Your laptop never there are enough ports – especially if it’s the Macbook Air on which this guide is written. This forces you to carry a set of keys so you can turn everything on. Fortunately, there is a better way. USB hubs can expand the number and type of ports available, and USB docks allow you to turn your laptop into a full-fledged workstation with a single plug. After testing several different USB hubs and docking stations, this is the best we’ve found for different needs.
Looking for other items and gadgets for your home office? We have a number of guides that can help, like ours Best work from home equipment, The best USB flash driveand The best portable external storage devices reviews.
Update June 2022: We added a triple display docking station with USB-C, updated prices.
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Do you need a hub or dock?
There is a gray area between USB hubs and docks, as they technically do (mostly) the same thing: add more ports and connectors to your computer. However, there are some small differences and it is worth understanding them before buying one.
USB hubs are smaller, cheaper switches that can add extra USB ports, SD card readers, display outputs or a headphone jack. They often do not provide additional power, which means that you may not be able to charge the widgets included in them. They are also portable enough to throw in your laptop bag so you can use them at home and on the go.
USB docking station they are often bigger, more expensive, and designed to spend most of their time at your desk. They often come with their own power supply, so they can charge other devices and have multiple monitor outputs and Ethernet connections. If you frequently use your laptop at a desk, the docking station can allow you to quickly connect it to a keyboard, mouse, monitors and any other peripherals you need at once.