Which laptop docking station should you buy?
The job of a laptop docking station is to expand the functionality of your computer, making it more convenient and comfortable to use. Docking stations can turn a laptop into an impressive desktop replacement by adding USB ports, connections for external monitors and more.
There are several models of laptop docking stations on the market, which can make choosing one a challenge. However, by keeping some things in mind and knowing what to look for, you’ll be able to find an excellent one that fits your needs.
What to look for in a laptop docking station
Don’t let price be the only influence on your purchasing decision. You must also consider port compatibility and a station’s ability to charge your phone and other devices. Verify its functionality and the operating system(s) with which it is compatible. Consider its overall design, look and build, as well.
Make sure the ports on your laptop are compatible with those on the docking station that you’re considering. See if you need USB-C ports or USB 2.0 ports, for example. Ensure that the position and placement of dock ports are reachable by the peripherals of your laptop.
Check to make sure the docking station provides enough wattage to charge your laptop and other devices you may use it with. Look at the charging port specification of the docking station and verify that it matches the output of your laptop power.
If you use dual monitors, make sure that the docking station supports that functionality. Also, verify that it is compatible with your laptop’s operating system. Some are compatible with Mac, others with Windows. Some are compatible with Android, Surface or Linux. Many models are universal, too.
Design and placement
There are docking stations that have a vertical design and others meant to lie flat. If you’re a bit short on desk space, a vertical one may be appropriate. Pay attention to the measurements of your workspace in comparison to the dimensions of each docking station you are considering.
What should you expect to pay for a laptop docking station?
Docking stations range in price from about $100-$200 and even higher. Most that hover at the lower end of that range offer a few USB ports and solid basic features. As you go up the price scale, more features are generally available.
6 laptop docking stations to consider
Plugable USB 3.0 universal laptop docking station
With dual monitor ports and compatibility for Mac and Windows operating systems, this docking station is more than enough for most people. It offers dual video ports for HDMI, DVI and VGA connections and has six USB ports.
Sold by Amazon
Targus USB-C universal dual video 4k laptop docking station
This premium laptop docking station has four USB ports and is compatible with Windows, Mac and Android operating systems. It’s compatible with dual monitor usage, Thunderbolt 3, and the station has one USB-C port and four USB 3.0 ports.
Sold by Amazon
Kensington USB 3.0 dual display docking station
Designed for Windows, Mac and Microsoft Surface operating systems, this laptop docking station features six USB ports and DVI adapters. In addition, it supports single and dual full HD monitors and features high-speed data transfers of up to 5 Gbps.
Sold by Amazon
Dell WD19S laptop docking station
This docking station for laptops has a USB, HDMI and Thunderbolt hardware interface. It offers four USB ports, two display ports and 130 watts of power. This docking station comes with a super-speed USB-C cable and PXE Boot feature.
VAVA USB C Docking Station 12-in-1 dock
This laptop docking station features an HDMI port, Ethernet port, USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports and an SD/TF card slot. You’ll find a PD output to charge a phone and a 3.5mm audio and microphone slot. It has a mirror mode that allows users to watch videos from a projector, monitor or HDTV in 4K at a 60Hz refresh rate.
Sold by Amazon
VisionTek VT1000 laptop monitor docking station
You can connect two monitors using this docking station, and it has several USB ports, an audio jack and Gigabit Ethernet. The VT1000 is compatible with MacBooks, Microsoft Surface Pro, Windows operating systems, Chromebook and Ultrabook.
Best laptop docking stations: the bottom line
When it comes to buying the best laptop docking station, which one is best will depend on each one’s ability to match its features to your needs. The quality of each of these six laptop docking stations is excellent, even though prices vary among them.
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Sarah Harris writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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