A docking station is designed to make life easier for more complex laptop setups. These stations allow you to route monitor connections through your laptop, charge accessories, hold extra storage, and make your laptop a bit more functional. It’s an ideal solution for managing projects that take you to your laptop, over to larger monitors, and back to your laptop again, as well as streaming games to an audience, important editing or design work, and more.
We’ve reviewed a lot of laptops and taken a look at a lot of various docking stations. Our top recommendation is the CalDigit TS3 Plus with Thunderbolt 3 support. Take a look at the full list to see what will work for you!
Note: With the latest ports and operating systems, compatibility with Windows 10 or MacOS isn’t really an issue. All our docking station picks work with both.
CalDigit TS3 Plus
This Thunderbolt 3 dock really does have a little of everything. It supports both Thunderbolt 3 and DisplayPort connections for up to two 4K, 60fps displays, with a second Thunderbolt 3 port provided for charging accessories or moving lots of data (ideal for photographers and similar jobs). The first Thunderbolt port provides 87 watts of power for charging a laptop, and the second 15 watts for charging smaller devices.
But that’s just the start: The station also includes five USB-A ports, two USB-C ports (both first and second generations), an optical audio port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. There’s even a UHS-II SD card slot for expanding your storage capabilities if necessary.
All of this resides inside a well-designed aluminum case with an integrated heatsink. With all the port options, it’s a little 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: Inside is enough power to easily handle two 4K video connections or a 5K resolution single monitor. There’s one Thunderbolt 3 port (with compatible cable included) and one USB-C port, along with five USB 3.1 ports and a Gigabit Ethernet port. The headphone jack supports mics too, and there’s an SD card reader for easy storage expansion. All this combines into one easy-to-use station that even has VESA mounting holes for positioning it above 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 provides both USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 connections, but it can also work with USB-A ports if needed. Ten ports in total are available, including two DisplayPort, three USB 3.2 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, and a UHS-II SD card slot. The USB-A powered port also supports independent charging without needing to connect to anything else. Those two DisplayPort connections in particular make this dock stand out from the crowd — they can both support 4K, 60fps connections and are useful for all kinds of professional projects.
Targus 4K Universal Laptop Docking Station
This affordable Targus station is a great pick for smaller setups: If you don’t really need to connect two UHD monitors at once, the dock supports a single 4K connection via DisplayPort. Those with older monitor ports will appreciate the DVI-I and DVI-D ports as well. There’s also a Gigabit Ethernet port, five USB 3.0 ports, and one USB 3.0-powered port for charging devices. The design also includes an integrated lock slot for securing the station when necessary. It’s a versatile pick that those with specific monitor port requirements will appreciate!
Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Dock Mini
Belkin’s mini version of a laptop dock is designed to be portable. Instead of leaving it on your desk, you can easily store it in a laptop bag or pack. However, despite its size, the dock can still handle dual 4K, 60fps displays via HDMI, plus a USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 port. There’s also a Gigabit Ethernet port for wired connections. However, unlike most of our docking stations, there’s no 3.5mm headphone jack here, so you’ll have to find your headphone connection elsewhere.
AmazonBasics USB 3.0 Universal Docking Station
Not everyone has a USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 device to work with, which means that many of our picks aren’t exactly right for them. This AmazonBasics model is a very affordable alternative that focuses on USB 3.0 connections, with the ability to connect up to two monitors with HDMI and DVI-I ports — a DVI-to-VGA adapter is included for supporting older connections. There are nine peripheral ports in total, including two USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports, and an RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet port. DisplayLink drivers must be installed prior to first use, so pay attention to instructions on this one.
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