How a good laptop docking station can boost productivity and keep your home office organized

Best Thunderbolt 3 Docks of 2018
Best Thunderbolt 3 Docks of 2018 (Image credit: Windows Central)

Laptops are designed for portable use, and they're great for when you're not stuck at a desk. However, should you be working from home due to the current viral crisis, it's possible you may have to rely on your laptop for work. A laptop docking station makes it possible to transform the notebook into a desktop environment. Here's how.

Products used in this guide

How a laptop docking station could help you

CalDigit TS3 Plus docking station

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

You may wonder, "How exactly will a laptop docking station help me be more productive?" It's quite simple, really. Using your laptop on a sofa or at a desk usually requires you to use the built-in touchpad and keyboard, unless you use a portable mouse. You can't really use one at a desk day in and day out. It's not really what notebooks are designed for.

This is where a laptop docking station comes into play. You use a single USB or Thunderbolt connection from the notebook to this hub device, and you are rewarded with a whole host of expansion ports. The excellent CalDigit TS3 Plus comes with 15 ports so you can hook up 4K displays, keyboard, mouses, SD cards, LAN cabling, and more.

If you need to buy a dock

Best Thunderbolt 3 Docks of 2018

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

To expand the capabilities of your laptop, you'll need to choose a laptop docking station. Luckily for you, we rounded up our favorite options into an easily digestible list, highlighting the key features of each dock to make it easier for you to select the best one for the job. Whether you need USB-C, Thunderbolt 3, or to simply save as much money as possible, we got you covered.

Check out our dock recommendations

So instead of using your laptop display, keyboard, and touchpad, with a dock installed, you can use all your favorite external accessories. Throw in a large 4K display to allow you to have more apps open simultaneously. A dedicated keyboard will let you type up work at a faster rate, and a mouse is just plain better than a touchpad for prolonged use.

The best part is that not only can you transform your laptop into a desktop environment, but docks like the TS3 from CalDigit can even provide charge to the notebook itself. This, of course, will require the availability of an outlet for power. A desktop PC is a great place to do your work as it creates a dedicated working environment. A laptop can be used anywhere.

By forcing yourself to a single location in the home where the dock and accessories are located, you can look to improve productivity, thanks to fewer distractions.

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.