What are the differences between USBs? Different USB Types explained

Since their inception, different types of USBs have been used for a much wider array of applications. In the following guide, we’ll discuss some of the domestic and industrial uses for each type of USB, alongside a few of examples of specific devices compatible with each one.

What is a USB? 

USB stands for Universal Serial Bus. They were created to connect computers with peripheral devices, allowing multiple devices to work within computer programs. USBs simultaneously allow the transfer of data and power from a computer to a device.

This standardised computer-to-device connectivity, rather than requiring multiple different ports fitting unique cable types. However, in today’s market, a wide range of different USB types are available – and some are more suitable for specific purposes. 

Finding the most efficient USB types for different devices will help to ensure that powering your devices and transferring data is a hassle-free process. Here’s our handy guide to finding the right USB type for the job.

  1. USB-A

USB-A is the most conventional type of USB, and usually the first one that comes to mind. 

It’s compatible with laptop and desktop ports, connecting devices like a keyboard and mouse. USB-A has also been the most popular choice for USB memory sticks for a long time, but this might eventually change and be replaced by other interfaces.

You’ll also find USB-A on the end of most data transfer and charging cables for portable devices, including mobile phones. These cables allow the simultaneous transfer of power and data from the primary device (or power source) to another. 

  1. USB-B

This older, square-looking port is used in large devices like printers and larger applications to connect with a desktop computer. These types of USB aren’t as common, as they have fewer uses for domestic and widespread consumer applications. However, they’re frequently found in large offices and server rooms. 

  1. Micro-USB

For a while, the Micro-USB was the main type of USB cable used for charging smartphones – it’s unsurprising that this connection type can be found in older models of phones and other portable devices.

However, you’ll still find modern devices requiring a Micro-USB cable to charge or transfer data. If you use a portable Bluetooth speaker, a Garmin navigation device, or a power bank for your mobile phone, it’s likely that you’ll have a few Micro-USB cables at home.

  1. USB-C

USB-C is the contemporary leader of all USBs. With all iPhones set to be using USB-C by 2024, they’re rapidly replacing their predecessors. USB-C ports are the fastest for data transfer and boast a higher power flow, making high-speed charging possible.

Newer models of mobile phones, laptops and other portable devices receive data and power through USB-C cables. One of the most innovative features of the C-type is the ability to plug it into the power source in any orientation – unlike the USB-A, famous for only being compatible one way around.

We hope you’re feeling more informed about USB types after reading this article. Happy cable hunting!


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