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Best USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 docking station, stands MacBook, Pro, Air

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 USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 docks available to owners of the latest MacBook, MacBook Air (2018) and MacBook Pro.

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 add two large screens to extend your screen across your whole desk.

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 USB-C (actually the superior but visually identical Thunderbolt 3 standard) ports, and the latest MacBook Pro models feature either two or four Thunderbolt 3 ports.

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

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

There are many cheap adapters that let you add devices to a USB-C MacBook (see our roundup of the best USB-C adapters), 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.

It 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 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.

We’ve also included 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.

CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 3 Plus (TS3 Plus)

CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 3 Plus (TS3 Plus)

Henge Docks Stone Docking Station

Henge Docks Stone Docking Station

CalDigit Thunderbolt 3 miniDock

CalDigit Thunderbolt 3 miniDock

Plugable USB-C Mini Docking Station

Plugable USB-C Mini Docking Station

Targus Dock410 USB-C Docking Station

Targus Dock410 USB-C Docking Station

Moshi Symbus Compact USB-C Dock

Moshi Symbus Compact USB-C Dock

OneAdapter EVRI Pro USB-C Hub with 4K HDMI

OneAdapter EVRI Pro USB-C Hub with 4K HDMI

Henge Vertical Dock

Henge Vertical Dock

Twelve South BookArc for MacBook

Twelve South BookArc for MacBook

Rain Design mTower MacBook Stand

Rain Design mTower MacBook Stand

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