3 Popular Docking Stations For Dual Monitors

Budget Option
Plugable USB 3.0 Universal Laptop Docking Station Dual...
Editor's Pick
Kensington Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station, SD Card Reader,...
Tobenone Thunderbolt 3 Dual Monitor Docking Station for...
Plugable USB 3.0 Universal Laptop Docking Station Dual...
Kensington Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station, SD Card Reader,...
Tobenone Thunderbolt 3 Dual Monitor Docking Station for...
$99.00
$313.49
$209.99
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Budget Option
Plugable USB 3.0 Universal Laptop Docking Station Dual...
Plugable USB 3.0 Universal Laptop Docking Station Dual...
$99.00
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-
Editor's Pick
Kensington Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station, SD Card Reader,...
Kensington Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station, SD Card Reader,...
$313.49
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Tobenone Thunderbolt 3 Dual Monitor Docking Station for...
Tobenone Thunderbolt 3 Dual Monitor Docking Station for...
$209.99
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Last update on 2021-10-14 / As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more about us.

Professionals whose work involves heavy graphical tasks know that a sole 15-inch display of a laptop isn’t enough. It has become common to connect one, and sometimes even two monitors to a laptop.

However, doing so might not always be as easy as it sounds. In this article, we will talk about difficulties you might face and what the solution is.

Do you need a docking station for multiple monitors?

It all depends on your laptop and your monitors. Some laptops have multiple ports, but others have so few that it almost feels like they don’t have any. This is one of the differences between gaming laptops and professional machines made to carry around.

If your laptop has multiple Thunderbolt/USB-C ports but you are stuck with older monitors that count with different port types, then you will need an adapter for each monitor.

On the other hand, if you want to connect two monitors to your laptop but it only has one Thunderbolt/USB-C port, you will certainly need a device to transform one port into two. Recently, the chosen device for that function is a docking station.

It is also important to take into account that some laptops don’t support connecting to multiple displays from only one port even with the use of a docking station.

To make sure your machine supports it, check its specs and even look online if people have tried connecting to multiple displays on the same model you possess. When trying a dock, be sure to buy from a store with a good return policy, just in case.

Which brand makes the best docking station?

That is hard to tell. If we were talking about smartphones, that would be easier to answer because smartphones are harder to make. Docking stations, though, are easier to manufacture, since the device is, roughly speaking, a box with plenty of ports.

To know which brands you should buy, read reviews about products you are considering. Also check if they are compatible with your current setup. For example, if you have two monitors, be sure that your new dock can support them, and read about other users’ experiences with the device.

Can you connect two laptops to a docking station?

Yes. However, few docks allow you to do that. Initially, what you needed to do was get a KVM switch, a device that allows you to connect both laptops into a monitor, keyboard, and mouse, and then you could switch between the two systems.

It is still possible to get a KVM switch, but nowadays some docking stations incorporated this technology. One of them is the KVM Docking Station made by StarTech.com. It allows you to easily switch between laptops and also transfer files from one to another at a speed of up to 5GB/s.

Can you run 2 monitors off 1 HDMI port?

Yes, however it might not get the result you are expecting. The solution is to use an HDMI splitter. With the splitter, the same screen will show up on both monitors, so it is no use if what you need is to divide your work between multiple displays.

With a docking station, though, you can get different screens on each monitor, helping you to organize your virtual workspace. However, on a docking screen you won’t use your HDMI connection, but your USB-C or Thunderbolt port.

Why is that? Well, it is simply because HDMI doesn’t have the ability to stream two different screens through only one cable, even with the help of a splitter.

3 best docking stations for dual monitors

Now that you know that a docking station is the best option to improve your workspace with two monitors, let’s check which are the best docking stations you can get to set up your system.

Plugable USB 3.0 Universal Laptop Docking Station

Sale
Plugable USB 3.0 Universal Laptop Docking Station Dual...
  • FLEXIBLE EXPANDABILITY - A single USB 3.0 connection from a host PC to this dock provides dual video outputs, wired Gigabit...
  • DUAL HD MONITORS - Built-in HDMI and DVI outputs each supporting 1920x1200 resolution @ 60Hz refresh rate. Includes DVI to VGA...
  • COMPATIBILITY - Docking station compatible with Windows 11, 10, 8.x and 7, and macOS 10.14+. Additional adapter needed for USB-C...

Last update on 2021-10-14 / As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more about us.

When you are looking for the simplest device you can get, this Plugable Docking Station comes in handy. As the name of the brand suggests, all you have to do is plug everything, and then you are ready.

It is a cheap option for connecting dual monitors, but as far as the user reviews go, it works perfectly. And even if it is cheap, it works both with Windows and Mac. So, it is a device you can keep for a long time even if you change the OS you use to work.

However, the manufacturer advises that this dock isn’t intended for gaming. Its hardware can handle productivity applications smoothly, but when it comes to gaming, you might end facing some issues such as lag.

Specs

  • 1x HDMI port & 1x DVI port
  • 2x USB 3.0
  • 4x USB 2.0
  • 1x 3.5mm Headphone/Speaker Jack
  • 1x 3.5mm Microphone Jack
  • 1x Gigabit Ethernet

Pros

  • Easy to carry around
  • Easy to set up and connect two monitors
  • Cheap and delivers what is promised

Cons

  • Not good for gaming
  • Fewer ports than the competition

What do the reviews say?

Customers who bought the Plugable dock are very happy with their acquisition. Knowing that is a cheap option, it seems that it still delivers plenty of quality. Only a few users seem to have experienced lag, but that looks like a solvable issue.

Kensington Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station

Kensington Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station, SD Card Reader,...
  • Thunderbolt 3 dock for MacBooks (OS 10.14 and later) and Windows (7, 8, 8.1, 10) laptops equipped with Thunderbolt 3 (Lenovo Dell...
  • Supports 4K Ultra HD (4096 x 2160 30-bit color @ 60 Hz) to dual monitors or 8K 60fps to a single monitor; new Macbooks with the M1...
  • Connect your laptop to the Thunderbolt 3 port (.7 meter Intel Certified TB3 cable included); connect your dual displays by using...

Last update on 2021-10-14 / As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more about us.

Perhaps the Plugable dock is too basic for you and what you truly want is the Thunderbolt experience. That is more expensive, but more rewarding too. The Kensington Thunderbolt 3 dock is a crisp choice in that matter.

While some docks look clunky and don’t work well with your workspace visually, this device will sit in your desk connecting all your cables and also looking sharp.

This docking station provides you with plenty of ports, and its major appeal is certainly the fact that you can connect two 4K monitors with Thunderbolt technology. That means a high speed of data transfer and allows you more productivity with your dual monitor setup.

Specs

  • Thunderbolt 3 for Windows and Mac
  • SD card reader (3.0 UHS-I)
  • five USB-A 3.1 Gen 1 ports
  • HDMI 2.0

Pros

  • Connects to two monitors without lag
  • Power delivery
  • Slick design

Cons

  • Expensive

What do the reviews say?

Customers point to the fact that this dock has no complications in setting up. Only one Australian buyer on Amazon alerts other potential buyers that the manufacturer sends an American plug, so customers in countries with different plugs will need to get an adapter.

Tobenone Thunderbolt 3 Dual-Monitor Docking Station

Tobenone Thunderbolt 3 Dual Monitor Docking Station for...
  • 16-IN-1 Thunderbolt 3 Dock: Tobenone USB C Thunderbolt 3 dock expands your laptop USB C to 1xDisplayPort monitors, 1xThundebolt 3...
  • Single 5K OR Dual 4K Extended Display: With this USB C Docking Station Dual Monitor for MacBook Pro, you can access a Single...
  • High-Speed Data Transfer: Equipped with 1 Thunderbolt 3 with 40Gbps transmission speed and 2 USB C ports and one USB 3.1 port...

Last update on 2021-10-14 / As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more about us.

If you still want to get a docking station that makes use of Thunderbolt technology (it is faster than USB-C) but feels like the Kensington model is too expensive, this Tobenone model has a great balance between price and quality.

It seems to be a recent model, and the brand is also not very known, so it is a bet. However, we are still bringing it to this list because reviews say it is a great dock that fulfills its goals.

Its design is not the greatest, as it really looks like a box sitting on your desk, but if you don’t care so much about visuals, all the rest should be very appealing. This dock has many ports and can connect your laptop to two 4K monitors or a single 5K monitor.

Specs

  • 3.5mm Audio/ Microphone
  • SD 3.0/microSD
  • USBC 3.1
  • USB 3.1 TypeA
  • USB 3.0 TypeA
  • USB 2.0 TypeA
  • Thunderbolt 3 Port

Pros

  • Many ports
  • Full compatibility with Windows and Mac
  • Thunderbolt 3 for high speed

Cons

  • Non-aesthetic design

What do the reviews say?

Since this is a new model, there are few reviews from buyers. However, customers are truly getting what they want out of it. This might lead to a great expansion of Tobenone’s docks since they pack good price and with great quality.

Final Thoughts

The biggest frustration when researching docking stations for laptops is the fact that most of the best models don’t support Chrome OS or Linux. On the other hand, picking up the best requires Thunderbolt 3 or at least any other guarantee that the dock will work.

In this article, we surveyed the options in the market as well as prices and availability. That way, we recommended one very cheap option without Thunderbolt and two other options with higher prices. If you are fine with not being able to play games on your dual monitor system, the Plugable dock is the way to go.

Now, if you want a setup running Thunderbolt, you can either choose the Kensington model which has been widely regarded as one of the greatest options, or bet on the Tobenone device.