A docking station is an external device or an accessory that lets users use their laptops by connecting additional peripherals. It usually helps the users connect several input/output devices to their machine to get a desktop-like working experience.
A right laptop docking station should offer a sturdy build quality and be lightweight. Besides that, It should have all modern ports (such as Thunderbolt 3) needed for seamless connectivity between multiple devices without any issues.
We have worked closely with professionals who extensively use docking stations to research and review some of the best possible options that offer a good set of features at affordable pricing, without any compromises on the actual functionality.
- Best Laptop Docking Stations in 2021
- 1. Best Overall: Plugable USB 3.0 Docking Station
- 2. Best for 4K Monitor: Targus Universal Dock
- 3. Best for 5K Monitor: Dell 452-BCYT D6000
- 4. Best from HP: HP Smart Buy TB Dock
- 5. Best for Dual Display: Kensington SD4700P
- 6. Best Under $100: AmazonBasics Docking Station
- 7. Best with Tablet Stand: Sabrent Dock
- 8. Best Budget-Frindly: Hiearcool USB-C Hub Dock
- 9. Best Value for Money: TOTU 4K Docking Station
- 10. Best for Triple Display Setup: Plugable USB-C Dock
- 11. Dell Ultra HD/4K Triple Display Dock
- 12. WAVLINK USB 3.0 Universal
- Frequently Asked Questions
- What does a docking station for a laptop do?
- Do docking stations work with all laptops?
- What are the best docking stations out there?
- How much does a docking stations cost?
- Do docking stations charge your laptop?
- Do I need a docking station for dual monitors?
- How do I connect 3 monitors to my laptop docking station?
- Do docking stations have graphics cards?
Best Laptop Docking Stations in 2021
|Plugable USB 3.0 Docking Station|
|Targus Universal Dock|
|Dell 452-BCYT D6000|
|HP Smart Buy TB Dock|
|AmazonBasics Docking Station|
|Hiearcool USB-C Hub Dock|
|TOTU 4K Docking Station|
|Plugable USB-C Dock|
|Dell Ultra Display Dock|
|WAVLINK USB 3.0 Universal|
These docking stations are built like a tank, ensuring that they shall last for a long period, even with continuous usage. Depending on the brand preference and the features you are looking for, you can choose any port replicator (hub), and through our extensive testing, we have made sure that the product, for sure, will offer the amount of performance that you are looking for.
1. Best Overall: Plugable USB 3.0 Docking Station
The Plugable USB 3.0 Docking Station is one of the best hubs for Windows OS-powered laptops. It not only works with the latest Windows 10 OS, but also works with the previous generation versions such as Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8, & Windows 8.1 without any issues.
The peripheral hub is very light in weight and compact, which makes it easy to carry around in a laptop bag without any issue.
Another important aspect of the Plugable USB 3.0 Universal laptop docking station is the fact that it comes with a dual output port, where it can power up to two FHD (1080p) monitors or a single 2K (1440p) resolution monitor when it is connected using the HDMI port.
This laptop also supports DisplayLink, where one can plug and play an external monitor without installing any drivers whatsoever. In fact, this also supports monitor hot-swap as well. If you constantly change your monitor, then, this the laptop that you should consider.
If your modern laptop does not have an Ethernet port, this is a great piece of hardware, as it comes with one, which can be used to connect your laptop with a high-speed internet connection. As per the ports, it has a total of six USB ports, out of which, four offers USB 2.0 speed and two offers USB 3.0 speed. Lastly, this laptop dock also offers dedicated audio input and audio output port as well.
- Plenty of USB ports
- Supports up to 2K resolution output
- Vertical Design
- Does not support macOS/Linux
- Mediocre build quality
2. Best for 4K Monitor: Targus Universal Dock
- Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Android
- Ports: 6 USB 3.0, Ethernet, Audio In/Out, USB Type-C
- Output: DVI-I, DVI-D, DisplayPort
- Supported Monitors: 1 UHD (3840 x 2160) or 2 FHD (1920 x 1080)
- Design: Horizontal
If you are looking for a truly universal laptop docking station, then the Targus Docking Station is something that might interest you. It comes with multiple connectivity ports, where, if your laptop supports it can drive an external 4K display using the DisplayPort.
Similarly, it also has dual DVI-I and DVI-D display output ports, which can work simultaneously, where one can connect up to two external displays with a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080p or FHD.
Coming to USB ports, this peripheral hub has 6 of them, and all six ports support the USB 3.0 standard. One of the ports with a special indentation can be used to fast charge your smartphone. Compared to most docking stations, the Targus Universal 4K offers premium build quality, and it can last really long without any issue.
Just like most of them, the Targus Universal 4K station also has a dedicated Ethernet port, which will be very useful, as most modern laptops and Apple MacBooks do not include an Ethernet port. If you want to connect smartphones or external accessories that only come with a USB Type-C port, then this one also comes with a USB Type-C port, which can again offer USB 3.0 data transfer speeds.
- Premium build quality
- All USB ports support USB 3.0 standard
- Support for 4K resolution external display
- Fast charging for smartphones
- Dual DVI ports
- Single audio port
- Proprietary input port
3. Best for 5K Monitor: Dell 452-BCYT D6000
- Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux
- Ports: 4 USB 3.0, 1 USB Type-C, Ethernet, Audio In/Out
- Output: HDMI, 2 DisplayPorts
- Supported Monitors: 1 5K (5120 x 2880) or 3 UHD (3840 x 2160)
- Design: Horizontal
The Dell 452-BCYT D6000 Dock, as the name suggests is a universal dock, which can be used on a laptop running on either macOS or Windows OS.
One of the best features of this docking station is that it works even with laptops based on Windows 7 and Windows 8 operating systems without any issue. Not many of the stations are compatible with Ubuntu/Linux based machines, but the good thing about this is, you can use it on such machines using Displaylink.
When it comes to an external display or monitor support, the Dell 452-BCYT D6000 Dock can support a single 5K monitor or it can drive up to three monitors at 4K resolution.
Do note that a laptop should come with a high-end GPU to support an external monitor with a 5K resolution. The same also applies to connect multiple 4K monitors as well. Do note that if you connect three 4K monitors simultaneously, then 2 monitors will run at 60Hz, and the third monitor will run at 30Hz.
If you are using this laptop station with an entry-level or mid-tier laptop, then it is advised to tone down the external display resolution to 1080 or 1440p, depending on the capabilities of the laptop, so that the performance isn’t affected.Olivia Manco (Using this Dock for more than 3 years now.)
There is also a dedicated USB Type-C port, which supports a maximum power output of up to 65W, which ensures that your laptop charges quickly while it is connected to the laptop docking station.
It also offers superior build quality, as the external chassis of this machine is made using aluminum and it can last for years without any issue. Overall, it is a great laptop docking station for those, who own a high-end laptop and works with multiple external high-resolution monitors.
- Premium build and finish
- Works well with Dell laptops
- Supports up to 5K resolution
- Fast charging for laptop
- USB Type-C
- A Bit Expensive
4. Best from HP: HP Smart Buy TB Dock
Unlike most laptop docks, this unit comes with a built-in B&O or Bang and Olufsen speaker setup. The speaker setup on the HP Smart Buy TB Dock does include capacitive buttons, which can be used to receive or end a call with ease.
Like most modern laptop docking stations, the HP Smart BUY TB has two USB-A ports with USB 3.0 support that can be used to attach external hard disks and other devices that use this interface. Similarly, it has a total of three USB Type-C ports, all supporting faster data transfer speeds.
When it comes to design and build quality, it looks more like a smart speaker or a Bluetooth speaker and will help you to distinguish from normal-looking machines with ease. If you own an HP laptop and looking for a dock from the same brand, then this one might be the right choice for you.
- Built-in speaker
- Unique design
- Dual DisplayPorts
- Multiple USB Type-C ports
- VGA Port
- No audio output
5. Best for Dual Display: Kensington SD4700P
Looking for a neatly designed laptop dock with support for dual-display output? Then, the Kensington SD4700P could be the display docking station that you are looking for. It comes with a neat design with a square form factor, making it easy to place on a desk or a table without any issue.
As per ports, it comes with 5 USB-A ports with support for USB 3.0 standards. Similarly, it also has dual USB Type-C ports, which will be useful for Apple MacBook users, which only offer USB Type-C based connectivity. The docking station also has an ethernet port, which supports a Gigabit speed internet connection, offering high-speed internet to your laptop.
Out of two USB Type-C ports, one of them supports 15W fast charging, which can be used to charge phones and tablets, and the other Type-C port supports 65W fast charging, which will be useful to charge laptops and computers without an external power adapter.
When it comes to external monitor support, the Kensington SD4700P can drive a single monitor with a 2K resolution, or it can support up to two monitors at the same time with a 1080p resolution. Do note that, the CPU and the GPU should be capable of supporting external monitors.
Overall, the Kensington SD4700P is a good laptop docking station looking to connect either one or two external monitors with 1080p resolution.
- Classic design
- Fast charging for smartphones and tablets
- Fast charging for laptops
- Gigabit-class ethernet port
- No separate microphone jack
- Slightly heavy
6. Best Under $100: AmazonBasics Docking Station
It is a classic docking station that comes with the premium build quality, which is the case with many AmazonBasics products. The AmazonBasics dock comes with the ability to connect dual monitors.
However, in this case, the resolution will be limited to 1080p on each monitor. If you want to use a higher resolution 2K monitor with this docking station, then one needs to use the HDMI port.
The AmazonBasics USB 3.0 Universal Laptop Dual Monitor station has a simplistic approach when it comes to design. It looks good and the majority of the ports on it are located on the backside, giving it a clean look. The front panel comes 2 USB 3.0 ports along with audio output and audio input port.
As per the connectivity, the AmazonBasics USB 3.0 Universal has a single RJ-45 Ethernet port, which supports gigabit internet speeds, that not only help users to download but also upload files easily.
The docking station does ships with a CD (with driver software), which will be essential to use this. If you own a Windows laptop or even a MacBook, then this is the station that you will ever need. However, do note that it does not work on Surface RT and Linux based operating systems such as Kali.
- Simple design approach
- Quality product
- Multiple USB-A ports
- Gigabit-class ethernet support
- No USB Type-C port
- No DisplayPort
7. Best with Tablet Stand: Sabrent Dock
Sabrent is known for making high-quality computer accessories and the Sabrent Docking Station is among the best we have seen so far.
Unlike the typical docking stations, this model comes with a stand that can be used to place a smartphone or a tablet while it is being charged. It’s compatible with laptops that run on both Windows and macOS.
Coming to the display output, the Sabrent Universal Docking Station comes with a full-sized HDMI port and a DVI video output port. The HDMI port can output at a maximum resolution of 2048 x 1152 pixels, whereas the DVI port can output at 1920 x 1080. Do note that we were able to connect 2 monitors during our tests.
Coming to ports, it has a total of 6 USB-A ports, out of which 4 supports the USB 3.0 standard and two supports USB 2.0 standard. Out of four USB 3.0 ports, two of the ports, which are in red color also support fast charging and can be used to quickly refuel smartphones and tablets with ease.
It also comes with a Gigabit-class ethernet port, which can give access to high-speed internet connections to modern laptops like the Apple MacBook Pro without requiring an external adapter. However, if you are planning to connect this dock with the latest MacBook Pro variant, then you might have to get the USB-A to USB Type-C adapter.
- Smartphone/tablet stand
- Separate audio out for microphone and speaker
- Small and compact
- Fast charging USB ports
- Video output limited to 1080p
- No USB Type-C port
8. Best Budget-Frindly: Hiearcool USB-C Hub Dock
- Compatibility: Windows, macOS
- Ports: 2 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0, 1 USB Type-C, Ethernet, microSD slot
- Output: 1 VGA, 2 HDMI
- Supported Monitors: 2 UHD (3840 x 2160), 1 FHD (1920 x 1080)
- Design: Horizontal
The Hiearcool Type-C Hub is one of the best-rated docking stations that is light in weight and easy to carry. Though it can be used with both Windows and macOS laptops, this one will be best suited for Apple MacBook users.
Coming to the screen/display output, the Hiearcool USB C Hub, USB-C Docking can support up to 3 monitors at the same time. Depending on the capability of the laptop, it can support up to two 4K monitors via the HDMI port and a single FHD monitor using the VGA port. Plus, it also offers an option, where one can tone down the output resolution to QHD or FHD as well.
Along with 4 USB-A ports with USB 3.0 standard, the Hiearcool USB C Hub, USB-C Docking station has a dedicated microSD card slot and a dedicated SD card slot, where one can easily hookup their memory cards from cameras without requiring any additional connector.
It’s not compatible with laptops from Acer, Dell, and ASUS. It doesn’t work with the Apple iPad Pro, Microsoft Surface Book 2, Nintendo Switch, Yoga Series, Lenovo C Series, and the HP Elite Book 840 G3, and Pro Book 450.
Also, when testing it in our labs we noticed the EDID (Extended Display Identification Data) blackout for a few seconds (1-1.5 minutes) during data transfer which is not the case with many other docks.
- Dedicated microSD card slot
- Dedicated SD card slot
- USB Type-C connectivity
- No external power source required
- Compact and lightweight
- No fast charging for smartphones
- Cannot be used with laptops with no USB Type-C port
9. Best Value for Money: TOTU 4K Docking Station
- Compatibility: Windows, macOS
- Ports: 3 USB 3.0, 2 USB 2.0, 1 USB Type-C, Ethernet, Audio In/Out
- Output: 2 Displayport, HDMI
- Supported Monitors: 1 5K (5120 x 2880) or 3 4K (3840 x 2160)
- Design: Rectangular
Docking stations can be fun, provided you know how to use them to their fullest potential. Despite the intricacies associated with most high-end docking stations, they are still desirable entities for setting up expansive workflows or a professional rig.
Keeping these factors in mind, it is advisable to invest in the functional and loaded TOTU docking station, courtesy of the 16 connectible units and an exceptional screen mirroring potential.
Before we move any further, we need to establish that the TOTU 4K station is more like a universal docking unit, supporting both Windows and macOS-powered notebooks. However, we extensively tested the same for Linux or rather Ubuntu-powered machines and the results were more than acceptable, barring a few compatibility issues with the HDMI slot.
As far as the performances are concerned, this docking station supports multiple display modes for the MacBooks and Windows laptops alike. When it comes to the nature of the displays, TOTU allows you to connect two 4K displays using the Display Ports, and that too at 60Hz. However, if you aren’t indulging yourself in gaming or video editing, the HDMI also makes room for an additional 4K panel at 30Hz.
For MacBooks, you can use either mirror each of the three displays with the MacBook screen or use the same as the DP+DP extended mode for gaming, working, and cooling off, all at once. Besides, as MacBooks have at least two Thunderbolt 3 ports, the TOTU docking station for a MacBook Pro or even MacBook Air can be used for connecting the 5K screen, specifically to experience the brilliance associated with 5120 x 2880 pixels.
The combination changes a bit for the Windows laptops as you cannot mirror each of the four 4K screens but only two with the Windows 10 OS at the helm. Regardless of the configuration, you still need to use the ‘Connect to Host’ functionality for initially pairing the notebook with the docking station.
Coming to the ports, the TOTU docking station offers access to three USB 3.0 Type-A slots followed by 2 USB 2.0 Type-A and the standalone USB 3.0Type-C port for facilitating faster data transfers or mobile connectivity. The best thing about the USB 3.0 ports is that they are SuperSpeed units and account for data transfer speeds amounting to 5Gbps.
The SuperSpeed USB 2.0 ports operate at 480Mbps and are good enough for connecting feedback devices and peripherals. As TOTU 4K is an all-inclusive docking station, you also get access to the TF and SD card readers, especially for beefing-up the storage enhancements. Other relevant outputs include the separate slots for the 3.5mm audio jack and the professionally-aligned microphone, for live streamers and recorders.
As a 16-in-1 reliable docking station, the TOTU 4K is easily one of the better investments to make. However, you need to check for the device compatibility from the existing list before purchasing the same. Moreover, the concerning laptop with the Type-C slot must offer support for Power delivery and the DP mode, so as to make the docking station more functional.
P.S- The Laptop needs to have a powerful GPU to support multi-device rendering. However, we wouldn’t recommend pairing eGPUs with the external gig as none of the ports offer Thunderbolt 3 or 40Gbps’ worth of transfer speeds.
- Compatible with a wide range of devices
- Durable build quality
- One 5K screen is supported
- Stacks in several SuperSpeed ports
- Supports USB charging
- Dedicated slots for upgrading system memory
- Lacks USB 3.1 port
10. Best for Triple Display Setup: Plugable USB-C Dock
- Compatibility: Windows
- Ports: 4 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0, 1 USB Type-C, Ethernet, Audio In/Out
- Output: DVI and HDMI
- Supported Monitors: 1 QHD (2560 x 1440) or 2 FHD (1920 x 1080)
- Design: Vertical
ThePlugable USB-C Triple Display Dock is also a yet another station made for thin and light laptops that are capable of charging via the USB Type-C port. It has a single USB Type-C port that is capable of delivering 100W power output, which can even charge high-end laptops.
Coming to ports, it comes with 4 USB 2.0 ports and 2 USB 3.0 ports, that offer faster data transfer compared to the competition. Besides it, the dock also has a dedicated ethernet port along with separate audio input and output ports via a 3.5mm jack.
The external display support can power up to 3 individual monitors at the same time, where 2 of them can run at FHD or 1080p resolution and one can run at QHD or 2K resolution.
This is a vertical style laptop dock, which takes less space on your desk and offers more features. If you have a smaller desk and you are looking for a compact station, then this one might be the right one.
- Compact vertical Design
- Up to 100W USB power delivery support
- Six USB Ports
- Dedicated microphone jack
- Cheap and affordable
- Plastic build
- Single USB Type-C port
- Compatibility: Windows, Mac
- Ports: 5 USB 3.0, Ethernet, Audio In/Out
- Output: 2 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort
- Supported Monitors: 1 UHD (3840 x 2160) or 2 FHD (1920 x 1080)
- Design: Horizontal
If you are planning to buy a good quality docking station that can support a single 4K monitor along with two FHD/1080p monitors, then the Dell D3100 Docking Station might be something that you should checkout.
It comes with a full-sized DisplayPort, which can drive an external display with a maximum resolution of 4K and it also has two HDMI ports, which can output at 1080p resolution, simultaneously.
Besides the display output, this docking station does offer features like up to 5 USB 3.0 ports along with a dedicated headphone jack and a microphone input. If you like to connect a separate speaker and a microphone with your laptop, then, it might be really helpful.
Like every other Dell product, this one also comes a premium design and amazing build quality, If you have a Dell laptop and are looking for a docking station, then this one should be a great option.
- Robust build quality
- Supports 4K output
- Separate mic and speaker out
- Works with both Windows and macOS
- Multiple USB 3.0 ports
- No USB Type-C port
- No USB power delivery support for fast charging
WAVLINK USB 3.0 is a great docking station for those who are planning to use either one or 3 external monitors with their laptops. Do note that, WAVLINK USB 3.0 does not work with macOS and can only be used with laptops running on Windows OS.
If you have an old monitor with a DVI port, then this one can be used to connect it with your modern laptop. Besides, it can also support an external 2K/QHD monitor via the HDMI port. Additionally, it has a total of 6 USB-A ports, out of which, 2 supports USB 3.0 standard and 4 supports the USB 2.0 standard.
As per the connectivity option, it has a separate output for both microphone and speaker, which makes it easy to connect multiple accessories at the same time. This is also one of the slimmest horizontal docking stations that we reviewed, which eases the cable management operation.
If you are in the market, looking for an affordable docking station, then the WAVLINK USB 3.0 Universal Docking Station seems to fit into your budget.
- DVI port
- Dedicated microphone out
- Slim Design
- Multiple USB Ports
- No USB Type-C port
- Does not support macOS
Frequently Asked Questions
What does a docking station for a laptop do?
A docking station for a laptop will be a useful accessory, where one can connect multiple external monitors and accessories at the same time. Compared to desktops, laptops will have a limited amount of ports and it will add more ports indirectly.
Do docking stations work with all laptops?
Most of the docking stations for laptops are based on USB 3.0 technology. So, it must work with any laptop with a USB 3.0 port. However, some docking stations will only work with Windows OS, and make sure that it is compatible with macOS or Linux, before purchasing.
What are the best docking stations out there?
Docking stations that we have mentioned in this review are some of the best options available they offer a great set of features, they are also affordable and come with the premium build quality.
How much does a docking stations cost?
The price of docking station vary from brand to brand and the price also depends on the features that it actually offers. A typical docking station is priced around $100 and depending on offers and deals, it might cost a bit less as well.
Do docking stations charge your laptop?
Not every docking station can charge your laptop. However, some of them can, especially the one which comes with USB power delivery support of up to 100W can be used to charge modern laptops.
Do I need a docking station for dual monitors?
Most of the laptops come with a single HDMI/ VGA port, so it is advised to get a docking station if you are considering to connect two or more external displays with your laptop.
How do I connect 3 monitors to my laptop docking station?
Some docking stations for laptops come with 3 output ports (3x HDMI or 1xDisplayPort + 2xHDMI), which can be used to connect up to 3 external monitors.
Do docking stations have graphics cards?
Not every docking station comes with a graphics card. However, some of the high-end docking stations do come with a graphics card, which shall help the user to connect more external displays without stressing the laptop.
To achieve a compact and thin form factor, modern laptops do not include many of the important ports that might be a deal-breaker for some. With the help of a good docking station, you can get back almost any port that you might need at a fraction of the cost.
The docking stations that we have curated offer some of the best features and do not cost a bomb. If you are looking for a new one or planning to buy one to replace the existing station, then these are some of the best laptop docks you shall consider.