MacBook Pros are fantastic computers, but they aren’t always enough. Sometimes, you need to beef them up. That is why so many Apple users turn to docking stations. The handy items act as power strips for your computer, giving it a range of ports that allow it to work with many other electronic devices.
The different sections in this article will cover some of the best docking stations available for the Macbook Pro. They don’t just give you more ports, they make your life much easier by cutting down the need to jump through hoops when you want to plug something into your device.
- The CalDigit TS3 Plus is a solid docking station for users who need power. This can charge up to 85 watts. It also has a DIsplayPort, three USB-A ports, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, and supports 40Gbps of data transfer.
- The Thunderbolt Dock from Plugable is a great option for users who enjoy versatility. This unique station can be laid horizontally, but it also has the option to stand vertically. There are a range of ports as well.
- With sixteen available ports, the LandingZone Docking Station is the complete package. This model provides you with plenty of features, including an SD card reader and multi-display support.
Who Should Get This?
These devices are for anyone looking to get a bit more out of their Macbook Pro. As great as the machines are, they do lack ports. A solid docking station fixes that issue and provides you with a lot more connectivity.
If you already have quite a few USB devices, or if you’re someone who uses SD cards, a docking station is a must-have. They are also important for users who want to hook their MacBook Pro up to an external display.
Best Macbook Pro Docking Stations: What to Consider?
As a docking station’s main function is to improve connectivity, you want one that comes with a good number of ports. Not just that, but you want one that utilizes the ports you need. When getting a docking station for your MacBook Pro, it’s key to ensure you can actually use it. It also helps to find devices that have the latest ports to give you the best possible performance.
Though most docking stations have a similar function, they come in all shapes and sizes. Some are quite large, while others are much more compact. Some lay flat, while some allow for more verticality. Pay attention to such differences when getting your Mac’s station. Always visualize the station before you use it to get an idea of what it will look like, how much space it will take up, and if it will work for you.
You need to know everything your docking station does before you buy it. While it’s great to have extra slots or a way to organize your cords, there are certain premium features to watch for that make your life easier. That includes external screen compatibility, as well as the ability to charge your device. Such attributes, while not as vital as the right ports, go a long way.
Best Macbook Pro Docking Stations: Our Picks for 2020
If you’re someone who wants some extra power in their docking station, the CalDigit TS3 Plus is the way to go. This slim-designed device can power up to 85 watts, which is more than most of the other models on the market. Though not everyone will need that much strength, it’s always better to have too much strength as opposed to too little.
Beyond the power, this model also offers a lot of ports to give you the maximum amount of versatility. It comes with two Thunderbolt 3 ports (capable of 40Gbps data transfer) in addition to a USB-C port and three USB-A ports that can support 15 watts of charging. On top of that, there is a microphone jack, headphone jack, and an SD card reader. This is a swiss-army knife for users who like options.
What We Like:
- Power up to 85 watts
- Two Thunderbolt 3 ports with 40Gbps of data transfer
- USB-C and three USB-A ports
- Microphone jack
- SD card reader
- 15 ports
- Can connect to 5k or dual 4k displays
- Can charge laptops
What We Don’t Like:
- Doesn’t have the best durability
The Thunderbolt Dock from Plugable is a solid docking station that gives your Macbook Pro a little bit more functionality. That is largely thanks to the 60 watts of charging, as well as the ability to daisy chain five Thunderbolt 3 devices to a single port. On top of that, the Thunderbolt Dock comes with five USB-A ports, one of which can charge your device, and two Thunderbolt 3 ports to help your data transfer as quickly as possible.
One of the best features of this station is that it can be set up in a vertical or horizontal position. That adds some extra versatility and enables you to make the configuration truly yours. All of that is wrapped inside a clean-looking anodized aluminum shell with a space gray finish that blends in with the Apple aesthetic. The compact device also allows you to plug in an extra monitor and the two year warranty adds another layer of protection.
What We Like:
- 60W power connection
- Five USB-A ports
- Two Thunderbolt 3 ports
- Fast data transfer
- 4k display support
- Included base adapter
- Space-saving design
- Attractive appearance
- Two-year warranty
What We Don’t Like:
- Doesn’t work for dual monitor support
The LandingZone Docking Station is made for Macbook Pro owners who need ports. This handy device doesn’t just come with one or two plug-ins, it comes with a staggering sixteen to meet all of your computing needs. This device comes fully outfitted with three USB-C 3.1 ports, two USB-A 3.1 ports, a USB-A charging port, as well as an HDMI port. That is then backed by a mini DisplayPort port as well as an SD and microSC card slot.
While this doesn’t support 5k, something that’s a bit of a bummer for people who want exceptional image quality, it does have fantastic multi-display connection for both standard and 1080P monitors. Having an extra screen hooked up to your MacBook Pro can greatly increase your computer’s usability. The Kensington security slot also gives you some extra peace of mind.
What We Like:
- Sixteen available ports
- Supports 96W
- Built-in USB hub
- Can be used with locks for extra security
- Multi-display connection
- SD and microSD card slots
- 3-color LED status indicator light
What We Don’t Like:
- Can run into connectivity issues
- Doesn’t support 5k
Useful Tips and Information
Docking stations help you get more out of your Macbook Pro, but they are not the only way to make that happen. The computers are quite complex, and many people never take full advantage of their many features. This video will help you get the most from your machine.
Macbook Pros are high-end computers, and they should be treated as such. Caring for your device is incredibly important. Use a Mac cleaner software and follow the steps listed here to ensure it stays running in tip-top shape.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make your computer a little more functional. As good as Macbook Pros are, they are not port friendly. A good docking station fixes that issue and gives you a way to enjoy your computer in a whole new way. All of the above options will have you hooked up in no time at all.
Do you have a docking station for your MacBook Pro? Why do you prefer that model? Let us know 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.