For a professional and office-like setup at home, reliable docking stations are important staples. We like ones that can handle 2+ additional monitors and come with multiple USB ports. This will help any computing need that may come your way. Aside from having the best docking stations, we also have articles on how to setup your workstation on a budget.
A docking station can turn your laptop into a connected device. It can increase its home office utility, much like a desktop computer. Picking the best one for your home office comes down to what you value. Also, it comes down to what type of experience you are seeking to create. Laptops are great tools on the go. Many mobile workers likely want a more holistic setup: you can use this device to connect to a monitor, printer, keyboard, and speakers all-in-one.
A good docking station can transform your work experience. Having this useful accessory on your desk will enable you to connect to more devices by providing you additional ports. So what should you consider in a docking station to make sure you select the right one? Here are our tips for you to consider.
This product will help empower you. It will help transform your laptop in a full workstation and can be customized to your needs. This will provide you flexibility, security, charging powers, port enhancements, and the ability to easily plug-in and get going with your peripheral devices.
Many Types Of Docking Stations
Whether you are using a PC, Mac, or Chromebook (or some combination of these three), the best docking station will align with your computing needs and goals. It can not only enhance the security of your device (if it’s bolted to your desk, for example). It can boost your productivity by giving you greater flexibility for doing your work.
Not all docks are created equal. Hopefully this guide has helped you consider different aspects of the docking station so you can purchase one with greater clarity and confidence.
All of the below products are Windows and Mac comparable.
This dual-4K docking station offers wide flexibility in setting up your workstation, working with both USB-C and USB-A port laptops and supporting multiple combinations of Ultra HD 4K DisplayPort and HDMI monitors. Ideal for home workers who look at graphics and documents. The laptop docking station works with DisplayLink to support high-resolution monitors.
The Kensington Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station is among the best on the market, for all of the reasons you would want in your home office. It is blazing fast, enables all of the USB-A and USB-C connections you will need via dual 4k DisplayLink, and comes with lifetime technical support. You can lock this station to your desk or leave it unlocked for enhanced flexibility (if bringing between work stations in different rooms, for example).
At its core, the triple 4k video output can transform your laptop into a desktop computer powerhouse. With data transfer speeds of up to 40 Gbps, you can download a a feature length film (4k movie) in under a minute. Have old MP3s? You can use the Thunderbolt 3 tech for data transfer for those as well.
Now let us turn to the nuts and bolts. Kensington is a leader in the space for a reason: their products work across Windows and Mac, support multiple monitors, and support up to 4k resolution. With their dedicated phone support line you can call and ask questions or get tech help in the blink of an eye. If you want a reliable, fast, powerful product the Kensington Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station will exceed your expectations.
The reality is that most docks and adapters will get the job done, so there’s not a major difference between the TOTU and plenty of others. For us, it comes down to the lightweight look and design – you can literally keep it plugged into your MacBook Pro or Air while you’re on the go and you won’t really notice it’s there.
Designed for those who want a one-stop upgrade for your USB 3.0 laptop. The Plugable USB 3.0 Universal Laptop Docking Station for Windows (UD-3900) allows you to add dual monitors, and connect your peripherals, all through a single cable back to your laptop. Quickly come and go from your work from home desk with ease. By connecting one cable to your laptop, you gain 11 extra ports of connectivity, making it easier to do more work in less time.
Power users with dual monitors: The UD-3900 is the dock you need to maximize your productivity and your workspace. Great for business uses such as email, web applications, Microsoft office, and more. Featuring a vertical design, you can easily slip this dock between your monitors and save valuable desk space. Conveniently access the front USB and audio ports for those devices you plug and unplug everyday.
Note: The UD-3900 will not charge your laptop and will need your external charger to provide power to your system. The UD-3900 has one HDMI port and one DVI port and we include both a DVI to VGA adapter and a DVI to HDMI adapter if needed (not compatible with DisplayPort displays).
This docking station provides convenient connectivity for an expanded workspace while working from home. Connect a Windows or Mac laptop with up to 2 screens and reach three displays (HDMI1+ HDMI 2+laptop). The ports on this docking station include a Ethernet network, a PD USB C Charging Port, 2 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0, a SD/Micro SD card reader, a 3.5mm audio jack, and 2 peripherals. This EUASOO docking station is extremely compact and slim. You can put it anywhere you want to work, even if space is limited for your desk. If you are transferring between working from home and the office, this hub is an ideal device for daily carrying and traveling.
Conveniently connect any laptop equipped with thunderbolt USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C to the TOTU Docking Station. This advanced docking station connects your laptop to up to three additional monitors simultaneously, various external devices, and the Internet with a single cable. Designed for Ultra HD 4K resolution, the TOTU Docking Station eliminates the need for an additional power adapter—keeping your workspace clean and clutter free.
The TOTU Docking Station includes versatile features for Alternate Modes and Power Delivery. Alternate Modes allow certain non-USB data and protocols (such as host video) to be sent over a USB-C cable, while Power Delivery enables you to power the supported system without the need for a traditional proprietary OEM charger.
This upgraded Triple Display TOTU docking station allows for extended mode for Mac OS devices via two DP and one HDMI. The host device must support DP Alt Mode and Power delivery because the DP and Ethernet connects via DisplayLink DL-6950 “Alt Mode.”
The HDMI port supports up to 3840 by 2160 4K at 30Hz and the DP supports up to 4K at 60Hz. The connectivity ports include SuperSpeed USB 3.0(5Gbps) from the host laptop, Gigabit Ethernet, audio input/output, 3 USB 3.0 ports, 2 USB 2.0 ports, and a USB C 3.0 port. The updated black matte finish makes for a sleek and elegant addition to your desk setup.
With the TS3 Plus, a single Thunderbolt 3 port from your laptop expands to 15 ports. This docking station is designed for “power users” who need as many ports as they can get hold of and the TS3 Plus delivers on this promise. Whether you need multiple USB ports, dual 4K display connectivity, Digital Optical Audio out, or a fast SD Card Reader, the TS3 Plus packs everything into an incredibly compact unit. The TS3 Plus’ extreme connectivity is not just confined to data as it can also achieve extreme visual fidelity. Users have the option to connect dual extended 4K 60Hz monitors or a single 5K 60Hz monitor. The versatile DisplayPort connector can be used to connect to any monitor through the use of an active DisplayPort cable/adapter.
The Kensington USB 3.0 Dual 2K Docking Station turns one USB port into six. While six ports is less than some of the other docking stations we recommend, you can access all of your essential peripherals, including keyboard, mouse, printer, and external hard drive. And with dual HD video output, you can add two external monitors to your WFH setup to boost productivity. The dock’s two USB 3.0 ports support super-speed data transfer of up to 5 Gbps.
This dock comes packed with features. The extend mode allows your to expand your desktop across multiple screens so you can view and work on multiple applications at once. The clone mode replicates the same content from your laptop to your secondary display. Two super-speed USB 3.0 ports are ideal when you want to transfer data from another device. Headphone and microphone jacks are also conveniently placed on the front of the dock. Connect your peripherals with four USB 2.0 ports strategically located on the back of the dock to keep your printer, keyboard, mice cables or wireless receivers hidden from view. Intuitive display management console sits on your applications bar and allows you to easily switch between display modes, change the master monitor or adjust alignment and position of your screens. Overall the Kensington is a reliable docking station for working from home that will allow you to connect your essential items.
The Hiearcool USB C Docking Station expands the capabilities of your laptop. THis USB-C docking station combines 17 ports in one step solution including two 4K HDMI, VGA port, DP Port, two USB 2.0, two USB 3.0, two USB 3.1 Gen 1, 100WUSB C PD Charging, RJ 45 Gigabit Ethernet, a SD&TF Card Slot, audio jack. The portable design allows you to easily bring this docking station between your WFH setup and the office.
The Diamond DS3900V2 Ultra Dock docking station enables multiple USB devices to be connected to the laptop, notebook, Macbook, and Windows 8.1/8 tablets using a single USB 3.0/2.0. With one simple cable connection to your computer, you can have access to large screen displays, stereo speakers, external hard drives, optical disk drives, printers, USB keyboard, mouse, and other USB devices. All of your devices can stay connected to the DS3900V2, leaving your entire desktop undisturbed. Just connect and disconnect your laptop, Ultrabook, or tablet as you come and go. While not as portable as the other docking stations we recommend, the affordable price allows you to leave one in your office and one in your home.
Kensington is a leading provider of desktop and mobile device accessories, trusted by IT, business, and home office professionals around the world for more than 35 years. This docking station proves it worth: it is affordable, will work for all of your computers, and comes with support.
Best Docking Stations Buyer’s Guide
Depending on your computing needs and laptop, you might just need a docking station to connect simple peripherals (keyboard, mouse, external hard drive). Ask yourself what you need and what kind of home office computing experience you desire. If you have a cheap or small netbook you will likely not want to type on it all day long. A docking station will enable you to connect to a keyboard which will help make you more productive.
Desk Based Docking Station
Some docking stations are portable and built for you to carry around – at home, on the road, in the office. Given that this guide is focused on the work from home environment, we have a bias towards docking stations that are desk based. In this case, the docking station is an actual dock. It is on your desk and you can place your laptop into it. When your laptop is connected, a full experience emerges. You can charge your device, obtain extra storage, access more ports, and connect automatically to your monitor and keyboard. Moreover, the added port options will help you access video options including Ethernet connections and HDMI. If you don’t need this degree of home office connectivity, you can aim for a simpler dock. We love docks that are all inclusive as your computing needs might change.
Evaluating the Technology
Docking stations come with different technical capacities. You might not be familiar with all of the different specs – but luckily for you, we are. Firstly, think about speed. One way to have better work from home experiences is to optimize for fast computing. Some docking stations enable this because they have built in Ethernet options. Closely tied to speed is video fidelity. If you are viewing videos or high resolution content on your screen for work you likely want a docking station that supports 4k. 4k is short-hand for high definition resolution. In other words, if you want to view high resolution material on a monitor, but are using a laptop for projection, you will want a docking station that enables 4k connectivity. If you are consuming rich media or content, you might also be working with multiple external screens or displays. If so, you need to select a docking station that supports multiple monitors. And here’s a word of caution: not all do.
If you are optimizing for flexibility and want to look at multiple monitors make sure to pick a docking station that doesn’t lock you in to just one screen. Lastly, a docking station may include robust charging capabilities for your devices. In the home office we presume that you have your phone, laptop, and potentially tablet all set-up as you want relative to their proximity to charging stations or wall-chargers. But a nice perk of some docking stations is the ability to avoid the annoyance of constantly disconnecting and connecting your charger because some docking stations have built-in plus for charging. This will take a small load off your plate if you are constantly using devices to their max.