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Best docking stations for MacBook Pro 2021


The best
Docking stations for MacBook Pro
iMore
2021

The MacBook Pro dock is like an outlet for your laptop. They have different ports, and unlike the best USB-C hubs, they usually have their own power source to be able to handle high-speed data transfer and multiple display connections. The lack of multiple ports across the MacBook line can be a bit annoying — especially if you want to connect multiple screens. If you connect lots devices and peripherals and need fast data transfer, these are the best MacBook Pro docks.

Extremely powerful:
CalDigit TS3 Plus Thunderbolt 3 Dock – Space Gray

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Not only does this small box have a power of up to 85 watts of charge, but it also has two Thunderbolt 3 ports with 40Gbps data transfer. You also get DisplayPort support, USB-C, digital optical audio, three USB-A ports (one of which supports 15-watt device charging), a separate headphone and microphone port — and an SD card reader. It is a workhorse for multi-port docking stations.

  • $ 300 at Apple

  • $ 300 on Amazon

Thunderbolt docking station 3

Vertical extensibility:
Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Dock compatible with MacBook

The reliable Plugable docking station provides 60 watts of charging from five USB-A ports, one of which supports charging the device. It also has two Thunderbolt 3 ports for fast data transfer and 4K screen support. You can even connect up to five Thunderbolt 3 devices to one supported port. With the included base station adapter, you can place this docking station in a vertical or horizontal position for final desktop adjustment.

$ 229 on Amazon

Henge Docks Vertical Dock

Space saver:
Henge Docks Vertical Dock (Space Gray)

While this isn’t a docking station (no extra ports or its own power source), it’s a handy little accessory that could fit your desktop perfectly. Slide your MacBook Pro into the dock and your two USB-C ports will be routed to the two ports on the side of the dock. This helps organize the use of your USB-C ports, but you can still keep your laptop out of the way. It’s a great way to work in fold-down mode with an external monitor, keyboard and mouse.

$ 130 at Brydge

StarTech docking station

5K support:
StarTech.com Thunderbolt 3 Dock – Dual Monitor 4K 60Hz laptop dock

The StarTech docking station has eight different ports, including Ethernet, USB-A 2.0, microphone, headphones, Thunderbolt 3, DisplayPort, USB-A 3.0 for fast charging and HDMI. It is explicitly designed to allow you to connect 5K screens using Thunderbolt 3 ports or two 4K Ultra HD monitors using Thunderbolt 3 port and DisplayPort port.

$ 303 on Amazon

Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Dock Mini

Compact for small spaces:
Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Dock Mini

If you don’t have a lot of desk space, but still want something that will give your MacBook Pro more options, the Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Dock Mini is a great choice. It may not have all the ports that some larger docks have, but there are basic things. With two HDMI ports that can support 4K monitors running at 60 Hz, a USB 3.0 Type-A port, a USB 2.0 port and a Gigabit Ethernet port, you’ll be able to take advantage of much more than one of your MacBook Pro’s USB-C ports.

$ 140 on Best Buy

Docking station, hub or adapter: which one is right for you?

MacBook Pro docks are designed for multi-screen charging support — and therefore typically use Thunderbolt 3 instead of USB-C only. They usually have their own power supply and can charge your laptop and mobile devices, while providing fast data transfer and support for a 4K or 5K screen. Basically, they are designed to be stationary to give your workflow more versatility and convenience. When it comes to MacBook Pro docks, I personally use Elgat’s Thunderbolt 3 dock because of its 85-watt charging support and dual 4K display option.

The hubs are very similar to docking stations. They always have many ports, but they do not always have their own power source. They also tend to be more portable because they are lighter and smaller (and don’t need their own wall plug). If the docking stations listed here seem too much to you, you may need a hub.

Adapters are the simplest peripherals for port versatility. They are almost always a replacement with a single port, such as USB-C-to-USB-A or USB-to-Lightning, although they can sometimes have one or two additional ports, such as HDMI. They are the cheapest, but also the least diverse. You may not need support for a 4K or 5K screen, high-speed data transfer, or 12 different things connected to your MacBook Pro at the same time. A simple single-port adapter may be a better solution.

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