USB cables are everywhere − at work, at home, even in our vehicles. ShowMeCables should know, as we offer more than 150 types of them. But shopping for the cable you need does not have to be difficult. Below we summarize the benefits of USB, then clarify the differences among:

  • The popular USB 2.0, USB 3.0 and USB 3.1
  • Connector types USB-A, -B, -C, Mini-USB and Micro-USB.

Why USB Is so Popular

Universal Serial Bus specifications were first released in 1996 to standardize the connection of personal computers to peripheral devices. USB cables have since become the go-to connector between PCs and printers, scanners, cameras, audio players, etc. Their key advantages include:

  • USB cables transfer data much faster than serial cables.
  • USB cables carry power as well as signals.
  • USB’s several distinct connector types make it easy to identify which plug fits where.
  • USB cables are a universal standard and thus available and affordable.

USB 2.0, 3.0 and 3.1

The three versions serve mostly the same functions, with the chief difference being the speed at which data can be transferred. With a transfer speed of 10 Gbps, USB 3.1 is twice as fast as USB 3.0, which is twice as fast as USB 2.0. Increased speeds are especially useful with tasks such as copying or saving files into your external hard drive or downloading data from a camera into your PC.

USB 3.0 cables both deliver more power and consume less power than USB 2.0. Thus, charging your phone with a USB 3.0 cord will take half the time of a USB 2.0 cord. And editing a file directly from your 3.0 flash drive will not drain your laptop’s charge.

All three versions are in common use, partly because each is backwards compatible with previous versions: USB 2.0 with versions 1.0 and 1.1, USB 3.0 with versions 2.0 and 1.1, and USB 3.1 with versions 2.0 and 3.0.

Connector Types

USB-A connectors have been around since 1994 and they work with all USB versions, from USB 1.1 to USB 3.2. They are useful with USB flash drives, mice, keyboards, external hard drives, webcams, digital cameras, game controllers, mobile devices, and many other peripheral devices and accessories.

USB-B connectors, shaped almost square, are more compact than USB-A. They typically connect with larger devices such as printers and scanners.

A USB-C connector has almost three times as many pins as the previous generation of USB 3.0, giving it a lot more power, data and video capabilities. Type-C is usually found on Android phone power cables and it is used with PCs, tablets, and peripherals like monitors, flash drives and hard drives.

Micro-USB connectors allow you to read data without a computer’s help. They are today’s standard connector for many mobile devices and other handheld gadgets.

Mini-USB connectors often are used for smaller devices. They used to be the standard for mobile devices, cameras and MP3 players.

Special Features

Our USB cables have many special features as well. We have an entire line of angled USB connectors that allow you to transfer data in tight spaces. We also have cables with:

  • Plastic armored, metal armored or low smoke zero halogen (LSZH) jacketing
  • Latching or bulkhead connectors
  • Ferrites to suppress high frequency noise
  • High flex, waterproof or industrial construction.

ShowMeCables has over 150 types of USB cables and they come in four colors and lengths from 8 inches to 32 feet. Most of them, like our total inventory of 15,000+ items, are in-stock and available for same-day shipping. If you have any questions, we would love to hear from you at 1-855-958-3212.