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 2023
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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.
See our guide to the best USB-C cables
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.