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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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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