If you’re someone who relies heavily on your MacBook for work, then you know the importance of finding the perfect docking station. A good docking station can increase your productivity by providing all the ports and connections you need to get things done.
But with so many different options available, it can be tough to find the right one for your needs. That’s why we’ve put together this list of the 7 best MacBook docking stations for productivity in 2023.
So whether you’re looking for a dock with extra storage or one that offers multiple monitor support, we have something for everyone. Read on to find the perfect dock for you!
What are the benefits of a MacBook docking station?
A MacBook docking station is a device that connects to your mac laptop to provide extra ports and connections. This can be helpful for people who need to connect multiple devices or want an easier way to transfer files between their computers and other devices. Docking stations can also provide extra power to your MacBook, which can be helpful if you plan on using it for extended periods of time. Overall, docking stations are a great way to increase the functionality of your MacBook and make it easier to get things done.
Can an M1 Macbook support multiple displays?
Dual “Extended” displays are not supported on 2020 M1-based Macbooks through their Thunderbolt 3 ports. This means that when using any M1-based MacBooks, users cannot extend their desktop over two displays via the Thunderbolt 3 Port. Up until recently, if you had a standard M1 device, you needed to use an additional external adapter to extend your screen across multiple monitors. In April of 2022, Anker released a device that could support up to 3 monitors for M1 Macbooks. If you have an M1 Pro or M1 Max, don’t fret as these should have no problems with multiple monitor displays.
USB C vs. Thunderbolt 3 vs. Thunderbolt 4, what’s the difference?
Thunderbolt 4 and USB C are the most popular connectivity standards currently available. They both offer fast data transfer speeds and can be used to connect a variety of devices. Thunderbolt 4 is the newer standard and offers some advantages over USB C, such as support for higher resolutions and data transfer speeds. However, Thunderbolt 3 is still a popular option and is compatible with more devices. When it comes to choosing a docking station, you’ll want to make sure that it offers the ports you need. If you’re looking for a dock with Thunderbolt 3 or USB C support, then you should have no problem finding one that meets your needs.
Best docking station for MacBook
- Plugable 4K USB Docking Station (Best overall docking station)
- Anker Triple Display Dock (Best multiple external monitor display for M1 Macs)
- Kensington SD 2500 T Thunderbolt 3 (Best value docking station)
- Kensington SD4780P USB-C and T3/T4 (Best for PC and Macbook Compatibility)
- Anker PowerExpand 5-in-1 Thunderbolt 4 Mini (Best compact dock)
- Ascrono Vertical Docking Station (Best vertical docking station)
- Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station (Best budget docking station)
- HyperDrive Docking Station (The Best Lightweight Dual Docking Station)
1. Satechi Thunderbolt 4 Dock
Best Overall Docking Station For MacBooks
Looking for a dock that can do it all?
Check out the Plugable 4k USB Docking Station. It features:
- USB-C Power delivery through 10 Gbps cord at 100 W
- Extra Charging port for other devices through 10GPS Cord at 20W
- Gigabit Ethernet
- 4x USB-A 3.2 ports (up to 10 Gbps)
- 1x USB-C 3.1 charging port
- 2x Displayport
- 2X HDMI Port
- an SD card reader
- Audio Input and output
Prayers of Mac M1 and M2 are rejoicing at this docking station because not only is it a powerful device, but it solves the dreaded issue of M1 and M2 not being able to support dual displays. You can rest assured that this docking station will be able to support your Macbook no matter what make or model. This option is perfect for anyone wanting dual displays without the hassle of installing software as a workaround.
2. Anker Triple Display Docking Station for M1 MacBooks
Best multiple external monitor display for M1 Macbooks
If you’re finally looking for an easy way to add a trio of displays to your MacBook, check out the Anker Triple Display Docking Station.
It’s based on the latest Thunderbolt 4 technology, and it offers one host port with Power Delivery up to 96 watts, so you can easily charge your MacBook.
There are three Thunderbolt 4 downstream ports, each of which supports data transfer speeds of up to 40 Gbps, 15W charging, and dual 4K HDMI output at up to 60Hz total. That means you can use this docking station to create a powerful workstation that can easily handle all of your multimedia needs.
Plus, it comes with a Gigabit Ethernet port, three USB-A 3.2 ports that support data transfer speeds of up to 10Gbps, a USB-A 2.0 charging port, and a UHS-II SD card reader.
So if you’re looking for a MacBook Pro docking station that finally lets you expand your screens with one robust docking station, be sure to check out this Anker device.
3. Kensington SD2500T Thunderbolt 3 Dual 4K Hybrid Nano Dock
Best value docking station
The Kensington SD2500T Thunderbolt 3 Dual 4K Hybrid Nano Dock is the perfect accessory for your Thunderbolt 4 MacBook (macOS 11 or later), Thunderbolt 4 Windows laptop, or for your non-Thunderbolt USB-C laptops.
This dock allows you to connect dual monitors 4k Ultra HD (4k 60Hz) or a single monitor 8k 30Hz. It also has transfer speeds up to 40Gbps.
The dock comes with a 180-watt power supply that delivers 90W power to charge your laptop and also provides additional power to run peripherals. Its static charging technology provides 15W to each of the downstream Thunderbolt 4 ports without taking power from the laptop.
The dock also has an SD card reader (UHS-II SD 4.0), four USB-A ports (one 5V/1.5A charging port and three Gen2@10Gbps ports), one Gigabit Ethernet port, and one audio combo jack. The Kensington SD2500T Thunderbolt 3 Dual 4K Hybrid Nano Dock is backed by a three-year warranty and lifetime Kensington technical support.
Order yours today and experience the ultimate in portability, flexibility, and performance!
4. Kensington SD4780P USB-C and Thunderbolt 3/4 Docking Station
Best for PC and Macbook compabitibility
The Kensington SD4780P USB-C and Thunderbolt 3/4 Docking Station is a great way to add extra displays and ports to your MacBook.
It comes with two DisplayLink display outputs, which can be used to connect two 4K monitors at 60Hz. It also has four video-out ports (two DisplayPort 1.2+ and two HDMI ports) for flexibility. The docking station also includes 135W power, providing up to 100W laptop charging via PD 3.0 for USB-C and Thunderbolt 3/4 devices. There are also two USB ports (Gen-2 fast charging) + (one USB-A 5V 2.4A and one USB-C 5V 3A), four USB ports (A 3.1) 5V .9A, a 3.5mm headphone/speaker/microphone combo jack, a gigabit ethernet port, and an on-off switch.
The dock comes with a USB-C cable so you can start using it right away. It also has a three-year warranty and lifetime Kensington support.
5. Anker PowerExpand 5-in-1 Thunderbolt 4 Mini Dock
Best compact dock
The Anker PowerExpand 5-in-1 Thunderbolt 4 Mini Docking station is a great little device that packs a lot of punch.
It is equipped with an 85W Thunderbolt 4 upstream port (connects to your laptop), 3 Thunderbolt 4 downstream ports, and 1 USB-A port. This allows you to connect your USB-C laptop to the Thunderbolt 4 upstream port to get a powerful charge up to 85W, or connect mobile devices to the 3 other Thunderbolt 4 ports to get a 15W charge.
The 3 Thunderbolt 4 downstream ports also support data transfer speeds of up to 40 Gbps—enough to transfer a 20GB file in just over 10 seconds. The Thunderbolt 4 downstream port supports media display to a single monitor in up to 8K@30Hz, or to dual monitors in up to 4K@60Hz.
This little guy packs a lot of features into a small package and is perfect for people on-the-go.
6. Ascrono Vertical Docking Station Hub
Best MacBook vertical dock
The Anker PowerExpand 5-in-1 Thunderbolt 4 Mini Docking station is the perfect way to keep your work area neat and organized.
The slide-in design makes it easy to connect all of your devices, and the green light indicates that you are immediately connected.
The heavy base provides a safe and secure place to stow your laptop, and the 2x USB-C Thunderbolt-4 compatible ports allow you to connect your charger and any other USB-C device.
The docking station will not scratch your MacBook while in use, and the 40Gbps connection speeds make it the perfect way to connect all of your devices.
7. Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Dock Mini HD
Best budget docking station
The Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Dock Mini HD is an excellent dock that is perfect for users who own a MacBook Pro 13″ M1 (2020), MacBook Air 13″ M1 (2020), and Mac mini M1 (2020).
The dock allows you to connect Dual 4K UHD displays @ 60Hz, making it the perfect tool for expanding your desktop workspace.
Additionally, the dock connects and powers multiple devices through its ports, making it an indispensable tool for any office or home workspace. However, it should be noted that the new M1-based MacBooks do not support dual “Extended” displays through their Thunderbolt 3 ports.
So if you are using one of those models, you will only be able to use one display at a time via the Thunderbolt 3 Port. Thankfully, all other functions of the dock will operate as normal.
The Best Lightweight Dual Docking Station
- 100 W Power delivery
- 2 USB-A Ports
- 1 Thunderbolt 4 Upstream port
- 1 Thunderbolt 4 downstream ports
- Dual 4K displays
- gigabit Ethernet jack
- SD Card reader
- Micro SD Card Reader
- 3.5 MM Audio Combo Jack
- Compatible with Mac and PC laptops
- Does not come with its own power supply
- Only compatible with USB-C
The HyperDrive for Macbook M1 M2 Pro is one of the most versatile yet lightweight docking stations on the market. This docking station supports dual display for Macbook Pros with both M1 and M2, which has been a known issue for most Mac users. While that is one of the biggest perks of this docking station, the HyperDrive is compatible with Macbook Airs, Windows PC, and even Chromebooks.
The HyperDrive comes equipped with 2 HDMI ports that support 4K, 2 USB-A ports, a headphone jack, and SD and Micro SD Card slot. While this docking station does not come included with a power source, it has a USB-C port that you can plug your charging cord into to relay the power to your device. This port is located next to the ethernet adapter and supports power up to 100w. The docking station also has another USB-C Port located that can be used to charge external devices.
If you are in the market for a lightweight docking station with Dual 4K support with multiple ports and charging capabilities, the HyperDrive may be right for you. Another perk is that this docking station is cheaper than a lot of other options and can be found on Amazon for less than $200.
10 Things to Consider When Purchasing a Docking Station for Your Macbook
Now that we’ve gone over some of the best options for MacBook docking stations, it’s time to talk about what you should consider before making your purchase. Here are 5 things to keep in mind:
If you plan on traveling with your dock, then you’ll want to make sure it’s small and light enough to take with you on the go. Some docks are larger and heavier than others, so it’s important to find one that’s the right size for your needs.
2. Number of Ports
Docks come with different numbers of ports, so it’s important to choose one that has enough ports for all the devices you want to connect. If you only need a few ports, then you can save money by choosing a less expensive dock. However, if you need multiple ports, then you’ll want to make sure the dock you choose has enough to meet your needs.
3. Power Delivery
If you plan on using your dock for extended periods of time, then you’ll want to make sure it has power delivery. This feature allows the dock to provide power to your MacBook, which can be helpful if you’re using it for long work sessions or if you have a lot of devices connected to it.
4. Display Support
If you plan on using multiple monitors with your MacBook, then you’ll want to make sure the dock you choose supports extended displays. Some docks only support a single display, while others can support multiple displays.
Docking stations can range in price from around $100 to $400, so it’s important to find one that fits your budget. If you only need a few basic features, then you can save money by choosing a less expensive dock. However, if you need multiple ports or extended display support, then you’ll want to choose a more expensive dock.
6. Cable Length
The length of the dock’s cables can be important, especially if you plan on using it with multiple devices. Some docks come with short cables that might not be long enough to reach all your devices. Others come with longer cables that give you more flexibility in where you can place your dock.
7. Ease of Use
You’ll want to make sure the dock you choose is easy to set up and use. Some docks are more complicated than others, so it’s important to find one that’s simple to use.
Make sure the dock you choose is compatible with your MacBook. Some docks only work with certain types of MacBooks, so it’s important to find one that’s compatible with the type of MacBook you have.
There are many different brands of docking stations available, so it’s important to choose one from a reputable brand. Some of the most popular brands include Belkin, Kensington, and Anker.
Most docking stations come with a one-year warranty, but some brands offer longer warranties. It’s important to find a dock from a brand that offers a good warranty in case your dock breaks or stops working properly.
Recap and Further Reading
No matter which dock you choose, make sure it has the features you need to be productive with your MacBook. With the right dock, you can transform your MacBook into a powerful workstation that can help you get more done.
If you’re looking for more information on choosing the right docking station for your needs, check out this article on the best laptop docking stations. Do you have a favorite dock that we didn’t mention? Let us know in the comments below!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it worth it to get a docking station for my MacBook?
If you use your MacBook for work or other productivity-related activities, then a docking station can be a great investment. Docking stations provide extra ports and connections that can make it easier to get things done. They can also provide extra power to your MacBook, which can come in handy if you plan on using it for extended periods of time. Overall, a docking station is a great way to increase the functionality of your MacBook and make it easier to get things done.
How do you connect a MacBook to a monitor?
You can connect a MacBook to an external monitor in a few different ways. The most common way is to use a Thunderbolt 3 or an HDMI cable through a docking station or adapter.
Can I use a USB C docking station with my MacBook?
Yes, you can use a USB C docking station with a MacBook. However, not all USB C docking stations are created equal. Some only offer charging and data transfer, while others also offer video output.
What is the best way to connect multiple monitors to a MacBook Pro?
The best way to connect multiple monitors to a MacBook Pro is to use a Thunderbolt 4 docking station. This will allow you to connect up to two 4K monitors or one 5K monitor.
What if I have an older MacBook without thunderbolt ports?
If you have an older MacBook without thunderbolt ports, you can still use a docking station. However, you will need to find a docking station with a USB 3.0 output, instead of a thunderbolt or USB C.
Is there a way to connect my MacBook wirelessly to a monitor?
Yes, there are wireless adapters that you can purchase that will allow you to connect your MacBook to a monitor without any wires. However, these adapters can be pricey and may not offer the same quality as a wired connection.
Will MacBook Pro docking stations work as docking stations for a MacBook Air?
Yes, these MacBook Pro docking stations will also work for a MacBook Air. However, you may not be able to take advantage of all the features offered by the docking station if your MacBook Air does not have a Thunderbolt port. Make sure you check the manufacturer’s compatibility chart.