The best Thunderbolt docking stations for laptops

Best laptop docking stations of 2022



(Image credit: Future)

The best laptop docking stations volition turn your laptop into a portable powerhouse — whether you’re constantly on the move or always get out it at abode, you’ll want to make the almost of your laptop when information technology’s sitting on your desk, especially if you don’t have enough ports. With a laptop docking station, you can adhere your organization to multiple monitors and a broad variety of peripherals with extra USB ports.

Depending on your needs, you tin find cheap laptop docking stations that will output to dual HD monitors over a standard USB, or more than expensive docking stations that support USB Type-C and 4K monitors that volition work not only with your current laptop, just also your next 1.

Not quite sure if you need a docking station? Y’all can take a wait at our USB-C hub vs. docking station and Thunderbolt four explainer to learn nigh all of the ports out at that place and which ones you lot’ll want. For ports you know you lot need, bank check out our best USB Type-C hubs and best USB Type-C accessories and cables. Even better, adding these docking stations plant beneath will make some of the best laptops under $500 fifty-fifty more worth it.

What are the best laptop docking stations?

When it comes to the best laptop docking station coin can buy, you’ll want to go for the Plugable USB-C Triple Display Dock, as not only can dish out back up for a 4K monitor, just it can as well support up to three monitors and can charge USB Type-C laptops. Plugable is your go-to choice for a Thunderbolt 3 laptop docking station, too, as it powers up to 2 4K monitors while also charging and throws in actress USB 3.0 ports for good mensurate — all at a solid cost. Nosotros recently reviewed its Dual Monitor Docking Station (2022), but found it to be crumbling compared to its other products.

However, if you’re sporting a Thunderbolt iv laptop like the latest Dell XPS xiii, keep an middle out for the Kensington SD5700T Thunderbolt 4 Dock and Anker Noon Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station. They even top our list of best docking stations for Dell XPS laptops. Anker also recently released the Anker PowerExpand 5-in-ane Thunderbolt iv Mini Dock, but we felt it fell brusque by packing too little while asking for too much.

If you’re after the best docking stations for MacBook, we’ve got y’all covered. For all other docking stations, read on.

The best laptop docking stations you can buy today

Plugable USB-C Triple Display Dock

The best overall docking station you can purchase

Specifications

Ports :

4 x USB-A 3.0, 1 ten USB-C, ane x USB-C host port, 2 10 HDMI, one x DVI, one 10 Gigabit Ethernet, 1 x headphone jack, 1 x microphone jack

Support :

Windows, macOS, Chrome OS

No. of ports:

12

Reasons to buy


+

4K Output



+

Supports three monitors



+

Charges USB Type-C laptops

Reasons to avoid


Vertical-just design



Fewer ports than competitors

Using the Plugable USB-C Triple Display Dock (UD-ULTCD) feels a chip similar living in the future. Information technology works with all of the newest standards, including USB Type-C for charging and external displays, along with back up for a 4K monitor.

It’s oriented in a vertical position, and then yous can’t continue the dock under your laptop or monitors, but its performance and support for 3 displays simultaneously makes the Triple Brandish Dock our superlative choice.

Encounter our total

Plugable USB-C Triple Display Dock review

(Prototype credit: Futurity)

The best docking station with versatile connectivity

Specifications

Ports :

two x Thunderbolt 4, 1 x USB-C 3.1 Gen2, two x USB-A iii.i Gen2, ii x USB-A two.0 Gen1, two x HDMI 2.0, 1 x UHS 2 SD 4.0 Card Reader, 3.5mm audio jack, Gigabit Ethernet Port

Supports :

Windows 10 laptops with Thunderbolt four ports and non-M1 MacBook models running macOS Big Sur eleven (or later).

No. of ports:

12

Reasons to purchase


+

12-in-one hub



+

Thunderbolt 4 ports



+

Unmarried 8K 30Hz and dual 4K 60Hz



+

90W ability delivery



+

Distinct design

Reasons to avoid


Limited compatibility

Is the Anker Apex Thunderbolt 4 Docking Stationlikewisealee of the bend? Yes, just information technology’s likewise a versatile hub that tin improve your current work setup while helping y’all set for the adjacent generation of laptops ready to become the norm. Its Thunderbolt 4 ports are convenient and speedy, while the 12-in-1 hub’s other ports let you to accuse and connect enough of PC accessories and monitors.

Anker’south dock is let down by an expensive $300 price point for a device that can’t be fully utilized without a Thunderbolt 4-supported laptop. However, give this suitcase imposter some time and it’s sure to shine. For those looking for a Thunderbolt 4 docking station at a more than affordable price while sacrificing extra ports, check out our review of the Anker PowerExpand 5-in-one Thunderbolt 4 Mini Dock.

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Run across our full

Anker Noon Thunderbolt iv Docking Station review

(Image credit: Time to come)

The best docking station for Thunderbolt 4 connectivity and beyond

Specifications

Ports:

4 x Thunderbolt four, three ten USB-A three.2 Gen2, 1 x USB-A two.0 Gen1, ane x UHS II SD four.0 Carte du jour Reader, 3.5mm mic/audio jack, Gigabit Ethernet Port

Supports:

Windows ten laptops with Thunderbolt four ports and MacBook models running macOS Big Sur xi with Thunderbolt 3 ports

No. of ports:

eleven

Reasons to purchase


+

Multiple Thunderbolt four ports



+

Single 8K 30Hz or Dual 4K 60Hz



+

90W power delivery



+

Slick design

Reasons to avoid


No other video input ports

The Kensington SD5700T Thunderbolt 4 Dock is made for ultrabooks like the Dell XPS 13 9310. Not only does information technology vastly expand the number of ports and slots on one of the best laptops on the market, simply it gives it the 90W power and boosted perks the notebook requires.

While there are nonetheless those who may not have monitors or peripherals with Thunderbolt 4, 3, or USB-C connectivity, many devices will soon brand having a Thunderbolt iv port the standard. Thunderbolt four connectivity is here to stay, and the SD5700T makes for a fantastic portable companion that will future-proof your setup for years to come.

See our total

Kensington SD5700T Thunderbolt iv docking station review

4. Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station

The all-time Thunderbolt 3 docking station

Specifications

Ports:

1 10 Thunderbolt 3 host port, 5 10 USB-A iii.0, 1 10 USB-A iii.2 Gen 2, 1 10 USB-C three.2 Gen ii, 2 x HDMI 2.0, ii x DisplayPort 1.4, 1 ten Gigabit Ethernet, ane x MicroSD, 1 x SD Card reader, one 10 three.5mm audio jack

Supports:

Intel CPU Thunderbolt iii Macs, Windows systems with Thunderbolt 3 or USB Blazon-C

No. of ports:

16

Reasons to buy


+

Solid price



+

Horizontal design with option for stand



+

Powers upwards to two 4K monitors while also charging

Reasons to avert


No forrard-facing USB-C port

Considering Plugable’south other offerings, we weren’t surprised that its Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station is excellent. It’s the best we’ve tested then far, with a reasonable cost, the ability to be used both vertically and horizontally and a DisplayPort to HDMI adapter in the box. Information technology charges a laptop while powering up to two 4K displays or a unmarried 5K monitor and has a few extra USB iii.0 ports for legacy peripherals.

(Paradigm credit: Hereafter)

A primary connector for USB Type-A ports

Specifications

Ports:

6 10 USB-A 3.2 Gen1, 2 x DisplayPort ++ 1.2, 3.5mm mic/audio jack, Gigabit Ethernet Port, ane x iii.5mm sound jack, ane ten 3.5mm mic jack, one 10 USB-B three.1 Gen1

Supports:

USB-A laptops, Windows, macOS, and Chrome OS

No. of ports:

12

Reasons to buy


+

Dual 4K support @ 60Hz



+

Long USB-A cable



+

six USB three.0 ports

Reasons to avoid


Limited diversity of ports



Vertical-only blueprint

Kensington’s SD4100v USB three.0 Dual 4K Docking Station will be handy for laptops with USB-A ports — so, just nearly every laptop autonomously from modern ultra-slim systems. Information technology has a useful number of USB-A ports that let y’all plug in any peripheral t, and its dual 4K monitor support works like a charm. While its not-removable stand up is annoying, it sits firmly on any desk-bound, and the long 3m USB-B to USB-A host meant I could put it out of sight.

If you simply desire plenty of USB-A ports and some actress displays to use with your laptop, the SD4100v USB 3.0 Dual 4K Docking Station does a fine job.

Come across our full

Kensington SD4100v USB 3.0 Dual 4K Docking Station review

(Image credit: Future)

The best versatile, travel-friendly hub

Specifications

Ports :

2 10 USB-A three.2 Gen one, 1 x USB-C 3.2 Gen1, 1 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x VGA Full HD, 1 x RJ45 Ethernet

Supports:

Devices running Windows, macOS, ChromeOS, iPadOS or Android

No. of ports:

6

Reasons to purchase


+

Support for multiple devices



+

Neat portable pattern



+

100W pass-through power



+

4K back up

Reasons to avoid


Additional ports needed

The Kensington SD1650P USB-C Unmarried 4K Portable Docking Station is the “something more” owners of multiple devices should exist interested in. Non merely does the hybrid dock charge your Windows laptop with impressive 100W pass-through ability while calculation several ports, but information technology tin also do the same for a MacBook, iPad, and even an Android tablet. If it supports USB-C connectivity, Kensington’due south dock will, more probable than not, work like a charm.

The SD1650P Portable Docking Station’southward compatibility is difficult to beat, and since it can work off a devices’ power supply without needing a power adapter (you’ll lose the 100W ability pass through), the device is a fantastic choice for travelling professionals. The power to immediately give virtually all your devices extra ports, video output options, and a power supply using ane USB-C port makes this hybrid portable dock ane of the all-time USB-C hubs on the marketplace, especially for MacBook users.

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Information technology’southward a shame the cost and express selection of ports lets the SD1650P Portable Docking Station down, particularly when other hubs are significantly more affordable. For those in need of a highly versatile device, the dock is worth your hard-earned cash, especially with its 100W pass-through power, which rivals even pricier docking stations.

Run across our full

Kensington SD1650P USB-C 4K Portable Docking Station review

(Image credit: Future)

Best docking station for multiple displays

Specifications

Ports:

4 x DisplayPort 1.2++ (3840 ten 2160), iv 10 HDMI 2.0 (3840 10 2160), four x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, 2 10 USB-C iii.2 Gen 1, one x Gigabit Ethernet, 1 x 3.5mm audio/mic jack

Supports:

Devices running Windows, macOS and Chrome Os

No. of ports:

16

Reasons to buy


+

Quad-screen connection



+

Potent port choice



+

100W Ability Delivery



+

4K support

Reasons to avoid


Chunky, tank-similar design



No SD card readers



No Thunderbolt four

The Targus USB-C Universal Quad 4K Docking Station, also known every bit the Iv Head 4K Dock, doesn’t just offer the standard two or iii video inputs to transform your laptop into a multi-screen setup, buteightdifferent ports. With four DisplayPort 1.2 on tiptop of another four HDMI 2.0 inputs, the docking station can support a unmarried 5K and four 4K displays — plus your laptop screen.

Targus’ screen hoarder also comes with a mix of noteworthy USB-A 3.ii and USB-C 3.2 ports to connect all the peripherals any laptop user would demand and accuse other devices such every bit a smartphone or tablet. Oh, and there’due south a three.5mm audio jack and Ethernet slot for skillful measure. What itdoesn’toffering is the latest generation of connectivity, Thunderbolt four, along with a worthwhile toll tag. Regardless, if yous’re after maximum screen real manor, Targus’s docking station delivers the plots of visual land.

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Targus USB-C Universal Quad 4K Docking Station review

(Image credit: Future)

A charging station for loftier-speed information transfers and powerful charging

Specifications

Ports:

seven 10 USB-A 3.0, 1 x USB-B, Power Input

Supports:

USB-A and USB-C laptops, Windows, macOS, and Linux Kernels 3.0 and later

No. of ports:

seven

Reasons to buy


+

vii ports



+

USB-A and USB-C connectivity



+

Information transfer through all ports



+

Stackable charging

Reasons to avoid


Limited to USB-A ports



Niche usage

Plugable’south 7-in-1 USB Charging Hub (USBC-HUB7BC) acts equally a fantastic docking station to free up ports on your laptop and adds fifty-fifty more PC peripherals such equally keyboards and mice. It as well acts as a standalone charging hub to juice up devices such as your smartphone. It stands out for bringing dual functionality to each of its seven ports, an enviable feature a bulk of USB-C hubs and other docking stations don’t completely provide.

For those who require a hub with more enough USB-A ports to charge multiple accessories at once, all while transferring files between different devices, the Plugable 7-in-1 USB Charging Hub is a great selection.

See our full

Plugable 7-in-1 USB Charging Hub review

(Paradigm credit: Futurity)

A stellar hybrid USB-C hub in disguise

Specifications

Ports:

2 x USB-A three.two Gen 1, 1 ten USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 Alt Mode, 2 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x SD menu reader, one x Micro SD bill of fare reader, i 10 Gigabit Ethernet

Supports:

Windows ten/11 laptops with USB-C ports, macOS, Chrome OS, iPadOS, Samsung DeX, Linux

No. of ports:

8

Reasons to buy


+

Support for multiple devices



+

Travel-friendly



+

Dual 4K back up at 60Hz



+

Dual SD carte du jour readers



+

100W power delivery

Reasons to avoid


Odd port placement



1 USB-A for charging

Information technology’s unfair to call Targus’ USB-C Dual 4K Docking Station an actual “docking station,” as it doesn’t have nearly enough ports to contend with those formidable accessories. But I tin can encounter why Targus has called it one. It boasts 100W Power Delivery and ii HDMI two.0 inputs with 4K capabilities at 60Hz — that’s not something many USB-C hubs can practise.

MacBook Air or Dell XPS 13 owners are due an awakening for port expansion, but any laptop user will go a kicking out of how simple nevertheless handy Targus’ dock tin be in most circumstances.

The USB-C Dual 4K Docking Station is a hybrid USB-C hub in disguise. It could have benefitted from an extra USB-A port, (too every bit better port direction), just information technology’southward yet an incredibly handy accessory whatsoever laptop and tablet user volition get swell use out of.
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Targus USB-C Dual HDMI 4K Docking Station review

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The all-time docking station for an Apple ecosystem setup

Reasons to purchase


+

Total Apple ecosystem compatibility



+

USB Type-A and Type-C support



+

4K output



+

Qi wireless charging



+

Mural and portrait manner

Reasons to avoid


No adjustable height



Limited ports

The StudioDock is a unique docking station. Technically, it’southward an overpriced dock for those who don’t have an iPad Pro or quaternary-gen iPad Air. If you lot practise though, along with an iPhone, AirPods and Apple Watch, this turns into the all-time docking station for an Apple ecosystem/desktop setup. It even has the Apple tree artful for adept mensurate.

It doesn’t have the most ports, but in that location are enough to create an iPad-centric workspace thank you to its Qi wireless charging stations. It could certainly be used as a replacement desktop setup cheers to Apple tree’s millions of apps optimized for iPadOS, keyboard and mouse support, forth with the StudioDock’s USB-A/USB-C ports and SD card reader. The StudioDock is a fantastic addition to the iPad for those willing to spend a pretty penny on a hub for your Apple tree ecosystem.

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Kensington StudioDock iPad docking station review

(Epitome credit: Future)

The best premium hub to buy

Specifications

Ports:

ii ten USB-C 3.two, 1 ten USB-A 3.1, i x Thunderbolt 3, 2 10 HDMI 2.0, one 10 Gigabit Ethernet, ane x iii.5mm audio jack, 1 x SD card reader,

No. of ports:

9

Reasons to buy


+

Premium, durable design



+

Plenty of ports



+

Supports two 4K, 60Hz displays

Reasons to avoid


Expensive

Never accept whatever of them looked every bit good or accommodated equally many pieces of equipment as the Corsair TBT100 Thunderbolt 3 Dock. Its premium pattern screams office, but it’ll look merely as good manning a gaming station. Plus, it’southward got a plethora of ports just waiting to connect several monitors, a couple of headsets and a laptop.

However, at $259, the TBT100 has a steep entry cost which might give many domicile office workers and gamers pause. Simply if you tin look by the price, the Corsair TBT100 Thunderbolt iii Dock is an essential piece of tech.

Encounter our full

Corsair TBT100 Thunderbolt 3 Dock review

The best docking station for the role

Specifications

Reasons to buy


+

4K and USB Type-C support



+

Great cable management



+

Handle to hands conform your display

Reasons to avert


Tough to put together



Has fewer data ports than prior version

The Humanscale K/Connect two is something you’re more likely to come across in your office than your home, although those two are more likely to be 1 in the aforementioned these days. Information technology’south a full-calibration ergonomic solution with USB Blazon-C for charging (and a USB Blazon-A adapter, if you’re not ready for the new standard merely nevertheless) and supports dual 4K monitors.

Its clamp design allows y’all to keep the majority of your cables under your desk-bound, assuasive for a smashing workspace. Information technology starts around $300, though you’ll accept to pay more for a monitor arm to attach to information technology.

See our total

Humanscale M/Connect 2 review

A fantastic docking station for 4K monitors

Specifications

Ports:

4 x USB-A three.0, one ten USB-C, 2 x DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI, i x iii.5mm sound jack, Gigabit Ethernet,

No. of ports:

11

Reasons to buy


+

Supports both USB 3.0 and USB Type-C



+

Powers up to iii 4K monitors

Reasons to avert


Cable isn’t removable



Adapter is clumsy

Nigh businesses have USB 3.0 laptops simply will want something with USB Type-C for the future. Wait no further than Dell’s new D6000 universal dock, which has a built-in adapter to easily switch between the standards, and then yous tin can connect it to just nearly any laptop. Information technology tin go upwards to 5K on a single screen or handle upward to three 4K screens over USB Type-C.

Run into our full

Dell D6000 Universal Dock review

Darragh Murphy is fascinated past all things bizarre, which usually leads to assorted coverage varying from washing machines designed for AirPods to the mischievous globe of cyberattacks. Whether information technology’s connecting Scar from The Lion King to 2-cistron hallmark or turning his beloved for gadgets into a made rap battle from 8 Mile, he believes at that place’s always a quirky spin to be made. With a Master’south caste in Magazine Journalism from The University of Sheffield, along with short stints at Kerrang! and Exposed Mag, Darragh started his career writing well-nigh the tech industry at Time Out Dubai and ShortList Dubai, covering everything from the latest iPhone models and Huawei laptops to massive Esports events in the Middle East. Now, he tin can be found proudly diving into gaming, gadgets, and letting readers know the joys of docking stations for Laptop Magazine.


The best Thunderbolt docking stations for laptops

Source: https://www.laptopmag.com/articles/best-docking-stations