The latest full-featured MacBook Pro models, available in 14-inch and 16-inch sizes, have more ports than their predecessors. Each offers three Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) ports, an HDMI port, and an SDXC card slot. The 13-inch MacBook Pro (M2, 2022) only includes two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports. Regardless of which MacBook Pro you own, and depending on your needs, you may require additional ports. This is where laptop docks can be of help.
There are various laptop docks available in the market, differing in size and price range. These tools are highly beneficial as they connect your laptop to external displays, storage devices, and other accessories. By using a laptop dock, your laptop can function like a desktop computer, allowing you to operate multiple displays, access larger storage, and use a variety of peripherals.
If you often work in a fixed place, such as your home or office, utilizing a laptop dock can greatly enhance your efficiency. This device offers a desktop-like setup, enabling you to connect multiple displays, utilize different peripherals, and even charge your laptop from a single central spot.
Here are some of the benefits of using a laptop dock:
More productivity: If you're looking to boost your productivity, a laptop dock can be a valuable asset. With the ability to connect multiple displays, utilize various peripherals, and charge your laptop all in one central location, it's a game-changer.
Desktop-like experience: By using a laptop dock, you can improve your computing experience and have a setup similar to a desktop. This device allows you to connect multiple displays and use various peripherals all at once.
Portability: There are laptop docks that are designed to be portable, making it convenient to carry them while traveling. However, not all laptop docks have this feature.
When looking to buy a laptop dock, it is crucial to take into account various aspects, beginning with your budget. These accessories come in a variety of prices, ranging from less than $50 to as high as $500, based on the number of ports and features.
Aside from the price, ensuring that the dock you choose has the required ports is crucial. A good starting point is knowing what you can do with the Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) ports that are built into each system.
For example, the three Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) ports on the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro are useful for charging, serving as a DisplayPort, Thunderbolt 4 (up to 40Gb/s), and USB 4 (up to 40Gb/s). The ports on the 13-inch MacBook Pro can work for charging, DisplayPort, Thunderbolt 3 (up to 40Gb/s), USB 4 (up to 40Gb/s), and USB 3.1 Gen 2 (up to 10Gb/s).
Great laptop docks for MacBook Pro
Why you can trust TechRadar
Terrific all-in-one solution
+ Terrific port selection
+ 96W PD charging
For those who require multiple device connections, the highly-rated 16-in-1 Thunderbolt laptop dock is an ideal solution. This dock accommodates a distinct Mac display using either DisplayPort or HDMI. Although Apple restricts the number of unique outputs to just one beyond the MacBook Screen, PC users can utilize all four outputs simultaneously.
This device has a range of connectivity options, including three USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 ports, one USB-A 2.0 (BC 1.2) port, three Thunderbolt 4 ports (each with a 20W power delivery capability), a USB-C port with 96W power delivery for hosting, a Gigabit Ethernet port, a UHS-II SD Card Reader, and a 3.5mm headphone/microphone combo port.
Amazon review rating: 4.1/5
It's nearly perfect
+ 98W of charging power
+ Tons of ports
Stay connected and productive with the well-received CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 4 (TS4), which boasts impressive features. With three Thunderbolt 4 ports, five USB-A ports, three USB-C ports, a 2.5Gb Ethernet port, an SD card reader, and a headphone jack, the TS4 has everything most folks need regarding extra ports.
The TS4 also supports dual 8K displays at 60Hz or a single 10K display at 60Hz, making it a versatile option for any workspace. It's compatible with Thunderbolt 4-enabled laptops and backward compatible with Thunderbolt 3, USB4, and USB-C devices. Additionally, the TS4 supports Power Delivery up to 98W, so you can charge your laptop and other devices through the dock.
Amazon review rating: 4.1/5
+ Offers SD 4.0 card reader
With four Thunderbolt 4 ports, four USB-A ports, one Gigabit Ethernet port, one audio combo jack, and one UHS-II SD 4.0 card reader, the Kensington Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station has got you covered. It supports up to dual 4K displays at 60Hz or a single 8K display at 30Hz, making it perfect for work or play.
This dock station is designed to work seamlessly with laptops that support Thunderbolt 4. It is also backward compatible with Thunderbolt 3, USB4, and USB-C devices. Additionally, it allows you to charge your computer and other devices through the dock, supporting Power Delivery of up to 90W.
Amazon review rating: 4.1/5
Lots of ports
+ 10 ports!
+ Passthrough charging
- Clunky design
This laptop dock provides a comprehensive range of ports, including four Thunderbolt 4 ports, four USB-A ports, one Gigabit Ethernet port, one SD 4.0 card reader, and a 2.5Gb Ethernet port. It can even support dual 4K displays at 60Hz or a single 8K display at 30Hz, making it a versatile choice for work and play.
The TBT200 is designed to work seamlessly with Thunderbolt 4-enabled laptops and is also compatible with Thunderbolt 3, USB4, and USB-C devices. Additionally, it supports Power Delivery of up to 96W, enabling you to charge your laptop and other devices through the dock quickly. This dock provides a hassle-free way to connect all your devices.
Amazon review rating: 3.9/5
+ Beautifully designed
+ Provides 40Gbps bandwidth for connecting external displays
- Somewhat pricey
The Satechi Thunderbolt 4 Slim docking station is a great solution for individuals who require connectivity to various external devices from their laptops. It features three Thunderbolt 4 downstream ports, a USB-A port, and an SD card reader, all in a compact and portable package. This docking station can provide high-quality visuals, supporting dual 4K displays at a rate of 60Hz, or an 8K display at 30Hz.
Whether you are using a Thunderbolt 4-enabled laptop or a Thunderbolt 3, USB4, or USB-C device, this docking station is compatible with all of them. Additionally, it supports Power Delivery up to 60W, allowing you to charge your laptop and other devices through the dock.
Amazon review rating: 4.4/5
+High speed ports
+100W PD Charging
- Only one Thunderbolt 4 Port
The Anker 778 laptop dock has proven to be one of the top performers this year due to its impressive features and functionality. With 12-in-1 Thunderbolt capabilities, this dock offers high-speed USB-A ports and multiple Display outputs, including two DisplayPorts and one HDMI. This makes it an ideal option for those who require connectivity with various devices and displays.
However, it's worth mentioning that the Anker 778 does not have card readers, which could be a dealbreaker for some users. Furthermore, it only has one Thunderbolt 4 port, so you may need to explore other options if you require more than one. Despite these limitations, the Anker 778 is still a reliable and versatile choice for anyone needing a laptop dock.
Amazon review rating: 3.4/5
Best hybrid laptop docking station
+ Comes with a stand
+ Dual power options
- For MacOS, can only extend one extra display three times
Are you looking for an efficient and seamless work setup? Check out the Baseus 17-in-1 USB C Docking Station! This fantastic device has multiple ports, including three HDMI, two USB-C, three USB-A, an SD card reader, an audio jack, and an Ethernet port. It even supports Power Delivery up to 100W, so you can charge your laptop and other gadgets directly through the dock.
Whether you have a Thunderbolt 3 or USB-C laptop, the Baseus 17-in-1 USB-C Docking Station is compatible. Additionally, it supports dual 4K displays at 60Hz or a single 8K display at 30Hz. With this docking station, prepare for a productive and efficient work experience.
Amazon review rating: 4.3/5
+ Small footprint
- Only 60W charging
The OWC Thunderbolt Hub is an excellent choice for those needing a 5-port hub with multiple Thunderbolt 4 ports, one USB-A port, and one Gigabit Ethernet port. This versatile hub allows dual 4K displays at 60Hz or a single 8K display at 30Hz.
What makes the OWC Thunderbolt Hub stand out is its compatibility with Thunderbolt 4-enabled laptops and Thunderbolt 3, USB4, and USB-C devices. Additionally, it supports Power Delivery up to 60W, which is slightly less compared to other options on the market.
Great port selection
+ Reliable functionality
+ Slim minimal design
- Only one Thunderbolt Port
Looking for a versatile docking station? The Kensington Thunderbolt 4 Dual 4K Docking Station is a top-of-the-line option that provides an array of connectivity choices. It boasts two HDMI ports, one Thunderbolt 4 port, one Thunderbolt 4 host port, one USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 10Gbps port, two USB-A 3.2 Gen2 10Gbps ports, two USB-A 3.2 Gen1 5Gbps ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, audio combo jack, and a UHS-II 4.0 SD/Micro SD card reader. With this docking station, you can easily connect your computer to all of your devices and peripherals.
The Kensington Thunderbolt 4 Dual 4K Docking Station is also compatible with Thunderbolt 4-enabled laptops and backward compatible with Thunderbolt 3, USB4, and USB-C devices. Moreover, it supports Power Delivery up to 96W, allowing you to charge your laptop and other devices via the dock.
Supports PCIe cards
+ 2.5Gb Ethernet
+ Dedicated HDMI 2.1 port
The Sonnet Echo 20 is a useful expansion tool for your laptop as it enables you to add up to two PCIe cards. This expansion chassis is equipped with Thunderbolt 4 and PCIe, and boasts two full-height, full-length PCIe slots that support PCIe 3.0 x16, x8, and x4 cards. Furthermore, it features two Thunderbolt 4 ports, four USB-A ports, an HDMI port, and an SD card reader. With its ability to support dual 4K displays at 60Hz or a single 8K display at 30Hz, you can depend on the Echo 20 to enhance your laptop's capabilities.
+ 135W power supply included
+ Great design
- No downstream Thunderbolt ports
The Plugable 16-in-1 Thunderbolt 4 Dock offers a range of ports, including three USB Type-A 10Gbps, two USB Type-A 5Gbps, a USB 2.0 Type-A (with 7.5W charging capability), one USB Type-C (with 10Gbps and 7.5W), an RJ45 Ethernet (with 2.5Gbps), two HDMI 2.0, two DisplayPort 1.2, a 3.5mm combo audio jack, an SD card slot (with UHS-II), a microSD card slot, and a Thunderbolt 4 (for host connectivity).
Amazon review rating: 4.1/5
+ So many ports
+ Excellent price
- Perhaps too many ports for some
The UtechSmart 12-in-1 docking station allows you to easily link your laptop to multiple external devices. It is a versatile tool, featuring three HDMI ports, two USB-C ports, three USB-A ports, an SD card reader, and an audio combo jack. Moreover, it supports dual 4K displays at 60Hz or a single 8K display at 30Hz, making it a great option for those who require high-quality visuals.
Amazon review rating: 4.0/5
Includes wireless charging
+ Unique charging pad
- Limited number of ports for the money
The Moshi Symbus Q is a versatile USB-C dock that offers multiple ports for connecting your laptop to external displays, peripherals, and the internet. It also comes with a built-in Qi wireless charging pad, making it a convenient and stylish solution to add desktop functionality to your laptop.
This dock boasts a 15W Qi wireless charging pad, an HDMI port that supports 4K at 30fps, two USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, and USB-C power delivery up to 60W.
Amazon review rating: 4.3/5
Are you looking for a laptop dock for your MacBook Pro? There are numerous options to choose from that cater to different preferences and budgets. When selecting a dock, ensure that it offers the required ports without any unnecessary ones.
Here's a helpful tip: laptop docks are frequently on sale, so it's best to wait for a bargain rather than purchasing one at full price.
- You might also want to consider the best laptop accessories.
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Bryan M. Wolfe is a staff writer at TechRadar, iMore, and wherever Future can use him. Though his passion is Apple-based products, he doesn't have a problem using Windows and Android. Bryan's a single father of a 15-year-old daughter and a puppy, Isabelle. Thanks for reading!