Last Updated on December 23, 2021
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USB cables are one of the more underrated necessities in my life right now. I keep them just about everywhere. I keep them in my living area (attached to a quad charger) to charge my phone and Kindle. I keep them in near my writing area so I can charge my phone or connect my phone to my laptop when I’m transferring images or files. I keep them in my car for charging devices or for connecting my phone to my car for navigation purposes. And I keep spare ones in my travel bag in case I need to charge them while away from home.
For me, it never hurts to have extra cables.
But there are complications. For one, some of my devices use micro USB cables while others use the newer USB-C. That means I need some of each. In addition, cords can wear out. I’ve especially seen this when I have to use cords in places where they can get bent a lot, like when I’m running cables out of the compartment in the center console of my car. So having cables, especially flexible ones, is helpful.
In my experience, big box stores tend to overcharge when it comes to cables. Online vendors on Amazon and eBay are better, but there are also shipping costs involved that are either baked into the price or added on to the total cost. So imagine my surprise when I went into Dollar Tree and saw USB cables.
Dollar Tree sold both a micro USB with a flat cord and a USB-C with a flexible fabric-style cord. I decided to try out the USB-C.
E-Circuit USB Cables are a regular item in the small electronics section of Dollar Tree. E-Circuit is a Dollar Tree private label, so E-Circuit products are exclusive to Dollar Tree. At the time I bought one, it was $1, but that may be changing. Even if it goes up to $1.25, it still ranks as one of the cheapest USB-C cables I can find.
The cable is 39 inches long (3 feet, 3 inches). Most standard cables are either 3 or 6 feet, so this is on the shorter end. Whether it’s long enough will depend on your needs. This cable is long enough for most things I use cables for. The cable is rated for 2.1 amps, which is designed to be fast enough to fast charge most smartphones.
Beyond that, the cable doesn’t come with any information or instructions: it’s just a cord.
The cord is made of a bendable braided surface. There are clear plastic caps attached to each connector to prevent the cord from splintering off at the ends.
I tested the cord in a few different ways: to fast charge a smartphone, to transfer video from a smartphone to a computer, and to run a navigation app on a car. In my experience, the average cord can do the first two well enough, but generic cords are mixed when it comes to the third. I’ve found some budget cords to be unable to handle the data transfer necessary to run information to my car screen.
The Dollar Tree cord did all three well. I was able to fast charge my phone connecting the cable from my fast charge socket block. I was able to do video data transfer without problems. And, significantly, I was able to run Android Auto from my smartphone to my car’s dash display.
So from a performance standpoint, the cord is a winner.
What about longevity? No idea. The cord doesn’t come any kind of warranty. The build quality is decent but it’s by no means the thickest cord I’ve used. Time will tell how long it lasts.
Dollar Tree’s E-Circuit Type C USB Cable is a cheap 3+ foot cable that handles the normal duties of a USB-C cable well. It can do fast charging or data transfer, and I even found it to be workable with the heavier load of running Android Auto through a car. If you need a cheap cord and 3 feet is long enough for you, this might be worth a look.