Best Thunderbolt 3 to Ethernet Adapters

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Getting the best Thunderbolt 3 to Ethernet adapter can just be the elusive key to transforming your laptop into a desktop, anytime you wish. By simply plugging in this unique type of USB C cable your RJ45 network link can work effectively with your 2021 devices, with even higher speed.

Can Thunderbolt 3 connect to Ethernet?

Yes, it can. One of the beautiful advantages of using Thunderbolt 3 is its high speed and growing universal acceptance. Connecting it to an Ethernet link and indeed any device of choice is possible with the right adapter. Most times, it is just a plug and play affair. Worst scenario is to install a driver. 

USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 (TB3) – Which is better?

Although USB-C and TB3 appear similar, there are several basic differences between them. The principal differences are: 

Different Data Transfer Rates:

TB3 is considerably faster than USB-C. USB-C usually does 10 Gbps. But, TB3 can do up to 40 Gbps.

Display connections:

TB3 has the bandwidth to handle two 4K monitors at 60 Hz. USB-C can only handle external displays with an optional “Display Port Alternate Mode” feature.

Connecting External Devices:

Both USB-C and TB3 can be used to connect arrays of peripherals like printers and external hard disks. However, unlike USB-C, TB3 can also connect to PCIe devices.

Thunderbolt 3 vs. USB-C: What’s the Difference?

If you’re ever in doubt whether your USB-C port is actually a Thunderbolt 3, simply look for the little lightning bolt symbol somewhere near the slot. This is a quick way to differentiate it from a standard USB-C port.

A USB WiFi Adapter can be utilized to add WiFi to a computer or laptop that does not have its own implicit WiFi, or just to redesign your WiFi if you find that your internal internet receiver is not giving you the recommended connectivity.

Best Thunderbolt 3 to Ethernet Adapters Reviewed

ImageProductRatingCheck Price
TOP PICK
Sabrent TH-3WEA Best Thunderbolt 3 to 10Gbps Ethernet Adapter
Sabrent TH-3WEA Thunderbolt 3 to 10Gbps Ethernet Adapter

Supports: Thunderbolt 3 PC/ Laptop
Compliance: IEEE802.3an NBASE-T
OS Support: Windows 10, Mac OS
Material: Aluminium

Size: 4.5 x 2.7 x 0.6″
Weight: 13.5 ounces

9.7
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RUNNER UP
LINKUP Thunderbolt 3 to 10Gbps LAN Adapter
LINKUP Thunderbolt 3 to 10Gbps LAN Adapter

Supports: Thunderbolt 3 PC/ Laptop
OS Support: Windows 10, Mac OS
Material: Aluminium
Size: 6.3 x 5.12 x 1.57″
Weight: 13.6 ounces

9.5
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OFFICE PICK
Sabrent TH-S3EA Thunderbolt 3 to 10Gbps Ethernet Adapter
Sabrent TH-S3EA Thunderbolt 3 to 10Gbps Ethernet Adapter

Supports: Thunderbolt 3 PC/ Laptop
Compliance: Full IEEE802.3an NBASE-T
OS Support: Windows 7+,  Mac OS
Material: Aluminium
Size: 4.25 x 2.9 x 0.88″
Weight: 10.3 ounces

9.1
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HEAT EFFECTIVE
Cable Matters Thunderbolt 3 10G Ethernet Adapter
Cable Matters Thunderbolt 3 10G Ethernet Adapter

Supports: Thunderbolt 3 PC/ Laptop
Compliance: Full IEEE802.3an NBASE-T
OS Support: Windows, Linux,  Mac OS
Material: Rugged case with air vents
Size: 4.25 x 2.9 x 0.88″
Weight: 10.3 ounces

8.8
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ENERGY EFFICIENT
OWC Thunderbolt 3 10G Ethernet Adapter
OWC Thunderbolt 3 10G Ethernet Adapter

Supports: Thunderbolt 3 PC/ Laptop
Compliance: Full IEEE802.3an NBASE-T
OS Support: Windows, MacOS, OS X
Material: Aluminium
Size: 4.5 x 1.1 x 3.1″
Weight: 12.8 ounces

8.6
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TRAVEL PICK
CalDigit Thunderbolt 3 Mini Dock
CalDigit Thunderbolt 3 Mini Dock

Supports: Thunderbolt 3 PC/ Laptop
OS Support: Windows, MacOS
Material: Aluminium
Size: 6.4 x 4.4 x 1.3″
Weight: 4.8 ounces

8.2
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LIGHTWEIGHT
Techkey USB Thunderbolt 3 to RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet Adapter
Techkey USB Thunderbolt 3 to RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet Adapter

Supports: Thunderbolt 3 PC/ Laptop
OS Support: Windows, MacOS
Material: Aluminium
Size: 5.04 x 3.31 x 0.67″
Weight: 1.58 ounces

8
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Let’s take a closer look at these adapters, and examine the features that make them the best in the market.

1. Sabrent TH-3WEA – Best Thunderbolt 3 to Ethernet Adapter

Our Top Pick
Best Thunderbolt 3 to Ethernet Adapter

Sabrent TH-3WEA

The Sabrent TH-3WEA adapter is one of the best quality adapters in our list of best adapters thanks to its hard case and sturdiness.

This quality adapter can instantly connect to a 10, 5, 2.5, and 1 Gbps network, as well as a 100Mbps network, using its Thunderbolt 3 port.

It is very well designed, with a solid aluminum casing for durability. It works with all OS and has visible and informative LED lights.

With the Sabrent Thunderbolt 3 adapter, you have no need to buy a Gigabit network card for use in sharing a PCI or card bus slot.

Just open the pack, install the driver, and enjoy this stylish adapter for your work, pleasure, or entertainment. It is 15 W bus-powered and IEEE 802.3an NBASE-T compliant and it works well with Windows 10 and Mac OS.

PROs
  • Visible and informative LED lights
  • Durable metal casing
  • Works with all OS
CONs
  • Rather costly

2. LINKUP Thunderbolt 3 to LAN – Runner Up Best Thunderbolt 3 to Ethernet Adapter

Best Office Adapter
Runner Up Best Thunderbolt 3 to Ethernet Adapter

LINKUP – 10G Plus Adapter

LINKUP Thunderbolt 3 Certified 10 GB + Ethernet Adapters deliver high-class network connectivity of up to 40 Gbps. It is the 2nd best on our list.

With a lag-free, ultrafast TB3 network, this adapter is set for the future Cat 7 and Cat 8 network architectures. These adapters are fast and compatible with many devices.

Enabling a high-performance 10Gb Ethernet, this adapter can handle GBASE-T networks and NBASE-T standards, running at 100Mbps, 1 Gbps, 2.5 Gbps, or 5Gbps. Completely bus-powered, it requires no external power—power is provided through the Thunderbolt 3 port.

Core Features

LINKUP Thunderbolt 3 to RJ45 hubs have advanced features such as Audio Video Bridging which conforms to IEEE 802.1Qav standard. It also has an Energy-Efficient Ethernet bus which allows you to instantly stream a good number of high-quality media files between computers and monitors on your Ethernet network efficiently. Thus, you won’t need to access the WAN or internet bandwidth.

Game and heavy graphic users can relax and enjoy their activities, knowing that the LINKUP Thunderbolt 3 Certified 10 GB + Ethernet Adapters will provide the flow.

PROs
  • Lightning fast
  • Easy connectivity
  • Quiet, fan-less design
  • Excellent customer service
CONs
  • The device gets warm with extended usage

3. Sabrent TH-S3EA – Best Office Thunderbolt 3 to Ethernet Adapter

Oustanding Design
Best Office Thunderbolt 3 to Ethernet Adapter

Sabrent TH-S3EA

The Sabrent TH-S3EA adapter was released into the market on September 15th, 2020 is a high-quality adapter with tremendous speed and reliability.

This most recent entrant into the market has 10G speed with full backward compatibility for 5G / 2.5G / 1000M / 100M / 10M bps Base-T networks.

This is one of the most innovative adapters in the market.

One of the attractive features of this adapter is its solid casing, made of aluminum metal. This encourages heat dissipation, keeping the adapter cool during intense activity.

Strong and durable, it has an anti-skid rubber bumper for additional protection. It is bus-powered, so additional devices can be added without the need for extra external adapters.

The Sabrent TH-S3EA connects your laptop instantly to any of your network devices without reducing the quality of communication or compromising speed and performance.

PROs
  • Slick fine design
  • Strong Aluminum casing
  • Anti-skid rubber bumper for additional protection
  • Bus-powered
CONs
  • New in the market

4. Certified CableMatters – Heat Effective Thunderbolt 3 to Ethernet Adapter

Effective Heat Management
Heat Effective Thunderbolt 3 to Ethernet Adapter

Cable Matters Thunderbolt 3 10G Ethernet Adapter

The Cable Matters Thunderbolt 3 Ethernet Adapter truly unleashes your network speed, eliminating any logjams in data transfer and thus deserves to be called the best thunderbolt 3 to ethernet adapter or connector.

For a fast and very quick data backup or network link, plug in a 10Gbps switch or a 10Gbps NAS and you’re up and doing.

This adapter has a compact and efficient design. It is designed fan-less to allow for a noise-free operation. The case is quite rugged with air vents to dispel heat.

It is also designed bus-powered without any external power required. Weighing less than 1 pound, it is not compatible with a USB-C port on a computer that does not have the Thunderbolt logo.

To use this adapter on a Windows computer, you will need an Ethernet driver which is available at the Cable Matters website.

The Cable Matters Thunderbolt 3 Ethernet Adapter provides vivid gaming and graphics capabilities to the demanding user. It also supports 4K video editing without buffering and NBASE-T Multi-Gigabit backing.

PROs
  • Sturdy-looking
  • Fan-less design
  • Good speed
CONs
  • Firmware requires an upgrade after setup

5. OWC Thunderbolt 3 10G – Energy Efficient Thunderbolt 3 to Ethernet Adapter

High Speed and Silent Adapter
Energy Efficient Thunderbolt 3 10G Ethernet Adapter

OWC Thunderbolt 3 10G Ethernet Adapter

The OWC Thunderbolt 3 10G Ethernet Adapter is a secure and cost-effective option. You can connect your  Thunderbolt 3 equipped Mac or Windows PC to any data-demanding network at up to 10 times the performance of the usual Gigabit Ethernet.

Suitable for environments that are noise-sensitive, this blazing fast 10GB Ethernet Adapter is bus-powered and energy-efficient. The Ethernet port takes 10, 5, 2, and 1Gbps, as well as 100Mbps Base-T connection.

The RJ45 port will provide you access to any wired network. Effective with Mac OS 10 (no drivers needed) and Windows 10 (drivers needed), this adapter is ideal for specialized video apps that use critical frame-accurate access.

This adapter is compatible with Intel Thunderbolt 3 (NUC) connection.

The product has in its pack, a confined 0.5m Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) cable, a Quick Start manual and a one year OWC Limited Warranty.

PROs
  • High-speed Ethernet connectivity
  • Bus-powered
  • Energy efficient
  • Rugged-looking
CONs
  • Bit heavy
  • Gets warm with long usage

6. CalDigit – Best Thunderbolt 3 to Ethernet Adapter for Travelers

The Ideal Adapter When Traveling
Best Thunderbolt 3 to Ethernet Adapter for Travelling

CalDigit Thunderbolt 3 Mini Dock

The CalDigit Thunderbolt 3 Ethernet Adapter is the perfect travel companion, providing the easiest and most affordable way to simulate your laptop’s ports.

This adapter is lightweight, at just 4.8 ounces.

A mini Dock, this adapter can reconnect all legacy devices in the most convenient way feasible. It has a dual Display Port 1.2 output, a high-speed USB 3.1 5Gbps port, and a standard Gigabit Ethernet port. Thus, two monitors, each 4K 600Hz can be used simultaneously, in either mirrored or extended modes.

To connect the two displays, all it needs is a single tethered cable from the mini Dock to your Thunderbolt 3 laptop. You can then connect to the internet and even add other USB devices.

The CalDigit Thunderbolt 3 Ethernet Adapter has a Type-A USB port which can provide 5Gbps transfer speeds, as well as 900mA of power. This is adequate for the connection of your USB peripherals and storage devices while on the road.

This adapter is suitable for hotels, offices and homes with necessary WiFi connections.

PROs
  • Lightweight
  • Dual HDMI 2.0
  • Sleek modern design
CONs
  • Cable not detachable
  • Some models do not support two DP streams over Thunderbolt 3

7. Techkey – Small & High-Performance Thunderbolt 3 Ethernet Adapter

Lightweight with High Mobility
Small & High-Performance Thunderbolt 3 to RJ45 Ethernet Adapter

Techkey Thunderbolt to RJ45 Ethernet Adapter

This small but efficient adapter is the Techkey USB Thunderbolt 3 to Ethernet Adapter is undoubtedly most suitable for connecting USB Type C to RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet LAN Network.

Although one might be deceived by the small size, this adapter is compatible with MacBook Pro, Dell XPS, ChromeBook, Samsung Galaxy S9 /S8, and a lot of other devices, making it a great choice if mobility is what you seek.

This Ethernet adapter will add a standard RJ45 port to your laptop, notebook, ultrabook or other devices. It supports 1000 /100 /10 Mbps Ethernet connectivity.

It provides crossover detection, auto-correction, and Wake-on-LAN (WOL) capabilities. It is also most suitable for large file transfer, hard online gaming, and exciting HD video streaming.

This adapter will ensure that you no longer have to wait for those slow downloads. It will guarantee a stable connection speed of up to 1 Gbps.

The Adapter is downward compatible with 100Mbps/10Mbps Ethernet cables and devices. The Techkey USB Thunderbolt 3 to Ethernet Adapter works well with USB-C devices like MacBooks, iPads, Dell XPS, ChromeBook, and so on.

PROs
  • Plug and play
  • Detailed instructions in the pack
  • Comes with mini-CD
CONs
  • Need a driver to work with Mac OS

To conclude

While we have several very good adapters in our list, our top pick for the best Thunderbolt 3 to Ethernet product is the Certified CableMatters adapter.

This adapter is very well designed, strong and rugged, with a solid aluminum casing for durability. It works with all OS. It also has visible and informative LED lights. 

Whichever adapter you decide to use, one thing is for sure – Thunderbolt 3 will give you the response you need, in speed, efficiency and power. 

Andrew Smith