Powered USB Hub vs. Non-Powered USB Hub Explained

Powered USB Hub vs Non-Powered USB Hub

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. However, it definitely will consume more power from a computer or wall socket.

USB hubs are distinguished based on two categories: powered USB hub and non-powered USB hub. But what are the differences?

Both devices are giving you extra USB ports, but there are so many differences between devices that you need to know before purchasing one of them. Here are some points to remember.

Powered USB Hub: Best for high-power consumption devices

Powered USB Hub
Anker Powered USB Hub (credit: Amazon)

A powered USB hub or sometimes 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 a computer/notebook. This system allows it to maintain the power of 500 mA for each port.

This type of USB hub can be useful if you want to connect to power-hungry devices such as a speaker, scanner, camera, or even charging a smartphone. However, you have to find a power outlet that closes to your PC.


  • Constant reliable power
  • Good for high-energy devices
  • Won’t hurt PC’s power supply
  • Great for RGB accessories


  • Requires power outlet
  • Not practical for laptop/notebook/tablet
  • The average price is higher

Recommended powered USB hubs:

Non-Powered USB Hub: Just okay for daily usage

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 it takes from the computer is 500 mA. So, if the USB hub has five ports, each port only receives 100 mA respectively.

Although each port may have significantly less power, this non-powered USB hub is still practical for some basic peripherals like a wired mouse, keyboard, gaming pad, or just transferring data from a smartphone.


Do not recharge your electronic devices through this type of USB hub as its power may constantly change and could damage the battery in the long run.


  • Good for low-energy devices
  • More practical for laptop/notebook/tablet
  • No wall socket needed
  • Cheaper and more common


  • Unstable power flow
  • Not recommended for high-power devices
  • Not recommended for charging

Recommended non-powered USB hubs:

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

Powered USB HubNon-Powered USB Hub
Power sourceWall socketComputer
Power capacity500mA each port500mA/total ports
Power reliabilityStableUnstable
Bandwidth speedDivided for each portDivided for each port
Good forHigh-power devicesLow-power devices

Gathered by ASAPguide.com from many sources

Conclusion: the core difference is the power

If you are using a computer and have a wall socket near it, and want to use full RGB systems, charging smartphones, or connecting other high-power devices, then a powered USB hub is great for you.

On the other hand, a non-powered USB hub is a perfect companion for laptops that commonly has fewer ports than PC. However, it can also be used for a desktop PC if you just want to transfer files from a camera or powering keyboard and mouse.

Other than power, price, and mobility, both powered USB hubs and non-powered USB hubs are pretty much identical.


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