Apple stripped down the I/O on its MacBook Pro range to just Thunderbolt ports and a 3.5mm headphone jack combo back in 2016. While that was an inconvenience to users, the only solution to add more ports was to buy dongles or invest in a good docking station. Today Thunderbolt offers a wide bandwidth of up to 40Gbps which means you can add a whole lot of I/O ports to your MacBook.

However, with the introduction of Apple’s M1 chipset, there’s a limitation on the multi-monitor setup via the Thunderbolt ports. The M1-based MacBook Pro 13 (and the MacBook Air) can only support one external display with up to 6K resolution and a 60Hz refresh rate. But if you own any of the Intel-based MacBook Pro models, you can still hook up to two 4K monitors.

To achieve that, or just add some extra ports, we recommend investing in a reliable docking station rather than investing in multiple dongles. Here are some of the best docking stations for the MacBook Pro:

    Complete workstation experience

    This is a fully-loaded docking station for your MacBook Pro that can help in quickly transitioning from mobile to a workstation experience. It features all sorts of ports including USB-A ports, dual-HDMI, VGA, Ethernet, and more. Depending on what MacBook Pro model you own, the Multi-Stream Transport (MST) or Single Stream Transfer (SST) functionalities may differ.

    Best Thunderbolt 4 Dock

    Anker’s newly launched Apex Thunderbolt 4 dock brings a premium design and an excellent range of parts along with 90W power delivery. It also supports an 8K display with a 30Hz refresh rate, or a 4K display with a 120Hz refresh rate.
    Brydge Vertical Dock Macbook 13 ProBrydge Vertical Dock Macbook 13 Pro

    Basic vertical dock

    This is a clean and seamless dock that takes less than half the space of a MacBook by letting you place the notebook vertically. It doesn’t expand your I/O as such, rather it has a passthrough for the two Thunderbolt ports.
    LandingZone 18-Port Docking StationLandingZone 18-Port Docking Station

    Best dock for MacBook Pro 15

    This one is specifically for owners of the MacBook Pro 15 model launched between the years 2016-2019 as it requires connection via all four of the Thunderbolt 3 ports. In return you get a total of 18 ports, which means you’re basically covered with every single I/O connectivity.
    Brydge Stone Pro Docking StationBrydge Stone Pro Docking Station

    Thoughtful design

    The Brydge Stone Pro Docking Station is a Thunderbolt 3 dock for the MacBook Pro that offers up to 11 ports and a design that lets you prop the laptop on top for convenient usage.
    Lyare 12-in-1 Docking StationLyare 12-in-1 Docking Station

    Reliable performance

    The Brydge Stone Pro Docking Station is a Thunderbolt 3 dock for the MacBook Pro that offers up to 11 ports and a design that lets you prop the laptop on top for convenient usage.
    Belkin Connect USB-C 11-in-1 Multiport DockBelkin Connect USB-C 11-in-1 Multiport Dock

    Best USB-C docking station

    Like the Brydge Stone Pro, Belkin offers a similar docking station for the MacBook Pro with an array of ports and an angled design that lets you place your notebook on top. Notably, this is a regular USB-C dock and not Thunderbolt, but definitely one of the best ones you can get.
    CalDigit TS3 PlusCalDigit TS3 Plus

    Best Thunderbolt dock with USB-PD

    CalDigit offers one of its best Thunderbolt docking solutions offering a wide range of I/O ports along with up to 85W Power Delivery.
    Plugable 14-in-1 USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 DockPlugable 14-in-1 USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 Dock

    Powerful and versatile

    This is one of the best Thunderbolt 3 docking stations as it offers every single port you could imagine along with the support of up to 96W Power Delivery.
    Tobenone MacBook Pro docking stationTobenone MacBook Pro docking station

    Best for multi-monitor support

    A reliable and powerful docking station that uses two Thunderbolt ports and ensures dual and even triple monitor setup on all Intel-based MacBook Pro models launched after 2016.
    HumanCentric Vertical Stand with USB-C DockHumanCentric Vertical Stand with USB-C Dock

    Best vertical docking station

    This is a vertical docking station for the MacBook Pro featuring an integrated dock at the bottom offering an array of ports and dual-display support for select models.
    Mokin Docking StationMokin Docking Station

    Affordable docking station

    If you are looking for a cost-effective solution, the Mokin docking station is a fairly compact and handy accessory that supports most MacBook Pro models. However, it offers limited dual-monitor support depending on the model of your notebook.

These are some of the best docking stations available today for the MacBook Pro. Our recommendation would be the Thunderbolt 4 docking solution by Anker, as it supports the latest Thunderbolt 4 connectivity, which is backward-compatible with Thunderbolt 3. Essentially, this means it should support every MacBook Pro launched since 2016, while at the same time it’s future-proof as it will support any upcoming models, should you plan to upgrade.

Speaking of which, it’s speculated Apple is going to launch new MacBook Pro models including a refresh for the 16-inch and a new 14-inch model later this year. Like the late 2020 MacBook Pro 13 and the MacBook Air, these upcoming models are also expected to be powered by an ARM chipset, possibly a more powerful, updated version of the M1 with more cores and higher clock speeds.

Check out our roundup of some of the best cases for the MacBook Pro. If you’re new to the Mac ecosystem, we also have some useful guides like how to force quit an app, or how to completely uninstall an app on MacOS.