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The best laptop docking stations in 2022

Best laptop docking station: Satechi USB-C On-the-Go Multiport Adapter
(Image credit: Satechi)

The best laptop docking stations mean you don't have to worry about how many ports your laptop has. These days, the best ultrathin laptops, such as the MacBook Air, LG Gram 17 and HP Elite Dragonfly, have barely any slots at all. But with a docking station, you can still connect all the monitors and peripherals to your laptop you need. Phew!

Below, you'll find the best laptop docking stations available today, for a range of budget. But which will be right choice for you? Well, there are a number of factors to consider before making your final decision. 

First, consider how many devices you want to connect (monitor? keyboard? mouse? SD card?) and what slots you need to do so. Also think about how much space you have on your desk, and how portable you'll need your laptop docking station to be. Finally, some laptop docking stations are optimised for specific brands and types hardware, so where that's the case we've highlighted that too. 

Best laptop docking stations in 2022

(Image credit: CalDigit)

1. CalDigit TS3 Plus Thunderbolt 3 Dock

The best laptop docking station overall.

Specifications

Size: 13.1 x 4 x 9.84cm
Weight: 470g
Ports: 2 x Thunderbolt 3 40Gb/s, DisplayPort 1.2, 5 x USB-A, USB-C 3.1 Gen 1, USB-C 3.1 Gen 2, Gigabit Ethernet, UHS-II SD Card Slot (SD 4.0), Optical Audio (S/PDIF), 3.5mm Stereo Audio In & Out

Reasons to buy

+
15 ports
+
Connect 4K and 5K displays
+
Compact and lightweight

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive

The CalDigit TS3 is our pick as the best laptop docking station overall. That's largely because it features such a wide range of connections: 15 overall, which is more than any other on this list. 

That means you get an impressive seven USB ports, along with the ability to connect 5K displays or dual 4K displays, digital optical audio out, an SD card reader... and yet it's still a very compact and relatively lightweight device. Yes, it's expensive, but you really will find everything you need in this high-end laptop docking station.

(Image credit: Targus)

2. Targus USB 3.0 Dual Video Docking Station with Power

The best laptop docking station for those on a budget

Specifications

Size: 20 x 38.1 x 48cm
Weight: 1.44kg
Ports: 2 x USB 3.0, 2 x powered USB 2.0, 2 x USB 2.0 ports, HDMI, DVI, 3.5mm jack

Reasons to buy

+
Cheap
+
6 USB ports
+
Powers 90W laptops

Reasons to avoid

-
Fewer connections than others

Looking for a laptop docking station that's more affordable? Then this device from Targus could be just the ticket. Despite the low price, it comes with six USB ports: 2x USB 3.0 and 4x USB 2.0.  That includes two powered USB 2.0 ports, and the built-in power charger supports most 90W laptops. 

You also get a Gigabit Ethernet port, Audio In/Out ports to connect speakers and a security lock slot. That's basically your lot, but if that's all you need, then this is a great value package.

(Image credit: Belkin)

3. Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Dock

The best laptop docking station for MacBook Pro users

Specifications

Size: 20.8 x 8.8 x 2.8cm
Weight: 362g
Ports: 2 x Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports, 3 x USB-A 3.0 Ports, Display port, audio in/out port, audio out port, 1GB Ethernet port

Reasons to buy

+
Optimised for MacBook 2016-17
+
Plays nice with other Macbooks
+
Daisy-chain 5 Thunderbolt 3 devices

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive

If you're a Mac user, you want to be sure that any non-Apple peripherals you buy play nicely with Apple hardware, and that's definitely the case here. This laptop docking station from Belkin is specifically designed and optimized for MacBook Pro 2016/17, running OS X Sierra or later, and works well with the 2018 version as well. 

As the name suggests, you can use it to charge and power your MacBook Pro with a single Thunderbolt 3 cable, up to 85W. As well, of course, as connecting hard drives, monitors, speakers, headphones, and more. 

To get specific, you can daisy-chain up to five additional Thunderbolt devices through a single Thunderbolt port, which should be enough for even the most demanding MacBook user.

(Image credit: Kensington)

4. Kensington StudioDock iPad docking station

The best laptop docking station for iPad Pro users

Specifications

Size: 55.5 x 45 x 26.1 cm
Weight: 5.44kg
Ports: USB-C 3.2 Gen1, 3 x USB-A 3.2 Gen1, HDMI 2.0 video, 3.5mm audio, UHS-II SD 4.0 card reader

Reasons to buy

+
Optimised for iPad
+
Rapid iPad charging
+
4 USB ports

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive

Here's another great laptop docking station that's optimized for the Apple ecosystem. This one's aimed at people using their iPad Pro for productivity purposes. With that in mind, it comes with a brilliant stand, which allows you magnetically attach your iPad Pro 11" (2018 or later) or iPad Air (2020+) in portrait or landscape mode, for a real desktop-like experience. 

The StudioDock is perfect from connecting all your devices, via the four USB ports, 3.5 mm audio jack and a Gigabit Ethernet jack. And you can also benefit from rapid iPad charging, Qi wireless iPhone and AirPod charging, 4K HDMI streaming, and an SD 4.0 card reader. 

(Image credit: Microsoft)

5. Microsoft Surface Dock

The best laptop docking station for Surface users

Specifications

Size: 13 x 6 x 3cm
Weight: 550g
Ports: 2 x Mini DisplayPorts, Gigabit Ethernet, 4 x USB 3.0 Ports, audio out

Reasons to buy

+
Optimised for Surface
+
Good range of connectivity
+
Stylish looks

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the cheapest

It's not only Apple users who need peripherals that optimised for their specific hardware. But if you're a Microsoft Surface user, the choice is very easy, as Microsoft has created a laptop docking station just for you. 

Compatible with a wide range of Surface models, this handy device helps you to get more of a desktop PC experience from your Surface. Charge your device and connect it to external monitors, keyboard, mouse, and more, via the two Mini DisplayPorts, four USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet port and an audio-out jack.

WAVLINK USB 3.0 Universal Docking Station Laptop, one of the best laptop docking stations

(Image credit: Wavlink)
Hugely versatile and nicely affordable

Specifications

Size: 34.2 x 15.2 x 6cm
Weight: 680g
Ports: 2x USB-A 3.0, 4 x USB-A 2.0, HDMI, Ethernet, audio

Reasons to buy

+
6 USB ports
+
Supports two monitors
+
Affordable price

Reasons to avoid

-
VGA monitor requires adapter

As we mentioned at the start of this article, choosing the best laptop docking station is largely about finding the right combination of slots for your personal needs. And if you need to connect both a lot of USB devices and mirror your laptop screen on up to two external monitors, you'll find lots to like in this versatile device.

Compatible with Windows laptops running Vista and upwards, as well as MacBooks based on Intel processors, it supports dual monitors via HMDI and DVI outputs with resolutions of up to 2048 x 1152. You get a mammoth six USB-A ports: two speedy USB 3.0 slots and four slightly slower and older USB 2.0 ones. All this plus an Ethernet port, and audio socket means it's very difficult to imagine many people whose needs won't be covered, and all at quite an affordable price.

(Image credit: Dell)

7. Dell USB 3.0 UHD Triple Video Docking Station

The best laptop docking station for Dell Inspiron users

Specifications

Size: 52.58 x 38.1 x 28.4cm
Weight: 286g
Ports: 3 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, DisplayPort, 2 x HDMI, Ethernet, 2 x audio jack

Reasons to buy

+
Optimised for Dell Inspiron
+
Connect 3 monitors
+
11 ports in total

Reasons to avoid

-
Works best with Dell laptops

This laptop docking station is made by Dell, for Dell hardware; specifically the latest in its Inspiron series of laptops. With a wide range of ports (11 in total), including three USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 connections, it's compatible with a vast array of peripherals, such as external hard drives, printers and scanners. As the name suggests, it supports high speed connections to Ultra HD 4K displays. And with the provision of both a DisplayPort and two HDMI slots, you can connect as many as three external monitors, one of them 4K, at once.

(Image credit: Targus)

8. Targus Universal DV1K-4K Docking Station

The best laptop docking station for limited desk space

Specifications

Size: ‎19.5 x 27 x 1cm
Weight: 270g
Ports: 6 x USB 3.0, USB to laptop, 2 x DVI, DisplayPort, Gigabit Ethernet, audio jack

Reasons to buy

+
Compact and stylish
+
11 ports
+
Dual-monitor support

Reasons to avoid

-
Just one 4K connection

Here's another solid choice if you're looking to connect a variety of different devices at once. This laptop docking station comes with 11 ports in total, including six USB 3.0 slots. It also supports one 4K display or two screens with 2048 x 1152 resolutions. When it comes to dual-monitor support, you have a choice of two DVI ports and a full-size DisplayPort. Best of all, the design is stylish, compact and discreet; perfect for anyone with limited desk space who wants to keep everything streamlined and uncluttered.

(Image credit: Kensington)

9. Kensington SD5700T Thunderbolt 4 Dock

The best laptop docking station with Thunderbolt 4

Specifications

Size: 19.5 x 7.5 x 30cm
Weight: 435g
Ports: 4 x Thunderbolt 4 ports, 4 x USB-A ports (5V/1.5A port and 3 x Gen2 at 10Gbps ports), Gigabit Ethernet port, audio combo jack and UHS-II SD 4.0 card reader

Reasons to buy

+
Multiple Thunderbolt 4 ports
+
Supports 4K and 8K
+
90W power delivery

Reasons to avoid

-
No DisplayPort or DVI

Need Thunderbolt 4 connectivity from your laptop docking station? Then check out this beauty. You can connect up to three extra Thunderbolt devices via the included 0.8 m Thunderbolt 4 cable, meaning you'll get transfer speeds of up to 40Gbps. When it comes to video, that means support for 8K at 30Hz, or up to two 4K monitors at 60Hz. More broadly, you get a total of 11 ports, and with full support for USB-C PD 3.0 or USB4 peripheral accessories, you can charge devices with 90W of delivery. 

(Image credit: Dell)

10. Dell D6000 Universal Dock

The best laptop docking station for connecting 4K monitors

Specifications

Size: 7.8 x 16.8 x 3cm
Weight: 380g
Ports: 4 x USB-A, USB-C, 2 x DisplayPort, HDMI, Gigabit Ethernet, audio combo, speaker out

Reasons to buy

+
Connect three 4K monitors
+
Connect a 5K display
+
11 ports in total

Reasons to avoid

-
May be overkill for some

Got a laptop equipped with USB-C or USB 3.0 ports, and need to connect up to three 4K monitors to your laptops at once? Incredibly, the Dell D6000 Universal Dock allows you to do just that, as well as supporting a single 5K display. Beyond that, there's a good range of connectivity in general, with 11 ports in total, including four USB-A slots, HDMI, DisplayPort and Ethernet connections. All this, at quite a reasonable price, is impressive indeed.

(Image credit: Satechi)

11. Satechi USB-C On-the-Go Multiport Adapter

The best laptop docking station for travel

Specifications

Size: 20.19 x 10.01 x 3cm
Weight: 222g
Ports: USB Type-C Power Delivery, 3 x USB 3.0, Ethernet, HDMI, RJ-45, microSD, SD Memory Card

Reasons to buy

+
Light and compact
+
Good range of ports
+
Supports 4K

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacks DisplayPort and DVI

Want a laptop docking station you can take on your travels? Then this compact and lightweight (222g) device from Satechi is a great option. It will easily fit into your bag, backpack or suitcase, and offers a good range of connectivity. That includes USB-C PD and USB 3.0 ports, for transfering files and pass-through charging, an Ethernet port for a wired Internet connection, and an HDMI port for connecting a 4K monitor. It's nice and cheap, too.

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Tom May is a freelance writer and editor specializing in art, photography, design and travel. He has been editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine. He has also worked for a wide range of mainstream titles including The Sun, Radio Times, NME, T3, Heat, Company and Bella.