Best laptop docking stations in 2024

Best docking stations 2024: Quick List

Docking stations are more than a way to improve your laptop's limited port selection. The best docking stations will completely reinvent your setup, providing power, port variation, and support for multiple external monitors to expand your productivity and enjoyment of games and media greatly.

The heart of every good setup should be a docking station, no question about it. While often overlooked, docking stations are vital in keeping busy desks in order. They're fantastic at cable management and even better at ensuring you have everything you need to maximize your efficiency, creativity, and overall enjoyment.

However, there are a ton of docks out there to choose from, which can lead to some confusion when debating a purchase. Thankfully, we're always doing our best to do much of the legwork for you, reviewing docks throughout the year and putting them through their paces to present you with our top picks across various categories.

If you want to know more about how we choose which docks appear on this page, a short overview of our review process at the foot of this list provides more insight into our testing methods.

I reviewed each dock in our selection. This means every recommendation that follows results from hands-on experience and a review that scored at least four out of five stars—judged across five metrics: ports, power, performance, presentation, and, most importantly, price.

We know how much of an investment docking station are, so we weigh each dock against its cost to ensure it performs at the level its price suggests and has the value to match.

With that in mind, let's dive into our selection of the best laptop docking stations in 2024.

Curated by
Laptop Mag Writer
Curated by
Rael Hornby

Rael Hornby brings decades of tech enthusiasm to the table with a broad history of technical support, web design, and journalism under his belt. As Laptop Mag's content editor and resident reviewer of accessories and peripherals, he's responsible for getting hands on with any docking stations that come our way and putting them through their paces — ensuring they perform as claimed and that the often high asking price of this hardware results in fantastic value for our readers.

Best Docking Stations 2024: The list in brief

The best laptop docking stations in 2024

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Best overall

Covers all the bases on ports, hits a homerun on power and performance.

Reasons to buy

+
Quad display support (4K @ 60Hz)
+
Thunderbolt 4 (40Gbps) speeds
+
Up to 98W Power Delivery
+
Fantastic port variety, supply, and charge
+
Premium, sturdy build

Reasons to avoid

-
Travels when laid flat
-
Front-facing host port
-
Demonic MicroSD card reader
Why is it our top pick?

Plugable's TBT4-UDZ docking station can be universally applied to practically any computing setup with only positive results to follow. As port expansions go, this dock offers a wealth of variety with its additional ports and cutting-edge speeds that result in super-fast data streams, crisp and smooth 4K pictures across up to four external displays, a reliable source of power with up to 98W of charge on tap, and excellent cable management (as long as you don't mind front-facing host ports).

Buy it if

✔️ You're looking to maximize your productivity with multiple displays: With four display ports available to users, the TBT4-UDZ offers up the potential for you to immerse yourself in up to four additional external displays beyond that of your laptop's screen.

✔️ You need access to more legacy ports: Most modern laptops limit your port selection to a handful of USB-C ports. This is great for keeping these devices slim and trim, but awful for those requiring access to legacy ports like USB Type-A for their peripherals and accessories, the TBT4-UDZ offers six of these legacy ports in total.

Don't buy it if

✖️ You're looking for multiple Thunderbolt 4 ports: While the TBT4-UDZ offers many ports, only the host port (the port you'll connect your laptop or PC to) is Thunderbolt 4 compliant. If you want to go all in on Thunderbolt 4 ports, check out the CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 4, also featured in this list.

✖️ You want a portable dock: You can toss Plugable's dock into a backpack and be on your way, but it's doubtful that you'll want to. If you're looking for something more travel-friendly, you'll have a much better time with the Monoprice 13-in-1 Dual-HDMI + DP MST Dock mentioned later on this page or one of the picks from our best USB Type-C hubs roundup.

There are very few things I could fault Plugable's TBT4-UDZ docking station on, but, in contrast, the list of platitudes I could give it is almost as long as this product's official name: the Plugable Thunderbolt 4 & USB4 Quad Display Docking Station—a name that leaves very little to the imagination yet proudly displays its stronger features from the get-go.

I loved using Plugable's Thunderbolt 4 and USB4 docking station, and I was particularly impressed by its overall versatility. Its awesome array of 16 ports sports variety in spades, with a mix of display options and a welcoming blend of modern and legacy ports. Where the TBT4-UDZ lacks variety is in the performance of each one of those ports, with top-tier speeds pouring out of every input.

As the dock's name implies, the TBT4-UDZ packs super-fast Thunderbolt 4 and USB4 ports, allowing data transfer rates of up to 40Gbps to and from compatible machines. Speeds like this are the death knell of sluggish progress bars as you transfer large files back and forth, making it an excellent option for those who deal in video or creative content or for those who use external storage.

Plugable's dock also incorporates a 2.5Gbps Ethernet port for ultra-fast and solidly reliable data speeds over an RJ45 connection. This stand-out feature is otherwise rare in most of the docks on this list, which are limited to 1Gbps. This ensures your host machine will be given the maximum opportunity to make the most of your internet connection or LAN.

Whether stood or laid flat, I effortlessly incorporated this dock into a number of different setups, which provided me with plenty of room for expansion. With dozens of ports at my mercy, I could manage a plethora of peripherals and a genuine arsenal of accessories.

I was also greatly impressed by the dock's support for external monitors. It offers connections to handle up to four external displays (2 x HDMI and 2 x DisplayPort) at resolutions up to 4K and refresh rates of 60Hz.

While my typical day-to-day setup doesn't require anywhere near that amount of displays to hand, there are absolutely folks out there who need every last inch of screen space possible when it comes to juggling huge amounts of information spread across multiple spreadsheets or multitasking across several apps without needing to switch between open windows to do so. The experience was flawless, and a genuine eye-opener into the productivity boosts available as you expand your virtual workspace.

Plugable's docking station is a 16-port masterpiece: a premium product that delivers a premium experience without cranking the price up to eye-watering levels. Alongside the CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 4 mentioned elsewhere in this list, it's one of my favorite docking stations of our selection, and it often finds its way back into my setup when I'm not making space for whichever dock is next up for review.

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Ports16
USB-C PDYes, up to 98W
Display output4 x 4K @ 60Hz (2 x HDMI, 2 x DisplayPort)
Thunderbolt 4/USB4Yes, (host port only)

For a complete rundown of this dock's features, ports, and performance, see our full Plugable Thunderbolt 4 & USB4 Quad Display Docking Station review.

Best budget

A low-cost dock with a Swiss Army Knife-like selection of ports that's practically as portable.

Reasons to buy

+
Portable design
+
Great value
+
Wide port selection
+
Impressive 100W Power Delivery
+
Fantastic triple display support

Reasons to avoid

-
Strange port layout leads to clutter
-
Lightweight design results in movement
Why is it our top budget pick?

The Monoprice 13-in-1 Dual-HDMI + DP MST Dock is an excellent budget option that provides ample ports and display options at a fraction of the price of other docks on our shortlist. While I found it easy to incorporate into my work-from-home setup, its hub-like design, lightweight build, and tethered host cable also make it ideal for anyone seeking a travel-friendly or semi/non-permanent port expansion solution.

Buy it if

✔️ You want a travel-friendly or semi-/non-permanent dock: Monoprice's dock features a tethered host cable, a lightweight build, and a USB Type-C hub-like design, which makes it easy to toss into a bag and take with you on your travels. It can also be used to quickly hook up to a USB-C laptop and use its ports as and when needed, and it is easily put away when not in use.

✔️ You're working within a budget: The 13-in-1 Dual-HDMI + DP MST Dock's sub-$100 price tag is undoubtedly its most attractive feature, especially when paired with 13 additional ports and both HDMI and DisplayPort external display support.

Don't buy it if

✖️ You need to use many ports at once: Monoprice's dock may feature 12 ports, but everything is channeled through a single 10Gbps USB Type-C cable, which could lead to bottle-necking while the dock is at 100% operation.

✖️ Cable management is key: Monoprice's dock is smaller than most, so it has to get creative about its port placement, which can lead to a cluttered workspace with cables trailing off in many directions.

Docking stations typically have one universal commonality — high price tags! That's why there's so much good to be said about a product like Monoprice's 13-in-1 Dual-HDMI + DP MST Dock. Not only is this a brilliant docking station in terms of power and port variety, but it delivers all of this at a price that won't leave you wincing.

Monoprice's docking station is a dead cert for the frugal buyer who wants to make every cent count. Regarding price-to-performance, don't expect Thunderbolt / USB4-level speeds of other options in this list, such as the CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 4 or Plugable's Thunderbolt 4 & USB4 Quad Display Docking Station. Still, there's a fair mix of legacy and display ports here — plenty enough to manage a small-scale workstation or carve out a niche as a solid travel dock while you're away from your core setup.

I was skeptical of this dock's potential at first, but after running my typical day-to-day work setup through it (which includes a 4K monitor, wireless mouse, keyboard, and external microphone), I came to appreciate the generous number of legacy USB Type-A ports on offer, finding it to be a top option for peripheral-heavy users in need of ports.

It's not all good news, though. The noticeable drop in price does result in some trade-offs. Not only does Monoprice's dock not come with a power supply, meaning you'll need to source your 100W input (a decent GaN charger is an essential companion for this device), but the dock's USB-C limitations can cause congestion when too many ports are in use.

If you're a light user or just looking for a dock to connect your peripherals to, this is likely to be unnoticeable, but power users will struggle to get the performance they need from this dock with its 10Gbps maximum throughput.

Another downside is the overall design of Monoprice's dock. It's small and lighter than other docks, which is great for portability, but it also results in a somewhat eccentric placement of the ports around the dock's chassis.

In my review, I quickly noticed how cable management became a considerable issue the more cables I attached to the device. If you're looking for a dock that helps to keep your workspace clear from clutter, this dock is unlikely to satisfy. After connecting up an HDMI, Ethernet, and the USB-C PD input, I was already left with a giant techno-spider sprawling across my desk — and that was while satisfying a relatively simple setup.

These issues aside, the Monoprice 13-in-1 Dual-HDMI + DP MST Dock remains one of the best budget offerings in the docking station space, with many positives beyond its sub-$100 price tag.

Dependable budget options are few and far between when it comes to the docking station landscape, so if Monoprice's dock still hasn't swayed you but you don't have the budget to accommodate some of the more feature-flush options, I'd recommend that you check out our selection of the best USB Type-C hubs instead.

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Ports13
USB-C PDYes, up to 100W
Display output3 x 4K @ 60Hz (2 x HDMI, 1 x DisplayPort)
Thunderbolt 4/USB4No

For a complete rundown of this dock's features, ports, and performance, see our full Monoprice 13-in-1 Dual-HDMI + DP MST Dock review.

Best premium

50% docking station, 50% sound bar, 100% worthy of a place on your desk.

Reasons to buy

+
Impressive 55mm neodymium speakers
+
DisplayPort and HDMI support (4K HDR @ 60Hz)
+
100W of Power Delivery to host
+
Bluetooth 5.1 support
+
Incredible look and design

Reasons to avoid

-
Beamforming mic array can sound tinny
-
No Thunderbolt support
Why is it our top premium pick?

The Logitech Logi Dock isn't just a fantastic docking station; it's also a quality conferencing tool with a built-in beam-forming mic array and a fantastic small-scale soundbar that can elevate everything from the audio of video calls to your favorite tracks on Spotify. Its small footprint is appreciated once you realize this one device does the job of three, bringing solid value to its premium price.

Buy it if

✔️ You want a dock that does it all: The Logi Dock's aspirations stretch far beyond providing you with more ports. It pulls triple duty as a micro soundbar and conferencing tool. It's fantastic for work or entertainment and can quickly cement itself as an essential element of your setup.

✔️ You don't have a lot of space to work with: One of the key benefits of the Logi Dock is how much it can do with such a small footprint. If you're working at a smaller desk, the Logi Dock's many uses can cut the fat on your setup and leave you with one device to take over much of your computing needs simultaneously.

Don't buy it if

✖️ You need to control more than two external displays: Logitech's dock seems to have been designed to handle small to mid-sized setups primarily. As such, if you're looking to manage a larger setup then you could run into issues while being hampered by its port selection, particularly if you need to host more than two external displays at any one time.

✖️ You need a lot of legacy ports: The Logi Dock comes with three USB Type-C ports you can make use of, but only two legacy USB Type-A ports. If you're a heavy peripheral user and these ports are in high demand, Logitech's dock may leave you high and dry.

Logitech's Logi Dock is the docking station so good that they almost named it twice. It's no easy task for a docking station to generate excitement. Hardware like this is designed to be functional, and its design and additional features are often seen as an aftersight.

However, Logitech has seemingly pulled off the impossible with the Logi Dock, creating a device that is stunning to have featured in your setup and serves many purposes along the way.

Not only is Logitech's offering a fantastic premium product, but it excels in connectivity: It uniquely offers Bluetooth 5.1 pairing of up to 7 additional devices beyond its eight-port expansion. Of those ports, three are USB Type-C, two are USB Type-A, and the remaining two are HDMI and DisplayPort outputs that support resolutions up to 4K with HDR and a 60Hz refresh rate.

You may notice that none of the ports mentioned were Thunderbolt 4 or USB4 compatible, which, I can't lie, would have really pushed the Logi Dock to all-new heights. However, it would likely have pushed its cost in a similar direction, and the Logi Dock already has a premium price tag.

Far be it from me to turn my nose up to a solid USB Type-C dock, though. Especially when there's so much more on offer here than a simple case of port expansion. This dock is also outfitted with custom 55mm neodymium drivers, making it a stereo soundbar with no right sounding as impressive as it does for being part of a docking station setup.

But that's the trick Logitech has pulled here. The Logi Dock isn't just a docking station; it's also a fully-fledged conferencing tool with a built-in noise and echo-canceling beam-forming mic array, simplifying your setup for both work and entertainment. It's a little bit of everything, and it does it all impressively well, but it does come with a challenging price tag.

This kind of multi-functionality is hard to come by regarding docking stations, but it's one of the things I enjoy coming across most. Docking stations can get a little dry and bland sometimes, and there's nothing wrong with that. They are, after all, meant to blend into the background and quietly manage your setup from the shadows. However, when manufacturers think outside the box and combine their docks with other accessories or peripherals, they address one of a dock's primary tasks, which is often overlooked: Cable management.

Cable management isn't exactly at the top of the list of things reviewers take a docking station to task for, but I'm not like most reviewers. I believe that the hardware responsible for managing your connections should do a decent job of keeping things neat and tidy as it does so. It reflects the thought that went into the dock itself, after all.

I'm also a firm believer that there's no better cable management than being able to replace the need for specific cables to be there in the first place. The Logitech Logi Dock is a docking station first and a mic and speaker bar second, eliminating the need for separate devices cluttering your setup.

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Ports8 (+7 including Bluetooth 5.1)
USB-C PDYes, up to 100W
Display output2 x 4K HDR @ 60Hz (1 x HDMI, 1 x DisplayPort)
Thunderbolt 4/USB4No

For a complete rundown of this dock's features, ports, and performance, see our full Logitech Logi Dock review.

Best Thunderbolt 4

Earns each of its platitudes with ample ports and speedy performance.

Reasons to buy

+
18-in-1 hub
+
Fast Thunderbolt 4 ports
+
98W of host charging
+
2.5 Gigabit Ethernet

Reasons to avoid

-
Performance comes at a premium
-
No HDMI
What is a Thunderbolt 4 dock?

Thunderbolt 4 docks offer all of USB-C docking stations' connectivity and power capabilities, with all the added benefits of the Thunderbolt standard, like faster data transfer speeds of 40Gbps. Thunderbolt docks are the more powerful devices and, in turn, more expensive. However, they experience fewer bottlenecking issues due to the increased bandwidth available, making them the ideal option when performance is paramount.

Buy it if

✔️ You want a high-performance dock: When you need a docking station capable of ultimate performance, the CalDigit TS4 is absolutely deserving of a spot on your shortlist. Its 18 ports include two 40Gbps Thunderbolt 4 ports, a 2.5Gbps Ethernet port, and a myriad of high-spec USB ports to boot.

✔️ You want to charge your phone or tablet, too: Thanks to a front-facing 20W USB Type-C port, the TS4 can also charge your phone or tablet or connect to a charger to power your smartwatch or any other device of your choosing.

Don't buy it if

✖️ You don't want to spend much money: There's no other way to cut it; the CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 4 is expensive. Suppose you're working within a budget, even if that budget is considerable. In that case, the TS4 is a grand investment — especially when more basic Thunderbolt 4 docks are available for less, like the Plugable Thunderbolt 4 and USB4 HDMI Docking Station (TBT4-UDX1).

✖️ You don't require many Thunderbolt connections: If you're a video editor, software developer, or other creative professional, having access to a full suite of accessories and peripherals working at top speed is a fantastic boon. However, for most people, this dock's performance is akin to getting behind the wheel of a Bugatti and never needing to move beyond first gear.

Whether you own a Thunderbolt 4 computer, USB4 Chromebook, or Apple Silicon MacBook, the CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 4 is a fantastic solution for your workstation needs—especially if those needs require you to have access to some of the fastest data transfer rates until Thunderbolt 5 docks begin making an appearance.

However, its power does lead to a considerable drawback: its price. The TS4 is one of the more expensive options on this list, and considering the already high price of docking stations, that's saying something. Performance is what you're paying for here, and you'll get it in spades, along with plenty of ports and a considerable power supply.

The TS4 offers an incredible 18 additional ports (17 after the host port is connected), including an SD and microSD card reader, two Thunderbolt 4 ports, and a myriad of audio and USB Type-A/Type-C ports.

It's port expansion heaven, which sounds so dull it could make trainspotting look like Monday Night Football, though I promise you that's far more exciting than I made it sound.

Throw a dart at this dock, and you're likely to hit a port offering impressively fast speeds. This makes it the perfect option for professional power users who need a full array of accessories to maximize their productivity and performance.

That productivity can be further enhanced with support for up to two external displays. A DisplayPort 1.4 connection will allow for an external display with up to 8K resolution, or it can work in tandem with a USB-C DP port to power two displays with 4K resolutions at a refresh rate of 60Hz. You can even drive an external display for your Chromebook if it has a USB4 connection.

Better still, the TS4 is a veritable desktop power station, offering 98W of host charge and a number of powered ports to keep your peripherals and sidekick devices juiced up throughout the day. Included among that number is a USB Type-C port that offers 20W of Power Delivery alone, ideal for keeping your smartphone or tablet topped up throughout the day.

The CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 4 isn't the latest Thunderbolt dock to release, but no matter how many more I've come across, I always return to the TS4 as my favorite.

Based on performance alone, it's one of the best options. Still, factor in its tiny footprint, vertical/horizontal positioning, excellent cable management, and wealth of power for your host machine and other devices, and you have a brilliant docking station — one well worth its place on this list.

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Ports18
USB-C PDYes, up to 98W (host) and 20W USB-C
Display output1 x 8K @ 60Hz (1 x DisplayPort/USB-C DP), 2 x 4K/6K @ 60Hz (1 x DisplayPort, 1 x USB-C DP)
Thunderbolt 4/USB4Yes

For a complete rundown of this dock's features, ports, and performance, see our full CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 4 review.

Best USB Type-C

An all-in-one dock that's out-standing for smaller setups.

Reasons to buy

+
Ergonomic monitor stand
+
Speedy USB ports
+
Incredible cable management
+
Sleek, modern design
+
Built-in wireless charging

Reasons to avoid

-
More ports would be nice
-
Only one video out
What is a USB-C dock?

USB-C docks are the base-level standard for most modern docking stations, having since replaced the previous USB-A format. While not as fast as Thunderbolt 3/4 or USB4 docks, USB-C docks still offer decent speeds and are fully compatible with Thunderbolt and USB4 ports (though limited to a maximum transfer rate of 20Gbps).

Buy it if

✔️ You want to make the most of a smaller desk: The Anker 675 USB-C Docking Station is an all-in-one solution for smaller desks. It offers an ergonomic stand ideal for monitors up to 24 inches in size, speedy ports with excellent cable management options, and a storage nook for your most used tech.

✔️ You want to charge your phone or tablet, too: The shelf features a wireless charging pad that allows you to charge any compatible smartphone or tablet with ease.

Don't buy it if

✖️ You use more than one monitor: Anker's docking station offers a single video output designed to manage a monitor sat on its aircraft-grade aluminum shelf. If you plan to use more than one monitor, this dock may leave your additional displays high and dry.

✖️ You need a lot of ports: The Anker 675 has a solid variety of ports on tap, but the number of each isn't all that high. If you're a peripheral power user or have a fairly expansive desk setup, you might find docks like the CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 4 more accommodating.

The Anker 675 USB-C Docking Station is a sleek and deceptively crafty device that effortlessly blends into your setup by posing as a modern monitor stand. However, it's also an exceptional docking station, pulling double duties as an excellent port expansion and charging solution that offers top-tier cable management.

Anker's dock has been one of my favorites to review this year, as I'm always impressed when a docking station goes the extra mile to cover as much ground as possible. Multipurpose docking stations like the Anker 675 allow you to make the most of smaller desks or more confined work areas by taking on multiple roles within your setup.

With this dock in place, not only did I not need a separate monitor stand to ensure my screen was positioned correctly, but I also didn't need to worry about finding a place to charge my smartphone either, thanks to a built-in Qi-certified 10W wireless charging panel embedded into the aircraft-grade aluminum shelf.

However, while I personally use a monitor arm for my display, I still found great use for the Anker 675 to neatly house my most used accessories and peripherals—keeping my desk and work area looking immaculate in the process. Aiding that further is the Anker 675's incredible cable management system, which includes an underside cable caddy to keep wires tucked neatly out of sight.

If you're a power user and want multiple displays simultaneously, then Anker's dock might not be everything you're hoping for. This dock only supports one external display, but it does so at 4K resolutions and 60Hz. The Anker 675's sturdy frame is great for monitors up to 24 inches, but it can support whichever size display you prefer as long as it doesn't exceed the aluminum frame's 22-pound weight limit.

While each of the Anker 675's available ports is speedy (with plenty of them also offering decent charging options beyond the 100W of Power Delivery to the host machine), they are limited in number. This is another reason this dock would be excellent for smaller setups.

However, there's still plenty of space to connect a mouse and keyboard, with ports left over for additional peripherals. There's even a built-in SD/microSD card reader so you can quickly access flash memory if your laptop doesn't offer a reader of its own.

It might not be the most powerful dock available, with no Thunderbolt 4 support. But Anker's dock is definitely among the most useful, going above and beyond to manage your setup and ensure that every bit of space you have is made good use of.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Ports12
USB-C PDYes, up to 100W
Display output1 x 4K @ 60Hz (HDMI 2.0)
Thunderbolt 4/USB4No

For a complete rundown of this dock's features, ports, and performance, see our full Anker 675 USB-C Docking Station review.

Best for MacBook

A zero footprint dock that excellently doubles as an ergonomic laptop stand and SSD enclosure.

Reasons to buy

+
Built-in SSD enclosure
+
Decent selection of ports
+
Much-needed heat vents
+
75W Power Delivery to host
+
Improves laptop ergonomics

Reasons to avoid

-
Strictly MacBook-first design
-
No card readers
-
Requires two left-side USB-C ports
Do all docks work with MacBooks?

While all of the docks on this list will work with MacBooks, the Satechi Dual Dock Stand is a docking station specifically designed for MacBooks. As such, we've listed this MacBook dock individually to highlight its MacBook-first design and focus.

Buy it if

✔️ You want a minimal setup: The Satechi Dual Dock Stand is a zero-footprint device that takes its place underneath your MacBook, mostly out of sight. If you're looking for a neat and minimal look for your setup or are working at a smaller desk, then this dock's footprint will be ideal for you.

✔️ You want an all-in-one docking station: This dock does it all. Not only does it offer valuable port expansion, but it also elevates your MacBook to improve ergonomics and the overall typing experience, and it includes an SSD compartment to bolster your storage.

Don't buy it if

✖️ You have other uses for your Thunderbolt ports: Satechi's dock requires the use of two USB Type-C ports on the left hand side of your device. This will consume your Thunderbolt ports entirely, and it won't return a Thunderbolt port to you in its port selection.

✖️ You make frequent use of SD/Micro SD cards: While the Dual Dock Stand offers a solid selection of ports, it's notably lacking any SD or Micro SD slots. If you're a content creator, video editor, or photographer and make use of these mediums often, you'll need to make use of an adapter to access your media.

Let me tell you about Satechi's Dual Dock Stand—a device that performs triple duty as a docking station, ergonomic laptop stand, and external SSD enclosure. As mentioned earlier, I'm a big proponent of multi-purpose devices like this. I firmly believe that an excellent all-in-one solution is far easier to manage than three separate devices.

Decked out in Space Metal Grey, Satechi's dock is the ideal MacBook companion visually and a vital accessory for functionality. It offers everything you'd need from a workstation set up with a zero-footprint design that fits snugly under your MacBook, greatly expanding your device's potential and comfort without becoming a distraction.

The Dual Dock Stand's built-in SSD enclosure isn't just ideal for augmenting the storage of your MacBook. Thanks to this dock's lightweight build, tethered host cables, and portability, it can also act as an external SSD, helping to transfer data between devices quickly.

The charge offered by Satechi's dock isn't as high as that of other entrants to this list, offering just 75W of charge to the host machine. However, with Apple's latest MacBooks taking advantage of the impressively efficient Apple Silicon chipsets (M1 > M3), this is enough power to keep most MacBooks topped up easily across your standard working day.

However, there are trade-offs to be made. Satechi's dock is a bit of a port hog for one. It'll require both of your left-hand Thunderbolt ports to run at its fullest potential. This means that if you want to take full advantage of the speeds offered by that standard, you won't be able to do so while the dock is connected.

Of the nine ports it offers in return, none allow you to take full advantage of the host machine's Thunderbolt-capable speeds. You'll be limited to speeds you'd find with any other USB Type-C hub or dock, which could be a deal breaker for power users looking to maximize their productivity and take full advantage of the bandwidth available on their host machine.

If that's a deal breaker for you, I would advise seeking a dedicated Thunderbolt 4 dock like the CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 4 mentioned earlier in this list.

Many docking stations will work with a MacBook, and if you're interested in seeing which are the best for the Apple ecosystem specifically, check out our selection of the best docking stations for MacBooks. All the previously mentioned docks on this list also work with MacBooks. It's just that this dock is specifically designed to work primarily with Apple's laptops.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Ports9
USB-C PDYes, up to 75W
Display output2 x 4K @ 60Hz (2 x HDMI, 1 x DisplayPort)
Thunderbolt 4/USB4No

For a complete rundown of this dock's features, ports, and performance, see our full Satechi Dual Dock Stand review.

FAQs

  • Q: What is a docking station?
    A: Docking stations are primarily hardware port extensions for your PC or laptop. Their core feature is to grant access to more ports with a wider port type selection. This gives you more options for maximizing your machine's productivity, efficiency, and potential by making more peripherals and accessories available at any one time.

    In addition to this, most modern docking stations allow you to manage a number of external displays to expand your screen space with ease. They can also supply your laptop (and often accessories, too) with a steady stream of power. This means you can sidestep the use of your laptop's proprietary charger and, highlighting a dock's impressive cable management potential, cut down on the amount of wires in use.

    However, some docks offer additional features like doubling as an ergonomic laptop stand, improving audio potential with built-in speakers, or subtly taking its place on your desk while acting as a monitor stand.
     
  • Q: Why are docking stations so expensive?
    A: While a docking station might not look deserving of its price tag from the outside, the inside can house as many chips as the laptop it's connecting to.

    Docking stations are incredibly complex pieces of hardware that need to manage several streams of traffic simultaneously, including data, video, and oftentimes audio, while supplying a steady stream of power to the host machine and any peripherals connected to it.

    As such, higher-quality docking stations can quickly increase prices. However, that increased asking price will often translate into expanded performance, more ports, and better support for faster, higher-resolution external displays.

    We answer this question in more depth in our article: "Why are docking stations so damn expensive?"
     
  • Q: Can I use a docking station with my MacBook?
    A: Absolutely! Each of the docks listed on this page should work fine with Apple devices. However, it's worth noting that due to limitations with certain Apple M-Series chipsets, the number of external displays you can use will vary.

    If you're unsure, check how many displays can be connected to your MacBook beforehand.
     
  • Q: Can I use a docking station with my gaming laptop?
    A: You can use a docking station with your gaming laptop. However, while you'll still be able to use the expanded port options for peripherals or external hard drives, you're likely to encounter an issue with power delivery.

    Most current docking stations charge the host machine with up to 100W. While this is fine for most mainstream laptop models, your gaming laptop is likely to require a little more juice to power itself as it performs more strenuous gaming-related tasks.

    Future devices that use Thunderbolt 5 or USB4 2.0 as a standard will be much more accommodating to gaming laptops thanks to an expanded Power Delivery range of up to 240W.

    Until then, you're likely to get the best experience by using your gaming laptop's proprietary charger for power needs and using a docking station for its expanded port selection.
     
  • Q: Which types of docking stations are the fastest?
    A: Presently, Thunderbolt 3/4 and USB4 (40Gbps) docking stations are the best pick if you want the fastest data transfer speeds and best overall performance.

    In the future, these docks will likely be overtaken by Thunderbolt 5 and USB4 2.0 docking stations, which may offer speeds of 80Gbps and improved power delivery of up to 240W.
     
  • Q: What are the differences between a Thunderbolt/USB4 docking station and a USB-C docking station?
    A: One of the key differences between these types of docking stations is data transfer speed. Thunderbolt 4 docking stations have access to transfer speeds of 40Gbps, double that of the fastest standard USB-C port speeds. USB4 docks can achieve similar speed levels but can be capped at 20Gbps, so check its specifications before buying.

    These expanded speeds are great for faster, snappier, and more responsive connections and reduce the risk of encountering a performance bottleneck. While USB-C docks can offer a similar number of high-spec ports to a Thunderbolt dock, the increased bandwidth of a Thunderbolt connection allows for more of those ports to work near their maximum potential simultaneously.
     
  • Q: How many external monitors can I connect to a docking station?
    A: Currently, docking stations typically support up to four external displays.
     
  • Q: Do all laptops support external displays through docking stations?
    A: No, not every laptop can support external displays. If you own a laptop with a Thunderbolt port, connecting a docking station to that port will allow you to extend your screen without issues.

    However, if your laptop doesn't use a Thunderbolt connection, you'll need to ensure that your USB-C port supports DisplayPort over USB-C (DisplayPort Alt Mode).
     
  • Q: How do I know if my laptop supports DisplayPort over USB-C (DisplayPort Alt Mode)?
    A: Typically, you can tell if your laptop supports DisplayPort over USB-C by looking at the symbol next to the port. If you spot the DisplayPort logo (a letter ‘D’ overlaid with the letter ‘P’), you should have no issues extending your display.

USB-C DisplayPort Alt Mode port on a laptop with the Display Port badge and name

(Image credit: Laptop Mag / Rael Hornby)

If you don't see the DisplayPort logo next to your USB-C port but notice a lightning bolt symbol instead, this means that this is a Thunderbolt port. Once again, Thunderbolt ports like this should have no issues supporting external displays.

If you can't see any symbols or logos next to your laptop's ports, check the manual or documentation that came with it for information on port specifications.

How we test docking stations

Every item we review at Laptop Mag is subject to a variety of synthetic and real-life tests to ensure the product operates as claimed and meets the needs and wants of our readers. Docking stations are not different, though there's more involved in our testing process than simply running through a checklist of a manufacturer's claims.

When it comes to docks, we judge a product's performance based on five metrics: power, ports, performance, presentation, and price.

Firstly, we ensure that a docking station delivers the expected charge by connecting it to various laptops (with increasing power demands) and observing how well they maintain their charge throughout a working day. We also use USB power meters to measure the wattage of the charge heading to the host machine.

Secondly, we use the dock's ports to accommodate peripherals, monitors, and accessories across various setups to test how the number of available ports fares depending on the use case. This helps us to determine a dock's ideal use case, with port number and variety all playing a role in determining how it can best be used.

We then test each of these ports, ensuring they perform to the standards claimed by the manufacturer. This can involve transferring files back and forth to and from an external SSD onto the host machine and connecting multiple monitors to the dock's video outputs to ensure there is no noticeable lag or visual hiccups.

Then, we consider how well the dock handles cable management, a key but often overlooked feature. This also takes into account port placement and the dock's overall design and layout.

Finally, we use these metrics to judge the value of each dock against its MSRP to ensure it's a worthy investment. Docking stations are notoriously expensive pieces of hardware to invest in, so we want to ensure that every docking station we recommend delivers the quality that its price tag might suggest.

With this in mind, we score each dock using a 5-star rating, and we select the best docks within certain categories to appear on this page.

Why trust Laptop Mag?

Laptop Mag reviews over one hundred different laptops every year, from paperweight ultralights to everyday workhorses to lumbering gaming notebooks that scorch the frame rates of even the hottest AAA games. We're not just experts in the laptop field, as we go one step further by meticulously testing smartphones, tablets, headphones, PC accessories, software, and even the latest peripherals and titles in gaming.

We are 100% independent and have decades of experience to help you buy with confidence. In fact, Laptop Mag has been testing and reviewing products for three decades and continues to deliver trustworthy reviews you can rely on. 

Our experienced writers and editors scour information about the laptop and put it through its paces to determine which is best for you. But before they start, the testing team subjects each system to a rigorous regimen of synthetic and real-world tests to see how a system handles the type of work and games you’re most likely to throw at it. 

One of the world's largest technology publishers, Future Publishing, enforces our editorial trustworthiness. As a company, we have unrivaled experience across every tech sector — and we're the group's specialist for all things mobile tech.