“USB” or Universal Serial Bus is a standard that was created as a means to make connectors more universal and transparent. USB C is a specific shape of USB connector and was designed to take that universality a step further by being the one connector for almost anything including data, power/charging, video and audio. The connector is also reversible, it has no up or down orientation!

While USB C does make some things a lot easier, there is also lots of confusion and uncertainty surrounding it. Are all USB C cables the same? (No). What can USB C do that older USB cable types can’t? (A lot more but it also depends on the cable). Can a USB C cable damage hardware? (Potentially). USB C can be tricky but much of the confusion is hopefully cleared up in the following pages.

Confused and in a dash?

If you need USB C info in a jiff, we got you covered. When in USB C doubt, check this graphic out! (Click to embiggen)

USB C cables and hubs for purchase

These three items will fill most USB C related cable needs. Additionally, all of the following parts have the required USB C specifications and certifications including implemented safeguards for protecting cables and ports.

"Full-featured" USB C to USB C cable

This cable is best for charging USB C devices as well as data transfer. It is NOT meant to be used as a DisplayPort or to connect any other type of display receptacle. The cable includes an EMARK chip, required by the USB C specification (but sometimes left out). That means you can use this for high current (5A) charging.

USB C to USB C Cable - USB 3.1 Gen 4 with E-Mark - 1 meter long

As technology changes and adapts, so does Adafruit! Rather than the regular USB A, this cable has USB C to USB C plugs!USB C is the latest...

Thunderbolt 3 USB C cable

This cable can be used for DisplayPort. Which means it can be used with other monitors as display receptacles. Additionally it contains all the same features the above "Full-featured" USB C cable has.

1 x Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Cable (USB C to USB C)
DisplayPort support, 4K support, monitor powering, 40 Gbps

USB C Adapter Hub

The current downside of USB C is that, quite often, newer computers have only USB C ports. This means with older cables and devices you'll often need an apter to connect to the usb ports. This adapter hub is great for those situations.

1 x HooToo USB C Hub
6-in-1 USB C to 4K HDMI Adapter
This guide was first published on Nov 27, 2019. It was last updated on Nov 27, 2019.
This page (Overview) was last updated on Oct 24, 2020.