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Understanding USB cables

USB Cable Types

There are various types of USB cables available, with different sized physical connectors. Check your device port to see which USB size it accommodates. There are also USB adaptors available so you can use newer cables with older devices.

USB TypeDetails
USB A cable USB Type-A The standard when USB cables were first introduced. Still used today for desktop computers, laptops and USB chargers.
USB B cable USB Type-B Used for larger peripherals such as printers, scanners and external hard disk drives.
USB C cable USB Type-C Also referred to as USB-C, this is the latest standard used in newer laptops, tablets, smartphones and other devices. Similar size to micro USB. Reversible design - plug it in without looking for the correct orientation, unlike other USB cables. Delivers more power for faster device charging and greater speeds for data transfer.
Mini USB cable Mini USB Used for smaller peripherals such as sat nav devices and portable speakers. Slowly being phased out.
Micro USB cable Micro USB Smaller than mini USB. Connects to small devices such as Android phones, digital cameras, Bluetooth headsets and MP3 players.

Data Transfer Rate

Besides the physical connector size, you should also consider data transfer rates.

USB StandardDetails
USB 1.1 Traditional USB cables introduced in 1998. Capable of transferring data at 12Mbps.
USB 2.0 Introduced in 2000. Still used in many current devices. Capable of 480Mbps.
USB 3.0 (also called USB 3.1 Gen 1) The current standard, introduced in 2008. Used in newer devices. Capable of 5Gbps.
USB 3.1 (also called USB 3.1 Gen 2) Super speedy replacement for USB 3.0, introduced in 2013. Capable of 10Gbps.
USB 3.2 (also called USB 3.1 Gen 3) Currently in development. Capable of 20Gbps.

Your cable can only reach its maximum potential if the source and destination device support the same technology. For example, if you're using a USB 3.1 cable to transfer data from a computer to a hard drive, both those devices should support USB 3.1.

View our range of USB cables