USB-C is fast becoming the universal way most gadgets are now charged or synced. Android phones, MacBooks, the Nintendo Switch, and even Apple’s 2018 and 2020 iPad Pro use the USB-C port for both, meaning you might only need one cable and charger to juice up two or three of your devices.
Only the iPhone and most iPads are bucking this trend by using Apple’s Lightning port (find the best Lightning cables over here), but there is a Lightning cable on this list for if you want to fast charge a newer iPhone.
But buying USB-C cables can be a bit of a minefield. It’s not as straight forward as it should be, and there are a few things to consider before buying a replacement or spare for your devices.
The right connection
Make sure you’re getting a cable with the correct connections on each end. You’ll need either USB-C to USB-C where each end is identical, or USB-C to USB-A if the end that plugs into the charging brick or your computer needs to be the larger regular USB-A port.
If you’re not sure, check the charging brick that you use to see which size you need to plug into it.
Not all USB-C cables are certified to fast charge. Chances are if you have an Android phone from the last couple of years it’ll be fast charge compatible with the brick and cable that came in the box, but this doesn’t mean that any plug and cable will fast charge it.
It’ll depend on the manufacturer as to which standard of fast charge tech your device uses (it’s annoyingly not universal) but the best thing you can do is just ensure any new cables you buy are capable of delivering faster charging speeds.
Ideally, look for a cable that supports up to 100 watt charging and then you’re definitely covered. This will, with the correct charger, be enough to charge a modern USB-C MacBook Pro.
Data transfer speeds
This is different to charging speeds and should be considered in your buying decision if you want to move files from your laptop to your phone or tablet via cable, or if you want to move files from a phone or tablet or computer to an external hard drive.
A good marker to look out for is USB 3.1 Gen 2. This is the latest standard of data transfer with possible speeds up to 10Gbps. USB 3.0 is still fine for most people with 5Gbps possible.
You might have also seen Thunderbolt 3 on certain USB-C products or cables. This is itself a standard that’s built into some USB-C devices such as Apple’s latest MacBooks. It can achieve up to 40Gbps with compatible devices, so if you’re replacing a cable for the Thunderbolt 3 standard, make sure it’s compatible.
Taking all of this into consideration,
these are the best USB-C cables available to Australian buyers. Note that some
of the Amazon links are necessarily to sellers outside of the country who ship
USB-C to USB-C
Anker Powerline Ii USB-C to USB-C 3.1 Gen 2
It’s pricier than some but this is one of
the best USB-C cables you can buy. It’s USB 3.1 Gen 2 so can max out data
speeds at 10Gbps and can fast charge with the right plug brick at up to 100W –
so should work with your existing MacBook or phone charger, for example.
Apple USB-C charging cable
Weirdly Apple’s official 2m USB-C to C charging cable is the same price as its 1m version, so we’d double the length for nothing. If you have a 2018 or later iPad Pro then this is the cable to get if you’ve lost yours, or to transfer files between it and other devices, particularly if you use a Mac.
It’s also the best cable to get if you want
to sync your Android phone to your Mac – remember that this cable won’t plug
into an iPhone.
Apple Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C)
This is, as the name suggests, one of the most basic options but it is affordable and comes in a variety of lengths depending on what you need.
It’s certified to support USB 3.1 Gen 2
from the USB-IF organisation, so is as fast as you’ll need for data transfer.
The cable itself is quite thick though, and isn’t the most flexible.
Choetech USB-C to USB-A 2 pack
This 2 pack of USB 3.0 speed cables is great value for money. With a 3.3ft and 6.6ft cable you can put one in a different place in the house for top up or have one at home and one in your bag.
The cables will be perfect for charging
your phone, tablet, Switch or power bank but aren’t quite suitable for topping
up a laptop.
Samsung USB-C Charging Data Cable
If you’ve got a Samsung phone, chances are this is the cable you’re after. Dick Smith sells the official cable that you get in the box with your Galaxy phone so this’ll serve as a good back up or replacement.
The latest Galaxy S20 series comes with a
power brick that needs a USB-C to C cable but for all the earlier models, this
USB-C to A is the one you need.
USB-C to Lightning
Apple USB-C to Lightning Cable
Apple does a very stingy thing and only puts a fast charger in the box with its iPhone 11 Pro phones – but every iPhone since the iPhone 8 can fast charge with the right cable and brick. So if you have an iPhone 8, 8 Plus, X, XR, 11, 11 Pro or 11 Pro Max then you can get this charger paired with the official USB-C to Lightning cable and you’ll be able to fast charge your phone.
You’ll also be able to charge the pre-2018 iPad Pros faster with this set up, too.
It’s cool, but considering every Android manufacturer that puts fast charging on their phones ships it with a fast charger, it’s nothing more than another money grab from Apple.