6 Best Thunderbolt 4 Docking Stations – Buying Guide

5 Best Thunderbolt 4 Docking Stations

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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 SD5700T on Amazon
Kensington SD5700TTB4 Ports: 4
External Display: 2x [email protected], 1x [email protected]
Power Delivery: 90W
Daisy-chaining: Yes
USB Ports: 4
Check on Amazon
Anker PowerExpand 5-in-1 Thunderbolt 4 Mini Dock on Amazon
Anker PowerExpand 5-in-1 Thunderbolt 4 Mini DockTB4 Ports: 4
External Display: 2x [email protected], 1x [email protected]
Power Delivery: 85W
Daisy-chaining: Yes
USB Ports: 1 (10 Gbps)
Check on Amazon
OWC Thunderbolt HubTB4 Ports: 4
External Display: 2x [email protected], 1x [email protected]
Power Delivery: 60W
Daisy-chaining: Yes
Check at MacSales (OWC)
OWC Thunderbolt DockTB4 Ports: 4
External Display: 2x [email protected], 1x [email protected]
Power Delivery: 90W
Daisy-chaining: Yes
Check at MacSales (OWC)
Zikko Thunderbolt 4 Compact Dock PD85W at ZikkoTB4 Ports: 4
External Display: 2x [email protected], 1x [email protected]
Power Delivery: 85W
Daisy-chaining: Yes
USB Ports: 1 (10 Gbps)
Check at Zikko
CalDigit Element HubTB4 Ports: 4
External Display: 2x [email protected], 1x [email protected]
Power Delivery: 60W
Daisy-chaining: Yes
USB Ports: 4 (10 Gbps)
Check at CalDigit

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 [email protected])
  • 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. Anker PowerExpand 5-in-1 Thunderbolt 4 Mini Dock – Compact Thunderbolt 4 Dock with 85W Power delivery

Anker’s new Thunderbolt 4 mini docking station comes with more power delivery than other docks in its class. It’s a compact and very portable docking station that’s great for power users on the move.

If your laptop requires more than 60W, this is the ideal compact Thunderbolt 4 dock for you. Besides, it transforms a single Thunderbolt 4 port on your PC into three additional ports to connect more peripherals, including dual monitors and external drives.

The Anker PowerExpand 5-in-1 Thunderbolt 4 Mini Dock comes with a clean and premium design that blends well in any environment. It looks similar to the Anker PowerExpand Elite 13-in-1 Thunderbolt 3 Dock (Amazon Link) but smaller at 4.9 x 2.8 x 0.9 (LWH) inches and 0.55 lbs. You won’t even feel the weight if you toss this thing in a backpack.

Its gray finish complements most of the latest laptops, especially the MacBook Pro, creating an aesthetically pleasing workspace. The metal body and finned design alleviate heating issues, ensuring reliable performance at all times.

The front panel has the host Thunderbolt 4 port with 85W charging power, enough to charge demanding laptops. Ensure to use this port to connect your PC. There is an additional USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A port for other USB peripherals and two status LEDs.

The other three Thunderbolt 4 ports are located at the back alongside the power input and power button. They support the full 40Gbps bandwidth each, but with only 15W power delivery. With three Tb4 ports, you can connect multiple Thunderbolt devices through daisy chaining, including dual 4K60 displays or a single 8K30 display.

The accessories included in the box include a 100W power adapter with a 1.2m power cord and a 0.7m Thunderbolt 4 cable. You can find a longer Thunderbolt 4 cable from our other buying guide. The Anker PowerExpand 5-in-1 Thunderbolt 4 Mini Dock is backed by an 18-month warranty.

Ports

  • 4x Thunderbolt 4
  • 1 x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A
Our Take

The Anker PowerExpand 5-in-1 Thunderbolt 4 Mini Dock is an excellent option for road warriors or those looking to save significant desk space. It has four Thunderbolt 4 ports and 85W power delivery in a small, compact design. If you have powerful and demanding Thunderbolt 4 laptops, this is the perfect compact dock for you.

PROS
  • Compact, premium finish
  • 85W power delivery
  • Compatible with both Mac and PC (Windows 10 & macOS 11 Big Sur, or later)
CONS
  • Only one USB-A port

3. OWC Thunderbolt Hub – Portable Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station

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 into 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 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

4. OWC Thunderbolt Dock – Good 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.

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

5. Zikko Thunderbolt 4 Compact Dock PD85W – Compact Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station

Zikko Thunderbolt 4 Compact Dock PD85W is another compact Thunderbolt 4 docking station perfect for people always on the go. It is similar to the OWC Thunderbolt Hub in terms of ports and features except for power delivery. Zikko docking station has a higher 85W power output compared to 60W on the OWC Thunderbolt Hub.

More power delivery is always good as it extends compatibility to more demanding laptops like the 16-inch MacBook Pro.

The docking station comes with a compact and light design. The design theme remains unchanged, though. It is the same combination of space gray and black finish available on the other Thunderbolt 4 docks. It is finned on the sides to ensure excellent heat dissipation.

The front fascia has two status LEDs, a 10Gbps USB-A port with BC 1.2 charging, and a Thunderbolt 4 port. The Thunderbolt port delivers up to 85W charging power to the host.

At the back, there are three additional Thunderbolt 4 ports, a power button, and power input. It’s good to see a power button on the Zikko Thunderbolt 4 dock since it is missing on the OWC Thunderbolt Hub. You can easily switch off the docking station when not using it to save power.

In terms of performance, Zikko Thunderbolt 4 docking station supports dual 4k displays and up to a single 8k display. It delivers 85W to the host, enough to charge most notebooks in the market. If you have the latest Dell XPS 13 or 13-inch MacBook Pro, you know the importance of having a USB Type-A port on this dock. Companies are stripping away the ports that we actually need. The 10Gbps USB-A port can give life to your old USB drives and peripherals.

The dock offers more ports and power while taking up less desk space, thanks to its small design footprint.

Ports

  • 4x Thunderbolt 4 (85W PD)
  • 1x USB-A 3.1 Gen2 (10Gbps, BC1.2, & Apple Charge 2.1A)
Our Take

If you’re looking for a portable Thunderbolt 4 docking station that can power a demanding laptop, Zikko Thunderbolt 4 Compact Dock with four Thunderbolt 4 ports and 85W power delivery is a good option. While it is expensive than the OWC Thunderbolt Hub for the same number of ports, it is worth paying extra if your laptop demands more than 60W.

PROS
  • Compact and portable
  • 85W power delivery
  • Four Thunderbolt 4 ports
  • Compatible with Mac and PC
  • Power button
CONS
  • Limited ports

6. CalDigit Element Hub – Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station with 4 USB-A Ports

Now that you got your brand new M1 MacBook Pro, you want to connect your external drives and USB devices to get ready for work. You’ll quickly realize it’s impossible. That’s because the brand new M1 MacBook Pro and Air also come with Thunderbolt 3 ports only.

The CalDigit Element Hub adds seven ports, including four USB-A ports, to your M1 MacBook Pro and Air, allowing you to connect more legacy USB devices, newer Type-C accessories, and high-resolution display up to 8K.

One of the best features of the Element Hub is the reversible design that allows you to use it on either side (left or right) of your MacBook. The finish on the dock is the same as space gray Macs, which makes the two look like products of the same ecosystem. At 0.39 lbs, this is the most portable Thunderbolt 4 docking station you’ll find on the market.

CalDigit includes two rubber feet strips you can attach to the dock to keep it secure and prevent it from sliding over.

The front fascia houses four USB Type-A ports that support incredible 10Gbps data speeds and 7.5W for charging small accessories. CalDigit designed the ports to support charging even when not connected to a computer. Nice if you want to keep your smartphone charging while not using your Mac.

The back has three Thunderbolt 4 that support 40Gbps transfer speeds, 18W power delivery, dual 4K displays or a single 8k, and daisy-chaining to add even more Thunderbolt devices. Element Hub is fully compatible with USB4, Thunderbolt 3, and USB-C devices, including the iPad Pro.

Connect your Mac to the dock through the fourth Thunderbolt 4 port available on the side. This port delivers up to 60W, which is enough for charging most laptops in the market.

Like most Thunderbolt 4 docking stations, Element Hub supports daisy-chaining of Thunderbolt devices. Enjoy incredible data speeds up to 3,000MBps on compatible external drives and quickly wake your Mac from sleep by tapping a keyboard/mouse connected to the dock.

Ports

  • 4x Thunderbolt 4
  • 4x USB-A (10Gbps)

The four USB-A ports are an excellent addition to a dock of this size. Most of the compact Thunderbolt 4 docking stations come with a single USB-A port only. It’s a great way to connect more legacy devices to a thin and light laptop such as the MacBook and Dell XPS.

Our Take

If you want to add more USB Type-A ports to your M1 MacBook Pro and Air without breaking the bank, CalDigit Element Hub is the kind of docking station you need. This compact dock also adds three Thunderbolt 4 ports, which can significantly expand the functionality of your thin and light laptop. Element Hub is ideal for M1 based Macs since they can fully leverage the Thunderbolt 4/USB4 connectivity.

PROS
  • Eight ports of connectivity, including four 10Gbps USB-A ports
  • Compact, portable design
  • 60W power delivery
  • Protective rubber feet strips
CONS
  • 8K limited to 30Hz

Best Thunderbolt 4 Docking Stations – The Ultimate Buying Guide

These are the features to look out for when buying a new Thunderbolt 4 docking station for your smart office home office.

Design and Size

The latest docking stations are now small and compact than ever, thanks to Thunderbolt 4. A smaller dock is always better for your desk as it takes less desk space and makes your setup look neat. It is also suitable for portability should you be moving around often.

If you’re getting the same number of ports and features, always go for the smallest Thunderbolt 4 docking station you can afford.

At 0.39lbs, CalDigit Element Hub is the lightest Thunderbolt 4 docking station in the market. It has rubber feet strips to secure the dock in place and excellent connectivity, including four USB-A ports, features you won’t find in the other compact Thunderbolt 4 docks. If you need more connectivity, OWC Thunderbolt Dock is a good option at 0.9lbs with 11 ports.

It’s always good to check if you can mount the docking station either horizontally and vertically. While most docking stations are designed to be used horizontally, placing a dock in a vertical position helps clear up some valuable space. Sadly, none of the available Thunderbolt 4 docking stations can be placed vertically.

Connectivity and Ports

More ports are always better. But we would highly recommend getting a Thunderbolt 4 docking station with USB Type-A and video output ports. If you’re paying attention to the industry, you’ll realize most laptop manufacturers are stripping away most of the legacy ports in favor of Type-C ports.

Many of the latest laptops, such as the Dell XPS 13 and the new Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano, come with more Type-C ports and fewer or no USB-A ports. But we are still a long way until Type-C devices and accessories become mainstream. Having USB-A ports on your Thunderbolt 4 dock can breathe life to your old USB drives and peripherals.

Element Hub from CalDigit is the best Thunderbolt 4 docking station if you want to expand the functionality of your Type-C laptop without breaking the bank. It has four Thunderbolt 4 ports and four USB-A ports, just the right type of ports everyone needs.

Another set of ports you shouldn’t miss out on is for video output. These allow you to connect multiple external displays to your laptop to add more screen real estate for multitasking. Luckily most Thunderbolt 4 docking stations come with up to four Thunderbolt 4 ports. That’s a bunch of ports to connect external monitors.

Unfortunately, if you don’t have a Type-C monitor, you’ll be forced to use adapters. Most of these docks only come with Thunderbolt 4 ports for external display.

If you want a Thunderbolt docking station with HDMI or DisplayPort ports, be sure to check out our roundup of the best Thunderbolt 3 docking stations. You can upgrade your desk setup to a Thunderbolt 3 monitor to eliminate the need for adapters when using your new Thunderbolt 4 docking station.

All in all, the OWC Thunderbolt Dock provides the best combination of ports for professionals and power users, including multiple USB-A ports, SD Card reader, Ethernet, audio, and three additional Thunderbolt 4 ports for your peripherals. Kensington SD5700T provides a similar set of ports, but it costs more than the OWC.

Power Delivery

Thunderbolt 4 Specification requires all Thunderbolt 4 laptops to have at least one port supporting charging, making power delivery an essential feature when looking for a Thunderbolt 4 docking station. Using one port for data, video, and power clears cable clutter on your desk, and you don’t even have to carry your laptop power adapter to work.

Thunderbolt 4 allows for up to 100W power delivery, but not all docking stations will deliver that kind of power.

You can find the ideal Thunderbolt 4 docking station by checking your laptop’s power adapter wattage. A Thunderbolt 4 dock with lower power output than your laptop’s power requirements will still be able to charge it but much slower than usual.

With 90W power delivery, Kensington SD5700T and OWC Thunderbolt Dock are capable of charging most laptops in the market while running full throttle. If you want a portable Thunderbolt 4 docking station, Zikko with 85W power delivery is a good alternative.

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 laptop?

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.

Does the latest M1 MacBooks support dual 4K monitors?

No. While the latest M1-based Macs support Thunderbolt 3 and USB4, they are only limited to one external display. It’s an apple thing and not about the Thunderbolt capabilities.

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