Last Updated on February 3, 2022 by ViCadia
Many laptop manufacturers, including Apple, are steadily replacing ports on their devices with smaller and more versatile Thunderbolt and USB-C connectors. The biggest advantage of this type of connectors is that they allow you to connect multiple devices to your laptop, while using the same connection interface. From 4K displays, USB drives, audio devices, memory card readers, to video cameras – Thunderbolt allows you to connect them all, and achieve very fast data transfer speeds.
Couple of years ago, Thunderbolt 4 officially replaced Thunderbolt 3, delivering upgrades in multiple areas. The latest specification supports data transfer speeds of up to 40 Gbps, as well as support for two 4K displays (or one 8K display), 100 W power charging, wake from sleep function, and DMA protection against Thunderspy attacks. Thunderbolt 4 also features 32 Gb/s PCIe bandwidth, meaning it can support high-end external GPUs without any performance limitations.
Laptops such as the Apple M1 MacBook Air currently feature two Thunderbolt 3 ports, while the M1 Pro and M1 Max Pro feature three Thunderbolt ports. Most high-end Windows laptops also feature multiple Thunderbolt ports, however, if you want to connect more than two or three Thunderbolt devices to your laptop, you’ll need a Thunderbolt dock.
The biggest benefit of Thunderbolt docking station is that it allows you to easily connect multiple Thunderbolt devices to your laptop. Docks are also great for professionals and content creators who need to use their laptop in two different places. They allow you to create multi-laptop office setups where one person can quickly attach their laptop to an external GPU, 4K display, or DSLR camera, as soon as the other one has detached.
Some Thunderbolt docks also feature memory card readers, which is particularly useful for users who deal with photography or video editing. Thunderbolt docks often include LAN ports, as well as charging connectors, which makes them even more convenient. In this roundup we’ll show you the best Thunderbolt docks you can buy in 2022.
Best for MacBooks:
Best Overall: Dell WD19 180W Docking Station
USB Type-C ports: 2 | USB Type-A ports: 3 | Video ports: 2 x DP, 1 x HDMI | LAN: Yes
The Dell WD19 180W Docking Station is one of the best Thunderbolt 3 docking stations currently available on the market. Although it’s not the most budget-friendly Thunderbolt docking station out there, the Dell WD19 perfectly combines lots of useful features with a top-notch build quality. The dock features two full-sized DisplayPort 1.4 connectors, two USB-C 3.1 Gen2 ports, one speaker output, Gigabit Ethernet port with pass through MAC address, and support for 130 W power delivery to Dell systems. It also comes with 3-year limited warranty. Overall, this is a perfect device for professionals and home users alike, that can greatly enhance connection capabilities of your laptop.
Best for MacBooks: Tobenone 15-in-2 USB-C Docking Station
USB Type-C ports: 1 | USB Type-A ports: 6 | Video ports: 2 x HDMI | LAN: Yes
Tobenone 15-in-2 Thunderbolt docking station for MacBooks can boast with a unique and compact design, as well as with lots of additional features. This docking station is specifically optimized for Apple MacBook computers, and it’s not compatible with Windows PCs. The Tobenone 15-in-2 dock allows you to connect up to two 4K displays, and turn your MacBook into a portable workstation. The dock also comes with a built-in SD card reader, four USB 3.0 5 Gbps ports, one USB Type-C port, RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet, and 3.5 mm audio jack. The device also supports 100 W charging, and can deliver up to 87 W of power to connected devices.
Best Budget: UGREEN 6-in-1 USB-C Hub
USB Type-C ports: 1 | USB Type-A ports: 3 | Video ports: 1 x HDMI | LAN: No
If you are looking for a budget Thunderbolt dock, then look no further past the UGREEN 6-in-1 USB-C hub. Compared to other, more expensive Thunderbolt docks, this one doesn’t feature LAN connector, and it only supports one 4K display output at 60 Hz via HDMI. However, the hub comes with three USB 3.0 ports, and one USB Type-C connector that supports 100 W charging. The hub is also compatible with a wide range of devices, including Apple Macbook laptops, Windows PCs, Microsoft Surface, Google PixelBook, as well as Samsung and Huawei mobile phones. The device also features SD card reader, and is available in different models featuring different number of ports.
Best Thunderbolt 4 Dock: Razer Thunderbolt 4 Dock Chroma
USB Type-C ports: 4 | USB Type-A ports: 2 | Video ports: 2 x Thunderbolt 4 | LAN: Yes
The Razer Thunderbolt 4 Dock Chroma is one of the very few docks on the market that features full support for Thunderbolt 4. The dock features four Thunderbolt 4 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, a 3.5 mm audio jack, SD card reader, and three USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A ports. It supports video output exclusively over Thunderbolt 4 ports, and is compatible with Windows and Mac systems. The Razer Dock Chroma also supports 90 W pass-through charging, and is equipped with adjustable RGB lighting which can be customized via Razer’s desktop application. The biggest downside of this amazing dock is that it’s very expensive, but if you are in the market for Thunderbolt 4 dock, then Razer Dock Chroma is the best thing you can get.
Best Mini Dock: Elgato Thunderbolt 3 Mini Dock
USB Type-C ports: 0 | USB Type-A ports: 1 | Video ports: 1 DP, 1 x HDMI| LAN: Yes
The Elgato Thunderbolt 3 Mini Dock is designed for users who prefer to carry their Thunderbolt docks inside their pockets. The dock is so tiny that it can even fit inside the palm of your hand. Despite its small size, this is a high-performance Thunderbolt docks, since it can support two 4K displays at once, and can handle display refresh rates of up to 144 Hz. The dock even features a LAN port, which is a big plus, but due to its small size it only has one USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A port, and no USB Type-C ports. The Elgato Thunderbolt 3 Mini dock is compatible with both Windows and Mac PCs.
Best Vertical Docking Station: Anker Apex 777 Dock
USB Type-C ports: 2 | USB Type-A ports: 4 | Video ports: 1 DP, 2 x HDMI | LAN: Yes
The Anker 777 Apex is one of the best-looking Thunderbolt docking stations that can be used both in horizontal and vertical configurations. It features full Thunderbolt 4 support, meaning it can deliver up to 40 Gbps data transfer speeds, and it supports up to two 4K@60 Hz displays, or up to one 8K@30Hz display. The docking station also comes with an Ethernet port, an SD card reader, 3.5 mm AUX port, and 4 USB Type-A ports. The Anker 777 Apex also supports 90 W power charging via Thunderbolt 4 upstream port. The device is only compatible with Thunderbolt 4 MacBook laptops and Windows PCs.
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