Compared to desktop computers, laptops tend to lack functionality due to their limited number of conventional ports. This can be a major setback if your laptop doesn’t offer enough ports for you to connect all your essential peripherals, and that’s where docking stations come into play.
Laptops, with their limited number of ports for input/output devices, are often at a disadvantage. However, laptop docking stations can give you the freedom to connect more devices by expanding your available ports.
Laptops have limited ports and can be cumbersome to connect all your peripherals. The solution is an excellent laptop docking station that allows you to connect devices without being hampered by the lack of input/output ports.
Docking stations for laptops are handy devices that spare you from port restrictions, enabling you to connect more input/output devices to your laptop, increasing its functionality. With a laptop docking station, you can have all of the peripheral devices that you would normally use on your desk right at your fingertips. You’ll be able to connect everything from monitors, external hard drives, and printers to get work done.
Stick around as we shed light on some of the best laptop docking stations available on the market today.
Top Rated Docking Stations
- Flexible expandability – a single usb 3.0 connection from a host pc to this dock provides dual video
- Dual hd monitors – built-in hdmi and dvi outputs each supporting 1920×1200 resolution @ 60hz refresh
- 2 year warranty – we love our plugable products, and hope you will too. this product is covered by a
- 2 x usb 2.0 to 4 pin usb type a, 1 x headphone input and output 3.5 millimetre
- 1 x display / video: displayport output : 20 pin displayport, super speed cable
- 2 x display / video: hdmi: 19 pin hdmi type a, 1x hdmi dvi adapter included
- Triple display usb c hub: expand triple monitors with our usb c hub. 2 x 4k-hdmi ports
- 11 in 1 docking station: pd charging port, gigabit rj45 port, 2 x 4k hdmi ports, vga port, sd/tf
- Smart usb c-hub: equipped with the newest generation super smart chip, up to100w
Best Laptop Docking Station – Comparison Table
|Plugable USB 3.0 Universal Laptop Docking Station|
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|Dell USB 3.0 Ultra HD/4K Triple Display Docking Station (D3100)|
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|Hiearcool USB C Hub Laptop Docking Station|
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|Dell WD19 180W Docking Station (130W Power Delivery) USB-C|
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|WAVLINK USB 3.0 Universal Laptop Docking Station Dual Display with HDMI & DVI/VGA|
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|Kensington USB 3.0 Dual Display Docking Station|
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|USB C Docking Station, Hiearcool 4K Triple Display 17IN1 Docking Station|
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|USB C Laptop Docking Station -YXwin 11 in 1 USB C Hub Triple Display|
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8 Best Laptop Docking Stations Reviews
Not all laptop docking stations are created equal, as some offer more features and connections than others. With that said, pinpointing the ideal laptop docks can be challenging, which is why we’ve narrowed down your options to only 8 high-quality hubs that you can pick from.
In our brave new world where we are almost always connected via various digital devices at all times, making sure that your laptop lasts for as long as possible becomes just another thing you need to worry about. A docking station for laptops not only ensures that your laptop battery will be charged when needed but also enables easy access between laptops and external peripheral devices such as printers or scanners. You’ll never have to stop what you’re doing just because someone else needs the printer again!
1. Plugable Docking Station UD-3900
While there are plenty of highly functional docking stations that are excellent for laptops that are powered by Windows OS, we feel like Plugable’s USB 3.0 Universal Docking Station is the best of the bunch, thanks to its remarkable functionality as well as its highly compact construction.
The Plugable USB 3.0 works beautifully with almost all versions of Microsoft Windows, from the latest Windows 10 all the way back to Windows XP. As far as ports, this laptop hub offers four USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, and one Ethernet port. Not to mention Audio In and Audio Out.
Weighing 13 ounces, this is one of the lightest laptop docking stations available. Also, it has a small footprint, so it won’t take up any considerable desk space. We’re also very fond of how aesthetically pleasing this device is, with its shiny black exterior and blue port outlines.
One of the features that help set the Plugable USB 3.0 apart from other hubs is the dual output port, which allows it to power up to two FHD monitors simultaneously. In addition, you can use it to power up a 2K monitor with the aid of an HDMI port. It also supports DisplayLink, which could make it the best DisplayLink docking station you can buy today.
If you’re someone who constantly upgrades their monitor, then you’d be happy to know that this hub supports monitor hot-swap. Best of all, the Plugable USB 3.0 is priced at under $100, which makes it one of the best USB docking stations without compromising on functionality.
2. Best Dell Docking Station D3100
Are you looking for a mid-range docking station that features a full-sized DisplayPort capable of supporting 4K UHD resolution? It’s about time you get acquainted with the Dell D3100. This hub also offers two HDMI ports, which enable you to support two FHD monitors simultaneously.
The Dell D3100 offers three USB 3.0 ports and two USB 2.0 ports. Additionally, it features Audio In and Audio Out ports that will come in handy when trying to connect a microphone or a pair of headphones. This is the best universal laptop docking station also features an Ethernet port for your convenience.
The Dell D3100 is an excellent choice for corporate workspaces as it’s equipped with PXE boot and Wake-On-LAN. The hub is compatible with a host of external peripherals, including printers, scanners, hard drives, and more. It’s also compatible with both Windows and Mac laptops.
Unlike the Plugable UD-3900, this laptop hub has a horizontal footprint, meaning that it’ll take up more desk space. However, considering the D3100’s dimensions, which are about 20.7x15x11.2 inches, you don’t have to worry about it crowding or taking up too much of your workspace.
In terms of build quality, the D3100 laptop hub is one of the most durable units on our list, which doesn’t come as a surprise considering it’s a Dell product. And despite its robust construction, it manages to weigh around 10 ounces, which is quite impressive. We believe it’s the best laptop docking station for multiple monitors or dual monitors – definitely worth every penny!
3. Hiearcool UCN3270
The Hiearcool UCN3270 is one of those docking stations that are seemingly too good to be true, but we’re pleased to confirm that this device brilliantly delivers on its promises. This is an 11-in-1 device that combines the functions of a USB-C hub and a docking stage at a little under $100!
This excellent docking station offers a PD charging port, VGA port, two 4K HDMI ports, two USB 3.0 ports that are capable of handling up to 5Gbps, two USB 2.0 ports, a Gigabit RJ45 port, and more. As you can see, this highly affordable docking station offers a great deal of functionality.
The Hiearcool UCN3270 is also one of the most aesthetically appealing units on our list, with its sleek, matte black exterior and its horizontal design which doesn’t take up much space at all, as it measures at 2.36×4.52×0.59 inches, making it an extremely compact laptop hub.
The UCN3270 is unlike traditional USB-C hubs and interface-less docking stations. For starters, it offers a superb triple display setup. Further, it’s lightweight and extremely portable, so it’s easy to carry around in your laptop bag. Not to mention that it’s unbelievably budget-friendly.
The two 4K-HDMI ports can support monitors of outputs up to 3840×2160 @30Hz, whereas the VGA port enables you to support monitors with resolution outputs up to 1920×1080 @60Hz. We highly recommend this unit for anyone looking to have a budget-friendly triple monitor setup.
4. Wavlink WL-UG39DK1
The WL-UG39DK1 Universal Laptop Docking Station from Wavlink is yet another excellent hub for Windows-powered laptops. If you’re using a Mac-powered laptop, this docking station won’t be a good fit for you. Nevertheless, this is an excellent hub for productivity and web software.
The WL-UG39DK1 isn’t just designed to support the latest Windows 10, but also Windows 8, 7 and XP. As far as the number of ports, this laptop hub offers six USB-A ports, four of which are USB 2.0 ports, whereas the other two are USB 3.0. It also has a Gigabit Ethernet RJ-45 port.
This laptop hub also offers a dedicated output for both your speakers and microphone, allowing you to employ a decent number of accessories simultaneously. Whether you’re utilizing VGA or DVI adapters, the Wavlink WL-UG39DK1 will offer the required support to ensure flexibility.
Weighing at around 12 ounces, this docking station is just as lightweight as most of the docking stations on our list. What sets it apart from other horizontal laptop docking stations, however, is its super slim design. Put differently, cable management won’t be much of a hassle anymore.
This unit’s HDMI output is up to 2048×1152, DVI output is up to 2048×1152, and VGA output is up to 1920×1080. Regarding the latter, you’ll need to use the supplied DVI to VGA converter. In terms of pricing, the Wavlink WL-UG39DK1 is valued at under $100, so it’s quite affordable.
5. Dell WD19
The Dell WD19 180W Docking Station may not be as popular as other docking stations built by Dell, but it’s definitely one that offers tremendous value and exceptional build quality. Like most of the docks on our list, the WD19 has a horizontal design that measures at 8.1×3.5×1.1 inches.
The Dell WD19 dock is a bit bulky compared to other products on our list. It’s on the thicker side and it weighs almost twice the weight of the Dell D3100 at around 20 ounces. Nevertheless, the dock’s size and weight are still very manageable, so you won’t have any portability issues.
Aesthetically speaking, the WD19 is one of the sleekest docks on our list, with its matte black finish and the iconic Dell logo front and center. The cord used to connect the dock to your laptop is of sufficient length, so you don’t have to worry about it having to be too close to the computer.
This laptop hub features a port for AC power, an RJ45 Ethernet port, two USB-A 3.1 ports, one USB-C 3.1 port, two display ports, and an Audio Out port. The WD19 docking station also has a power button that mirrors your laptop’s power button. Not to mention two types of security locks.
One thing you should know about the WP19 dock is that both the HDMI and USB-C ports share the same hardware. In other words, if you plug a monitor into the HDMI port, the USB-C port will be for data and charging only, whereas plugging a USB-C monitor will disable the HDMI port.
6. Hiearcool UCN3322
We’ve already established that Hiearcool is a brand that offers a great deal of bang for the buck with products such as the above-reviewed UCN3270. After all, how can it get any better than an extremely affordable 11-in-1 laptop docking station? Well, you’ve got another thing coming!
The new UCN3322 from Hiearcool capitalizes on its predecessor’s capacity by offering a 17-in-1 solution! Just think about the endless possibilities that 17 extra ports can offer you. With the aid of this docking station, your laptop’s functionality will likely tower over most desktop computers.
Some of the ports that this dock has to offer include two 4K HDMI, one VGA, one DP, two USB 3.0, two USB 3.1, two USB 2.0, one RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet, Audio Combo, and one SD/TF slot. Quite impressive, huh? Plugging and using this docking station is quick and hassle-free.
One of the strongest selling points of this laptop hop is its vertical design which doesn’t take up any significant space. Further, the hub is pretty compact in terms of dimensions, so portability is going to be a breeze. As far as weight, it’s comparatively heavier than other units at 24 ounces.
When it comes to the display, this laptop hub offers a ton of potential. You can either opt for a dual HDMI 4K display setup or triple UHD display. The dock is mainly compatible with laptops running Windows OS. For Mac-powered laptops, displays are available in mirror mode only.
7. YXwin USB-C Hub
YXwin claims to be the first brand ever to release a USB-C laptop docking station that supports triple display in addition to mirror mode/video wall mode/extend mode, but while we’re not quite certain about it being the first, we’re confident that it does exactly what it claims to do.
We’re absolutely blown away by this hub’s compact construction. It measures at 2.48×4.46×0.59 inches, which is a lot slimmer than most products on our list.
In addition, the unit weighs under 4 ounces! Its weight is pretty much negligible and highly portable compared to heavier units.
One of the strongest selling points of this hub is that it’s equipped with a VL817 dual-core chip, ensuring higher data transfer, lower power consumption, and efficient heat dissipation.
The hub offers 11 ports that you can use to improve your laptop’s functionality and workflow.
The ports that this hub has to offer include an RJ45 Ethernet port, PD Type-C charging port, two 4K HDMI ports, 1080p VGA port, TF/SD readers, two USB 3.0 ports, and two USB 2.0 ports.
It’s compatible with a wide range of laptops, mainly Type-C laptops, as well as smart devices.
With the aid of this hub’s VGA port and HDMI ports, you’ll be able to expand your display setup up to three monitors.
Keep in mind that the monitor must be able to support 4K@30Hz in order for the HDMI ports to display in 4K as well as support extend, mirror, and video wall modes.
8. Kensington K33972US
The final product on our list is from a brand that needs no introduction when it comes to docking stations. Just because the Kensington K44972US is the final unit on our list doesn’t mean that it lacks in any way compared to its competitors. It’s just on the expensive side, that’s all.
The Kensington K33972US is compatible with all laptops that offer a USB-A port. Not only that, but it’s also compatible with MacBooks running Mac OS version 10.14 and later. It’s also highly compatible with the Surface Laptop 3/2/1, Surface Pro 7/6/5/4, and the Surface Book 3/2/1.
The USB-A cord used to connect the hub to your laptop is of adequate length, so you won’t be required to keep the hub terribly close to your laptop. In terms of aesthetics, the hub looks a lot similar to the Plugable UD-3900, but with a little less flash. It’s quite sleek and neat-looking.
The vertical design ensures maximum space efficiency and the hub’s ultra-light design ensures optimal portability. As far as the ports, the K44972US provides two USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet port, and external microphone and speaker jacks featuring Audio 2.0.
Using the HDMI port and the USB-A to DVI DisplayLink adapter, you can easily achieve a triple monitor setup. Note that the package includes a DVI-to-HDMI adapter and a VI-to-VGA adapter. Also, note that you’ll need to download the latest DisplayLink drivers for use on Macbooks.
Best Docking Station for Your Laptop – Buyers Guide
As you might have concluded from our product reviews, not all laptop docking stations are built the same. These peripheral devices tend to vary in terms of size, design, compatibility, number of ports, resolution, and more, which means that you need to be extra critical of your choice.
We’re pretty confident that one of the above-reviewed hubs will meet your requirements, but for you to pinpoint the right laptop docking station for your needs, you’ll have to consider a number of factors. In this section, we go over each of the factors that should influence your selection.
Laptop docking stations tend to come in two variations in terms of design: horizontal hubs and vertical hubs. Horizontal docking stations tend to take up more desk space than vertical docks. Unfortunately, the vast majority of laptop docking stations are of the horizontal variety.
Nevertheless, almost all laptops hubs are highly compact and portable whether they’re vertical or horizontal, so carrying them around in your laptop bag should never be a problem. Also, the vast majority tend to weigh under 20 ounces, so they’re not much of a burden to carry.
When in the market for a docking station for your laptop, compatibility should be the most critical factor on your list. Don’t make the mistake of blindly purchasing a laptop docking station without checking its compatibility as it might require a host port that your laptop doesn’t feature.
Check the dock’s specifications and make sure that it’s compatible with one of your laptop’s host ports. Moreover, some hubs are only compatible with laptops running Microsoft Windows, so it’s also critical to check whether or not the dock is compatible with your operating system.
The main reason why you’re investing in a laptop docking station is that you’re looking to make use of extra ports, correct? This means that you should automatically disregard any laptop hub that offers fewer ports than you need for your peripherals. Generally, the more ports the better.
If you’re not quite sure how many ports you need, just make sure you don’t purchase a hub that offers less than five USB ports. Further, if you plan on running a multi-display setup, you should make sure that the docking station is capable of supporting your required number of monitors.
If you’re involved in work that has to do with multimedia content, it’s very important that you set up a multi-monitor configuration in order to boost your workflow and make it more efficient. And since every detail matters as far as multimedia content, you should aim for high resolution.
There are a lot of laptop docking stations that are able to support 4K display resolution such as the Dell D3100 or the Hiearcool UCN3270, just to name a few. There are also higher-end units that can support 5K display resolution, but these tend to be comparatively more expensive.
Generally speaking, you should invest your money in a docking station that could support FHD resolution (1080p) as a bare minimum. Anything below FHD resolution isn’t really worth it. You should also make sure the dock is capable of supporting a triple-monitor setup if needed.
Laptop docking stations that highlight charging options are few and far between, but they’re still fairly available. If you think that constantly plugging and unplugging your charger is going to be a hassle, such hubs can be extremely useful. Just keep in mind that such units tend to be costly.
The pricing of laptop docking stations is as diverse as their designs and features. Expect to pay around $100-$150 for a quality hub with an adequate number of ports and 4K resolution. There are higher-end models that cost around the $200 mark and can support 5K resolution.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re asking yourself what is a laptop docking station, you will find all the answers below…
What Does a Docking Station Do for a Laptop?
The main purpose of a docking station is to expand a laptop’s functionality with the aid of extra ports that you can use to connect external peripherals and monitors. So rather than having just 2-3 onboard ports, a docking station will grant you 4-6 additional USB ports that you can use.
Can I Close My Laptop and Still Use an External Monitor?
Yes, you can. All you need to do is head to the Control Panel and run the Power Options applet. Thereafter, go to the properties sheet and select the Advanced tab. Click the “When I close the lid of my portable computer” and select the “Do nothing” option.
Do I Need a Docking Station for Dual Monitors?
For most laptops, yes, considering that the vast majority of laptops feature only one VGA/HDMI port. This makes it imperative for you to have a dock if you plan on having a multi-monitor setup.
Do Docking Stations Work with All Laptops?
Compatibility is a huge concern when it comes to docking stations. Most laptop hubs are based on USB 3.0 technology, meaning that your laptop needs to feature a USB 3.0 host port. Another thing that you should be mindful of when selecting a dock is operating system compatibility.
What Is The Best USB C Docking Station?
The best USB C docking station might be one of the most important office supplies that you will purchase; for us it is the Hiearcool UCN3270. You’re going to need it for your new laptop, and many people don’t realize that their laptop doesn’t come with a port to connect external devices like monitors. So if you want to get work done at home or in an office, then this is something that you are going to have to buy.
Conclusion & Final Thoughts:
There you have it, the best laptop docking stations available today. Any of the above-reviewed units will do just fine, you just need to figure out what your requirements are with the aid of our buyer’s guide in order to ensure the best bang for your buck.
If you’re looking to make a safe selection, we suggest opting for the Plugable UD-3900, as it’s a very well-rounded dock in terms of design and functionality. If build quality is what you champion the most, then the Dell D3100 and WD19 should be at the top of your list.
Restricted by a tight budget? Both the Hiearcool UCN3270 and YXwin USB-C Hub offer a ton of value at highly affordable prices. They might not feature Dell’s excellent build quality, but they’re definitely very capable. Let us know which of the above-mentioned units you think is the best.