Best laptop docking stations of 2021

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 Dell XPS 13 9310, 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 falls 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.

Docking stations are getting improved 4K support this year, with Lenovo launching two new docking stations, the Universal USB C Smart Dock and Thunderbolt Smart Dock, that can support up to four 4K monitors. Stay tuned for those reviews…

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

1. Plugable USB-C Triple Display Dock

The best overall docking station you can buy

Reasons to buy

+4K Output+Supports three monitors+Charges USB Type-C laptops

Reasons to avoid

-Vertical-only design-Fewer ports than competitors

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

2. Anker Apex Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station

The best docking station with versatile connectivity

Reasons to buy

+12-in-1 hub+Thunderbolt 4 ports+Single 8K 30Hz and dual 4K 60Hz+90W power delivery+Distinct design

Reasons to avoid

-Expensive-Limited compatibility

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

3. Kensington SD5700T Thunderbolt 4 Dock

The best docking station for Thunderbolt 4 connectivity and beyond

Reasons to buy

+Multiple Thunderbolt 4 ports+Single 8K 30Hz or Dual 4K 60Hz+90W power delivery+Slick design

Reasons to avoid

-Pricey-No other video output ports

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.

See our full Kensington SD5700T Thunderbolt 4 docking station review

4. Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station

The best Thunderbolt 3 docking station

TODAY’S BEST DEALS

Reasons to buy

+Solid price+Horizontal design with option for stand+Powers up to two 4K monitors while also charging

Reasons to avoid

-No forward-facing USB Type-C port

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.

5. Kensington SD4100v USB 3.0 Dual 4K Docking Station

A master connector for USB Type-A ports

TODAY’S BEST DEALS

Reasons to buy

+Dual 4K support @ 60Hz+Long USB-A cable+6 USB 3.0 ports

Reasons to avoid

-Limited variety of ports-Vertical-only design-Pricey

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.

See our full Kensington SD4100v USB 3.0 Dual 4K Docking Station review

6. Corsair TBT100 Thunderbolt 3 Dock

The best premium hub to buy

Reasons to buy

+Premium, durable design+Plenty of ports+Supports two 4K, 60Hz displays

Reasons to avoid

-Expensive

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  

7. Plugable 7-in-1 USB Charging Hub

A charging station for high-speed data transfers and powerful charging

TODAY’S BEST DEALS

Reasons to buy

+7 ports+USB-A and USB-C connectivity+Data transfer through all ports+Stackable charging

Reasons to avoid

-Limited to USB-A ports-Niche usage

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

8. Kensington StudioDock iPad docking station

The best docking station for an Apple ecosystem setup

Reasons to buy

+Full Apple ecosystem compatibility+USB Type-A and Type-C support+4K output+Qi wireless charging+Landscape and portrait mode

Reasons to avoid

-No adjustable height-Limited ports-Extremely pricey

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

9. Humanscale M/Connect 2

The best docking station for the office

Reasons to buy

+4K and USB Type-C support+Great cable management+Handle to easily adjust your display

Reasons to avoid

-Tough to put together-Has fewer data ports than prior version

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

10. Targus Universal DV1K-4K Docking Station

The best laptop docking station for space

TODAY’S BEST DEALS

Reasons to buy

+Compact, subtle design+4K output+Six USB 3.0 ports+Smooth performance

Reasons to avoid

-Pricey-4K support limited to one display

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

11. Dell D6000 Universal Dock

A fantastic docking station for 4K monitors

TODAY’S BEST DEALS

Reasons to buy

+Supports both USB 3.0 and USB Type-C+Powers up to three 4K monitors

Reasons to avoid

-Cable isn’t removable-Adapter is clumsy

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

12. HP Thunderbolt Dock with Audio

Brilliant docking station for work calls

Reasons to buy

+Audio sounds great+Powers up to two 4K monitors+Conference call capabilities

Reasons to avoid

-Cable isn’t removable-Adapter is clumsy

The Kensington SD2000P is a solid overall docking station if you need something portable and small, but being small comes at a price, as the dock is only able to power up to one 4K monitor at a time at 30-Hz. Despite that, it has a decent number of ports and it can charge a laptop while also powering a 4K monitor. So, if you only have one 4K monitor, you can’t go wrong with this docking station.

There are two USB Type-C ports, two USB 3.1 ports, an RJ-45 Ethernet port, an HDMI port, a DisplayPort++, and a Kensington lock slot. The underside also allows the mounting of any 75mm or 100mm VESA compatible external display.

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