The best USB-C cables aren't hugely exciting, but they are hugely useful. Whether you use mostly Android, Apple or Windows devices in your workflow, you’ll need USB-C. This newest USB standard is not only smaller and faster than the famous USB connector that came before it, it also works both ways up (so inexplicably needing to rotate your USB pen three times before it fits in your laptop has finally become a thing of the past).
There are many reasons you may need a USB-C cable (see our guide to USB cables if you're still not sure which one is which). Perhaps you need an extra one to charge your devices, or to hook your drawing tablet up to your computer. You may have a mixture of old and new devices that you need to able to transfer files between, and therefore need a cable that pairs USB-C with something older like micro USB.
We feel the best USB-C cable on the market right now is the Anker Powerline+. It’s durable and well-built, with fast transfers and quick charging, and comes with a handy pouch that allows you to adjust its length to precisely where you need it. There are plenty more available though, and exactly which one is right for you will depend on what you need to use it for. See our guide to the best laptops for graphic design and the best monitors and the best USB-C monitors for more advice on kit.
Best USB-C to USB-C cable
The Anker Powerline cables are popular for a reason. With a double-braided nylon exterior for extra protection, the Anker Powerline+ 3ft (0.91m) cables are built with lasting toughness and will stand up to years of frequent use. Anker claims that the PowerLine+ has a bend tolerance up to five times greater than that of other comparable cables, making this a good one to get if you’re someone who perhaps doesn’t take as much care of your electronics as you should. The fast sync and charge functionality means nice quick transfers (up to 480 MB/s), and the package also contains a useful carry-pouch, which can be used to adjust cable length by winding the cable up inside it.
The USB-C standard received a boost when Apple announced it would be piggybacking on it for their high-speed Thunderbolt 3, so it’s not surprising to see official Apple-branded USB-C cables available for purchase. This cable doesn’t have any of the useful extra functionality of the Anker Powerline+ such as the adjustable carrying pouch, but it does its job perfectly well, and since it’s available in 1m or 2m lengths, you can choose the precise length that fits your needs (though unfortunately you’re paying for the privilege either way). It offers fast charging and speedy file transfers, and you can be sure it'll get the job done.
Best USB-C to USB
It’s more than likely that you’ll find you need to pair your sophisticated new USB-C tech with a piece of kit that has a USB 3.0 connection, and for that you’ll need a USB-C to USB cable. We’d definitely recommend the Syncwire USB C Cable to USB 3.0 Charger, a tough aluminium-reinforced cable capable of transfer speeds up to 5GB per second, also equipped with a reinforced connector that is rated for 10,000 plug-ins. With fast sync and charge capabilities, this long-lasting and durable cable is a great buy for the price – the pack as advertised contains two.
Best cheap USB-C to USB
With three nylon-braided cables inside this package, Utowink cannot be faulted in terms of value for money. A solid set of USB-C to USB cables, Utowink’s nylon-braided cords support fast charging and have been tested to bend more than 5,000 times and still work well, making them good options for packing into a travel bag. There’s also a handy 12-month warranty, so if anything goes wrong you can get in touch with the manufacturer and they’ll give you a hand.The USB connection is USB 2.0 not 3.0, so you won’t get super-fast speeds, but at this price you really can’t go wrong.
Great for fast charging and fast data transfer, the BrexLink USB Type C cables come in pairs. The USB-C to USB 3.0 connection makes them perfect for fast-charging newer Android smartphones – simply plug the cable into the plug adapter and you’re away. BrexLink have also done the work of reinforcing the cables, with nylon braiding to prolong their life and usability, but if anything should go wrong then there’s also manufacturer’s lifetime warranty, so you can buy with confidence.
Another affordable, well-built USB-C to USB cable, Snowkids’ offering provides a decent 2m of length, a twist-resistant PVC material for the cable, and durable connectors rated to more than 6,000 plug-ins. A nice little extra is a leather tie popper strap that allows you to bundle the cables together when you’re not using them, which is great for keeping everything tidy and orderly (nothing’s worse than tangled cables when you’re in a hurry). The 2m length is also handy, and is impressive given the reasonable price of this two-pack.
Best USB-C to Micro USB
You may not have been aware that Amazon has its own ‘Basics’ range of cables, adapters and other techy paraphernalia. As you might expect, the hardware on sale tends to be very affordable, as is the case with this USB-C to old-fashioned micro-USB connecting cable. If you have a device from a few generations back and need to connect it to a newer one with USB-C compatibility, this is how you’ll do it, and it’ll cost you less than a fiver. For the money you’ll get a strong nylon-braided cable that’s been thoroughly bend-tested (more than 5,000 times), and you can also pick not only the colour of your cable but also its size, with 0.3, 0.9, 1.8 and 3m versions available (at slightly different price points).
Best USB-C to HDMI
Want to show off the glorious creations on your tablet on a high-definition monitor? A USB-C to HDMI cable will allow you to do just that, and also opens up loads of new creative possibilities. Want to live stream to a TV without the unreliability of wireless casting? Easily done. This cable from uni is nylon-braided for extra strength, and has a premium aluminium alloy casing that provides improved heat insulation. While it’s more expensive than the others, there are two sizes available, so you can reduce cost fractionally by selecting the smaller if this is an issue.
Also read: HDMI vs DVI: A no-nonsense guide
Best USB-C to Lightning
Another throwback, this USB-C to Lightning cable allows for the quick connection of new devices with older ones, this time in Apple flavour. If you have an older iPhone or iPad with the older Lightning connector, you may want to think about picking up one of these to make transfer between devices easier. It won’t come cheap though – we’d recommend picking up the 1m version rather than the 2m unless you desperately need more length, as the prices difference between the two is significant .
Best tough USB-C Cable
Though plenty of the cables on this list have been equipped with nylon braiding, the UNBREAKcable USB-C to USB 3.0 cable is a league ahead. It’s been tested to support up to 50kg of weight without breaking, and is housed in a protective multi-layered polyester shell, with connectors tested for more than 10,000 plug-ins. The USB 3.0 connection means that devices will also transfer and charge nice and quickly, and the UNBREAKcable is also offered at a wallet-friendly price. Sick of cables breaking on you? This is your buy.