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Best laptop docking stations of 2021

best laptop docking stations

With detailed reviews from 12,561 customer reviews, WeLookUp has chosen 5 popular products to review for the best laptop docking stations. We are going to take a good look at each of them to determine what exactly it is that makes them the best in this price range. Let’s take to learn the top models loved by consumers: StarTech, Targus, Kensington, Toshiba, Tobenone, OKX, KAPOK, Plugable, VaKo, Hiearcool, RAYROW.

Top 5 the best laptop docking stations reviews

With plenty of laptop docking stations on the market, many people find it, changeling, to decide which one to select. Fortunately, today you have clicked the right page. We’ve compiled a list of the best laptop docking stations that include form factor, onboard features, processor support, brand reputation, customer reviews and ratings, expansion slots and ports, price, and SATA support. Following is our roundup of the best laptop docking stations:

Bestseller No. 1
USB C Dual Monitor Docking Station for Laptop, 13-in-1 USB C Hub Adapter with HDMI DisplayPort VGA, 2 USB, USB C Charging and 3.5mm Audio, USB C Docking Station Compatible for USB C Windows Laptops
  • Slim and compact without any compromise on accessibility
  • The dual monitor USB C adapter boosts your efficiency whenever work from home or office or on-the-go.
  • he dual monitor USB C adapter is rated at 100W Input and 87W output and supports power Delivery 3. 0 technology (backward PD 2.0) which allows significantly shortened charging times when compared to a non-pad charger.
  • More detail…
Bestseller No. 2
Toshiba Dynadock V3.0+
  • Security lock slot.
  • OS required: Microsoft windows 7 (32/64 bits), windows 8 (32/64 bits), windows 8.1.
  • Supported video mode for mirror desktop, extended desktop, primary display.
  • More detail…
Bestseller No. 3
Kensington USB 3.0 Dual Display Docking Station for Windows, Mac OS, Surface Pro & Surface Laptop (K33972US),Black
  • Universal USB Type “A” Dock works with laptops that have a USB-A port and can be used for a USB-C laptop with a usb-c to usb-a adapter.
  • The USB-A cable (included) from your laptop to the docking station provides all the connectivity.
  • 2 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Ports (backwards compatible to USB 2.0) that support high-speed data transfer up to 5Gbps and phone charging.
  • More detail…
Bestseller No. 4
Targus USB 3.0 SuperSpeed Universal Dual Display Video Docking Station with Power, Black (ACP71EUZA)
  • Universal USB 3.0 SuperSpeed connection – 2ft/ 60cm cable.
  • Built in power 90W @ 19.5V Charging, 8 power tips included
  • Supports up to 2 external screens up to 2048 x 1152 resolution
  • More detail…
Bestseller No. 5
Startech Thunderbolt 3 Dock For Windows Dual-4k video docking
  • With a single cable connect your Windows laptop to dual 4K displays & multiple peripherals
  • Compatible with most Windows based Thunderbolt 3 equipped laptops & Ultrabooks
  • Thunderbolt 3 Dual 4K Docking Station for Laptops / Windows Only / Thunderbolt 3 Dock / Dual 4K Ultra HD
  • More detail…

Buying Guide

Laptops are preferred over desktops due to their portability. They are getting thinner and light than ever, making them easy to travel around with. However, in exchange for mobility, some features such as ports and connectivity options need to be compromised. There’s a solution for that: docking stations. In this article, we’ll take a look at what the best laptop docking stations are made of.

Docking stations are small devices that help you expand your laptops’ connectivity. It is an extremely affordable solution to the missing of ports problem. The best laptop docking stations are especially handy for those working from home, like many of us at the moment. It transforms your laptops into a desktop replacement. Now let’s take a closer look at what factors you need to know when choosing the best laptop docking stations:

1. Compatibility

First thing you need to check before taking your credit card out is what type of laptop you are using. You thought that all laptop docking stations are the same? Here’s the thing: there are two main types of laptop docking stations, universal and model-specific.

As the name implies, universal docking stations mean that they can be used with any laptops, regardless of models and OS. However, this type of dock have somewhat limited connectivity options .

On the other hand, model-specific docks are designed to work with specific laptop brands or OS (Thinkpad, Macbook, Surface, etc.). For a more complete and pleasant experience, I recommend choosing the docks that are intended for your models.

In short, you need to look for and read carefully the specs of a laptop docking station. For example, this Acodot supports Windows XP to 10, while doesn’t support Surface RT and Linux/Unix.

2. Connectivity

This is the most important factor you need to keep in mind when choosing the best laptop docking stations. How are you going to connect your laptop to your dock? Are there connectors on the laptop and on the dock are of the same type? Here are some ports you need to look out for:

  • USB

There are basic ports that you can find on every dock. The most basic docks such as Amazon Basics Docking Station would have at least two to three USB ports. You can never have too many of these.

Aside from the number of USB ports, the type of USB is also important. USB 2.0 is slow but adequate to connect your wireless mouse and keyboard. I advise you to get at least USB 3.0/3.1 in this day and age. USB 3.0/3.1 is compatible with older USB generation and offers higher data transferring speed. Like this VKUSRA which features 3 USB 3.0 ports.

The newer USB connector is USB-Type C. This is the most popular connection at the moment. You can find this type of connector on most modern laptops.  USB-Type C allows you to connect various different peripherals and outputs in a single USB port. Its speed is also among the best at the moment.

  • Thunderbolt 3

Thunderbolt 3 docks are among the best laptop docking stations you can find right now. Thunderbolt 3 offers 4K display, amazing speed and is compatible with previous connection types. That means you one port of this type can connect to Thunderbolt devices, all display, and all USB devices.

One thing to keep in mind, though, is whether your laptop supports Thunderbolt 3 or not. Technically, you can connect non-Thunderbolt laptops to Thunderbolt docks through USB-C but you won’t be able to use Thunderbolt features. Some noteworthy docks of this type include CalDigit TS3 Plus and  StarTech TB3DKM2DP.

  • Video output

Look closely at the specs of both your laptop and the docks. First, you need to check what type of video output it is: HDMI, VGA, or DisplayPort.

If you want to connect to a single generic Full HD display through HDMI, any docks will do. Things get more complicated, though, if you plan on using a 4K, 5K display, or multiple of them. Pay attention to not only the specs of your laptop but also the video hardware on the docks. Check to see whether your docks can support up to 4K 60Hz.

Some docking stations such as VA-DK004 or WAVLINK B082PFZVZ7 support up to dual 4K monitors or one 5k monitor.

And that’s some of the must-have ports on a docking station. There are still some other optional ports that you many need to take a look at:

  • Ethernet Jacks: Sometimes a Wi-Fi connection won’t cut it, and you want a stable connection. Ethernet jack allows you to connect your laptop to wired Internet connection for greater speed and stability.
  • SD card readers: If you are a photographer or media creation professionals, these ports could be handy. These allow for easier transferring data between your cameras and computer.
  • Audio interface: Sometimes you would find a headphone jack or mic jack separately or a combo jack. These ports help you plug in the headphones at a distance from the computer itself.

3. Power

Instead of charging your laptops through power supplies, some docks are able to deliver power to your laptops. Most of the docks out there accomplish this through USB-C. The best laptop docking stations can give you such a true one-cable experience

One thing you need to keep in mind is the amount of power your docks can deliver. High-end laptops with a dedicated GPU would draw out more power than regular office laptops. So you need to check in advance the maximum output of power (in watts) on your docks.

For instance, a 13-inch Macbook Pro requires a power supply of 60 watts. So it’s not advisable to choose docks with output capability lower than this number. If it is, the dock will struggle to keep the Macbook Pro at full charge under heavy load. It’s recommended to find a dock with higher watts such as Elgato Thunderbolt 3 which delivers up to 85W.

FAQs

1. What are Docking Stations?

More and more people are switching from desktop to laptop. A laptop will be much more portable, easy to carry around, and you should have no problem moving it from one place to another. And the smaller your laptop, the easier it is to get anywhere you want with it. At the same time, it can pose a number of challenges when working with a very small laptop.

The screens, keyboards, and touchpads of these devices are smaller than those on stationary PCs. It is not uncommon for users to connect external devices to a laptop, for example a mouse, keyboard or monitor for easier use. In this way, the laptop only acts as a base system unit, and doesn’t differ much from a desktop in terms of convenience.

But sometimes you may run into an issue with the number of ports in your laptop that may not be enough to connect an additional device. Or the other thing is that when you plug in your devices in and out very often, the port can start to perform worse and eventually break down. That’s why the Docking Stations have been created.

Docking Stations will expand the operability of your laptop, making it as comfortable to use as with a PC, but will still maintain all the benefits of laptop use.

2. What is the difference between a hub and a laptop docking station?

A Hub simply expands the number of USB ports on your laptop. It acts as a splitter which helps you connect multiple devices to a port. Some hubs have only USB-A ports, while some variants have both USB-A and USB-C ports. In addition, there may be additional ports for Ethernet.

Docking stations expand more than just the number of ports. It brings all kinds of functions to your laptop, transforming it into a desktop replacement. Docks offer USB-A, USB-C, Thunderbolt, display outputs, etc. and even provide power for your system.

3. Why my laptop docking stations aren’t charging my laptops?

As mentioned in the buying guide, you can charge your laptops using docking stations. However, some docks just simply don’t have this feature. The rule of thumb is that standard USB A-B docks typically can’t charge your laptops. This is due to standard USB ports unable to supply enough power for your laptops or tablets. You can charge your smartphones or tablets through USB ports on laptops, though.

On the other hand, you can often find the charging feature on USB-C laptop docking stations. Up to 100W of power can be delivered through USB-C connectors. If you find a USB-C dock with USB PD (Power Delivery), it means that these docks can be used to charge your laptops.

Final Thoughts

Here we looked at the best Chromebooks for kids. We looked at Chromebooks from various brands as well as with different screen sizes.

The best all-rounder laptop docking station is CalDigit TS3 Plus. It has 15 ports of various connection types: Thunderbolt 3, DisplayPort, 3.5 mm headphone jack, etc. This dock provides 87 watts of power through the first Thunderbolt port and 15 watts through the second Thunderbolt port. It supports dual 4K displays. This is truly the best choice, although on a heavier side.

And that’s the end of our article about the best laptop docking stations. I hope this guide has helped you in choosing the right docks that meet all of your needs.