6 Best Thunderbolt 3 USB-C Cables For MacBook

6 Best Thunderbolt 3 USB-C Cables For MacBook

If you have a laptop or desktop computer with Thunderbolt 3 ports, you should invest in a Thunderbolt compatible cable to get the best speeds. It’s safe to say that a Thunderbolt 3 compatible cable is a one-word solution for your Mac – whether it’s connecting to an external display, connecting to a docking station, or just charging. your laptop.

6 best Thunderbolt 3 USB C cables for Mac Book

Even though Thunderbolt 3 looks like USB-C cables, they’re quite different in terms of specs. Yes, they use the same physical connector, but Thunderbolt 3 cables are much faster than their regular USB-C counterparts. Well, they have a lightning bolt label on the top to distinguish them from regular cables. These cables can provide speeds of up to 40 Gbps, enable two-way data transfers, and support resolution up to 5K at 60Hz or two 4K monitors over DisplayPort.

Thunderbolt is also more expensive than its USB-C counterparts. But on the bright side, you get insane transfer speed and also several display benefits. And that should be the reason why you are getting some Thunderbolt 3 USB-C cables for your Apple MacBook.

With that said, let’s take a look at some of the best Thunderbolt 3 cables for Mac users. But first,

1. Apple Thunderbolt 3 Pro cable

Length: 6.5 feet

Apple Thunderbolt 3 Pro Cable

Apple Thunderbolt 3 Pro Cable

If you want to play it safe, you can check out Apple’s official Thunderbolt 3 Pro cable. Yes, unlike most other cables that Apple gets the flak for, it’s a braided cable and the strain relief is long enough that you can position your fingers properly on it. The braided exterior adds to the durability of the product and at the same time prevents the cable from splitting and fraying, which is common with Apple cables.

Most importantly, this cable works as advertised. So yes, whether it’s data transfers or connecting to an external display, this one does them all without breaking a sweat. When connected to a Thunderbolt 3 port, you will get theoretical speeds of up to 40 Gbps and around 10 Gbps when connected to a standard USB-C port.

According to Apple, it’s compatible with DisplayPort and USB 3.1, which means you can connect your Mac to a laptop docking station. And the 6.5-foot length helps its cause.

However, at around $ 129, it’s not one of the cheapest cables, and there are plenty of compatible cables out there at the same price point. That said, you will get consistent transfer speeds. In addition, it delivers up to 100W of power, which is more than enough to charge your MacBook Air or MacBook Pro.

2. CalDigit Thunderbolt 3 Type-C cable

Length: 2.6ft passive cable, 6.5ft active cable

CalDigit Thunderbolt 3 Type-C Cable

CalDigit Thunderbolt 3 Type-C Cable

If you have a Thunderbolt 3 docking station for your laptop, you must have heard of the ever popular CalDigit TS3 Plus before. The good news is that the company also makes quality Thunderbolt 3 cables. Like its counterpart above, it is available in a length of 2 meters. And unlike the other, it’s an active Thunderbolt 3 cable. For starters, active cables are expensive than their passive counterparts and are not backward compatible with USB 3.0 and USB 3.1 devices.

That said, the speed remains constant over active cables and you will get maximum bandwidth when connected to docking stations or eGPUs. You should only connect these cables to a compatible device in order to take advantage of these speeds; otherwise, you will only be disappointed.

It’s not a fancy cable like the one above, and you won’t behave like a jacketed exterior and the like. On the upside, the ends are elongated, and you will be able to grip the cable better.

6 best Thunderbolt 3 USB C cables for Mac Book caldigit

6 best Thunderbolt 3 USB C cables for Mac Book caldigit

So far, it has managed to get a good response from its user base, whether it’s connecting to external 4K monitors or daisy chaining two compatible monitors.

However, this cable is also expensive, and if you’re switching between USB 3.1 ports and Thunderbolt 3 ports, it’s probably not the one for you.

3. Belkin Thunderbolt 3 cable

Length: 1.6ft, 2.6ft, 6.5ft

Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Cable

Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Cable

If you want a cheap but fully functional cable that can support 4K / 5K displays without any issues, you can try the Belkin Thunderbolt 3 cable. Like its counterparts above, this one is designed for business users and can achieve full Thunderbolt 3 speed. For those who do not know, some Thunderbolt 3 cables reach a maximum of 40 Gbit / s (theoretical). The folks at Mac Sources tested this cable and found a maximum write speed of 1852.9 Mbps and a read speed of 2363.2 Mbps when they used it to connect to a Thunderbolt 3 hard drive.

When connected to a compatible USB port / connector, you will still get speeds of up to 10 Gbps (USB 3.1). It is capable of delivering power up to 100W, if you want to use it as a charging cable. Finally, it can also manage the daisy chain connection.

6 Best Thunderbolt 3 USB C Cables For Mac Book Belkin2

6 Best Thunderbolt 3 USB C Cables For Mac Book Belkin2

The only thing you need to keep in mind is that only 1.6ft and 2.6ft cables support DisplayPort. The 6.5 foot cable does not. So if you also need to log into an extended setup with an external display, keep that in mind.

The bottom line is if you want a branded cable and don’t want to spend over $ 40 and still want great performance, then this Belkin cable is for you.

4. Nekteck Active Thunderbolt 3 cable

Length: 6.6 feet

Nekteck Active Thunderbolt 3 cable

Nekteck Active Thunderbolt 3 cable

Nektek is a good name for USB-C charging cables and car chargers, and the Thunderbolt 3 USB-C cable is no different. This is an active cable and therefore will only work with Thunderbolt systems. This comes with all the usual features like providing up to 100W of power to charge the connected Mac and supporting 4K video at 60Hz, which means you can connect your MacBook to an external display without losing the resolution.

The only thing you need to make sure is that the connected display is Thunderbolt 3 compatible, like the BenQ PD2720U UHD monitor.

6 best Thunderbolt 3 USB C cables for Mac Book Nektek2

6 best Thunderbolt 3 USB C cables for Mac Book Nektek2

Nektek cables are renowned for their quality, and this one is no exception. It’s a well-constructed cable that can stand the test of time, provided you are careful when plugging or unplugging it.

It is available in a length of 6.6 feet.

5. Maxonar Store Thunderbolt 3 cable

Length: 4 feet

Maxonar Store Thunderbolt 3 Cable

Maxonar Store Thunderbolt 3 Cable

If you don’t want to spend a fortune on a cable, you should definitely take a look at the Thunderbolt 3 cable from the Maxonar Store. This one is a well-built cable with a solid build. In fact, the company claims it can handle up to fifteen thousand turns and ten thousand insertions / removals. And the durability has been backed by several reviewers as part of their Amazon reviews.

Like most Thunderbolt 3 cables, it can support a single 5K 60Hz monitor. You can also connect a duo of 4K monitors over DisplayPort and still get up to 60Hz refresh rate. It is not an active cable and can also be used in USB 3.1 devices.

In addition to connecting to external monitors, this cable can connect to Thunderbolt 3 docking stations or hard drives. Last but not least, the 3.9ft length means you’ll have plenty of leeway to configure your rig however you like.

6. Plug-in Thunderbolt 3 cable

Length: 1.6ft, 2.6ft, 6.6ft

Plug-in Thunderbolt 3 cable

Plug-in Thunderbolt 3 cable

Another best-value Thunderbolt 3 cable is Plugable. The cable costs less than $ 25 and has a solid construction. Since it’s a passive cable, you can also double it down to connect to USB 3.1 devices every now and then. Again, you get a length of 2.6 feet, which makes them perfect even for elaborate setups on your MacBook.

At the same time, you will get your usual features like Power Delivery up to 100W and support for two UHD monitors (single 5k @ 60Hz). So yes, you’ll get all the features almost a quarter (if not more) of the Apple Thunderbolt Pro cable.

This product has been well received by users and has over twelve hundred reviews on Amazon, with users praising it for its durability, solid construction and, of course, performance.

According to Fakespot’s estimates, around 80% of the reviews present are of high quality and trustworthy.

Also on Guiding Tech

As fast as the flash

Here are some of the Thunderbolt 3 cables you can buy for your MacBook or Thunderbolt 3 monitor. With many confusing terms, it’s easy to get sidetracked while shopping. It is also essential to check the length of the cable before purchasing. After all, you wouldn’t want to end up with a short or extra-long cable.


Is Your MacBook Overheating Needlessly? Read the article below to find the possible reasons and steps to resolve the issue.

Last updated on Dec 4, 2020

The above article may contain affiliate links that help support Guiding Tech. However, this does not affect our editorial integrity. The content remains impartial and authentic.

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