With the best dock for MacBook Pro, you can expand the utility of your powerful laptop in all sorts of ways. Docks provide you with lots more ports to attach other devices. These include fast connection ports designed to deliver high volumes of data, as well as specialised ports for specific functions.
So, a port might let you attach one or more monitors to mirror or extend the desktop of your MacBook Pro. It'll give you more connections to use external equipment like drawing tablets, or to connect to storage media such as external hard drives. Some docks come with 3.5mm audio jacks, both as inputs for mics and outputs for headphones, and many docks will also give you an SD card reader, as well as providing a power source to charge your MacBook Pro.
The connection ports themselves will generally offer a range of compatibilities, so as well as the standard USB-A, you should also be able to make use of faster connections like USB-C, Thunderbolt 3 and Thunderbolt 4. If you're using a newer MacBook Pro, such as those with Apple's powerful M1 chips, these can really come in handy.
We've reviewed a range of docks for use specifically with MacBook Pros, which have historically fallen somewhat short on the ports front. In the guide below, we've rated them according to port connectivity, versatility and performance. Of course, a dock is no good without plenty of gear to plug into it, so check out our guide to the best 4K monitors for a truly dazzling display experience. We also have guides to the best MacBooks for video editing, and the best MacBook Pro accessories to further kit out your computer. And if you're looking for storage solutions, see our guide to the best external hard drives and SSDs.
The best dock for MacBook Pro
We rate the Kensington SD5700T Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station as the best dock for the latest MacBooks, including the M1-chipped models from 2021 and beyond. It offers four Thunderbolt 4 ports (one up; three down), as well as three fast USB-A ports, and a slower one that provides 7.5W charging power. That's more generous than many comparable docks we've tested, and you also get an SD slot, Gigabit Ethernet and an audio jack. It's therefore safe to say that this dock offers pretty much anything you could want. The 180W power supply also means you can power multiple devices at once.
Kensington has provided a three-year warranty, which is nice peace of mind on top of the fact that the dock's build feels solidly premium. It also has Vesa mounting holes if you don't want it sitting on the desk. It's undeniably expensive – in fact, it's the most expensive dock on this list. But if you're already dropping serous dollar on a top-of-the-line Macbook Pro, it makes sense to get a dock that can keep up with it.
Kensington also offers this dock, which sports Thunderbolt 3 connections rather than Thunderbolt 4. So, if you're using an older Macbook and want to save some cash by getting a cheaper dock, then the SD5200T Dual 4K docking station could be a good option (though be aware that Thunderbolt 4 is backwards compatible, so it is an option to future-proof yourself by getting the more recent dock).
So what does the Kensington SD5200T offer? Well, the "Dual 4K" in its name refers to the fact that it allows you to attach two 4K monitors running at 60Hz via DisplayPort and the Thunderbolt 3 port. There are plenty of other connections you can run at the same time, and it can also supply 85W of power to your MacBook Pro.
If you want to mount your Kensington SD5200T, you can buy a mounting plate to attach it to the back of any VESA-compatible external monitor. This is a good way to cut down on clutter and keep your desk tidy.
Another great dock for hooking up a pair of 4K monitors to your MacBook Pro, the Corsair TBT100 Thunderbolt 3 Dock offers a broad range of connections. It's got the usual Thunderbolt 3 and USB-A ports, as well as the aforementioned HDMI ports for monitors, and a reader for a UHS-II SD card. There's also Gigabit Ethernet and 85W charging – all the hits, essentially.
The Corsair TBT100 is still quite pricey, especially for a Thunderbolt 3 dock. Still, if you want to output your MacBook Pro to dual displays at 4K resolution in 60Hz HDR, there aren't a lot of options for doing so. It's a well-made piece of kit with sleek design that will complement your MacBook Pro.
Want ThunderBolt 4 but not convinced by the price of the Kensington dock at number one in our list? Then the Anker PowerExpand 5-in-1 Thunderbolt 4 Mini Dock is a good option at a more economical price, although that does mean sacrificing some features.
It has a premium, very compact design that takes up little room on a desk, and it offers 85W power delivery and support for a single 8K monitor or dual 4K. The downside is that there's only one USB-A port and no SD card reader or HDMI. Still, it's a worth companion to give the M1 MacBook Pro the extra ports you need, high transfer speeds, charging and the ability to connect external monitors with just one port.
For a highly portable dock for your MacBook Pro, Belkin has the perfect option in the form of the Thunderbolt 3 Dock Core. This dinky piece of kit delivers 40W of charging power and it doesn't skimp on connectivity despite its compact size.
With its assorted ports you can attach up to two 4K monitors at 60Hz via DisplayPort and HDMI 2.0, and for other devices there's a pair of USB-A ports and a Thunderbolt 3/USB-C port for fast data speeds. We're not so keen on the tethered Thunderbolt 3-cable – if that breaks then that's your dock ruined – but apart from that this is a great little dock.
The CalDigit Thunderbolt 3 Mini Dock is a neat, compact MacBook Pro dock that's similar in appearance to the Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Dock Core mentioned earlier (even down to the tethered Thunderbolt 3 cable, which you'll really want to ensure doesn't get damaged).
This dock offers another lightweight and portable solution to get more ports out of your MacBook Pro, giving you a USB-3.0 and USB-2.0 port and Gigabit Ethernet as well as a pair of video ports – you can choose between HDMI and DisplayPort. It's bus-powered so it won't charge your MacBook Pro, but it's ideal for attaching a pair of 4K displays and gaining some extra connectivity while you're at it.
The reality of having one of the best docks for MacBook Pro will be that you end up using it to charge most of your portable devices. But why plug them in if you can charge them wirelessly? The Moshi Symbus Q has a Qi-EPP-certified wireless charging pad built into it, so if you want to keep your iPhone or AirPods Pro charged without running cables all over your desk, you can simply pop them on top of it. That keeps things a lot neater, and the Symbus Q will also charge your MacBook Pro at 40W. It features a pair of USB-A ports, Gigabit Ethernet and an HDMI port that supports 4K HDR too.
The sleek Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Dock isn't quite as chock full of ports as some of the other docks on this list, but it still offers impressive connectivity with five standard USB 3.0 ports and a pair of Thunderbolt 3 ports, which should allow you to connect pretty much everything you might want to. With a DisplayPort output thrown in for good measure, you'll be able to expand your desktop with a pair of 4K monitors (there's a DisplayPort to HDMI adapter included too), and it'll charge your MacBook Pro with a steady 60W of power.
If you're the proud owner of a shiny new 16-inch MacBook Pro and want to plug literally everything into it, the monster CalDigit TS3 Plus is just the answer. It comes with 15 ports in total, seven of which are USB, which means that you ought to be able to attach everything your design studio needs. Dual 4K monitors? A stack of USB hard drives? Graphics tablet? Digital audio devices? A load of files on SD card? It'll take all of that with room to spare too, and it'll keep your MacBook Pro topped up with 87W of power in the process.
Another thing to be aware of is that CalDigit has announced an update to this dock in the form of the seriously impressive CalDigit TS4, an 18-in-1 hub with Thunderbolt 4 compatibility. As of March 2022, it's experiencing serious stock issues globally and is in short supply, but once it's easier to get hold of, it'll no doubt find a place on this list.
How to choose the best dock for MacBook Pro
The best dock for MacBook Pro will depend somewhat on the model you have and what you want to do with it. If charging is a priority, look for at least 90W for charging at a decent rate. What you most need to consider, however, is what connections you want. Do you want to hook up multiple monitors? And do you need Thunderbolt 3 or 4?
The latest MacBook Pros (the 14in and 16in M1 Pro and M1 Max model released in October 2021) have Thunderbolt 4 ports rather than Thunderbolt 3, and even if you have an earlier model, you might still want a Thunderbolt 4 dock since the TB4 is backwards compatible. Functionally, there's not a huge difference, but TB4 docks can have up to four, rather than two, Thunderbolt ports, including the upstream port that connects to your laptop.
There's also an improvement when it comes to daisy-chaining devices since with Thunderbolt 3, a device chain can be disrupted when any but the final device is removed. Note that the M1 13in MacBook can only connect to one external display, while the 14in and 16in can support multiple displays.