Plug your MacBook in and out of a multi-port docking station to swiftly add devices and external displays to your laptop. We tested a bunch to find the best Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C docks available to owners of the latest MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.

Apple's 12in MacBook features one 5Gbps Gen 1 USB-C port, while the latest MacBook Air (2018 and later) and MacBook Pro (from 2016) boast either two or four 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 ports.

Add external displays to your MacBook

If you use your laptop as your principal computer, you would do well to consider attaching at least one larger display to create a hybrid desktop/laptop setup (with a keyboard, mouse and printer all available via a single connection to your MacBook). You can turn that 13in laptop screen into an iMac-sized 27in or even larger monitor by adding an extra display – or connect two large screens to extend your screen across your whole desk.

If you want to connect more than one external display to your MacBook you'll need a Thunderbolt 3 dock, rather than a USB-C dock. Natively over USB-C, Macs can only connect to one external display in Extended mode (where the screen extends beyond what you can see on the laptop screen, as opposed to Mirrored mode that replicates exactly what you get on the laptop screen) but you'll get two Extended mode screens over a Thunderbolt 3 connection.

There are ways around the limitation, using DisplayLink software, but we recommend a Thunderbolt dock if you want multiple Extended mode displays.

While Apple's very latest MacBooks, featuring the company's own M1 Silicon chip, are super speedy compared to the models sporting Intel processors, they come with an incredible limitation: they don't support more than one external display in Extended Mode even via their Thunderbolt 3 ports. This means that when using any docking station, M1 MacBook Pro users cannot extend their desktop over two or more displays, and will be limited to either dual Mirrored displays or one external display - although there is a software workaround to add more than one external monitor to an M1 MacBook.

If you want to attach more than one external display, we recommend you stick with Apple's Intel-based laptops for the time being: see M1 MacBook Pro vs Intel MacBook Pro, with a Thunderbolt 3 dock. 

Whole lotta ports

One problem with using a MacBook as your main PC is its lack of ports. The 12in MacBook has just one USB-C port, the new MacBook Air boasts two Thunderbolt 3 ports, and the latest MacBook Pro models feature either two or four Thunderbolt 3 ports.

You need one port for charging (albeit not all the time), and likely at least another to attach further devices (memory sticks, hard drives, Ethernet, external display).

There are many cheap adapters that let you add more devices to a USB-C or Thunderbolt MacBook (see our roundup of the best USB-C adapters for Macs), but for maximum flexibility check out these docking stations that take care of all your extra port requirements, and allow you to simply attach it to your laptop with just one cable when you get to the office or come home.

Here we concentrate on Thunderbolt 3 docks, but also include cheaper USB-C docks - which Thunderbolt 3 MacBooks can use, but at the cost of reduced bandwidth and display limitations. For more non-T3 USB-C-only docks check out Tech Advisor's roundup of the best USB-C docking stations for laptops.

Docks with a Titan Ridge chipset will work with both T3 and USB-C laptops. Other T3 docks won't work with USB-C laptops, such as the 12in MacBook. With Titan Ridge, you get all the benefits of a T3 dock, but can use it with non-T3 laptops, too.

Mac mini (2018 and later) and iMac (2017 and later) owners may also consider expanding their ports with a Thunderbolt 3 docking station.

Note that the 12in Apple MacBook supports only dual mirrored monitors when connecting two displays - a limitation now sadly carried over to Apple's latest M1-based laptops.

USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 speeds

Thunderbolt 3 vs USB-C specs icons

Thunderbolt 3 vs USB-C dock compatibility

Plain USB-C runs at either 5Gbps or 10Gbps, while Thunderbolt 3 (T3) hits speeds of 40Gbps. You can hook up a T3 laptop to a USB-C dock but you won't access the faster speeds unless you buy a true Thunderbolt 3 dock.

And you can't connect a 5GBps or 10Gbps USB-C laptop to a Thunderbolt 3 dock - except for those with the Titan Ridge chipset which handily work with both USB-C and T3.

In the review list below, we state at the top which type of laptop (USB-C or Thunderbolt 3) each docking station is compatible with.

USB PD: Power Delivery for your laptop

Look out for a dock with USB PD. The PD stands for Power Delivery

Charging the laptop: The 12in MacBook and 13in MacBook Air require a PD with at least 30W power. The 13in MacBook Pro charges at full speed at 61W; the 15in MacBook Pro at 87W; the 16in Pro at 96W.

An 87W/96W MacBook Pro can be charged by a 30W or 60W charger, but slower than it would be with its native charger. A larger MacBook with a heavy workload might start fading on a lower wattage charger.

Charging the docked devices: Some docks don't feature an external power supply but actually use your laptop to draw power from. Add too many devices to one of these docks and you may well experience power issues, as USB-C can handle just 7.5W bus-device power while Thunderbolt 3 can pass back 15W.

T3 and USB-C docking station benefits

A docking station makes it much easier to use your laptop in two locations, as it can easily be connected into and out of the dock - although you might need a dock at each end for similar setups. And you can use it as a base for hot-desking or multi-laptop home-office setups where one person can quickly attach their laptop to the mouse, keyboard, screen and printer as soon as another has detached.

The inclusion of an SD or microSD Card reader isn't just for camera buffs. It's a convenient and affordable way to add storage to your laptop setup. We found a 512GB Samsung Evo microSD card on Amazon for under £150 in the UK and $130 in the US. That's a very cheap way of adding half a terabyte of portable storage. For more details read up on our best microSD cards.

These MacBook docking stations look and work great with a laptop stand, and we’ve also tested some MacBook-friendly stands that lack all the extra ports but keep your MacBook/Air/Pro upright and out of the way: further saving valuable desk space, reducing clutter, keeping your laptop cool, and saving it from spills.

Our favourite Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C docks are from Caldigit, Plugable, Anker, Hyper and Belkin, but there are many to choose from. Fuller reviews are linked to underneath most of the tested docks.

CalDigit TS3 Plus - Best Thunderbolt 3 dock for Macs

CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 3 Plus (TS3 Plus)
  • Rating: *****

Works with Thunderbolt 3 laptops (T3 at full bandwidth)

Caldigit's TS3 Plus is the granddaddy of Thunderbolt 3 docks. Its compact shape and 15 ports have made it our favourite top-end Thunderbolt 3 docking station for its sheer functional flexibility and power at a great price.

Newer models boast faster USB ports, but few have seven like the TS3 Plus.

It doesn't boast the Titan Ridge chipset, and therefore isn't suitable for non-Thunderbolt laptops - but as most MacBooks have T3, that shouldn't matter unless you work in a mixed environment.

To add the second external display you will require an HDMI or DisplayPort USB-C video adapter to run from the USB-C port unless you have a USB-C monitor. To avoid this need for an adapter, look for a dock with two video ports. 

Both connected displays can run 4K displays at 60Hz. You could also run one 5K display at the same frame rate.

The TS3 Plus's digital audio ports set it apart from most other Thunderbolt 3 docks.

It charges your laptop at 87W so makes a great companion to Apple’s 15in or 16in MacBook Pro.

This dock is dinky so won't take up too much space on your desk. Available in Silver and Space Gray, it matches the colours of Apple's laptops. 

  • 87W PD charging 
  • Up to two external displays (4K at 60Hz)
  • DisplayPort 1.2 port 
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) ports
  • Five USB-A (5Gbps) ports
  • One USB-C (10Gbps) port
  • One USB-C (5Gbps) port
  • SD Card Reader (SD 4.0 UHS-II)
  • Gigabit Ethernet port
  • Front-facing 3.5mm Audio In & Out ports
  • One Digital Optical Audio (S/PDIF) port
  • 180W power supply

Read our full CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 3 Plus (TS3 Plus) review

CalDigit Thunderbolt 3 mini Dock - Best portable Thunderbolt 3 dock

CalDigit Thunderbolt 3 miniDock
  • Rating: *****

Works with Thunderbolt 3 laptops (T3 at full bandwidth)

The CalDigit Thunderbolt 3 mini Dock offers dual-4K display support at 60Hz in a portable form.

It's available with either two DisplayPort or two HDMI ports.

The Mini Dock Dual HDMI features the two HDMI ports, plus Gigabit Ethernet and two USB-A: one at 5Gbps (4.5W); one at the much slower 480Mbps (2.5W). 

The Mini Dock Dual DisplayPort features the two DP slots, plus Gigabit Ethernet port and one USB-A (5Gbps, 4.5W power). 

Both models run 4K displays at 60Hz in Extended mode - best for high-action movies and gaming. Plainer USB-C docks can handle two 4K displays, but only at 30Hz, and only one Extended.

Its downside is a lack of power supply (which it draws from the host laptop), so you'll need to power your laptop via another port. 

Portable USB-C docks often boast more ports (although just the one external display option) but lack the faster Thunderbolt 3 connection.

  • Bus-powered, so no PD charging
  • Up to two external displays (4K at 60Hz)
  • Two DisplayPort 1.2 ports or two HDMI 2.0 ports (4K at 60Hz)
  • Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) port
  • Two USB-A ports (5Gbps, one 480Mbps) ports
  • Gigabit Ethernet port

Read our full CalDigit Thunderbolt 3 miniDock review

Plugable TBT3-UDZ Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station - Best hybrid dock for Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C

Plugable TBT3-UDZ Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station
  • Rating: *****

Works with Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C laptops (T3 at full bandwidth)

Plugable's flagship Thunderbolt 3 dock is the most flexible dock we've seen for adding external displays, with two DisplayPort and two HDMI ports and compatibility with both T3 and USB-C laptops as it uses a Titan Ridge chipset.

Having four video ports doesn't mean you can run four displays, but it does mean that you can mix display ports if your monitors use different video connectors. And you won't require a USB-C adapter for the second display, which you will with docks that have just the one video port. 

The TBT3-UDZ boasts six USB-A ports (one at 10Gbps, and five at 5Gbps), plus one 10Gbps USB-C port. It has just the one Thunderbolt 3 port that connects to your laptop. If you want to attach more Thunderbolt devices, look for a dock with at least two.

Owners of the 16in MacBook Pro will love this dock for its powerful 96W charging ability, which beats most docks for fast laptop charging.

  • PD laptop charging at up to 96W
  • Titan Ridge chipset (USB-C and T3)
  • Up to two external displays (4K at 60Hz)
  • Two DisplayPort 1.4 ports (4K at 60Hz)
  • Two HDMI 2.0 ports (4K at 60Hz)
  • One Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) port
  • Five USB-A (5Gbps) ports
  • One USB-A (10Gbps) port
  • One USB-C (10Gbps) port
  • SD Card Reader (SD 4.0 UHS-II)
  • microSD Card Reader (SD 4.0 UHS-II)
  • Gigabit Ethernet port
  • Front-facing 3.5mm Analogue Audio In & Out port

Read our full Plugable TBT3-UDZ Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station review.

Anker PowerExpand Elite 13-in-1 Thunderbolt 3 Dock - Best hybrid Thunderbolt 3 & USB-C dock with two T3

Anker PowerExpand Elite 13-in-1 Thunderbolt 3 Dock
  • Rating: *****

Works with Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C laptops (T3 at full bandwidth)

Anker’s PowerExpand Elite 13-in-1 Thunderbolt 3 Dock is a great Titan Ridge docking station for T3 and USB-C laptops - with lots of top-rated ports in a compact, good-looking case.

It is a serious contender to the crown of best Thunderbolt 3 dock. 

All the Power Expand Elite’s ports are top-end: both USB-C ports, for example, are Gen. 2 at 10Gbps, where some docks boast just 5Gbps C-type ports.

The On/Off button at the front is a nice touch we haven't seen on other docks, and there's really nothing except price to distinguish it from the other recommended docking stations we have tested.

This is a great option for perfecting your T3 or USB-C laptop to a desktop setup.

In the battle of the Titan Ridge hybrid docks, the Anker wins on cute compact design, number of ports, and having two fast USB-C ports as well as two T3.

  • 85W PD charging
  • Titan Ridge chipset (USB-C and T3)
  • Up to two external displays (2 x 4K at 60Hz; or 1 x 5K at 60Hz)
  • One HDMI 2.0 port
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) ports
  • Two USB-C (10Gbps) ports
  • Four USB-A (5Gbps) ports
  • SD Card Reader (SD 4.0 UHS-II)
  • microSD 4.0 Card Reader (SD 4.0 UHS-II)
  • Gigabit Ethernet port
  • Hybrid 3.5mm audio port
  • 180W power supply

Read our full Anker PowerExpand Elite 13-in-1 Thunderbolt 3 Dock review

CalDigit USB-C HDMI Dock - Best value Thunderbolt 3 & USB-C HDMI dock with SD

Caldigit USB-C HDMI Dock
  • Rating: *****

Works with Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C laptops (T3 at full bandwidth)

CalDigit’s USB-C HDMI Dock is a Thunderbolt 3 dock that also works on USB-C laptops as it uses a Titan Ridge chipset. 

When connected to a T3 laptop it provides all the features of a Thunderbolt 3 dock (including connecting two external 4K displays at 60Hz), and when connected to a USB-C laptop it adapts to become a USB-C dock.

Since it works with USB-C, it can turn an iPad Pro into a full computer experience since it can charge the iPad Pro, connect a 4K monitor, keyboard, mouse and hard drives – and work with your T3 MacBook Pro when you hook that up instead of the iPad Pro.

Its dual-HDMI video connections mean there's no need for an adapter when attaching two external displays.

It boasts a 94W charger, which is at the top end for docking stations.

It works with both laptops (Thunderbolt and USB-C) and USB-C tablets. It is also certified Thunderbolt 4 and USB4.

  • PD laptop charging at up to 94W
  • Titan Ridge chipset (USB-C and T3)
  • Up to two external displays (4K at 60Hz)
  • Two HDMI 2.0b ports (4K at 60Hz)
  • One Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) port
  • Three USB-A (5Gbps) ports
  • One USB-C (10Gbps) port
  • SD Card Reader (SD 4.0 UHS-II)
  • Gigabit Ethernet port
  • Front-facing 3.5mm Analogue Audio In & Out port
  • 150W power supply

Read our full Caldigit USB-C HDMI Dock review.

CalDigit USB-C Pro Dock - Best value Thunderbolt 3 & USB-C DP dock with SD

CalDigit USB-C Pro Dock
  • Rating: *****

Works with Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C laptops (T3 at full bandwidth)

CalDigit’s USB-C Pro Dock is similar to the Caldigit USB-C HDMI Dock but with dual-DisplayPort rather than dual-HDMI.

Using the Titan Ridge chipset, it works with both Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C laptops.

The two DisplayPort connections do away with the need for a USB-C to DP/HDI that you get with docks boasting just one dedicated video option, and it also leaves the fast 10Gbps USB-C port spare for further device connections.

  • PD laptop charging at up to 85W
  • Titan Ridge chipset (USB-C and T3)
  • Up to two external displays (4K at 60Hz)
  • Two DisplayPort 1.2 ports (4K at 60Hz)
  • One Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) port
  • Three USB-A (5Gbps) ports
  • One USB-C (10Gbps) port
  • SD Card Reader (SD 4.0 UHS-II)
  • Gigabit Ethernet port
  • Front-facing 3.5mm Analogue Audio In & Out port
  • 150W power supply

Read our full Caldigit USB-C Pro Dock review.

HyperDrive GEN2 16-Port Thunderbolt 3 Dock - Best T3 dock with digital audio

HyperDrive GEN2 Thunderbolt 3 Dock
  • Rating: *****

Works with Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C laptops (T3 at full bandwidth)

This Titan Ridge (Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C) docking station is bristling with 16 (count 'em) high-performance ports.

Its compact form is neat, and it can lie either upright or horizontal depending on your needs and preference.

There are four USB-A ports at 5Gbps and a further two at 10Gbps, plus one 10Gbps USB-C port that you'll need if you want to supplement the DisplayPort for a second external display.

You'll also get more professional-level digital audio ports, as well as the analogue 3.5mm headphone/mic jack at the front.

  • PD laptop charging at up to 85W
  • Titan Ridge chipset (USB-C and T3)
  • Up to two external displays (4K at 60Hz)
  • One DisplayPort 1.4 ports (4K at 60Hz)
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) ports
  • Three USB-A (5Gbps) ports
  • Two USB-A (10Gbps) ports
  • One USB-C (10Gbps) port
  • SD Card Reader (SD 4.0 UHS-II)
  • microSD Card Reader (SD 4.0 UHS-II)
  • Gigabit Ethernet port
  • Front-facing 3.5mm Analogue Audio In & Out port
  • One Digital Optical Toslink Audio (S/PDIF) port
  • One Digital Coaxial Audio (S/PDIF) port
  • 180W power supply

Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Dock Pro - Powerful hybrid dock for Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C with two T3

Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Dock Pro
  • Rating: *****

Works with Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C laptops (T3 at full bandwidth)

The sleek Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Dock Pro is a top-end docking station that boasts a lot of high-speed ports, and an impressive range of display resolutions.

Using the latest Titan Ridge chipset, it can connect to both Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C laptops or PCs (Mac and Windows), and is capable of very high display resolutions on single and dual displays.

The second external display will require a video adapter for HDMI or DisplayPort, unless the monitor supports connection via USB-C.

It boasts 11 powerful ports, including two T3, although it lacks an SD or microSD Card reader. 

  • 85W PD charging 
  • Titan Ridge chipset (USB-C and T3)
  • Up to two external displays (4K at 60Hz)
  • DisplayPort 1.4 port 
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) ports
  • Five USB-A (4x 5Gbps; 1x 10Gbps) ports
  • One USB-C (10Gbps) port
  • Gigabit Ethernet port
  • Front-facing combination 3.5mm Audio In & Out port
  • 170W power supply

Read our full Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Dock Pro review

Twelve South StayGo - Best portable USB-C dock

Twelve South StayGo USB-C Hub
  • Rating: *****

Works with USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 laptops (T3 at reduced bandwidth)

It calls itself just a hub but this little lightweight box of ports has enough to go to battle with bigger, more expensive laptop docking stations - and little enough to fit in your pocket and go travelling with you.

It boasts three USB-A ports (one with Fast Charging), USB-C ports for connecting to the laptop and also 85W of PD charging, one HDMI port, Gigabit Ethernet and SD/Micro SD card readers.

It's USB-C rather than Thunderbolt 3 but will work with either type of laptop connection (we tested it with a 15in MacBook Pro). Of course, you'll lose that full 40Gbps bandwidth and the option of a second external display, but lighter users might not care.

  • 85W PD charging via USB-C port (requires charger)
  • One external display (4K at 30Hz)
  • HDMI port (4K at 30Hz)
  • Two USB-C (5Gbps) ports
  • Three USB-A (5Gbps) ports
  • Gigabit Ethernet port
  • SD Card Reader (UHS-I)

OWC Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock - Best dock for 10Gb Ethernet

OWC Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock
  • Rating: *****

Works with Thunderbolt 3 laptops (T3 at full bandwidth)

The OWC Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock is aimed at digital image professionals, and has ultimate performance at its heart.

Principally, it features super-fast 10Gb Ethernet rather than the standard 1Gb (Gigabit) connection found on the other docking stations reviewed here.

It also features a CFast 2.0 card reader for people still using CompactFlash in its latest version. 

There are Thunderbolt 3 docking stations with more ports and beefier chargers, but none have 10Gb Ethernet or CFast 2.0. You can add these to other docks via dedicated adapters, but the Pro Dock has it all built-in, plus a really secure power-supply connection in case it’s used on a pro DIT cart.

  • 60W PD charging
  • Up to two external displays (2 x 4K at 60Hz; or 1 x 5K at 60Hz)
  • DisplayPort 1.2 port
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) ports
  • Three USB-A (5Gbps) ports
  • SD Card Reader (SD 4.0 UHS-II)
  • CFast 2.0 Card Reader
  • 10Gb Ethernet port
  • 6Gbps eSATA port
  • 150W power supply

Read our full OWC Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock review

OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock - ports aplenty

OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock
  • Rating: *****

Works with Thunderbolt 3 laptops (T3 at full bandwidth)

OWC's standard Thunderbolt 3 docking station has a great set of ports, and charges at a top-end 85W – powerful enough for a 15in MacBook Pro. 85W will be enough to charge even the 96W 16in MBP pretty fast and certainly not drain even when connected to multiple devices.

The five USB-A ports are all 5Gbps, and there’s a 10Gbps Gen 2 USB-C port on the front of the latest 14-port model, which not many T3 docks have.

The curious choice of Mini DisplayPort over DisplayPort isn’t a technical hurdle but you will require adapters for adding external displays. Other docks have more than one port for external displays, but this one needs adapters to connect to displays – which adds to the overall cost.

That aside, the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock has everything a dock should have in a slick-looking slim case that will look good in any laptop setup.

  • 85W PD charging
  • Up to two external displays (2 x 4K at 60Hz; or 1 x 5K at 60Hz)
  • Mini DisplayPort 1.2 port
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) ports
  • One USB-C (10Gbps) ports
  • Five USB-A (5Gbps) ports
  • SD Card Reader (SD 4.0 UHS-II)
  • MicroSD 4.0 Card Reader
  • Gigabit Ethernet port
  • Hybrid 3.5mm audio port
  • S/PDIF digital audio output port
  • 180W power supply

Read our full OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock review

StarTech.com Thunderbolt 3 Dual-4K Docking Station - Packed with ports

StarTech.com Thunderbolt 3 Dual-4K Docking Station
  • Rating: *****

Works with Thunderbolt 3 laptops (T3 at full bandwidth)

The StarTech.com Thunderbolt 3 Dual-4K Docking Station is, as the name suggests, for laptops that sport the fast (40Gbps) Thunderbolt 3 version of USB-C. It won't work for slower (5-10Gbps) USB-C laptops, such as the 12in MacBook.

So, it's for post-2016 MacBook Pro models and the post-2018 MacBook Air. It's also compatible with Windows laptops and Chromebooks like the other T3 docks we have tested.

Being built for Thunderbolt 3, it can connect two external 4K displays at 60Hz, so perfect for rich graphics and fast gaming action. One of the monitors can connect via the DisplayPort. You'll likely need an adapter to connect the second port via the spare Thunderbolt 3 port unless the display has a USB-C port too.

The list price is steep, but you'll find it cheaper at Amazon.

  • PD laptop charging at up to 85W
  • Up to two external displays (4K at 60Hz)
  • DisplayPort 1.2 port 
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) ports
  • One USB-C (5Gbps) port
  • Five USB-A (5Gbps) ports
  • SD Card Reader (SD 4.0 UHS-II)
  • Gigabit Ethernet port
  • Front-facing combination 3.5mm Audio In & Out port
  • 180W power supply

Read our full StarTech.com Thunderbolt 3 Dual-4K Docking station review.

Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Dock - Upright stand dock

Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Dock (TBT3-UDV)
  • Rating: *****

Plugable’s Thunderbolt 3 Dock (TBT3-UDV) is a capable dual-display Thunderbolt 3 docking station that will delight many with its ability to stand upright or lie horizontally.

It's got a lot of USB-A ports, and two Thunderbolt 3 ports - one for the host laptop and the other for fast devices or a second external 4K display alongside one attached to the DisplayPort. A non-USB-C monitor will require an adapter.

At 60W, it's a little underpowered for Apple's larger 15in and 16in MacBook Pro laptops, but fine for the 13in MacBook Pro or Air.

  • PD laptop charging at up to 60W
  • Up to two external displays (4K at 60Hz)
  • DisplayPort 1.2 port
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) ports 
  • Five USB-A (5Gbps) ports - one with BC 1.2 charging (7.5W)
  • Gigabit Ethernet port
  • Front-facing combination 3.5mm Audio In & Out port
  • 135W power supply

Read our full Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Dock (TBT3-UDV) review

Plugable USB-C Mini Docking Station - Compact USB-C dock

Plugable USB-C Mini Docking Station
  • Rating: *****

Works with USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 laptops (T3 at reduced bandwidth)

The Plugable USB-C Mini Docking Station is certainly “mini”, although larger than a simpler USB-C hub.

It measures 9.5cm-x-8.9cm-3.2cm (3.75in-x-3.5in-x-1.25in) and is super lightweight, until you add the larger power brick it requires for charging.

It's a nondescript black box, unlike some of the fancier docks we tested, but it includes a VESA Mount so can be attached behind compatible monitors, or with compatible VESA-mounting stations - something we haven't seen with other docks.

The charging is important, though, and the dock can muster the full 85W you need for fast charging of a 15in MacBook Pro (and close for a 16in) and any other MacBook.

As a docking station, the Plugable Mini is easy to set up, and you can quickly swap different USB-C laptops in and out in a hot-desk or home-office environment.

It uses the 5Gbps USB-C 3.1 Gen 1 standard, so doesn’t match the data bandwidth of the MacBook Pro’s superior 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 (or Gen 2’s 10Gbps), but it is still compatible with all Apple’s MacBooks.

Note also, that the HDMI port can output 3,840×2,160 4K only at 30Hz; for 60Hz, it has to scale back to 2,560×1,440 pixels.

  • PD laptop charging at up to 85W
  • One external display (4K at 30Hz)
  • HDMI 1.4 port 
  • Four USB-A (5Gbps) ports
  • One USB-C (5Gbps) port to laptop
  • Gigabit Ethernet port
  • Front-facing combination 3.5mm Audio In & Out port
  • 100W power supply

Linedock 13 - Best USB-C dock for desk space

Linedock 13
  • Rating: *****

The Linedock looks different to most USB-C docks. In fact, you'll hardly notice it as it sits beneath a 13in MacBook Pro or Air.

It looks just like a closed MacBook, except for a row of ports on either side, and a charging USB-C port at the back (it requires a separate charger, but the one that shipped with your MacBook will be fine).

It connects to the MacBook with a nifty little U-shaped connector, with one USB-C connector for the dock and another for the laptop.

It's a desk-space saver but not a money saver. It doesn't just look like an Apple product, it's priced like one, and is the most expensive dock on test here.

But it does have two unique and incredibly useful features missing from other docking stations: a 20,000mAh battery and the option to add up to 1TB of SSD memory within it. You can leave the Linedock with no SSD, or add a 256GB or 1TB SSD.

These are great ideas, but in other ways the Linedock seems a little out of date. It has a Mini DisplayPort (as well as the HDMI) but no Gigabit Ethernet, for example. Adding a fat Ethernet port would make this flat dock too high for its purpose.

Although it has both HDMI and Mini DisplayPort, it can support only one external display.

And it's USB-C rather than Thunderbolt, so 5Gbps instead of 40Gbps. This is meant to keep costs down, and the Linedock is already plenty expensive enough.

If you can afford it, the Linedock is a great hybrid of dock, battery and storage. The lack of Thunderbolt won't bother lighter users, and decent Wi-Fi will mean the missing Ethernet port won't matter either.

At present, it's available only for 13in MacBooks (Air and Pro), although 15in and 16in models are promised, with two HDMI and even larger battery.

  • Pass-through laptop charging at up to 100W
  • One external display (4K at 30Hz)
  • HDMI port 
  • Mini DisplayPort
  • Three USB-C (5Gbps) ports
  • Three USB-A (5Gbps) ports
  • SD Card (UHS-I)
  • 20,000mAh battery
  • 256GB or 1TB SSD options

Read our full Linedock 13 review

Moshi Symbus Compact USB-C Dock - Dinky dock

Moshi Symbus Compact USB-C Dock
  • Rating: *****

Works with USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 laptops (T3 at reduced bandwidth)

The Moshi Symbus Compact USB-C Dock can connect a MacBook or any USB-C laptop to an HDMI monitor, wired internet (via Ethernet), and older USB-A peripherals such a keyboard, mouse, printer, or hard drive.

It will work with Thunderbolt 3 laptops but at 5Gbps rather than 40Gbps.

Compared to some of the docking stations reviewed here, it has minimal ports: one HDMI ([email protected], [email protected]), one Gigabit Ethernet, and two old-school USB-A ports (5 Gbps USB 3.1 Gen 1).

Thunderbolt-3 compatible, it charges at up to 50W, which is plenty for the 12in MacBook and early models of MacBook Air, but not full-speed charging for either the 13in, 15in or 16in MacBook Pro.

If the port selection and charging power is enough for your planned setup, then the Moshi Symbus is a dinky dock (11.5-x-7.1-x-2.9cm) that looks great in stylish, silvery aluminium trim.

The 50cm (19.5in) USB-C cable that connects to your laptop is not detachable, so check whether this is long enough for you.

  • PD laptop charging at up to 50W
  • One external display (4K at 30Hz)
  • HDMI port 
  • Two USB-A (5Gbps) ports
  • Gigabit Ethernet port

Moshi Symbus Q Compact USB-C Dock - Best USB-C dock with wireless charging

Moshi Symbus Q Compact USB-C Dock with Wireless Charging
  • Rating: *****

Works with USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 laptops (T3 at reduced bandwidth)

The Symbus Q compact USB-C dock has a genius, unique selling point.

The top of the dock features a cushioned and non-slip wireless charging pad that you can rest your phone on and start charging it without the need to take up one of the USB slots or find that pesky charging cable.

It features one HDMI ([email protected], [email protected]), one Gigabit Ethernet, and two old-school USB-A ports (5Gbps USB 3.1 Gen 1).

Qi-certified, it can charge through cases up to 5mm in thickness, and supports Apple’s 7.5W and Samsung’s 10W fast charging.

It supports full USB PD (Power Delivery) functionality for fast-charging (up to 50W) your laptop.

  • PD laptop charging at up to 50W
  • One external display (4K at 30Hz)
  • HDMI port 
  • Two USB-A (5Gbps) ports
  • Gigabit Ethernet port
  • Qi wireless charging

LandingZone USB-C Dock - Dock with most ports

LandingZone Docking Station
  • Rating: *****

Works with USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 laptops (T3 at reduced bandwidth)

LandingZone makes a range of back-mounted USB-C docking stations for MacBooks: for the 12in MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pros with and without TouchBar.

The Landing Zone docking stations clip-in design means that you have to be very specific about which model fits which MacBook, and they aren't very interchangeable between docks.

We tested the LandingZone Docking Station for the 15in MBP with Touch Bar, which features an impressive 16 ports. Each model features different combinations and power supplies, so our feature list below is just for the 15in Pro that we tested.

The 15in model we tested has two HDMI ports – one can handle 4K at 60Hz (preferred for gaming and high-end graphics), the other at 30Hz. You also get a Mini DisplayPort (4K at 60Hz), but you can’t run multiple displays by using more than one video port.

The model we tested was USB-C only, and therefore quite expensive for a non-T3 dock.

The LZ015E (for the 15in MacBook Pro) and LZ014E (weirdly named but for the 13in MBP with Touch Bar) are both priced at £330 or US$299.

  • PD laptop charging at up to 85W
  • Two external displays (4K at 60Hz + 4K at 30Hz)
  • Two HDMI port (4K at 30Hz)
  • Mini DisplayPort (4K at 30Hz)
  • Four USB-C (5Gbps) ports
  • Three USB-A (5Gbps) ports
  • SD Card and Micro SD Reader (UHS-I)
  • Gigabit Ethernet port
  • Combination 3.5mm Audio In & Out port
  • 140W power supply

Read our best MacBook accessories feature for more essential laptop gear.