Everything You Need To Know About Docking Stations

CalDigit TS3 Plus

What Is A Docking Station?

A docking station is a device that allows you to connect your laptop or tablet to multiple accessories such as a monitor, keyboard, and mouse, using a single cable. These devices provide additional ports and functionality to your laptop or tablet, and makes it more like a desktop computer.

Docking stations are commonly found in offices and workplaces where employees may need to switch between a laptop and desktop setup, but they also prove useful for people who work from home or travel frequently and need a portable workstation setup. They can also be used by gamers who want to connect multiple monitors, keyboards, and mice to their laptop for a more immersive gaming experience.

Things You Have To Remember When Getting A Docking Station

  • Connectivity: Docking stations use various types of connectors to connect to your laptop or tablet, including USB, Thunderbolt, and HDMI. Depending on the type of docking station and the ports on your device, you may need an adapter or converter to make the connection.
  • Power Supply: Docking stations can also provide power to your laptop or tablet. Some docking stations have their own power supply, while others draw power from your device. Make sure to check the power requirements of your laptop or tablet before choosing a docking station.
  • Chipset: Docking stations also have a chipset that manages the communication between your laptop or tablet and the peripherals connected to the docking station. Different chipsets may offer different levels of performance and compatibility with different devices.
  • Display Output: Many docking stations offer multiple display output options, including VGA, HDMI, DisplayPort, and DVI. The number and type of displays that you can connect will depend on the docking station and the capabilities of your laptop or tablet.
  • Audio: Some docking stations also offer audio output options, such as headphone jacks or built-in speakers. If you plan to use your docking station for audio playback or recording, make sure to choose a docking station with the appropriate audio features.
  • Compatibility: Not all docking stations are compatible with all laptops and tablets. Make sure to check the specifications of your device and the docking station to ensure compatibility before purchasing.
  • Drivers and Software: Depending on the docking station and your operating system, you may need to install drivers or software to ensure that the docking station functions properly. Check the manufacturer’s website for the latest drivers and software updates.

Types Of Docking Stations:

There are two main types of docking stations, standalone and port replicators.

  • Standalone Docking Stations: These are larger devices that offer more ports and features. They are designed to be a permanent fixture on your desk, and usually include additional features such as built-in storage, charging ports, and even built-in speakers. Standalone docking stations are ideal for people who have a dedicated workspace and need multiple devices connected to their laptop or tablet.
  • Port Replicators: These are smaller devices that offer fewer ports and features but are designed to be portable, making it easy to connect your laptop or tablet to peripherals when you’re on the go. They are also cheaper than standalone docking stations and are ideal for people who need to take their laptop with them on the road.

There are also specialized docking stations available for specific uses, such as:

  • Audio Docking Stations: These are designed for music producers and DJs, and offer multiple audio inputs and outputs for recording and mixing.
  • Gaming Docking Stations: These are designed for gamers, and offer additional features such as multiple monitor support, additional USB ports, and ethernet connectivity.
  • Multi-Display Docking Stations: These are designed for people who need to connect multiple monitors to their laptop or tablet. They offer multiple video outputs and are ideal for people who need a larger workspace.

Below, we have listed some of the best docking stations according to user reviews from different platforms. The list does not represent any arrangements;

1. CalDigit TS3 Plus: This Thunderbolt 3 docking station has 15 ports, including USB-C, USB-A, DisplayPort, Ethernet, and more. It supports dual 4K displays or a single 5K display and can charge your laptop up to 87W. It has received high praise for its build quality and versatility.

2. Plugable UD-6950H: This USB-C docking station supports dual 4K displays and has 14 ports, including USB-C, USB-A, DisplayPort, HDMI, and Ethernet. It can charge your laptop up to 60W and has received praise for its compatibility with a wide range of devices.


3. Dell D6000: This USB-C docking station has 14 ports, including USB-C, USB-A, DisplayPort, HDMI, and Ethernet. It supports dual 4K displays and can charge your laptop up to 65W. It has received high marks for its ease of use and compatibility.


4. HP Thunderbolt Dock 120W G2: This Thunderbolt 3 docking station has 10 ports, including USB-C, USB-A, DisplayPort, VGA, and Ethernet. It supports dual 4K displays and can charge your laptop up to 65W. It has received high praise for its reliability and ease of use.


5. Anker PowerExpand Elite: This USB-C docking station has 13 ports, including USB-C, USB-A, HDMI, DisplayPort, Ethernet, and SD card reader. It supports dual 4K displays and can charge your laptop up to 85W. It has received high marks for its affordability and versatility.


Please note that the best docking station for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences. It’s important to carefully review the specifications and read reviews from other users before making a purchase.

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