Looking for the best USB-C cable for data transfer? You have come to the right place. Owing to the confusing USB naming scheme and the constant rebranding of the USB generations by USB-IF, it has become tough to find a suitable USB data cable. But worry not! I will cut through all the jargon to recommend the best USB Type-C data cables.
But before we jump into my recommendations, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Best USB Type-C cables for data transfer
|Best USB 4 40Gbps Cable||Best USB 4 20Gbps Cable||Best USB 3.2 Type-C to Type-C cable||Best USB 3.2 Type-A to Type-C cable||Best USB 2.0 Type-A to Type-C cable||Best USB 2.0 Type-C to Type-C cable|
|Cable Matters USB4 40Gbps cable||Cable Matters USB4 20Gbps cable||Plugable USB-C to USB-C cable||Cable Matters USB-A to USB-C cable||Ugreen USB-A to USB-C cable||Ugreen USB-C to USB-C cable|
|Read more||Read more||Read more||Read more||Read more||Read more|
Best USB 4 Cable (40Gbps): Cable Matters USB4 Cable
The Cable Matters USB4 Cable is the best USB Type-C cable you can buy right now for data transfer and even charging. It can reach the maximum data transfer rate of 40Gbps. The cable is also compatible with the Thunderbolt 4 standard.
Additionally, the cable supports USB Power Delivery (USB PD). It can deliver up to 100W charging speeds, so you will get fast charging speeds even when you use it to charge a smartphone or laptop.
In other features, Cable Matters USB4 Cable is DisplayPort (DP) Alt Mode capable for video, and you can use it to connect to 8K and 4K displays.
The cable is available in 3.3 feet and 2.6 feet sizes, and its price starts at just $20.
> Buy Cable Matters USB4 Cable from Amazon
Also great: Spigen ArcWire USB 4 Cable
Spigen offers an excellent USB 4 cable that is slightly more expensive than the Cable Matters cable. You can buy it for $25 in 2.6 feet size. Like the Cable Matters cable, it supports 40Gbps data transfer rates and 100W power delivery. The cable can also be used to connect to 8K or 4K displays as it supports DP Alt Mode.
> Buy Spigen ArcWire USB 4 Cable from Amazon
Best USB 4 Cable (20Gbps): Cable Matters USB4 20Gbps Cable
If you are wondering why I am recommending so many Cable Matters cable in this guide, there is a good reason for it. Cable Matters cables are USB-IF certified, generally get great reviews, and are excellent value for money. Other popular brands like Anker charger considerably more for essentially the same thing.
So if you need a USB4 20Gbps cable, this Cable Matter cord is perfect. It supports up to 20Gbps bandwidth, 100W power delivery, and DP Alt Mode for video.
You can buy the cable in 6 feet size, and it costs just $19.
> Buy Cable Matters USB4 20Gbps Cable from Amazon
Best USB 3.2 Type-C to Type-C cable: Plugable USB-C to USB-C Cable
This USB-IF certified Plugable cable is an excellent option if your devices come with USB 3.2 Gen 2×1 10Gbps, USB 3.2 Gen 1×2, or USB 3.2 Gen 1×1 ports. It will deliver up to 10Gbps data transfer rates and is compatible with DisplayPort Alt Mode. The cable can also charge and supports up to 60W power delivery.
The Plugable USB-C to USB-C cable is 3.3 feet in size and comes with a price tag of $13.
> Buy Plugable USB-C to USB-C Cable from Amazon
Also Great: NekTeck USB-C to USB-C Cable
If you are looking for a cheaper USB-C cable than the Plugable USB-C cable with 10Gbps data transfer speed, you should consider the NekTeck USB-C to USB-C cable. It has every feature present in the Plugable cable, including DP Alt Mode. Moreover, the NekTeck cable can deliver 100W of power using the USB PD standard.
The cable is 3 feet in size, and it costs just $10. If you choose the two-pack, you can get two cables for just $16.
> Buy NekTeck USB-C to USB-C Cable from Amazon
Best USB 3.2 Type-A to Type-C cable: Cable Matters USB-A to USB-C Cable
Cable Matters also makes a fantastic USB Type-A to USB Type-C cable certified for USB 3.2 Gen 2×1. It supports 10Gbps data transfer rates. The cable also supports macOS Target Disk mode that is used to transfer data from an older Mac to a new Mac.
Unfortunately, it’s not a great cable for charging as it’s only capable of delivering 15W of power. If you want a USB Type-C cable for charging, check out my roundup of the best USB-C cables for charging.
The cable is 3.3 feet in size, and it is priced at $10.50.
> Buy Cable Matters USB-A to USB-C Cable
Best USB 2.0 Type-A to Type-C cable: Ugreen USB-A to USB-C Cable
The Ugreen USB-A to USB-C cable is a great USB 2.0 cable if you need one. Apart from its 480Mbps data transfer speeds, the cable is also compatible with QuickCharge 3.0 for fast charging. Additionally, the cable is nylon braided for durability.
It costs just $8 for the 3 feet size. But you can also buy it in 1.5 feet, 6 feet, and 10 feet sizes.
> Buy Ugreen USB-A to USB-C cable from Amazon
Best USB 2.0 Type-C to Type-C cable: Ugreen USB-C to USB-C cable
Apart from its Type-A to Type-C cable, Ugreen also sells its capable USB-C to USB-C cable that supports USB 2.0 data transfer speeds. Additionally, the cable can deliver 100W of power for charging. It supports both USB PD and QuickCharge 3.0 fast charge standards.
In other features, the cable is nylon braided. You can buy it in 3 feet, 6 feet, and 10 feet sizes.
> Buy Ugreen USB-C to USB-C cable
These are the best USB-C cable for data transfer. USB 4 is your best bet for the fastest data transfer speeds and future-proofing. If you are also looking for a USB-C Hub for your laptop, I have handpicked the best.
Which USB-C data cable is best for you?
The latest USB generation is USB 4, and it brings data transfer speeds of up to 40Gbps. But as USB 4 is relatively new, you won’t find support for it on many devices, and thus for most of you, USB 3.2 cables are suitable. That said, if you buy a USB 4 cable today, it will be backward compatible with your USB 3.x and USB 2.0 devices. So, you can go for USB 4 to be future-roof, but USB 4 cables are slightly more expensive than USB 3.x cables.
If you are not buying a USB 4 cable, you can pick from three types of cables, depending on your devices.
- If you have devices with USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 ports: It is somehow impossible to find USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 cables from reputable brands. So rather than wasting your time looking for USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 cables, buy USB 4 20Gbps cables as they are electrically identical to USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 cables and 100% interchangeable.
- If you have devices with ports from any generation of USB 3.2, except Gen 2×2—basically USB 3.2 Gen 1×2, USB 3.2 Gen 2×1, or Gen 3.2 1×1: In this case, it’s best to buy a USB 3.2 Gen 2×1 cable. There is practically no price difference in cables of different generations. Furthermore, since USB 3.2 Gen 2×1 is newer among these three generations and backward compatible, you don’t worry about them not working.
- If you have devices with USB 2.0 ports: First, you are unlikely to find many USB 2.0 Type-C ports devices. But if you have found one, buy a USB 3.2 cable and be future-proof. But if you still want a USB 2.0 cable, go for it.
The above advice is valid for regular USB cables. However, if you need a longer cable and are going for active or optical USB Type-C cables, the price difference could be significant between different USB generation cables.
It is also important to remember that the USB generation of the host and recipient devices is as vital as the USB generation of your cable. So, for example, you use a USB 4 cable, whereas the host device is USB 3.2 Gen 2×1) and the recipient device is USB 3.2 Gen 1×1. Then, you will get the data transfer speed of the oldest USB generation of three, which is USB 3.2 Gen 1×1 in this example.
|USB generation||Previously known as||Also known as||Maximum data rate||Supported USB connectors|
|USB 4 Gen 3×2||USB 4 40Gbps||40Gbps||USB Type-C|
|USB 4 Gen 2×2||USB 4 20Gbps||20Gbps||USB Type-C|
|USB 3.2 Gen 2×2||20Gbps||USB Type-C|
|USB 3.2 Gen 1×2||10Gbps||USB Type-C|
|USB 3.2 Gen 2×1||USB 3.1 Gen 2 and USB 3.1||USB SuperSpeed+, SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps||10Gbps||USB Type-A, USB Type-C, Micro-USB|
|USB 3.2 Gen 1×1||USB 3.1 Gen 1 and USB 3.0||USB 3.0 SuperSpeed||5Gbps||USB Type-A, USB Type-C, Micro-USB|
|USB 2.0||480Mbps||USB Type-A, Micro-USB|