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As we expect new Thunderbolt 4 laptops to start shipping later this month, here are our top Thunderbolt 4 docking stations to take advantage of the Thunderbolt 4 port. Thunderbolt is one of the best things that has ever happened to laptops. Bringing lighting 40Gbps speeds, charging, and video on the same port allows you to get high performance from your thin and light ultrabook. And Thunderbolt 4 is here to make your experience even better.

While Thunderbolt 4 won’t be faster than Thunderbolt 3, it brings some long-overdue enhancements to the current specification, which improves performance and user experience. One of the areas that benefit significantly from the new Thunderbolt 4 specification is docking stations.

The new Thunderbolt 4 docking stations now have a much smaller physical footprint and more ports than Thunderbolt 3 docks.

For the first time, you can find more than two Thunderbolt ports on a docking station. These new docks can provide up to four Thunderbolt 4 ports, enough for your host laptop and other accessories. For instance, you can connect your Thunderbolt 4 laptop, two 4K displays, and still have an additional port for external drives or other peripherals.

If you’re a multi-tasker or enthusiast, pairing your new ultraportable laptop with a Thunderbolt 4 docking station can help you reach new levels of productivity.

Besides the multi-port architecture, Thunderbolt 4 docking stations support Wake-on-LAN, enabling you to wake your laptop from sleep by touching a keyboard or mouse connected to the dock. And with power delivery, you don’t need chargers for your PC. Intel requires all Thunderbolt 4 laptops to support charging from a docking station, so you can have a clean and clutter-free workspace.

Without further ado, here are the best Thunderbolt 4 docking stations in the market. For now, only Other World Computing (OWC) has released a Thunderbolt 4 docking station, and it’s available for pre-order on MacSales.

The Best Thunderbolt 4 Docking Stations

ImageProductDetailsCheck Price
Kensington SD5700TTB4 Ports: 4
External Display: 2x 4K@60hz, 1x 8K@30hz
Power Delivery: 90W
Daisy-chaining: Yes
USB Ports: 4
Check at Kensington.com
OWC Thunderbolt HubTB4 Ports: 4
External Display: 2x 4K@60hz, 1x 8K@30hz
Power Delivery: 60W
Daisy-chaining: Yes
Check at MacSales (OWC)
OWC Thunderbolt DockTB4 Ports: 4
External Display: 2x 4K@60hz, 1x 8K@30hz
Power Delivery: 90W
Daisy-chaining: Yes
Check at MacSales (OWC)

 

1. Kensington SD5700T Thunderbolt 4 Dual 4K Docking Station with 90W PD – Best Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station

Kensington has released its first Thunderbolt 4 docking station, and it is a lot better than the OWC Thunderbolt Hub. The SD5700T comes with more ports and higher power delivery to suit the needs of power users and enthusiasts. However, you still get the same number of Thunderbolt 4 ports.

The SD5700T comes with a whopping 11 ports, including four Thunderbolt 4 ports. Other ports include four USB Type-A ports, a Gigabit Ethernet jack, one audio headphone/microphone combo jack, and an SD card reader. Now, this is the best Thunderbolt 4 docking station. It has almost all the ports you could ask for from a docking station.

The OWC Thunderbolt Hub, however, remains a great option if you want a light and portable tb4 dock. This one is slightly larger and heavy. It makes a perfect docking station for desktop setups and offices.

On top of the number of ports, the SD5700T features Intel VT-d based DMA protection to protect your laptop and system from direct memory attacks. Remember this is part of Thunderbolt 4 requirements, and it is well implemented here to ensure robust security on your brand new Thunderbolt 4 laptop.

From a performance standpoint, this tb4 dock supports dual 4K displays at 60Hz or a single 8K30 display. It can connect three additional Thunderbolt devices or even more with daisy-chaining. Great if you have multiple displays and extra peripherals like external Thunderbolt SSDs. Onboard you get 90W power delivery for laptop charging, capable of charging almost every Thunderbolt laptop. Considering the OWC Thunderbolt Hub only supports 60W PD, the SD5700T makes the best fit for power users.

However, the SD5700T Thunderbolt 4 Dual 4K Docking Station with 90W PD is not available in stores yet.

Ports

  • 4x Thunderbolt 4
  • 4x USB-A (3x USB 3.2 Gen2@10Gbps)
  • 1x Gigabit Ethernet (RJ45)
  • 1x 3.5mm headphone/mic combo jack
  • 1x UHS-II SD 4.0 card reader
OUR TAKE
Kensington SD5700T Thunderbolt 4 Dual 4K Docking Station with 90W PD is easily the best Thunderbolt 4 docking station. It has more ports and 90W power delivery, perfect for most users. While not as compact as the OWC dock, the SD5700T is much smaller compared to most Thunderbolt 3 docks in the market. You can still take it on the road if you want more ports for your accessories, but its ideal use is desktop setups.
PROS

  • 90W power delivery
  • Four Thunderbolt 4 ports
  • Robust security
  • More connectivity ports
  • Supports USB-C and USB 4
CONS

  • 8K at 60Hz would be better

2. OWC Thunderbolt Hub – Best Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station for Portability

OWC released the first Thunderbolt 4 docking station, OWC Thunderbolt Hub, which lets you turn a single Thunderbolt 4 port into several to expand your connection possibilities. It’s a small, compact dock with all the features to transform your ultraportable laptop into a powerhouse.

The docking station comes with four Thunderbolt 4 ports and one USB 3.2 Type-A port for legacy USB devices. One Thunderbolt 4 port connects to the host laptop and the remaining three ports to other Thunderbolt peripherals, including monitors, external storage, audio interfaces, and more compatible devices. With a full 40Gbps bandwidth, you connected accessories to deliver the same performance as when they’re plugged directly to a computer giving you desktop-class performance from your thin and light notebook.

The OWC Thunderbolt Hub supports dual 4K displays or a single 5K/6K/8K display, giving you more screen real estate for multitasking and superb image quality for creative work. Whether you’re a business professional or content creator, having multiple ultra HD displays lets you expand your workflow and multitask like a pro.

The best feature of this new Thunderbolt 4 dock is daisy-chaining. Each Thunderbolt port supports independent daisy chains, allowing you to connect more than 15 Thunderbolt devices, and you can place bus-powered devices anywhere in the chain.

The previous Thunderbolt specifications required you to place bus-powered devices like external storage devices at the end of the chain. And it could only support one bus-powered device per chain, meaning you couldn’t daisy-chain multiple external storage devices, and the read/write speeds were much lower than connecting directly to the PC.

Thunderbolt 4 solves all these limitations by supporting daisy-chaining of multiple bus-powered devices and allowing you to place them at the front of the chain for the most reliable performance.

The OWC Thunderbolt Hub provides 60W power for charging the host laptop. And with each Thunderbolt 4 laptop supporting charging, you can have a clean setup with less clutter and power adapters. However, 60W may not be ideal for most power-hungry laptops that demand more than 60W. It can still charge them but much slower than usual.

Ports

  • 4x Thunderbolt 4
  • 1x USB 3.2 Type-A (10Gbps)
  • 1x Kensington Lock
OUR TAKE
OWC Thunderbolt Hub docking station delivers all the promises of Thunderbolt 4. It comes in a much smaller physical footprint and has 4x Thunderbolt 4 ports to connect all of your peripherals. The 60W power delivery may be the only downside here considering some laptops demand more power, but it should work fine with most ultrabooks. The OWC Thunderbolt Hub is the only Thunderbolt 4 docking station available, and the best unless you need more charging power.
PROS

  • Small and portable design
  • Four Thunderbolt 4 ports
  • Supports multiple bus-powered devices in a daisy-chain
  • 60W power output for charging
  • Adjustable LED indicator
CONS

  • Not enough power for demanding laptops

3. OWC Thunderbolt Dock – Best Value Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station

Other World Computing has unveiled yet another Thunderbolt 4 docking station with more connectivity options than the OWC Thunderbolt Hub. The new Thunderbolt 4 dock aims to increase the number of ports in your brand new MacBook or the latest Thunderbolt 4 laptops. It goes up against the Kensington SD5700T for the best Thunderbolt 4 docking station of 2021.

The design is partly influenced by the latest generation of MacBooks. It has a space gray finish and black on the top surface. There is a blue OWC logo at the top, and you’ll also find a white OWC logo and “Thunderbolt Dock” words printed on the front panel. The Kensington SD5700T also has the same vibes of space gray and black colors. If you’re going for looks, you’ll find a hard time choosing between the two.

The OWC dock looks so small and compact despite the many ports that it has. That’s one of the benefits of Thunderbolt 4. If you compare this dock with a Thunderbolt 3 docking station that offers a similar number of ports, like the CalDigit TS3 Plus, you’ll quickly realize how smaller it is. Thunderbolt 4 has enabled OEMs to design small yet powerful docking stations that are great for portability and occupy less desk space.

At the front of the docking station, there is a Thunderbolt 4 port to establish a host connection, a 3.5mm audio jack, one USB 2.0 port with BC 1.2 charging, and an SD card slot capable of 312MBps of speeds. The Thunderbolt 4 port delivers 90W power output enough for charging almost every laptop in the market. On the sides, there is a Kensington Security Slot and a Kensington Nano Security Slot.

At the back, you’ll find three additional Thunderbolt 4 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port for wired networking, and three USB Type-A 10Gbps ports. Transform a single Thunderbolt 4 port on your laptop into a whopping ten connectivity ports. Thunderbolt 4 ports support dual 4k or a single 8K display, independent daisy-chains, and enough power for multiple bus-powered devices.

These are the same ports available in the Kensington SD5700T, yet this dock is available at a lower price. There is no better value than this.

The benefits of the OWC Thunderbolt Dock include the ability to create independent daisy-chains. You can now create separate “tree branches” in the Thunderbolt 4 ports, enabling you to connect many Thunderbolt devices than ever before to expand the functionality of your ultraportable laptop. The OWC Thunderbolt Dock also allows you to connect multiple bus-powered devices, like storage drives, and place them anywhere in a daisy-chain, previously impossible with Thunderbolt 3 docks.

OUR TAKE
The OWC Thunderbolt Dock is a perfect solution for power users and those who want to solve the limited-port problems in the latest M1 Macs and Thunderbolt 4 PCs. It has almost every port you could ever imagine and delivers 90W power for charging to reduce cable clutter on desktops. Considering this dock offers the same number of ports as the Kensington SD5700T while cheaper, you’ve every reason to buy it.
PROS

  • Incredible price
  • 90W power delivery for charging
  • More connectivity options, four Thunderbolt 4 ports
  • Sleek and portable design
  • Independent daisy-chains
  • Supports multiple bus-powered devices
CONS

  • 8k available at 30Hz only

Best Thunderbolt 4 Docking Stations Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What does a Thunderbolt docking station do?

A Thunderbolt docking station docking stations turn a single port on your PC into multiple ports to connect more accessories. It’s a great solution to add legacy USB-A ports to your ultraportable Thunderbolt 4 laptop.

Can a Thunderbolt 4 docking station charge my latpop?

Yes. You can charge your Thunderbolt 4 laptop using a Thunderbolt 4 docking station. However, the output power differs on different docks, while some don’t support charging.

Do Thunderbolt 4 docking stations support daisy chaining?

All Thunderbolt 4 docks with at least two Thunderbolt 4 ports support daisy-chaining of multiple devices. You can now connect several bus-powered devices in a daisy-chain for improved performance and reliability.

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