Best Thunderbolt and USB-C docking stations for your MacBook

Macworld

Plug your MacBook in and out of a multi-port docking station to swiftly add devices and external displays to your laptop. We tested a bunch to find the best Thunderbolt and USB-C docks available to owners of the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.

Thunderbolt 3, 4, USB4 or USB-C

The connectors all look the same (technically known as a “Type-C connector”), but there are significant differences, particularly on data-transfer speed—with USB-C maxing out at 10Gbps (usually 5Gbps) compared to the 40Gbps of Thunderbolt 3 and 4. More like Thunderbolt than USB-C, USB4 can be either 20Gbps or 40Gbps. That extra bandwidth allows not just for faster data transfer but higher frame rates to external displays, plus some other smart benefits.

Of Apple’s current laptop range, the M1/M2/M3 MacBook Air and 14-inch M3 MacBook Pro feature two ports that Apple specifies as “Thunderbolt / USB 4” ports, while the 14in and 16in M1/M2/M3 Pro or M1/M2/M3 Max MacBook Pro models come with three Thunderbolt 4 (TB4) ports. Ignore Apple’s dual designation of non-4 Thunderbolt and USB4—it just means that the ports don’t certify as pure Thunderbolt 4, and that shouldn’t worry most users except for the number of external displays each supports.

Apple’s older 12in MacBook features one 5Gbps Gen 1 USB-C port, while the later Intel MacBook Air (2018 and later) and MacBook Pro (from 2016) boast either two or four 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 ports.

If your MacBook is equipped with Thunderbolt 4, then you really should buy a TB4 dock if you need more ports than those 14/16in laptops already possess. USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 docks will work as Thunderbolt 4 is backwards compatible. Indeed, buying a Thunderbolt 4 dock is a wise decision for everyone, based on future-proofing even for owners of Thunderbolt 3 (TB3) Macs.

That said, there are still some great—and often more affordable—TB3 and USB-C docks available, and most Apple users won’t see much difference between TB3 and TB4—the Thunderbolt 4 standard was mainly about getting Windows laptops up to speed, although there are technical benefits for MacBook Pro users, such as smarter daisy-chaining and faster PCI hard-drive connections.

For more detail, read our Thunderbolt 4 vs Thunderbolt 3 vs USB4 explainer.

We have included some cheaper (non-Thunderbolt) USB-C docks. If you don’t require the ultimate bandwidth for the fastest data transfer and best screen frame rates or resolutions, a USB-C dock might suit your purposes and save you money. 

Add external displays to your MacBook

If you use your laptop as your principal computer, you would do well to consider attaching at least one larger display to create a hybrid desktop/laptop setup (with a keyboard, mouse and printer all available via a single connection to your MacBook). You can turn that 13in laptop’s screen real-estate into an iMac-sized 27in or even larger monitor by adding an extra display—or connect two or even four large screens to extend your screen across your whole desk. Take a look at our recommended best monitors and displays for Mac.

If you want to connect more than one external display to your MacBook without adding third-party software you’ll need a Thunderbolt dock, rather than a USB-C dock—unless you install third-party DisplayLink software. Natively over USB-C, Macs can only connect to one external display in Extended mode (where the screen extends beyond what you can see on the laptop screen, as opposed to Mirrored mode that replicates exactly what you get on the laptop screen) but you’ll get two Extended mode screens over a Thunderbolt connection.

While Apple’s MacBooks featuring the company’s own M1/M2/M3 Silicon chip are super speedy compared to the models sporting Intel processors, models with plain (non-Pro or -Max) M1 and M2 and some M3 chips come with an incredible limitation: they don’t support more than one external display in Extended Mode even via their Thunderbolt ports.

Apple has fixed this limitation with its latest M3 MacBook Air models but the plain M3 MacBook Pro remains stuck on single-display support. This may change soon with a rumored software fix for the entry-level MacBook Pro.

This means that when using any docking station, M1 and M2 MacBook (plus M3 MacBook Pro) users cannot extend their desktop over two or more displays, and will be limited to either dual Mirrored displays or one external display—although adding third-party DisplayLink or InstantView software to the Mac and connecting to a dedicated USB-C dock will allow you to add more than one external monitor to an M1 or M2 MacBook. Follow that link for our roundup of the best USB-C DisplayLink docks, and we’ve included our favorite in our roundup below.

Thankfully, the superior M1/M2/M3 Pro and M1/M2/M3 Max MacBook Pro models can support multiple displays. Below our list of the best MacBook docking stations, we’ve listed the native external display options for each MacBook. One dock supports up to four 6K displays if you own a Max MacBook Pro.

While some docking stations promise support for 8K displays, Macs are limited to 6K support via the dock. Macs with an M2/M3 Pro or M2/M3 Max chip can support an 8K display at 60Hz but only when it is connected via the Mac’s own HDMI port and not any port on the dock.

Do I need a docking station?

All the latest MacBook Pro models boast a wider range of built-in ports, so lighter users might not need a docking station at all. Below the list of our recommended Mac docks is a detailed look at the ports that each recent MacBook includes as standard.

With three TB4 and an HDMI port, a MacBook with a Max chip could connect to up to four external displays without the need for a dock, although such a power user would likely require extra Thunderbolt ports for other devices to make up for using all the laptop ports for multiple monitors. See below our list of recommended docking stations for more detail on the external display options with each recent MacBook.

All docks come with a bunch of USB ports: some old-school USB-A and newer, more capable USB-C.

MacBook Pros also have an SD card reader. Although this is rated as UHS-II (312MBps), Apple has pegged it back at 250MBps, so for the fastest speeds (and a microSD slot if you need one), a dock will likely be a better choice for memory-card use if it is rated at UHS-II rather than UHS-I (104MBps).

MacBooks also lack wired Internet access via a Gigabit Ethernet port, so if you want to escape flaky Wi-Fi, buy a dock with at least Gigabit Ethernet, although you could add a Thunderbolt-to-Ethernet adapter if you have a spare TB port. Some later docks include faster 2.5Gb Ethernet but you’ll need a 2.5GbE router or other device to get the benefit. As Gigabit Ethernet’s speed is 1Gbps, a cheaper 5Gbps USB-C to Ethernet adapter will work just as well.

Dock or hub?

If you just need a few extra ports, a USB-C hub or Thunderbolt 4 hub might be your best choice—see our roundup of the best USB-C and Thunderbolt hubs for Mac.

However, if you require a bunch of fast ports including Gigabit (or faster) Ethernet and multiple video ports plus more powerful charging capability, then look for a full dock that fulfills your needs, and you are in exactly the right place to discover which dock is best for your and you MacBook.

USB-C and Thunderbolt speeds

Foundry

Thunderbolt vs USB-C dock compatibility

Plain USB-C runs at either 5Gbps or 10Gbps, while Thunderbolt (TB3 and TB4) hits speeds of 40Gbps. You can hook up a Thunderbolt laptop to a USB-C dock but you won’t access the faster speeds unless you buy a true Thunderbolt dock. (By the way, Thunderbolt 5, offering 80Gbps, won’t be seen on a Mac until well into 2024.)

USB and Thunderbolt speeds explained

USB PD: Power Delivery for your laptop

Look out for a dock with USB PD. The PD stands for Power Delivery

Charging the laptop: The M1/M2/M3 MacBook Air requires a PD charger with at least 30W power, but you can fast-charge an M2 Air with a charger rated at over 70W. You’ll need 67W for the 13-inch MacBook Pro and 14-inch MBP (with 8-, 10- or 11-core CPU), 96W for 14-inch MBP (with 12-core CPU), and 96W (preferably 140W) for the 16-inch MBP. The older 15in MacBook Pro requires a 87W PD charger.

An 85W/96W MacBook Pro can be charged by a 30W or 60W charger, but slower than it would be with its native charger. A larger MacBook with a heavy workload might start fading even while being charges on a lower wattage.

If you own a larger MacBook Pro, buy a dock with a PD (Power Delivery) potential of at least 85W if you can. Portable hubs are usually rated at a lower power such as 60W.

USB PD 3.0 maxes at 100W, while USB PD 3.1 can support up to 240W of power. The 16-inch MacBook Pro requires 140W to fast-charge via its MagSafe 3 cable, so owners of that laptop should look for a PD 3.1 charger.

If you just need a spare charger, we’ve tested the best MacBook chargers for you.

Dock, hub or dongle: Whole lotta ports

You need one (“upstream”) Thunderbolt or USB-C port for connecting to and charging your laptop (although the 14/16in MacBooks can also power via the MagSafe port), and likely at least another (“downstream”) to attach further devices (hard drives, external display, and others).

There are many inexpensive USB-C dongles/hubs that let you add more devices to a MacBook (see our roundup of the best USB-C adapters for Macs) or a Thunderbolt hub offering a few extra ports might be all your need, but for maximum flexibility check out a docking station that takes care of all your extra port requirements, and allows you to simply attach it to your laptop with just one cable when you get to the office or come home.

Here we concentrate on Thunderbolt docks, but also include cheaper USB-C docks—which Thunderbolt MacBooks can use, but at the cost of reduced bandwidth and display limitations. We’ve also included our favorite Thunderbolt hubs for smaller and cheaper alternatives. For more non-Thunderbolt USB-C-only docks check out Tech Advisor’s roundup of the best USB-C docking stations for laptops. Tech Advisor also reviews all the available Thunderbolt 4 docks.

Docks aren’t just for MacBooks. Mac mini (2018 and later) and iMac (2017 and later) owners may also consider expanding their ports with a Thunderbolt docking station.

The inclusion of an SD or microSD card reader isn’t just for camera buffs. It’s a convenient and affordable way to add storage to your laptop setup. We found a 512GB Samsung Evo microSD card on Amazon for around $100 in the US and under £100 in the UK. That’s a very cheap way of adding half a terabyte of portable storage. For more details read up on our best microSD cards.

Some of the docks reviewed below include an integrated SSD enclosure that lets you add up to 8TB of fast storage to your connected MacBook.

Sonnet Echo 20 Thunderbolt 4 SuperDock – Best Thunderbolt 4 dock for Macs

Pros

Thunderbolt 4

19 ports

Built-in speedy SSD enclosure

100W PD laptop charging

2.5Gb Ethernet



Type: 40Gbps Thunderbolt 4 Dock

Ports: 19

Power: 100W PD 3.0; 150W max

External displays: 2x 4K at 60Hz or 1x 6K at 60Hz

Boasting an impressive 19 top-rated ports, Thunderbolt 4 certified and with a bonus internal SSD storage feature, the Sonnet Echo 20 Thunderbolt SuperDock offers remarkable value for money.

It has the most ports and equals the fastest ports seen in the market. Its nearest competitor is the excellent Caldigit TS4, reviewed below. Sonnet clearly targeted the TS4 and the specs are remarkably similar—but the cheaper Echo 20 has a useful SSD enclosure that means you can add up to 8TB of internal storage via the dock. If you don’t need this feature and prefer DisplayPort to HDMI, or you need the most powerful ports on offer, the TS4 is still a great contender, although it costs a fair amount more.

The Satechi Dual Dock Stand, reviewed below, is a cheaper non-Thunderbolt option if the idea of an integrated SSD enclosure is appealing.

Even if your MacBook is Thunderbolt 3, as a Thunderbolt 4 dock the Echo 20 is backwards compatible and will work with your next laptop when it’s time to upgrade.

While you can use Thunderbolt ports to add external displays, Sonnet has swapped one of the downstream TB4 ports for a dedicated HDMI port. You can add up to two 4K displays at 60Hz or a single 6K screen at 60Hz. Unless your second display can connect directly with its USB-C port, you’ll need a USB-C-to-DisplayPort or HDMI adapter cable to connect to one of the downstream TB4 ports.

If you have the right router, you can take advantage of super-fast wired Internet access with the Echo 20’s 2.5GbE Gigabit Ethernet—2.5x faster than standard Gigabit Ethernet, with which it also works on standard networks.

One Thunderbolt 4 upstream port (40Gbps, 100W PD)

Two Thunderbolt 4 downstream ports (40Gbps, 15W)

Up to two external displays (4K at 60Hz)

HDMI 2.1 port 

Four USB-C ports (10Gbps, 7.5W)

Four USB-A ports (10Gbps, 7.5W)

SD Card Reader (SD 4.0 UHS-II, 312MBps)

2.5GbE Gigabit Ethernet port

3.5mm Combo Audio In/Out port (front)

Two (right and left channels) line out RCA jacks (back)

3.5mm microphone jack (back)

150W power supply

Read our full

Sonnet Echo 20 Thunderbolt 4 SuperDock review

Satechi Dual Dock Stand – Best USB-C dock for Macs

Pros

9 ports

Built-in speedy SSD enclosure

100W PD laptop charging

Zero-footprint docking station

Cons

USB-C not Thunderbolt

USB ports can’t charge devices

No card reader

Requires USB-C charger

Type: 10Gbps USB-C Dock

Ports: 19

Power: 100W PD 3.0; 150W max

External displays: 2x 4K at 60Hz or 1x 6K at 60Hz

Another dock with an SSD enclosure is the Satechi Dual Dock Stand that doubles up as an open-MacBook stand that raises the keyboard to a more comfortable angle..

Unlike the Thunderbolt 4 Sonnet Echo 20, reviewed above, this is a USB-C dock with a 10Gbps rather than 40Gbps bandwidth, but it’s significantly cheaper as a result. The MSRP of the Satechi Dual Dock Stand is $150, which is a very reasonable price for a dual 4K 60Hz USB-C docking station.

With one DisplayPort 1.4 and two HDMI 2.0 ports, you can connect up to two 4K displays in Extended mode at a decent 60Hz refresh rate. The Echo 20 has just one video port. Although that port is the superior HDMI 2.1, you have to add a second external screen via one of the Thunderbolt ports, which will require an adapter.

The SSD enclosure is the star of the show. Placed on the underside of the dock, this is easily accessed and supports both NVMe and SATA SSDs. You need to buy the SSD separately. Amazon is selling NVME SSDs for around $50 (1TB), $80 (2TB) or $300 (4TB).

One USB-C port is for passthrough PD power at up to 75W to the laptop, which is enough for all but the 16-inch MacBook Pro at full pelt. Even that model will charge fine—just slower than smaller MacBooks. Note that you will need to connect your own USB-C charger to the dock: check out our recommended MacBook chargers.

If you use your MacBook’s own keyboard and desire up to two quality external displays, plus need to increase your base storage with fast SSD drives, the Satechi Dual Dock Stand is a neat, zero-footprint docking station that matches your MacBook for style and adds nine useful ports.

Dual-USB-C upstream connector to laptop (10Gbps, 75W PD 3.0)

Passthrough power USB-C port

Two USB-C (one at 10Gbps, one at 5Gbps)

Two USB-A (one at 10Gbps, one at 5Gbps)

One DisplayPort 1.4

Two HDMI 2.1 ports

Gigabit Ethernet

Read our full

Satechi Dual Dock Stand review

CalDigit TS4 – most powerful Thunderbolt 4 dock

Pros

Thunderbolt 4

18 ports

98W PD laptop charging

2.5Gb Ethernet

230W power supply




Best Prices Today:



₹76,767 at Amazon

Type: 40Gbps Thunderbolt 4 Dock

Ports: 18

Power: 98W PD 3.0; 230W max

External displays: 2x 4K at 60Hz or 1x 6K at 60Hz

With 18 top-rated ports and Thunderbolt 4 certified, it’s difficult to look past the Caldigit Thunderbolt Station 4, aka TS4. Yes, it’s expensive, but it’s an ultra-impressive dock.

It compares well to the Sonnet Echo 20 with just one fewer port—the Echo 20’s integrated SSD enclosure. For port speeds the TS4 matches the Echo 20, and it boasts the highest power supply that we’ve seen on any dock that we’ve tested—a whopping 230W to be spread among the ports, including a front-mounted 20W USB-C that can fast-charge an iPhone and 98W laptop PD charging.

We also love this dock’s flexible vertical or horizontal format.

As with the Echo 20, while you can use Thunderbolt ports to add external displays. Caldigit swaps one of the downstream TB4 ports for a dedicated video port—in this case, DisplayPort. You’ll need an adapter if your monitor requires HDMI. You can add up to two 4K displays at 60Hz or a single 6K screen at 60Hz.

The TS4 also matches the Echo 20 with super-fast 2.5GbE Gigabit Ethernet–2.5x faster than standard Gigabit Ethernet.

One Thunderbolt 4 upstream port (40Gbps, 98W PD)

Two Thunderbolt 4 downstream ports (40Gbps, 15W)

Up to two external displays (4K at 60Hz)

DisplayPort 1.4 port 

Five USB-A ports (10Gbps, 7.5W)

One USB-C port (10Gbps, 20W)

Two USB-C ports (10Gbps, 7.5W)

SD Card Reader (SD 4.0 UHS-II, 312MBps)

microSD Card Reader (SD 4.0 UHS-II, 312MBps)

2.5GbE Gigabit Ethernet port

3.5mm Combo Audio In/Out port at front

3.5mm Audio In & Out ports at back

230W power supply

Read our full Caldigit Thunderbolt Station 4 (TS4) review.

Kensington SD5700T Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station – Great choice for 2x 4K displays

Pros

11 fast ports

4x Thunderbolt 4 ports

90W PD laptop charging

180W power supply

Power button

Cons

4.5W USB-A ports




Best Prices Today:



₹44,499 at Amazon

Type: 40Gbps Thunderbolt 4 Dock

Ports: 11

Power: 90W PD 3.0; 180W max

External displays: 2x 4K at 60Hz or 1x 6K at 30Hz

The Kensington SD5700T Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station has everything a dock should have: four TB4 ports, three fast USB-A and one slow one (that at least boasts 7.5W charging power compared to the faster USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 port’s 4.5W), Gigabit Ethernet, SD Card reader, and 3.5mm audio jack.

It can supply two external 4K displays at 60Hz or one 6K monitor but at 30Hz rather than 60Hz like the Caldigit TS4, so single-screen gamers should probably look elsewhere.

At 180W, the power supply is higher than most docks tested here but not as great as found on the Caldigit TS4. It’s essential if you are powering multiple devices connected to the dock. And the On/Off power button (rare on docks) means you can give the laptop battery’s rest when you’re away.

There are useful lights telling you when the dock is powered and when it’s connected.

Check out the latest live prices above as this dock is often on sale for less than the listed price and can represent great value for money.

• One upstream Thunderbolt 4 port (40Gbps, 90W PD)
• Three Thunderbolt 4 downstream ports (40Gbps, 15W)
• Three USB-A ports (10Gbps, 4.5W)
• One USB-A port (480Mbps, 7.5W)
• Gigabit Ethernet
• SD Card reader (UHS-II, 312MBps)
• 3.5mm audio jack
• 180W power supply

A variant model, the Kensington SD5780T dock (available in the US only), drops one of the three downstream Thunderbolt 4 ports in favor of an HDMI 2.1 but costs an extra $50.

Read our full Kensington SD5700T Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station review.

iVanky FusionDock Max 1 – Best Thunderbolt 4 dock for four 6K displays

Pros

21 ports

Two Thunderbolt 4 chips

Up to four 6K displays at 60Hz

2.5 gigabit ethernet

Cons

Pricey

Requires Max processor for four displays



Type: 40Gbps Thunderbolt 4 Dock

Ports: 21

Power: 96W PD 3.0; 180W max

External displays: 4x 6K at 60Hz

Packing more ports (a whopping 21 in total) than any equivalent docking station we’ve tested, the iVanky FusionDock Max 1’s dual Thunderbolt 4 chips mark it apart from the competition with not just more but faster connections. No other dock can match it for number of Thunderbolt ports and its ability to host multiple monitors.

Packing two Thunderbolt chips gives the FusionDock Max 1 the ability to double up on video-capable ports.

Connected to a MacBook Pro with an M1 Max, M2 Max or M3 Max processor it can handle up to four 6K displays at 60Hz using both its Thunderbolt 4 chipsets. It costs more than any other docking station but it’s a unique dual-Thunderbolt 4 system that answers the dreams of multi-screen Mac professionals. It doesn’t work with Intel Macs or even any Windows computer.

This is a dock built for the top-end MacBook Pro Max. Macs with Pro rather than Max processors can connect to two 4K displays at 60Hz. While that would lose the display benefit this is still is good choice as you could have up to four 40Gbps downstream Thunderbolt 4 ports at your disposal.

Its other ports are plenty and top-end, too. We’re not sure who needs six USB-A ports these days, but they are there and all are rated at 10Gbps. We would have preferred more USB-C than USB-A, but one of the Type C ports included boasts 30W device charging power.

On top of all that you get 2.5Gb Ethernet and two fast UHS-II SD card readers.

Two upstream Thunderbolt 4 ports (40Gbps, 96W)

Four downstream Thunderbolt 4 ports (40Gbps, 15W)

Two HDMI 2.0 video ports

Six USB-A ports (10Gbps, 7.5W)

Two USB-C ports (10Gbps, one at 30W, one at 7.5W)

2.5 Gigabit Ethernet

UHS-II SD card reader (312MBps)

UHS-II MicroSD card reader (312MBps)

3.5mm combo Audio jack (front)

3.5mm Audio out jack (back)

Optical Audio

180W power supply

Read our full

iVANKY FusionDock Max 1 review

CalDigit TS3 Plus – Excellent Thunderbolt 3 dock for Macs

Pros

15 ports

87W PD laptop charging

Digital audio

180W power supply

Cons

Thunderbolt 3 not 4

Doesn’t work with USB-C laptops



Type: 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 Dock

Ports: 15

Power: 87W PD 3.0; 180W max

External displays: 2x 4K at 60Hz or 1x 5K at 60Hz

Caldigit’s TS3 Plus is the granddaddy of Thunderbolt 3 docks. Its compact shape and 15 ports made it our favorite top-end Thunderbolt 3 docking station for its sheer functional flexibility and power at a great price.

Other docks boast faster USB ports, but few have seven like the TS3 Plus—except its successor, the TS4, which makes even the TS3 Plus look underpowered. if you can afford the extra, we recommend the TS4.

It’s a better choice than the Anker 577 dock as it works with all modern Macs that use M1/M2/M3 chips.

The TS3 Plus isn’t unsuitable for non-Thunderbolt laptops—but as most MacBooks have at least TB3, that shouldn’t matter unless you work in a mixed Mac/Windows environment.

And while Thunderbolt 4 is the latest connection standard, its top-end benefits won’t be noticed by most MacBook owners as TB3 matches TB4 on data-transfer speed.

To add the second external display you will require an HDMI or DisplayPort USB-C video adapter to run from the USB-C port unless you have a USB-C monitor. To avoid this need for an adapter, look for a dock with two video ports. 

Both connected displays can run 4K displays at 60Hz. You could also run one 5K display at the same frame rate.

The TS3 Plus’s digital audio ports set it apart from most other Thunderbolt docks.

It charges your laptop at 87W so makes it a great companion to Apple’s larger MacBook Pro models.

This dock is dinky so won’t take up too much space on your desk. Available in Silver and Space Gray, it matches the colors of Apple’s laptops. 

One Thunderbolt 3 upstream port (40Gbps, 87W PD)

One Thunderbolt 3 downstream port (40Gbps, 15W)

DisplayPort 1.2 port 

Five USB-A ports (5Gbps, 7.5W)

One USB-C (10Gbps) port

One USB-C (5Gbps) port

SD Card Reader (SD 4.0 UHS-II, 312MBps)

Gigabit Ethernet port

Front-facing 3.5mm Audio In & Out ports

One Digital Optical Audio (S/PDIF) port

180W power supply

Read our full

CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 3 Plus (TS3 Plus) review

Alogic DX3 Triple 4K Display Universal Docking Station – Best USB-C display dock for Macs

Pros

12 ports

100W PD laptop charging

Triple 5K displays

Cons

USB-C not Thunderbolt

Requires DisplayLink software



Type: 10Gbps USB-C Dock

Ports: 12

Power: 100W PD 3.0; 135W max

External displays: 3x 5K at 60Hz

This Alogic DisplayLink docking station is a USB-C rather than Thunderbolt docking station, so lacks the data-transfer bandwidth you’d get from a TB dock. However, with the addition of third-party DisplayLink software, this dock can support up to three external 4K 60Hz displays even on a limited plain M1/M2/M3 MacBook.

The video ports are all top-end DP. 1.4. If your monitor is HDMI instead of DisplayPort, you’ll need to add an adapter between dock and display—but you’d need to buy video cables anyway. If HDMI is all you need, consider the Satechi Triple 4K dock.

It also packs a bunch of non-display ports, such as three USB-A and a spare downstream USB-C port, plus fast SD and MicroSD card readers and Gigabit Ethernet.

It can power the connected laptop at 100W and has a decent 135W external power supply so doesn’t require an extra USB-C charger like many DisplayLink USB-C docks do. For similar options check out our list of the best USB-C DisplayLink docks.

The DisplayLink download link is clearly shown in the user manual, and instructions make sense—although you need a magnifying glass to read them!

One USB-C port (10Gbps, 100W PD)

Three DisplayPort 1.4 port

One USB-C (10Gbps) port (7.5W)

Three USB-A (5Gbps) ports (one at 7.5W)

SD Card Reader (SD 4.0 UHS-II, 312MBps)

microSD 4.0 Card Reader (SD 4.0 UHS-II, 312MBps)

Gigabit Ethernet port

Hybrid 3.5mm audio port

135W power supply

A little cheaper, the Alogic DX2 supports two 4K displays at 60Hz and lacks some of the other ports found on the DX3. If you just need two external monitors for your M1/M2/M3 MacBook this may be a cheaper option.

Caldigit Thunderbolt 4 and USB4 Element Hub – Best Thunderbolt 4 hub

Pros

4x TB4

4x 10Gbps USB-A

150W total power

Compact

Cons

60W power maybe light for larger laptops




Best Prices Today:



₹33,100 at Amazon

Type: 40Gbps Thunderbolt 4 Hub

Ports: 8

Power to laptop: 60W PD 3.0; 150W max

External displays: 2x 6K at 60Hz

The Caldigit Thunderbolt 4 and USB4 Element Hub isn’t a dock because it doesn’t feature anything other than Thunderbolt and USB ports—no Ethernet, SD card reader or audio port.

But it boasts so many top-end Thunderbolt and USB ports that you can customize it to your every desire.

There are four TB4 ports (one upstream to your computer placed handily on the side, and three downstream to other devices) and four fast 10Gbps USB-A ports.

You can use two of the three downstream TB4 ports to connect directly to USB-C-equipped monitors or HDMI or DisplayPort screens using inexpensive adapters. It can handle two 6K displays at 60Hz or one 6K monitor at the same refresh rate.

That still leave you a spare TB4 port and the four USB-A ports to add further devices, such as an adapter for Gigabit Ethernet and/or SD card reader, SSDs, memory sticks and so on as your requirements demand, so there is no port wastage.

As a hub rather than a dock, its 60W laptop charger is a little underpowered for larger laptops, but the overall 150W power supply will help with all the hub’s ports. Owners of the 16-inch MacBook Pro will probbaly still reply on the laptop’s own 140W charger via MagSafe. None of the other docks tested here can supply the 140W required for 16in MBP fast-charging so it’s not as big a limitation as first appears.

It’s small enough to be portable, but don’t forget that the external power supply will weigh down your travel bag.

• One upstream Thunderbolt 4 port (40Gbps, 60W PD)
• Three downstream Thunderbolt 4 ports (40Gbps, 15W)
• Four USB-A ports (10Gbps, 7.5W)
• 150W power supply

Read our full Caldigit Thunderbolt 4 and USB4 Element Hub review.

OWC Thunderbolt Hub – Best budget Thunderbolt 4 hub

Pros

Four Thunderbolt 4 ports

One fast USB-A port

Cons

60W power maybe light for larger laptops




Best Prices Today:



₹27,331 at Amazon

Type: 40GbpsThunderbolt 4 Hub

Ports: 5

Power to laptop: 60W PD 3.0; 110W max

External displays: 2x 6K at 60Hz

Also a hub rather than a full dock, the OWC Thunderbolt Hub doesn’t match the Caldigit Thunderbolt 4 or even the TB4 Element Hub on its number of old-school USB-A ports, but it is cheaper and offers the same four Thunderbolt 4 ports—one upstream to your computer placed at the front, and three downstream to other devices at the back.

You can use two of the three downstream TB4 ports to connect directly to USB-C-equipped monitors or HDMI or DisplayPort screens using inexpensive adapters. It supports dual 6K displays at 60Hz.

As with the its rival hub, its 60W laptop charger is underpowered for larger laptops.

• One upstream Thunderbolt 4 port (40Gbps, 60W PD)
• Three downstream Thunderbolt 4 ports (40Gbps, 15W)
• One USB-A port (10Gbps, 7.5W)
• 110W power supply

Twelve South StayGo – Best portable USB-C dock

Pros

Portable

85W passthrough charging

Cons

USB-C not Thunderbolt

Support for only one external display




Best Prices Today:



₹18,490 at Amazon

Type: 5Gbps USB-C Dock

Ports: 8

Power: 85W PD 3.0; requires USB-C charger

External displays: 2x 4K at 30Hz

It calls itself just a hub but the StayGo USB-C Hub is a little lightweight box of ports that has enough to go to battle with bigger, more expensive laptop docking stations—and is small enough to fit in your pocket and go travelling with you.

It boasts three USB-A ports (one at 7.5W), a USB-C port for connecting to the laptop and another for 85W passthrough PD charging, one HDMI port, Gigabit Ethernet and SD/Micro SD card readers.

The HDMI port will support a 4K display but at 30Hz rather than 60Hz that you’ll find on more powerful docks.

It’s 5Gbps USB-C rather than 40Gbps Thunderbolt but will work with either type of laptop connection. Of course, you’ll lose that full 40Gbps bandwidth and the option of a second external display, and newer USB-C hubs and docks have moved to 10Gbps rather than 5Gbps, but lighter users might not care, and it’s perfect for portability.

One USB-C upstream port (5Gbps)

One USB-C port (5Gbps) for passthrough 85W PD charging; requires charger

One external display (4K at 30Hz)

HDMI port (4K at 30Hz)

Three USB-A ports (5Gbps; one at 7.5W)

Gigabit Ethernet port

SD Card Reader (UHS-I, 104MBps)

If you don’t need as many extra USB-A ports, Twelve South also offers the cheaper StayGo mini USB-C Hub, which has the USB-C connection to your laptop, 85W passthrough USB-C port and 4K HDMI but just one USB-A port.

Read our full Twelve South StayGo USB-C Hub review.

CalDigit Thunderbolt 3 mini Dock – Best portable Thunderbolt 3 dock

Pros

Portable

Dual 4K display HDMI ports

Cons

Thunderbolt 3 not 4

No downstream TB3 port

Unpowered



Type: 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 Dock

Ports: 18

Power: draws power from laptop

External displays: 2x 4K at 60Hz

The CalDigit Thunderbolt 3 mini Dock offers full Thunderbolt 40Gbps bandwidth and dual-4K HDMI display support at 60Hz in a lightweight portable form. It connects to the laptop via an integrated TB3 cable.

The Mini Dock Dual HDMI features two HDMI ports, plus Gigabit Ethernet and two USB-A: one at 5Gbps (4.5W); one at the much slower 480Mbps (2.5W). 

It runs 4K displays at 60Hz in Extended mode—best for high-action movies and gaming. Plainer USB-C docks can handle two 4K displays, but only at 30Hz, and only one Extended.

Its downside is a lack of power supply (which it draws from the host laptop), so you’ll need to power your laptop via another port, and the USB ports certainly aren’t for fast-charging purposes. No power supply means it’s super portable but a passthrough power port would have been preferred.

Portable USB-C hubs often boast more ports (although just the one external display option) but lack the faster Thunderbolt 3 connection.

Bus-powered, so no PD charging

Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) upstream cable

Up to two external displays (4K at 60Hz)

Two HDMI 2.0 ports (4K at 60Hz)

Two USB-A port (5Gbps & 4.5W, one 480Mbps & 2.5W) 

Gigabit Ethernet port

Read our full

CalDigit Thunderbolt 3 miniDock review

Anker 675 USB-C 12-in-1 Docking Station and Monitor Stand – Best dock and monitor stand combo

Pros

Stylish Stand / 11-port Hub

Raises monitor height

5x 10Gbps USB ports

Wireless phone charging

HDMI 4K at 60Hz

180W total power

Cons

USB-C not Thunderbolt




Best Prices Today:



₹53,499 at Amazon

Why not make your MacBook even more powerful and improve your workspace and posture at the same time?

This is an able USB-C dock and good-looking monitor stand that you can place your external display on top of and desk-based gear underneath in a boost to create an ergonomic and decluttered workplace.

Your MacBook will probably best sit nearby in a closed laptop stand—see our roundup of the best MacBook stands—and connect via USB-C to the dock/stand.

The roster of ports is impressive, with four fast (10Gbps) downstream USB ports on the side (two of which can share 45W of device charging power), plus storage card readers and audio jack, as well as the upstream 100W PD USB-C port positioned underneath.

Also on the cable-management underside are the HDMI and Gigabit Ethernet ports as well as a low-powered USB-A port (most likely for a wired keyboard or mouse) and the meaty 180W power supply port.

On the top there’s a (non-magnetic) Qi wireless charger that you can rest your iPhone or AirPods case on for 7.5W charging.

One USB-C upstream port (10Gbps, 100W PD)

Two USB-C ports (10Gbps, shared 45W)

One external display (4K at 60Hz)

HDMI 2.0 port 

Three USB-A ports (10Gbps, one at 7.5W)

Qi wireless charging pad (10W max, 7.5W iPhone)

Gigabit Ethernet port

SD Card Reader (SD UHS-I, 104MBps)

microSD Card Reader (SD UHS-I, 104MBps)

3.5mm Combo Audio In/Out port

180W power supply

Read our full

Anker 675 USB-C 12-in-1 Docking Station and Monitor Stand review

Ugreen Revodok Max 213 Thunderbolt 13-in-1 Docking Station

Pros

Thunderbolt 4

13 top-end ports

2.5Gb Ethernet

Dedicated DisplayPort 1.4 port

90W PD on 180W power supply

Cons

Only one USB-C port

Expensive



This solid, good-looking dock is aimed against the mighty CalDigit TS4, with a bunch of fast ports and the same vertical or horizontal design—and sadly the same high price.

It’s a little bigger than the TS4, reviewed above, but has fewer USB ports. Both support two 4K displays at 60Hz, but the TS4 can handle a single 6K display, while the Revodok Max is limited to 4K even with just one display connected.

The TS4 definitely wins on ports and specs, so we’d call the Revodok over-priced. If Ugreen dropped the price this would be a compelling alternative, as it offers just about everything most users need in a robust and pleasant design.

One Thunderbolt 4 upstream port (40Gbps, 90W PD)

Two Thunderbolt 4 downstream ports (40Gbps, 15W)

Up to two external displays (4K at 60Hz)

DisplayPort 1.4 port 

Two USB-A ports (10Gbps, 7.5W)

Two USB-A ports (5Gbps, 7.5W)

One USB-C port (10Gbps, 20W)

2.5GbE Gigabit Ethernet port

SD Card Reader (SD 4.0 UHS-II, 312MBps)

microSD Card Reader (SD 4.0 UHS-II, 312MBps)

3.5mm Combo Audio In/Out port at front

180W power supply

Read our full

Ugreen Revodok Max 213 Thunderbolt 13-in-1 Docking Station review

Anker 577 PowerExpand Elite 13-in-1 Thunderbolt 3 Dock – Best Thunderbolt 3 dock for Intel Macs

Pros

13 ports

85W PD laptop charging

18W USB-C

Cons

Thunderbolt 3 not 4

No support for Apple Silicon (M1/M2/M3)




Best Prices Today:



₹49,979 at Amazon

Type: 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 Dock

Ports: 13

Power: 85W PD 3.0; 180W max

External displays: 2x 4K at 60Hz or 1x 5K at 60Hz

Anker’s 577 PowerExpand Elite 13-in-1 Thunderbolt 3 Dock is a great docking station for Intel-based Thunderbolt and USB-C laptops–with lots of top-rated ports in a compact, good-looking case. Unfortunately, it doesn’t play nicely with the newer M1/M2/M3 MacBooks, which rules out all recent Macs.

It is a serious contender for the crown of the best Thunderbolt 3 dock but only for older Intel-based Macs. The Caldigit TS3 Plus boasts one more USB-A port, but the Anker has one faster USB-C port plus the ability to also work with non-Thunderbolt USB-C laptops.

All the Power Expand Elite’s ports are top-end: both USB-C ports, for example, are Gen. 2 at 10Gbps, whereas some docks boast just 5Gbps C-type ports.

The On/Off button at the front is a nice touch we haven’t seen on many other docks, and there’s really nothing except price to distinguish it from the other recommended docking stations we have tested. It’s a cute compact design with a decent quantity of ports, including two fast USB-C ports as well as two TB3.

The only real downside is the lack of support for newer Macs.

One Thunderbolt 3 upstream port (40Gbps, 85W PD)

One Thunderbolt 3 downstream port (40Gbps, 15W)

One HDMI 2.0 port

Two USB-C (10Gbps) ports (one at 18W)

Four USB-A (5Gbps) ports (one at 7.5W)

SD Card Reader (SD 4.0 UHS-II, 312MBps)

microSD 4.0 Card Reader (SD 4.0 UHS-II, 312MBps)

Gigabit Ethernet port

Hybrid 3.5mm audio port

180W power supply

Read our full

Anker PowerExpand Elite 13-in-1 Thunderbolt 3 Dock review

Logi Dock – USB-C dock for remote working and video calls

Pros

3x USB-C, 2x USB-A ports

100W PD laptop charging

Built-in speakers and noise-cancelling mics

Works with Zoom and other video apps

Cons

USB-C not Thunderbolt

Expensive

Only one display in Extended mode



Type: 5Gbps USB-C Hub

Ports: 8

Power: 100W PD 3.0; 230W max

External displays: 1x 4K at 60Hz

There are plenty of docks and hubs that allow you to connect monitors, hard drives and other accessories to your Mac, but the Logi Dock casts its net wider than that. It’s fairly expensive, at $399/£399.99, but it’s designed to provide an all-in-one desktop system for people who do a lot of video-conferencing when working at home or in the office.

The compact USB-C dock (3.34-x-6.3-x-5.18 inches) will fit neatly on your desk alongside your Mac’s display. The Logi Dock’s chunky power adaptor means that this is very much a dock that’s designed to stay on your desk the whole time.

There’s one USB-C upstream port that is used to connect the Logi Dock to your Mac, and both HDMI and DisplayPort interfaces for external display. Significantly, you can only connect one 4K display if you’re using Extended mode, although you can connect two 4K displays in Mirrored mode.

The Logi Dock can work as a speaker for voice and video calls, or you can just listen to some music while you’re working using either the USB-C connection with your Mac, or using Bluetooth to connect to your mobile devices. It sounds pretty good too, with a set of 55mm stereo speakers that deliver a nice firm bass thud on Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill.

You can also use Logitech’s Tune app to link the Logi Dock with conferencing apps such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom, and there’s a set of buttons on the top of the Logi Dock that allow you to quickly mute the mic and turn off the camera.

1x USB-C upstream port (5Gbps, 100W)

2x USB-C downstream ports (5Gbps, 4.5W)

1 x USB-C downstream ports (5Gbps, 7.5W)

1x USB-A (5Gbps, 4.5W)

1x USB-A (5Gbps, 7.5W)

1x HDMI 2.0

1x DisplayPort 1.4

2x 55mm speakers (stereo)

6x noise-cancelling microphones

230W power supply

Certified for Zoom, MS Teams, Google Meet

HyperDrive GEN2 14-Port Thunderbolt 3 Dock

Pros

14 ports

85W PD laptop charging

Digital audio

Cons

Thunderbolt 3 not 4

Expensive outside US



Type: 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 Dock

Ports: 14

Power: 85W PD 3.0; 180W max

External displays: 2x 4K at 60Hz

This Titan Ridge (Thunderbolt and USB-C) docking station is bristling with 14 high-performance ports.

Its compact form is neat (just like the Caldigit TS4 and TS3 Plus or the Anker PowerExpand Elite), and it can lie either upright or horizontal depending on your needs and preference.

There are six USB-A ports in total: four USB-A ports at 5Gbps and a further two at 10Gbps, plus one fast-charging QC 3.0 USB-A port. While the Quick Charge port’s 36W is impressive, iPhone fast-charging requires a USB-C port rather than USB-A as found here. That said, it’s still going to charge a device faster than the 4.5W or 7.5W ports found on many other docks.

On top of this is one 10Gbps USB-C port that you’ll need if you want to supplement the DisplayPort for a second external display.

You’ll also get more professional-level digital audio ports, as well as the analogue 3.5mm headphone/mic jack at the front.

One Thunderbolt 3 upstream port (40Gbps, 85W PD)

One Thunderbolt 3 downstream port (40Gbps, 15W)

One DisplayPort 1.4 ports (4K at 60Hz)

Three USB-A ports (5Gbps, 4.5W)

Two USB-A ports (10Gbps, 4.5W)

One USB-A port (QC 3.0, 36W)

One USB-C port (10Gbps, 7.5W)

Gigabit Ethernet port

Front-facing 3.5mm Analogue Audio In & Out port

One Digital Optical Toslink Audio (S/PDIF) port

One Digital Coaxial Audio (S/PDIF) port

180W power supply

Read our full HyperDrive GEN2 16-Port Thunderbolt 3 Dock review.

OWC Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock – Best dock for 10Gb Ethernet

Pros

11 ports

10Gb Ethernet

6Gbps eSATA port

Cons

Thunderbolt 3 not 4

60W power maybe light for larger laptops

Expensive outside US




Best Prices Today:



₹67,935 at Amazon

Type: 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 Dock

Ports: 11

Power: 60W PD 3.0; 150W max

External displays: 2x 4K at 60Hz or 1x 5K at 60Hz

The OWC Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock is aimed at digital image professionals and has ultimate performance at its heart.

Principally, it features super-fast 10Gb Ethernet rather than the standard 1Gb (Gigabit) connection found on the other docking stations reviewed here. The Caldigit TS4 features 2.5Gb Ethernet.

To get the most from this level of Ethernet you need to have compatible network devices.

It also features a CFast 2.0 card reader for people still using CompactFlash in its latest version. 

There are Thunderbolt docking stations with more ports and beefier chargers, but none have 10Gb Ethernet or CFast 2.0. You can add these to other docks via dedicated adapters, but the Pro Dock has it all built-in, plus a really secure power-supply connection in case it’s used on a pro DIT cart.

One Thunderbolt 3 upstream port (40Gbps, 60W PD)

One Thunderbolt 3 downstream port (40Gbps, 15W)

Up to two external displays (2 x 4K at 60Hz; or 1 x 5K at 60Hz)

DisplayPort 1.2 port

Three USB-A ports (5Gbps)

SD Card Reader (SD 4.0 UHS-II, 312MBps)

CFast 2.0 Card Reader

10Gb Ethernet port

6Gbps eSATA port

150W power supply

Read our full

OWC Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock review

OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock – ports aplenty

Pros

14 ports

85W PD laptop charging

Cons

Thunderbolt 3 not 4

MiniDP



Type: 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 Dock

Ports: 14

Power: 85W PD 3.0; 180W max

External displays: 2x 4K at 60Hz or 1x 5K at 60Hz

OWC’s standard Thunderbolt 3 docking station has a great set of ports, and charges at a top-end 85W—powerful enough for a 15-inch MacBook Pro. 85W will be enough to charge even the 96W 16in MBP pretty fast and certainly not drain even when connected to multiple devices.

The five USB-A ports are all 5Gbps, and there’s a 10Gbps Gen 2 USB-C port on the front of the latest 14-port model, which not many Thunderbolt docks have.

The curiously old-fashioned choice of Mini DisplayPort over DisplayPort isn’t a technical hurdle but you will require adapters for adding external displays. Other docks have more than one port for external displays, but this one needs adapters to connect to displays—which adds to the overall cost.

That aside, the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock has everything a dock should have in a slick-looking slim case that will look good in any laptop setup.

One Thunderbolt 3 upstream port (40Gbps, 85W PD)

One Thunderbolt 3 downstream port (40Gbps)

Up to two external displays (2 x 4K at 60Hz; or 1 x 5K at 60Hz)

Mini DisplayPort 1.2 port

One USB-C port (10Gbps)

Five USB-A ports (5Gbps; two at 7.5W)

SD Card Reader (SD 4.0 UHS-II, 312MBps)

MicroSD Card Reader (SD 4.0 UHS-II, 312MBps)

Gigabit Ethernet port

Hybrid 3.5mm audio port

S/PDIF digital audio output port

180W power supply

Apple

Which ports are on each MacBook?

13-inch and 15-inch M1/M2/M3 MacBook Air: Two Thunderbolt/USB4 ports and one MagSafe 3 charging port, plus headphone jack

13-inch M1/M2 MacBook Pro: Two Thunderbolt/USB4 ports and one MagSafe 3 charging port, plus headphone jack

14-inch M3 MacBook Pro: Two Thunderbolt/USB4 ports, one HDMI port, one SDXC card slot, plus headphone jack

14-inch M1/M2/M3 Pro or M1/M2/M3 Max MacBook Pro: Three Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) ports, one HDMI port, one SDXC card slot, plus headphone jack

16-inch M1/M2/M3 Pro or M1/M2/M3 Max MacBook Pro: Three Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) ports, one HDMI port, one SDXC card slot, plus headphone jack

How many external displays can each MacBook support without a dock?

M1/M2: One external display with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz.

M3: Two external displays, one with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz and one at 5K/60Hz when the MacBook lid is closed. The 14-inch M3 MacBook Pro is still stuck with single-display support at this time until Apple releases a software fix.

M1/M2/M3 Pro: Up to two external displays with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz over Thunderbolt, or one external display with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz over Thunderbolt and one external display with up to 4K resolution at 144Hz over HDMI. Or one external display supported at 8K resolution at 60Hz or one external display at 4K resolution at 240Hz over HDMI.

M1/M2/M3 Max: Up to four external displays: Up to three external displays with 6K resolution at 60Hz over Thunderbolt and one external display with up to 4K resolution at 144Hz over HDMI
Up to three external displays: Up to two external displays with 6K resolution at 60Hz over Thunderbolt and one external display with up to 8K resolution at 60Hz or one external display with 4K resolution at 240Hz over HDMI.

Now think about a stand to go alongside the dock

These MacBook docking stations look and work great with a laptop stand, and we’ve also tested some
MacBook-friendly stands that lack all the extra ports but keep your MacBook/Air/Pro upright and out of the way: further saving valuable desk space, reducing clutter, keeping your laptop cool, and saving it from spills.

Read our best MacBook accessories feature for more essential laptop gear.

Accessories, Computer Accessories, Docks and Hubs, Laptop Accessories, MacBook

​Macworld Macworld

Plug your MacBook in and out of a multi-port docking station to swiftly add devices and external displays to your laptop. We tested a bunch to find the best Thunderbolt and USB-C docks available to owners of the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.

Thunderbolt 3, 4, USB4 or USB-C

The connectors all look the same (technically known as a “Type-C connector”), but there are significant differences, particularly on data-transfer speed—with USB-C maxing out at 10Gbps (usually 5Gbps) compared to the 40Gbps of Thunderbolt 3 and 4. More like Thunderbolt than USB-C, USB4 can be either 20Gbps or 40Gbps. That extra bandwidth allows not just for faster data transfer but higher frame rates to external displays, plus some other smart benefits.

Of Apple’s current laptop range, the M1/M2/M3 MacBook Air and 14-inch M3 MacBook Pro feature two ports that Apple specifies as “Thunderbolt / USB 4” ports, while the 14in and 16in M1/M2/M3 Pro or M1/M2/M3 Max MacBook Pro models come with three Thunderbolt 4 (TB4) ports. Ignore Apple’s dual designation of non-4 Thunderbolt and USB4—it just means that the ports don’t certify as pure Thunderbolt 4, and that shouldn’t worry most users except for the number of external displays each supports.

Apple’s older 12in MacBook features one 5Gbps Gen 1 USB-C port, while the later Intel MacBook Air (2018 and later) and MacBook Pro (from 2016) boast either two or four 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 ports.

If your MacBook is equipped with Thunderbolt 4, then you really should buy a TB4 dock if you need more ports than those 14/16in laptops already possess. USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 docks will work as Thunderbolt 4 is backwards compatible. Indeed, buying a Thunderbolt 4 dock is a wise decision for everyone, based on future-proofing even for owners of Thunderbolt 3 (TB3) Macs.

That said, there are still some great—and often more affordable—TB3 and USB-C docks available, and most Apple users won’t see much difference between TB3 and TB4—the Thunderbolt 4 standard was mainly about getting Windows laptops up to speed, although there are technical benefits for MacBook Pro users, such as smarter daisy-chaining and faster PCI hard-drive connections.

For more detail, read our Thunderbolt 4 vs Thunderbolt 3 vs USB4 explainer.

We have included some cheaper (non-Thunderbolt) USB-C docks. If you don’t require the ultimate bandwidth for the fastest data transfer and best screen frame rates or resolutions, a USB-C dock might suit your purposes and save you money. 

Add external displays to your MacBook

If you use your laptop as your principal computer, you would do well to consider attaching at least one larger display to create a hybrid desktop/laptop setup (with a keyboard, mouse and printer all available via a single connection to your MacBook). You can turn that 13in laptop’s screen real-estate into an iMac-sized 27in or even larger monitor by adding an extra display—or connect two or even four large screens to extend your screen across your whole desk. Take a look at our recommended best monitors and displays for Mac.

If you want to connect more than one external display to your MacBook without adding third-party software you’ll need a Thunderbolt dock, rather than a USB-C dock—unless you install third-party DisplayLink software. Natively over USB-C, Macs can only connect to one external display in Extended mode (where the screen extends beyond what you can see on the laptop screen, as opposed to Mirrored mode that replicates exactly what you get on the laptop screen) but you’ll get two Extended mode screens over a Thunderbolt connection.

While Apple’s MacBooks featuring the company’s own M1/M2/M3 Silicon chip are super speedy compared to the models sporting Intel processors, models with plain (non-Pro or -Max) M1 and M2 and some M3 chips come with an incredible limitation: they don’t support more than one external display in Extended Mode even via their Thunderbolt ports.

Apple has fixed this limitation with its latest M3 MacBook Air models but the plain M3 MacBook Pro remains stuck on single-display support. This may change soon with a rumored software fix for the entry-level MacBook Pro.

This means that when using any docking station, M1 and M2 MacBook (plus M3 MacBook Pro) users cannot extend their desktop over two or more displays, and will be limited to either dual Mirrored displays or one external display—although adding third-party DisplayLink or InstantView software to the Mac and connecting to a dedicated USB-C dock will allow you to add more than one external monitor to an M1 or M2 MacBook. Follow that link for our roundup of the best USB-C DisplayLink docks, and we’ve included our favorite in our roundup below.

Thankfully, the superior M1/M2/M3 Pro and M1/M2/M3 Max MacBook Pro models can support multiple displays. Below our list of the best MacBook docking stations, we’ve listed the native external display options for each MacBook. One dock supports up to four 6K displays if you own a Max MacBook Pro.

While some docking stations promise support for 8K displays, Macs are limited to 6K support via the dock. Macs with an M2/M3 Pro or M2/M3 Max chip can support an 8K display at 60Hz but only when it is connected via the Mac’s own HDMI port and not any port on the dock.

Do I need a docking station?

All the latest MacBook Pro models boast a wider range of built-in ports, so lighter users might not need a docking station at all. Below the list of our recommended Mac docks is a detailed look at the ports that each recent MacBook includes as standard.

With three TB4 and an HDMI port, a MacBook with a Max chip could connect to up to four external displays without the need for a dock, although such a power user would likely require extra Thunderbolt ports for other devices to make up for using all the laptop ports for multiple monitors. See below our list of recommended docking stations for more detail on the external display options with each recent MacBook.

All docks come with a bunch of USB ports: some old-school USB-A and newer, more capable USB-C.

MacBook Pros also have an SD card reader. Although this is rated as UHS-II (312MBps), Apple has pegged it back at 250MBps, so for the fastest speeds (and a microSD slot if you need one), a dock will likely be a better choice for memory-card use if it is rated at UHS-II rather than UHS-I (104MBps).

MacBooks also lack wired Internet access via a Gigabit Ethernet port, so if you want to escape flaky Wi-Fi, buy a dock with at least Gigabit Ethernet, although you could add a Thunderbolt-to-Ethernet adapter if you have a spare TB port. Some later docks include faster 2.5Gb Ethernet but you’ll need a 2.5GbE router or other device to get the benefit. As Gigabit Ethernet’s speed is 1Gbps, a cheaper 5Gbps USB-C to Ethernet adapter will work just as well.

Dock or hub?

If you just need a few extra ports, a USB-C hub or Thunderbolt 4 hub might be your best choice—see our roundup of the best USB-C and Thunderbolt hubs for Mac.

However, if you require a bunch of fast ports including Gigabit (or faster) Ethernet and multiple video ports plus more powerful charging capability, then look for a full dock that fulfills your needs, and you are in exactly the right place to discover which dock is best for your and you MacBook.

USB-C and Thunderbolt speeds

Foundry

Foundry

Foundry

Thunderbolt vs USB-C dock compatibility

Plain USB-C runs at either 5Gbps or 10Gbps, while Thunderbolt (TB3 and TB4) hits speeds of 40Gbps. You can hook up a Thunderbolt laptop to a USB-C dock but you won’t access the faster speeds unless you buy a true Thunderbolt dock. (By the way, Thunderbolt 5, offering 80Gbps, won’t be seen on a Mac until well into 2024.)

• USB and Thunderbolt speeds explained

USB PD: Power Delivery for your laptop

Look out for a dock with USB PD. The PD stands for Power Delivery. 

Charging the laptop: The M1/M2/M3 MacBook Air requires a PD charger with at least 30W power, but you can fast-charge an M2 Air with a charger rated at over 70W. You’ll need 67W for the 13-inch MacBook Pro and 14-inch MBP (with 8-, 10- or 11-core CPU), 96W for 14-inch MBP (with 12-core CPU), and 96W (preferably 140W) for the 16-inch MBP. The older 15in MacBook Pro requires a 87W PD charger.

An 85W/96W MacBook Pro can be charged by a 30W or 60W charger, but slower than it would be with its native charger. A larger MacBook with a heavy workload might start fading even while being charges on a lower wattage.

If you own a larger MacBook Pro, buy a dock with a PD (Power Delivery) potential of at least 85W if you can. Portable hubs are usually rated at a lower power such as 60W.

USB PD 3.0 maxes at 100W, while USB PD 3.1 can support up to 240W of power. The 16-inch MacBook Pro requires 140W to fast-charge via its MagSafe 3 cable, so owners of that laptop should look for a PD 3.1 charger.

If you just need a spare charger, we’ve tested the best MacBook chargers for you.

Dock, hub or dongle: Whole lotta ports

You need one (“upstream”) Thunderbolt or USB-C port for connecting to and charging your laptop (although the 14/16in MacBooks can also power via the MagSafe port), and likely at least another (“downstream”) to attach further devices (hard drives, external display, and others).

There are many inexpensive USB-C dongles/hubs that let you add more devices to a MacBook (see our roundup of the best USB-C adapters for Macs) or a Thunderbolt hub offering a few extra ports might be all your need, but for maximum flexibility check out a docking station that takes care of all your extra port requirements, and allows you to simply attach it to your laptop with just one cable when you get to the office or come home.

Here we concentrate on Thunderbolt docks, but also include cheaper USB-C docks—which Thunderbolt MacBooks can use, but at the cost of reduced bandwidth and display limitations. We’ve also included our favorite Thunderbolt hubs for smaller and cheaper alternatives. For more non-Thunderbolt USB-C-only docks check out Tech Advisor’s roundup of the best USB-C docking stations for laptops. Tech Advisor also reviews all the available Thunderbolt 4 docks.

Docks aren’t just for MacBooks. Mac mini (2018 and later) and iMac (2017 and later) owners may also consider expanding their ports with a Thunderbolt docking station.

The inclusion of an SD or microSD card reader isn’t just for camera buffs. It’s a convenient and affordable way to add storage to your laptop setup. We found a 512GB Samsung Evo microSD card on Amazon for around $100 in the US and under £100 in the UK. That’s a very cheap way of adding half a terabyte of portable storage. For more details read up on our best microSD cards.

Some of the docks reviewed below include an integrated SSD enclosure that lets you add up to 8TB of fast storage to your connected MacBook.

Sonnet Echo 20 Thunderbolt 4 SuperDock – Best Thunderbolt 4 dock for Macs

Pros

Thunderbolt 4

19 ports

Built-in speedy SSD enclosure

100W PD laptop charging

2.5Gb Ethernet

Type: 40Gbps Thunderbolt 4 Dock

Ports: 19

Power: 100W PD 3.0; 150W max

External displays: 2x 4K at 60Hz or 1x 6K at 60Hz

Boasting an impressive 19 top-rated ports, Thunderbolt 4 certified and with a bonus internal SSD storage feature, the Sonnet Echo 20 Thunderbolt SuperDock offers remarkable value for money.

It has the most ports and equals the fastest ports seen in the market. Its nearest competitor is the excellent Caldigit TS4, reviewed below. Sonnet clearly targeted the TS4 and the specs are remarkably similar—but the cheaper Echo 20 has a useful SSD enclosure that means you can add up to 8TB of internal storage via the dock. If you don’t need this feature and prefer DisplayPort to HDMI, or you need the most powerful ports on offer, the TS4 is still a great contender, although it costs a fair amount more.

The Satechi Dual Dock Stand, reviewed below, is a cheaper non-Thunderbolt option if the idea of an integrated SSD enclosure is appealing.

Even if your MacBook is Thunderbolt 3, as a Thunderbolt 4 dock the Echo 20 is backwards compatible and will work with your next laptop when it’s time to upgrade.

While you can use Thunderbolt ports to add external displays, Sonnet has swapped one of the downstream TB4 ports for a dedicated HDMI port. You can add up to two 4K displays at 60Hz or a single 6K screen at 60Hz. Unless your second display can connect directly with its USB-C port, you’ll need a USB-C-to-DisplayPort or HDMI adapter cable to connect to one of the downstream TB4 ports.

If you have the right router, you can take advantage of super-fast wired Internet access with the Echo 20’s 2.5GbE Gigabit Ethernet—2.5x faster than standard Gigabit Ethernet, with which it also works on standard networks.

One Thunderbolt 4 upstream port (40Gbps, 100W PD)

Two Thunderbolt 4 downstream ports (40Gbps, 15W)

Up to two external displays (4K at 60Hz)

HDMI 2.1 port 

Four USB-C ports (10Gbps, 7.5W)

Four USB-A ports (10Gbps, 7.5W)

SD Card Reader (SD 4.0 UHS-II, 312MBps)

2.5GbE Gigabit Ethernet port

3.5mm Combo Audio In/Out port (front)

Two (right and left channels) line out RCA jacks (back)

3.5mm microphone jack (back)

150W power supply

Read our full

Sonnet Echo 20 Thunderbolt 4 SuperDock review

Satechi Dual Dock Stand – Best USB-C dock for Macs

Pros

9 ports

Built-in speedy SSD enclosure

100W PD laptop charging

Zero-footprint docking station

Cons

USB-C not Thunderbolt

USB ports can’t charge devices

No card reader

Requires USB-C charger

Best Prices Today:

$149.95 at Satechi₹26,824 at Amazon

Type: 10Gbps USB-C Dock

Ports: 19

Power: 100W PD 3.0; 150W max

External displays: 2x 4K at 60Hz or 1x 6K at 60Hz

Another dock with an SSD enclosure is the Satechi Dual Dock Stand that doubles up as an open-MacBook stand that raises the keyboard to a more comfortable angle..

Unlike the Thunderbolt 4 Sonnet Echo 20, reviewed above, this is a USB-C dock with a 10Gbps rather than 40Gbps bandwidth, but it’s significantly cheaper as a result. The MSRP of the Satechi Dual Dock Stand is $150, which is a very reasonable price for a dual 4K 60Hz USB-C docking station.

With one DisplayPort 1.4 and two HDMI 2.0 ports, you can connect up to two 4K displays in Extended mode at a decent 60Hz refresh rate. The Echo 20 has just one video port. Although that port is the superior HDMI 2.1, you have to add a second external screen via one of the Thunderbolt ports, which will require an adapter.

The SSD enclosure is the star of the show. Placed on the underside of the dock, this is easily accessed and supports both NVMe and SATA SSDs. You need to buy the SSD separately. Amazon is selling NVME SSDs for around $50 (1TB), $80 (2TB) or $300 (4TB).

One USB-C port is for passthrough PD power at up to 75W to the laptop, which is enough for all but the 16-inch MacBook Pro at full pelt. Even that model will charge fine—just slower than smaller MacBooks. Note that you will need to connect your own USB-C charger to the dock: check out our recommended MacBook chargers.

If you use your MacBook’s own keyboard and desire up to two quality external displays, plus need to increase your base storage with fast SSD drives, the Satechi Dual Dock Stand is a neat, zero-footprint docking station that matches your MacBook for style and adds nine useful ports.

Dual-USB-C upstream connector to laptop (10Gbps, 75W PD 3.0)

Passthrough power USB-C port

Two USB-C (one at 10Gbps, one at 5Gbps)

Two USB-A (one at 10Gbps, one at 5Gbps)

One DisplayPort 1.4

Two HDMI 2.1 ports

Gigabit Ethernet

Read our full

Satechi Dual Dock Stand review

CalDigit TS4 – most powerful Thunderbolt 4 dock

Pros

Thunderbolt 4

18 ports

98W PD laptop charging

2.5Gb Ethernet

230W power supply

Best Prices Today:

₹76,767 at Amazon

Type: 40Gbps Thunderbolt 4 Dock

Ports: 18

Power: 98W PD 3.0; 230W max

External displays: 2x 4K at 60Hz or 1x 6K at 60Hz

With 18 top-rated ports and Thunderbolt 4 certified, it’s difficult to look past the Caldigit Thunderbolt Station 4, aka TS4. Yes, it’s expensive, but it’s an ultra-impressive dock.

It compares well to the Sonnet Echo 20 with just one fewer port—the Echo 20’s integrated SSD enclosure. For port speeds the TS4 matches the Echo 20, and it boasts the highest power supply that we’ve seen on any dock that we’ve tested—a whopping 230W to be spread among the ports, including a front-mounted 20W USB-C that can fast-charge an iPhone and 98W laptop PD charging.

We also love this dock’s flexible vertical or horizontal format.

As with the Echo 20, while you can use Thunderbolt ports to add external displays. Caldigit swaps one of the downstream TB4 ports for a dedicated video port—in this case, DisplayPort. You’ll need an adapter if your monitor requires HDMI. You can add up to two 4K displays at 60Hz or a single 6K screen at 60Hz.

The TS4 also matches the Echo 20 with super-fast 2.5GbE Gigabit Ethernet–2.5x faster than standard Gigabit Ethernet.

One Thunderbolt 4 upstream port (40Gbps, 98W PD)

Two Thunderbolt 4 downstream ports (40Gbps, 15W)

Up to two external displays (4K at 60Hz)

DisplayPort 1.4 port 

Five USB-A ports (10Gbps, 7.5W)

One USB-C port (10Gbps, 20W)

Two USB-C ports (10Gbps, 7.5W)

SD Card Reader (SD 4.0 UHS-II, 312MBps)

microSD Card Reader (SD 4.0 UHS-II, 312MBps)

2.5GbE Gigabit Ethernet port

3.5mm Combo Audio In/Out port at front

3.5mm Audio In & Out ports at back

230W power supply

Read our full Caldigit Thunderbolt Station 4 (TS4) review.

Kensington SD5700T Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station – Great choice for 2x 4K displays

Pros

11 fast ports

4x Thunderbolt 4 ports

90W PD laptop charging

180W power supply

Power button

Cons

4.5W USB-A ports

Best Prices Today:

₹44,499 at Amazon

Type: 40Gbps Thunderbolt 4 Dock

Ports: 11

Power: 90W PD 3.0; 180W max

External displays: 2x 4K at 60Hz or 1x 6K at 30Hz

The Kensington SD5700T Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station has everything a dock should have: four TB4 ports, three fast USB-A and one slow one (that at least boasts 7.5W charging power compared to the faster USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 port’s 4.5W), Gigabit Ethernet, SD Card reader, and 3.5mm audio jack.

It can supply two external 4K displays at 60Hz or one 6K monitor but at 30Hz rather than 60Hz like the Caldigit TS4, so single-screen gamers should probably look elsewhere.

At 180W, the power supply is higher than most docks tested here but not as great as found on the Caldigit TS4. It’s essential if you are powering multiple devices connected to the dock. And the On/Off power button (rare on docks) means you can give the laptop battery’s rest when you’re away.

There are useful lights telling you when the dock is powered and when it’s connected.

Check out the latest live prices above as this dock is often on sale for less than the listed price and can represent great value for money.

• One upstream Thunderbolt 4 port (40Gbps, 90W PD)• Three Thunderbolt 4 downstream ports (40Gbps, 15W)• Three USB-A ports (10Gbps, 4.5W)• One USB-A port (480Mbps, 7.5W)• Gigabit Ethernet • SD Card reader (UHS-II, 312MBps)• 3.5mm audio jack• 180W power supply

A variant model, the Kensington SD5780T dock (available in the US only), drops one of the three downstream Thunderbolt 4 ports in favor of an HDMI 2.1 but costs an extra $50.

Read our full Kensington SD5700T Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station review.

iVanky FusionDock Max 1 – Best Thunderbolt 4 dock for four 6K displays

Pros

21 ports

Two Thunderbolt 4 chips

Up to four 6K displays at 60Hz

2.5 gigabit ethernet

Cons

Pricey

Requires Max processor for four displays

Type: 40Gbps Thunderbolt 4 Dock

Ports: 21

Power: 96W PD 3.0; 180W max

External displays: 4x 6K at 60Hz

Packing more ports (a whopping 21 in total) than any equivalent docking station we’ve tested, the iVanky FusionDock Max 1’s dual Thunderbolt 4 chips mark it apart from the competition with not just more but faster connections. No other dock can match it for number of Thunderbolt ports and its ability to host multiple monitors.

Packing two Thunderbolt chips gives the FusionDock Max 1 the ability to double up on video-capable ports.

Connected to a MacBook Pro with an M1 Max, M2 Max or M3 Max processor it can handle up to four 6K displays at 60Hz using both its Thunderbolt 4 chipsets. It costs more than any other docking station but it’s a unique dual-Thunderbolt 4 system that answers the dreams of multi-screen Mac professionals. It doesn’t work with Intel Macs or even any Windows computer.

This is a dock built for the top-end MacBook Pro Max. Macs with Pro rather than Max processors can connect to two 4K displays at 60Hz. While that would lose the display benefit this is still is good choice as you could have up to four 40Gbps downstream Thunderbolt 4 ports at your disposal.

Its other ports are plenty and top-end, too. We’re not sure who needs six USB-A ports these days, but they are there and all are rated at 10Gbps. We would have preferred more USB-C than USB-A, but one of the Type C ports included boasts 30W device charging power.

On top of all that you get 2.5Gb Ethernet and two fast UHS-II SD card readers.

Two upstream Thunderbolt 4 ports (40Gbps, 96W)

Four downstream Thunderbolt 4 ports (40Gbps, 15W)

Two HDMI 2.0 video ports

Six USB-A ports (10Gbps, 7.5W)

Two USB-C ports (10Gbps, one at 30W, one at 7.5W)

2.5 Gigabit Ethernet

UHS-II SD card reader (312MBps)

UHS-II MicroSD card reader (312MBps)

3.5mm combo Audio jack (front)

3.5mm Audio out jack (back)

Optical Audio

180W power supply

Read our full

iVANKY FusionDock Max 1 review

CalDigit TS3 Plus – Excellent Thunderbolt 3 dock for Macs

Pros

15 ports

87W PD laptop charging

Digital audio

180W power supply

Cons

Thunderbolt 3 not 4

Doesn’t work with USB-C laptops

Type: 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 Dock

Ports: 15

Power: 87W PD 3.0; 180W max

External displays: 2x 4K at 60Hz or 1x 5K at 60Hz

Caldigit’s TS3 Plus is the granddaddy of Thunderbolt 3 docks. Its compact shape and 15 ports made it our favorite top-end Thunderbolt 3 docking station for its sheer functional flexibility and power at a great price.

Other docks boast faster USB ports, but few have seven like the TS3 Plus—except its successor, the TS4, which makes even the TS3 Plus look underpowered. if you can afford the extra, we recommend the TS4.

It’s a better choice than the Anker 577 dock as it works with all modern Macs that use M1/M2/M3 chips.

The TS3 Plus isn’t unsuitable for non-Thunderbolt laptops—but as most MacBooks have at least TB3, that shouldn’t matter unless you work in a mixed Mac/Windows environment.

And while Thunderbolt 4 is the latest connection standard, its top-end benefits won’t be noticed by most MacBook owners as TB3 matches TB4 on data-transfer speed.

To add the second external display you will require an HDMI or DisplayPort USB-C video adapter to run from the USB-C port unless you have a USB-C monitor. To avoid this need for an adapter, look for a dock with two video ports. 

Both connected displays can run 4K displays at 60Hz. You could also run one 5K display at the same frame rate.

The TS3 Plus’s digital audio ports set it apart from most other Thunderbolt docks.

It charges your laptop at 87W so makes it a great companion to Apple’s larger MacBook Pro models.

This dock is dinky so won’t take up too much space on your desk. Available in Silver and Space Gray, it matches the colors of Apple’s laptops. 

One Thunderbolt 3 upstream port (40Gbps, 87W PD)

One Thunderbolt 3 downstream port (40Gbps, 15W)

DisplayPort 1.2 port 

Five USB-A ports (5Gbps, 7.5W)

One USB-C (10Gbps) port

One USB-C (5Gbps) port

SD Card Reader (SD 4.0 UHS-II, 312MBps)

Gigabit Ethernet port

Front-facing 3.5mm Audio In & Out ports

One Digital Optical Audio (S/PDIF) port

180W power supply

Read our full

CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 3 Plus (TS3 Plus) review

Alogic DX3 Triple 4K Display Universal Docking Station – Best USB-C display dock for Macs

Pros

12 ports

100W PD laptop charging

Triple 5K displays

Cons

USB-C not Thunderbolt

Requires DisplayLink software

Type: 10Gbps USB-C Dock

Ports: 12

Power: 100W PD 3.0; 135W max

External displays: 3x 5K at 60Hz

This Alogic DisplayLink docking station is a USB-C rather than Thunderbolt docking station, so lacks the data-transfer bandwidth you’d get from a TB dock. However, with the addition of third-party DisplayLink software, this dock can support up to three external 4K 60Hz displays even on a limited plain M1/M2/M3 MacBook.

The video ports are all top-end DP. 1.4. If your monitor is HDMI instead of DisplayPort, you’ll need to add an adapter between dock and display—but you’d need to buy video cables anyway. If HDMI is all you need, consider the Satechi Triple 4K dock.

It also packs a bunch of non-display ports, such as three USB-A and a spare downstream USB-C port, plus fast SD and MicroSD card readers and Gigabit Ethernet.

It can power the connected laptop at 100W and has a decent 135W external power supply so doesn’t require an extra USB-C charger like many DisplayLink USB-C docks do. For similar options check out our list of the best USB-C DisplayLink docks.

The DisplayLink download link is clearly shown in the user manual, and instructions make sense—although you need a magnifying glass to read them!

One USB-C port (10Gbps, 100W PD)

Three DisplayPort 1.4 port

One USB-C (10Gbps) port (7.5W)

Three USB-A (5Gbps) ports (one at 7.5W)

SD Card Reader (SD 4.0 UHS-II, 312MBps)

microSD 4.0 Card Reader (SD 4.0 UHS-II, 312MBps)

Gigabit Ethernet port

Hybrid 3.5mm audio port

135W power supply

A little cheaper, the Alogic DX2 supports two 4K displays at 60Hz and lacks some of the other ports found on the DX3. If you just need two external monitors for your M1/M2/M3 MacBook this may be a cheaper option.

Caldigit Thunderbolt 4 and USB4 Element Hub – Best Thunderbolt 4 hub

Pros

4x TB4

4x 10Gbps USB-A

150W total power

Compact

Cons

60W power maybe light for larger laptops

Best Prices Today:

₹33,100 at Amazon

Type: 40Gbps Thunderbolt 4 Hub

Ports: 8

Power to laptop: 60W PD 3.0; 150W max

External displays: 2x 6K at 60Hz

The Caldigit Thunderbolt 4 and USB4 Element Hub isn’t a dock because it doesn’t feature anything other than Thunderbolt and USB ports—no Ethernet, SD card reader or audio port.

But it boasts so many top-end Thunderbolt and USB ports that you can customize it to your every desire.

There are four TB4 ports (one upstream to your computer placed handily on the side, and three downstream to other devices) and four fast 10Gbps USB-A ports.

You can use two of the three downstream TB4 ports to connect directly to USB-C-equipped monitors or HDMI or DisplayPort screens using inexpensive adapters. It can handle two 6K displays at 60Hz or one 6K monitor at the same refresh rate.

That still leave you a spare TB4 port and the four USB-A ports to add further devices, such as an adapter for Gigabit Ethernet and/or SD card reader, SSDs, memory sticks and so on as your requirements demand, so there is no port wastage.

As a hub rather than a dock, its 60W laptop charger is a little underpowered for larger laptops, but the overall 150W power supply will help with all the hub’s ports. Owners of the 16-inch MacBook Pro will probbaly still reply on the laptop’s own 140W charger via MagSafe. None of the other docks tested here can supply the 140W required for 16in MBP fast-charging so it’s not as big a limitation as first appears.

It’s small enough to be portable, but don’t forget that the external power supply will weigh down your travel bag.

• One upstream Thunderbolt 4 port (40Gbps, 60W PD)• Three downstream Thunderbolt 4 ports (40Gbps, 15W)• Four USB-A ports (10Gbps, 7.5W)• 150W power supply

Read our full Caldigit Thunderbolt 4 and USB4 Element Hub review.

OWC Thunderbolt Hub – Best budget Thunderbolt 4 hub

Pros

Four Thunderbolt 4 ports

One fast USB-A port

Cons

60W power maybe light for larger laptops

Best Prices Today:

₹27,331 at Amazon

Type: 40GbpsThunderbolt 4 Hub

Ports: 5

Power to laptop: 60W PD 3.0; 110W max

External displays: 2x 6K at 60Hz

Also a hub rather than a full dock, the OWC Thunderbolt Hub doesn’t match the Caldigit Thunderbolt 4 or even the TB4 Element Hub on its number of old-school USB-A ports, but it is cheaper and offers the same four Thunderbolt 4 ports—one upstream to your computer placed at the front, and three downstream to other devices at the back.

You can use two of the three downstream TB4 ports to connect directly to USB-C-equipped monitors or HDMI or DisplayPort screens using inexpensive adapters. It supports dual 6K displays at 60Hz.

As with the its rival hub, its 60W laptop charger is underpowered for larger laptops.

• One upstream Thunderbolt 4 port (40Gbps, 60W PD)• Three downstream Thunderbolt 4 ports (40Gbps, 15W)• One USB-A port (10Gbps, 7.5W)• 110W power supply

Twelve South StayGo – Best portable USB-C dock

Pros

Portable

85W passthrough charging

Cons

USB-C not Thunderbolt

Support for only one external display

Best Prices Today:

₹18,490 at Amazon

Type: 5Gbps USB-C Dock

Ports: 8

Power: 85W PD 3.0; requires USB-C charger

External displays: 2x 4K at 30Hz

It calls itself just a hub but the StayGo USB-C Hub is a little lightweight box of ports that has enough to go to battle with bigger, more expensive laptop docking stations—and is small enough to fit in your pocket and go travelling with you.

It boasts three USB-A ports (one at 7.5W), a USB-C port for connecting to the laptop and another for 85W passthrough PD charging, one HDMI port, Gigabit Ethernet and SD/Micro SD card readers.

The HDMI port will support a 4K display but at 30Hz rather than 60Hz that you’ll find on more powerful docks.

It’s 5Gbps USB-C rather than 40Gbps Thunderbolt but will work with either type of laptop connection. Of course, you’ll lose that full 40Gbps bandwidth and the option of a second external display, and newer USB-C hubs and docks have moved to 10Gbps rather than 5Gbps, but lighter users might not care, and it’s perfect for portability.

One USB-C upstream port (5Gbps)

One USB-C port (5Gbps) for passthrough 85W PD charging; requires charger

One external display (4K at 30Hz)

HDMI port (4K at 30Hz)

Three USB-A ports (5Gbps; one at 7.5W)

Gigabit Ethernet port

SD Card Reader (UHS-I, 104MBps)

If you don’t need as many extra USB-A ports, Twelve South also offers the cheaper StayGo mini USB-C Hub, which has the USB-C connection to your laptop, 85W passthrough USB-C port and 4K HDMI but just one USB-A port.

Read our full Twelve South StayGo USB-C Hub review.

CalDigit Thunderbolt 3 mini Dock – Best portable Thunderbolt 3 dock

Pros

Portable

Dual 4K display HDMI ports

Cons

Thunderbolt 3 not 4

No downstream TB3 port

Unpowered

Type: 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 Dock

Ports: 18

Power: draws power from laptop

External displays: 2x 4K at 60Hz

The CalDigit Thunderbolt 3 mini Dock offers full Thunderbolt 40Gbps bandwidth and dual-4K HDMI display support at 60Hz in a lightweight portable form. It connects to the laptop via an integrated TB3 cable.

The Mini Dock Dual HDMI features two HDMI ports, plus Gigabit Ethernet and two USB-A: one at 5Gbps (4.5W); one at the much slower 480Mbps (2.5W). 

It runs 4K displays at 60Hz in Extended mode—best for high-action movies and gaming. Plainer USB-C docks can handle two 4K displays, but only at 30Hz, and only one Extended.

Its downside is a lack of power supply (which it draws from the host laptop), so you’ll need to power your laptop via another port, and the USB ports certainly aren’t for fast-charging purposes. No power supply means it’s super portable but a passthrough power port would have been preferred.

Portable USB-C hubs often boast more ports (although just the one external display option) but lack the faster Thunderbolt 3 connection.

Bus-powered, so no PD charging

Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) upstream cable

Up to two external displays (4K at 60Hz)

Two HDMI 2.0 ports (4K at 60Hz)

Two USB-A port (5Gbps & 4.5W, one 480Mbps & 2.5W) 

Gigabit Ethernet port

Read our full

CalDigit Thunderbolt 3 miniDock review

Anker 675 USB-C 12-in-1 Docking Station and Monitor Stand – Best dock and monitor stand combo

Pros

Stylish Stand / 11-port Hub

Raises monitor height

5x 10Gbps USB ports

Wireless phone charging

HDMI 4K at 60Hz

180W total power

Cons

USB-C not Thunderbolt

Best Prices Today:

₹53,499 at Amazon

Why not make your MacBook even more powerful and improve your workspace and posture at the same time?

This is an able USB-C dock and good-looking monitor stand that you can place your external display on top of and desk-based gear underneath in a boost to create an ergonomic and decluttered workplace.

Your MacBook will probably best sit nearby in a closed laptop stand—see our roundup of the best MacBook stands—and connect via USB-C to the dock/stand.

The roster of ports is impressive, with four fast (10Gbps) downstream USB ports on the side (two of which can share 45W of device charging power), plus storage card readers and audio jack, as well as the upstream 100W PD USB-C port positioned underneath.

Also on the cable-management underside are the HDMI and Gigabit Ethernet ports as well as a low-powered USB-A port (most likely for a wired keyboard or mouse) and the meaty 180W power supply port.

On the top there’s a (non-magnetic) Qi wireless charger that you can rest your iPhone or AirPods case on for 7.5W charging.

One USB-C upstream port (10Gbps, 100W PD)

Two USB-C ports (10Gbps, shared 45W)

One external display (4K at 60Hz)

HDMI 2.0 port 

Three USB-A ports (10Gbps, one at 7.5W)

Qi wireless charging pad (10W max, 7.5W iPhone)

Gigabit Ethernet port

SD Card Reader (SD UHS-I, 104MBps)

microSD Card Reader (SD UHS-I, 104MBps)

3.5mm Combo Audio In/Out port

180W power supply

Read our full

Anker 675 USB-C 12-in-1 Docking Station and Monitor Stand review

Ugreen Revodok Max 213 Thunderbolt 13-in-1 Docking Station

Pros

Thunderbolt 4

13 top-end ports

2.5Gb Ethernet

Dedicated DisplayPort 1.4 port

90W PD on 180W power supply

Cons

Only one USB-C port

Expensive

This solid, good-looking dock is aimed against the mighty CalDigit TS4, with a bunch of fast ports and the same vertical or horizontal design—and sadly the same high price.

It’s a little bigger than the TS4, reviewed above, but has fewer USB ports. Both support two 4K displays at 60Hz, but the TS4 can handle a single 6K display, while the Revodok Max is limited to 4K even with just one display connected.

The TS4 definitely wins on ports and specs, so we’d call the Revodok over-priced. If Ugreen dropped the price this would be a compelling alternative, as it offers just about everything most users need in a robust and pleasant design.

One Thunderbolt 4 upstream port (40Gbps, 90W PD)

Two Thunderbolt 4 downstream ports (40Gbps, 15W)

Up to two external displays (4K at 60Hz)

DisplayPort 1.4 port 

Two USB-A ports (10Gbps, 7.5W)

Two USB-A ports (5Gbps, 7.5W)

One USB-C port (10Gbps, 20W)

2.5GbE Gigabit Ethernet port

SD Card Reader (SD 4.0 UHS-II, 312MBps)

microSD Card Reader (SD 4.0 UHS-II, 312MBps)

3.5mm Combo Audio In/Out port at front

180W power supply

Read our full

Ugreen Revodok Max 213 Thunderbolt 13-in-1 Docking Station review

Anker 577 PowerExpand Elite 13-in-1 Thunderbolt 3 Dock – Best Thunderbolt 3 dock for Intel Macs

Pros

13 ports

85W PD laptop charging

18W USB-C

Cons

Thunderbolt 3 not 4

No support for Apple Silicon (M1/M2/M3)

Best Prices Today:

₹49,979 at Amazon

Type: 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 Dock

Ports: 13

Power: 85W PD 3.0; 180W max

External displays: 2x 4K at 60Hz or 1x 5K at 60Hz

Anker’s 577 PowerExpand Elite 13-in-1 Thunderbolt 3 Dock is a great docking station for Intel-based Thunderbolt and USB-C laptops–with lots of top-rated ports in a compact, good-looking case. Unfortunately, it doesn’t play nicely with the newer M1/M2/M3 MacBooks, which rules out all recent Macs.

It is a serious contender for the crown of the best Thunderbolt 3 dock but only for older Intel-based Macs. The Caldigit TS3 Plus boasts one more USB-A port, but the Anker has one faster USB-C port plus the ability to also work with non-Thunderbolt USB-C laptops.

All the Power Expand Elite’s ports are top-end: both USB-C ports, for example, are Gen. 2 at 10Gbps, whereas some docks boast just 5Gbps C-type ports.

The On/Off button at the front is a nice touch we haven’t seen on many other docks, and there’s really nothing except price to distinguish it from the other recommended docking stations we have tested. It’s a cute compact design with a decent quantity of ports, including two fast USB-C ports as well as two TB3.

The only real downside is the lack of support for newer Macs.

One Thunderbolt 3 upstream port (40Gbps, 85W PD)

One Thunderbolt 3 downstream port (40Gbps, 15W)

One HDMI 2.0 port

Two USB-C (10Gbps) ports (one at 18W)

Four USB-A (5Gbps) ports (one at 7.5W)

SD Card Reader (SD 4.0 UHS-II, 312MBps)

microSD 4.0 Card Reader (SD 4.0 UHS-II, 312MBps)

Gigabit Ethernet port

Hybrid 3.5mm audio port

180W power supply

Read our full

Anker PowerExpand Elite 13-in-1 Thunderbolt 3 Dock review

Logi Dock – USB-C dock for remote working and video calls

Pros

3x USB-C, 2x USB-A ports

100W PD laptop charging

Built-in speakers and noise-cancelling mics

Works with Zoom and other video apps

Cons

USB-C not Thunderbolt

Expensive

Only one display in Extended mode

Type: 5Gbps USB-C Hub

Ports: 8

Power: 100W PD 3.0; 230W max

External displays: 1x 4K at 60Hz

There are plenty of docks and hubs that allow you to connect monitors, hard drives and other accessories to your Mac, but the Logi Dock casts its net wider than that. It’s fairly expensive, at $399/£399.99, but it’s designed to provide an all-in-one desktop system for people who do a lot of video-conferencing when working at home or in the office.

The compact USB-C dock (3.34-x-6.3-x-5.18 inches) will fit neatly on your desk alongside your Mac’s display. The Logi Dock’s chunky power adaptor means that this is very much a dock that’s designed to stay on your desk the whole time.

There’s one USB-C upstream port that is used to connect the Logi Dock to your Mac, and both HDMI and DisplayPort interfaces for external display. Significantly, you can only connect one 4K display if you’re using Extended mode, although you can connect two 4K displays in Mirrored mode.

The Logi Dock can work as a speaker for voice and video calls, or you can just listen to some music while you’re working using either the USB-C connection with your Mac, or using Bluetooth to connect to your mobile devices. It sounds pretty good too, with a set of 55mm stereo speakers that deliver a nice firm bass thud on Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill.

You can also use Logitech’s Tune app to link the Logi Dock with conferencing apps such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom, and there’s a set of buttons on the top of the Logi Dock that allow you to quickly mute the mic and turn off the camera.

1x USB-C upstream port (5Gbps, 100W)

2x USB-C downstream ports (5Gbps, 4.5W)

1 x USB-C downstream ports (5Gbps, 7.5W)

1x USB-A (5Gbps, 4.5W)

1x USB-A (5Gbps, 7.5W)

1x HDMI 2.0

1x DisplayPort 1.4

2x 55mm speakers (stereo)

6x noise-cancelling microphones

230W power supply

Certified for Zoom, MS Teams, Google Meet

HyperDrive GEN2 14-Port Thunderbolt 3 Dock

Pros

14 ports

85W PD laptop charging

Digital audio

Cons

Thunderbolt 3 not 4

Expensive outside US

Type: 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 Dock

Ports: 14

Power: 85W PD 3.0; 180W max

External displays: 2x 4K at 60Hz

This Titan Ridge (Thunderbolt and USB-C) docking station is bristling with 14 high-performance ports.

Its compact form is neat (just like the Caldigit TS4 and TS3 Plus or the Anker PowerExpand Elite), and it can lie either upright or horizontal depending on your needs and preference.

There are six USB-A ports in total: four USB-A ports at 5Gbps and a further two at 10Gbps, plus one fast-charging QC 3.0 USB-A port. While the Quick Charge port’s 36W is impressive, iPhone fast-charging requires a USB-C port rather than USB-A as found here. That said, it’s still going to charge a device faster than the 4.5W or 7.5W ports found on many other docks.

On top of this is one 10Gbps USB-C port that you’ll need if you want to supplement the DisplayPort for a second external display.

You’ll also get more professional-level digital audio ports, as well as the analogue 3.5mm headphone/mic jack at the front.

One Thunderbolt 3 upstream port (40Gbps, 85W PD)

One Thunderbolt 3 downstream port (40Gbps, 15W)

One DisplayPort 1.4 ports (4K at 60Hz)

Three USB-A ports (5Gbps, 4.5W)

Two USB-A ports (10Gbps, 4.5W)

One USB-A port (QC 3.0, 36W)

One USB-C port (10Gbps, 7.5W)

Gigabit Ethernet port

Front-facing 3.5mm Analogue Audio In & Out port

One Digital Optical Toslink Audio (S/PDIF) port

One Digital Coaxial Audio (S/PDIF) port

180W power supply

Read our full HyperDrive GEN2 16-Port Thunderbolt 3 Dock review.

OWC Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock – Best dock for 10Gb Ethernet

Pros

11 ports

10Gb Ethernet

6Gbps eSATA port

Cons

Thunderbolt 3 not 4

60W power maybe light for larger laptops

Expensive outside US

Best Prices Today:

₹67,935 at Amazon

Type: 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 Dock

Ports: 11

Power: 60W PD 3.0; 150W max

External displays: 2x 4K at 60Hz or 1x 5K at 60Hz

The OWC Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock is aimed at digital image professionals and has ultimate performance at its heart.

Principally, it features super-fast 10Gb Ethernet rather than the standard 1Gb (Gigabit) connection found on the other docking stations reviewed here. The Caldigit TS4 features 2.5Gb Ethernet.

To get the most from this level of Ethernet you need to have compatible network devices.

It also features a CFast 2.0 card reader for people still using CompactFlash in its latest version. 

There are Thunderbolt docking stations with more ports and beefier chargers, but none have 10Gb Ethernet or CFast 2.0. You can add these to other docks via dedicated adapters, but the Pro Dock has it all built-in, plus a really secure power-supply connection in case it’s used on a pro DIT cart.

One Thunderbolt 3 upstream port (40Gbps, 60W PD)

One Thunderbolt 3 downstream port (40Gbps, 15W)

Up to two external displays (2 x 4K at 60Hz; or 1 x 5K at 60Hz)

DisplayPort 1.2 port

Three USB-A ports (5Gbps)

SD Card Reader (SD 4.0 UHS-II, 312MBps)

CFast 2.0 Card Reader

10Gb Ethernet port

6Gbps eSATA port

150W power supply

Read our full

OWC Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock review

OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock – ports aplenty

Pros

14 ports

85W PD laptop charging

Cons

Thunderbolt 3 not 4

MiniDP

Type: 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 Dock

Ports: 14

Power: 85W PD 3.0; 180W max

External displays: 2x 4K at 60Hz or 1x 5K at 60Hz

OWC’s standard Thunderbolt 3 docking station has a great set of ports, and charges at a top-end 85W—powerful enough for a 15-inch MacBook Pro. 85W will be enough to charge even the 96W 16in MBP pretty fast and certainly not drain even when connected to multiple devices.

The five USB-A ports are all 5Gbps, and there’s a 10Gbps Gen 2 USB-C port on the front of the latest 14-port model, which not many Thunderbolt docks have.

The curiously old-fashioned choice of Mini DisplayPort over DisplayPort isn’t a technical hurdle but you will require adapters for adding external displays. Other docks have more than one port for external displays, but this one needs adapters to connect to displays—which adds to the overall cost.

That aside, the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock has everything a dock should have in a slick-looking slim case that will look good in any laptop setup.

One Thunderbolt 3 upstream port (40Gbps, 85W PD)

One Thunderbolt 3 downstream port (40Gbps)

Up to two external displays (2 x 4K at 60Hz; or 1 x 5K at 60Hz)

Mini DisplayPort 1.2 port

One USB-C port (10Gbps)

Five USB-A ports (5Gbps; two at 7.5W)

SD Card Reader (SD 4.0 UHS-II, 312MBps)

MicroSD Card Reader (SD 4.0 UHS-II, 312MBps)

Gigabit Ethernet port

Hybrid 3.5mm audio port

S/PDIF digital audio output port

180W power supply

Apple

Apple

Apple

Which ports are on each MacBook?

13-inch and 15-inch M1/M2/M3 MacBook Air: Two Thunderbolt/USB4 ports and one MagSafe 3 charging port, plus headphone jack

13-inch M1/M2 MacBook Pro: Two Thunderbolt/USB4 ports and one MagSafe 3 charging port, plus headphone jack

14-inch M3 MacBook Pro: Two Thunderbolt/USB4 ports, one HDMI port, one SDXC card slot, plus headphone jack

14-inch M1/M2/M3 Pro or M1/M2/M3 Max MacBook Pro: Three Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) ports, one HDMI port, one SDXC card slot, plus headphone jack

16-inch M1/M2/M3 Pro or M1/M2/M3 Max MacBook Pro: Three Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) ports, one HDMI port, one SDXC card slot, plus headphone jack

How many external displays can each MacBook support without a dock?

M1/M2: One external display with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz.

M3: Two external displays, one with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz and one at 5K/60Hz when the MacBook lid is closed. The 14-inch M3 MacBook Pro is still stuck with single-display support at this time until Apple releases a software fix.

M1/M2/M3 Pro: Up to two external displays with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz over Thunderbolt, or one external display with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz over Thunderbolt and one external display with up to 4K resolution at 144Hz over HDMI. Or one external display supported at 8K resolution at 60Hz or one external display at 4K resolution at 240Hz over HDMI.

M1/M2/M3 Max: Up to four external displays: Up to three external displays with 6K resolution at 60Hz over Thunderbolt and one external display with up to 4K resolution at 144Hz over HDMIUp to three external displays: Up to two external displays with 6K resolution at 60Hz over Thunderbolt and one external display with up to 8K resolution at 60Hz or one external display with 4K resolution at 240Hz over HDMI.

Now think about a stand to go alongside the dock

These MacBook docking stations look and work great with a laptop stand, and we’ve also tested some
MacBook-friendly stands that lack all the extra ports but keep your MacBook/Air/Pro upright and out of the way: further saving valuable desk space, reducing clutter, keeping your laptop cool, and saving it from spills.

Read our best MacBook accessories feature for more essential laptop gear.

Accessories, Computer Accessories, Docks and Hubs, Laptop Accessories, MacBook 

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