Our modern world is all about data. We are all so engulfed by the digital world, that our consumption of data has almost become a major food group. And the need for efficient ways to store and organize this data is at an all-time high. A hard drive docking station provides a great way to manage multiple drives and provide extra storage.
Here’s a look at some of the best hard drive docking station options for any of your data storage needs.
- The ICY DOCK DuoSwap MB971SPO-B is a great hard drive docking station option. Its slim profile makes it a great option for home use whether that be for your gaming or home theater needs.
- For an affordable option that’s easy to use and fast, check out the Sabrent EC-DSK2. This dual-bay docking station supports transfer speeds up to 5Gbps and has the ability to create clone drives up to 10TB.
- Another top performer is the Thermaltake BlacX Duet. Utilizing a USB 3.0 SuperSpeed Interface, the docking station is as fast as they get. It also has the ability to run 2 separate drives at the same time.
Who Should Get This?
If you have high data demands, chances are you easily fill up your standard hard drive on your computer. Even with larger drives more common these days, filling up even a large hard drive around 1TB can happen. And when your internal hard drive gets full, the speed and operating ability of your computer can be drastically slowed. A hard drive docking station will allow you extra the extra data storage and memory you need to always stay at full capacity.
Hard drive docking stations are also great for anyone who works in data-demanding jobs on their computer. These units can help you increase processing speeds whether you are involved in film production, music, or any other industry that requires high levels of computer function and tech. The average computer user may not need access to extra drives, but if your data needs are high due to work or personal use, like gaming, a docking station can help.
Best Hard Drive Docking Station: What to Consider in 2020?
An initial consideration with a hard drive docking station is which design style works best for your needs – external or built-in. An external docking station will connect to your computer as a stand-alone device via an included cord. USB 3.0 is common these days but other connections exist as well. This is a good option if you use multiple computers for whatever reason or tend to use a laptop.
Built-in design styles are intended to securely fit into a docking bay and become an integrated aspect of your computer’s hardware. If you use a desktop computer and don’t need the docking station on multiple computers, a built-in style is a good option. These docking stations are nice if you want a sleek look that blends right into your existing setup.
Number of Drives Supported
You will also want to get a docking station that matches your need for the number of drives you want to be supported. If your needs are smaller, a single drive port may suffice. If you have vast data needs, a docking station of 4 or more is better suited. I would typically recommend that you have at least 2 docking ports at a minimum. This will allow you to increase your capacity over a single external device and really make the most out of your dock.
Transfer speeds are another important consideration. This is the rate in which the information stored on the drives in your docking station will be transferred to your computer and able to be used. 5Gbps is a good standard to look out for and is common in most modern docking stations utilizing USB 3.0 transfer rates. Your needs will dictate the speed that is best for you and if you anticipate high-level demands, higher transfer speed is always better.
Another purpose of a docking station is the ability to clone a hard drive. This is a good way to make copies and backups of a drive and is something to look out for if you want the ability to do so. Some options listed here allow you to use the dock for standalone cloning purposes and this can come in really handy if you want to back up a drive without using your computer.
Best Hard Drive Docking Station: Our Picks for 2020
The ICY DOCK DuoSwap is one of the top-performing hard drive docking stations available. The built-in design of this dock allows you to easily install it right alongside other hardware in your desktop computer. It will fit a 3.5” SATA HDD drive alongside a 9.5mm Ultra-Slim Optical Disk Drive. This option is really easy to use and install thanks to a tray-less design and it can also be quickly converted to accept 2.5” drives if needed. You can learn more from its official website here.
- Great option for small form systems
- Can accept 2 drives
- Easy to install
- Fast transfer speeds
- Detachable dust cover included
- Drivers not included
- Need an adapter to accept 2.5” drives
An affordable option that is also fast and reliable is the Sabrent EC-DSK2. This dual-drive docking station supports 2.5’ and 3.5” SATA and SSD drives making it a versatile option. It supports hard drives up to 10TB to meet even the most demanding situations and utilizes USB 3 transfer speeds to support connections up to 5Gpbs. It is easy to set up with no drivers needed and is reverse compatible to be used with USB 1.1 and 2.0 connections as well.
- Dual drive
- Supports hard drives up to 10TB
- Up to 5Gpbs transfer speeds
- No drivers needed
- Cloning capabilities
- Can get hot during heavy use
The Thermaltake BlacX Duet is another solid option for a docking station that combines easy use with high speeds to meet any of your needs. A Hot Swap function limits the possibility of file corruption and a SuperSpeed interface uses USB 3.0 for transfer speeds up to 5Gbps. This is a versatile option that can work on both Mac and PC computers and deliver quality performance under demanding use.
- Supports both 2.5” and 3.5” drives
- Works on Mac and PC computers
- Easy to use
- Doesn’t always work well on older computers
Useful Tips & Resources
Installing a built-in docking station into your existing setup is pretty easy but can be intimidating if you have never attempted the task before. Since there are many delicate parts within your computer, the best advice is to take your time and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. The ICY DOCK listed above features a trayless and screwless design, which makes installation very easy.
Cloning a hard drive is also an easy task but something you should also research a bit before attempting. Here’s a quick video showing you the basics of hard drive cloning.
Regardless of your data needs, a hard drive docking station is a good tool to utilize to increase the capabilities of your computer. If you need high-end performance, whether for personal or professional use, the hard drive docking stations listed here can add increase performance and speed to many common and specialized tasks.
Do you use a hard drive docking station? What do you find most useful about the device? Let us know in the comments below!
Andreas is a freelance tech writer based in California. He works on a Mac in the office and lives with a PC and many old computer electronics at home. While he is not reading or writing, you’ll probably find him playing online games with friends.