Apple’s MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and discontinued MacBook are remarkable laptops, but they don’t make for the best desktop alternatives right out of the box. Like Henry Ford’s Model T, which gave you a choice of colors (so long as you chose black), modern MacBooks give you your choice of ports, so long as they are Thunderbolt 3. (Check out our primer on Thunderbolt 3 and what makes it different from USB-C.)
Thunderbolt 3 and wireless connectivity are perfectly serviceable for most mobile professionals while they’re out and about. But many offices around the globe still rely on legacy ports such as HDMI and USB 3.0, not to mention SD card readers and Ethernet for wired connections. And in these fraught days, with most business travel reduced to wearing a path in the carpet between your home office and the kitchen, flexibility matters. At certain times, you want to work on a single laptop screen in the living room, and at others, you buckle down at a desk with a more elaborate multi-screen setup and desktop peripherals.
If you don’t want to rely on a whole host of USB-C adapters or dongles back at your desk, a docking station can be your best solution short of buying a desktop Mac. This guide to the top MacBook docking stations for your Apple laptop will help you find the desktop peripheral setup that’s right for you.