Amazon Prime Day offers great deals on Thunderbolt ports, a powerful, value-for-money accessory to expand your PC’s capabilities. USB-C hubs and dongles, fortunately, offer a cost-effective solution. Either way, we’ve hunted down the best deals in both categories for this year’s Amazon Prime Day, which runs July 11 and 12.
We expect Amazon to discount its best deals for Prime members, mind you sign up for a 30-day free trial. Below you’ll find our list of the best Prime Day deals on Thunderbolt ports and USB-C ports that are already available at Amazon and other retailers. We’ll also explain why we chose this product, and provide additional buying advice. Let’s be clear: Ports of Thunder in general sell it each one discounts are welcome. You should also check out our top picks for best Thunderbolt ports and the best USB-C port.
Prime Day deals on Thunderbolt ports
Grab the HP Thunderbolt 4 deal now – the affordable HP 4J0A2AA Editor’s Choice award-winning port at a strong discount. We haven’t reviewed the Monoprice port, unfortunately. Us reviewed the Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Dock Core (not the model for sale) and I really liked it. The Kensington SD2500T is the cheaper sibling of the Kensington SD5500T, a favorite port which provides more ports.
We’re not big fans of the SD5700T or the OWC Thunderbolt Dock, due to the lack of display ports. You should invest in a cable like this USB-C to HDMI cable, for $17 per cable on Amazon. Here is ours Review of OWC’s Thunderbolt Go Dockmore method.
Prime Day deals on USB-C hubs, docks, and dongles
We haven’t reviewed the Wavlink docking station, but it offers the ability to Thunder via DisplayLink, a technology we’re passionate about. There are plenty of ports, but no laptop charging. It is at this price that we expect these devices to be available.
We’ve used the Hiearcool dongle before, and it’s solid. We haven’t used Acasis or Acodot, but the price is right.
What to look for when buying a Thunderbolt port or USB-C hub
Although we consider the Thunderbolt port and USB-C to be two different categories, they share some similarities. They all use USB-C output from your laptop. The difference is that some laptops use the port as a USB-C port, and others run the high-speed Thunderbolt 3 or 4 protocol through the USB-C socket. The former allows for 10Gbps throughput, useful for USB keys, external storage, and perhaps an external display.
Thunderbolt (either Thunderbolt 3 or Thunderbolt 4) allows 40Gbps of throughput, designed for high-speed external SSDs and multiple displays. Our circles of the best USB-C port and best Thunderbolt ports explain in detail.
In short, USB-C hubs and dongles are cheap, not more than $60. Prime Day is an opportunity to pick up USB-C with inputs for USB expansion, Ethernet, SD cards, and a little more – all the ports your laptop might be missing. Don’t get too crazy: All USB-C connected devices transfer data over the same 10Gbps port. It’s great for keyboards, mice, and hard drives that turn on, transfer data, and turn off. But simultaneous transmission of the Ethernet firewall, storage, and display data will not work. You need a Thunderbolt port (and laptop port) instead.
Thunder ports require more attention. Here, imagine what you want to do: connect a 4K display with HDMI? Look for Thunderbolt ports with two HDMI ports. DisplayPort connections will work, but you’ll need a cheaper cable. Thunderbolt ports have long been in short supply, so this is an opportunity to get a valuable accessory at a low price. However, they are almost essential for the home office.
I have a USB-C port on my laptop. How do I know what to use?
Check your laptop’s manual. Thunderbolt port perhaps marked with a small logo, but the image can sometimes be used to indicate that the port can also be used for charging. If nothing else, a USB-C dongle/hub will always work with a USB-C port.
I still don’t understand the difference between USB-C and Lightning. How does this all work?
USB ports have been around for years. USB-C replaced USB-A (the main port) because USB-C was flexible: the port connector was flexible and allowed high speeds. USB-C ports can be rated for either 5Gbps or 10Gbps, just like a standard USB-A port. Some USB-C ports connect to a Thunderbolt device inside your laptop, however, and this allows the port to run at a maximum speed of 40Gbps. Physically, the connector looks the same. And what it can do is different.
What is the difference between a USB-C hub and a thunderbolt dock?
Speed and shape. The USB-C cable connects to a single 4K (or 1080p) display, and offers a variety of ports: USB-A, SD card slots, etc. You can usually plug your laptop’s USB-C power cable (if it uses one) into it.
A Thunderbolt port provides more bandwidth than most ports. There are two main differences: It has enough bandwidth to run a 4K display, and most docks come with their own power that can charge your laptop as well as your phone. All that happens via a Thunderbolt cable that connects your laptop to the port.
My laptop has USB4, not Thunderbolt. Can I use the Thunderbolt port?
Yes and no. Thunderbolt 3, Thunderbolt 4, and USB4 all run at 40Gbps over the same connector. USB4 is the same as Thunderbolt 4. But if your laptop has USB4, it doesn’t “understand” Thunderbolt 3 protocols.
USB4 laptops are still very rare, and they have an AMD Ryzen chip inside.
Is Thunderbolt 4 better than Thunderbolt 3?
Physically, they use the same USB-C cable. Functionally, they are approximately in the same way. Thunderbolt 4 was released as a patch for Thunderbolt 3, to ensure that everything works smoothly. If your laptop has Thunderbolt, you should buy a Thunderbolt 3 or Thunderbolt 4 dock without any problem. Since Thunderbolt 3 is being phased out, you may be able to find some discounts on older Thunderbolt 3 devices. (For more information, see our list of best Thunderbolt ports.)
I have a desktop computer. Do I need a Thunderbolt port?
Maybe. In the past, the back of the desktop has been full of I/O ports, mostly the DIY kind. Desktops often have extra space for internal SSDs, SD cards, etc. However, if your computer does not have these features, and includes an external Thunder, you can add these extensions externally, through Thunder.
Read user reviews carefully. Although Macs adopted Thunderbolt first, some of the Apple M1 silicon could not accommodate the Intel Thunderbolt controllers used by Windows PCs, and Apple’s MacOS experience suffered as a result. If a Windows user complains, pay attention; otherwise, you can remove them.
This was updated at 11:30 AM on July 10 with the latest ad.