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The MicroUSB charging port is slowly but surely disappearing from smartphones and tablets, and USB Type-C is taking its place. USB-C ports can now be found on laptops, tablets, smartphones, and even mobile gaming consoles like the Nintendo Switch.
Although it’s annoying to change out all your charging cables and accessories, the USB-C port and the USB 3.1 standard do have many advantages. For example, USB-C cables are reversible, charge your devices faster, and transfer data more quickly.
However, just like the lightning cables, there are a lot of faulty USB-C cables out there that could fry your device by drawing too much power, so be careful. USB standards can be confusing, and some manufacturers haven’t followed them properly. You can read all about the technicalities behind the standards for USB-C 3.1 cables and the various issues that have caused problems in this great piece by Android Authority.
Amazon recently started to crack down on faulty USB-C cables, and Google engineer Benson Leung has been testing USB-C cables to see if they meet the official standards and work as promised. You can follow his exploits on his Google+ page and read all his USB-C cable reviews on his Amazon account page.
Your best bet is to stick with cables from known brand names and the ones on our list. Whether you need a long cable, a short one, a cheap one, one that has USB-C on both ends, or one that has USB-C to USB-A; we’ve got a cable for you in our buying guide. We’ve tested many of these cables ourselves, and those we haven’t are tried and true by Leung or other reliable reviewers.
Note that some of these cables may not charge devices with QuickCharge technology at full speed
USB-C to USB-C cables vs. USB-C to USB-A cables
You can get most of our recommended cables in two different formats: USB-C to USB-C or USB-C to USB-A . To highlight the difference, we’ve color-coded the two different types of cables throughout this guide. Here’s a breakdown of which cable is which:
Buy USB-C to USB-C cables if you have two devices with USB-C ports that you need to connect. Example: Connecting a Samsung Galaxy S8 (or another USB-C Android phone) to a 2016 MacBook Pro (or another USB-C laptop).
Buy USB-C to USB-A cables if you have a USB-C device that you need to connect to an older device with a USB-A port. Example: Connecting a Samsung Galaxy S8 (or other USB-C Android phone) to an older laptop or one that only has USB-A ports.
Here are the best USB-C cables:
Updated on 11/21/2018 by Malarie Gokey: Added the Native Union Night Cable and updated pricing.
Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.
The best USB-C cable overall
Why you’ll love it: The Anker PowerLine USB-C to USB-C and USB-C to USB-A cables offer fast transfer speeds, a sturdy design, and a respectable brand name for a great price.
Anker makes excellent charging cables and battery packs for both iPhone and Android devices. Its latest PowerLine USB-C to USB-C and USB-C to USB-A cables are strong performers that you can buy for reasonable prices.
The cable is strengthened with Kevlar and the stress points near the connectors are reinforced for added durability. In testing, Anker bent the PowerLine cables more than 5,000 times to ensure that they last. The company also offers an 18-month warranty and it has a great reputation for following through when users have problems.
Anker’s PowerLine USB-C cables come with a Velcro tie to help you wrangle up any extra cord length you don’t need. It also makes traveling with your cable easier. You can buy these cables in several different sizes, including 3 feet, 6 feet, and 10 feet.
Most importantly, these cables safely charge and sync phones with USB-C ports at high-speed. Transfer speeds go up to 5Gbps, which is fast enough to transfer an HD movie in less than five seconds. Anker’s cables may not offer full QuickCharge speeds for some phones, though.
You can also get each of those cables in one of two formats: USB-C to USB-C (for when you need to connect two new USB-C devices) or USB-C to USB-A (for when you need to connect a USB-C device to an older USB-A device).
Reviews on Amazon are positive, and Google engineer Benson Leung gives these Anker cables his seal of approval, so you know your devices will be safe with any of these PowerLine USB-C cables.
Pros: Affordable brand-name cables, USB-C to USB-C and USB-C to USB-A options, multiple cord lengths, 5Gbps transfer speeds, certified safe for use, and an 18-month warranty
Cons: Won’t charge all QuickCharge phones at full speed
The best cheap USB-C cable
Why you’ll love it: The AmazonBasics USB-C to USB-A and USB-C to USB-C cables are a great bargain with support for fast charging and a one-year warranty.
Amazon undercuts the competition with the high-quality cheap products it sells under the name AmazonBasics. If you just need a basic USB-C cable and you don’t want to spend a premium, the AmazonBasics line of USB-C cables is excellent.
Whether you need a 6-inch, 3-foot, 6-foot, or 9-foot cord, Amazon has it. You can also get each of those cables in one of two formats: USB-C to USB-C (for when you need to connect two new USB-C devices) or USB-C to USB-A (for when you need to connect a USB-C device to an older USB-A device).
Every AmazonBasics USB-C cable offers up to 480Mbps data transfer, power output up to 5V or 3 Amp, and a one-year limited warranty. The cables are also certified by USB-IF as compliant with USB 2.0 standards.
In other words, these cables won’t fry your devices by pumping out too much power, but they also don’t meet the USB 3.0 or USB 3.1 standards, so they won’t be as speedy as other cables. You may not get the full QuickCharge speeds on your phone, but AmazonBasics’ USB-C cables are more than adequate.
Reviews on Amazon are positive, and you generally can’t go wrong with AmazonBasics products. These cables also have a one-year warranty in case something goes wrong. If you’re not happy with it, Amazon will let you return it up to 30-days after the date of purchase.
Pros: Cheap, meets USB-IF standards, available in various lengths, available as a USB-C to USB-C cable or USB-C to USB-A cable, supports fast charging, one-year warranty
Cons: Only comes in black or white and it’s not as durable as others
The best long USB-C cable
Why you’ll love it: The Native Union Night Cable span 10-feet long to quickly charge or sync your phone without any hassle.
Outlets are rarely where you need them to be, so having a long charging cord in your arsenal is essential. Native Union’s Night Cables measure 10-feet long so you don’t have to struggle to make your charging cable reach your device.
The insides of these USB-C cables are covered in a layer of aluminum, which is covered in braided nylon for added durability. The multiple layers also make Native Union’s cables less prone to tangle. The stress points near the charging ends are pretty sturdy, too, and the cables come with a one-year warranty in case they’re defective.
Like all the USB-C cables on our list, the Native Union cable conforms to the USB Type-C specifications and it’s safe to use. This cable supports 2.4A charging, so it won’t charge certain devices quite as quickly as other cables.
Pros: Super long 10-foot cord, sturdy braided design, supports 2.4A charging, connects USB-C devices with older USB-A ports
Cons: Doesn’t match QuickCharge speeds for all phones
The best USB-C to Micro USB adapter
Why you’ll love it: The Anker USB-C to Micro USB Adapter converts your old Micro USB cables into fully functional USB-C cables.
If you’ve had an Android phone for the past few years, you probably have a bunch of Micro USB cables around your house. Now that you have a brand-new phone with a USB-C connection for charging, you’re probably looking at your pile of Micro USB cables with deep sadness. The good news is, you don’t have to start over and buy new cables. The Anker USB-C to Micro USB adapters turn your old Micro USB cables into USB-C cables.
You can get two-pack of the adapters for about $7 on Amazon when they’re on sale, or $12.999 when they’re full price. Here’s how they work: You take your old Micro USB cable and plug it right into the adapter, and voila! You have a USB-C cable.ses 56K Resistor, Works with MacBook, Chromebook Pixel, Nexus 6P, OnePlus 2, and more.
The adapters have a 56K resistor inside to prevent any accidents, so don’t worry about frying your devices. Anker offers an 18-month warranty and advertises that the adapter works with the USB-C MacBook, the Chromebook Pixel, the Nexus 6P, the OnePlus 2, and more, but it should work with any USB-C device you have — period.
The adapter supports high-speed Micro USB charging and uses the USB 2.0 standard, so it may not be as speedy as some other options, but it’ll get the job done at 480 Mbps. Internet famous reviewer Benson Leung gives the adapters five stars in his review, too, so you’re in good hands.
Pros: Adapters change old Micro USB cables into USB-C cables, USB 2.0 standard, affordable, comes with two
Cons: Not the fastest charge or sync speeds
The best universal USB-C cable
Why you’ll love it: The Universal Cable by Nomad can charge any phone with its lightning, Micro USB, and USB-C endings.
If you live in a multi-device household, you need this Universal Cable from Nomad. It has lightning, Micro USB, and USB-C ends to charge any phone and many other devices, too.
The core cable is USB A to Micro USB, and it measures 1.5 meters in length, so it’s long enough to stretch a bit. You can also wrap up the excess cable with the included tie.
The cable itself is 10K Mil-spec flex tested, and its braided ballistic nylon covering keeps it strong and prevents fraying even with intense use. Nomad guarantees that the cable will last at least five years, which is pretty impressive.
We tried out one of these cables and loved it. It’s the only cable you’ll ever need. No matter what devices you, your friends, and your family carry, this cable can charge them — no questions asked.
Pros: Works with all phones, strong, five-year guarantee
Cons: A bit pricey