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 may plug every part in. Fortunately, there’s a greater means. USB hubs can increase the quantity and sort of ports accessible, and USB docks allow you to flip a laptop computer right into a full-blown workstation with one plug. After testing a number of completely different USB hubs and docks, these are one of the best we have discovered for various wants.
Looking for different house workplace gizmos and devices? We’ve obtained quite a few 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.
Special supply for Gear readers: Get a 1-year subscription to WIRED for $5 ($25 off). This contains limitless entry to WIRED.com and our print journal (if you would like). Subscriptions assist fund the work we do daily.
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 of cost devices plugged into them. They’re additionally moveable sufficient to throw in your laptop computer bag so you should use them at house 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 gadgets, 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, screens, and some other peripherals you want unexpectedly.