Last updated: August 7, 2021

Our method

7Products analysed

21Hours spent

6Evaluated articles

30User reviews

USB C cables are one of the newest connection types among the various USB types. A characteristic feature of a USB C cable is the oval and point-symmetrical connection. The advantage of this is that the connection can be plugged into the port regardless of its direction of rotation. The USB C cable is also characterised by the simultaneous transmission of data, video and audio signals as well as power.

In our big USB C cable test 2022, we looked at the different models and picked out the best for you. You will also find out which criteria you can use to find the right USB C cable for you. In addition, we answer all the essential questions about USB C cables.




Summary

  • The characteristic point-symmetrical connection of a USB C cable not only makes it easier for you to plug it into the socket, but also ensures that there is less wear and tear, as you cannot insert the plug into the port the wrong way round.
  • USB C cables are available with straight and angled plugs. You can also compare them by version, length, material and the connector on the other side of the cable to find the right model.
  • The advantage of a USB C cable is the high performance and the simultaneous transfer of power, images, videos, audio signals and other documents. There are also various adapters and extension cables for USB C cables, in case you realise afterwards that something is not optimal.

The Best USB C Cable: Our Picks

USB C cable: buying and review criteria

If you are looking for a USB C cable, you will come across many different offers. In order to find the right model for you in such a large selection, there are some aspects you should pay attention to. You can use the following buying criteria to evaluate USB C cables:

In the following section, we will also explain what exactly you should look for in the individual criteria.

Version

There are now many different versions of the USB connection, which differ in the transfer speed. The oldest version, i.e. USB 1.0, is no longer offered for USB Type C connections.

The following list shows the different versions and the respective performance that a USB C cable can have.

  • USB 2.0: The USB 2.0 version was launched in 2002 and is backwards compatible with the previous version. It is also known as USB 2.0 High-Speed and has a transfer rate of 480 Mbps.
  • USB 3.0: This version is also called USB 3.1 Gen 1 or USB 3.0 SuperSpeed and was introduced in 2008. USB 3.0 cables record a speed of up to 4.8 Gibt/s and are also downward compatible.
  • USB 3.1: This version also has different designations, namely USB 3.1 Gen 2 or USB 3.1 SuperSpeed. USB 3.1 shows a performance of a proud 10 Gbit/s and works full duplex. It is backwards compatible with USB 3.0 and 2.0.
  • USB 3.2: Of course, the USB 3.2 version is also known by other names, namely USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 and USB 3.2 SuperSpeed. This version has an enormous transfer speed of 20 Gbit/s and is thus even twice as fast as its predecessor.

Full duplex describes the simultaneous transmission of data in both directions. This is made possible by two separate and independent channels.

The different names of the USB versions can be very confusing. However, you can always refer to this table for help. In September 2019, the USB 4 (USB 4.0) version was announced for the first time, which is supposed to work even faster and even more effectively with a performance of 40 Gbps.

Material

When we talk about the material of a USB C cable, we are referring to the material with which the cable is sheathed. The cable should be robust, flexible and durable. As a rule, USB C cables are offered in two different material jackets.

USB C cables are available in plastic and nylon sheaths. The latter are slightly more expensive, but more durable.

USB C cables with a plastic sheath are the most widespread, as the synthetically produced material is known to be quite cheap. However, the plastic sheath is gradually being replaced more and more often by the textile fibre nylon.

Nylon is a very durable material, so that the wear and tear on the cables is kept low. USB C cables with a nylon jacket are also tear-resistant and flexible. This prevents the cable from being damaged when plugged in and unplugged. The fabric also allows the cable to be stowed without tangling.

So when choosing a USB C cable, you can spend a little more and enjoy the advantages of the nylon jacket. The price differences are very small anyway.

Length

The length of a USB C cable should be chosen according to the intended use and preference. There are extremely short cables that are only 10 centimetres long, for example, and there are very long cables that can have a range of up to 5 metres.

Short USB C cables are particularly suitable for transferring data. For example, if you want to transfer pictures, videos, documents or music files from your mobile phone to a laptop, a short cable is perfectly sufficient. It also saves space and you don't have to worry about a tangle of cables.

If you notice afterwards that your USB C cable is too short, you have the option of buying a suitable extension cable.

A long USB C cable, on the other hand, can sometimes get tangled and knotted. It also takes up more space when you store it. With a long cable, however, you can charge and use your devices at the same time and make yourself comfortable in any place. With a long cable, you can reach any socket.

Connection

A USB C cable naturally has another connection on the other side of the cable. Otherwise the cable would not be usable. You can buy USB C cables with all available connections.

USB C cables can be used for all kinds of purposes, as they are available with any connector.

These include all the different USB ports, i.e. USB Type A, B or C, Micro USB Type A or B and Mini USB Type A or B. In addition, there are USB C cables that come with a Lightning connector, i.e. a connector for Apple products.

USB C cables can also have a connection for digital image and sound transmission to screens, such as HDMI and DVI interfaces. There are also USB C cables that have a power plug and are therefore only intended for charging.

Before buying a USB C cable, you should be aware of which connection you need for your devices. You will find this information either on the packaging of the device, on the device itself or in the description on the manufacturer's website.

USB C cables: frequently asked questions and answers

Admittedly, the topic of USB C cables can be quite confusing. In the following, we have selected and answered the most common questions about USB C cables. In this section you can clarify your questions and uncertainties.

What is a USB C cable?

A USB C cable is one of the newest formats among USB connector systems and is characterised by its round and thin connector, which is equipped with 24 symmetrical pins. The compact and point-symmetrical connection ensures that plugging in is easier and the plug does not break as quickly.

USB C Kabel-1

The oval and point-symmetrical connection of the USB C cable makes it very convenient to plug in.
(Image source: Denys Vitali / unsplash)

USB C cables impress above all with their multifunctionality. They are able to transmit power simultaneously with images, videos, audio signals and other data. For devices that are compatible with this connection, you no longer need to buy umpteen different cables, but only one in USB C format.

The modern USB connector system also has an extremely high transfer speed, which can reach up to 10 Gbit/s depending on the version. However, it should be noted that the exact transfer rate can also depend on which USB version your devices support.

If your device only has a USB C port, you might have the problem that you can't charge it and listen to music at the same time. As a solution, you can either get an adapter with two ports or use Bluetooth headphones.

What types of USB C cables are there?

USB C cables are available in many different versions that differ in material, length, version or simply colour. In general, however, USB C cables can be divided into two different types, namely USB C cables with straight plugs and with angled plugs.

Type Advantages Disadvantages
USB C cable with straight plug Somewhat cheaper, available everywhere May interfere with use of the device
USB C cable with angled plug Space-saving, little damage to the end piece Somewhat more expensive

USB C cables with straight plugs are widespread and most common in the electronics world. Accordingly, they are also relatively cheap and available everywhere, so you don't have to search for them for a long time if your cable breaks and you need a new one in a hurry.

However, there is one disadvantage with USB C cables with straight plugs. Everyone knows it: if you are charging your device and want to use it, for example, the cable can get in the way and get in the way.

USB C Kabel-2

USB C cables are available with straight and angled plugs, although models with straight plugs are more common.
(Image source: mhoppsy / pixabay)

You don't have this problem with USB C cables with angled plugs. Due to the shape of the plug, the cable runs along your device in a space-saving way and does not protrude annoyingly. Most angled plugs are right-angled, i.e. 90 degrees. However, there are also some models with a 180 degree plug.

USB C cables with angled plugs are also less susceptible to damage to the end piece, as it cannot bend as easily. They are therefore also slightly more expensive than the models with a straight plug.

What does a USB C cable cost?

The cost of a USB C cable can vary depending on the features and manufacturer. However, when we look at the prices for USB C cables, we must first and foremost compare the two different types.

Type Price range
USB C cable with straight plug Approximately 5 to 9 euros
USB C cable with angled plug Approximately 7 to 17 euros

The price of a USB C cable with a straight plug starts at around 5 euros and can go up to around 9 euros. USB C cables with angled plugs, on the other hand, range in price from around 7 to 17 euros and are therefore slightly more expensive.

The price differences between the two types of USB C cables as well as within one type are not very large. This is because USB C cables generally do not differ much in terms of production.

What are the alternatives to a USB C cable?

There are not really many alternatives to a USB C cable, as only this USB plug system fits this specific connection. In the following table, we have summarised two options for you to choose from.

Alternative Description
USB C adapter If your device has a USB C connection and you don't want to buy the corresponding cable for it because you already have a thousand other cables, you can get a suitable adapter. Make sure that you buy the right adapter, i.e. one with a USB C plug and the respective socket into which your existing cables fit.
Devices with a different connector If you don't want to replace all your existing cables with a USB C cable, you should go for devices with a different connector. Admittedly, this alternative is not really tempting if you already have a device with a USB C port, for example. However, it is definitely an option to only buy devices that have a different port and are compatible with the cables you already own.

You are probably already aware that there are no real alternatives to USB C cables when you buy a device with this connection. Besides, it's really not expensive or complicated to get a USB C cable. In a pinch, you can also buy a suitable USB C adapter.

How far can I extend a USB C cable?

If you make a mistake and realise after buying your USB C cable that it is too short for its intended use, you can still extend it. Extension cables are available in almost any length, so you can choose the one that's right for you.

However, you should bear in mind that a USB C cable cannot be infinitely long. Theoretically, it could be, but beyond a certain length, the USB C cable can no longer be guaranteed to perform as well as it normally should.

USB C Kabel-3

To ensure the maximum transmission speed of a USB C cable, it should not be too long.
(Image source: Mika Baumeister / unsplash)

A maximum length of 1.5 metres can promise 100% performance. Now, of course, there are USB C cables that are much longer. Experts say that at a length of 3 to 5 metres, only about 80% of the transfer speed can still be achieved.

Of course, these figures only apply on average to USB C cables. If you make sure that the USB C cable is made of high-quality material and is very well shielded, you can easily choose a cable length of up to 5 metres.

What should I do if my USB C cable has a loose contact?

Almost everyone has had to deal with an annoying loose contact at some point, and that certainly includes you. Before we explain what you can do if you have a loose connection, it is important to know that a loose connection can have various causes. The following list gives you a brief overview.

  • Dust and dirt: In most cases, a loose contact is caused by dust and dirt. Either the plug of the USB C cable can be dirty or the socket of the device or even both. You can see this, for example, when the plug of the USB C cable cannot be inserted all the way to the stop of the device. You can easily get rid of the dirt with a toothpick, a pin or any other thin object. But be careful not to damage anything. In some cases, even blowing hard is enough to remove the dirt.
  • Loose plug: Wobbly contacts can also be caused by a loose plug on the USB C cable. If you have been using the cable for a long time, it is quite possible that the plug becomes loose due to frequent plugging and unplugging. In this case, you may notice that the plug is not firmly inserted into the socket of the device and wobbles when you lightly push against it. To solve the problem, you can gently squeeze the plug with pliers or something similar. It is better to squeeze the plug only lightly and check regularly whether the USB C cable is working again. If it has been compressed too much, it cannot be repaired easily.
  • Defective plug: Defective individual parts in the plug of the USB C cable can also lead to a loose contact. If you are confident enough to do it yourself, you can get a spare part and replace the plug yourself. However, you will need a precision mechanic's tool to avoid damaging anything. To ensure that the USB C cable is not accidentally rendered completely unusable, you can also bring it in for repair and have it looked at by professionals.

If you are not at all sure what the problem could be and don't want to fiddle with the USB C cable, you can of course simply buy a new USB C cable. In the worst case, the USB C cable is completely broken and you have no choice but to get a new one.

Conclusion

The modern USB C cables are gradually replacing the conventional USB connections. They offer a lot of advantages, such as the enormously high transmission speed, the compact and point-symmetrical connection as well as the multifunctionality with regard to power and data transmission.

USB C cables are available at an affordable price and in almost all shops. There are different versions of USB C connectors, which ultimately determine the performance of the cables. Thanks to the large selection, you will find a suitable USB C cable for every purpose and preference.

Image source: Thongwongboot/ 123rf.com

Reviews