USB 3.0 hubs for the Mac - a preselection with a recommendation

7 port Anker USB 3.0 hub for the Mac

The fact that Apple finally supports a USB3 port with the new Macs was an urgently needed thing. Thunderbolt is also nice (fast), but unfortunately there are hardly any devices for it and what there is is simply extremely expensive. My MBP 15 inch has two USB 3 ports, but I recently had the case that I would have needed 3 of them. And then I had to work with a USB-1 (!!!) hub that I once received from a domain registry as a promotional gift - so real quality material. :)

But not only the MacBook Pro is a candidate with few USB ports. The Mac mini and MacBook Air models aren't exactly “crowded” with USB sockets either. The extreme case is probably the 12-inch MacBook, which only has one USB C port and is even charged via it - but unfortunately no USB 3.0 hub fits on this MacBook.

Update March 08.03.2016th, 3.0: My recommendation is currently an Anker USB XNUMX hub

The article is now some time old and I was able to gain a bit of experience with my hub on the Mac. I am currently using one 7-port USB hub from Ankerthat works on the Mac and also has three fast charging ports (each up to 2,1 A!). The device is absolutely reliable and the charging ports are very useful if you want to charge your iPhone or other devices at the same time. It offers 60 W of power, so there is enough power to operate multiple external hard drives on the USB hub without interference.

In addition, I have had very good experiences with the manufacturer Anker when something does not work. They exchanged me another device after more than a year without any questions so that I can continue to be a "satisfied Anker customer" - that's how customer service works. The hub is there here at Amazon.

7 port Anker USB 3.0 hub for the Mac
The 7 port Anker USB 3.0 hub for the Mac naturally also works with other devices that are not from Apple. The three charging ports are helpful for smartphone and tablet users - the hub is available on Amazon.

Weak point of many USB hubs - not only on the Mac: power supplies with insufficient power

Well, I thought, USB 3 hubs can't be that expensive, so I quickly find one and order it. But after a short reading of the [reviews from Amazon->amazon-de], I was a bit confused, because the devices that were rated relatively well all had total failures in the reviews - i.e. 1-star ratings with comments like "Doesn't work!" or “disks disappear during operation” and the like. The problem with the hubs seems to be that they have a power supply that is too small and so quickly fail if you clamp two external USB 3 hard drives to the hub, for example. Of course, these draw more power than a mouse or keyboard, and a drop in voltage due to excessive load on the hub is often acknowledged with the fact that the hard drives log off and “disappear”.

Disappearing hard disks are definitely not a nice thing when data is being written on them, because in no time you screwed up the disk with them and that is particularly the case when you work with external USB 3 SSDs, because the SSDs distribute the data yes, particularly diligent and a spelling mistake in the file allocation table and all the data are so wasted that even a [data rescue service-> data rescue] probably only gets data muscled out. So caution is advised when it comes to the selection of USB 3 hubs - and this does not only apply to Mac OS X users ...

One more note for Owner of the Apple Superdrive: This external drive does not work through a hub. Apple has once again built in its own magic, which means that the drive is no longer recognized by the Mac if you hang a USB hub in between. So either you plug the Apple Superdrive directly into the Mac or you have to get one inexpensive alternative search.

USB 3.0 hubs with IDF certification - important, but impossible to date?

If you are looking for good quality, you should first look for certified hubs, because for the USB-3 standard there is the IDF certification, which is given to devices that have been tested accordingly and found to be good. Unfortunately, Chip wrote in September 2012 that the USB 3 certification consortium had not yet been able to decide on a test suite for USB-3 and that the manufacturers therefore did not yet have the opportunity to test and certify their devices let. In principle, there would be nothing wrong with the current USB 3 hubs, such as the VIA VL811 and VIA VL812, because they would probably work with most USB devices. There would simply be no guarantee that they would work with all of them and achieve maximum data throughput.

The solution: I follow the experience reports

At the moment I have no choice but to do Customer Reviews, Forums and tests and then look for a suitable hub for my [MacBook Pro->macbook-pro] and [my iMac-imac]. I've been digging through many pages over the last few days and ultimately there is only one device that I would really recommend 100% and that is the Exsys Hub “EX-1188HMS” (see below). He also has a power supply with 5 volts and 6 Ampere included in the scope of delivery, which one looks for in vain with other providers. These often already advertise that they supply “fabulous” 3A power supplies. I've included other hubs below for completeness that also have good reviews, but the Exsys Hub's top ratings are unmatched.

EX-1188HMS USB 3.0 HUB with 7 ports
The USB-2 hub from Exsys has already received an astonishing number of 5-star ratings, including from users who had it in a long-term test for 2 years. Big advantage of this hub: The power supply, which is often the weak point in other hubs when 2,5 inch hard drives are attached, is large enough to supply several external hard drives with power.

Here are a few USB3 hubs that are also well rated and relatively cheap to buy. However, I don't want to hide the fact that all of them have a few 1-star ratings. It's often hard to tell if users are simply using something wrong or have actually discovered a shortcoming in the hub. But I hope I made a good selection for you guys.

Note from December 8.12.2015th, 3.0: Here is the older list of USB XNUMX hubs that I put together for the article:

No products found.

Uspeed USB3 hub with 7 ports and 1 charging port
It is often pointed out that you should not charge your iPhone or iPad via the USB hub because it is not designed for the enormous currents that the iOS devices draw while charging. The manufacturer of this hub has now integrated a separate charging port where you can charge devices with up to 2A. In addition, customers report that there was a firmware update 11-2012, which now also offers full support with the MacBook Pro Retina (and probably also the new iMac).

No products found.

DeLock USB-3Hub with 4 ports
This DeLock hub also has pretty good reviews and at EUR 35 it is something for the small budget. And here, too, there were complaints from users who were only traveling with USB-2 speed because the hub came with outdated firmware.
4,96 EUR
Transcend TS-HUB3K hub with USB 3.0 and fast charging port
For less than 20 EUR, the 4 port hub from Transcend is not bad either. Although it has a 1-star rating, it is probably not really due to the quality of the hub. Another customer gives 5 stars. You shouldn't forget that the USB cable as well as the firmware and the operating system are necessary for the interaction and that if there is a problem at one of these points, the hub will quickly be devalued. The hub's fast-charging port is sure to be of interest to people who want to charge the iPad or iPhone.

Interference of the wireless mouse and wireless keyboard through USB-3 devices is possible

I have read several times that it can happen that USB 3 hubs or other USB 3 devices can interfere with the wireless connection of Bluetooth devices. Apple even has it a support document issued. There have been a number of reports from users who have written that their mouse or keyboard has been disconnected from time to time and then reconnected a few seconds later. One solution for this is to simply move the USB-3 devices a little further away from the computer and keyboard / mouse. To do this, simply get a longer USB-3 cable or a USB-3 extension like this one:

USB-3 cable from DeLock (1 meter)
This DeLock USB-3 cable has a length of one meter and is enough to increase the distance between the Bluetooth mouse and keyboard and the USB-3 hub enough to prevent interference.
USB 3 extension from DeLock (1 m)
If the USB 3 hub or the USB device has a permanently connected USB cable, you have to work with an extension. This one from DeLock does its job very well.



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24 Responses to “USB 3.0 hubs for the Mac – a pre-selection with recommendation”

  1. Pingback: Are USB 3 cables different from normal USB cables? “Sir Apfelot

  2. The EX-1188HMS is currently the Mercedes among the USB 3.0 hubs, both in terms of quality and price.

    An alternative could be the EX-1181 for those who like it more stylish. However with 4A power supply - but 10 ports ...

    1. Yes, that's why I have it at the top of the list. Seems to be a well-rounded affair for those who are willing to pay the rather high price compared to the other USB 3 hubs. But before you screw up the data because the hard drive keeps turning itself off due to a lack of power, I would rather accept the price.

  3. I think it's really great that someone doesn't just keep such extensive research to himself, but makes his results available to the general public.

    That just helped me a lot.

    Thank you very much for that, -)

    1. Hello Dergler!
      I have benefited so often from other bloggers who have published solutions to problems and tips that I then found on Google, that I am glad to be able to provide something in return! I'm glad the article helped you! :-)

  4. I bought an Exsys 1188hms USB 3.0 hub. When I turn on the hub
    Connect my Mac Book Pro Retina with the latest updates without it
    to supply power beforehand my Macbook crashes my Macbook freezes
    within a few seconds. What can I do against it? The hub provides
    such a risk of potential data loss in the event of a power failure,
    which are actually intercepted by the laptop's battery
    could and should. Is there a firmware update or something similar?
    Should I contact Apple or Exsys about this?

    1. Hello Florian!
      That sounds a lot like a defect. I can't imagine that such a blatant reaction from the computer to plugging in the hub can be normal. I would definitely turn to Exsys. Maybe they already know this behavior and can tell you what to do.
      Good luck!
      sir appleot

  5. Pingback: [Solved] What is the maximum cable length of a USB cable? “Sir Apfelot

  6. Pingback: Lightning to Ethernet adapter: This is how the iPad can access the Internet via Ethernet

  7. Very good article - thank you for that! :-)

    With USB 3.0, the cables used have a * major * influence on how well a hard drive works on the computer. Shorter cables are generally better, longer cables usually transfer less data and disks tend to log off. Therefore, after a long series of tests, we only use the very best cables from Oehlbach. These are quite expensive, but definitely worth every penny!

    Oehlbach USB Max A / B USB 3.0 cable
    Oehlbach USB Max A / MicroB USB 3.0 cable

    We operate hard drives with Micro B connectors on one ExSys USB 3.0 Hub (EX-1184HMV, with 4 ports), because that's how it works best - which is probably also due to the hub's good power supply!

    In our experience, however, hard drives with small USB 3.0 sockets (Micro B) will sooner or later cause problems because the tiny soldering points on the sockets (SMD!) Are not able to cope with the load and at some point a loose contact occurs! Experienced hobbyists can solder the socket or the contacts back on so that it works again.
    Furthermore, the small plugs do not sit well and reliably in the socket, which is not an issue with the large USB plugs (type B). So my recommendation is * not * to buy hard drives with a Micro B connector - then you don't have to deal with such problems.
    Conclusion: So it's better to spend a little more money and save yourself avoidable trouble!

    Best regards,

    1. Hello Benjamin! Thank you for the extensive information. I didn't think a USB cable could make such a difference. A direct comparison of the data transmission rates with "normal" and Oehlbach cables would be interesting. Best regards!

  8. EXSYS EX-1184HMV (USB 3.0 Hub, 4Port): What happens if I connect another power supply (12V / 3A) instead of the supplied power supply (12V / 5A). Can you handle that? Does this increase the charging current at the individual USB port? Does this make sense? Or rather crazy and dangerous?

    1. Hi Peter! A good question. :) So I would rule out “crazy and dangerous”. The hub can also work with any other power supply if the voltage is the same and the polarity (plus/minus) on the plug matches. In this case, there is no “too much” electricity, since the consumer (the hub) only draws as much as it needs. I'm more concerned that the "multiple current" will also be noticeable at the outputs. But you only know that when you have a strong consumer (e.g. an empty iPad) and a USB multimeter like dieses hier depends on it. If you try it out, I would be very interested in the result. :)
      But I'm afraid that the electronics in the USB hub will limit the output current, so it doesn't matter how strong the power supply is.

    2. Hello Peter,

      the power supply of the ExSys hub you mentioned is sufficiently dimensioned and with a stronger power supply the hub works neither better nor worse. But one after anonther:

      • The data sheet for the hub you mentioned says “Supports up to 900mA of USB bus power simultaneously for each output”.
      See here:

      -> This means that up to 4 x 900mA at 5V can be made available, which according to the formula P = U x I corresponds exactly to 18 watts of power.

      • The hub's power supply delivers up to 3A at 12V and can theoretically deliver a maximum of 36 watts of power.
      -> As I already wrote in the first sentence, everything is OK! :-)

      ..and with a little math you can (if the information is correct and everything works properly) quickly determine whether the power of a power supply is basically sufficient or whether it is rather tight! ;-)

      If you have devices that can handle high charging currents, there are appropriate chargers available. I've already seen plug-in power supplies with USB charging ports that have 2000 mA or more power and cost around € 20. Computers can possibly also provide a lot of power, with my MacBook Pro, according to the system information, up to 1800mA per port are available! Newer computer displays sometimes also have charging ports that can provide a lot of power.

      Hope this helps,

      1. Hi Benjamin! Thanks for your research! :) And Peter: The active Anker USB hub mentioned in the text above has three charging ports that deliver up to 2,1 A (each). That would be my recommendation if you don't want to use an extra plug-in power supply.

  9. Should you install a separate power supply for the hub if you operate the hub on the MacBook Air, which has its own power supply?

    1. Hello Boernie! If the hub comes with a power adapter, you must use it for the hub to work. With a passive hub, you actually only need one power supply if you are using a heavy consumer such as an external hard drive (without its own power supply) or a DVD player/burner (without its own power supply). If only USB sticks, scanners, printers or similar are plugged in, then you don't need a power supply unit. Even with a 2,5 inch hard drive, the computers usually get along with the hub.

  10. Hi Jens,
    Many thanks for your response.
    Is it generally better to use a separate power supply for both devices?
    Then it doesn't matter what you connect.
    The MacBook Air gets the included power supply and the hub gets a separate power supply!?

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