|Most durable & rugged||Runner-up||Best portability|
|Nomad’s USB-C to USB-C||Fuse Chicken Armour Charge C2||Lifeproof LifeActíve USB-C cable|
Whilst the specifications for the revised, 28-pin ‘USB-C’ connection were finalised way back in 2014, it has taken a good few years for the standard to reach a point of ubiquity in our electronic worlds.
With exception to a few vendors, we may have finally reached that point, with the faster and more multifunctional USB-C port featured as standard with the majority of 2020’s new tech.
It’s great news, not only because the new connector finally allows us to insert at both orientations, but also because now you may not need to have an endless variety of USB Type-A cables with a whole host of differing outputs for all your devices.
It’s feasible that you could have two or three USB-C cables that you use as a charging cable, as a display or audio output, and for data transfer across all your current-gen devices.
This universality means two things; first, you only need to purchase a few cables to perform most if not all of the connective functions your tech repertoire demands. And second, this cable will be working overtime compared to its older generations.
More uses, more bends, more time in operation. This means it needs to be extremely tough and durable, hopefully withstanding all your uses and living long throughout the years until the next standard arrives.
So maybe not quite #BIFL (Buy-It-For-Life) but still, we’re looking for the Most Durable USB-C Cables.
USB-C Quick Look
Before we dive into the tough stuff, let’s remind ourselves of the USB lineage, as well as the notable characteristics of the latest USB-C type connection.
USB Definition & Types
USB: ‘Universal Serial Bus’, a standard of connection for communication, data transfer, and power supply between computers and peripheral electronics.
USB Type A: The original, flat rectangular port for USB output.
USB Type B: The connector for USB input, which varies in shape and size (‘B’/’Mini-B’/’Micro-B’), and therefore compatibility.
USB Type C: The revised USB connector or port standard notable for its multifunctionality and ability to insert at both orientations.
– Support of USB 3.1, meaning faster data transfer (Up to 10Gbits/s, or 40Gbits/s with Thunderbolt)
– Faster Charging (Up to 20v)
– Ability to deliver 4k video and audio
– Reversible connector design
– More versatile, with the ability to perform two functions at once
A significant upgrade in nearly every aspect, but as we mentioned, its universality implies a higher potential for wear and tear for the cables themselves.
So, it makes sense to look only for cables with enhanced durability features and assurances, ensuring they can survive more intensive use. This is where we come in.
USB-C Cable Tough Stuff
Let’s refer to our BIFL rating system to see what that could mean:
So, what would our perfect, 5-star, most durable USB-C cable look like?
Well, it would be military graded for toughness with a lifetime warranty to back that up. There would be optional adaptors for different outputs or different products in the line with equal toughness, and it would come with accessories to further protect your purchase.
Is that too much to ask?
We’ve dug around and found the rugged USB-C cables that meet our rigorous standards to varying degrees. Take a look at our finds listed below, or skip to the end for a table comparing all the core specs from our top picks.
Anker Powerline+ III USB-C CablesAnker’s tagline reads “Charge fast, live more”, so it’s expected that they might know a thing or two about high-quality cables.
Discontent with common problems of discoloration, rust and corrosion, and inflexibility in wires and cables, they sought to establish a range of cables that are completely resistant to such examples of breakdown. And the Powerline+ line effectively achieves those goals.
As opposed to traditional rubberized cables, the Powerline+ wire casing is composed of double-braided nylon threading, which delivers formidable toughness, is nearly invulnerable to in-bag tangling, and provides an inhospitable environment for stains – especially in its vibrant red color variation.
They claim that the Powerline+ III cables are 5x more durable than normal cables, based on its up to 35,000 ‘bend lifespan’.
The usually vulnerable stress points (the connector output and input) are laser-welded for extra strength, and your purchase comes with a felt carrying pouch that allows you to neatly adjust cable length according to the situation.
More so, the cable supports high-speed charging and data transfer of up to 480Mbps.
You can pick up a Powerline+ USB-C cable with outputs ranging from USB-C, USB Type A 2.0, and USB Type A 3.0.
PERFECT FOR: The general USB-C cable user who won’t compromise in any one area of performance or strength.
Snowkids USB Type C Cable
You may not have heard of Snowkids before – we hadn’t. But their relative anonymity in the electronic peripheral space does not take away from their product’s credentials, especially as it relates to durability.
In terms of materials, the cables boast braided, ‘military-grade’ (though no military standard was cited) threading, and aluminum alloy internal casing with gold-plated chips on the connectors. This design gives the product an astonishing bend capacity of up to 10,000 90-degree bends, general wear and tear resistance, as well as anti-oxidization.
As for performance features, the Snowkid supports fast-charging and data transfer and has 56Kohm for protection from electrical overload. The gold-plated chip also ensures a more stable output current, which can improve the longevity of your device’s battery life.
Not bad for under $10.
PERFECT FOR: Budget-conscious high-intensity cable users.
Nomad USB-C CableNomad’s USB-C to USB-C cable is billed as ‘Ultra-rugged’, and with good reason, being arguably one of the toughest all-rounders on the list.
It features four layers of wire coating, each with their own durability or utility gradings designed for maximum ruggedness and performance.
At the inner level, there is a strong polyamide layer shielding the actual cabling, which has an AWG of 20 to enable fast-charging.
One level up, there is electromagnetic RF shielding layer that permits fast-sync for data transfer.
On to physical protection, the secondary layer is composed of durable PVC which boasts fire-resistance, and finally, there is the external nylon-braided layer, which is military graded for industrious flexibility.
The cable supports USB 3.1 Gen 2, which has a maximum speed of 10Gbps. It can carry 4k video and is compatible with Type C laptops such as the MacBook Pro.
PERFECT FOR: High-spec data use combined with non-specific durability.
Aukey Impulse Braided USB-C to USB-C Cable
Aukey’s versatile USB-C to USB-C cable is specced out for maximum charging and data speeds, and it’s not shy of durability features either.
Uniquely on this list, this cable supports PD charging. Standing for ‘Power Delivery’, this is a fast-charging protocol that is compliant with USB-IF safety protocols, unlike Qualcomm’s Quick Charge technology. So, with a PD charging cable such as Aukey’s, you are safely able to achieve 60W of power delivery for ultra-fast charges of all your USB-C compatible devices such as MacBook Pros, Nintendo Switches, drones, and more.
The cable also provides the theoretical maximum data transfer speed of 480Mbps for a well-rounded offering.
The design of the cable, similarly to most others on the list, is a nylon-braided exterior.
Inside, a strong ‘aramid’ fiber supports the wire core, and the connectors themselves are TPE coated (thermoplastic elastomer), which together enhances thermal resistance – appropriate for a cable that supports high electrical output.
Finally, the cable is a generous 2 meters, which itself will reduce the lifetime wear and tear by providing adequate slack.
PERFECT FOR: Those who own multiple PD charging gadgets.
Fuse Chicken ARMOUR CHARGE C
Boldly straying from the market standard nylon braiding exterior, the interestingly named ‘Fuse Chicken’s’ ARMOUR CHARGE C2 steps it up a notch with a different, even stronger material coating.
Composed entirely of 100% stainless steel woven strands, what you lose minimally in flexibility, you gain in extreme toughness and tensile strength.
This cable is strong enough to pull a pickup truck a few feet and get right back to work straight after. Don’t believe me? Here’s a video of exactly that… Props to the Fuse Chicken marketing team, they certainly know how to capture attention.
It’s a USB-C to USB-C cable (2.0), so it’s backwards compatible but does not support fast-charging and data transfer protocols.
It still supports MacBook charging, as well as Android, Google Pixel, and Samsung Galaxy phones.
The company has similar stainless-steel USB-C cables with differing outputs, including Type A 2.0, and 3.0.
PERFECT FOR: Relentless cable use in nearly any environment. Dog-chew proof.
LIFEPROOF LifeActíve USB-C Cable
Lifeproof’s LifeActíve USB-C cable may come in a little more expensive than the average, even on this list, but it also has one or two unique features that set it apart from the rest.
The braided USB-C to USB-C cable exterior is perhaps the only similarity it has to its competition.
Looking at it, you may not even realize it was a USB cable.
It has a lanyard-style design, meaning the dual connectors on either end can be plugged into an attached receptable which, in turn, can be attached to various pieces of gear or clothing, converting it into a portable lanyard.
Great for climbers, athletes, and even jet-skiers. That’s right, the LifeActíve is waterproof – fully immersible at 1m for up to 30 minutes.
It also claims to be ‘dirtproof’ and even ‘snowproof’.
At a length of 15”, it’s long enough for computing purposes, but just shy of being comfortable whilst charging a phone from the wall. The LifeActíve can charge at a decent rate of 3 Amps.
PERFECT FOR: Handy portable charging for the sporty or outdoorsy adventurer.
Most Durable USB-C Cable | Comparison Table
|wdt_ID||Cable||Data Transfer Speed||Power Transmission||BIFL Rating||Warranty||Output Connectors|
|Cable||Data Transfer Speed||Power Transmission||BIFL Rating||Output Connectors|
With as many well-rounded choices as that, it’s tough to pick a clear winner.
And with all the varying output choices, perhaps your perfect pick has already been decided by your intended purpose.
What we can say is that, whilst you can’t go wrong with anyone of these durable USB-C cables, there are a few that stole our attention the most and managed to tug at our rugged heartstrings.
With its quadruple layered, military-grade protective coatings, and near-perfect BIFL rating, the Nomad USB-C cable screams ‘tough as nails’ from the ground up. Plus, it has the most advanced performance of any on the list, with USB 3.1 Gen 2 boosted transfer speed and power transmission, easily making it the most well-rounded choice. It’s more expensive than average, but in our opinion, that price is more than justified.
If you’re not too concerned about performance and have gone through more flimsy rubber USB cables that you can count, Fuse Chicken’s ARMOUR CHARGE C is your solution, with its insanely tough stainless-steel braiding.
Apart from that, we have to give a nod to the LIFEPROOF LifeActíve USB-C cable, for being the only one on the list designed specifically for portability and adventuring.
What do you think? Do you have a different opinion on the Most Durable USB-C Cables? Be sure to share this article with anyone and everyone in the market for #BIFL durable cables. We regularly post guides similar to this one all about products that last a lifetime, so stay posted if you agree with the Buy It For Life golden rule as much as we do.