfer speed and connectivity with ease. Also note that any device that is connected to your hub, but is not being used, will not draw power.

  • Powered USB Hubs – Multiple, high power consuming devices
  • Unpowered USB Hubs – Low-power devices like USB flash drives

If you need any assistance in choosing the right USB hub for your device, please contact one of our product specialists.