The best docking station for MacBook Air in 2022

Satechi Thunderbolt 4 Dock 11-in-1 plugged into laptop next to cup of coffee
(Image credit: Satechi )

The best docking station for MacBook Air will dramatically expand what you can do with your Apple laptop. In the article below, we pick our favourites, and give you the information to choose between them.

The MacBook Air is one of the best laptops for photo editors and photographers today, not to mention being among the best laptops for video editing. They're stylish, sturdy, fast-working and powerful, despite being quite a lot cheaper than the top-end 2022 MacBook Pro (opens in new tab). But there's just one drawback: because Apple's made these laptops ultra-thin, they haven't left much room for ports. 

For example, the latest MacBook Air (M2, 2022) (opens in new tab) comes with only two Thunderbolt 4 (USB 4.0 Type-C) slots, along with a 3.5mm headphone jack and a MagSafe 3 charging port. This means that if you want to connect a lot of devices to your laptop, you need a docking station. 

The best docking station for MacBook Air will take up just one of your laptop's slots, but give you lots more in return. To get the fastest speeds, you'll ideally want one that supports Thunderbolt. But which one: 3 or 4?

The latest MacBook Air (M2, 2022) and the previous MacBook Air (M1, 2020) (opens in new tab) both support Thunderbolt 4, so if you have one of those, check out entries 1-4 on our list. Older models like the MacBook Air (Retina, 13-inch, 2020), MacBook Air (Retina, 13-inch, 2019) or MacBook Air (Retina, 13-inch, 2018), however, only support Thunderbolt 3. You'll find Thunderbolt 3 docking stations from number 5 onwards on our list.

Best MacBook Air docking stations in 2022

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Satechi Thunderbolt 4 Dock 11-in-1

(Image credit: Satechi)

1. Satechi Thunderbolt 4 11-in-1 Dock

The best docking station for MacBook Air with Thunderbolt 4

Specifications

Size: 105 x 50 x 15mm
Weight: 421kg
Ports: 3 x Thunderbolt 4 (with 20W PW), 1 x USB-C (host port with 96W PW), 3 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2, 1 x USB-A 2.0 (BC 1.2), 1 x Gigabit Ethernet, 1 x UHS-II SD Card Reader, 1 x 3.5mm headphone/microphone combo

Reasons to buy

+
4x Thunderbolt 4 ports
+
Connect two 4K monitors
+
Can be horizontal or vertical

Reasons to avoid

-
No HDMI or DisplayPort 

If you have a modern MacBook Air with Thunderbolt 4, you'll be able to benefit from super-fast and responsive connections to your peripherals. And the Satechi Thunderbolt 4 Dock offers plenty of opportunities to take advantage of that.

This 11-in-1 device boasts four Thunderbolt 4 slots, one of which acts as the host port, with 96W Power Delivery. You also get three USB-A 3.2 ports for your older devices, a USB-A 2.0 slot to charge your smartphone or other devices, an SD card reader, and a Gigabit Ethernet port to boot. 

You can connect up to two 4K monitors at 60Hz, although note that there's no HDMI or DisplayPort, so they'll need to be USB-C monitors. We also like that it's designed to be placed either horizontally or vertically.

(Image credit: Kensington)

2. Kensington SD5700T Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station

The second best docking station for MacBook Air

Specifications

Size: 19.5 x 7.5 x 3cm
Weight: 435g
Ports: 1 x upstream Thunderbolt 4, 3x Thunderbolt 4, 4x USB-A, 1x Ethernet, 1x UHS-II SD Card reader, 1x 3.5mm audio jack, 1x 180W power supply

Reasons to buy

+
4x Thunderbolt 4 ports
+
11 ports in total

Reasons to avoid

-
No HDMI or DisplayPort 
-
Expensive

With 11 ports and 90W of power delivery, the Kensington SD5700T has a lot to offer. If your MacBook Air supports Thunderbolt 4, you'll welcome the four Thunderbolt 4 ports here (one up, three down). Along with that, you'll also benefit from four USB-A ports for your legacy devices, as well as an SD slot, Gigabit Ethernet, and an audio jack. You can connect up to two 4K displays, or one 8K display. Again, though, this docking station doesn't come with HDMI, so if that's important to you, skip ahead to number 3 on our list.

Anker 12-in-1 Apex Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station, one of the best docking stations for MacBook Air

(Image credit: Anker)

3. Anker 12-in-1 Apex Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station

The best docking station for MacBook Air with HDMI

Specifications

Size: 186 x 74 x 33mm
Weight: 423g
Ports: 2 x Thunderbolt 4, USB-C 3.1 Gen2, 2x USB-A 3.1 Gen2, 2x USB-A 2.0 Gen1, 2x HDMI 2.0, 1x UHS II SD 4.0 card reader, 3.5mm audio jack, Gigabit Ethernet

Reasons to buy

+
Two HDMI slots
+
Supports 4K 60Hz
+
Lots of ports overall

Reasons to avoid

-
Only 2 Thunderbolt 4 slots

Need to connect devices to your MacBook via HDMI? Then you're well catered for with the Anker 12-in-1 Apex Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station. It has two HDMI slots, capable of supporting 4K monitors at 60Hz. On the downside, you get "only" two Thunderbolt 4 ports, compared to the four offered by the models above this in the list. But they lack HDMI completely, so it depends what's most important to you. Elsewhere, you'll find one USB-C port, four USB-A ports, an SD card reader, an audio jack and a Gigabit Ethernet slot.

(Image credit: StarTech)

4. StarTech Thunderbolt 4 Dock

Another worthy, if expensive option

Specifications

Size: 95 x 84 x 32mm
Weight: 423g
Ports: 4x Thunderbolt 4 (USB 4.0), 1 Gigabit Ethernet, 3x USB 3.2 Type-A, USB 2.0, audio jack, SD slot

Reasons to buy

+
96W power delivery
+
Wide range of ports

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
No HDMI or DisplayPort

Here's another very capable docking station for MacBook Air. Very well-built and reliable, it supports up to 96W charging. It offers a useful range of slots (11 in total), including four Thunderbolt 4 (USB 4.0) ports, one Gigabit Ethernet, three USB 3.2 Type-A ports, one USB 2.0 ports, an audio jack, and a SD slot, although there's no HDMI or DisplayPort. The main reason it's not higher on our list is that at time of writing it was very expensive, without offering an obvious reason to buy it over the first three. 

(Image credit: Orico)

5. Orico Thunderbolt 3 M.2 Dual-bay Docking Station

The best docking station if you don't need Thunderbolt 4

Specifications

Size: 95 x 84 x 32mm
Weight: 423g
Ports: 2 Thunderbolt 3, 1 USB 3.1 Gen 1, 2 USB 3.1 Gen 2, Gigabit Ethernet, audio jack, DisplayPort

Reasons to buy

+
Two Thunderbolt 3 ports
+
Good range of ports overall
+
Connects to M.2 SSD drives

Reasons to avoid

-
No HDMI
-
No SD card slot
-
60W charging limit

If you have an older MacBook Air you may only need support for Thunderbolt 3 rather than 4. In which case, here's the best docking station for you. You get two Thunderbolt 3 ports, along with three USB Type-A ports (two 5Gbps and one 10Gbps), a Gigabit Ethernet connection, an audio jack, and a DisplayPort slot. Plus, uniquely, this 9-in-1 docking station can also take M.2 SSD drives and make them available to any connected devices. On the downside, note that you won't get a SD card slot or HDMI and that there's a 60W charging limit.

(Image credit: Corsair)

6. Corsair TBT100 Thunderbolt 3 Dock

The best Thunderbolt 3 docking station for MacBook Air with HDMI

Specifications

Size: 22.8 x 8.3 x 2.5cm
Weight: ‎500g
Ports: 2x USB-C 3.1, 2x USB-A 3.1, 2x HDMI, audio jack, SD card reader, Gigabit Ethernet

Reasons to buy

+
Two HDMI slots
+
Supports two 4K monitors
+
Delivers 85W of power

Reasons to avoid

-
No Thunderbolt 4

If you want a Thunderbolt 3 docking station that supports HDMI, we recommend the Corsair TBT100. It has not just one but two HDMI ports, allowing you to connect two 4K monitors simultaneously at 60Hz. You also get four USB ports (two USB-A and two USB-C), an SD card reader, a Gigabit Ethernet slot, an audio jack and a Kensington lock to boot. It delivers up to 85W of power to your MacBook Air, and in our view, its design is pretty smart looking too. 

(Image credit: StarTech)

7. StarTech Thunderbolt 3 Dual 4K Docking Station

The best Thunderbolt 3 dock for video

Specifications

Size: 203 x 559 x 76mm
Weight: 250g
Ports: 2x Thunderbolt, 3x USB-C, 2 x HDMI, 2 x DisplayPort, USB 3.2 Type-C, USB 3.2 Type-A, USB Type-A, 2 x 3.5 mm jack, RJ-45

Reasons to buy

+
Dual HDMI
+
Dual DisplayPorts
+
Supports 8K

Reasons to avoid

-
Not Thunderbolt 4

If video is your main reason for wanting a Thunderbolt 3 dock, here's our top pick. The StarTech Thunderbolt 3 Dual 4K Docking Station features two DisplayPort and two HDMI outputs that can be configured in three different ways: DisplayPort + DisplayPort; HDMI + HDMI; or DisplayPort + HDMI. This supports up to two 4K displays at 60Hz or one 8K display at 120Hz. More generally, this docking station can deliver up to 96W power delivery, and features two Thunderbolt 3 ports, plus three USB-C and two USB-A slots, an audio jack and RJ-45.

(Image credit: Ugreen)

8. Ugreen USB-C Triple Display Docking station

Another good choice for multiple monitors

Specifications

Size: 175 x 117 x 82mm
Weight: 750g
Ports: 2x HDMI Port, 1x DualPort, 1x PD 3.0 100w, 1x USB A 3.2 , 1x USB C 3.2, 2x USB 3.0, 1x Ethernet port, 1x SD/Micro SD card slots, and 1x 3.5mm AUX port

Reasons to buy

+
Sockets for up to three displays

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive 
-
Lacks Thunderbolt

Here's another good choice if you're working in multiple monitors at high resolutions. The Ugreen USB-C Triple Display Docking station comes with two HDMI ports and one DisplayPort, which can support up to 4K at 60Hz, and you can connect three simultaneously.

Besides that, there is a good array of ports, including USB-C, USB-A, Ethernet port, SD and Micro SD card slots, and an audio jack. Note two things, though. Firstly, there's no support for Thunderbolt. And secondly, different media are variously reporting that this device has either 12 or 13 ports. The reason being it's officially 13, but one of the USB-C ports is needed to connect a charger, so in some places that isn't being counted.

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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 (opens in new tab), 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.