A second half penalty converted by David McGoldrick was enough to move the Blades to the top of the Championship table, and send the Tigers in the opposite direction to the foot of the division.
Nigel Adkins made two changes to his side with Daniel Batty and Fraizer Campbell coming in, as Jarrod Bowen and Kamil Grosicki moved to the bench. Jackson Irvine was fit enough to play despite coming off against Leeds in midweek with a knock.
Markus Henriksen fired the first shot of the game wide, the midfielder taking aim from 30 yards but seeing his effort drift off target before Campbell also sent an effort wide from just inside the box.
It wasn’t long before United threatened for the first time when Enda Stevens looked to punish a loose touch from Reece Burke six yards from goal, but he couldn’t get enough power on his attempt as David Marshall gratefully gathered.
McGoldrick put a decent chance over the bar after finding some space around the penalty spot before Oliver Norwood did the same but from further out.
For the third game running the Tigers lost a player to injury before half time, this time Campbell the victim as he limped off to be replaced by Nouha Dicko 29 minutes in.
Mark Duffy fired wide of Marshall’s near post, Stevens brought a save out of the goalkeeper with a low shot, and at the other end Burke saw a volley deflect wide as neither side could make the breakthrough before the interval.
The Tigers almost hit the front with less than a minute of the second half played when Chris Martin flicked on for Dicko who saw a powerful shot turned away by Dean Henderson at his near post.
Dicko also saw an effort ruled out for offside as the visitors seemingly came out with added attacking intent.
At the very least, Adkins’ side were frustrating the Blades although Billy Sharp did go close with a shot on the turn.
Tommy Elphick went into the referee’s book for a tug on Sharp’s shirt before Stephen Kingsley’s cross-shot was turned away for a corner by Henderson.
Markus Henriksen’s header from Burke’s cross was then well kept out by the United keeper, but when play switched to the other end of the field the Blades were awarded a penalty for shirt-pulling at a corner. McGoldrick stepped up and sent Marshall the wrong way to put his side in front.
Bowen immediately replaced Martin and Grosicki followed ten minutes from time as he came on for Irvine, but despite plenty of endeavour there was no way back for the Tigers.
Sheffield United: Dean Henderson, Enda Stevens, John Fleck, Jack O’Connell, Chris Basham, Billy Sharp (Marvin Johnson 87), John Egan, Oliver Norwood, David McGoldrick (Leon Clarke 87), Kieron Freeman, Mark Duffy (Paul Coutts 66).
Subs Not Used: Simon Moore, George Baldock, Richard Stearman, Conor Washington.
Hull City: David Marshall, Todd Kane, Reece Burke, Tommy Elphick, Eric Lichaj, Stephen Kingsley, Markus Henriksen, Daniel Batty, Jackson Irvine (Kamil Grosicki 80), Fraizer Campbell (Nouha Dicko 29), Chris Martin (Jarrod Bowen 71).
Subs Not Used: George Long, Kevin Stewart, Will Keane, Robbie McKenzie.
Referee: Mr P. Bankes.
Attendance: 25,360 (924 Visiting Supporters)