The best laptop docking stations will turn your laptop into a portable powerhouse — whether you’re constantly on the move or always leave it at home, you’ll want to make the most of your laptop when it’s sitting on your desk, especially if you don’t have enough ports. With a laptop docking station, you can attach your system to multiple monitors and a wide variety of peripherals with extra USB ports.
Depending on your needs, you can find cheap laptop docking stations that will output to dual HD monitors over a standard USB, or more expensive docking stations that support USB Type-C and 4K monitors that will work not only with your current laptop but also your next one.
Not quite sure if you need a docking station? You can take a look at our ports guide and Thunderbolt 4 explainer to learn about all of the ports out there and which ones you’ll want. For ports you know you need, check out our best USB Type-C hubs and best USB Type-C accessories and cables. Even better, adding these docking stations found below will make some of the best laptops under $500 even more worth it.
What are the best laptop docking stations?
When it comes to the best laptop docking station money can buy, you’ll want to go for the Plugable USB-C Triple Display Dock, as not only can dish out support for a 4K monitor, but it can also 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 two 4K monitors while also charging and throws in extra USB 3.0 ports for good measure — all at a solid price.
However, if you’re sporting a Thunderbolt 4 laptop like the latest Dell XPS 13, keep an eye out for the Kensington SD5700T Thunderbolt 4 Dock and Anker Apex 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-1 Thunderbolt 4 Mini Dock, but we felt it fell short by packing too little while asking for too much.
Now that a majority of us are working from an at-home office, setting up a neat workstation can be tricky. The Humanscale M/Connect 2 will tidy up any mess and has the right ports for 4K output and USB Type-C charging. Using an iPad as your main device for work? Kensington’s StudioDock iPad docking station will help you out with that. What’s more, the Kensington SD1650P USB-C 4K Portable Docking Station can provide power and ports to laptops, tablets and more.
Docking stations are getting improved 4K support this year, with Targus releasing the USB-C Universal Quad 4K (QV4K) Docking Station with 100W Power Delivery (now on this list) and Satechi’s USB-4 Multiport Adapter with 8K HDMI kicking off the next step in docking station power.
If you’re after the best docking stations for MacBook, we’ve got you covered. For all other docking stations, read on.
The best laptop docking stations you can buy today
Using the Plugable USB-C Triple Display Dock (UD-ULTCD) feels a bit like living in the future. It works with all of the newest standards, including USB Type-C for charging and external displays, along with support for a 4K monitor.
It’s oriented in a vertical position, so you can’t keep the dock under your laptop or monitors, but its performance and support for three displays simultaneously makes the Triple Display Dock our top choice.
See our full Plugable USB-C Triple Display Dock review
Is the Anker Apex Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station too ahead of the curve? Yes, but it’s also a versatile hub that can improve your current work setup while helping you prepare for the next generation of laptops set to become the norm. Its Thunderbolt 4 ports are convenient and speedy, while the 12-in-1 hub’s other ports allow you to charge and connect plenty of PC accessories and monitors.
Anker’s 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 affordable price while sacrificing extra ports, check out our review of the Anker PowerExpand 5-in-1 Thunderbolt 4 Mini Dock.
See our full Anker Apex Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station review
The Kensington SD5700T Thunderbolt 4 Dock is made for ultrabooks like the Dell XPS 13 9310. Not only does it vastly expand the number of ports and slots on one of the best laptops on the market, but it gives it the 90W power and additional perks the notebook requires.
While there are still those who may not have monitors or peripherals with Thunderbolt 4, 3, or USB-C connectivity, many devices will soon make having a Thunderbolt 4 port the standard. Thunderbolt 4 connectivity is here to stay, and the SD5700T makes for a fantastic portable companion that will future-proof your setup for years to come.
Considering Plugable’s other offerings, we weren’t surprised that its Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station is excellent. It’s the best we’ve tested so far, with a reasonable price, the ability to be used both vertically and horizontally and a DisplayPort to HDMI adapter in the box. It charges a laptop while powering up to two 4K displays or a single 5K monitor and has a few extra USB 3.0 ports for legacy peripherals.
Kensington’s SD4100v USB 3.0 Dual 4K Docking Station will be handy for laptops with USB-A ports — so, just about every laptop apart from modern ultra-slim systems. It has a useful number of USB-A ports that let you plug in any peripheral t, and its dual 4K monitor support works like a charm. While its non-removable stand is annoying, it sits firmly on any desk, 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 extra displays to use with your laptop, the SD4100v USB 3.0 Dual 4K Docking Station does a fine job.
The Kensington SD1650P USB-C Single 4K Portable Docking Station is the “something more” owners of multiple devices should be interested in. Not only does the hybrid dock charge your Windows laptop with impressive 100W pass-through power while adding several ports, but it can also do the same for a MacBook, iPad, and even an Android tablet. If it supports USB-C connectivity, Kensington’s dock will, more likely than not, work like a charm.
The SD1650P Portable Docking Station’s compatibility is hard to beat, and since it can work off a devices’ power supply without needing a power adapter (you’ll lose the 100W power pass through), the device is a fantastic choice for travelling professionals. The ability to immediately give virtually all your devices extra ports, video output options, and a power supply using one USB-C port makes this hybrid portable dock one of the best USB-C hubs on the market, especially for MacBook users.
It’s a shame the price and limited selection of ports lets the SD1650P Portable Docking Station down, especially 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.
The Targus USB-C Universal Quad 4K Docking Station, also known as the Four Head 4K Dock, doesn’t just offer the standard two or three video outputs to transform your laptop into a multi-screen setup, but eight different ports. With four DisplayPort 1.2 on top of another four HDMI 2.0 outputs, the docking station can support a single 5K and four 4K displays — plus your laptop screen.
Targus’ screen hoarder also comes with a mix of noteworthy USB-A 3.2 and USB-C 3.2 ports to connect all the peripherals any laptop user would need and charge other devices such as a smartphone or tablet. Oh, and there’s a 3.5mm audio jack and Ethernet slot for good measure. What it doesn’t offer is the latest generation of connectivity, Thunderbolt 4, along with a worthwhile price tag. Regardless, if you’re after maximum screen real estate, Targus’s docking station delivers the plots of visual land.
Plugable’s 7-in-1 USB Charging Hub (USBC-HUB7BC) acts as a fantastic docking station to free up ports on your laptop and adds even more PC peripherals such as keyboards and mice. It also 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 majority of USB-C hubs and other docking stations don’t completely provide.
For those who require a hub with more than 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 choice.
See our full Plugable 7-in-1 USB Charging Hub review
The StudioDock is a unique docking station. Technically, it’s an overpriced dock for those who don’t have an iPad Pro or 4th-gen iPad Air. If you do though, along with an iPhone, AirPods and Apple Watch, this turns into the best docking station for an Apple ecosystem/desktop setup. It even has the Apple aesthetic for good measure.
It doesn’t have the most ports, but there are enough to create an iPad-centric workspace thanks to its Qi wireless charging stations. It could certainly be used as a replacement desktop setup thanks to Apple’s millions of apps optimized for iPadOS, keyboard and mouse support, along 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 ecosystem.
See our full Kensington StudioDock iPad docking station review
Never have any of them looked as good or accommodated as many pieces of equipment as the Corsair TBT100 Thunderbolt 3 Dock. Its premium design screams office, but it’ll look just as good manning a gaming station. Plus, it’s 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 price which might give many home office workers and gamers pause. But if you can look past the price, the Corsair TBT100 Thunderbolt 3 Dock is an essential piece of tech.
See our full Corsair TBT100 Thunderbolt 3 Dock review
The Humanscale M/Connect 2 is something you’re more likely to see in your office than your home, although those two are more likely to be one in the same these days. It’s a full-scale ergonomic solution with USB Type-C for charging (and a USB Type-A adapter, if you’re not ready for the new standard just yet) and supports dual 4K monitors.
Its clamp design allows you to keep the majority of your cables under your desk, allowing for a neat workspace. It starts around $300, though you’ll have to pay more for a monitor arm to attach to it.
See our full Humanscale M/Connect 2 review
The one downside to a dock is that it takes up space on your desk, but Targus’ DV1K-4K docking station is easy to tuck away. The small, well-built dock is designed to fit under your laptop, sporting a nonslip surface to keep your system from sliding down.
The dock is also small enough to fit under your monitors if you prefer. The DV1K-4K supports one 4K monitor and has a ton of USB 3.0 ports, making it a strong choice for power users.
See our full Targus Universal DV1K-4K Docking Station review
Most businesses have USB 3.0 laptops but will want something with USB Type-C for the future. Look no further than Dell’s new D6000 universal dock, which has a built-in adapter to easily switch between the standards, so you can connect it to just about any laptop. It can go up to 5K on a single screen or handle up to three 4K screens over USB Type-C.
See our full Dell D6000 Universal Dock review