- The Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station is the best overall MacBook docking station, offering lightning-fast data transfer speeds and compatibility with many laptops and MacBooks.
- The EZQuest USB-C Multimedia Hub is the best budget option, providing a small price tag and plenty of ports, although it does not have a Thunderbolt port.
- The Anker 675 USB-C Docking Station is the best stationary option, with 12 ports, wireless charging capabilities, and an elegant design that matches MacBooks.
- The Kensington SD5700T Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station is the best compact option, featuring four Thunderbolt 4 ports, 90W power delivery, and a compact size for easy portability.
- The Sonnet Echo 20 Thunderbolt4 SuperDock is the best docking station for multiple displays, supporting up to two 6K displays or a single 8K display and offering a wide range of ports and 100W charging capabilities.
As someone who loves the MacBook Pro and doesn’t want to spend the money on a desktop, it is easy to get the best of both worlds with a MacBook docking station. Docking stations give your MacBook more ports, they’re versatile, and you can add cool peripherals to your setup, like extra monitors. If you’re reading this article, it’s likely you already know that you need a docking station, but you’re stuck choosing the best one.
Fortunately, we’re pretty familiar with the devices, so we came up with the best ones on the market today. Whether you’re shopping on a budget or you’re concerned about compatibility, we have an option that’ll work for you.
Assuming you’ve been shopping for a docking station, you’ve already realized that there are many options. You can get portable docking stations or stationary ones. You can buy some with power supplies and others that drain your laptop’s battery. You can spend under one hundred dollars or more than three hundred, but of course, they’re all cheaper than buying a new desktop. We’ve considered all of these factors while coming up with this list.
So, after looking at dozens of options, our choices for the best MacBook docking stations are:
- Best Overall: The Belkin Thunderbolt Mini HD Docking Station
- Best Budget: EZQuest USB-C Multimedia Hub
- Best Stationary: The Anker 675 USB-C Docking Station
- Best Compact: Kensington SD5700T Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station
- Best for Multiple Displays: Sonnet Echo 20 Thunderbolt 4 SuperDock
#1 Best Overall MacBook Docking Station: Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station
- Includes Thunderbolt 3 cable
- Dual 4K@60Hz monitor support
- Transfer speeds up to 40Gbps
- USB 3.0 Type-A, USB Type-C, Ethernet, and Thunderbolt ports
- 3.1 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches
The Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station for MacBook is the #1 Best Overall docking station because it’s portable, versatile, and affordable. This docking station has it all. Belkin included a Thunderbolt 3 port for 40Gbps speeds, which are lightning-fast data transfer speeds.
It also comes with a USB 3.0 Type-A port, a USB Type-C port, and an ethernet port. While you only get one Thunderbolt port, the Belkin docking station is perfect for most users. This docking station is also easily portable. Measuring 3.1 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches and weighing just 0.39 pounds, you can throw it in your briefcase or your purse and use it at home and work.
Additionally, this docking station is compatible with many laptops and MacBooks. Our readers running Mac OS Sierra or later, or at least Windows 8, will benefit from this station. Check out the Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station on Amazon.
|It’s lightweight and portable.||It only has one Thunderbolt port.|
|It has a Thunderbolt port and a USB Type-C port.|
|This docking station is an affordable option.|
Best Budget MacBook Docking Station: EZQuest USB-C Multimedia Hub
The EZQuest USB-C Multimedia Hub is the best MacBook docking station for our readers shopping on a budget. For less than $100 at the time of writing, you can pick up this portable docking station with eight ports and other great features.
The EZQuest USB-C Hub has a Gigabit Ethernet port, three USB 3.0 Type-A ports, one USB-C port, a 4K HDMI port, and a Micro SD reader. The only thing missing is a Thunderbolt port. This MacBook docking station is also compatible with MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs. So, it certainly checks off our compatibility requirement.
Finally, it’s lightweight and portable. The dimensions are only 7.63 x 2.25 x 0.25 inches, and it weighs only three ounces. Similar to our overall pick above, you can take it anywhere. However, this one is about half of the price. Check out the EZQuest USB-C Multimedia Hub at Amazon.
|It has a small price tag but plenty of ports.||It’s missing a Thunderbolt port.|
|It has a Micro SD reader.||The USB-C ports will not support a monitor.|
|This docking station has three USB Type-A ports and one USB Type-C port.|
Best Stationary MacBook Docking Station: Anker 675 USB-C Docking Station
The Anker 675 USB-C Docking Station is the Maserati of stationary MacBook docking stations. It has the ports, the design, and the features to meet your needs and exceed your expectations. It’s a seriously nice stationary docking station that doubles as a monitor stand.
This option is only available to MacBook Pro users with an M1 chip or newer, and it’s stationary. So, if you’re looking for a portable docking station or using an incompatible MacBook, scroll to our next option. Despite those limitations, this docking station has all the ports, an elegant look, and a few bonus features!
The docking station can charge your MacBook, it can charge your iPhone, and it even has cable management. It comes with three Type-C ports, two on the left and one underneath, three USB ports underneath, an HDMI port, an Ethernet port, an audio jack, and a card reader.
The Anker 675 dimensions are 21.26 x 8.66 x 3.54 inches, so taking a few measurements of your workspace before ordering is smart. Check out the Anker 675 USB-C Docking Station on Amazon.
|This docking station has 12 ports, so it’s functional and versatile.||This is a stationary docking station that may not work for everyone.|
|It looks great and matches the elegant design of MacBooks.||The price tag is high.|
|It has wireless charging capabilities.||It doesn’t have a Thunderbolt port.|
Best Compact MacBook Docking Station: Kensington SD5700T Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station
- 4X Thunderbolt 4 ports
- 4X USB-A ports
- Gigabit Ethernet port
- 90W of power delivery
- SD 4.0 card reader
- 4K dual or 8K single video output
The Kensington SD5700T Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station is the best compact option, so it’s portable and packed with features. As the name suggests, it’s one of the fastest MacBook docking stations with four Thunderbolt 4 ports, but that isn’t all it has to offer.
It’s a compact 2.95 x 7.68 x 1.18 inches, so you can easily take it anywhere. In addition to the Thunderbolt ports, it also has four USB ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, and an SD card reader. The Thunderbolt port permits data transfer speeds of 40Gbps, and up to dual 4K video output.
It also has the 90W power delivery necessary for charging M series MacBooks. You will need a newer OS version to benefit from this excellent docking station. This one will only work for those running MacOS Big Sur or Windows 10. Check out the Kensington SD5700T Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station on Amazon.
|It comes with four Thunderbolt four ports.||This is the most expensive option on our list.|
|It has a three-year warranty.|
|It can charge your phone and MacBook.|
Best MacBook Docking Station for Multiple Displays: Sonnet Echo 20 Thunderbolt 4 SuperDock
- 3X Thunderbolt 4, 4X USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type A, and 4X USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C ports
- HDMI port and RJ45 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet
- 3.5mm combo audio jack, 3.5mm mic; line-level R+L RCA audio out
- SD 4.0 card slot and M.2 SSD slot
- Supports 4K, 5K, 6K, and 8K@60Hz displays
- Up to 100W power delivery through the included Thunderbolt 4 cable
The Sonnet Echo 20 Thunderbolt 4 SuperDock is the best MacBook docking station for our readers who want multiple high-definition displays. If you want to connect 4K, 5K, 6K, and 8K@60Hz displays, this is the one for you. This docking station supports up to two 6K displays or a single 8K display, with no HDMI adapter required.
While most docking stations would work well for many of our readers, this one is special. It has three lightning-fast Thunderbolt 4 ports, four USB ports, four USB Type-C ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, audio and microphone ports, and even a port for an M.2 SSD card up to 8TB.
Everything about this MacBook docking station just keeps getting better. Aside from all the ports, it also has 100W charging capabilities — perfect for M1 and M2 MacBook Pro users. It’s also portable, but when we say that this one is a brick, it’s a brick. Although since the dimensions are only 9.63 x 4.25 x 1.38 inches, it’s a portable brick at least.
Finally, it’s compatible with quite a few MacBooks. You can use this docking station if you have one of the M series MacBook Pros or a Thunderbolt 3 Intel MacBook. Check out the Sonnet Echo 20 Thunderbolt 4 SuperDock at Amazon.
|It has three Thunderbolt 4 ports.||There are more aesthetically pleasing options out there.|
|It can support 4K, 5K, 6K, and 8K@60Hz displays.|
|It has 100W charging capabilities.|
How to Pick the Best MacBook Docking Stations: Step by Step
It isn’t advisable to just buy any old docking station for your MacBook. You’ll need to consider a few things to avoid winding up with one that doesn’t meet your needs. Fortunately, we can teach you how to pick your own docking station.
Here are key considerations before making a purchase:
Let’s review each of these criteria in more detail.
Naturally, compatibility is one of the most important aspects of choosing a docking station. Some are only compatible with Intel MacBooks, while others only work for the new M series. If you choose the wrong one, you will quickly find that your docking station won’t work.
Next, we consider whether a docking station is compatible with other devices. While this isn’t necessarily a deal breaker, choosing a station compatible with Windows or even ChromeOS laptops adds a little benefit. After all, you never know what devices you’ll want to buy in the future.
Finally, you can check compatibility on the manufacturer’s website. Amazon also does a great job listing compatible devices on the product page. Scroll through and verify compatibility before adding the device to the cart.
We’ve covered a lot about ports above, and there’s an excellent reason for this. Your docking station’s entire job is to add more functionality and peripherals to your MacBook. However, not all ports are created equally.
You can save money if you only need a few essential USB ports. However, most of us want to add another display or two while getting an ethernet and SD port. If you want more than one display, you’ll need Thunderbolt ports. Choose a docking station with a USB 3.2 Gen 2 port, giving you faster data transfer speeds than the Gen 1 USB ports.
Choosing a docking station for your MacBook based on ports isn’t just counting how many there are. It also requires one to understand what the ports do. Fortunately, most websites list this information on the product page.
Finally, additional features are always fun but not always necessary. Looking at a docking station’s features creates a balance between price and disappointment. For example, if you don’t need an 8TB SSD slot on your station but need an SD slot, our budget option will work for you.
On the other hand, if you need the SSD slot, you’ll only feel disappointed when you use your docking station. Take a gander at the features you need and choose accordingly.
What to Know Before Buying a MacBook Docking Station
Now that you know how to choose your MacBook docking station, it’s time to be sure it’s right for you. You’ve explored the ports, compatibility, and features. However, before making a purchase, there are a couple more things to consider.
First, read the reviews. A docking station can have everything you need at a price you like, but the reviews will give you valuable insight into whether it will work for you. Reviews can tell you how they work in practice and which limitations each station has.
Next, review the warranty information. Most docking stations have a manufacturer’s warranty. But these often vary from one year to three years. The longer the warranty period, the better the product.
Using MacBook Docking Stations: What It’s Like
These days, a docking station is a must-have for many of us. MacBooks typically have only a few ports. If your Wi-Fi isn’t strong enough, a docking station with an Ethernet port will help. You’ll undoubtedly need a docking station if you need an SD slot and an M series MacBook.
You’ll need cables (HDMI, audio, ethernet, USB, etc.) when you get a new docking station. These cables can become overwhelming if you don’t have a cable management system setup. We love the Anker 675 because it has a pre-built system for that.
Of course, the Anker MacBook docking station is stationary, which won’t work for everyone. Portable docking stations allow you to unplug and go. Quickly taking your station from office to home and more is quite appealing, but you won’t have the best cable management setup.
MacBooks are great, but by nature, they don’t give us a lot of functionality with peripherals. That’s where docking stations come into play. They give us ports to add more devices, like displays and microphones, that can save us from having to buy a new desktop.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock.com.