Working from home can be a challenge if you don't have the right equipment - most of us have a quality laptop, but stocking up on the correct gear, such as a laptop docking station, can make it a real pleasure and, dare we say it, a bit of a doddle.
The issue that many people face is that there's just so much stuff needed to WFH that it can be a tad overwhelming. For most of us, we'll also be running a couple of monitors, a keyboard and mouse, and maybe an external drive, printer and webcam. What do all of these things require? Ports. Running low on ports is a real issue faced by anyone working on laptops. Luckily, laptop docking stations exist.
Laptop docking stations - sometimes called laptop hubs - provide all the advantages of a full-blown PC setup, without tying you down. They have extra peripherals such as USB-C docks, can send some signal to external monitors, and charge your laptop all at the same time. Simply put, a docking station will expand the capabilities of your laptop overnight. We rank it highly as a piece of essential working-from-home tech.
The best laptop docking stations at a glance:
• Best docking station for connectivity: CalDigit TS3 Plus Thunderbolt 3 Dock - View at Amazon
• Best docking station for monitor support: Dell D3100 Docking Station 3.0 - View at Amazon
• Best docking station for minimal clutter: Corsair TBT100 Thunderbolt 3 Dock - View at Amazon
A shortage of ports is a particular issue with otherwise excellent Chromebooks and MacBooks. Due to the advent of cloud-based tech and working on the go, these laptops have seen fit to reduce the ports available on the system. Fine in some circumstances, but an issue once you start using them for work. So, if you're struggling to use multiple devices due to limited connectivity, a docking station is a great solution. We've listed the best laptop docking stations in terms of connectivity, quality and price. Check out our top picks below.
Best overall laptop docking station
Small but mighty, the Belkin docking station is ideal for those who are tight on desk space. It
- Connects monitors
- Ultra-fast connection
- Lacks SD card reader
Best docking station for connectivity
With a whopping 15 ports, the CalDigit docking station features the most connections on this list
- 15 ports in total
- Seven USB ports
- Supports 4K
- Overkill for standard office workers
Best docking station for device fast-charge
Another great option if you're looking for a space-saving laptop dock, the StarTech docking
- Dual-monitor support
- Fast-charge capability
- Does not support double 4K monitors
Best docking station for monitor support
This docking station by Dell sure does pack a punch. It connects your laptop to up to three
- Connects three 4K monitors
- 12 ports in total
- Great connectivity
- Nothing we can think of
Best docking station for minimal clutter
With the Corsair laptop dock, you can connect your laptop to multiple devices using just one
- Slick, compact design
- Dual-monitor support
- Charges laptop up to 85W
- Requires Mac or PC to have a Thunderbolt port
Best docking station for value
Expand your workspace with the Kensington docking station, which supports two Full HD screens and
- Six USB ports
- Does not support 4K
What to look for in a docking station
Good connectivity: Connectivity is equal to the number of ports available on the dock, but also be sure to look out for a good range of ports. Make sure that the docking station you select will support all your monitors and devices comfortably, and then some.
Laptop charge: Most docking stations will have the capacity to charge a lightweight laptop. However, if you have a Macbook Pro or another bigger device, be sure to opt for a docking station with up to 85W charging capacity.
Dual-monitor support: Nowadays, most of us are operating with two monitors. If this is the case for you, keep an eye out for the number of monitors the docking station can support, as well as the supported display resolution.
Is a docking station good for charging other devices?
We mentioned that a docking station can charge a relatively lightweight laptop, but it's not limited to just that. You can connect other devices to it as well, such as some phone chargers. The catch, however, is that it's far from speedy. It will help to keep a low-on-charge phone running, and might be able to boost it further, but the more you plug in the more voltage is being used elsewhere.
Marina Avraam is a contributor to What's The Best, and also writes for Yours.co.uk, heatworld and Closer across beauty, tech, and lifestyle.