Best USB-C cables for 2021
(Pocket-lint) - Finding the right USB Type-C charging cable for your devices is essential, given that most of the top smartphones, tablets and laptops now feature the port as their power source. The standard has rapidly taken over from Micro-USB in recent years, offering a more user-friendly design while also delivering faster data transfer and charging speeds. However, not all of these newfangled cables are the same.
You'll find that some come in packs, allowing you to keep spares at work, in the car or dotted around the house, and there's often a big variation in cable length. It's also worth keeping in mind that these third-party options will almost always provide a more durable design than your out-the-box cable, and also feature a USB-A fitting on the other end to match your charging brick, too. We've tested a whole range of these cables, working out which are made to the highest quality, which can be relied on to charge your devices quickly, and considering things like price and length of cable to work out where the best value can be found.
Below, we've highlighted some of the best to help you stay powered for longer.
Anker USB-C (Two-Pack)
- Great quality
- Reliable manufacturer
- Could be more flexible
If you want a reliable two-pack of the same length, Anker's 6-foot nylon braided cables are a solid choice. The USB-C leads bring a braided nylon design to the fore, offering fast charging capabilities (with a supported plug) and data transfer speeds of up to 480Mbps.
This pair can feel a little rigid at times, but it should be able to hold up for around 12,000 bends, making them a great, long-lasting replacement for your standard cable.
USB-C cables we also recommend
Here are four more USB-C cable packages to consider picking up.JSAUX
JSAUX USB-C (Two-Pack)
- Great to get multiple lengths
- 3-foot cable is questionably useful
Ideal for those who want two cables with different lengths, JSAUX's USB-A to USB-C gives you both a 3-foot and a mammoth 10-foot option. The nylon braiding on the lead ensures it remains durable, with the company suggesting it can withstand around 10,000 bends. It can also transfer data up to 60Mbps, though just note you will need a compatible charging brick to take advantage of speedier charging standards.SmallElectric
SmallElectric USB-C (Five-Pack)
- Unquestionable value
- Good lengths
- Won't be the most durable options
For the person who never quite has a charging cable nearby, this borderline-unnecessary five-pack is the answer to your wishes.
The 6-feet cable length (featured on all the cables) means you'll rarely be trying to reach a wall outlet, and the braided nylon design should ensure the lead remains free from any damage up to roughly 12,000 bends. For the outlay, this is a solid package. There's certainly more durable, faster options on the market, but picking up five of them is going to set you back considerably.Raviad
Raviad USB-C Cable (Four-Pack)
- Another solid bit of value
- Useful range of sizes
- You might not use shorter cables
Raviad's affordable four-pack is a great way to ensure you have a backup in your pocket and still have a fixed charging point at home, in the car and at work.
The braided nylon lead can withstand up to 8,000 bends, with all coming in a different size - 0.5-meters, 1-meter, 2-meter and 3-meter. This is ideal for picking and choosing exactly which fits best in your charging setup and can also negate the need for cable ties or overstretching.Gritin
Gritin USB-C Cable (Three-Pack)
- Size options
- Nicely braided
- Pretty generic-looking
Like other options, Gritin lets you match the cable length to the charging point, with its three cables all coming in different sizes. Whether you want 1-meter, 1.5-meter or 2-meter cables to fit around your home, office or car, these are reliable and available for a very reasonable asking price.
If you want to be able to distinguish between the three a bit more easily, you can also pick up the set in a red-blue-green finish, not just grey.
Other products we considered
The Pocket-lint editorial team spends hours testing and researching hundreds of products before recommending our best picks for you. We consider a range of factors when it comes to putting together our best guides including physically testing the products ourselves, consumer reviews, brand quality, and value. Many of the devices we consider don't make our final best guides.
These are the products we considered that ultimately didn't make our top 5:
How to choose a USB-C cable
A charging or transfer cable might not seem like the most significant purchase of your life, but buying the wrong one will have you coming back for a replacement really quickly, so it's worth getting right. Here are some things to consider:
How long should your USB-C be?
First up, a key question is the length of your desired cable. If you've got a specific power socket in mind, you'll probably know how much slack you need from your cable, and if you don't, you should find out.
This will help you decide whether you need a shorter cable or a 10-foot monster.
What type of USB-C cable is best for you?
We're talking about the coating that surrounds your charging cable here - the most popular sort of third-party finish at the moment is braided, a fabric finish that resists tangling pretty nicely. This might not be everyone's taste, though, so it could be worth checking out other options.
How many USB-C cables do you need?
As you'll have noticed from our picks, many third-party manufacturers sell their cables in multipacks that give you pretty impressive value. If you're only short one cable that might not be too impactful for you, but, if you've got a home full of gadgets that need charging, or want spares, a multipack could be the perfect solution.
More about this story
Every product in this list has been tested in real-life situations, just as you would use it in your day-to-day life.
That means checking out exactly how long the cables on offer are, how durable they are and how they hold up to actual use. It also means assessing what level of power they can leverage, and how quickly they can manage transfers of data. Plus, value is a major consideration for something as essential as a cable - with multipacks on offer there's a lot of variance in terms of what you can get for a fairly similar price from different manufacturers.
We aren't interested in pointless number crunching or extraneous details in our buyer's guides - particularly when it comes to USB-C cables. We just want to provide an easy to understand review that gives you an idea of what it's going to be like to use. And don't for a second think that the products aren't tested fully because the reviews are concise.
We've been covering tech since 2003, and, in many cases, have not only reviewed the product in question, but the previous generations, too - right back to the first model on the market. There is also plenty of models we've considered that didn't make the cut in each of our buyer's guides. Writing by Conor Allison.
Originally published on 21 October 2020.