About 5 minutes after you buy a cable you will probably forget how much data and how much power it can carry.
Unlike all previous generations there are all kinds of limitations as and differences that you can’t see.
The basic problem is the amount of amperage and the data rates for cables differ and there are length limitations as well so here are the parameters.
Try to get cables which are USB/IF certified or reviewed well. There are lots of counterfeit cables out there.
You should label your cables so you know their max capability. Most folks are not going to need Thunderbolt 3 cables unless they have an offboard disk drive or special display but for completeness.
Thunderbolt 3. 40Gbps (0.5m passive limit) beware of the versions that drop to 20Gbps
For USB, each cable version is a superset of the previous generation. from the fastest
USB 3 Gen 2. 10GBps. 1 meter limit.
USB 3 Gen 1. 5Gbps. 2 meter limit
USB 2. 480Mbps. I haven’t seen a limit for these. But I’m sure they have one.
The second limit is the maximum power they can carry. USB C has power negotiation logic so the voltages can vary from 5V to 9V to 12.5V to 20V and the amperage can vary from 2A to 3A to 5A.
So looking through Amazon here are the cable reviews:
- Apple cable. $20 so expensive but probably the post reliable I’d bet. This is a 100 watt (20Vx5A) cable. 2M. But only 480Mbps.
You shouldn’t need Thunderbolt 3 by for completeness:
- Cable Matters Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) Cable in Black. 3A. 2m. It does cost $60 but you get a full two meters at 40Gbps. The only drawback is the 60 watt maximum. Really this is a 3A maximum across all voltages.
- Cable Matters Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) USB-C Cable in Black 1.6 Feet / 0.5m. Just $20 and 3A as well. So get if you only need a short cable