This article was updated in February 2024
The best laptop docking stations, specifically for teachers, can make the difference for a quick start to a lesson with far more ease.
The idea behind these technological delights is to leave all the various cables you might use connected to one system, so all you have to do is plug in a single cable to connect to it all.
A dock station can mean instant power to your laptop and screens, HDMI or DisplayPort cables to screens, speakers connected, microphones hooked up, keyboard and mouse ready to go, dedicated webcams or document cameras connected -- and more.
The point here is to allow teachers to move between classrooms and easily plug in their laptop and be ready to go. That saves time and effort as well allows cables to be tidied away -- safely -- to keep a clear room.
So which is right for your needs? Read on to find the best laptop docking station for teachers.
1. Targus USB 3.0 Docking Station: Best laptop docking stations top pick
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, so 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 simple 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. Yet, 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 it can do everything through just one cable, so you connect the laptop and everything else goes from there. That includes 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. It 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 presenting to a big screen at once.
7. Dell Thunderbolt Dock WD22TB4: Best swappable
The Dell Thunderbolt Dock WD22TB4 is a great option for IT departments that want to plan ahead for changes. This is thanks to a swappable module that allows for variation to the setup with greater ease.
This model looks fantastic with that sleek black finish, and also plays very nicely with Dell laptops. In fact, this can offer ExpressCharge for Dell laptops for an 80% charge in just one hour, or 35% in 20 minutes.
Ports this offers include -- on the front -- two DisplayPorts, USB-C, two USB-A 3.2, one HDMI 2.0. On the back you have more, including two USB 3.2, one USB-C, and one USB-A with power share. All that means you can output at up to 5,120 x 2,880 although you are limited to 60Hz.
This isn't the cheapest option, but with lots of functionality, some smart specific features, and that great look, it's certainly an appealing option.