What is the Best USB 3.0 Cable for an External Hard Drive?

Many people face the problem of not having enough space in their computers to store the huge amount of data they own. External hard disk drives are excellent solutions that store data externally and help retrieve it whenever required.

An external HDD can be connected to the computer via the USB port, and the USB 3.0 is the latest cable that helps do exactly this. USB 3.0 allows for faster data transfer than its predecessors and is thus loved by the users.

Things To Consider While Buying A USB 3.0 Cable For An External Hard Drive

It is easy to fall for the cheapest USB 3.0 cable because it is affordable. But this is not a wise decision to make. Cheap cables often have manufacturing defects, which can lead to many issues when you try to use them.

They may not deliver the desired performance, and the data transfer rate might be too low than what is expected. Other issues associated with cheaper varieties are easily damageable and the risk of fire hazards. So it is advisable to stick to branded ones that keep your computer safe.

The build of the cable is also important as badly built cables can break easily. This mostly happens when the cable is folded repeatedly to fit into small pockets or purses. So choose a strongly built cable to avoid a replacement very often.

Another thing to consider is the length of the cable. Though short cables are good for portability, they have their own disadvantages. While connecting an external hard disk drive to the computer, these cables do not let you keep the drive in a safe position. The drive mostly needs to be kept on the floor near the power outlet as long as it is in use.

This said the length of the cable must not be too long also as it becomes difficult to carry around. You might trip over it if not careful, and there is also a possibility of tangling easily. So go for the cable that is of the right length.

Choosing 3 feet USB 3.0 cable can be a good idea as this length is sufficient enough for the hard drive to be kept on a table. Generally, a cable length of up to 6 feet is considered good for a USB 3.0 cable.

The 5 Best USB 3.0 Cable For External Hard Drive

1. Super Speed USB 3.0 cable A to Micro B

This cable is best suited for 2.5 inches external portable desktop hard disk drive 500GB 1TB 2TB. It consists of superior quality SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Type A to Micro B M/M device cables that are double shielded. It features twisted-pair data wiring that reduces crosstalk for speedy transfer of data. Data transfer rates of up to 4.8Gbps are enabled by 28 AWG data wire/24 AWG power wire.

This USB cable with a one-year warranty is backward compatible with computer USB 2.0 and USB 1.1 ports. It is also possible for the cable to connect with USB 3.0 devices to legacy USB 2.0 computers. The cable is compatible with many USB 3.0 external portable and desktop hard drives.

Super Speed USB 3.0 cable gives a throughput of up to 4.8 Gbps when used with a USB 3.0 host and device.  

2. Startech.Com 3 Ft USB 3.0 To Esata Adapter

This USB cable helps connect any solid-state drive, optical disc drive, or hard drive to the USB 3.0 port on your desktop and laptop. If you are an avid traveler, possessing this cable will do you good because it is very compact. It fits perfectly in your laptop bag and is portable too. It is compatible with most laptops and desktops, and making the connection is super easy. This cable enables fast data transfer with a transfer rate of up to 5Gbps.

3. Startech.Com USB 3.1 To 2.5 Inches SATA Hard Drive Adapter

This cable lets you quickly access data from an external hard drive and is compatible with SATA I, II, and III. The storage converter ensures portability and fits into your laptop bag neatly. The USB-powered adapter needs no external power cords.

The adapter cable offers amazing performance, and you will get a data transfer speed with support for UASP and USB 3.1. The cable can be used to easily connect a hard drive or solid-state drive to a USB-enabled computer. The drives can be easily swapped without the need to install the drive in an enclosure.

4.Unitek USB 3.0 to IDE and SATA Converter External Hard Drive Adapter Kit

This cable supports 2.5 “/3.5” IDE HDD, 2.5 “/3.5” SATA HDD and SSD, CD-ROM, DVD + RW optical drive, CD-RW, DVD ROM, and DVD-RW. It also has a dual-head IDE connector and a SATA II Connector. The kit comes with a 12V 2A power cable that promises a stable electricity supply.

The features available are a one-touch backup function, hot-swap, on/off switch for HDD protection, and plug and play. There is an LED light that shows power and activity status. This wonderful cable lets connect three HDDs at the same time. It is backward compatible with USB 2.0/1.1 and offers up to 5 Gbps data transfer speed.

The adapter kit contains a power adapter, 4 pin power cable, USB 3.0 to IDE plus SATA adapter, OTB software CD, and USB 3.0 cable.

5. Sabrent USB 3.0 to SATA External Hard Drive Lay-Flat Docking Station

It connects via SuperSpeed USB 3.0 and supports 2.5 and 3.5 inch SATA drives. It supports Serial ATA bus up to 6 Gbps signal bandwidth, enabling quick storage backups. It has UASP support for quicker performance. The Sabrent docking station has a free download of Acronis True Image for Sabrent software.


1. Is USB 3.0 fast enough for external hard drives?

USB 3.0 is the best option for the external hard drive. Theoretically, the transfer speed of USB 3.0 is 600MBps, and that of USB 2.0 is 60MBps. The sustained transfer speed of USB 3.0 is 85MBps and for USB 2.0 is 22MBps. Clearly, USB 3.0 has the edge over USB 2.0 regarding transferring speed.

2. What cable do most external hard drives use?

USB is the connection type for all external devices like flash drives, external hard drives etc. The USB cable can be connected to your computer whether switched on or off. Within a few seconds, it becomes ready to use. 

It is best to use a USB 3.0 Micro B cable to connect an external hard drive. This cable has a USB 3.0 Micro B connector at one end and a normal USB 3.0 Type-A connector at the other end.

3. Do all external hard drives use the same cable?

Different hard disk drives use different cables depending on what connection they support. The Mini-USB cable or the mini-b USB cable is the oldest cable compatible with the older hard disk drives. But this does not support USB 3.0. The Micro-B USB 3.0 cable is the latest cable used for external hard disk drives. Most of the new versions of external HDDs use this cable which offers greater data transfer speed. But this cable is not backward compatible with USB 2.0 and USB 1.1 ports.

Some external HDDs use the Micro USB cable, but the data transfer speed is much less than Micro-B USB 3.0 and Type-C cable. The Type-C USB cable is the latest cable available in stores used by many modern Android devices. It enables quicker data transfer and charging. It supports USB 3.0 and USB 3.1and is also backward compatible with the older versions of USB ports.

4. What is the connection for an external hard drive?

Most external hard disk drives are connected to a computer using a USB or eSATA connection. The power needed to run the drive is taken from the computer’s USB port.

5. Why do external hard drives use USB B?

External hard drives use Micro USB B because it is not very expensive and provides enough power for most drives. It is also compatible with most models of computers, both old and new. Micro USB B offers minimum 7.5 watts on any USB host, which is perfect for most drives.

USB 3.0 makes way for easier and quicker data transfer, making it more popular than others. There are many types and brands of USB 3.0 cables available that can be used to connect an HDD to a computer. We recommend that you do proper research on which cable suits your drive, depending on the budget and usability.

Andy Avery

I really enjoy helping people with their tech problems to make life easier, ​and that’s what I’ve been doing professionally for the past decade.

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