The best laptop docking stations for teachers can help you to graduate from casual at-home working to fully situated remote learning professional.
When the shift to remote learning first came about, it looked as if it was temporary, but as time goes on, the reality of this becoming a permanent practice for many has materialized. Consequently, investing in the proper equipment for at home and at school is critical so teachers can easily switch between the two. Being able to get quickly and efficiently connected, up, and running leaves more time and energy for instruction.
A laptop docking station might sound like a spaceship part, but actually it's a simple bit of kit that allows you to plug in your laptop and have it immediately and simultaneously connect to a host of devices. That makes working at home or grabbing your laptop to go to school a simple process rather than one that requires disconnecting multiple devices and a lot of cable sorting. Having docks in schools also gives teachers the freedom to move from classroom to classroom without time wasted hooking up each time.
A dock will typically allow you to connect with a monitor screen, a keyboard, a mouse, speakers, and more - depending on the type you go for. That should be more than enough for most remote teaching needs. But which is the best type for you?
Read on to find the best laptop docking station for teachers.
1. Targus USB 3.0 Docking Station: Best overall
The Targus USB 3.0 Docking Station is a well-rounded option that delivers lots of compatibility while keeping the price relatively low. You get the speed of USB 3.0 connectivity but also a dock that will sit your laptop at an angle for easy viewing. This unit comes with charging built-in thanks to the 90W charger, so you won't need to keep your laptop charger with you all the time.
This dock works for two displays output at the same time, meaning you could have one connected via HDMI and another using the more traditional monitor DVI connection. Thanks to dual USB 2.0 and another pair of powered USB 2.0 ports, it's possible to have a wired keyboard and mouse attached with ports free to charge a smartphone or tablet.
For those who need the latest USB-C, perhaps to charge a phone, Targus does offer a Multiplexer Adapter that works with dock.
The dock also features a headphones port and a microphone port, making it easy to leave a headset connected and ready for video lessons.
2. Kensington USB 3.0 Dual Display Docking Station: Best budget option
The Kensington USB 3.0 Dual Display Docking Station is an option that gets you that well-known brand name with a price that's relatively low compared to the higher end options. But it undercuts those while still offering some great features.
You get all the speed of USB 3.0 along with a simple-to-use layout. This unit also has an Ethernet port for high-speed gigabit-wired internet connectivity, ideal if you don't want to worry about WiFi flaking out at any point.
This docking station works with Windows laptops, Chromebooks, and Mac, allowing that one USB connection to the computer to multiply into six. In addition, there are both DVI and HDMI with dual display output as an option, with high resolution up to 2048 x 1152 at 60Hz.
All that plus you get two years of coverage and lifetime Kensington technical support.
3. StarTech Thunderbolt 3 Dual-4K Docking Station: Best for 4K video quality
The StarTech Thunderbolt 3 Dual 4K Docking Station is a very accomplished dock that boasts a whole host of top end connections. This includes Thunderbolt 3, which means speeds of up to a whopping 45 Gbps. As such, this supports dual displays with resolutions of up to 4K.
What makes this dock a pleasure is that fact it can do everything through just one cable, so you connect the laptop and everything else goes out from there. That means display, charging phones, and multiple peripherals, all connected quickly. Plus, you have the option for Gigabit Ethernet for the most speedy and stable of internet connections.
4. Plugable USB-C Triple Display Dock: Best for USB-C charging
The Plugable USB-C Triple Display Dock is ideal for anyone with a laptop who uses a USB-C charger since this will replace that. Yup, no need to carry a charger around and this will also offer lots of output options. Thanks to Thunderbolt 3, 60W powered USB and HDMI ports, this has most needs covered.
Have an output to up to three 4K monitors in full resolution, charge a connected smartphone, and have laptop and keyboard all plugged in ready to go. This isn't cheap and it won't work with Chromebooks, but for everything else it does a very good job. The fact it comes with a two-year warranty is just a great bonus.
5. Corsair TBT100 Thunderbolt 3 Dock: Best premium dock
The Corsair TBT100 Thunderbolt 3 Dock is a premium do-it-all option for those who don't worry about budget and just want it all. This Thunderbolt 3 toting dock offers 85W of charging power direct to your laptop, dual monitor output, and 4K resolution.
You also get a host of other connections including HDMI, USB-C, Ethernet, and more rarely, an SD card reader and a Kensington lock for office-level physical security. This crams in all that, yet still remains slim and, for a dock, very good looking at the same time. The price reflects all this but if that's not an issue this really is one of the most comprehensive laptop docks out there right now.
6. J5Create JUD500 USB 3.0 Ultra Station: Best for multiple laptops
The J5Create JUD500 USB 3.0 Ultra Station is a super small profile device that discretely attaches to the back of your laptop, be it Apple Mac or Windows machine. This unit offers a host of connectivity via USB 3.0, HDMI, and VGA. You also get Ethernet connectivity directly as well as speaker or headphones and microphone connections.
But it's the unique "wormhole" feature that makes this device stand out. That allows you to connect another laptop, via USB, so you can hop between the two. It also makes file sharing between the two quick and easy over the direct wired connection. This is perfect if you have both a Windows laptop and an Apple MacBook, and want to jump between the two. It's ideal for classroom use too when multiple teachers are making offerings to a big screen at once.