Your laptop computer by no means has sufficient ports–particularly if it is the Macbook Air this information was written on. That forces you to hold an array of dongles so you possibly can plug the whole lot in. Fortunately, there’s a greater approach. USB hubs can broaden the quantity and type of ports out there, and USB docks allow you to flip a laptop computer right into a full-blown workstation with one plug. After testing a number of totally different USB hubs and docks, these are one of the best we have discovered for various wants.
Looking for different residence workplace gizmos and devices? We’ve received various guides that may assist, like our Best Work From Home Gear, Best USB Flash Drive, and Best Portable External Storage Drives roundups.
Update June 2022: We added the Plugable USB-C Triple Display dock, up to date costs all through.
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Do You Need a Hub or a Dock?
There’s a gray space between USB hubs and docks, since they technically do (largely) the identical factor: add extra ports and connectors to your laptop. However, there are some slight variations and it is value understanding them before you purchase one.
USB hubs are smaller, cheaper dongles that may add additional USB ports, SD card readers, show outputs, or a headphone jack. These typically do not provide additional energy, which suggests you may not be capable to cost devices plugged into them. They’re additionally moveable sufficient to throw in your laptop computer bag so you should utilize them at residence and on the go.
USB docks are sometimes bigger, dearer, and are designed to spend most of their time in your desk. They typically include their very own energy provide, to allow them to cost different units, and have a number of monitor outputs and Ethernet connections. If you ceaselessly use your laptop computer at a desk, a dock can allow you to rapidly join it to a keyboard, mouse, displays, and every other peripherals you want .