If you're toying with the idea of purchasing a USB hub, you may be having a difficult time choosing between a powered USB hub and a non-powered USB hub. Well, don't fret, USB enthusiasts, because this article will explore the pros and cons of both types of hubs and help make your decision easier. So if USB hubs have recently piqued your interest, simply read on to learn everything you'll need to know about selecting the right hub for your personal computer.
Pros and Cons of Non-Powered USB Hubs
Non-powered USB hubs, also commonly referred to as "bus-powered USB hubs," are hubs that draw their power from your computer's internal power supply. Unlike their powered counterparts, they do not need to be plugged into electrical outlets to properly function, which makes their installation process a breeze. Non-powered USB tubs tend to work well with small-scale PC components, such as video game controllers and joysticks, digital drawing tablets, optical mice and flash drives. Unfortunately, non-powered hubs don't handle heavy duty components particularly well, such as external hard drives and scanners, as such components may not perform to their full potential when connected to a non-powered hub. Additionally, running heavy-duty components through a non-powered hub is liable to slow down your computer's performance as well. To their credit, non-powered hubs are generally less expensive than powered hubs, and if you don't intend to use your USB hub as a device through which to run your computer's more demanding components, a non-powered hub could suit your purposes.
Pros and Cons of Powered USB Hubs
Powered USB hubs, also commonly referred to as "self-powered USB hubs," are hubs that receive their power from AC adapters that are connected to the hubs and subsequently plugged into electrical outlets. Unlike their non-powered counterparts, powered USB hubs are able to generate their own power and, as such, are generally better equipped to handle heavy-duty PC components, such as external hard drives, external disc drives, scanners, printers and scanner/printer combos. In addition, powered USB hubs are able to run more devices than non-powered hubs. Many PC manufacturers highly recommend purchasing powered hubs if you wish to get the best possible performance from your computer's USB components. In fact, Apple, whose iMac computers are becoming increasingly popular, discourages the use of non-powered hubs in conjunction with the machines they produce. Perhaps the only major drawback to powered USB hubs is that they typically come with steeper price tags than non-powered hubs, so if you're only interested in using your USB hub to run a few small-scale components, you may want to go with a non-powered hub.
When shopping for USB hubs, be sure to remember everything you've learned from this article and making your decision will be a piece of cake.