The CalDigit TS3 Plus has an outstanding selection of ports and can charge your laptop with up to 85 watts of power, making it our top selection for a docking station.

Our pick

CalDigit TS3 Plus

Most ports and best performance

As long as your laptop has a Thunderbolt 3 port, CalDigit's TS3 Plus should be at the top of your list. It has a total of 15 ports, including five USB-A 3.1, two USB-C 3.1, DisplayPort 1.2, two Thunderbolt 3, Ethernet, S/PDIF, an SD card reader, and 3.5mm audio in and out.

Who should buy this laptop dock

Anyone with a laptop built with a Thunderbolt 3 port can take full advantage of this docking station. It has a well-rounded selection of ports, and it can charge your device while plugged in.

Is it a good time to buy this docking station?

This docking station is getting easier to find than it was at release, and the price has even slightly dropped. Just because it's older though doesn't mean it's not still the best option out there and entirely relevant for just about anyone who needs solid performance and charging.

Reasons to buy

  • 15 total ports
  • Up to 85W of power
  • Handles dual 4K displays at 60 Hz
  • UHS-II SD card reader
  • Sturdy build and small footprint

Reasons not to buy

  • Laptop requires Thunderbolt 3
  • Cheaper options available

A future-proof dock for your laptop

As modern Ultrabooks move to Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, laptop docks are changing to keep up. This dock from CalDigit is made from a solid piece of aluminum and has 15 ports that you can use to connect your peripherals, including 4K displays, keyboard, mouse, SD card, Ethernet cable, and more.

It offers outstanding performance in all areas and has the ports to turn your laptop into a true workstation.

The dock itself has a small footprint — it can stand up vertically or sit horizontally — and it weighs in at just over one pound. The aluminum case is built strong, there's lifetime support, and a 1-year warranty in case something goes wrong.

It can even deliver up to 85 watts of power to your laptop, and the cable here is 0.7 meters in length, though you can get a dock with a 2-meter cable for more money. It's nice knowing that your laptop will always be charged when you have to unplug it and hit the road. As long as your laptop has a Thunderbolt 3 port, this dock will eliminate the need for most other adapters and hubs you have lying around. Set it up on a desk, plug in a single cable, and watch your laptop become a full-fledged workstation.

Alternatives to the CalDigit TS3 Plus

If your laptop doesn't have a Thunderbolt 3 port or you don't want to spend quite as much money on a docking station, there are some quality alternatives available.

Best USB-C and USB-A

Dell D6000

No need for Thunderbolt 3

If your laptop only has a USB-C or USB-A port, this dock is a far cheaper option than our top pick and still offers outstanding performance when it comes to external displays and charging.

For ports, this dock has four USB-A 3.0, one USB-C, two DisplayPort, one HDMI, a 3.5 mm audio jack, RJ45 Ethernet, and a Kensington lock slot. It offers up to 65 watts of charging back to your laptop when connected with USB-C, and it can support one 5K display or up to three 4K displays.

Modular design

HP Thunderbolt Dock G2

Modular speaker included

Connect your laptop with a Thunderbolt 3 cable for access to a bunch of extra ports, charging up to 100 watts, and a speaker module that lets you field calls or listen to music in your downtime.

HP's docking station has three USB-C, three USB-A 3.0, a Thunderbolt 3, two DisplayPort, VGA, RJ45 Ethernet, and a 3.5 mm audio jack, giving you plenty of options for connecting accessories. An audio module attaches to the top so that you don't have to rely on your laptop's speakers, and the dock supports Wake-on-LAN, PXE boot, and MAC address passthrough for easy remote management.

Value pick

Plugable USB-A 3.0 dock

A cheaper dock that only requires a USB-A port

Those with laptops without USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 can take advantage of this relatively affordable dock from Plugable. It still has a great selection of ports and can be the centerpiece of a grounded workstation.

This USB-A 3.0 option provides support for two external displays (though no 4K), and costs hundreds less than our top pick. It has four USB-A 2.0, Ethernet, DVI (60Hz), HDMI (50Hz at 1440p, 60Hz at 1080p) on the back, as well as two USB-A 3.0 ports on the front.

Bottom line

The CalDigit TS3 Plus is our pick for best laptop docking station thanks to excellent performance across the board and a wide selection of ports that will turn your laptop into a future-proof workstation. Those who prefer something with more of an enterprise focus can check out HP's G2 dock with an audio module, and Plugable makes an affordable option that doesn't rely on Thunderbolt 3 or USB-C. Finally, Dell's D6000 is a high-performance choice for those with USB-C or USB-A but no Thunderbolt 3.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Cale Hunt is a full-time writer for Windows Central, focusing mainly on PC hardware and VR. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and when he has some free time you can usually find him practicing guitar or reorganizing his ever-growing library. If you hear him say "Sorry!" it's only because he's Canadian.

Rich Edmonds is a staff reviewer at Windows Central, which means he tests out more software and hardware than he cares to remember. Joining Mobile Nations in 2010, you can usually find him inside a PC case tinkering around when not at a screen fighting with Grammarly to use British words. Hit him up on Twitter: @RichEdmonds.

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