Plugging into the best dock for MacBook Pro allows you to add myriad devices and functionality to your Apple laptop. The MacBook Pro, including the powerful new 2021 M1 Pro and M1 Max MacBook, is more than capable of handling any design task you can throw at it, but for it to truly reach its massive potential, you're probably going to want more ports. That's where a quality MacBook Pro dock comes in.
A dock enables you to connect a second monitor and gives you more ports to plug in extra equipment like graphics tablets, external drives and more. The best docks for MacBook Pro will also keep your MacBook Pro fully charged, and many throw in extras such as audio jacks and Ethernet ports, which leave you spoiled for choice when it comes to connectivity.
If you're looking for gear to plug into your new port, see our guide to the best 4K monitors, or check out our selection of the best drawing tablets, or if you're looking for a deal on the MacBook itself, see our guide to MacBook Black Friday 2021. Meanwhile, read on to find the best docks for MacBook Pro available now.
The best dock for MacBook Pro
If you're looking for the best dock for MacBook Pro 14 or 16, the latest 2021 M1 Pro and M1 Max-chipped laptops, you'll want a dock that supports ThunderBolt 4. The Kensington SD5700T Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station has everything a quality TB4 dock should: four TB4 ports (one up; three down), three fast USB-A and a slower one that offers 7.5W charging power, Gigabit Ethernet, an SD card reader and an audio jack. At 180W, the power supply is particularly impressive and will be very welcome for anyone wanting to power multiple devices.
There are handy lights to tell you when the dock is powered and connected the build feels good quality – there's a three-year warranty to back that up. It's expensive, but if you're looking for a quality dock for the latest MacBook Pros, this is a fine choice. It also has Vesa mounting holes so you can use a mounting bracket (not included) if you don't want your MacBook dock sitting on your desk collecting dust.
If you have an older MacBook Pro and want ThunderBolt 3 rather than ThunderBolt 4 (although TB4 is backwards compatible), Kensington has an attractive and versatile option for that too. The dock also enables you to attach dual 4K monitors running at 60Hz via DisplayPort and Thunderbolt 3 port, and it's packed with other connections. It'll give your MacBook Pro a steady 85W of power too.
Again, if you want to keep things tidy, the Kensington SD5200T has optional zero-footprint mounting – you can buy a special mounting plate separately to attach the dock to the back of any VESA-compatible external monitor, keeping it neatly tucked away.
The Corsair TBT100 Thunderbolt 3 Dock is just the thing if you have a pair of 4K HDMI monitors that you want to hook up to your MacBook Pro. It's a great dock for the MacBook with a good selection of connections, including an SD card reader as well as the usual Thunderbolt 3 and USB-A ports. But best of all, the Corsair TBT100 boasts two HDMI ports, enabling you to connect dual 4K displays at 60Hz with full HDR support. It'll also deliver 85W of power to your MacBook Pro, using smart charging technology to deliver power efficiently.
Want ThunderBolt 4 but not convinced by the price of the Kensington dock at number one in our list? Then the Anker PowerExpand 5-in-1 Thunderbolt 4 Mini Dock is a good option at a more economical price, although that does mean sacrificing some features.
It has a premium, very compact design that takes up little room on a desk, and it offers 85W power delivery and support for a single 8K monitor or dual 4K. The downside is that there's only one USB-A port and no SD card reader or HDMI. Still, it's a worth companion to give the M1 MacBook Pro the extra ports you need, high transfer speeds, charging and the ability to connect external monitors with just one port.
For a highly portable dock for your MacBook Pro, Belkin has the perfect option in the form of the Thunderbolt 3 Dock Core. This dinky piece of kit delivers 40W of charging power and it doesn't skimp on connectivity despite its compact size.
With its assorted ports you can attach up to two 4K monitors at 60Hz via DisplayPort and HDMI 2.0, and for other devices there's a pair of USB-A ports and a Thunderbolt 3/USB-C port for fast data speeds. We're not so keen on the tethered Thunderbolt 3-cable – if that breaks then that's your dock ruined – but apart from that this is a great little dock.
This device was temporarily out of stock in the US in November 2021, so check for availability.
The CalDigit Thunderbolt 3 Mini Dock is a neat, compact MacBook Pro dock that's similar in appearance to the Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Dock Core mentioned earlier (even down to the tethered Thunderbolt 3 cable, which you'll really want to ensure doesn't get damaged).
This dock offers another lightweight and portable solution to get more ports out of your MacBook Pro, giving you a USB-3.0 and USB-2.0 port and Gigabit Ethernet as well as a pair of video ports – you can choose between HDMI and DisplayPort. It's bus-powered so it won't charge your MacBook Pro, but it's ideal for attaching a pair of 4K displays and gaining some extra connectivity while you're at it.
The reality of having one of the best docks for MacBook Pro will be that you end up using it to charge most of your portable devices. But why plug them in if you can charge them wirelessly? The Moshi Symbus Q has a Qi-EPP-certified wireless charging pad built into it, so if you want to keep your iPhone or AirPods Pro charged without running cables all over your desk, you can simply pop them on top of it. That keeps things a lot neater, and the Symbus Q will also charge your MacBook Pro at 40W. It features a pair of USB-A ports, Gigabit Ethernet and an HDMI port that supports 4K HDR too.
The sleek Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Dock isn't quite as chock full of ports as the CalDigit TS3 Plus above, but it still offers impressive connectivity with five standard USB 3.0 ports and a pair of Thunderbolt 3 ports, which should allow you to connect pretty much everything you might want to. With a DisplayPort output thrown in for good measure, you'll be able to expand your desktop with a pair of 4K monitors (there's a DisplayPort to HDMI adapter included too), and it'll charge your MacBook Pro with a steady 60W of power.
If you're the proud owner of a shiny new 16-inch MacBook Pro and want to plug literally everything into it, the monster CalDigit TS3 Plus is just the answer. It comes with 15 ports in total, seven of which are USB, which means that you ought to be able to attach everything your design studio needs. Dual 4K monitors? A stack of USB hard drives? Graphics tablet? Digital audio devices? A load of files on SD card? It'll take all of that with room to spare too, and it'll keep your MacBook Pro topped up with 87W of power in the process.
How to choose the best dock for MacBook Pro
The best dock for MacBook Pro will depend somewhat on the model you have and what you want to do with it. If charging is a priority, look for at least 90W for charging at a decent rate. What you most need to consider, however, is what connections you want. Do you want to hook up multiple monitors? And do you need Thunderbolt 3 or 4?
The latest MacBook Pros (the 14in and 16in M1 Pro and M1 Max model released in October 2021) have Thunderbolt 4 ports rather than Thunderbolt 3, and even if you have an earlier model, you might still want a Thunderbolt 4 dock since the TB4 is backwards compatible. Functionally, there's not a huge difference, but TB4 docks can have up to four, rather than two, Thunderbolt ports, including the upstream port that connects to your laptop.
There's also an improvement when it comes to daisy-chaining devices since with Thunderbolt 3, a device chain can be disrupted when any but the final device is removed. Note that the M1 13in MacBook can only connect to one external display, while the 14in and 16in can support multiple displays.