Laptops are great for taking desktop-class computing power on the go. However, with recent MacBook Pro releases removing legacy ports, it’s become a little more challenging to connect multiple devices to your MBP. Fortunately, there is a solution in the form of a docking station. Here are some of the best docking stations to connect your devices to your MacBook Pro right now.
- 1. Twelve South StayGo
- 2. Belkin Thunderbolt 3
- 3. HyperDrive Pro 8-in-2
- 4. Corsair TBT100 Thunderbolt 3 Dock
- 5. LandingZone USB-C Dock
- 6. OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock
- 7. Kensington SD5200T Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station
- 8. WAVLINK USB 3.0 & USB-C Ultra HD/5K Universal Docking Station
- 9. Moshi Symbus Q USB-C Hub Docking Station
- 10. Anker PowerExpand 5-in-1 Thunderbolt 4 Mini Dock
- 11. Elgato Thunderbolt 3 Pro
- Quick Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions
1. Twelve South StayGo
Much of this list focuses on feature-packed and relatively large docking stations for your Mac and Macbook. But part of the Macbook’s strength comes from its portability, so you may want something a little more lightweight and portable to go with it. Enter the Twelve South StayGo, a portable dock designed for USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 devices, featuring a compact and curated selection of ports that should handle all your needs when you’re on the go.
This docking station is practical, durable, and most importantly, small and portable. The retractable cable is a particularly nice touch, keeping things in your bag uncluttered when you’re traveling. The unit has also been tested to ensure compatibility across Apple’s M1(X) lineup of MacBooks.
Ports: kicking things off with two USB-A ports, two USB-C 3.1 ports and two SD ports. Adding to that, it has also one micro SD port, Ethernet and 85W passthrough charging.
2. Belkin Thunderbolt 3
Sometimes the best Mac docking station is the one you can take with you. At $193.00, the Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Dock Core is a really great option that offers a whole lot considering its small size. This is especially true when you consider data transfer speeds can push up to 40Gbps as well as connecting dual 4K displays at 60hz. Not to mention the Belkin adds 60W passthrough charging as well as compatibility with Windows.
Belkin is one of the best-known third-party names for Apple gear – and for good reason. They’ve been around for a while, and that shows in their build quality. For the price, you feel like you are getting a solidly built unit that will last as long as – if not longer than – the life of your Mac.
Ports: with the Belkin, you get one Thunderbolt 3 and one USB-C port. Additionally, you have access to two USB-A 3.2, one USB-A 2.0 and one HDMI 2.0 port. Finally, with this Belkin, you also get access to one DisplayPort 1.4 as well as a 3.5mm Audio in/out and Gigabit Ethernet.
3. HyperDrive Pro 8-in-2
There are several models of the HyperDrive Pro, and the biggest one gets our pick. It’s nice and slim, packs all the ports you want, and is compatible with all MacBook Pro models dating back to 2016 (and the 2018 and 2019 MacBook Air as well). At $119.99 (often on sale), it’s cheaper than many other options, too.
As with many of the best docking stations, the HyperDrive Pro tries its best to blend with the sleek MacBook design. To that end it does a good job, with a slimmer design than its rivals and an aluminum enclosure that comes in MacBook-like Space Gray and Silver colors.
Ports: there are two USB-C ports (PD), two USB-A 3.0 ports and both a microSD and SD Memory card slot. Add in a 4K HDMI port, 4K Mini DisplayPort, Thunderbolt 3, and Ethernet, and you have a pretty robust selection of ports to work with on the HyperDrive Pro.
4. Corsair TBT100 Thunderbolt 3 Dock
With the Corsair TBT100 Thunderbolt 3 Dock, you need just one cable to add a whole host of ports to your MacBook. One of the standout aspects is the 85W of power which works with smart charging technology as a passthrough to your MBP. On top of that, there is plenty of power to connect up to two 4K displays running at 60Hz each, which is in line with most of the dock options on this list. Best of all, Corsair has its own security slot to help prevent theft when you are out and about and using the Corsair.
Ports: on the front you have a USB-C 3.2 port, as well as SDXC access and a headset audio in/out port. Moving to the back, there is a slew of entry points beginning with dual USB-A 3.1 access and Gigabit Ethernet next to dual HDMI 2.0 ports. A Thunderbolt 3 port sits next to a proprietary Kensington security lock, which is great for a little extra piece of mind when you are not at home.
5. LandingZone USB-C Dock
The LandingZone USB-C Dock for MacBook Pro with Touch Bar is a non-Thunderbolt-based dock with a USB-C passthrough (which works with Thunderbolt accessories). This dock is meant for 15″ MBPs only (2016-2019 models) and won’t work with Windows Machines, nor the 13″ or 16″ MacBook Pro or Air models.
The plasticky build doesn’t feel as good as the LandingZone looks in pictures, which is disappointing for the $279 price tag. That said, the build quality is good enough to last through plenty of use. The docking process is somewhat more cumbersome than a competitive unit which attaches via USB.
Ports: One dual HDMI/miniDisplay Port (you can use one or the other) and one HDMI port allow you to use at least two monitors. One SD and one microSD card slot. Three USB-C ports (data only, no video support), three USB-A 3.1 and a gigabit Ethernet port. This dock is one of the few with dual display connections. You can connect at least two displays directly to the dock and can also connect a third via the passthrough on the right side of the dock. This is probably the best feature of the dock.
6. OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock
OWC has always produced quality products, and the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock is no exception.
Let it be known that this is a solid, well-built, and easy to use dock. Coming in two versions – one with Firewire 800 support and one without – the dock works with both Mac and Windows machines.
Ports: There are 13 different legacy ports, including five USB-A 3.1 ports, one FireWire 800 port, gigabit Ethernet, two TB3 ports, one miniDisplay Port, one SD card reader and one audio out port. You can connect multiple displays to this device via the miniDisplay Port and a TB3 port; however, unless that display is ALSO a TB display, you’re going to have issues daisy-chaining any additional devices to it, so be aware. USB-A ports don’t offer Thunderbolt compatibility.
If you don’t need Firewire support, you can pick up the Mac/ Windows version of the OWC TB3 Dock and save quite a bit of cash.
7. Kensington SD5200T Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station
The Kensington SD5300T TB3 Docking Station is another cross-platform dock, supporting both macOS and Windows, that provides support for a single 5K monitor or dual 4K displays at 60Hz. As an added plus to the whole package, the dock can be mounted to the back of any VESA-compatible external display (via a mounting plate, sold separately), allowing for a cleaner, less-cluttered desk.
Like the OWC dock, the Kensington SD5200T is wrapped in both plastic and brushed metal. It connects to your TB3-enabled Mac via a TB3 cable on the rear of the dock. It also supports 85W charging, so it will power your device while it’s plugged in.
Ports: the device has a single 15w power providing USB-A and USB-C/TB3 ports on the front of the device. On the rear of the dock, it has a gigabit Ethernet port, USB-A 3.1 port, audio in/out ports, support for Kensington lock, one TB3 port, one TB3-in port, a Display Port and DC in. While the connectivity here isn’t great, it does get the job done and supports both 4K and 5K displays.
8. WAVLINK USB 3.0 & USB-C Ultra HD/5K Universal Docking Station
If connectivity is key with a docking station, the WAVLINK Universal Docking Station could be the dock you need for setting up a dual-display system. Support for all recent versions of macOS as well as Windows are all present.
Yet another compact unit, the Wavlink is encased in metal, which places it at the top of the list in terms of “best housing.” From a build quality standpoint, this is definitely going to make you feel like it will outlast every computer you purchase in the next ten years.
Ports: the Wavlink USB-C Ultra HD/5K Universal Docking Station has 14 ports: two USB-C ports, three USB-A type 3 ports, one gigabit Ethernet port, one DVI port, one 4K HDMI port, one Audio in/out port and one USB-C in port.
9. Moshi Symbus Q USB-C Hub Docking Station
Standing out from the pack of USB-C docking stations, the Moshi Symbus Q adds one unique feature with the addition of wireless charging. Maxing out at 15W through Qi technology, that includes support for Apple devices up to 7.5W. The overall compact design leans well into placement on a desk which is great for anyone working in a smaller space.
On top of the sharp design, one big standout aspect of the Moshi is its 10-year warranty, which is among the best in the USB-C docking station space. Throw in support for 60Hz 4K and HDR video and the Moshi looks like a bargain that will last for the better part of a decade.
Ports: the Moshi includes a mix of six ports in total: one USB-C port, two USB-A ports, one-gigabit ethernet input, HDMI (4K HDMR) port and a single input for power to help drive the wireless charging.
10. Anker PowerExpand 5-in-1 Thunderbolt 4 Mini Dock
Anker’s entry into the docking station space with its 5-in-1 Thunderbolt 4 mini docking station yields impressive results. What helps the Anker stand out is its 85W maximum pass-through charging which adds enough power to fully charge a MacBook Pro 15″ in under two hours. All non-M1 MacBook Pro models running macOS 11 (Big Sur) and later are out-of-the-box compatible.
With a trifecta of Thunderbolt inputs/outputs, the Anker fully supports up to three monitors at a time when plugged into a MBP. On top of that, Thunderbolt 4 is capable of data transfer speeds up to 40Gbps or fast enough to transfer a 20GB file in just over 10 seconds.
Ports: Three Thunderbolt 4/USB-C ports combined with a USB-A port as well as DC-IN to help produce the 85W of passthrough charging power.
11. Elgato Thunderbolt 3 Pro
If you want the word “Pro” in your docking station, the Elgato Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock is the one for you. The premium design feels very good sitting next to your MBP, and with one cable, you don’t need to worry about cable management taking over your workspace.
For the premium price, you can rest comfortably knowing that you can switch between your MacBook Pro and a potential Windows computer with ease.
Ports: the Elgato starts things off with dual Thunderbolt 3 ports, including the ability to connect to a 5K display. When using a 4K display, you can do so with two monitors each at 60Hz via either the Display port or Thunderbolt ports. On top of that, you have two dedicated USB-C ports as well as two front-access USB 3.0 ports.
Need a quick answer? We have you covered with a list of some of our favorites, as well some of the best selections, depending on your needs.
Best for Portability:
- Belkin Thunderbolt 3
- Twelve South StayGo
- HyperDrive Pro 8-in-2
- Moshi Symbus Q
Best for Speed:
- Anker PowerExpand 5-in-1
Best for Cross-Platform:
- OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock
- Twelve South StayGo
- Corsair TBT100 Thunderbolt 3 Dock
Best for Maximum Ports:
- LandingZone USB-C Dock
- Corsair TBT 100 Thunderbolt 3 Dock
- Elgato Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock
- Kensington SD5200T Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station
- Corsair TBT 100 Thunderbolt 3 Dock
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do these docking stations work with the new M1X MacBook Pro models?
Current compatibility is going to be a little hit or miss. The Anker unit specifically flags it is not compatible while the Belkin Thunderbolt 3 station advises compatibility except for multi-monitor support. On the other hand, the Twelve South StayGo has already updated its product notes to ensure compatibility across all functions. Most product web pages have yet to specify so it’s best to check directly with the manufacturer before purchasing.
2. Are these products compatible with Windows, Chromebooks, Linux, etc.?
Yes, absolutely. Linux and Chromebook might be a little more hit and miss but for the most part, Windows 10 and 11 compatibilities can be found across the options above. The caveat is the HyperDrive Pro which is only compatible with various MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models.
3. Can I switch between docking stations if I have more than one?
You can definitely utilize more than one docking station such as one in an office and one at home. Data isn’t kept on any of these stations so there is nothing to transfer between one docking station and another. You can use as many as you want, as frequently as you need without any concern over limitations.
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