Best Thunderbolt 3 Docks

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Thunderbolt 3 docks or docking stations are small hubs that give you the power to extend the number of ports in your laptop for fast speed connectivity of external devices like display monitors, external drives, speakers, and peripherals for greater productivity.

We tested some of the best Thunderbolt 3 docks and USB-C docking stations available for purchase these days for anyone that has a MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro or any laptop & desktop with compatible Thunderbolt 3 ports.

It is capable of handling two 4K monitors, in addition to providing power for charging, unlike USB-C that can handle only one display monitor.

In this article, we will cover the following topics:

  1. What is a Thunderbolt 3 dock?
  2. Do Thunderbolt 3 docking stations work with all laptops?
  3. What are the best Thunderbolt 3 docks now?

Ready? Let us start by explaining what a Thunderbolt 3 dock is.

What is a Thunderbolt 3 Dock?

A Thunderbolt TM 3 dock enables you to harness the full potential of USB-C by providing ports for the connection of extra devices. To achieve this, you must plug the Thunderbolt 3 dock into a Thunderbolt 3 socket in your notebook or laptop, thus giving it additional functionality.

Docks have been around for years. So has been the desire to have a device capable of linking a laptop to a variety of peripherals and systems.

4K Display monitors, NAS storage, printers and audio devices can all be connected at once to a laptop via a dock or docking station.

The coming of Thunderbolt 3 (TB3) has led to an upsurge in the design and manufacture of user-friendly docks that are easy to install and comfortable to use.  

Thunderbolt 3 provides faster transfer rates than standard USB-C, of up to 40 Gbps. Generally, a laptop using TB3 can transfer data 2 to 4 times faster than a laptop with USB-C. However, to achieve this, the attached device must support the technology. Also, TB3 has the bandwidth to handle two 4K monitors at 60 Hz.

To differentiate TB3 from a standard USB-C port, look for the little lightning bolt symbol somewhere near the port.

Thunderbolt 3 docks for laptops. How does it work?

The coming of thin and light laptops, which are also referred to as Ultrabooks portended that legacy ports like USB-A, VGA, and even HDMI would be removed to make way for USB-C and TB3 ports.

These sleek and stylish laptops do not have ports that take up space, ports that are not adaptable, and are slow in data transfer.

Thunderbolt 3 docking stations will only work at full capacity with laptops that have the required ports – TB3 ports.

Let’s now look at the best selection of Thunderbolt 3 docks available in the market for 2021 and beyond. Honest disclosure: we’ve also reviewed some of the best USB-C docking stations as well.

What are the best Thunderbolt 3 docks now?

The most efficient TB 3 and USB-C docks are as follows:

ImageProductRatingPrice
BEST OVERALL
Best Thunderbolt 3 Dock
CalDigit TS3 Plus Thunderbolt 3 Dock

Brand: CalDigit
Model: TS3 Plus Thunderbolt 3 Dock
Weight: 1.04 pounds
Size: 5.15 x 1.57 x 3.87 inches
Released: Dec 13, 2017

9.9
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SECOND PICK
Lenovo ThinkPad Thunderbolt 3 Dock
Lenovo ThinkPad Thunderbolt 3 Dock

Brand: Lenovo USA
Model: ThinkPad Thunderbolt 3 Dock
Weight: 2 pounds
Size: 8.66 x 3.15 x 1.18 inches
Released: Jan 3, 2019

9.7
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DESIGNER’S CHOICE
Targus Thunderbolt 3 Dock
Targus Thunderbolt 3 Dock

Brand: Targus
Model: Thunderbolt 3 Dock
Weight: 1.44 pounds
Size: 5.0 x 3.2 x 1.6 inches 
Released: Nov 21, 2017

9.6
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BEST CONNECTIVITY
CalDigit Thunderbolt 3 USB-C Pro Dock
CalDigit Thunderbolt 3 USB-C Pro Dock

Brand: CalDigit
Model: USBCProDock-US07-SG 
Weight: 2.3 pounds
Size: 0.9 x 8.43 x 3.15 inches
Released: Sep 24, 2019

9.3
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FAST CONNECTION
Anker 13-in-1 Thunderbolt 3 Dock
Anker 13-in-1 Thunderbolt 3 Dock

Brand: Anker
Model: A8396 (PowerExpand Elite 13-in-1)
Weight: 1.10 pounds
Size: 4.96 x 3.50 x 1.65 inches 
Released: Apr 12, 2020

8.9
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BUDGET PICK
WAVLINK 8K Thunderbolt 3 Dock
WAVLINK 8K TB 3 Dock

Brand: WAVLINK 
Model: 8K Thunderbolt 3 Dock 
Weight: 2.59 pounds
Size: 10.31 x 7.76 x 3.27 inches
Released: Jun 20, 2019

8.6
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POWER USERS
WAVLINK Thunderbolt 3 Dock
WAVLINK Thunderbolt 3 Dock

Brand: WAVLINK
Model: AMZWL-UTD01-US
Weight: 3.16 pounds
Size: 10.59 x 4.06 x 2.05 inches 
Released: January 28, 2019

8.1
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<3 HDMI
CableMatters Aluminum Thunderbolt 3 Dock
CableMatters Aluminum Thunderbolt 3 Dock

Brand: Cable Matters
Model: 107014
Weight: 3.31 pounds
Size: 8.8 x 3.1 x 1.1 inches
Released: Dec 19, 2016

7.9
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LIGHTWEIGHT
Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Dock
Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Dock

Brand: Plugable
Model: TBT3-UD1-83
Weight: 0.96 pounds
Size: 8.75 x 3.10 x 1.00 inches
Released: May 11, 2017

7.7
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SLICK DESIGN
HP Thunderbolt Dock
HP Thunderbolt Dock

Brand: HP
Model: 2UK37UT#ABA
Weight: 1.76 pounds
Size: 3.90 x 2.70 x 3.90 inches 
Released: June 27, 2018

7.5
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Let’s look closer at these Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C docking stations one by one and check what is that makes them top of the pack.

1. CalDigit TS3 Plus – Best Thunderbolt 3 Dock

Best Overall
Best Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station for Mac and PCs

CalDigit TS3 Plus

If you use a TB3-enabled Laptop or Mac, and you need to connect several devices like SD card readers, USB storage, dual monitors, digital audio, and printers to your system, you should consider buying CalDigit TS3 Plus.

WiFi Trends expert team declared this as the best Thunderbolt 3 dock.

When you connect to this dock, the TB3 port of your laptop will translate to 15 separate ports in the dock, providing a staggering array of connectivity options for your mobile office. And it can charge your laptop as well.

This dock has five USB-A 3.0 ports and two USB-C ports. It has both front and back USB ports. There is a USB 3.1 Gen 2 port at the back (10 Gbps) which allows you to connect your SSD drives for fast speed data transmission.

A very effective dock, the CalDigit TS3 Plus’ SD card reader can read SD, SDHC, and SDXC cards at 312 Mbps. The digital audio port allows connection to amplifiers, home theatres, and speakers, retaining your exact audio signals and maintaining your sound’s pure quality.

The charging system can handle both Mac and PC with 87W of power.

Interface Ports

  • Two Thunderbolt 3
  • One DisplayPort 1.2
  • Five USB 3.1 Type-A 
  • Two USB 3.1 Type-C
  • One SD Card Reader
  • One Digital Optical Audio
  • One Gigabit Ethernet
  • One Analog Audio In (Stereo) | 1 x Analog Audio Out (Stereo)
PROs
  • Rich features with 15 ports
  • High-quality performance
  • Good customer service support
CONs
  • The attached cable is just 0.5 meter
  • No HDMI port

2. Lenovo ThinkPad TB 3 Dock – 2nd Best Overall Dock

Second Pick
Lenovo ThinkPad TB 3 Dock

Lenovo ThinkPad TB 3 Dock

Lenovo USA’s well-crafted ThinkPad Thunderbolt 3 Dock (Gen 2) of 135W is a docking station that has a lot of what you need to actualize your creativity and efficiency, using several devices connected to a single system.

You can easily connect multiple 4K displays for extended multitasking, and transfer any data at high speed (Thunderbolt 3 Gen 2 speed). 

This dock also allows you to charge your smaller devices using the always-on USB 3.0 port. Stretch your imagination and productivity to a maximum with the multiple connectivity options available on this strong, smart, and reliable dock. This docking station supports Windows 7 and 10.

Interface Ports

  • Two HDMI
  • Two DisplayPort
  • One Thunderbolt 3 Gen 2
  • One USB-C – Thunderbolt 3 compatible
  • Four USB 3.1 Gen 2
  • One USB 3.1 Gen 2 (with Always-on charging)
  • One RJ-45 Ethernet 
  • One Audio Connector (3. 5mm)
  • One Security-lock slot (the lock is sold separately)
PROs
  • Supports extra 2 displays comfortably.
  • Versatile, with 13 connectivity ports
CONs
  • TB3 cable is rather short

3. Targus DOCK220USZ – Best Thunderbolt 3 Dock for Designers

Designer’s Choice
Targus DOCK220USZ

Targus DOCK220USZ

This dock is most suitable for intensive design work involving high graphics, video editing, animations, photography, and regular CAD and CAM users. It can work with most laptop brands, guaranteeing the connection to dual 4K monitors at 60hz.

It can also accommodate a mouse and a keyboard, using USB-C. In fact, it has three USB ports.

With 35 years of innovation and creativity in the field of computer accessories behind them, Targus is well equipped to produce a high performing docking station.

Targus Thunderbolt 3 dock has a compact design, with an aluminum casing and good finishing. Underneath, it is rubber-padded to shield your desk from scratches, and provide a strong grip on the desk. This dock is compatible with most operating system platforms like macOS, Windows, and Linux.

Interface Ports

  • One DisplayPort 1.2a
  • Two USB-A (5Gbps; BC 1.2) ports (2 fast charging)
  • One USB-C (5Gbps, 5V /1.5A) port
  • Two 3.5mm audio and video jacks
PROs
  • Rich port options 
  • Ideal for graphics
CONs
  • No HDMI port

4. CalDigit Pro – Best USB-C/TB 3 Dock for Connectivity

Best Connectivity
CalDigit Pro Dock

CalDigit Pro Dock

The CalDigit USB-C Pro Dock is a sleek, neat dock with plenty of power to connect up to 13 devices at the same time. And the price is unbeatable!

The USB-C Pro Dock can directly connect to two 4K 60Hz monitors, using the two built-in DisplayPort connectors. It would not need USB-C video adapters. 

This dock is compatible with both MacOS 10.14.5 or later, and Windows 10 or later operating systems. If your Windows PC’s USB-C port is capable of handling laptop charging, you will enjoy using this dock.

If you need to connect a monitor that uses an HDMI instead of a DisplayPort, simply connect with an adapter. This dock also provides a card reader for fast data transfer to and from your SD card.

You may also be interested in our list of the best Thunderbolt 3 monitors.

The CalDigit USB-C Pro Dock has an auto-off feature that makes it go off automatically when it’s not in use. The dock charges complete 85W with all its ports occupied. You can finally use one cable to connect everything. It has a 0.7-meter cable included in the pack.

Interface Ports

  • One Thunderbolt 3 port with backward compatible with standard USB-C
  • Two DisplayPort 1.2
  • Three USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A (5 Gbps)
  • One USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C (10 Gbps)
  • One Gigabit Ethernet
  • One UHS-II SD Card Slot (SD 4.0)
  • One 3.5mm Analog Audio In & Out
PROs
  • Auto-off feature
  • One audio port that handles both in and out.
  • Easy to setup
CONs
  • No downstream Thunderbolt 3 port
  • Blue light in front is distractingly bright
  • No HDMI port

5. Anker Docking Station – Fastest Thunderbolt 3 Dock

Fast Connection
Anker Docking Station

Anker Docking Station

The Anker Docking Station, PowerExpand Elite 13-in-1 Thunderbolt 3 Dock is a product that is well-appreciated by users. 

This dock is pretty fast, giving you the ability to transfer a 20GB file in just 6 seconds. And it has a high-definition media display capability, with support for multiple monitors through TB3.

The SD card and microSD card slots recognize virtually all SD card formats, giving you unlimited access to all your media files and storage volumes.

This dock with its 13 vital ports is full of interesting features. It provides 85W high-speed charging for your laptop, 18W charging for your phone, a 4K HDMI port, an Ethernet port, audio facilities, and other features.

Anker Docking Station is compatible with macOS 10.12, Windows 8 and 10, iPadOS and Linux OS.

Interface Ports

  • One TB3 downstream port (40 Gbps, 15W)
  • One TB3 upstream port (40 Gbps, 85W)
  • One USB 3.1 Gen 1 USB-A (5 Gbps, 5V/1.5A)
  • One USB 3.1 Gen 1 USB-A (5 Gbps, 5V /0.9A)
  • One USB 3.1 Gen 2 USB-C (10 Gbps, 5V /0.9A)
  • One USB 3.1 Gen 2 USB-C with Power Delivery (10 Gbps, 5V /3A or 9V /2A)
  • One HDMI 2.0
  • One audio in and out
  • SD and micro SD card reader
  • One gigabit Ethernet
  • DC-in (20V /9A)
PROs
  • Plug and play – very easy to set up
  • Charges host laptop
  • Has fast charging capability
  • Fast data transfer speed
CONs
  • High price

6. WAVLINK 8K – Best Budget Thunderbolt 3 Dock

Budget Pick
Best Budget Thunderbolt 3 Dock

WAVLINK 8K TB 3 Dock

A good accessory for the home or office, the Wavlink 8K Thunderbolt 3 dock allows you to connect two external monitors to your laptop, simplifying connectivity and giving you a clean desk.

It allows a 60W PD charge (maximum) to your host laptop. Connecting USB expansion devices like hard disk, thumb drive, mouse, keyboard, USB Mini fan, and smart phone is quite simple.

Data transmission after connectivity is quite fast, one of the best in the market. But then, that is what Thunderbolt 3 is all about – speed of up to 40 Gbps. This is eight times more bandwidth than what USB 3.0 offers for video and data.

You can enjoy beautiful music with your headset inserted into the two-in-one audio-out and mic-in port. With two DisplayPort support, you can easily stream videos, do your graphic designs, play games, and share your screen during conference meetings effectively.

The WAVLINK TB 3 Titan dock works well with both Windows and MacOSX.

Interface Ports

  • Two DisplayPort 1.4 of 40 Gbps
  • One Thunderbolt 3 Port of 40 Gbps (Data and Upstream Charging)
  • One USB C 3.1 of 10 Gbps
  • Two USB-A 3.1 of 10 Gbps
  • Two USB-A 3.0 of 5 Gbps
  • One Gigabit Ethernet (RJ45)
  • One DC Jack
  • One Phone Jack
PROs
  • Delivers efficiently according to TB3 specs
  • Plug and play device
  • Slim attractive appearance
  • Has a power-on button
CONs
  • Poor technical support
  • TB 3 port has to be at the back of device

7. WAVLINK Thunderbolt 3 – Dock for Power Users

Power Users
WAVLINK Thunderbolt 3 Dock

WAVLINK Thunderbolt 3 Dock

From a single Thunderbolt 3 port in your laptop, you can use the WAVLINK Thunderbolt 3 Dock to extend to several useful devices through a rich array made up of 13 ports.

Ideal for power users, it has both front and back USB ports, as well as TB3 40Gbps port, SD card reader, gigabit Intel Ethernet, audio input and output as well as four USB 3.0 ports.

A sound and efficient dock, it provides support for DisplayPort 1.2 with 4K 60Hz display or one HDMI display with DisplayPort to HDMI adapter. It provides up to 85W maximum upstream charging power to the host computer and uses a 180W power adapter to power all other peripherals attached.

This WAVLINK Thunderbolt 3 Dock is very ideal for the home or office as it can sustain multiple video channels, and data.

You may also be interested in our list of the best Daisy Chain monitors.

It works well with the following operating systems: MacBook Pro 2016+, iMac Pro 2017+, and Windows 8 or 10. One 28-inch Intel Certified TB3 cable is included in the pack.

Interface Ports

  • Two Thunderbolt 3 up to 40Gb/s
  • One Displayport 1.2
  • Four USB-A 3.0 (5Gb/s)
  • One Gigabit Ethernet
  • One SD/Micro SD Card Reader
  • One Phone Jack
  • One 180 Watt DC Power Adapter (with 85W for laptop Charging)
PROs
  • 180-watt power unit to charge host PC and peripherals
  • 28 inch TB3 cable to connect the dock to the system
  • Can drive two monitors in extended mode
CONs
  • Only one USB-3 port in the front panel

8. CableMatters Aluminum – Best Thunderbolt 3 Dock with HDMI

<3 HDMI
Certified Cable Matters Aluminum

Certified Cable Matters Aluminum

The Cable Matters Aluminum Thunderbolt 3 Dock with HDMI 2.0 is a certified TB3 dock with 60W laptop charging capabilities.

This dock supports 40 Gbps bandwidth, making it an ideal TB3 dock.

It shows a green LED light when AC power is connected, and a blue LED light when a TB3 host is detected.

The Cable Matters Aluminium TB3 dock can read an SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory card. It is capable of transferring files to a phone or charging a phone over USB. It can also handle a mouse, keyboard, flash drive, USB printer, and scanner.

Related: Best Low-Profile Mechanical Keyboards

It is designed for Windows PC and MacBook Pro. It does not work with a USB-C host computer that does not have the TB3 logo on it. It comes with a 1.5 meters TB3 cable.

Interface Ports

  • UHS-I Card reader
  • Three USB 3.0 ports
  • One Gigabit Ethernet
  • Two TB3 ports – One for computer with 60W charging power
  • One HDMI
  • Power in
  • One audio port
PROs
  • Has both HDMI and TB3 video ports
  • Can read SD cards and flash drives
CONs
  • Quite outdated tech

9. Plugable TB 3 – Lightweight Thunderbolt 3 Dock

Lightweight
Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Dock

Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Dock

The Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Dock is a fast multifunctional docking station with several desirable features, though not as comprehensive as more expensive models.

This dock works with Windows or MacOS, and it is most suitable for Mac or Dell systems. It is capable of connecting a single display up to 4k at 60Hz. 

Please note that this dock cannot charge the host system. You will have to use a separate power adapter to connect your system to power supply.

It supports connection to wired networks like gigabit Ethernet. It has provisions for audio input and output lines. This dock supports only one additional display, except with an additional USB-C to video adapter which you have to buy separately.

Interface Ports

  • One Gigabit Ethernet (network connection)
  • Two USB 3.0 (USB Peripherals)
  • Mic line in
  • Headphone /speaker line out
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C 3.1 Gen2
  • One DisplayPort++ with 4k support
  • One USB 3.1 Gen1
  • Power-in
PROs
  • It is easy to install and use
  • Durable construction
CONs
  • Cannot charge the host system
  • No HDMI port

10. HP Thunderbolt Dock – Slick Design

Slick Design
HP Thunderbolt Dock

HP Thunderbolt Dock

The HP Thunderbolt Dock 120W G2 Docking Station is small but quite sophisticated. Designed to help you manage your office space, this dock is most suitable for USB-C device connection and appropriate as an integrated audio solution.

Like other TB3 docks, it handles dual external 4K displays, and it does so with ease. You can multitask without worrying about speed. 

This dock has an attractive design, but the entire top is a sleep button that users can accidentally press anytime they want to plug in something.

The HP Thunderbolt Dock 120W G2 Docking Station works well with both HP and non HP systems. It is compatible with  Windows 7; Windows 10, Chrome, and iOS.

Interface Ports

  • One USB-C port with data and power out
  • One USB-C cable for host system (0.7 meters)
  • One powered USB 3.0 port
  • One combo Audio Jack
  • One Kensington lock slot
  • 1 Thunderbolt port
  • One USB-C DisplayPort – data and power out
  • Two DisplayPort ports
  • One VGA port
  • Two USB 3.0 ports
  • One RJ45 port
  • One AC Adapter connector
PROs
  • Two DisplayPort connectivity
  • Good performance in speed and bandwidth
  • Attractive in appearance
CONs
  • No HDMI port

Conclusion – What is the best Thunderbolt 3 dock?

The best TB 3 dock overall is the CalDigit TS3 Plus Thunderbolt 3 dock. With this dock, the TB3 port of your laptop translates to 15 separate ports in the dock, providing you with a staggering array of connectivity options. It also works according to specified speed and functionality for TB3.

John Hill