The best laptop docking stations enable you to enjoy mobility while accommodating various accessories at the same time. For instance, you can use multiple devices since your laptop is no longer limited to two USB ports. But that isn’t the only reason for buying a docking station for your laptop. Instructively, a docking station also makes it easy to transition from home to office functionality. And you can plug in gaming accessories and access new devices such as digital cameras or flat-panel cameras.
Because of that, you no longer require a desktop computer to perform your work at the office. Even with a simple business laptop, you can quickly set up a work station with a docking station. However, most laptop manufacturers (except Dell and Lenovo) don’t provide docking stations with their machines. Thus, you must buy one separately before connecting it to your laptop. To help you know what to buy, we shall cover the best docking stations for laptops here. Read on for more.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Best Laptop Docking Stations
Amazon Bestseller Laptop Docking Station
PORTS: Dual-VGA | Dual-HDMI | DVI | Gigabit Ethernet | Auxiliary Audio | 6 USB Ports
- Easy to use
- Support Ethernet Gigabit
- Has several ports
- Doesn’t charge PC
- Doesn’t support DisplayPort
The Plugable USB 3.0 Universal Laptop docking station is Amazon’s Bestseller in this category. That’s because of its affordable price ($94.00) and the ability to connect to two monitors simultaneously. Besides, you can choose whether you should connect your monitor via VGA, DVI, or HDMI for 4K resolution.
However, this docking station is not just good for the variety of ports – it is a plug-n-play device for Windows. That means you don’t need special drivers to use the docking station. Rather, its drivers come pre-installed in the latest Windows 10. Even so, you can use it with Windows XP and Windows 7 laptops by getting the drivers via updates.
2. Hiearcool USB C Hub, USB-C Laptop Docking Station, 11-in-1 Triple-Display Type C Adapter Compatible for MacBook and Windows
Best USB Type-C Adapter
PORTS: 2HDMI | VGA | PD3.0 SD/TF Card Reader | Gigabit Ethernet | 4USB Ports
- Has triple-display
- Industry-leading technology
- Has 11 ports
- Support wireless peripherals
- Couldn’t find any
The Hiearcool USB Type-C Hub is one of the best laptop docking stations because of its triple-display capabilities. That means you can use your laptop to display content on three monitors at the same time. Incidentally, it comes with two HDMI 4K and a VGA port that make that possible.
Apart from its triple display abilities, the device has industry-leading technology, combining the USB Type-C hub with the docking station. That’s important because it enables the docking station to work seamlessly no matter the peripherals connected. Besides, it uses a smart chip, which prevents electrical overload at any given time.
3. Docking Station Vako USB-C Hub, 11-in-1 Laptop Docking Station Triple-Display USB-C Adapter for MacBook and Windows
Best Laptop Docking Station for Multiple OSs
PORTS: Dual HDMI | VGA |PD3.0 | 4 USB Ports | Gigabit Ethernet | SD/TF Card Reader
- Fast, efficient data transfer
- Type-C high-speed charging
- Works on different OSs
- Screens display the same thing
The Docking Station can efficiently and safely transfer between your laptop and peripheral devices, thanks to is innovative tech. For instance, you can use it to connect USB sticks, Micro-SD cards, TF cards, and external drives. That means you don’t need to store all your files and data on the laptop’s internal drive.
In addition to data transfer, the docking station has triple-display capabilities owing to two HDMI 4K, VGA full-HD ports. Therefore, you get the highest possible resolution from the largest LCD TVs on the market. Besides, you can connect to the internet using the Ethernet RJ45 Gigabit port for Windows PC and MacBook Pro.
Our Top Pick Docking Station for Laptops
PORTS: 4K HDMI | VGA | 2 USB 3.0 Type-C | 2 USB 2.0 Ports | 87 W PD 3.0 | Ethernet | SD/TF Card Reader | Audio/Mic
- Has 11 ports
- Can connect to two monitors
- Fast internet connection
- Built to last
- Reports of failure on some peripherals
The USB-C Hub by Configear is our top pick, mainly because of its premium built and versatility. But the docking station offers more than that – it has 11 ports for connecting to various accessories. Also, the docking station works well with MacBook Air and MacBook Pro Laptops.
We found this docking station to be not only versatile but is also able to provide a 4K display via HDMI. You can connect it simultaneously to two monitors – one via HDMI and the other via VGA. If you want fast internet, the device comes with a Gigabit (1000Mbps) Ethernet port for that function. Besides, you can listen to high-quality audio using 2-in-1 headphones.
Best Laptop Docking Station for Display
PORTS: Dual 4K@60Hz & Single 5K@60Hz Displaylink Dock | 2xDisplay Port 1.2 2xHDMI 2.0 | 6xUSB 3.0 Ports | Gigabit Ethernet Port
- Supports high-resolution display
- Supports Type-C charging
- For Windows PC
- Allows multi-function operation
- Doesn’t work with Linux OS
- May not work with Thunderbolt
If the primary reason for buying a docking station is a bigger, better display, go for this WAVLINK product. That’s because it is the only device that supports up to 5K (5120 x 2880) at 60Hz on HDMI. Nonetheless, the other two ports have 4K (3840 x 2160) at 60Hz resolution, which is exceptionally high.
Apart from the high-resolution display, the laptops docking station supports USB Type-C charging of up to 60W. It has six USB 3.0 ports for connecting peripheral devices like USB sticks, keyboards, mice, and external drives. Finally, the docking station supports PCs from Windows XP to Windows 10.
6. USB-C Docking Station, Hiearcool 4K Triple-Display 17-in-1 Docking Station for Windows USB Laptop and Thunderbolt 3
Best Laptop Docking Station for Thunderbolt 3
PORTS: 2 4K HDMI | DP Output | VGA | RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet | 2 USB 3.0 | 2 USB 2.0 | 100W USB PD Charging| Micro-SD/TF Card Reader | Audio Combo
- Plug-n-play for Windows devices
- Has triple-play functionality
- Supports Thunderbolt 3
- 18-month warranty
- Doesn’t support MacBooks
The USB Docking Station by Hiearcool greatly improves the performance of a Windows PC by providing several connectivity options. That’s because it has 17 ports that are ready for use immediately, given that this is mainly a plug-n-play device. Even better, it is a triple display docking station with two 4K HDMI ports and one VGA port.
However, this device is not just defined by the number of ports but also compatible with Thunderbolt 3 systems. Accordingly, it provides up to 100W charging power, with the ability to recharge the host laptop. And you can use it with all kinds of Windows PCs to connect wireless devices, microphones, and headphones.
Best for Dell Laptops
PORTS: 2 HDMI 19-pin Type-A | 3 super-speed USB 3.0 9-pin USB Type-A | RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet | VGA | 3.5-millimeter Headphone output
- Has triple-display capabilities
- Fast Ethernet networking
- Includes an HDMI-DVI adapter
- Supports limited laptops
- Doesn’t support multi-stream transport
The Dell USB 3.0 Ultra-HD/4K Triple Display Docking station is designed to work with the company’s laptops. For example, it works with Dell Inspiron 15 7567 Gaming Laptop, Dell Latitude 13 7350, and Dell XPS 13 9345. Given that all of these are PCs, we can call the device a Windows docking station.
But what functionality does it serve on those laptops? It provides triple-display via HDMI and VGA ports and has a fast internet connection thanks to RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet port. Finally, it enables connection to various peripherals via two USB ports.
Best for Several Operating Systems
PORTS: Dual 4K HDMI Ports | RJ45 Ethernet | 4USB Ports | SD/TF Card Reader | PD USB-C Charging Port | Audio/Mic | for MacBook/Pro/Air Type-C Windows Laptops
- Can charge phone and laptop
- Supports various Oss
- Provides 4K display
- Fast file transfer
- Doesn’t work with Android devices
The VAVA USB-C is one of the best docking stations for laptops when optimizing your visual experience. That’s because it has dual HDMI ports for connecting to your monitor, HDTV, or projector. That means you can display the contents of your laptop on two screens at the same time without lag time.
However, the 12-in-1 Type-C hub has more than just great display functionality. It also enables fast (512Mbps) data transfer via two USB 3.0 ports and fast internet through RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet. Finally, the device provides dual charging for your laptop and phone.
Best for Highest Charging Power
PORTS: Dual-4K HDMI | VGA | AUX 3.5mm | USB-C to USB | Micro-SD Card Reader | Compatible with MacBook, iPad Pro, Dell XPS
- Supports Mac OS
- Fast data transfer speeds
- High charging power
- Difficulty streaming videos
Even though most people hardly consider the charging power of a docking station, it’s still an important factor. And the USB-C Docking Station, QGeeM 9-in-1 USB-C Hub, stands out with 87W of charging power. That’s important because it can charge your laptop very fast.
However, the dock station does not only have high charging power but also provides 4K ultra-HD or UHD display. That’s because it has two 4K HDMI ports and a VGA port, which incidentally provides for triple-display. Also, the two USB 3.0 ports have data transfer speeds of up to 5Gbps. Finally, it is compatible with MacBook Pro laptops from 2016 to 2019, Dell XPS, and iPad Pro.
Best Universal Docking Station
PORTS: 4 USB 3.0 Ports | 1 USB-C Port | two 4K HDMI | 1 5K HDMI | RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet | PD USB-C charging
- Has up to 5K display
- Fast USB ports
- 65W charging power
- Some users had issues with the display
With the Dell 452-BCYT D6000, you can choose whether you want a single 5K or triple 4K displays. However, if you have an HDTV, there isn’t much difference between the two levels of resolution. Even so, the docking station comes with a ready HDMI cable so that you can use it immediately.
In addition to the impressive display, the device also comes with four USB ports for connecting all types of peripherals. Consequently, it enables you to quickly transfer files between the laptop and your phone, USB stick, or external drive. However, a Windows docking station requires downloading and installing graphics drivers for Windows XP and 7.
When buying a laptop docking station, the devices look so similar that you may end up choosing the wrong one. That’s because docking stations do not work with just any laptop. Instructively, some are meant exclusively for Windows laptops, while others only work with MacBook machines. In some instances, you may even have to install additional drivers to support the device.
Docking stations are also available at varied prices from below $100 to above $300. However, the price shouldn’t be a consideration when buying a docking station. The following are factors to consider before choosing the right docking station for laptops.
The Laptop Model
To repeat, docking stations don’t work on just any type of laptop. Usually, your laptop’s operating system (Windows, Mac OS, Android, or Chrome OS) determines the compatible device. If you have a Windows laptop PC, you should narrow down your search to docking stations supporting it. That’s also true for a MacBook or any other laptop. Luckily, some docking stations work with various types of laptops.
Support for Thunderbolt
It is also important to consider whether your laptop has supported Thunderbolt. That’s because most docking stations come ready to connect via a USB Type-C port. So, if you have an older laptop with only USB Type-A ports, it will be impossible to operate the docking station.
While modern laptops come with USB Type-C ports, there are major differences, especially concerning support for Thunderbolt. That means a Thunderbolt dock will not work with a non-Thunderbolt PC. So make sure to ascertain that kind of compatibility before buying a docking system.
Purpose of Docking Station
Given the number of ports, docking stations serve different purposes. Some support one monitor, others two (dual display), and the rest three (triple-display). Still, others allow you to charge a laptop or phone via a dedicated USB Type-C port. That’s why checking the functionality of each docking station is key. Otherwise, you will be disappointed to discover that the device you bought cannot quite meet your needs.
How Powerful Is The Docking Station?
The PD in the docking station descriptions stands for power delivery. Thus, having USB Type-C PD means the docking station can charge a laptop. However, it is important to check is the wattage is enough to recharge your laptop fully. That’s because larger laptops have powerful CPU and separate GPUs that put high demand on the charger.
For example, the MacBook Pro 16-inch demands at least 96W of power, which most docking stations cannot deliver. Accordingly, you cannot buy a docking station with USB Type-C 60W for such a machine. So, make sure the maximum output power of the docking station is on par with your laptop’s power needs.
Type and Number of Ports
When checking the specs of a docking station, count the number and type of ports. For instance, it helps to know how many USB Type-A and USB Type-C and whether they are 2.0 or 3.0. That’s important because it helps you to know whether the USB ports will charge your phone (and laptop) or not.
Do You Have The Right Cables?
Having a docking port is one thing, connecting it to the laptop and peripheral devices is another. That’s because, without the right cables, you will not manage to connect it. In that case, you will require HDMI cables, VGA cables, DVI cables, USB cables, and Auxiliary audio cables. The cable usually has the “male” part while the docking station or peripheral device has a “female” part. Finally, the cables should be long enough to cover the desired distance.
Do docking stations work with all laptops?
No. Docking stations do not work with all laptops. A laptop needs to have at least a USB 3.0 port to work with a docking station. However, even after meeting that condition, some laptops may still fail to work if the operating system isn’t right. That’s why you should always check that your laptop can use a docking station.
Is there a universal laptop docking station?
Yes. A universal docking station connects to Windows laptops, MacBooks, iPads, and so on. It supports at least two monitors, nine accessories via USB, and an Ethernet network. Thus, the supported peripherals include printers, speakers, mice, keyboards, and headphones. All you need to do is connect it to your laptop via a single USB cable and onwards to the peripherals.
Do docking stations charge laptops?
Yes. Docking stations charge laptops via the USB Type-C Power Delivery (PD). Because of that, docking stations have different ratings in terms of the maximum possible wattage. For example, some provide 60W white others provide 87W.
Do laptops need a docking station?
Yes. Laptops need a docking station, especially if you intend to turn your laptop into a functional business computer. Thus, you won’t need to buy a desktop since you can connect all the important accessories to your laptop. As a result, you will continue with your work and even save money in the process.
What is the best docking station?
The best docking station is one that is capable of connecting to your computer and other peripherals. Also, it should serve all your needs for buying it. If you need to charge your laptop using it, it should have enough power to do so. Similarly, if you need to connect it to a micro-SD card, then it should have a port for that.
How do I install a docking station on my laptop?
To install a docking station to your laptop, you only need to plug it in. That’s because, for compatible laptops, docking stations are mostly plug-n-play devices. For example, docking stations designed for Windows 8 or Windows 10 do not require you to install additional drivers. However, if you have an older operating system, you may have to install the necessary drivers through Windows updates.
Is Thunderbolt 3 the same as USB C?
No. Even though Thunderbolt 3 has the same design as USB C, the two are not the same. Accordingly, Thunderbolt 3 is faster and provides better video display. Specifically, Thunderbolt 3 has a speed of 40Gbps compared to USB C’s 10Gbps. Because of that, Thunderbolt gives faster access to more data compared to USB C.
From our comprehensive list of laptop docking stations, you should be able to choose one that works for you. Don’t forget to refer to the buying guide for detailed explanations about the factors to look for before buying. Also, ensure that the docking station can meet your needs. Otherwise, you will end up with a device you can hardly use.