Oliver Cragg / Android Authority
MacBook Air and MacBook Pro laptops are amazing machines with excellent mobility. Some need more than portability, though. Adding monitors, peripherals, and other accessories will enhance productivity and provide a near-desktop experience. The best docking stations for MacBook Pro and Air can also expand your selection of ports, as we know modern MacBooks have very few. We have searched high and low to find the best options for you. Here they are.
The best docking stations for MacBook Pro and Air
Most modern Macbooks support either Thunderbolt 3 or Thunderbolt 4. We recommend docks using these standards, as they support up to 40Gbps. Standard USB-C docks work well, but they aren’t nearly as fast with its 10Gbps max speeds.
Blackmagic eGPU: For those who need even more power
Let’s start with the best docking station, as well as the most expensive on this list. That’s because the Blackmagic eGPU provides more than an ample set of ports. This is an external GPU enclosure, and it comes with a Radeon Pro 580 GPU to enhance your laptop’s performance and graphics.
It’s Thunderbolt 3-capable and has a couple of ports featuring this standard. It also sports four USB 3.0 ports and an HDMI port. Power delivery support will also ensure 85W charging to your device. The only downside is it only supports Intel-based devices with macOS High Sierra or newer. It’s easily among the best docking stations for MacBook Pro and Air laptops if yours meets those requirements.
CalDigit TS4: For the fastest, most diverse set of ports
The CalDigit is easily one of the best docking stations for MacBook Pro and Air laptops. It meets Thunderbolt 4 standards, the highest around. The solid design also houses a wide variety of ports to expand your small laptop’s capabilities.
Ports include DisplayPort, five USB-A ports (USB 3.2 Gen 2), five USB-C ports (three of which are Thunderbolt 4), SD, microSD, three audio ports, and Ethernet. It’s also pretty expensive, but it’s meant for demanding professionals, and it can also charge your laptop at a whopping 98W. More casual users can keep reading to find other options.
Satechi Thunderbolt 4 Dock: A sleeker profile with plenty of ports
The Satechi Thunderbolt 4 Dock is slimmer and better-looking than many others on this list, but it still offers 11 ports. There are three Thunderbolt 4 ports in there. It also comes with four USB-A ports, Ethernet, an SD card reader, and an audio jack.
It’s not cheap, but it works amazingly while looking great. Not to mention it is one of the best docking stations for MacBook Pro and Air devices (as well as other supported computers). And it’s not as stationary as the larger docks. You can actually take this one around during your travels.
Anker 651 USB-C Dock: It has a wireless charger for your phone!
The Anker 651 USB-C Dock is something very special. For starters, it doubles as a 10W wireless charger and stand for your smartphone. It’s pretty good as a docking station for MacBook Pro and Air laptops, even if it has fewer ports than the previous models.
It supports dual monitors via HDMI and DisplayPort. It also comes with a USB-C 3.1 Gen 1 port, two USB-A 3.1 Gen 1 ports, an SD card slot, an AUX in/out port, and a USB-C port. The laptop gets charged at 85W, which is plenty fast for most MacBooks. There are no Thunderbolt speeds here, but you get a streamlined experience.
J5create JCD543 Docking Station: For those who want more screens
Aside from having plenty of ports and a slim profile, what makes this docking station for MacBook Pro and Air laptops is the fact that it’s among the very few to support three displays. It has a variety of VGA, DisplayPort, and HDMI ports.
Additionally, you’ll get three USB 3.0 ports, Ethernet, SD, microSD, and audio in/out. The main downside here is that there is no Thunderbolt. The price is getting much more friendly, though.
Corsair TBT100: Possibly the best-looking
The Corsair TBT100 continues to be one of the best docking stations for MacBook Pro and Air devices, as well as other Windows laptops. It looks sleek and has a gorgeous aluminum construction. Not to mention it still has a good amount of ports.
There are three ports on the front: USB-C, SD, and Aux. You’ll also find a couple of USB 3.1 ports, Ethernet, USB-C 3.2, a couple of HDMIs, and a Thunderbolt port. It can also charge your laptop at 85W.
A docking station is a dongle that connects to your laptop and charges it. At the same time, it adds a plethora of ports to your computing experience.
You’ll need to be careful about picking the right docking station for your MacBook. For starters, some docks only work with Intel MacBooks. Others support only Thunderbolt 3, while others can handle Thunderbolt 4.
You don’t necessarily need to use Thunderbolt, but it is a much faster and powerful standard. USB-C docks are more affordable, though. If you don’t need extra fast data speeds, you can get similar functionality from a USB-C dock.
The price of a MacBook docking station varies, depending the ports, construction, technology, and features. We can’t give you a solid price, but the cost ranges between $100 and about $400-500 for the most expensive ones.