Powered USB Hub vs Non-Powered USB Hub

Powered USB Hub vs Non-Powered USB Hub Explained

The USB hub is a device designed to increase the number of a USB port, with only assign single USB port onboard. Usually, a USB hub has about 2-20 additional ports, but theoretically, the device capable of supporting up to 127 ports at once. Furthermore, it consumes power either from the wall socket and the computer that is used.

We generally call it a powered USB hub and non-powered USB hub. But what is the difference?

Both devices are giving you extra USB ports, but in terms of power supply, there are so many differences between them. I’m going to help you to choose either a powered USB hub or non-powered USB port.

This is an excellent advices before you decide to buy.

Powered USB Hub: Best for high-power consumption devices

Powered USB Hub

Anker Powered USB Hub via (Amazon)

Powered USB hub or occasionally called “active USB hub” has an external power source out from the computer. The idea is creating a power plug that connected to a wall socket rather than from the computer/notebook.

By default, each port will receive 500 mA of constant power without threatening other port members. Yet, the USB hub needs to connect to computer and wall simultaneously which may not be practical for a user with high mobility.

This type of hub can be beneficial if you are looking for a USB hub for connecting power-hungry devices and the computer is mainly sitting in the same place all the time.

Pros:

  • Constant power
  • Good for high demand peripheral
  • Doesn’t sacrificing power supply

Cons:

  • Requires power outlet
  • Not practical for laptop/notebook/tablet

Non-Powered USB Hub

Non-Powered USB Hub

Anker Non-Powered USB Hub (via Amazon)

Unlike powered USB hub that consumes electricity from the wall socket, the non-powered USB hub takes energy directly from the computer. The power rate from the computer is 500 mA per USB port; if the USB hub has five ports, each port only served 100 mA respectively.

It can be worse if the hub boasts with dozens of the port. Nevertheless, the configuration still practical for keyboard, mouse, or USB flash drive uses.

However, do not try to recharge your electronic device through this hub as its power may constantly change and could damage the battery.

Pros:

  • Good for low power device
  • A practical option for laptop/notebook/tablet
  • No wall socket needed

Cons:

  • Unstable power flow
  • Not recommended for high power device

Powered USB Hub vs. Non-Powered USB Hub in comparison

ComparisonPowered USB HubNon-Powered USB Hub
Power sourceWall socketComputer
Power capacity500mA each port500mA/total ports
Power reliabilityStableUnstable
MobilityNoYes
Bandwidth speedDivided for each portDivided for each port
Price$$$
Good forHigh power deviceLow power device

Harvested by USBtip.com

One thing you need to know that these devices deliver different power, but same speed performance. Transferring files from computer to USB flash drive, either by powered or non-powered will has a similar result.

Hence, if you only wanted to copy files regularly, connecting a USB keyboard and mouse, or webcam, the non-powered version is the right choice.

However, for high-end gaming peripheral which usually has an RGB light feature might be better to choose the powered USB hub. In addition, it also good for charging a device like a smartphone or digital camera after its constant rate of power.

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