Docking stations are impressive devices that allow you to connect your laptop to multiple devices. With that being said, not all docking stations are created equal and some of them outperform the others by quite the margin. This means that you shouldn’t just settle for a decent device but the best docking station that you can find.
However it’s not just easy to pick an amazing docking station because they have their own criteria and specs to look out for. Fortunately for you, this article gives you a list of the top docking stations on the market as well as explain the various things to look for in a docking station.
Recommendations for January 2021
The Best Laptop Docking Stations in 2020
AmazonBasics Docking Station – Tons of USB Ports
The AmazonBasics Docking Station is one of the best docking stations to choose if you’re looking for amazing connectivity and ii you plan to connect to multiple USB ports at once. It’s a universal docking station that features up to nine peripherals.
That’s two USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports, and connection to DVI-I ports, VGA adapters, and one USB HDMI port. It also connects up to two monitors making this one versatile docking station.
Overall, the AmazonBasics Docking Station is an amazing choice for people who want a lot of connectivity. What’s even more amazing is that it’s not very expensive as well making this a good option for budget buyers as well.
Plugable Docking Station – Budget Docking Station
The Plugable USB 3.0 Universal Laptop Docking Station is one of the best budget options for docking stations. Despite being a budget choice it’s still a universal docking station which means that it supports USB type C connections, USB 2.0, and USB 3.0 ports. Sadly it does not support thunderbolt 3 connections which is a shame.
It may not support 4K displays but it can connect to HDMI up and supports displays as high as 2560×1440 pixels. Additionally i t also supports two monitors as well but it reduces its resolution down to 1920 x 1200 which is still amazing for a budget docking station.
Sadly the Plugable USB 3.0 Universal Laptop Docking Station is only compatible with windows so don’t buy this if you’re using a Macbook or other Mac related computers.
Dell D6000 Universal Dock – 5K display
The Dell D6000 Universal Dock is a good choice if you’re looking for one best laptop docking station designed for dell laptops. This docking station was meant to support extremely high resolution allowing it to easily handle two 4K resolutions.
In fact this docking station can handle up to 3 4K resolutions screens or a single 5K resolution screen. Being a universal dock, this docking station has 5 USB ports which is amazing. That’s four USB 3.0 ports, and on a type C USB port.
Aside from this it also allows HDMI connections so you’ll be able to enjoy its dual 4K resolution on multiple screens or a really amazing 5K resolution on a single high quality screen.
Overall, the Dell D6000 Universal Dock is one of the best docking stations laptops out there and it was meant to be paired with computers that support high resolutions which Dell has a lot of.
J5create Ultra Station – Wormhole technology
The J5create Ultra Station is an amazing laptop dock station that is compact and has a clean aesthetic to it. It doesn’t have a very appealing design but it’s one of the most functional docking stations on this list.
It has a pair of USB 3.0 ports and a single USB 2.0 port. This docking station also offers up to 6 adapters with Windows and up to 4 usable adapters with MAC as well. This makes it easy for the docking station to use its Wormhole technology that allows you to drag and drop files from computer to computer.
Since it has both MAC and Windows adapters its able to do direct transferring of files between OSs as well so you can easily move files from your Macbook to your Windows Laptop if you really need to.
Lastly, the docking station also offers a VGA connection and a HDMI connection as well so its use isn’t just limited between computers as well.
Overall, the J5create Ultra Station is one of the best docking stations on the market that offers amazing connectivity with an HDMI port, connection to type C USB ports, as well as direct transfer between computers with different OSs.
Kensington SD4700P – Truly Universal
Kensington is a respected and well known brand for over 35 years. They are known for their reliable and functional docking station and the Kensington SD4700P is no different.
The Kensington SD4700P is perhaps the only truly “universal” docking station on this list since. Other universal docking stations here only support USB type C port, USB 2.0, and USB 3.0 ports.
Some of them don’t support thunderbolt 3 connections which can be very misleading. The Kensington SD4700P is truly universal since it connects to all types of USB ports to even HDMi, DVI, and VGA connections.
Having a thunderbolt 3 connection also ensures that this docking station is fully capable of transferring large amounts of files in a short amount of time. So it might be a good idea to buy this product if you’re planning to do this.
Aside from this, this docking station features a dual display so you can easily set up two monitors right away. Not to mention that it has fast charging ports as well for connecting to your smartphone or tablet.
Lastly, it comes at an affordable price as well. Although not the cheapest it offers a lot of bang for its buck. Overall, the Kensington SD4700P lives up to the reputation Kensington and delivers as well.
TOTU USB-C Docking Station – Extremely Efficient
The TOTU USB-C Docking Station is an amazing choice if you want to simplify your work. It’s one ideal docking station for a laptop since it significantly makes its user’s life easier and it’s easy to use.
You don’t need to install or set up anything with the TOTU USB-C Docking Station since it’s plug and play. You only need to connect it to the device and you’re good to go. It gives you more than 5 USB ports to use with 3 USB 3.0 ports, 2 USB 2.0, and a single USB C port.
Additionally,it allows for LAN connections as well which is extremely useful if you’re networking and a triple display since it features over 3 HDMI ports for your leisure. Lastly, its careful layout prevents clutter significantly reducing chances of the wires clumping up.
Overall, the TOTU USB-C Docking Station is one of the more efficient laptops docking stations that will significantly make your life easier since you’ll have less clutter and its plug and play design makes it so that you can use it right away.
StarTech.com Docking Station – Fast Charging
StarTech.com Docking Station is an out of this world brand that has a lot to offer; it has five USB ports for you to use which makes it a very versatile choice. Being one of the docking stations for laptops, it simply has your best interest in mind.
The docking station was designed to save space with its vertical design and is compatible with all of your peripherals since it is USB C compatible which makes it compatible with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports as well. It also has a headset jack , GbE port, and an HDMI port adapter as well.
But what truly makes the StarTech.com Docking Station shine like the stars is its fast charging capability. Two of its USB ports are fast charge ports making it very convenient if you’re looking to charge your phone in the shortest amount of time possible.
Overall, the StarTech.com Docking Station is one of the most convenient docking stations for laptop thanks to its amazing vertical design, universal compatibility, and its fast charging capabilities.
Lenovo Dock Gen 2 – Fast Transfer Speeds
Lenovo Dock Gen 2 is a high end docking station designed for the Lenovo Thinkpad series. However it is compatible with other laptops and it provides amazing transfer speeds. It is Thunderbolt 3 compatible allowing to transfer data files up to 10 GB per second.
It also has multiple USB ports and peripherals as well as it provides video ports that support HDMI, ethernet ports and audio jacks and three USB 3.0 ports and two USB 2.0 ports.
Overall, the Lenovo Dock Gen 2 is one of the best laptop docking stations for connectivity thanks to the file transfer rate that it brings.
RAYROW Docking Station – SSD Enclosure
RAYROW Docking Station is truly one of the best laptop docking stations on this list. First of all it offers amazing connectivity since it offers more than one USB port for connectivity. The device offers 4 high quality USB C ports for easy file transfer and access between devices.
The laptop docking station also has display in mind since it offers more than the dual 4K display with its triple 4K display. It has multiple HDMI ports for all kinds of display allowing it to support multiple screens with resolution reaching up to 4K and a refresh rate of 60 Hz.
Additionally, RAYROW Docking Station also offers compatibility to multiple OSs and it’s not just limited to Mac and Windows as well. Since this laptop docking station also supports Linux and Chrome OS as well.
Lastly, the docking station features an SSD enclosure for easy access to SSD SATA drives which is very useful for expanding storage or for gaming.
Overall, the RAYROW Docking Station is a top tier docking station that definitely deserves to be on this list.
Plugable Triple Docking Station – High End Pick
The Plugable Triple Docking Station is simply an improved and more advanced version of the Plugable Docking Station. It’s more expensive but it also has more features as well.
It now features a thunderbolt 3 port which makes it truly universal and it offers triple docking for its video ports as well. It supports DVI, VGA, and DMI ports and is capable of releasing quality resolution of up to 1080 p on its DVI and VGA ports and 4K resolutions on the HDMI port.
It also offers 6 USB ports now with 4 USB 3.0 ports and 2 USB C ports that are thunderbolt 3 compatible.
Overall, the Plugable Triple Docking Station is a higher end version of the Plugable Docking Station and it shows it with its new and upgraded features.
Stone Pro – Built for Thunderbolt 3
A lot of the docking stations on this last have a lot of USB ports but some of them don’t have thunderbolt 3 ports or have only one to spare. This isn’t a problem with the Stone Pro since it offers you stable and reliable connections with its thunderbolt 3 ports.
Now the number of USB A ports it has still outnumbers the thunderbolt 3 ports but at least this docking station has two thunderbolt ports for you to use. These thunderbolt 3 ports offer impressive connection and speeds able to transfer files almost instantly and it can support up to 5K resolutions with 60 Hz.
And since you have two of them, it will be much easier two set up multiple high quality resolution monitors connected to your laptop, what’s more is that each of these monitors will have up to 5K resolution which beats any triple 4K monitor feature quality wise.
Overall, the Stone Pro is an ideal choice for people focused on using the latest hardware that supports Thunderbolt 3 connection.
4URPC Docking Station – Ultra Fast Internet
Docking stations aren’t just there for connecting monitors and devices but they also offer connectivity to the internet as well. The 4URPC Docking Station is one the best docking stations on this list that provides a stable and fast wired connection.
Its ethernet port is capable of handling speeds up to 1000 mbps which makes it ideal for downloading and uploading large files. This also makes this a good docking station for a gaming setup as well since the wired ethernet connection will ensure that you won’t suffer from lags or stutters which is quite the hassles in competitive gaming.
Asides from the ethernet port, the 4URPC Docking Station also provides amazing connectivity as well. Since it’s able to support a triple 4K resolution allowing you to have a multi monitor setup at once which is very useful for multitasking.
Lastly, the docking station also comes with an sd card reader making it very useful if your laptop doesn’t have one.
Overall, the 4URPC Docking Station is a good docking station if you’re planning to create a very effective setup for both work and play.
Picking The Best Laptop Docking Stations in 2021
Your Laptop Model
This might seem unimportant but the model of your laptop can determine whether or not a docking station is a good fit for you. This is because the model and type of your laptop can determine whether or not a docking station is usable in the first place.
To put it simply not all laptops are compatible with every docking station. There are many factors that determine this such as the laptop’s OS, the hardware configuration of the laptop, and many more.
This is why it’s important to do research about the types of docking stations that will work on your laptop. It would be a big shame if you bought an amazing docking station with tons of features only to realize that it doesn’t work.
Another important criteria for picking a docking station is the function. Not all docking stations serve the same purpose and because of this different docking stations are suited for different things as well.
Some docking stations support multi monitor connections, others are built for transferring large data files, while some are good for fast charging your gadgets.This is why it’s very important to have a clear image of a docking station’s function when choosing to buy one.
It will save you a lot of time and energy since it shortens picking time and you’ll be able to get what you really want in the end. Knowing what you want from a docking station will help you find the best one that suits you the most.
Type of Ports
As stated before with the laptops, not all laptops and docking stations are compatible which is a shame but this also applies to your devices as well. Not all gadgets are compatible with all docking stations as well.
So you have to check the type of USB ports and connections your docking station has. If it only supports HDMI then you won’t be able to use devices that use VGA ports.
Thankfully USB 3.0 ports are backwards compatible so USB 2.0 and below ports will work as well. However we do recommend using the USB 3.0 port for fast file transfers since it offers better speeds than your USB 2.0 port.
Asides from this, you need to check for thunderbolt 3 connectivity. Although it’s true that some USB C ports are thunderbolt compatible, it isn’t the case for all of them.
Thunderbolt 3 connections are the best connections we have on the market since they deliver ultra fast speeds of 40 GB per second, allow for fast charging, and output high quality displays.
Number of Ports
Asides from the type of ports, you have to take into account the number of ports as well. It doesn’t matter if you only have one or two USB ports to use. People these days have tons of gadgets and it can be a hassle charging and connecting your gadgets to your laptop one at a time.
A good docking station should have a good number of ports to connect to peripherals. We suggest getting a docking station that has at least five USB ports. Of course you should also include video ports like an HDMI port, audio ports, and ethernet ports as well.
Having five USB ports and more is good but it won’t do you much good if you’re planning to connect your docking station to a high end monitor. A low end docking station will give you bad resolution on your display which can be distracting and simply underwhelming.
Most of the docking stations on this list support 4K resolutions on their HDMI port and 1080p quality displays on their VGA and DVI-I ports. With that being said, we recommend choosing docking stations that support dual 4K or even triple monitor support.
Not only will it give you good resolutions but supporting multiple monitors is a good way for you to multitask as well as save money on buying more docking stations.
Overall, docking stations are a big blessing for setting up a workstation and improving connectivity. With the right docking station you’ll be able to work more efficiently and transfer files without any hassles.
Now that you are more knowledgeable about docking stations and the things to look out for, you should be able to decide for yourself what the best docking station for you should be. After all one of the criteria is the function and purpose of the docking station and that varies from person to person.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is A Docking Station And What Is It Used For?
A docking station is a device used to connect different peripherals and devices to computers which makes them really handy to have if you plan to connect your laptop to multiple monitors.
Docking stations are mainly used for setting up workstations as well as a hub for connecting your devices to one another. Since they provide multiple ports they have various uses from connecting to monitors to transferring large data files from gadget to gadget.
What Type Of Connections Do I Need In A Docking Station?
It depends on the type of laptop you have and the docking station itself. Some docking stations were designed primarily for a specific laptop model and a specific OS, so you need to look out for these things.
However a USB 3.0 port will connect to most docking stations as well as some USB C ports. So keep this in mind when choosing a docking station for your laptop.
Is The Installation For A Docking Station Complicated?
It depends on the docking station. Some docking stations need you to install drivers and various softwares to use. However some of them are plug and play which is really convenient. So if you don’t like installing programs and downloading drivers, it might be good to look for a docking station with a plug and play feature.