Best Laptop Docking Stations – Do You Want a More Comfortable Work Space?

So, you are ready to purchase your new laptop but have you thought how tiring it can get typing on a laptop for hours on end? Have you considered having a larger monitor or dual monitors and an ergonomic keyboard? You need to consider having a work station in addition to your laptop. The first thing you need is a docking station. What are the best laptop docking stations?Dell laptop docking station

First Off, What is a Docking Station?

A docking station is used to make your laptop feel more like a desktop computer. The advantage to this is you can plug in the keyboard of your choice, a mouse, speakers, dual monitors, a printer and other accessories.

Sometimes it gets tiring looking at a small laptop screen and I for one don’t like the position my hands are in while typing on a laptop for long hours. That’s why I have a docking station at my corporate office and at my home. This is what my work station looks like at home.

Dell docking station

You may also be able to tell I have a sit and stand Varidesk. This is one incredible and comfortable work space and I still have the flexibility of un-docking the laptop and taking it anywhere I wish to work.

Now That You Know What a Docking Station Will Do for You….

Let’s make sure there is a docking station for the laptop you wish to purchase.

Some people won’t care about having a work station or may not be able to afford any more than a laptop but just in case you want something similar to the picture above, you need to make sure a docking station is available and that it fits the laptop model you have selected.

I created a list of some of the Best Laptops for 2018, so I am going to look at each of the laptop brands and models I presented and see if a docking station is available.

LAPTOP DOCKING STATIONS

WARNING: You must be careful to ensure you purchase the correct docking station for the specific model of laptop you have purchased or would like to purchase and beware there are many types of docking stations that have different accessories or number of ports, etc.

Lenovo ThinkPadLenovo ThinkPad Pro docking station Docking Station

Lenovo has several types of laptops and just about as many types of docking stations. Shown here to the right is the Lenovo ThinkPad Pro docking station. This is where I would like to remind you again that there are other versions and different prices so make sure you are getting the right one for you.

This docking station sits under your laptop and is snapped into place easily.

Apple MacBook Pro Docking StationApple MacBook Pro and dock

The Elgato Thunderbolt 2 Dock is the one you would need for the Apple MacBook Pro. This docking station sits next to your laptop rather than the laptop being docked on top of it. See the image to the right.

You can see a close up view of the dock below.

Apple MacBook Pro Dock
 

 

 

Dell XPS Docking StationDell XPS Dock

The Visiontek VT1000 Universal Dual Display USB 3.0 Dock is one of many to choose from for your Dell XPS laptop. This is a perfect example of making sure you get a docking station that can handle dual high definition monitors if that is something you require.

Another great feature is Dells 2-in-1 monitor stand that holds the dock behind the monitor to clear up desk space and create cleaner look.

Dell Micro All in One Stand
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Microsoft Surface DockMicrosoft Surface Dock

Do you sometimes want a desktop with all the great accessories it brings? Well, you will need this Microsoft Surface Dock to get you started. You will have all the versatility and ports you desire, including two high-def video ports.

HP Spectre x360 Docking StationHP Docking Station

This docking station is created for the HP UltraSlim laptops and you’ll be impressed on how it gets the job done. It doesn’t look like it has enough ports but look closer. It has plenty.

HP Docking Station (Reverse Angle)

ASUS Chrombook Docking StationASUS Universal Dock

The ASUS Universal Dock looks great and has all the ports you need to make your laptop run like a powerful desktop. It can run multiple displays and has extra USB ports. Don’t settle for just working on a smaller keyboard and screen. Make your life more comfortable.

Microsoft Surface Pro Dock

The Microsoft Surface Pro Dock uses the same dock as the Microsoft Surface Dock listed above.

Dell Latitude Docking StationDell Universal Dock

The Dell Latitude Series laptops have several docking station options. One of these options is the Dell Universal Dock. This attaches conveniently to any laptop equipped with a USB-C or USB 3.0.

Lenovo Yoga Docking StationThinkPad Pro Dock

There are many Lenovo docking stations to choose from and I am a fan of more powerful docking stations with all the ports you can get so this ThinkPad USB 3.0 Pro Dock looks great to me. I know that finances can be the determining factor but when you’re talking about a difference of $50 or $70 dollars on something this important; my recommendation is to upgrade.

HP Elite DockHP Elite Dock

Transform your HP laptop into a powerful desktop with multiple monitors, ergonomic keyboard and much more with this HP Elite USB-C Docking Station. Trust me when I say it can be tiring always working off your laptop. I love laptops and the freedom they give me but when I know I am going to be working for hours on a particular project or story, then I dock my laptop, sit back in my comfortable leather chair and get to work in style.

Dell Inspiron 15 5000 Series DockDell Inspiron 15 5000 Series Dock

This is an awesome dock that can dock to any laptop with a USB-C or USB 3.0 port and you can connect three 4K displays at the same time. Have you ever wanted to have a lot of software, charts and graphs up at one time to make your work easier? Or, how about being able to play a video game and have a front screen and two side screens. You could always open your laptop screen and have it be your review mirror screen.

Ok, that’s me dreaming about my perfect gaming setup but guess what? You can do that with this dock.

Dell Precision Docking StationDell Precision Docking Station

This is where we start getting serious. Ok, I’m just saying this is the docking station I use. This docking station is really convenient and powerful. It’s easy to snap my laptop into place and there’re no worries about hooking any cables up. I actually have three of these. I have one at my corporate office, one at home and one at a colleague’s office. How’s that for some flexibility. The Dell E-Port Plus Advanced Port Replicator is one serious docking station.

Samsung Chromebook Pro Docking Station

Finding a docking station for the Samsung Chromebook Pro was a little more challenging. I have read several reviews that say the ASUS USB-C Dock works great with the Chromebook. This is a case where I would actually call Samsung’s customer service line and find out for sure what Dock or Docking Station works with it.

There You Have It

Do you want more out of your laptop? I sure do. I want the flexibility that a laptop brings plus the power of a work station that the dock or docking station brings.

Just remember to make sure you get the right docking station for your new laptop. It will make a world of difference and you’re online experience will explode.

12 Comments on “Best Laptop Docking Stations – Do You Want a More Comfortable Work Space?”

  1. Hi Rick,
    I had no idea that you needed a docking station to do this. A lot of great information here. I assume that you plug your laptop into the docking station and then plug a mouse, keyboard, etc. also into the docking station? I’m intrigued about how to set this up. Thanks much

    1. That’s exactly it. You either snap your laptop into place on top of the docking station or you plug it into the dock with one cable and as you said, everything else plugs into the docking station. You can always plug one monitor into your laptop and then plug the keyboard and mouse in separately but it is much more time consuming and you can’t get dual monitors, at least on the laptops I am familiar with.

      The docking stations only cost somewhere between $100 and $200 typically and they are well worth it.

  2. Hello Rick,

    I work from home, but I haven’t set up anything like a docking station before. I have more than one setup: a desktop and a laptop. The docking station seems like it makes your laptop into a hybrid between a desktop and a laptop.

    I may need to look into investing in a docking station because my hands are starting to hurt from typing so much. I’ve been considering getting an ergonomic keyboard and mouse, and it sounds like the docking station setup may be the best way to have the ergonomic setup. Is that what you would recommend?

    1. Yes. I am an engineer and need powerful laptops with dual cooling fans to keep my laptop cool. I have been working strictly from a laptop with docking stations for the past 8 years at least.

      I don’t consider this a hybrid system because these new laptops are really powerful unless you are needing to run the latest and greatest power hungry games. I am always on the go and working between the office, home and on the road at other locations. The laptop is critical for my mobility but having larger 24″ dual monitors and an ergonomic keyboard are just as important.

      It takes a little time to get use to an ergonomic keyboard but these keyboards are designed to put your hands in a more natural position.

      There have been several times I was forced back to using my laptop all day and it is no fun typing in that position for long hours.

      I would strongly recommend looking into a docking station. As I have alluded to here, I will never go back to a desktop or solely a laptop. I need the flexibility of a laptop and the comfort of a workstation. 

      I hope that helps.

  3. Hi Rick, I think that laptop docking stations are fantastic. We had them at in our office at work and it effectively meant that we could use any workspace as a hot desk – all the centralized printers worked regardless of where we were in the office. Laptops seem to be the way to go for business use, they are super portable and are just as fast and efficient as the traditional desktop. Thanks for sharing. Cheers, Karen

    1. Thanks Karen. I guess we have been fortunate to have been introduced to docking stations with the power of a laptop. You’re right though, because this is quickly becoming the future for many companies.

      As an engineer, I work with a lot of technicians who only work at the office and it use to be that only the desktops offered the power needed to run the high end graphics software but that is simply not the case anymore. I would recommend that even people who only work at the office still utilize a laptop because you never know if you will get sick for a long period of time or have a family member that needs attention or have an ice storm hit and be stuck not being able to get to work. I know some people would see this as a blessing but for some of us, we still have to get our projects completed no matter what is going on in the world.

      Laptops combined with a workstation gives you the best of both worlds.

    1. Hey Jerry, you have a great question that I would love to answer.

      I have a 17″ laptop screen but most people have a 13″ to 15″ screen. These may feel fine for the young with youthful sight but this does not work well when you sit at a computer for long hours writing. You may only need one screen but eye stain is a serious problem for those of us who work on a computer all day.

      As an engineer I need at least two screens because I have the graphics software up on my left screen and excel sheets up on my right screen and then I normally have PDF images up on my laptop screen. It is much more comfortable to use large screens and multiple screens. I can also get much more accomplished utilizing multiple screens rather than expanding and collapsing windows over and over again as I have to go back and forth between programs.

      Let me put this in a different perspective for those who work online or only need one screen and how a docking station can help improve your work. Here is a short list:

      1. Quickly dock your laptop to create the workstation.
      2. Get access to at least one more “large” monitor, which is probably a 24″ monitor or larger (remember the eye strain issue?).
      3. Have access to an ergonomic keyboard or a larger keyboard which will cause less strain on your arms, hands, and back. You should notice your back may also start hurting.
      4. Your speakers are connected directly to the docking station and it’s nice to have a better sound system when stuck at your computer for long hours.
      5. The printer/copier/scanner is connected to the docking station and you don’t have to worry about connecting a lot of cables to get hooked up.

      The most important thing for me is being able to relax my eyes as I don’t have to squint at a smaller monitor and my body is in a more relaxed position when I use the ergonomic keyboard. Remember that in the morning and and whey you are refreshed, you don’t always recognize eye and body strain but by the end of the day when you’re tired and worn out, you will be thankful for the workstation.

      Checkout the picture of my workstation in this article and tell me if that doesn’t look cool and would be more comfortable to work at. Please remember that I love being able to take my laptop and go sit by the lake or in a couch and be free from my workstation but it’s better for me to have the choice of both.

  4. This is the first time that I have heard about a laptop docking station. This station looks really great and can provide you with space and comfort while giving the professional look. I may just have to invest in one of these docking stations that seems to be of great benefit. And Like your pointed out make sure that it is the right fit for your model. Thanks again for opening my eyes to these docking stations.

    1. Hey Norman. It is important to make sure you get the right one and make sure it can handle the number of monitors you want and the type of connections.

      Once you find out how incredible these docking stations are, you will never, willingly, go back to just a laptop. You will continue using your laptop remotely and by itself at times but you won’t want to do that all of the time.

  5. What a huge article and which good info I picked up today. Dock stations are really useful when it comes to deal with more screens. However, How much graphics power will I need to stay up with all those screens?

    1. I have never looked into how much power these monitors require as it has never been an issue. Most of the docking stations can handle at least two monitors. I would make sure the docking station has the number of ports you want and the type of connections you require.

      The biggest thing I had to get use to with two wide screen monitors, and now the laptop as my third screen, is the amount of mouse movement it take to get from one side of the screen to the other. I have adapted to that by making my mouse a lot more sensitive. Now I’m looking at moving up from the dual 24″ monitors to at least the 27″ monitors. I spend so much time at my workstation in my profession as an engineer and also in creating my websites that I need more space to handle more applications being open at one time. I can always minimize and expand screens over and over and over again but my productivity goes way up when I have enough room to keep more software application open.

      Did this answer your question?

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