This will probably sound familiar to most of you... In my home, we have a whole bunch of devices that can be charged via USB (two iPhones, a BlackBerry, an iPod Touch, etc ad nauseam). We also have a bunch of USB chargers, each of which has a single USB port on it. I'd like to have something permanently connected to AC power with at least 4 USB ports on it, so we can just plug devices in and don't need to go looking for a free outlet.

So here's the question: if I buy a powered USB hub, will that do the job even if I don't connect it to a PC? Ideally if you have a hub that you can personally verify will be suitable, let me know the manufacturer and model :-)

Thanks in advance!

EDIT: The solution I eventually went for was this:

Kensington 4-Port USB Charger for Mobile Devices (Europe)

There's also a US version here:

Kensington 4-Port USB Charger for Mobile Devices (USA)

It arrived yesterday, so I used it to charge the following devices, all at the same time, overnight last night:

I can't say anything about the charging speed (as I left it overnight) but all devices were fully charged this morning.


8 Answers 8


Check: Transform a USB hub into the ultimate DIY gadget charger

I'm talking about a standard USB hub--those little accessories that multiply one of your PC's USB ports by a factor of four, five, six, or even seven. I took a spare seven-porter--the Belkin F5U701 ($20)--plugged its included AC adapter into a nearby wall outlet, and started loading it up with devices. A few minutes later, I was charging six devices via USB with no apparent problems--and I still had a free port available for yet another device.

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  • 4
    It should be noted that not necessarily any USB hub will work for charging. Many devices actually need to connect to a USB controller to negotiate how much current they will need. Many cheap hubs and wall warts don't even use the 2 data pins, and for the devices that need it (for example, DualShock3), they will not charge. I can say that Logitech makes USB hubs that have the required controller, and are small and inexpensive.
    – Stephen
    Jan 17, 2010 at 0:07
  • @Stephen, that is very true. One near example is my Sony Bluetooth handsfree device. Does not charge off a USB wired to the PC either -- must use the charger.
    – nik
    Jan 17, 2010 at 1:27
  • What will mark a USB hub as having this feature (USB controller, is it)? Do they advertise it?
    – palswim
    Jun 26, 2012 at 18:16

Although the voltage is consistent across all USB chargers (5V), I believe the ampage does vary. I have heard reports that iPhones charge really slowly or not at all using a Blackberry charger. Same with Blackberry chargers, they are not all the same ampage for each model.

I would just buy a 4/6-way power surge-protected strip or something and plug all of your existing chargers into that.


TruePower UCS Power Outlet with USB ports from FastMac:


Our custom TruePower power outlet solution includes two Universal Serial Bus (USB) charge ports in addition to the two standard three prong power outlet ports.

Perfect for charging any USB powered device including- mobile, iPod, iPhone, PDA, MP3, PSP, MP4 player & digital camera.

Installation: This item can be installed on any existing wall outlet.

We will have an installation video available shortly so that you can see exactly what is involved and if this is something you feel comfortable doing on your own or if you will need assistance.

Please also note that the USB ports only draw power when something is physically connected to the port. We didn't want a vampire port that continually sucks and wastes power when not in use so this was one of the features on the top of our priority list during the design phase.

Although it says "any USB-powered device including ... iPhone", I'm waiting for my pre-order to ship before finding out whether the iPhone 3G and 3GS will be able to charge through this outlet. The 3G and 3GS have special requirements involving an authentication chip from Apple, which are only in Apple-approved products. I guess I'll just have to wait and see!

  • 1
    This item is not yet UL approved (apparently approval is being sought). I don't know if building codes allow this or not. Seems like I remember code not allowing high voltage (110V) to be mixed with low voltage in the same electrical box. Bottom line, your homeowners insurance may be affected by this device.
    – Les
    Jan 20, 2010 at 16:28
  • Interesting point - I'll have to look at that Jan 20, 2010 at 19:12

You might want to keep in mind that some hubs may share or divide the amps across the ports, and you may get lower performances, even if only one device is actually connected. You may want to test the actual voltage/amperage with a meter on the ports of the hub.


I have never tried with a powered USB hub, but there are USB wall chargers that do exactly what you want. See this result search result of USB wall charges at Amazon.com.

Some of those devices specifically mention iPod support. I think I tried one with an iPod Nano and it worked fine. I have used one with a Sansa mp3 player and a Creative Zen.


The solution I eventually went for was this:

Kensington 4-Port USB Charger for Mobile Devices (Europe)

There's also a US version here:

Kensington 4-Port USB Charger for Mobile Devices (USA)

It's basically a mains plug with 4 USB ports. It hasn't arrived yet, but I'll update here when I've tried it, along with information about the devices it works (and doesn't work) with.

  • USA link is messed up.
    – stone
    Jan 18, 2010 at 21:59
  • Sorry - fixed it now
    – Anodyne
    Jan 20, 2010 at 11:32

Just checked and find out that it may depend both on hub and on device.

So, I checked 2 hubs:

with 2 devices - phone and tablet.

They both were charging phone, but Orico hub couldn't charge tablet (current was 0, but with computer it's higher then 1A). Sipolar hub successfully charged both devices.

Also note that hubs can give higher current (up to 2A for these hubs), but the voltage is always 5V, so no fast charge with 9V.

But if you know, that you don't want to use it with computer, you can buy some device for charging only - like this one (haven't used such - just an example). Seems like it's 5V only too.

Sipolar, phone

Sipolar, tablet

Orico, phone

Orico, tablet

Orico, load 2A


ThinkGeek: AC to USB Power Adapter -- for a portable solution.

alt text

  • Charge and power your USB devices without a computer
  • Intelligent IC chip inside recognizes a fully charged battery and automatically switches to a saver mode to prevent overcharging and short circuit
  • While plugged into an AC outlet, your device powers and charges simultaneously
  • Works with any kind of USB device that needs power
  • Small and compact size; easy to carry anywhere
  • LED indicates charging status: Red for Charging, Green for Charging Complete

Update: You'll get a decent 1-Amp (or more?) adapter from your nearest Apple store.

  • Keeping a 1-Amp charger handy is useful for many gadgets that can charge faster with more available current; also, with multiple devices being charged together, you are better of with a higher rating (current does get shared across them, giving each a lower charging rate in the end)
  • Apple stores are usually quite accessible (but depending on your country, this might be a costlier deal)
    • Whatever you do, get a good quality adapter or you might burn off your gadgets!
  • Downvoted for recommending an Apple adapter. They don’t work with standards-conformant devices (including most Android phones).
    – kinokijuf
    Jul 1, 2015 at 11:21

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