The best laptop docking station round-up

Laptops are great for computer mobility but adding a docking station can help expand stationary functionality where you need it.

Best docking station overall
Plugable 13-in-1 USB-C Triple Monitor Docking Station
Plugable UD-ULTCDL-AU
From
$299
Connectivity
Thunderbolt 4, Thunderbolt 3, USB-C
Ports
13
Monitor support
1x 4K @ 30Hz, 2x 1200p @ 60Hz
Best cheap docking station
USB C Docking Station Dual HDMI Monitor Adapter
Selore UC0513
From
$79.99
Connectivity
USB-C
Ports
8
Monitor support
2x 4K @ 60Hz, 1x 4K @ 30Hz
Best USB-C docking station
Logitech UC Logi Dock All-In-One Multiport Docking Station
Logitech Logi Dock
From
$599
Connectivity
USB-C
Ports
7
Monitor support
2x 4K @ 60Hz
Best Thunderbolt docking station
Kensington SD5700T
From
$543.94
Connectivity
Thunderbolt 4, Thunderbolt 3, USB4, USB-C
Ports
11
Monitor support
1x 8K @ 30Hz or 2x 4K @ 60Hz
Best Dell docking station
Dell WD22TB4 Thunderbolt 4 Dock
Dell WD22TB4
From
$329
Connectivity
Thunderbolt 4, Thunderbolt 3, USB-C
Ports
11
Monitor support
1x 5K @ 60Hz or 4x 4K @ 60Hz
Nathan Lawrence
Feb 21, 2024
Icon Time To Read5 min read

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There are dozens of laptop docking station options available (or just “laptop docks” for short), but not all of them are created equal.

If you're in the market for one, the first thing to note is whether your laptop can support the best-case speeds and monitor-output options of a docking station. Basically, USB-C laptop docking station are widely compatible but they’re not as versatile as Thunderbolt 4 alternatives with more bandwidth, which can support faster transfer speeds and higher external monitor resolutions with faster refresh rates.

For an entry-level laptop docking station, budget for under $100 to get a decent option. Pricier future-proofed laptop docking stations can cost hundreds of dollars, including up to around $600. There are also potentially additional peripheral costs for laptop docking stations, including a keyboard, mouse, headset and monitors.

Scroll on for our pick of the best laptop docking stations in Australia.

Best docking station

Best for
Laptop dock
Price
View more
Connectivity
Ports
Monitor support
Icon Star Full  LightBest laptop docking station overall
From
$299
Thunderbolt 4, Thunderbolt 3, USB-C131x 4K @ 30Hz, 2x 1200p @ 60Hz
Icon Star Full  LightBest cheap laptop docking station
From
$79.99
USB-C82x 4K @ 60Hz, 1x 4K @ 30Hz
Icon Star Full  LightBest USB-C laptop docking station
From
$599
USB-C72x 4K @ 60Hz
Icon Star Full  LightBest Thunderbolt laptop docking station
From
$543.94
Thunderbolt 4, Thunderbolt 3, USB4, USB-C111x 8K @ 30Hz or 2x 4K @ 60Hz
Icon Star Full  LightBest Dell docking station
From
$329
Thunderbolt 4, Thunderbolt 3, USB-C111x 5K @ 60Hz or 4x 4K @ 60Hz

Plugable UD-ULTCDL-AU

Best laptop docking station overall

Connectivity
Thunderbolt 4, Thunderbolt 3, USB-C
Ports
13
Monitor support
1x 4K @ 30Hz, 2x 1200p @ 60Hz
Starts at
$299
pro
Pros
pro Solid laptop compatibility
pro 100W charging power
pro Loads of ports
con
Cons
con Vertical design not for everyone
con Screen-resolution compromises
con Dock power button would be nice

It’s potentially confusing but the ports for USB-C, Thunderbolt 3, Thunderbolt 4 and USB 4 all look identical. Generally, these should be cross-compatible, so it makes sense that our top spot goes to one of the fastest standards around. The Plugable UD-ULTCDL-AU is a Thunderbolt 4 laptop dock with plenty to write home about. Its vertical configuration takes up minimal desk space and should tuck away nicely. There are also 13 ports to choose from, including three HDMI ports for external monitors, Ethernet for more reliable internet and a good selection of USB ports, too. This Plugable laptop docking station offers up to 100 Watts of laptop charging power, plus you can charge your smart devices with a 20W power delivery (PD) USB-C port.

For docking station alternatives, consider any of the picks below alongside the Kensington SD5780T, the pricier Plugable TBT4-UDZ or the flashier Razer Thunderbolt 4 Dock Chroma.

Selore UC0513

Best cheap laptop docking station

Connectivity
USB-C
Ports
8
Monitor support
2x 4K @ 60Hz, 1x 4K @ 30Hz
Starts at
$79.99
pro
Pros
pro Up to three 4K external screens
pro 100W charging power
pro Solid device compatibility
con
Cons
con VGA feels outdated
con USB-C bandwidth compromises
con Short connection cable

The Selore UC0513 is proof you don’t need to spend an arm and a leg for a solid laptop docking station. For under $100, you get an eight-port laptop dock with impressive inclusions. For starters, this USB-C docking station supports up to three 4K external monitors. You can also technically connect a fourth monitor via VGA port—handy for those with older screens—but that’ll drop the four-screen resolution to 1080p across the board. Outside of display, you also get two USB-A ports, one USB-C port and a 100W USB-C PD port for charging compatible laptops. It’s not as fully featured as the other laptop docks on this page, but this Selore docking station is a solid starting point if you want to try a dock without investing hundreds.

For similarly priced alternatives, consider the Selore 14-port laptop dock, the Lionwei LIUC0228 or the even cheaper Novoo NHM8D-141F.

Logitech Logi Dock

Best USB-C laptop docking station

Connectivity
USB-C
Ports
7
Monitor support
2x 4K @ 60Hz
Starts at
$599
pro
Pros
pro Speaker and mic inclusions
pro 100W charging power
pro Attractive design
con
Cons
con Expensive
con No Thunderbolt 4
con More ports, please

A lot of laptop docks are functionally similar but the Logitech Logi Dock does things a bit differently. For starters, it looks like a smart speaker. And that’s a partially accurate first-glance take. The Logi Dock has its docking station functionality on the rear: a mix of external monitors and USB ports. There’s also a Bluetooth pairing button so you can sync with your smartphone or other Bluetooth devices. The impressive part is the Logi Dock has inbuilt speakers and microphones for a better video chat experience, with dedicated dock controls for online meetings. Those speakers are designed for more than chat audio, too, which should impress if you’re someone who likes to listen to tunes that aren’t coming from tinny laptop speakers.

For USB-C docking station alternatives, consider the BenQ DP1310, the Anker 568 or the cheaper Accel Air ‎K172B-010B.

Kensington SD5700T

Best Thunderbolt laptop docking station

Connectivity
Thunderbolt 4, Thunderbolt 3, USB4, USB-C
Ports
11
Monitor support
1x 8K @ 30Hz or 2x 4K @ 60Hz
Starts at
$543.94
pro
Pros
pro Up to 8K monitor support
pro 90W charging power
pro Good mix of ports
con
Cons
con Expensive RRP
con More powerful USB-A ports, please
con Display via Thunderbolt only

Until Thunderbolt 5 docking stations arrive, Thunderbolt 4 is the current reigning champ for the fastest speeds and best laptop dock versatility. Take the Kensington SD5700T, for instance. Get past that steep asking price and you’ll get a high-end laptop dock. There’s a good mix of ports to choose from, including support for older connectors like USB-A, an audio jack and an SD card reader. All of the speedier ports are on the back, like 10Gbps USB-A ports, gigabit Ethernet and three Thunderbolt 4 ports. Use those speedy latter ports for a single compatible 8K monitor, dual 4K screens or for extra full-throttle data transfers.

For alternatives, consider importing the Kensington SD5780T, the pricier CalDigit TS4, the Plugable TBT4-UDX1 or the last-gen Corsair TBT100.

Dell WD22TB4

Best Dell docking station

Connectivity
Thunderbolt 4, Thunderbolt 3, USB-C
Ports
11
Monitor support
1x 5K @ 60Hz or 4x 4K @ 60Hz
Starts at
$329
pro
Pros
pro Modular design
pro Up to 180W charging power
pro Practical range of ports
con
Cons
con On the pricier side
con Dell-specific concessions
con Fan can be noisy

Multiple laptop manufacturers offer docking stations but, arguably, the most popular ones come from Dell. The great news is you don’t need a Dell laptop to use the WD22TB4, even if there are some dock features relegated to Dell laptops. Our favourite part of the Dell WD22TB4 docking station is a modular design that allows for upgrades. On the all-important ports front, this Dell docking station has a couple of easy-to-access USB ports on the front and a whole lot more versatility on the back. That’s where you’ll find Ethernet, USB-A, Thunderbolt 4 and a multifunction USB-C port that can be used for transferring data or connecting a compatible monitor.

For big-name laptop brand alternatives, consider the HP 727C71AA, the Lenovo Thinkpad NAL-40B00135AU or the Microsoft Surface Dock 2.

What to look for in a laptop docking station

Docking stations are potentially confusing given they connect to laptops via USB-C, Thunderbolt 3, Thunderbolt 4 or USB4 technologies. Thankfully, those are typically cross-compatible and all have the same port. The catch, though, is your laptop has to support the speedier technologies—the reverse order of what’s listed above—to get all of the benefits.

That’s because a laptop docking station’s versatility is ultimately determined by how much bandwidth it can handle. In this context, bandwidth applies to everything the dock is offering, including monitor resolutions and refresh rates. Admittedly, there’s money to be saved if you opt for a USB-C laptop dock. But you can also future-proof your laptop dock needs with a Thunderbolt 4 port, as long as you accept that it won’t offer the fastest transfer speeds and highest external monitor resolutions via USB-C.

Think about what you want most of a docking station and compare accordingly: one or more external monitors, Ethernet, smartphone charging, and the types of USB compatibility relative to what you’re connecting. The final thing to ensure is whether a docking station is offering enough power-delivery wattage to properly power and charge your laptop.

icon-expertise

How we choose the best laptop docking stations

We wanted our docking station categories to cover the things people most commonly search for on Google. Because of the backwards compatibility of USB-C (and newer) ports, we had the flexibility to move between older and newer dock connectors.

At the same time, we acknowledge that USB-C docking stations are generally cheaper even if they don’t offer all of the speed benefits of Thunderbolt (and beyond) alternatives. We researched the best laptop docking stations for different port technologies and ensured they were available in Australia.

Our hands-on experience with a range of big-name and lesser-known laptop docking stations was critical in helping to identify key dock features and avoiding pain points. Then it was a case of using price, overall value, and real-world testimonials to narrow a list of dozens of contenders to our category winners and runners-up.

Laptop docking station frequently asked questions

A laptop docking station increases the versatility of a laptop by offering more ports. These ports may include different USB generations, HDMI, DisplayPort, Thunderbolt, Ethernet and SD card readers.
You don’t necessarily need a docking station to connect a laptop to a monitor but it can make it easier to connect multiple monitors. If your laptop has an HDMI port or if you have a USB-C external display, you can connect to an external monitor. If it doesn’t, a laptop docking station can offer a more straightforward way to connect one, two or three additional monitors.
Docking stations are an optional extra for people who want more ports and/or external monitors for their laptops. You don’t need one if you’re happy to use a laptop with its inbuilt screen. But if you want to connect external monitors—particularly if you use your laptop at a workstation—and have access to more ports, a docking station is a good investment.
Nathan Lawrence
Written by
Nathan Lawrence
Nathan Lawrence has been banging out passionate tech and gaming words for more than 11 years. These days, you can find his work on outlets like IGN, STACK, Fandom, Red Bull and AusGamers. Nathan adores PC gaming and the proof of his first-person-shooter prowess is at the top of a Battlefield V scoreboard.

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