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The Best Thunderbolt Docking Station - 2021

Last updated on April 29, 2021

We looked at the top 12 Thunderbolt Docking Stations and dug through the reviews from 55 of the most popular review sites including and more. The result is a ranking of the best Thunderbolt Docking Stations.

Best Thunderbolt Docking Station

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Our Picks For The Top Thunderbolt Docking Stations

Show Contents
Our Take
Experts Included
Pros
Cons
  Best Overall

Dell WD19TB Thunderbolt Docking Station

Don't Waste Your Money Seal of Approval

Dell

WD19TB Thunderbolt Docking Station

Overall Take

Plenty of PortsThis Thunderbolt docking station supports up to three external displays.

Experts Included
DWYM Electronics Experts plus . Along with user reviews from Amazon.
  Portable Pick

Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Mini Docking Station

Belkin

Thunderbolt 3 Mini Docking Station

Overall Take

For MacOS and WindowsYou'll find this Thunderbolt docking station is both lightweight and portable.

Experts Included
DWYM Electronics Experts plus . Along with user reviews from Amazon.
  Plenty of Ports

CalDigit TS3 Plus Thunderbolt Dock

CalDigit

TS3 Plus Thunderbolt Dock

Overall Take

Wide Range of CompatibilityYou won't have to worry about running out of ports with this Thunderbolt docking station, which has plenty of USB ports.

Experts Included
DWYM Electronics Experts plus Windows Central, New York Times Wirecutter, FabatHome, Tech Radar, Tweak Town, Mac Rumors and 10 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" The dock has a small footprint — it can stand up vertically or sit horizontally — and weighs in at just over one pound. The aluminum case is built strong, and there's lifetime support and a one-year warranty in case..."
Cons
"For everything else, you will likely need an adapter too, especially as there are no HDMI ports (as this would require another converter on the circuit board)."
  We Also Like

gofanco Mini DisplayPort

gofanco

Mini DisplayPort

Overall Take

Lightweight DesignTransporting your docking station from home to work and back is easy, thanks to the lightweight build of this Thunderbolt docking station.

Experts Included
DWYM Electronics Experts plus Atoya Reviews, Education 4 Sustainability. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" A perfect companion for Apple Macbooks, Microsoft Surface Windows tablets, Ultrabooks, and laptops."
Don't just take for granted what one reviewer says. Along with our own experts, DWYM analyzes the top expert reviews of the leading products and generates a score you can actually trust.
19

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the thunderbolt docking stations available to purchase.
12

Products Analyzed

We then selected the leading and most popular products for our team to review.

View All Product Rankings

55

Expert Reviews Included

In addition to our expert reviews, we also incorporate feedback and analysis of some of the most respected sources including: Laptop Magazine, Prestbest, EZ Reviews, Review Finch, Nerd Tech.

25,542

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including

Our experts reviewed the top 12 Thunderbolt Docking Stations and also dug through the reviews from 55 of the most popular review sites including and more. The result is a ranking of the best of the best Thunderbolt Docking Stations.

DWYM is your trusted roduct review source. Our team reviews thousands of product reviews from the trusted top experts and combines them into one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

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Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in their category.

The Best Overall

Dell WD19TB Thunderbolt Docking Station

User Summarized Score

9.2
862 user reviews

Our Take

You'll say goodbye to additional power adapters when you go with this Thunderbolt docking station. Users will love the docking station's future ready design, as well as its reliability. The unit features multiple display ports, an HDMI port, a USB-A and several USB-C ports.


The Best Bang For Your Buck

gofanco Mini DisplayPort

Our Expert Score

9.3
2 expert reviews

User Summarized Score

7.8
166 user reviews

Our Take

At only 6.4 ounces, this Thunderbolt docking station is highly portable, making it easy to take from work to home and beyond. This is also one of the most affordable docking stations on the market, making it a win for any budget. You'll also get a much smaller form factor, which means it will easily blend with the items on your desk.

What other experts liked

A perfect companion for Apple Macbooks, Microsoft Surface Windows tablets, Ultrabooks, and laptops.
- Atoya Reviews

What other experts didn't like

The USB connection is required to enable this adapter's USB 3.0 ports and Gigabit Ethernet port
- Atoya Reviews

Overall Product Rankings

Dell WD19TB Thunderbolt Docking Station

1. Dell WD19TB Thunderbolt Docking Station

Overall Score: 9.4
Reviews Included: 1

Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Mini Docking Station

2. Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Mini Docking Station

Overall Score: 9.2
Reviews Included: 1

CalDigit TS3 Plus Thunderbolt Dock

3. CalDigit TS3 Plus Thunderbolt Dock

Overall Score: 9.1
Reviews Included: 19

gofanco Mini DisplayPort

4. gofanco Mini DisplayPort

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 3

StarTech Monitor Thunderbolt 3 Dock

5. StarTech Monitor Thunderbolt 3 Dock

Overall Score: 8.9
Reviews Included: 6

SIIG Dual 4K Docking Station

6. SIIG Dual 4K Docking Station

Overall Score: 8.8
Reviews Included: 4

Hiearcool Laptop Thunderbolt Docking Station

7. Hiearcool Laptop Thunderbolt Docking Station

Overall Score: 8.8
Reviews Included: 3

Plugable Universal Laptop Docking Station

8. Plugable Universal Laptop Docking Station

Overall Score: 8.8
Reviews Included: 18

Plugable Thunderbolt Charging DisplayPort

9. Plugable Thunderbolt Charging DisplayPort

Overall Score: 8.8
Reviews Included: 10

Dell Triple Display Docking Station

10. Dell Triple Display Docking Station

Overall Score: 7.9
Reviews Included: 10

WAVLINK Dual 4K Docking Station
Overall Score: 7.8
Reviews Included: 3

Plugable Triple Display Docking Station

12. Plugable Triple Display Docking Station

Overall Score: 7.6
Reviews Included: 6

Our Thunderbolt Docking Station Findings


Dell WD19TB Thunderbolt Docking Station

What We Liked: You’ll say goodbye to additional power adapters when you go with this Thunderbolt docking station. Users will love the docking station’s future ready design, as well as its reliability. The unit features multiple display ports, an HDMI port, a USB-A and several USB-C ports.


Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Mini Docking Station

What We Liked: Fast transfer speeds are what you’ll experience when you opt for this Thunderbolt docking station. In fact, data transfer rates operate at 40 gigabytes per second. The device allows users to connect dual 4K UHD displays at 60 hertz.


CalDigit TS3 Plus Thunderbolt Dock

What We Liked: For the widest range of device compatibility, trust this Thunderbolt docking station, which has more ports than most competitors. You’ll get plenty of USB hookups, as well as connections for all your peripherals and a high-speed SD card reader. You can connect up to two monitors and retain reasonably good screen resolution.


gofanco Mini DisplayPort

What We Liked: At only 6.4 ounces, this Thunderbolt docking station is highly portable, making it easy to take from work to home and beyond. This is also one of the most affordable docking stations on the market, making it a win for any budget. You’ll also get a much smaller form factor, which means it will easily blend with the items on your desk.


StarTech Monitor Thunderbolt 3 Dock

What We Liked: The sleek design of this Thunderbolt docking station model makes it one of the most attractive you’ll find, plus you’ll get support for up to two monitors. The 85 watts of power will ensure you can charge even a full laptop.

Our Expert Consultant

Molly Thornberg   
Technology and parenting blogger

Molly Thornberg is a professional writer, creative and mom to four kids, living her best life outside of Dallas, Texas. With a love for all things tech, she is passionate about helping parents raise kids in the digital age. She writes about technology, parenting and humor on her blog Digital Mom Blog.

Our Thunderbolt Docking Station Buying Guide

Workers are more mobile than ever. Whether you report to an office 40 hours a week or not, chances are you have a need to take your computer with you when you leave. Docking stations have long been a convenient way for workers to enjoy the mobility of a laptop while still having access to the screen, mouse and keyboard they prefer when they’re seated at a desk.

With a Thunderbolt, you get the benefits of speedy technology to charge compatible devices quickly. But as technology and parenting blogger Molly Thornberg explains, Thunderbolt docking stations come in a variety of options.

“Each Thunderbolt Docking Station has its own unique set of ports and features,” says Thornberg, the brains behind the Digital Mom Blog. “Research before buying a docking station to ensure that all of your needs are covered. Some commonly found ports and features include: additional Thunderbolt ports, USB-A ports, USB-C ports, computer charging, displays, a Gigabit Ethernet port, an SD reader and an audio port.”

But there are several things to consider before you choose a docking station. The first is compatibility with the devices you use every day. With some docking stations, you can plug in multiple electronic items, which means you can charge your mobile devices while using your laptop. You’ll need to check to make sure your docking station has ports that will work with the cables that connect to your devices.

When it comes to ports, advances in technology have made things a little complicated. You’ll see both USB-A and USB-C ports advertised, as well as the rating of USB 3 and USB 2. These are standards applied to data transfers, and both USB-C and USB 3 are newer. You’ll recognize USB-C by its smaller port size, as seen on newer computers and mobile devices. USB-A is the type you’ve seen for years, with a larger port on both the devices and the cables you plug into them.

When looking at ports, consider all the things you’ll need to plug in. If you prefer to have two monitors, make sure your docking station will support that and check how much the video quality will degrade when the signal is split between two monitors. Also keep in mind whether the ports are in the back or front of the docking station, as that will influence how far your cable will have to reach.

There are some cosmetic considerations, as well. You probably have limited space on your desk, so a docking station that sits vertically rather than horizontally can provide some relief. You should also take a look at the basic design of your docking station, as it will become an important part of your office aesthetic.

For many people, it may not matter, but for photographers and videographers, an SD card reader is essential. These professionals often need to quickly offload photos or videos to a memory card at the end of each day. If they’re in a rush, the process of transferring the data can be cumbersome. With a good SD card reader, you can get the high-speed transfer you need, allowing you to spend less time waiting and more time working.

DWYM Fun Fact

At one time, workers reported to an office and sat in a designated workstation all day. As remote work and mobile devices have become more popular, though, a trend called hotdesking has emerged. This setup involves allowing personnel to choose where they work each day. This type of environment is typically seen in an open-plan layout, where workstations aren’t sectioned off by walls and desks may be a combination of tables, benches, booths and sofas. Hotdesking makes it essential for workers to bring in their own electronic equipment every day, with each workstation typically equipped with power outlets and possibly even docking stations and peripherals.

The Thunderbolt Docking Station Tips and Advice

  • You likely already know what devices you want to dock. If you need your docking station to power a MacBook Pro or PC, you’ll want a unit with plenty of power. The CalDigit TS3 Plus Thunderbolt Dock and gofanco Mini DisplayPort are compatible with the Apple MacBook Pro, although the gofanco Mini DisplayPort won’t work with 2015 MacBooks.
  • The CalDigit TS3 Plus Thunderbolt Dock provides 85 watts of power, which is plenty to charge a 15-inch MacBook Pro at full speed.
  • An 85-watt docking station will also provide enough power for you to set up a compatible host to serve as a charging station.
  • For compatibility, you’ll need to make sure your chosen Thunderbolt will work with the devices you have.

“Using just one Thunderbolt port on your computer, a docking station expands that to however many ports your particular docking station offers,” Thornberg says. “These additional ports come in handy when your computer or laptop does not have the ports you need built-in, if you are out of ports or want additional functionality.”

  • The CalDigit TS3 Plus Thunderbolt Dock can connect to any Windows or Apple device that has a Thunderbolt 3 port on board. Thunderbolt 3 was released in 2015 and designed to provide fast connections to docks.
  • The CalDigit TS3 Plus Thunderbolt Dock promises to offer the most ports, and it doesn’t disappoint. You’ll get 5 USB-A ports, ideal for plugging in hard drives, mice and keyboards. You’ll also get two USB-C ports for devices that support that. The gofanco Mini DisplayPort has two USB-A ports, while other models have two USB-A ports and one USB-C port.
  • If you’re limited on desk space, look for a docking station with a smaller footprint. The CalDigit TS3 Plus Thunderbolt Dock stands upright to minimize the real estate they consume.
  • Those who need to transport the dock from home to work and back again may want to look for a lightweight model. The gofanco Mini DisplayPort is the lightest at only 6.4 ounces, but the CalDigit TS3 Plus Thunderbolt Dock measures around one pound. Other models can weigh as much as 3.25 pounds, making them best for those who plan to keep the docking station in one place for the duration.
  • Whether you’re regularly moving your docking station or not, you’ll likely want a unit that’s built to last. The CalDigit TS3 Plus Thunderbolt Dock has a strong aluminum case that should hold up against anything that might fall on it.
  • As you’re looking at ports, pay close attention to which docking stations have easy-to-access connections on the front of the device. Since your docking station will most likely be on your desk, not having to reach around to plug in those often-used items will come in handy. Your keyboard and mouse may be fine to stay plugged in permanently, for instance, but you’ll be connecting and disconnecting items like your laptop and headphones on a daily basis.
  • Some consumers use mobile storage solutions regularly. If you’re a professional photographer or videographer, for instance, you may need to quickly download your footage for safekeeping when you return home at the end of each day’s work. The CalDigit TS3 Plus Thunderbolt Dock has an Ultra High Speed II (UHS-II) SD card reader to transfer your data at lightning-fast speeds.
  • If you prefer to use multiple monitors, consider the CalDigit TS3 Plus Thunderbolt Dock. The CalDigit TS3 Plus Thunderbolt Dock can handle up to two monitors along with the usual peripherals. However, if you’re going for the highest resolution possible, you may notice resolution starts to degrade once you’ve split the connection between multiple monitors.
  • For those on a budget, the gofanco Mini DisplayPort will be the most affordable choice, but beyond that extremely low cost, you’ll find most other options are similarly priced.
  • Resolution can be an important feature, especially if you’re a gamer or you watch video on your monitor. The CalDigit TS3 Plus Thunderbolt Dock lets you connect two 4K monitors or one 5K monitor. Other models give you 4K resolution on up to two monitors, while the gofanco Mini DisplayPort gives you 1080p resolution.
  • The overall design of your docking station may come into play, particularly since it will become a prominent part of your office environment. The CalDigit TS3 Plus Thunderbolt Dock looks similar to a router, but you’ll find the gofanco Mini DisplayPort has a much lower profile, coming in the form of a small box.

About The Author

Avatar
Stephanie Faris 

Stephanie Faris is a former information technology professional who spent most of her career working with computers and printers. Now a novelist and professional writer, her writings on electronics have been published on top tech sites. When she isn't writing about technology, she's often checking out the latest news on the upcoming iPhone release.