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If you hook up multiple monitors, high-speed storage, Ethernet, and other peripherals to your Dell Laptop, odds are you need a good docking station. They save you the hassle of lugging multiple adapters, provide extra connectivity, and allow you to take full advantage of your computer. Plus, the best Dell docking Stations let you go mobile with all those advantages, allowing you to work at your best, irrespective of location.
In a rush, then buy the Dell Thunderbolt Dock. It provides Thunderbolt connectivity for your audio, video, data transfer, and power needs and lets you replace all your adapters and charger with single, portable brick, It provides up to 130W of Power Delivery and is compatible with Laptops from big manufacturers like Acer, Dell, Hp, and so many more.
Finding the best Dell Docking Stations is often not as simple as picking the first station you find. The market is saturated with hundreds of mediocre and over-priced stations, and it can be difficult to find a product that is perfect for your needs. To save you the research, we combed through dozens of products, user manuals, and guides to compile a list of 4 of the best Dell docking stations for the money. All of them are portable and support all essential data streams, and other quality features like VESA mount support. We take a closer look at each of them in our guide section.
4 Best Dell Docking Stations
The Dell Thunderbolt Dock is the ideal choice for professionals looking for a quality station that’ll work with all their Laptops and devices. It provides up to 130 W of PD for charging your Dell Laptop, and it has universal support for nearly every current Dell laptop and other major manufacturers.
- Thunderbolt 4 connection
- 130W power delivery via USB-C 3.1 Gen 2
- USB 3.1 Gen 1 with Powershare
- 2 Display Ports that support up to 4k displays
- 2 USB-C ports
- 1 HDMI 2.0 port
- USB-C Multifunction Display Port
- Gigabit Ethernet RF45 Port
- 2x USB-A 3.1 ports
The Dell Thunderbolt dock is one of the most versatile stations on the market right now. For creators or professionals who use multiple monitors, it supports up to 4 displays, and for new XPS and Inspiron users, it brings Express Charge Technology—Dell’s flagship charging technology. The charging tech can boost your laptop battery up to 80% on your device in an hour.
Third-party users can also enjoy the Dell Thunderbolt Dock’s extensive ports. This means high-speed internet support, up to 40 Gbps transfer speeds via thunderbolt or USB-C, and high-fidelity audio via supported devices.
Dells rolls out new firmware intermittently to ensure that the Docking Station is up to date so that it will work with the latest third-party computers (even Macbooks). It can hook up to VESA Mounts also, so you can tuck it behind your monitor to free up more space on your desk.
- Compatible with most third-party manufacturers that support Thunderbolt
- Supports both USB-C connectivity, USB-A, and Thunderbolt 4
- Small form factor
- 130W Power Delivery
- Might not support 4 monitors with some third-party computers
If you don’t mind not having Thunderbolt 3 or 4 support, then The Dell USB 3.0 Docking station is an excellent alternative to the expensive Universal docking station. It supports current-gen and older generation Latitude, XPS, and Inspiron computers and is also compatible with Macbooks.
- 2x HDMI ports and 1x display port to connect up to 3 4k monitors
- 1×3.5mm Jack
- 3x 3.0 USB 3.0 and 2x USB 2.0 ports
- 1x RJ45 Ethernet port
The Dell USB Docking station provides more variety than most docking stations limited to USB 3.0. Between the 2 HDMI ports and 1 display port, you’ll be able to multi-task with 3 4K displays. The plethora of USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports let you hook up plenty of peripherals, and the high-speed RJ45 port means easy access to high-speed internet.
It was designed for corporate use but is ergonomic enough for you to work with it on the go. Although it’s not advertised, the Dell USB 3.0 docking station is compatible with select third-party manufacturers. You can easily find Firmware for Macbooks on Dell’s official website as well as many other manufacturers
- Versatile and speedy
- Supports up to 3 4K displays
- Support for third-party computers
Designed to connect to any Laptop with a USB-C or USB A port, Dell’s Universal Dock is a versatile connectivity and productivity solution for most work and office setups. It lets you hook up to 3 x 4k 60Hz monitors to your Laptop, connect your peripherals, use high-speed internet, and transfer data without fumbling with a dozen different adapters.
- 2x Display Ports + 1x HDMI port to connect up to 3x 4k monitors
- 1 RJ45 Ethernet port
- 3x USB 2.0 + 2 x USB 3.0
- 1x USB-C
The Dell Universal Dock excels as a powerful display extender and can connect with most displays and operate at the highest fidelity. You won’t have issues with high-refresh monitors or obscure form factors like 5k.
Its collection of onboard USB connectors and Ethernet ensures you can connect most of your peripherals with minimal clutter. The RJ45 Ethernet port provides you with a high-speed data connection should you need it for work or play, and the onboard USB-C makes powering the docking station trivial.
Since it uses both USB-C and USB-A connectors, nearly all models and manufacturers can use this docking station provided they download the recommended Firmware.
- Use up to 3x 4k displays
- Compatible with most laptops
- HIgh-speed internet.
The Dell Business Thunderbolt Dock is one of Dell’s most powerful last-generation dock designed for mobile workstations and large gaming Laptops. It comes in 180W and 240W versions and bumps up the connectivity. You can hook up multiple monitors and peripherals, and improve your cable management.
- Up to 3 FHD displays/ 2x 4k displays/ 1x 5k displays
- Speaker output
- Kensington lock
- Combo audio
- Gigabit Ethernet
- Thunderbolt 3 ( USB-C) port
- 2x USB 2.0 + 3 x USB 3.0
The Dell Thunderbolt is a compelling option for professionals working with current-gen and last-generation workstations at home or from work. The docking station dramatically expands your connectivity and productivity, allowing you to hook up multiple displays, and set up quality audio equipment, speakers, Gigabit Ethernet, and other essential Peripherals.
It requires a quick firmware and driver update to work as intended. After setup, it runs without a hitch and will work with most Dell laptops and some other laptop manufacturers. It has a small form factor, so you can carry it and set it up on the go. Between its multiple USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports and thunderbolt ports, you won’t have to deal with slow data transfer either.
- Up to 5k display support
- Third-party monitor compatible
What to look for when shopping for the Best Dell Docking Station
Docking stations have come a long way since proprietary stationary docks that supported one or two monitors. Docking stations can now do everything from connecting Thunderbolt devices to delivering quality audio, powering your computer, and can support 5k displays.
They are the ultimate cable management hack, allowing you to simplify your cable management and reduce clutter while opening you to enjoy basic features Desktop users have always had access to.
With that said, it can get fairly confusing comparing docks, functionality, speed, and monitor support. There are a handful of important features to keep an eye out for when shopping for the best docking station for your setup.
Relevant Port Selection
Port selections are the point of a docking station. The right station for you should have enough ports to support your peripherals, monitors, wired earphones, and anything else you might need.
Display and HDMI ports
They are the bread and butter of a good dock station, and the best Dell docking stations have at least 2 second-gen Display ports and 1 HDMI. Together, they can support up to three 4k monitors at 60Hz. Display ports can generally handle multiple data streams, and HDMI supports Ethernet, 3D video, and boasts of increased bandwidth. Ultimately, you’ll only get the best out of your docking station if you have an onboard processor and GPU.
Gigabit Ethernet is a boon if you have a laptop limited to WiFi 5 or 6. A standard RJ45 port can significantly bump up download speeds and your connection for work.
3.5 mm jack or audio jack
A staple in most modern laptops, it’s not a must-have on all docking stations, but it can simplify your cable management and allow you access quality away from your PC.
USB 2.0 and 3.0
A good Docking station, on average, should have at least two USB 2..0 and USB 3.0 ports. They allow you to hook up essential peripherals like speakers, keyboards, mice, and Port Specific peripherals.
USB- C ports can serve the double function of power delivery and high-speed data transfer. They are essential if you own a laptop or storage device that uses USB 3.0.
For better backward compatibility and third-party support, a few also stations use a USB 3.0 connection and supplement with a great power adapter for power.
Thunderbolt 3 and 4
Thunderbolt 3 and 4 are proprietary Intel connectors that combine the functionalities of several connectors into one. Thunderbolt 3 has a 40GBps bandwidth and can support audio, video, and data transfer seamlessly, and Thunderbolt 4 is even faster. Most of the Dell products on our list use Thunderbolt 3 or 4 to connect the station to the laptop, but a handful of products feature a secondary connector that allows you to plug Thunderbolt supported devices directly.
Dell Docking stations come in different sizes and shapes and generally fall into two broad categories. Portable docking stations (which typically have fewer ports) and stationary docking stations (which are heavier and more powerful). Depending on what Dell laptop you use, how frequently you move around, and your home/ office setup, your choice will vary.
PD in Wattage
The latest generation of Dell Docking stations comes with a Power Delivery that simultaneously powers your workstation/computer and some of your peripherals. On principle, the higher the wattage rating, the more potent the docking station Power Delivery. If you use a current-generation XPS, Inspiron, or Latitude, you might enjoy Express Charge (Dell’s proprietary charging technology.) However, note that powering your computer via Power Delivery is only possible with Thunderbolt 3 and 4.
A good Docking Station is worth its weight in gold not only for the convenience it provides but also for the connectivity. You’re able to connect to monitors both old and new as well as ramp up your productivity using multiple displays, ports, and so much more. For individuals who prefer Laptops and workstations to PC, it’s essential to take their work to the next level.
In case you can decide on which of the Best Dell Docking stations you want, here’s a rundown of three of our favorites:
Best Universal Thunderbolt Dock – Dell Thunderbolt Dock
Best Budget Docking Station – Dell USB Docking Station
Best Retro Docking Station – Dell Business Thunderbolt Dock TB16