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9 Laptop Docking Stations for Turning a Notebook Into a Desktop

Simon Batt Updated 10-06-2020

Compared to PCs, laptops have fewer ports, smaller screens, and compact keyboards; but it doesn’t have to stay that way. A laptop docking station takes up only one port on your laptop but converts your portable device into a fully-fledged desktop productivity machine.

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Let’s explore the best laptop docking stations available today.

1. Plugable USB-C 4K Triple Display Docking Station

Plugable USB-C 4K Triple Display Docking Station Plugable USB-C 4K Triple Display Docking Station Buy Now On Amazon $223.86

This Plugable USB-C 4K Triple Display Docking Station is the premier third-party brand for docking stations for laptops, saving you from the over-priced docks that laptop manufacturers attempt to sell. Plugable released two variants based on display types; one with an HDMI port and two DisplayPorts, and another with two HDMI ports and a single DVI connection.

Unlike older USB standards, USB-C connections allow you to transfer data as well as charge your devices. As Plugable included a USB-C port here, you benefit from this dual-use. While it works with Thunderbolt 3 connections, it doesn’t support Apple’s Mac laptops. However, for most people, this docking station is a fantastic way to convert a Windows laptop into a desktop.

2. CalDigit TS3+

CalDigit TS3+ CalDigit TS3+ Buy Now On Amazon

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The CalDigit TS3+ allows you to add two additional 4K displays to your setup and can even export your MacBook’s display to a single 5K monitor. On top of that, it’ll charge your connected Mac device, making this one of the best MacBook docking stations available.

CalDigit’s Thunderbolt Station 3 Plus (TS3+) has an incredible 15 ports on it, including seven USB ports. It’s also among the few docks with an SD card reader and can be kept horizontal or vertical.

3. Plugable USB 3.0 Dual Monitor Docking Station

Plugable USB 3.0 Dual Monitor Docking Station Plugable USB 3.0 Dual Monitor Docking Station Buy Now On Amazon $77.22

While many laptop docking stations require a USB-C connection, the Plugable USB 3.0 Dual Monitor Docking Station operates on a standard USB port. As it doesn’t use the newer USB-C standard, the cost is lower too, making this one of the best affordable laptop docking stations.

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It supports two external displays; one via HDMI and another via DVI. However, unlike the other Plugable dock above, this one won’t charge your laptop while you use it. So, you will need to connect your laptop’s power cable separately.

4. UtechSmart Triple Display Docking Station

UtechSmart Triple Display Docking Station UtechSmart Triple Display Docking Station Buy Now On Amazon $69.69

If you’re looking for a Swiss army knife of docking stations, the Utechsmart Triple Display Docking Station fits the bill. Do you need extra USB ports? Want a stable internet connection with an Ethernet port? How about compatibility with modern HDMI monitors and older VGA-based ports? Then this one is for you.

The docking station has more than just a multitude of ports. It uses lightweight materials and a small form factor that make it easy to carry around. If you need a portable docking station to turn your feature-stripped work laptop into a media powerhouse, this docking station is the ideal choice.

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5. QGeeM USB 3.0 Docking Station

QGeeM USB 3.0 Docking Station QGeeM USB 3.0 Docking Station Buy Now On Amazon $145.99

This QGeeM USB 3.0 Docking Station emphasizes its USB 3.0 support in the name for a very good reason. Current day technology depends a lot on USB ports, so a gadget aficionado will appreciate the six USB 3.0 ports on this hub. That’s enough for an external keyboard, mouse, memory stick, and a charger for your phone, with two plugs to spare.

That’s not to say this docking station’s only positive attribute is its USB ports, however. With support for up to two HDMI monitors, a mic in and audio out port, plus an Ethernet socket, it’s a powerhouse even if you don’t fill every USB port.

6. QGeeM USB C Docking Station

QGeeM USB C Docking Station QGeeM USB C Docking Station Buy Now On Amazon $65.99

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QGeeM’s USB C Docking Station is their second entry on this list, and it doesn’t go as hard on the USB 3.0 ports as its sibling. However, the end result is a very affordable docking station suitable for all kinds of uses.

This hub comes with two HDMI and one VGA port for your external monitor needs. Windows machines can have two HDMI or one HDMI and one VGA monitor with an extended desktop, which equals three screens if you count the laptop’s own.

7. MagBac Laptop Docking Station

MagBac Laptop Docking Station MagBac Laptop Docking Station Buy Now On Amazon $89.99

If you’d like a dock for a more stationary laptop, try the MagBac Docking Station. All of the ports are on one side, which makes it easy to plug devices into. On top of this, the station has rubber feet to prevent it from slipping around, meaning you can set it down and forget about it until it’s needed.

As for the ports, the MagBac meets all your common needs; an HDMI port, one VGA connection, an Ethernet port, and an SD/TF card reader. There are three USB 3.0 and one USB-C socket. The indicator lights on the unit give you a quick look at which ports are in use.

8. Dell D6000 Universal Dock

Dell D6000 Universal Dock Dell D6000 Universal Dock Buy Now On Amazon $84.00

If you’ve got a Dell laptop, Chromebook, or tablet, then the company’s laptop docking station is a perfect fit. The Dell D6000 Universal Dock is a USB-C docking station and its sleek look matches the design of your Dell laptop.

You can customize your dock by selection one of the many variants. For example, you can choose which display cable comes included with your purchase. As such, if you want to use the dock for multiple monitors, it can be handy to have both the dock and the cable arrive at the same time.

9. Lenovo ThinkPad Ultra Docking Station

A Lenovo laptop dock

Those who swear by their Lenovo ThinkPad laptop will want a dock that matches it. Lenovo has you covered with the ThinkPad Ultra Docking Station. There are plenty of ports, a mechanical lock, laptop charging, and other tidbits that make it the perfect office tech accessory.

The Best Laptop Docking Station for You

Adding a laptop docking station to your setup is an easy way to get more from your device. From additional USB ports to external monitor outputs, you can turn a single port into a hive of media and productivity.

Now that your laptop is equipped for anything, why not learn how not to destroy it in the process How to Destroy Your Laptop: 5 Mistakes to Avoid Destruction Wondering how to destroy a laptop? These common mistakes will damage your computer over time, so you must beware of them. Read More ?

Related topics: Computer Peripherals, Gadgets, Laptop, Mobile Accessory.

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  1. Doc
    September 2, 2018 at 6:19 pm

    "The HP Ultra Slim is compatible with very HP Elitebook ..."
    I think you meant "every." LOL.

  2. ReadandShare
    August 31, 2018 at 5:13 pm

    I have a Dell XPS 13 with USB C ports. Would love to see a USB-C docking station that also comes with individual on / off switches for at least some of the USB ports. I connect an external drive for data backup purpose, and I like to leave this drive "off" when not actually backing up. A switch is much easier and more elegant than constant cable connecting/disconnecting.

  3. Ronald Epstein
    August 29, 2018 at 2:36 pm

    By far, the CalDigit gets the best Amazon ratings and it's the best choice. I have owned a few CalDigit docks over the years and they are great. Customer service is also first-rate. No, I don't work for them but I have reviewed their products on my website and am very familiar with their exceptional quality.