The CalDigit TS3 Plus has an outstanding selection of ports and can charge your laptop with up to 85W 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 relatively new, and while prices may eventually drop, these types of accessories generally hang onto their value for quite awhile. You may have an issue finding a retailer with these docks in stock, so if you find one, jump on the chance as they are very popular.

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, and there's lifetime support and a one-year warranty in case something goes wrong.

It can even deliver up to 85W of power to your laptop, and the cable here is two meters in length, though you can sometimes find a 0.7 meter cable option for a few dollars cheaper. 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.

Runner-up

Plugable USB-C 4K dock

A cheaper USB-C dock.

With no need for Thunderbolt 3, this USB-C dock is a great option for lots of laptops, and it's more than $100 cheaper than our top pick.

For ports, this dock has four USB-A 3.0, Ethernet, HDMI, two DisplayPort, two USB-C (one for connecting back to your laptop), and 3.5mm audio ports for headphones and a mic. It supports dual external 4K displays at 60 Hz or three external displays at lesser resolutions via HDMI and both DisplayPorts.

Value pick

Plugable USB-A 3.0 dock

A cheaper dock that only requires a USB-A port on your laptop.

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. For ports 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. If you don't want to spend quite as much money or don't have Thunderbolt 3 on your laptop, Plugable makes some enticing alternatives.

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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