USB-C is becoming increasingly popular across all types of devices. Phones, tablets, PC’s, and even electronic accessories are using the USB-C port to transfer power and data. In the past you may have had half a dozen charging cables in your junk drawer. With USB-C becoming a widely adopted standard, you can use one cable for multiple devices.
One area of confusion is the multiple USB standards, and how they relate to the USB-C connector. Can USB-C cables be extended using cable extensions? And if you do extend it, will it have the same performance capabilities?
In this article, I’ll explain the various USB standards and how they relate to cable length. I will also recommend a few products to check out in your search for the right USB-C cable extension.
So, can USB-C cables be extended?
Yes, USB-C cables can be extended, but data transfer speeds and power output may be affected depending on the length of the cable. There are multiple USB standards floating around out there. You may have heard of USB 2.0, USB 3.0, etc.
The USB standard is different from the connector. For example, USB Type B is the stereotypical USB connector. It’s the rectangular connector that only goes in one way. And it seems like no matter which way you put it in, it always takes more than one attempt!
USB-C connectors and cables come in a variety of USB standards. You’ll have to match the extension cable length to the activity you are trying to do with the cable. For example, if you are trying to transfer a lot of data, you won’t want to be using a 12 ft. extension cable, because the length limitation for the highest performing USB standard is 3.3 ft.
USB-C length limitations visualized
Reference the graphic above for an easy visualization of the length limitations of USB-C cable extensions. As you can see, the longer the cable extension, the worse the data transfer performance and power output capability.
If you need the highest level of data transfer performance, the USB-C cable can’t exceed 3.3 feet.
If you need up to 100 watts of power output, the USB-C cable can’t exceed 9.8 feet.
If you aren’t very concerned about data transfer or higher power outputs, the USB-C cable extension can extend the total cable length up to 13 feet.
USB-C cable extension recommendations
If you need fast data transfers and high power output, the Ainope USB C Extension Cable is our recommendation. This USB-C cable extension is 2 meters, or 6.6 feet. That should give you plenty of extra reach to your devices.
The Ainope cable supports data transfer speeds of up to 10 Gbps, and up to 100W/5A of power output. It uses the USB 3.2 Gen 2 standard. The cable is braided, and the strain reliefs on each connector are reinforced to provide years of heavy use.
The next recommendation works if you need a bit less cable length. The Faracent USB Type C Extension Cable is 1 meter, or 3.3 feet long. It supports data transfer speeds of up to 10 Gbps and power output of up to 100W/5A.
The Faracent extension cable is compatible with most accessories, including Mag Safe. The shorter length helps maintain better overall performance. The braided cable ensures long lasting durability.
The final product recommendation I have for you is the Conmdex USB C Extension Cable. This USB-C cable extension is 6 feet in length. The Conmdex is also compatible with Mag Safe like the Faracent above.
Data transfer speeds and power output are lower on this cable. You are limited to 480 Mbps, and 3A of charging. That’s less than the faster cables above, but still enough for basic usage and charging.
I included this one on the list because it looks the most like the standard Apple USB-C cables. If you want a USB-C cable extension that seamlessly fits with your existing Apple cables, this is the one for you.
USB-C cables can be extended up to a total of 13 feet, but data transfer speeds and power output will be affected. For the fastest transfer speeds, 1 meter, or 3.3 feet, will be the longest that you want to go. For basic data transfer and charging, longer cable extensions will work fine.