Best Thunderbolt 3 docks for your new Mac with the M1 processor

| |

Apple introduced a collection of latest Macs working Apple Silicon, however they’ve restricted ports. AppleInsider has gathered the very best Thunderbolt 3 docks to pair along with your new Mac.

The brand new MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Professional, and Mac mini have solely two Thunderbolt 3 ports for charging and connecting peripherals. If it is advisable join extra to your units, you may want a devoted hub.

The Mac mini has a further auxiliary jack, Ethernet port, HDMI port, and two USB-A ports, however for some desktop customers this nonetheless will not be sufficient.

You will discover dozens of docks on-line, however only a few will truly meet an people necessities. So you will need to perceive why you’d desire a dock and what to search for when purchasing earlier than even making a purchase order.

Learn beneath to search out out extra about Thunderbolt 3 docks, or skip forward to the listing of docks beneficial by AppleInsider.

What does a Thunderbolt 3 dock do?

You'll probably need more than just the two ports on the MacBook Air with an M1 processor

You will most likely want extra than simply the 2 ports on the MacBook Air with an M1 processor

Merely put, a Thunderbolt 3 dock plugs right into a Thunderbolt 3 port by way of USB-C, and in alternate gives a large number of different connections. Consider it as a USB hub, however as an alternative of merely offering extra of the identical port, the dock often features a choice of commonly-used connections, alongside one other Thunderbolt 3-capable port.

This choice usually consists of USB Sort-A ports, USB-C, video outputs like DisplayPort or HDMI, Gigabit Ethernet, and reminiscence card slots. Some fashions additionally provide legacy connections, together with eSATA, VGA, and sometimes FireWire, which can have restricted utility for many customers, however may very well be important for folks with older {hardware} that merely does not assist newer variants.

Some Thunderbolt 3 docks provide Energy Supply too, which suggests your transportable Macs will be capable of obtain energy by way of the dock, in addition to energy all peripherals with out draining the battery. The only cable will connect you to all your wants with out preventing cables or discovering retailers.

Despite the fact that many docks provide a number of video connections like HDMI and Displayport, your M1 powered Mac can solely join to at least one exterior show by way of Thunderbolt.

Why do I would like one?

The Mac mini with an M1 processor has two Thunderbolt 3 ports, an HDMI port, and two USB-A ports

The Mac mini with an M1 processor has two Thunderbolt 3 ports, an HDMI port, and two USB-A ports

The only reply is to have extra connection choices. Every of the brand new M1 powered Macs have solely two Thunderbolt 3 ports, which could be moderately limiting. Even with the Mac mini’s further ports, customers might have much more ports or legacy connections with a purpose to get the job completed.

There’s additionally one thing to be stated about utilizing it as a central docking level for a house setup. If the show, community, exterior drives, audio system, and peripherals are all related as much as the dock, the consumer may merely join all of them directly to the MacBook Professional utilizing a single Thunderbolt 3 cable. One cable attachment and also you’re absolutely related to every little thing, even in the event you’re utilizing an 18-port hub.

This quick connection can also be accompanied by a fast disconnection routine, as customers may merely unplug the dock and take their MacBook Professional with them, whereas nonetheless leaving a fully-usable desktop setup at residence or within the workplace, prepared and ready for his or her return.

What ought to I search for?

The MacBook Pro with an M1 processor has two Thunderbolt 3 ports

The MacBook Professional with an M1 processor has two Thunderbolt 3 ports

The primary consideration is what ports are required. This may largely be decided by the consumer’s current {hardware} wants, although they may also need to take into consideration any future objects they might want ports for. It is usually higher to go excessive with ports than to stay with simply what you want.

Do not be afraid to “future proof” both. Simply since you do not want a sure port now does not imply that you simply will not want it later. Think about all potentialities, particularly with comparatively new specs.

In the identical vein, keep in mind to take into consideration the information wants of the units that you’re plugging into the dock. Thunderbolt 3 provides 40Gbps of bandwidth, which is a substantial quantity to make use of, however whereas it’s greater than sufficient for a Gigabit Ethernet connection, a show, and a smattering of slower connections, it could actually nonetheless be overwhelmed in some conditions.

Keep in mind to reap the benefits of the second Thunderbolt 3 port too. Join a bunch of peripherals to the dock then depart that spare Thunderbolt 3 port for a direct connection to your exterior storage for optimum speeds.

Be aware of what wattage your machine must obtain a cost earlier than shopping for a dock with Energy Supply. In impact, you want a dock with no less than 30W energy supply to completely energy a MacBook Air, a 60W model for a 13-inch MacBook Professional, 87W for the 15-inch MacBook Professional, and 96W for the 16-inch MacBook Professional. The Mac mini is continually related to energy so you do not want Energy Supply if buying for that machine.

And at last, take note of the specs of the dock’s ports. For those who want DisplayPort or need to join HDMI2.0 by way of your dock, search for these specs. Some USB-A ports shall be USB 2.0 and never the sooner USB 3.2, so know your wants there. If connecting a microphone or keyboard, USB 2.0 is okay, however anything might want a greater spec.

Advisable Docks

Beneath $150

Dock Description Worth
Elgato 4-in-1 Mini dockElgato 4-in-1 Mini dock The Elgato Mini Dock has 4 primary ports in your comfort and an built-in cable for improved portability. It has a Displayport, HDMI, USB 3.1 Gen 1 Sort-A, and a Gigabit Ethernet port. $99.99
OWC Mini 5-in-1 dockOWC Mini 5-in-1 dock The OWC mini dock has two HDMI ports, one USB 3 Sort-A port, one USB 2 Sort-A port, and a Gigabit Ethernet port. Whilst you’ll solely be utilizing one of many HDMI ports, it could actually output 4K video and join two extra units. It connects to your Mac by way of an built-in Thunderbolt 3 cable. $119.99
Anker 7-in-1 mini dockAnker 7-in-1 mini dock This compact Anker dock is supplied with a Thunderbolt 3 USB-C port, USB-C and USB-An information ports, an HDMI port, Ethernet port, and SD card/microSD card slots. It could possibly cost your machine as much as 45W, except each port is in use, then it solely outputs 36W. $149.99
OWC TB3 Hub The OWC Thunderbolt 3 Hub is exclusive in that it provides a number of Thunderbolt 3 ports. It has the one Thunderbolt 3 enter port that connects to your Mac and three Thunderbolt 3 ports for output. All of them assist the 40GBps switch fee, and M1 Macs can join the one monitor and two further peripherals. This dock additionally has a USB 3.2 Sort-A port. $149.99


Dock Description Worth
Belkin Core 7-in-1 dockBelkin Core 7-in-1 dock The Belkin Core dock has one USB Sort-C port, one USB 3.2 Gen 2 Sort-A port, one USB 2.0 Sort-A port, one HDMI 2.0 port, one DisplayPort 1.4, one 3.5mm Audio in/out, and one Gigabit Ethernet port. It has an built-in Thunderbolt 3 cable and might energy your Mac as much as 60W. $166.07
Anker 13-in-1 dockAnker 13-in-1 dock This expansive Anker dock is supplied with an 85W laptop-charging USB-C port, an 18W Energy Supply USB-C port, a USB-C knowledge port, 4 USB-A ports, 2 HDMI ports, a DisplayPort, an Ethernet port, SD/microSD card slots, a 3.5 mm AUX port, and a DC enter. It could possibly cost your machine as much as 85W and concurrently provide 18W to your iPhone. Ships with a 135W energy adapter $199.99
Caldigit 15-in-1 dockCaldigit 15-in-1 dock The Caldigit dock has two Thunderbolt 3 ports, one DisplayPort 1.2, 5 USB 3.1 Gen 1 Sort-A ports, one USB 3.1 Gen 1 Sort-C ports, one USB 3.1 Gen2 Sort-C port, one Gigabit Ethernet port, an UHS-II SD Card Slot, Optical Audio (S/PDIF), and three.5mm Stereo Audio In & Out. The dock gives 87W output to related units, with the secondary Thunderbolt 3 port capable of present 15W too. $249.99
Plugable 14-in-1 dockPlugable 14-in-1 dock The dock options 14 ports, which embrace a micro SD and SD card reader, a USB-C 10 Gbps port, a USB 3.2 kind A 10Gbps port, 5 USB 3.0 Sort A ports, an audio in/out port, a Gigabit Ethernet port, two DisplayPorts, two HDMI ports, and a Thunderbolt 3 port that helps 96W of charging and as much as 40Gbps switch speeds. $299.00

Above $300

Dock Description Worth
Hyperdrive 16-in-1 dockHyperdrive 16-in-1 dock The HyperDrive 16-in-1 Thunderbolt 3 dock is a monster of a dock, turning one port in your Mac into 16 whereas additionally offering 180W of whole energy to every little thing related. This dock incorporates a Thunderbolt 3 port, DisplayPort, a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Sort-C port, a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Sort-A port with 18W PD, two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Sort-A ports, three USB 2.0 ports, an RJ45 port with Gigabit Ethernet, coaxial connection, optical TOSLINK port, 3.5mm mic/headphone port, an SD and microSD card slot, and the 180W DC energy port. $349.99
Belkin Express 9-in-1 dockBelkin Specific 9-in-1 dock The Belkin Specific dock has two Thunderbolt 3 ports, three USB 3.0 Sort-A ports, one Displayport, one Audio in/out port, one Audio out port, and one Gigabit Ethernet port. The dock can output 85W to the related Mac. $349.99
Elgato Pro 12-in-1 dockElgato Professional 12-in-1 dock The Elgato Professional dock has two Thunderbolt 3 ports, 4 USB 3.0 Sort-A ports, an SD and Micro SD Card Reader, one Audio I/O, and a Gigabit Ethernet port. This dock gives 85W to the Mac and as much as 15W to related units. $432.99

Once more, docks with a number of display-out choices will nonetheless solely assist one of these connections at a time when utilizing an M1 powered Mac. Docks with three or extra display-out connections is probably not value the additional money except they embrace essential ports in your work. Dock producers will possible contemplate this limitation in future fashions of their Mac-specific docks.


How to use Safari’s new Privacy Report in macOS Big Sur

Best M1 Mac deals: save up to $50 on every Apple MacBook Air, Mac mini


Leave a Comment