A docking station is said to make life easier for more complex laptop setups. With these stations you can route monitor connections via your laptop, charge accessories, provide additional storage space and make your laptop a bit more functional. It's an ideal solution for managing projects that take you to your laptop, larger monitors, and back to your laptop, streaming games to an audience, doing important editing or design work, and more.
We checked many laptops and looked at many different docking stations. Our top recommendation is the CalDigit TS3 Plus with Thunderbolt 3 support. Check out the full list to see what will work for you!
Note: With the latest ports and operating systems, compatibility with Windows 10 or MacOS is not a real problem. All of our docking station picks work with both.
CalDigit TS3 Plus
This Thunderbolt 3 Dock really has a little bit of everything. It supports both Thunderbolt 3 and DisplayPort connections for up to two 4K displays at 60 frames per second. A second Thunderbolt 3 port is used to charge accessories or to move a lot of data (ideal for photographers and similar work). The first Thunderbolt port offers 87 watts of power for charging a laptop and the second 15 watts for charging smaller devices.
However, this is only the beginning: The station also has five USB-A ports, two USB-C ports (first and second generation), an optical audio port and a 3.5 mm headphone jack. There's even a UHS-II SD card slot to expand your storage capabilities if needed.
All of this is in a well-designed aluminum case with an integrated heat sink. With all connection options, it's a bit bulky, but it's hard to find a better solution for managing laptop connections.
Kensington SD5300T Thunderbolt 3 docking station
Don't let the slim design of this Kensington station fool you: there is enough power inside to easily handle two 4K video connections or a single 5K resolution monitor. There is a Thunderbolt 3 port (with compatible cable) and a USB-C port, as well as five USB 3.1 ports and a Gigabit Ethernet port. The headphone jack also supports microphones and there is an SD card reader for easy storage expansion. All of this combines into a user-friendly station that even has VESA mounting holes to position it over a desk. For those who absolutely need an HDMI connection, a USB-C to HDMI adapter is included.
CaDigit USB-C Pro Dock
This excellent dock offers both USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 connections, but can also be used with USB-A ports if necessary. A total of ten ports are available, including two DisplayPort, three USB 3.2 ports, Gigabit Ethernet and a UHS-II SD card slot. The USB-A port also supports independent charging without having to connect to anything else. In particular, these two DisplayPort connections make this dock stand out – both support 4K and 60fps connections and are useful for all types of professional projects.
Targus 4K universal laptop docking station
This affordable Targus station is a great choice for smaller setups: unless you need to connect two UHD monitors at the same time, the dock supports a single 4K connection via DisplayPort. Those with older monitor connections will also appreciate the DVI-I and DVI-D connections. There's also a Gigabit Ethernet port, five USB 3.0 ports, and a USB 3.0 port for charging devices. The design also includes an integrated locking slot to secure the station when needed. It is a versatile selection that those with specific monitor connection requirements will appreciate!
Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Dock Mini
Belkin's mini version of a laptop dock is portable. Instead of leaving it on your desk, you can just keep it in a laptop bag or backpack. Despite its size, the dock can still process two 4K displays with 60 fps via HDMI as well as a USB 3.0 and a USB 2.0 connection. There is also a Gigabit Ethernet connection for cable connections. Unlike most of our docking stations, however, there is no 3.5 mm headphone jack here, so you'll have to find your headphone jack somewhere else.
AmazonBasics USB 3.0 Universal Docking Station
Not everyone has a USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 device to work with, which means many of our picks aren't exactly for them. This AmazonBasics model is a very inexpensive alternative that focuses on USB 3.0 connections and can connect up to two monitors with HDMI and DVI-I connectors. A DVI to VGA adapter is included to support older connections. There are a total of nine peripheral ports, including two USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports and an RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet port. DisplayLink drivers must be installed before first use. Therefore, please follow the instructions in this case.