Discover, Shop, Save Big - CraftiPanda's Best Price Promise

One of the best docking stations for laptops in 2024

Relying on how a lot stuff it’s essential to plug in, your laptop computer might not have sufficient ports to help all of it — significantly when you have extra wired equipment than Bluetooth ones. Docking stations add totally different mixtures of Ethernet, HDMI, DisplayPort, 3.5mm, reminiscence card and USB connections and, not like easy hubs, are sometimes DC-powered. For many who change up their working location frequently, a docking station could make it simpler to swap between a fully-connected desk setup and a easy laptop computer, since only one port hyperlinks your laptop to the dock. Which docking station it is best to get relies upon partially on what you need to plug in, however sifting via the lots of of fashions on the market might be robust. We tried out a dozen totally different choices that will help you slim down the perfect docking station on your wants.

What to search for in a docking station

At the beginning, contemplate what it’s essential to plug in. This can doubtless be the deciding issue if you go to really purchase a docking station. Do you want three screens for an expanded work view? A fast solution to add pictures from an SD card? Are you seeking to plug in a webcam, mic and streaming gentle, whereas concurrently making the most of sooner Ethernet connections? When you’ve settled on the kind of ports you want, you may additionally need to contemplate the technology of these ports as effectively; even ports with the identical form can have totally different capabilities. Right here’s a quick overview of the connectivity totally different docking stations provide.

Monitor ports

Exterior displays usually want certainly one of three ports to connect with a PC: HDMI, DisplayPort or USB-C. HDMI connections are extra widespread than DisplayPort and the cables and units that use them are generally extra reasonably priced. The preferred model of the DisplayPort interface (v1.4) can deal with larger resolutions and refresh charges than the most typical HDMI model (2.0). The entire docking stations with HDMI sockets that we suggest right here use model 2.0, which might deal with 4K decision at 60Hz or 1080p as much as 240Hz. The DisplayPort-enabled docks help both model 1.2, which permits for 4K decision at 60Hz, or model 1.4, which might deal with 8K at 60Hz or 4K at 120Hz.

You may also use your dock’s downstream (non-host) Thunderbolt ports to hook up your displays. In case your exterior show has a USB-C socket, you may join instantly. In case you have an HDMI or DisplayPort-only monitor, you should utilize an adapter or a conversion cable.

In fact, the variety of displays you may join and the resolutions/charges they’ll obtain depend upon each your laptop’s GPU and your displays — and the extra displays you plug in can deliver down these numbers as effectively. Remember to additionally use cables that help the bandwidth you’re hoping for. MacOS customers ought to understand that MacBooks with the usual M1 or M2 chips help only one exterior monitor natively and require DisplayLink hardware and software to help two exterior shows. MacBooks with M1 Professional, M2 Professional or M2 Max chips can run a number of displays from a single port.

USB ports

Most docking stations provide a number of USB Sort-A ports, that are nice for peripherals like wired mice and keyboards, bus-powered ring lights and flash drives. For sooner information switch speeds to your flash drive, go for USB-A sockets labeled 3.1 or 3.2 — or higher but, use a USB-C Thunderbolt port.

Sort-C USB ports are available in many various flavors. The Thunderbolt 3, 4 and USB4 protocols are newer, extra succesful specs that help energy supply of as much as 100W, a number of 4K shows and information switch speeds of as much as 40Gbps. Different USB-C ports are available in a variety of variations, with some supporting video, information and energy and a few solely in a position to handle information and energy. Switch charges and wattages can range from port to port, however most docks checklist the wattage or GB/s on both the dock itself or on the product web page. And once more, reaching the quickest speeds will depend upon components just like the cables you utilize and the units you’re transferring information to.

Almost each dock out there at this time connects to a pc by way of USB-C, typically Thunderbolt, and people host ports are almost all the time labeled with a laptop computer icon. In addition they enable energy supply to your laptop computer: out there wattage varies, however most docks are rated between 85 and 100 watts. That ought to be sufficient to maintain most computer systems powered — and it additionally means you received’t must take up an additional laptop computer connector for charging.

Different ports

None of our presently recommended laptops embrace an Ethernet jack; a docking station is a good way to get that connection again. Everyone knows objectively that wired web is quicker than Wi-Fi, however it would possibly take operating a fundamental pace comparability test to essentially get it on a intestine degree. For reference, on Wi-Fi I get a couple of 45 megabit-per-second obtain pace. Over Ethernet, it’s 925 Mbps. In case you pay for a high-speed plan, however solely ever join wirelessly, you’re most likely leaving numerous bandwidth on the desk. Each docking station I examined contains an Ethernet port, and it could possibly be the connector you find yourself getting probably the most use out of.

Simply two of our favourite laptops have SD card readers, and in the event you want a fast solution to add recordsdata from cameras or audio recorders, chances are you’ll need to get a dock with a kind of slots. Of the docks we examined, about half had SD readers. For now, most (however not all) laptops nonetheless embrace a 3.5mm audio jack, however in the event you favor wired headphones and desire a extra accessible place to plug them in, many docking stations will present.

If you’re counting up the ports on your new dock, keep in mind that most corporations embrace the host port (the one which connects to your laptop) within the whole quantity. So in the event you’re in search of a dock with three Thunderbolt connections, make sure you examine whether or not certainly one of them shall be used to plug in your laptop computer.

Photograph by Amy Skorheim / Engadget


Most docking stations have both a lay-flat or upright design. Most docks put the extra “everlasting” connections in again — resembling Ethernet, DC energy, monitor connections and some USBs. Up-front USB ports can be utilized for flash drive transfers, and even plugging in your cellphone for a cost (simply be certain the port can ship the facility you want). USBs within the rear are finest for keyboards, mice, webcams and different belongings you’re prone to all the time use. Some docks place the host port up entrance, which could make it simpler to plug in your laptop computer if you return to your desk, however a number port in again might look neater total.

How we examined

We began out by taking a look at on-line evaluations, spec sheets from varied manufacturers and docking stations that our fellow tech websites have coated. We thought of manufacturers we’ve examined earlier than and have appreciated, and weeded out something that didn’t have what we contemplate a contemporary suite of connections (resembling a dock with no downstream USB-C ports). We narrowed it all the way down to 12 contenders and I examined every dock on an M1 MacBook Professional, a Dell XPS 13 Plus and an Acer Chromebook Spin 514. I plugged in and evaluated the standard of the connections for 12 totally different peripherals together with a 4K and an HD monitor, a 4K and an HD webcam, plus USB units like a mouse, keyboard, streaming gentle and mic. I plugged in wired earbuds, and transferred information to a USB-C flash drive and an exterior SSD. I ran fundamental pace assessments on the Ethernet connections in addition to the file transfers. I judged how simple the docks have been to make use of in addition to the varied design components I described earlier. I made spreadsheets and had sufficient wires snaking round my work space that my cat stayed off my desk for 3 weeks (a brand new file).

Photograph by Amy Skorheim / Engadget

Host connection: 2 x USB-C | Energy supply to host: 75W (USB-C) | USB-C: 1 x USB 3.0, 1 x 3.1 | USB-A: 2 | Monitor: 2 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x DisplayPort 1.4 | Aux 3.5mm: No | SD Card: No

The Satechi Dual Dock Stand is totally different from all the opposite docks we examined in two respects: it doesn’t require an influence supply and it goes beneath your MacBook as a substitute of beside it. You could possibly nearly classify it as a hub, however I believe the excessive variety of ports earns it docking-station standing. It plugs into the 2 USB-C ports in conjunction with a Mac, which permits MacBooks with M1, M2 or M3 Professional or Max chips to function two exterior displays in prolonged mode. Sadly, MacBooks with commonplace M1 or M2 chips, can natively solely energy a second exterior show in mirrored mode. The brand new MacBook Air with the M3 chip can solely energy two shows in prolonged mode with the laptop computer lid closed. In case you have a Mac with a typical chip and want two displays, you will want a docking station that helps DisplayLink {hardware} and software program, such because the Kensington SD4780P, which is our prime choose for Chromebooks.

Because the Twin Dock works with out energy, it’s rather a lot simpler to arrange than different docks with transformer containers and DC cables. I discovered it made probably the most sense to simply use the MagSafe connector on the laptop computer, however you can even provide energy to the dock utilizing the non-data USB-C port and it’ll cross 75 watts to your machine.

Each the 4K and HD displays I examined regarded nice and labored effectively in prolonged mode. There are two USB-Cs for a webcam and mic, plus two USB-As which could possibly be used for a dongle mouse and a streaming gentle — that’s doubtless sufficient ports for conferencing or perhaps a fundamental video creator setup. The dock is finally restricted by the truth that not one of the USB-C connections are Thunderbolt and there are solely two USB-A sockets to work with. However it’s an ideal selection for extending productiveness in a manner that tucks beneath a MacBook, neatly shifting the cords to the again of the machine and out of the best way.


  • Distinctive design enhances MacBooks
  • Can energy two displays on Macs with M1 Professional or M2 Professional chips
  • Good number of ports

  • Simply two USB-A ports
  • No Thunderbolt ports

$130 at Adorama

Photograph by Amy Skorheim / Engadget

Host connection: Thunderbolt 4 | Max energy supply to host: 96W (DC) | USB-C: 1 x TB4, 1 x 3.2 | USB-A: 4 | Monitor: 2 x HDMI 2.0 | Aux 3.5mm: Sure | SD Card: SD and microSD

For many who need the additional pace and connectivity of the newest Thunderbolt interface, I like to recommend Kensington’s AD2010T4 Thunderbolt 4 Dual 4K Docking Station. Of all of the TB4 docking stations examined, the AD2010 is the one one beneath $300, but it carried out on par with and even supplied a greater choice of ports than a number of the others I examined. It provides you two Thunderbolt 4 connections, one for the host and one for equipment, plus an extra 3.2 USB-C. Twin HDMI 2.0 sockets can deal with two exterior screens with as much as 4K decision (at 60Hz). However in the event you want three further displays or have an 8K display, you may faucet into the Thunderbolt port.

There’s a complete of 4 USB-As, which is sufficient for a wired mouse or keyboard and a pair different peripherals. It has an SD and a microSD card slot, a 3.5mm audio combo jack and an Ethernet jack. There are even two Kensington lock slots that allow you to physically secure your dock with a cable.

The gadget itself has a strong really feel and a beautiful metallic design. My solely gripe is with the lay-flat orientation and that almost half of the ports are on the entrance edge — I believe upright docks that maintain most connections round again have an total neater look on a desk. Nonetheless, I ought to level out that Kensington sells mounts for its docks, which might assist with aesthetics. 


  • Competitively priced
  • Highly effective downstream TB4 port
  • Loads of USB-A connections

  • Most ports are up entrance
  • Lay-flat design generally is a area hog with no mount

$200 at Amazon

Photograph by Amy Skorheim / Engadget

Host connection: Thunderbolt 4 | Energy supply to host: 98W (DC) | USB-C: 2 x TB4, 3 x 3.2 | USB-A: 5 | Monitor: 1 x DisplayPort 1.4 | Aux 3.5mm: 1 x audio combo, 1 x audio in, 1 x audio out | SD Card: SD and microSD

There’s rather a lot to understand about CalDigit’s TS4 docking station: It has a sturdy, upright design with a number connection on the rear and a whopping 5 downstream USB-C ports, two of that are Thunderbolt 4. Up entrance, you get an SD and a microSD card slot together with a headphone jack, two USB-C and a USB-A connector. In again, there’s room for 4 extra USB-A units and two 3.5mm jacks, one for audio in and one for audio out. One space the place the dock might really feel missing is in show inputs. It solely has one DisplayPort 1.4, however it has loads of TB4 ports, which you’ll simply use to outfit a full command heart (in the event you don’t have a USB-C monitor, there are many adapters).

The multi-gig Ethernet jack can deal with as much as 2.5Gbps, so in the event you’re paying for a screaming-fast web plan, this dock might help you benefit from it. The TS4 can ship as much as 98W of energy to your laptop computer, although like all docking station, the wattage goes down when different gadgets are additionally drawing energy.

The TS4 labored equally effectively with my MacBook Professional and the Dell XPS13 Plus and was even suitable with a Chromebook. I examined learn/write speeds on a Samsung T7 SSD by way of a Thunderbolt port and bought 734 MB/s learn and 655 MB/s write speeds on the Mac and 1048/994 on the Dell. In comparison with the opposite docks, that was within the lower-middle vary for the Mac and the quickest total for the PC. On PC, it additionally dealt with a 1GB folder switch to a flash drive sooner than every other dock and delivered the quickest connection speeds over the Ethernet. It’s the one unit that permit me plug in each single peripheral I had available directly. In case you’ve bought numerous tech you need to use concurrently (and cash isn’t a priority), that is the one to get.


  • An abundance of ports
  • Compact, upright design
  • 2.5Gbps Ethernet port

$400 at Amazon

Photograph by Amy Skorheim / Engadget

Host connection: USB-C | Energy supply to host: 100W (DC) | USB-C: 1 x 3.1 | USB-A: 5 | Monitor: 2 x HDMI 2.0, 2 x DisplayPort 1.2 | Aux 3.5mm: 1 x audio combo | SD Card: No

The Kensington SD4780P Dual 4K usually requires a DisplayLink driver, however any Chromebook made after 2017 helps the connection from the bounce. Discovering a docking station that works with ChromeOS is hard; of the 12 models I examined, solely 4 related in any respect with the Acer Chromebook Spin 514, and a kind of 4 couldn’t run two displays. The SD4780P makes use of a USB-C host connection, via which it presents a most energy supply of 100W and was in a position to run each the 4K and HD screens cleanly.

It permits for a variety of USB-A peripherals via 5 such ports, however there’s solely a single downstream USB-C, so I wasn’t ready to make use of each a webcam and mic on the identical time. Meaning you’ll want to make use of your Chromebook’s built-in ports if you need greater than a kind of kinds of units arrange. The plastic construct makes it look slightly low cost and I’m not loopy concerning the lay-flat design, however the host port is within the again, which is able to make your setup neater. If all you’re in search of is a solution to get a number of additional displays and use your wired USB equipment, this can be a good choose for Chromebooks. 


  • Works effectively with Chromebooks
  • 5 USB-A ports

  • Requires a driver for non Chromebooks
  • Only one downstream USB-C

$199 at Amazon

Different docking stations we examined

Plugable TBT4-UDZ

After I pulled the Plugable TBT4-UDZ Thunderbolt 4 out of the field, I used to be satisfied it might make the lower: It has a sensible upright design, a beautiful metallic end, and the host connection is TB4. Whereas there are many USB-A and monitor ports, there’s only one downstream USB-C. A contemporary dock, significantly one which prices $300, ought to allow you to run, say, a USB-C cam and mic on the identical time. In any other case, it’s fairly limiting.

Anker 575 USB-C

At $250 (and extra typically $235), the Anker 575 USB-C might make for a superb finances choose for Home windows. It carried out effectively with the Dell XPS 13 Plus, however had bother with the third display, the 4K webcam and headphone jack when related to the MacBook Professional. It’s fairly compact, which suggests it could get wobbly when a bunch of cables are plugged in, however it has a wide selection of ports and was in a position to deal with my fundamental setup effectively.

Belkin Join Professional Thunderbolt 4

Belkin’s Connect Pro Thunderbolt 4 Dock is a contender for a Thunderbolt 4 different. It has almost the identical ports because the AD2010 (minus the microSD slot) and a beautiful rounded design — however it’s $90 extra, so I’d solely suggest getting it in the event you discover it on sale.

Acer USB Sort-C Dock

Acer’s USB Type-C Dock D501 prices $10 greater than our Kensington choose for Chromebooks, however it performs equally and is price a point out. It has almost the identical ports (together with the somewhat limiting single downstream USB-C) however each the Ethernet and information switch speeds have been sooner.


Are docking stations price it?

Docking stations are price it when you have extra equipment to plug in than your laptop computer permits. Say you have got a USB-C digicam and mic, plus a USB-A mouse, keyboard and streaming gentle; only a few trendy laptops have sufficient connections to help all of that directly. A docking station could make that setup possible whereas additionally supplying you with additional ports like an Ethernet connection, and supplying energy to your laptop computer. Nonetheless, in the event you simply want a number of additional USB sockets, you could be higher off going with a hub, as these are typically cheaper.

How a lot does a laptop computer dock value?

Laptop computer docking stations are typically larger and dearer than easy USB-A or USB-C hubs, because of the broader array of connections. You could find them as little as $50 and so they can get as costly as $450. An affordable worth for a dock with a wide selection of ports from a good model will common round $200.

How do I arrange my laptop computer dock?

Most docking stations are plug and play. First, join the DC energy cable to the dock and a wall outlet. Then search for the “host” or upstream port on the dock — it’s nearly all the time a USB-C/Thunderbolt port and sometimes branded with an icon of a laptop computer. Use the offered cable to connect with your laptop. After that, you may join your peripherals to the dock and they need to be prepared to make use of along with your laptop computer. A number of docking stations, significantly those who deal with extra complicated monitor setups, require a driver. The directions that include your dock will level you to an internet site the place you may obtain that companion software program.

Does a laptop computer cost on a docking station?

Almost all docking stations help you cost your laptop computer via the host connection (the cable operating from the dock to your laptop). That functionality, plus the upper variety of ports is what separates a docking station from a hub. Docks can cross on between 65W and 100W of energy to laptops, and almost all embrace a DC adapter.

Are all docking stations suitable with all laptops?

No, not all docking stations are suitable with each laptop computer. In our assessments, the Chromebook had the largest compatibility points, the Dell PC had the least, and the MacBook fell someplace in between. All docks will checklist which manufacturers and fashions they work with on the web product web page — make sure you additionally examine the technology of your laptop computer as some docks can’t help sure chips.

What are some widespread docking station manufacturers?

Kensington, Anker, Pluggable and Belkin are respected and well-known manufacturers making docking stations for all laptops. Lenovo, Dell and HP all make docks that may work with their very own computer systems in addition to different manufacturers.

Trending Merchandise

Add to compare
Corsair 5000D Airflow Tempered Glass Mid-Tower ATX PC Case – Black

Corsair 5000D Airflow Tempered Glass Mid-Tower ATX PC Case – Black

Add to compare
CORSAIR 7000D AIRFLOW Full-Tower ATX PC Case, Black

CORSAIR 7000D AIRFLOW Full-Tower ATX PC Case, Black

Add to compare
Corsair iCUE 4000X RGB Mid-Tower ATX PC Case – White (CC-9011205-WW)

Corsair iCUE 4000X RGB Mid-Tower ATX PC Case – White (CC-9011205-WW)


We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Register New Account
Compare items
  • Total (0)
Shopping cart