Best Thunderbolt 4 Docking Stations (2022)

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The introduction of Thunderbolt 4 technology brought a significant number of upgrades with it. Although the data transfer speeds remained the same at 40Gbps, the advancements came in getting the technology future-ready.

Thunderbolt 3 offered one 4K resolution display; Thunderbolt 4 took this to two 4K displays or one 8K resolution display. You also got to remotely wake up your computer from sleep mode using Thunderbolt 4.

These were great because the display world is constantly moving in the direction of high-resolution screens. And, remote wake up greatly enhances the remote working environment.

However, the launch of Thunderbolt 4 had one notable advantage. But we will come to that in a minute.

Thunderbolt technology eliminates the need for multiple single-purpose ports. For instance, you no longer require a dedicated HDMI port or a charging port. Additionally, a data transfer speed of up to 40Gpbs eliminates the need for USB ports. A single Thunderbolt port did that, and plenty more.

This led to the creation of a new breed of laptops called the Ultrabook. These were lighter and far more compact.

Unfortunately, this also meant that these new computers were far less flexible. How?

Suppose you wanted to charge your laptop and connect an external display while transferring files onto an external drive. You would have to juggle between all three as there were never enough ports. Thus, if you required more ports, you had to invest in a Docking Station.

Thunderbolt 4 offers the advantage of supporting accessories (such as the Docking Station) with four Thunderbolt ports. This successfully counters the problem of the port shortage experienced by users.

This article will review and compare the Best Thunderbolt 4 Docking Stations that money can buy. After that, we will highlight key elements that you must keep in mind while purchasing a Docking Station. Finally, we will answer some common questions to address any apprehensions you may have about the device.

The Best Thunderbolt 4 Docking Stations – Comparison Table

Image Product Details Check Price
CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 4 TB4 Ports: 4
External Display: 2x [email protected], 1x [email protected]
Power Delivery: 98W
Daisy-chaining: Yes
USB Ports: 8 (Five USB-A [email protected] and Three USB-C [email protected])
Check on Amazon
Kensington SD5700T Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station on Amazon
Kensington SD5700T Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station TB4 Ports: 4
External Display: 2x [email protected], 1x [email protected]
Power Delivery: 90W
Daisy-chaining: Yes
USB Ports: 4 (Three USB-A [email protected] and One USB-A 2.0)
Check on Amazon
Razer Thunderbolt 4 Dock on Amazon
Razer Thunderbolt 4 Dock TB4 Ports: 4
External Display: 2x [email protected], 1x [email protected]
Power Delivery: 90W
Daisy-chaining: Yes
USB Ports: 3 (USB-A [email protected])
Check on Amazon
Sonnet Echo 11 Thunderbolt 4 Dock on Amazon
Sonnet Echo 11 Thunderbolt 4 Dock TB4 Ports: 4
External Display: 2x [email protected], 1x [email protected]
Power Delivery: 90W
Daisy-chaining: Yes
USB Ports: 4 (Three USB-A [email protected] and One USB-A 2.0)
Check on Amazon
Anker PowerExpand 5-in-1 Thunderbolt 4 Mini Dock on Amazon
Anker PowerExpand 5-in-1 Thunderbolt 4 Mini Dock TB4 Ports: 4
External Display: 2x [email protected], 1x [email protected]
Power Delivery: 85W
Daisy-chaining: Yes
USB Ports: 1 (USB-A [email protected] Gbps)
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CalDigit Element Hub TB4 Ports: 4
External Display: 2x [email protected], 1x [email protected]
Power Delivery: 60W
Daisy-chaining: Yes
USB Ports: 4 (USB-A [email protected] Gbps)
Check on CalDigit
OWC THUNDERBOLT HUB on Amazon
OWC THUNDERBOLT HUB TB4 Ports: 4
External Display: 2x [email protected], 1x [email protected]
Power Delivery: 60W
Daisy-chaining: Yes
USB Ports: 1 (USB-A [email protected] Gbps)
Check on Amazon
OWC THUNDERBOLT DOCK TB4 Ports: 4
External Display: 2x [email protected], 1x [email protected]
Power Delivery: 90W
Daisy-chaining: Yes
USB Ports: 4 (Three USB-A 3.2 @10 Gbps and One USB-A 2.0)
Check on MacSales

The Best Thunderbolt 4 Docking Stations – Our Pick

1. CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 4 – Most number of Ports offered

The CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 4 is an impressive device. It trumps most of its competitors on several parameters. From the number or port on offer to the almost exhaustive compatibility list, the device is a winner all the way.

Firstly, it offers you 18-ports. Far more than some of the leading Thunderbolt 4 Docking stations. Thus, making it the most sought-after docking solution for your Thunderbolt 4 computers if flexibility is what you are after.

Second, the CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 4 also stands out with its video display parameters. Your choice starts at a dual 4K resolution at 60Hz setup, and you can take it to an 8K @ 60Hz. Just for that, you must consider buying this. There are very few manufacturers, if any, that offer a 60Hz refresh rate for an 8K resolution. But wait, there is more.

Next, the device is compatible with all Thunderbolt 3 and Thunderbolt 4 PCs. Mac users also have it good. The docking station is compatible with Intel/M1 Thunderbolt 3 based and M1 base Pro/Max Thunderbolt 4 based Macs. Users using macOS need to ensure they have macOS 11.4 (Big Sur) or later.

Additionally, the device offers up to 98W Power Delivery on its main Thunderbolt 4 line. You also get 15W Power Delivery on the three downstream Thunderbolt 4 ports. Further, there is even a provision for USB-C which delivers 20W, and USB-A which delivers 7.5W.

Finally, the 18 ports that the CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 4 include:

Ports

  • 3 X Thunderbolt 4
  • 3 X USB-C (10Gbps)
  • 5 X USB-A (10Gbps)
  • 1 X DisplayPort 1.4
  • 1 X SD Card Reader (UHS-II)
  • 1 X MicroSD Card Reader (UHS-II)
  • 1 X 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet
  • 3 X 3.5mm Combo/Front/ Rear Audio jacks
Our Take

Consider the CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 4 if you need a comprehensive and flexible solution. The 18-ports it offers are amongst the highest that money can buy. That being said, the main reason you should consider this device is the 8K resolution at a 60Hz refresh rate.

PROS
  • 18-ports allow you to connect all your peripheral devices
  • 8K @ 60Hz is ideal for video and gaming
  • 98W Power Delivery will charge almost all laptops
  • 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet port for High-speed internet connectivity
  • Kensington lock slot to secure the device from theft
CONS
  • No power button to power off the device
  • The 2-year warranty is below par considering other devices offer more
  • The look and style of the device are average at best
  • No USB 2.0 port means you may experience interference while using wireless keyboards and mice

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

The Kensington Thunderbolt 4 docking station is 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 Thunderbolt 4 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 Thunderbolt 4 laptop.

From a performance standpoint, this dock supports dual 4K displays at 60Hz or a single 8K at 30Hz 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.

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 than most Thunderbolt 3 docks. You can still take it on the road if you want more ports for your accessories, but it is ideally used with desktop setups.

PROS
  • 90W power delivery is ideal for charging most laptops
  • Four Thunderbolt 4 ports offer connectivity with multiple Thunderbolt 4 devices simultaneously
  • Robust security that prevents Direct Memory Attacks (DMA)
  • Gigabit Ethernet port for faster internet speeds
  • Supports USB-C and USB 4 to keep you future ready for compatibility with new peripherals
CONS
  • 30Hz refresh rate can cause eye strain and fatigue
  • Bulky and heavy design; not suitable if you intend to travel with the device
  • It is not the most attractive looking dock on the market
  • It does not work with Thunderbolt 3 Windows PCs

3. Razer Thunderbolt 4 Dock Chroma – Docking Station with RGB lights

Razer is one of the most reliable brands when it comes to PC and gaming accessories. Its Thunderbolt 4 docking station is the only one with RGB lighting, powered by Razer Chroma, bringing a nice touch of personality and style to your office or gaming setup.

The Razer Thunderbolt 4 Dock Chroma is a full-size docking station measuring 7.48 x 2.93 x 1.06 inches and only 0.75 pounds. It’s small and compact compared to full-size Thunderbolt 3 docks. The black finish blends well in an office environment and most desk setups. Also, you can sync the Razer Chroma Underglow with other Chroma RGB compatible accessories to customize your lighting effects.

In terms of ports, you’re getting three downstream Thunderbolt 4 ports, three USB-A 3.2 Gen2, Gigabit Ethernet, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a UHS-II SD card reader. In addition, the host Thunderbolt 4 port delivers up to 90W charging power, ideal for big and demanding laptops.

The dock is available at Razer’s store and is backed by a 1-year warranty.

Ports

  • 4x Thunderbolt 4
  • 3x 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

If you’re looking for a Thunderbolt 4 docking station for your gaming setup or want to add some sweet ambiance to your office, the Razer Thunderbolt 4 Dock Chroma is perfect for you. It’s well built, has a great combination of ports, and can charge almost every laptop in the market.

PROS
  • RGB lighting to pair with compatible devices make the device look attractive
  • 90W power delivery is ideal for charging most laptops
  • Gigabit Ethernet port for faster internet connectivity
  • Light and compact design make it easier to carry during travel
CONS
  • Fewer USB-A ports make it challenging to connect several peripherals
  • No USB 2.0 port; hence connecting wireless keyboards and mice may cause interference
  • No Power button to turn off the device

4. Anker PowerExpand 5-in-1 Thunderbolt 4 Mini Dock – Docking Station with 3 TB4 downstream ports

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 grey 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 Thunderbolt 4 ports, you can connect multiple Thunderbolt devices through daisy-chaining. This includes dual 4K at 60Hz displays or a single 8K at 30Hz display.

The accessories 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. An 18-month warranty backs the Anker PowerExpand 5-in-1 Thunderbolt 4 Mini Dock.

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 design ensures you can carry the device around
  • 85W power delivery provides adequate power to charge most laptops
  • Compatible with both Mac and PC (Windows 10 & macOS 11 Big Sur, or later)
  • Power button to control the power to the device
  • Allows Daisy-Chaining to increase the number of ports available
CONS
  • Only one USB-A 3.2 port; means you will have a problem attaching all your peripherals
  • No USB 2.0 ports to connect wireless keyboards or mice
  • No Gigabit Ethernet port for fast internet connectivity
  • No 3.5mm audio jack to connect audio devices

5. 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 grey 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.

The M1-based Macs with USB4 ports can take full advantage of the Thunderbolt 4/USB4 connectivity on the Element Hub compared to the other MacBooks.

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.

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.

Ports

  • 4x Thunderbolt 4
  • 4x USB-A (10Gbps)
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
  • Four USB-A 3.2 ports help you connect your legacy peripheral devices
  • Compact and portable design makes it easy to carry if you need to travel
  • 60W power delivery will charge most laptops
  • Protective rubber feet prevent the device from slipping and falling
CONS
  • 8K video resolution is limited to a 30Hz refresh rate
  • No power button to turn off the device when it is not in use
  • No Gigabit Ethernet Port for high-speed internet/LAN
  • No USB 2.0 ports; that is ideal for wireless keyboards and mice

6. OWC Thunderbolt Hub – Portable, great for iPad Pro

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 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. These could include monitors, external storage, audio interfaces, and more compatible devices. With a full 40Gbps bandwidth, your connected accessories deliver the same performance as when they’re plugged directly into a computer.

The OWC Thunderbolt Hub supports dual 4K displays or a single 5K/6K/8K display. Thus, 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 multitask like a pro.

The best feature of this Thunderbolt 4 dock is daisy-chaining. Each Thunderbolt port supports three independent daisy chains, allowing you to connect more 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)
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.

PROS
  • Small and portable design makes it easy to manage and carry
  • Four Thunderbolt 4 ports support multiple bus-powered devices in a daisy-chain
  • Kensington lock slot to keep your device safe from theft
  • Compatibility with USB-C 3.2 specifications offer greater flexibility
CONS
  • 60W Power Delivery maybe a little less for some laptops to charge efficiently
  • You cannot connect multiple USB-A peripherals as there is only one USB-A 3.2 Port
  • No Gigabit Ethernet port for high-speed internet/LAN
  • Connecting wireless keyboard and mice using USB-A 3.2 port may cause interference

7. OWC Thunderbolt Dock – Good Value Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station

Other World Computing offers another Thunderbolt 4 docking station with more connectivity options than the OWC Thunderbolt Hub. The Thunderbolt 4 dock aims to increase the number of ports in your brand-new MacBook or the latest Thunderbolt 4 laptops.

The latest generation of MacBooks partly influences the design. It has a space grey 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 grey and black colors.

The OWC dock looks so tiny and compact despite the many ports. 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. There is a Kensington Security Slot and a Kensington Nano Security Slot on the sides.

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.

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

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
  • Considerably cheaper than similar offerings
  • 90W Power Delivery can charge most laptops in the market
  • Four Thunderbolt 4 ports that support daisy-chaining helps to expand the number of ports
  • Sleek and portable design
  • Supports multiple bus-powered devices; to increase the number of available port
CONS
  • 8K video resolution at a 30Hz refresh rate can cause eye strain
  • No power button to control the power to the device
  • The 2-year warranty is below par compared to similar devices from other manufacturers

Best Thunderbolt 4 Docking Stations – The Ultimate Buying Guide

When buying a new Thunderbolt 4 docking station for your smart home office, these are the features to look out for.

Design and Size

The latest docking stations are now small and more 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. OWC Thunderbolt Dock is a good option at 0.9lbs with 11 ports if you need more connectivity.

It’s always good to check if you can mount the docking station either horizontally or 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. Having USB-A ports on your Thunderbolt 4 dock can breathe life into 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.

The OWC Thunderbolt Dock and the CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 4 provide 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 can charge most laptops in the market while running full throttle.

Best Thunderbolt 4 Docking Stations Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What does a Thunderbolt docking station do?

A Thunderbolt docking station turns 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.

What are the minimum requirements for macOS and Windows to run Thunderbolt 4?

One must not be overly concerned with the operating system to run the Thunderbolt 4 technology. This is because most users would buy a Thunderbolt 4 computer off the shelf. Thus, putting the onus of compatibility on the manufacturers of the computer.

However, if you like to build or customize your computer, you must know about this crucial parameter. Mac users must use macOS 11.4 (Big Sur) or later. And, Windows users must use Windows 10 (20H2) or later.

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