Thunderbolt 4 and USB4 hubs and docks are the latest technologies in computer connectivity and expansion. They take over from Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C hubs and docks, with significant future-proof benefits while staying backwards compatible with the older connectivity standards.

Hubs and docks allow you to add more types of connections to your main computer if it lacks them itself – particularly with laptops that might have just a few ports on the side.

Desktop PCs and Macs usually have a decent set of ports at front and back, but laptops and tablets often have just a couple.

You will therefore need to connect a multifunction adapter, hub or a more able docking station that includes the ports and slots you need to add extra devices such as hard drives, memory sticks, storage-card readers, printers and so on, as well as wired input tools such as a keyboard or mouse.

They are also the best way to add an external display or two to your more mobile computer, plus Gigabit (or faster) Ethernet for wired Internet access.

All the docks and hubs tested here support two external 4K displays at 60Hz; a single 8K display (Windows); or a single 6K display (Mac).

Thunderbolt 4 and USB4

The latest connection standards are Thunderbolt 4 and USB4, which are both based on the neat reversible USB-C connector seen on most new computing devices.

Learn more about the differences between USB-C, USB4, Thunderbolt 3 and Thunderbolt 4.

They supersede older USB 3.0/USB-A connectors and also slower USB-C variants in terms of speed, but are backwards compatible with USB-C and Thunderbolt 3.

USB-A (the old rectangular connector that had to go in one way, usually not the first way you tried) usually maxed at a bandwidth of 5Gbps (USB 3.0) but could be as slow as 480MBps (USB 2.0). Many of the models tested here include faster 10GBps USB-A. Look out for device  charging potential, too, with up to 7.5W on offer with some docks and hubs.

USB-C started at 5Gbps but is also available at up to 20Gbps, although 10Gbps is more common at the upper end. Again, look for high device-charging – 20W is the best we've seen from USB-C.

Thunderbolt 3 (TB3) can reach 40Gbps, but, unlike Apple, some Windows PC manufacturers didn’t choose to offer all TB3’s benefits.

Thunderbolt 4 (TB4) and USB4 require manufacturers to comply with all the technology’s benefits (such as 40Gbps bandwidth) to be certified, which makes TB4 much more trustworthy to PC users than TB3.

Apple users won’t see much difference between TB3 and TB4, but there are extra benefits such as the ability to better daisy chain devices. With TB3 a device chain could be disrupted with the removal of any but the final device in the chain.

Many hub and dock manufacturers advise Windows users that their device needs to be certified for Thunderbolt 4 or USB4 due to previous connectivity-standard inconsistency. Mac users will be fine with older USB-C (12in MacBook) and Thunderbolt 3 systems.

You can still use Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C docking stations, but you'll miss out on Thunderbolt 4's advancements.

TB4/USB4 also offers faster PCIe (peripheral component interconnect express) at 32Gbps for storage speeds up to 3,000MBps – double the minimum requirements of Thunderbolt 3, although more recent MacBooks have this already. Some of the early TB3 MacBooks had less bandwidth available on the right-hand-side Thunderbolt ports.

After our roundup of the best Thunderbolt 4 hubs and docks, we go into more detail about each type of port or connection that you need.

Caldigit Thunderbolt Station 4 - Best Thunderbolt 4 dock

CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 4 (TS4)
  • Pros
    • 18 top-end ports
    • 2.5Gb Ethernet
    • 230W power
    • Dedicated DisplayPort
    • Flexible design
  • Cons
    • DisplayPort means just two downstream TB4 ports

• One upstream Thunderbolt 4 port (40Gbps, 98W)
• Two downstream Thunderbolt 4 ports (40Gbps, 15W)
• One DisplayPort 1.4 video port
• Five USB-A ports (10Gbps, 7.5W)
• One USB-C port (10Gbps, 20W)
• Two USB-C ports (10Gbps, 7.5W)
• 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet
• UHS-II SD and microSD card readers (320MBps)
• 3.5mm combo audio jack (front)
• 3.5mm Audio In and Audio Out ports (back)
• 230W power supply

For years, Caldigit ruled the Thunderbolt 3 roost with its compact but powerful Thunderbolt Station 3 Plus (TS3 Plus). Its Thunderbolt 4 successor, the Thunderbolt Station 4 (TS4) is physically and stylistically similar but boasts even more ports at even faster speeds.

All the USB (5x USB-A, 3x USB-C) and Thunderbolt ports (3x TB4) are super fast and offer impressive device charging – at the front, there's a USB-C port with 20W power.

Caldigit has sacrificed one of the TB4 ports for a dedicated DisplayPort, which is fine if you need that video port but not as flexible as leaving three downstream TB4 ports with which you can add adapters for external displays.

Windows users with a TB4 or USB4 computer can connect a single 8K display at 60Hz; Mac users, a single 6K display at 60Hz. Older Intel Macs and newer M1 Pro and M1 Max MacBooks can connect two 4K displays at 60Hz, although plain M1 MacBooks are sadly limited to just the one external display.

Wired Internet is 2.5 times faster than you'll find on any other dock or hub tested here, if you have 2.5GbE (or above) compatible devices.

The 230W power supply is the most powerful of any dock we've tested, and the dock can charge a laptop at 98W.

The Caldigit TS4 has the most ports at the fastest speeds and the greatest power, making it our number one choice if you want the very best.

Read our full CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 4 (TS4) review

Caldigit Thunderbolt 4 Element Hub - Best Thunderbolt 4 hub

Caldigit Thunderbolt 4 Element Hub
  • Pros
    • Four Thunderbolt 4 ports
    • Four fast USB-A ports
    • 150W power supply
  • Cons
    • 60W laptop charging could be light for larger laptops

• One upstream Thunderbolt 4 port (40Gbps, 60W)
• Three downstream Thunderbolt 4 ports (40Gbps, 15W)
• Four USB-A ports (10Gbps, 7.5W)
• 150W power supply

You won’t find any more modern USB ports on a hub or docking station than you get with Caldigit’s compact and well-priced Thunderbolt 4 / USB4 Element Hub, and they are all rated at top speeds.

It boasts four Thunderbolt 4 (all at 40Gbps bandwidth and 15W charging) and four USB-A 3.2 Gen.2 (10Gbps and 7.5W) ports. That’s more than any other Thunderbolt 4 hub we have seen or tested.

One of the TB4 ports is Upstream, for connection to your computer. The other three are Downstream, for connecting other devices.

Caldigit’s Thunderbolt 4 Element Hub is not a docking station by strict definition but it has so many USB ports (both Type A and Type C) that it can certainly be used as a dock if you have the right external device ports or adapters for adding external displays.

If used as a dock, the Element Hub is one of the smallest you’ll find with its own power supply

At 150W, the power supply should accommodate most of your needs, with up to 60W reserved for powering the laptop or tablet – enough for all but the biggest, meanest laptops.

Read our full Caldigit Thunderbolt 4 Element Hub review

Anker Apex Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station - Best Thunderbolt 4 dock for HDMI displays

Anker Apex 12-in-1 Thunderbolt 4 Dock
  • Pros
    • 12 ports, inc two HDMI ports and Gigabit Ethernet
    • 20W USB-C
    • Power button
  • Cons
    • Only one downstream TB4 port
    • 4.5W USB-A charging
    • Macs can't use both HDMI

• One upstream Thunderbolt 4 port (40Gbps, 90W)
• One downstream Thunderbolt 4 port (40Gbps, 15W)
• One USB-C port (10Gbps, 20W)
• Two USB-A ports (10Gbps, 4.5W)
• Two USB-A ports (480MBps, 4.5W)
• Two HDMI 2.0 ports (4K at 60Hz)
• Gigabit Ethernet 
• UHS-II SD Card reader (320MBps)
• 3.5mm audio jack
• 120W power supply

The Anker Apex Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station is a great choice if you need to connect more than one external display to your laptop.

Other Thunderbolt 4 docks we’ve tested rely solely on the TB4 ports for display connections. This means that if you want two external screens, you lose two of the three downstream TB4 ports, plus you will need HDMI or DisplayPort adapters unless the displays have a USB-C connection.

Anker’s inclusion of two HDMI ports means you don't need any adapters to connect displays. There's just one downstream TB4 port, but that's all you'd have left if you connected two displays to one of the other docks or hubs.

There's a snag for Mac users, however. They can use only one of the HDMI ports, so having two on the dock rather than another TB4 port is just a waste of space. Windows users can use both, and, indeed, the spare TB4 port to connect up to three displays.

If you aren't planning on adding two screens, this dock is less flexible than other hubs and docks where the TB4 ports can be used for display or whatever else you desire.

The sole downstream TB4 port can also be used to connect an external monitor, so it’s possible for owners of Thunderbolt 4 Windows laptops to have as many as three displays running out of the dock: two HDMI and one TB4. Mac owners will need to add third-party DisplayLink software to achieve three displays.

An extra mark for adding a power button on the front so that your laptop isn't receiving a potential charge when it's not needed, and keeping the dock's temperature down at night.

Read our full Anker Apex 12-in-1 Thunderbolt 4 Dock review

Kensington SD5700T Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station

Kensington SD5700T Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station
  • Pros
    • 11 fast ports
    • 180W power supply
    • Quality build
  • Cons
    • Upstream port at front
    • 4.5W USB-A ports

• One upstream Thunderbolt 4 port (40Gbps, 90W)
• Three Thunderbolt 4 ports (40Gbps, 15W)
• Three USB-A ports (10Gbps, 4.5W)
• One USB-A port (480MBps, 7.5W)
• Gigabit Ethernet 
• UHS-II SD Card reader (320MBps)
• 3.5mm audio jack
• 180W power supply

As you'd expect from Kensington, the SD5700T Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station is a quality build with everything a dock should have: four TB4 ports, three fast USB-A and one slow one (that at least boasts 7.5W charging power compared to the faster USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 ports' 4.5W), Gigabit Ethernet, SD Card reader, and audio jack.

At 180W, the power supply is the best we've seen in all our hub and dock tests – great if you are powering multiple devices connected to the dock.

There are useful lights telling you when the dock is powered and when it's connected, and we like the On/Off button, too.

We think paying a little extra for this dock is worthwhile, especially when you factor in the three-year warranty.

Read our full Kensington SD5700T Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station review

OWC Thunderbolt Hub - Best Budget Thunderbolt 4 Hub

OWC Thunderbolt Hub
  • Pros
    • Four Thunderbolt 4 ports
    • One fast USB-A port
  • Cons
    • 60W laptop charging could be light for larger laptops

• One upstream Thunderbolt 4 port (40Gbps, 60W)
• Three Thunderbolt 4 ports (40Gbps, 15W)
• One USB-A port (10Gbps, 7.5W)
• 110W power supply

The OWC Thunderbolt Hub delivers with an upstream Thunderbolt 4 port, three downstream Thunderbolt 4 ports, and an extra USB-A port thrown in for good measure.

The price is the lowest we’ve seen for one of these latest Thunderbolt 4 or USB4 hubs.

All four Thunderbolt 4 are rated at 40Gbps bandwidth and 15W charging, and one USB-A 3.2 Gen.2 (10Gbps and 7.5W) port. The TB4 ports can be used for adding SSDs and other USB-C, TB3 or TB4 devices or external displays, depending on your needs.

It has a 110W power supply, which is all you should need for the number of ports on offer, and it can charge a laptop at up to 60W.

Read our full OWC Thunderbolt Hub review

Sonnet Echo 5 Thunderbolt 4 Hub - Best Thunderbolt 4 Hub for laptop charging

Sonnet Echo 5 Thunderbolt 4 Hub
  • Pros
    • Four Thunderbolt 4 ports
    • Extra USB-A port
    • 85W PD
    • Power button
  • Cons
    • Low overall 100W power supply

• One upstream Thunderbolt 4 port (40Gbps, 60W)
• Three Thunderbolt 4 ports (40Gbps, 15W)
• One USB-A port (10Gbps, 7.5W)
• 100W power supply

The Sonnet Echo 5 Thunderbolt 4 Hub offers impressive 85W laptop charging, which is among the highest we've seen with a humble dock.

Not that three downstream 40Gbps Thunderbolt 4 ports and a 10Gbps USB-A port (with 7.5W charging power) are all that humble.

There's a power button at the back, which we appreciate, although we'd have preferred the upstream TB4 port to be tucked away there, too. That said, this hub is dinky so there simply isn't the space to fit four in at the back unless maybe the power button and upstream port were swapped round.

There are two handy LEDs at the front that show when the hub is powered and when it's connected.

Anker PowerExpand 5-in-1 Thunderbolt 4 Mini Dock

Anker PowerExpand 5-in-1 Thunderbolt 4 Mini Dock
  • Pros
    • Four Thunderbolt 4 ports
    • 85W laptop charging
    • Power button
  • Cons
    • Low overall 100W power supply

• One upstream Thunderbolt 4 port (40Gbps, 85W)
• Three downstream Thunderbolt 4 ports (40Gbps, 15W)
• One USB-A port (10Gbps)
• 100W power supply

The Anker PowerExpand 5-in-1 Thunderbolt 4 Mini Dock is similar to the other Thunderbolt 4 hubs but calls itself a "mini dock", which is fine as all the hubs can act as docks if you have the right adapters for Ethernet and external displays.

It beats most similar Thunderbolt 4 hubs with its 85W laptop-charging power (compared to 60W elsewhere). That said, its total 100W external power supply feels a little light given the potential 67.5W power drain if all the ports required charging simultaneously.

Read our full Anker PowerExpand 5-in-1 Thunderbolt 4 Mini Dock review

Alogic Thunderbolt 4 Blaze Docking Station

Alogic Thunderbolt 4 Blaze Docking Station
  • Pros
    • 11 ports
    • Affordable
  • Cons
    • Front-mounted upstream port

• One upstream Thunderbolt 4 port (40Gbps, 96W)
• Three Thunderbolt 4 ports (40Gbps, 15W)
• Three USB-A ports (10Gbps, 5.5W)
• One USB-A port (480MBps, 7.5W)
• Gigabit Ethernet
• UHS-II SD Card reader (320MBps)
• 3.5mm audio jack
• 135W power supply

The Alogic Thunderbolt 4 Blaze Docking Station is a great and affordable TB4 dock with everything you should need – except for any display adapters to use with the three downstream ports.

The three back-mounted USB-A ports are rated at 10Gbps and offer reasonable 5.5W charging, although you'll probably use the front 7.5W USB-A port for powering your phone, but certainly not for data transfer as it's pretty weedy at 480MBps.

Gigabit Ethernet frees you from dodgy Wi-Fi and the fast SD card reader is a great way to add inexpensive portable storage.

It's a well built and good looking docking station.

Like most of the docks reviewed here, the upstream port is on the front, which we can't fathom but maybe we're alone in wanting that tidied away at the back with the power supply port.

Read our full Alogic Thunderbolt 4 Blaze Docking Station review

Razer Thunderbolt 4 Dock Chroma - Best Thunderbolt 4 dock for gamers

Razer Thunderbolt 4 Dock Chroma
  • Pros
    • 10 ports
    • 90W laptop charging
    • RGB light show
  • Cons
    • Fewer ports than some docks

• One upstream Thunderbolt 4 port (40Gbps, 90W)
• Three Thunderbolt 4 ports (40Gbps)
• Three USB-A ports (10Gbps)
• Gigabit Ethernet
• UHS-II SD Card reader (320MBps)
• 3.5mm audio jack
• 135W power supply

With its glowing underbelly, the 10-port Razer Thunderbolt 4 Dock Chroma looks different to most of the docks and hubs we tested.

Razer is well-known for making tech kits popular with gamers, who like the fastest experience matched with glow-in-the-dark lighting, and this dock will fit right in with the aesthetic.

It has the same port arrangement (including Gigabit Ethernet, fast SD card reader and a bunch of USB-A ports) as many of the docks we have tested but misses a front-mounted USB-A port for phone charging.

Like many TB4 docks and hubs you will need a display adapter or two if your monitors don't have a USB-C connector.

Razer looks at power distribution differently from other manufacturers and we still can't quite understand how each port shares its charging capacity, but it worked well in testing.

The RGB light show will delight gamers but others might have preferred another port instead.

Read our full Razer Thunderbolt 4 Dock Chroma review

OWC Thunderbolt Dock

OWC Thunderbolt 4 Dock
  • Pros
    • 11 ports
    • 90W PD
  • Cons
    • Front-mounted upstream port
    • May require display adapters

• One upstream Thunderbolt 4 port (40Gbps, 90W)
• Three Thunderbolt 4 ports (40Gbps, 15W)
• Three USB-A ports (10Gbps, 4.5W)
• One USB-A port (480MBps, 7.5W)
• Gigabit Ethernet
• UHS-II SD Card reader (320MBps)
• Front-facing 3.5mm audio jack
• 135W power supply

OWC doesn't include Thunderbolt 4 in the name of its Thunderbolt 4 Dock, which may confuse some buyers. I understand what it's doing: it is saying this universal USB-C/Thunderbolt docking station works with TB3 and TB4 (as well as USB4 and USB-C).

It doesn't consider swapping a TB4 port for HDMI or DisplayPort, instead allowing you to choose either a direct USB-C display =or one of the other video connections via a third-party adapter.

You can add up to two 4K displays at 60Hz or a single 5K/6K/8K monitor.

This is a well-built and sturdy docking station with all the ports you're likely to need

Read our full OWC Thunderbolt 4 Dock review

Sonnet Echo 11 Thunderbolt 4 Dock

Sonnet Echo 11 Thunderbolt 3 Dock
  • Pros
    • 11 ports inc. four Thunderbolt 4 and Gigabit Ethernet
    • 90W laptop charging
  • Cons
    • Expensive

• One upstream Thunderbolt 4 port (40Gbps, 90W)
• Three Thunderbolt 4 ports (40Gbps, 15W)
• Three USB-A ports (10Gbps, 7.5W)
• One USB-A port (480MBps, 7.5W)
• Gigabit Ethernet 
• UHS-II SD Card reader (320MBps)
• 3.5mm audio jack
• 135W power supply

The Sonnet Echo 11 Thunderbolt 4 Dock boasts a full range of ports, including of course the all-important four TB4 connections.

You'll find the same number of Thunderbolt 4 ports on the much-cheaper hubs, but you won't find this dock's Gigabit Ethernet, SD Card slot and headphone jack. You can add adapters to the hubs to include these but that, of course, adds to the overall cost.

Another advantage for owners of larger laptops is the dock's ability to charge at 90W rather than the hub's maximum 60W.

Read our full Sonnet Echo 11 Thunderbolt 3 Dock review

Plugable Thunderbolt 4 and USB4 Hub

Plugable Thunderbolt 4 Hub
  • Pros
    • Four Thunderbolt 4 ports
    • USB-C-to-HDMI adapter
  • Cons
    • No extra USB-A port

• One upstream Thunderbolt 4 port (40Gbps, 60W)
• Three Thunderbolt 4 ports (40Gbps, 15W)
• 110W power supply

Plugable's Thunderbolt 4 Hub includes the maximum Thunderbolt 4 ports (one upstream to the computer, and three downstream for other devices) but nothing else.

Handily there's a USB-C-to-HDMI-2.0 adapter that you can use to attach an external display. Other hubs require you to buy such an adapter. 

Read our full Plugable Thunderbolt 4 Hub review

Alogic Thunderbolt 4 Blaze Hub

Alogic Thunderbolt 4 Blaze Hub
  • Pros
    • Four Thunderbolt 4 ports
    • Extra USB-A port
  • Cons
    • 60W laptop charging could be light for larger laptops

• One upstream Thunderbolt 4 port (40Gbps, 85W)
• Three Thunderbolt 4 ports (40Gbps, 15W)
• One USB-A port (10Gbps, 7.5W)
• 110W power supply

The Alogic Thunderbolt 4 Blaze Hub is a cut-down version of the company’s Blaze Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station.

Instead of 11 ports, the Blaze Hub has just five, but they are all state of the art, including one upstream and three downstream 40Gbps Thunderbolt 4 ports and a front-mounted 10Gbps USB-A port for older devices.

Some people don’t need a full docking station and a hub such as this is cheaper and much more compact – although like most hubs it will charge a laptop at 60W, which isn't a lot of larger laptops.

It's one of the smarter Thunderbolt 4 / USB4 hubs in looks.

Read our full Alogic Thunderbolt 4 Blaze Hub review

What is the difference between adapters, hubs and docks?

These terms are used quite fluidly, but there are official definitions.

A hub usually combines multiples of the same type of port – for example, old-school USB-A connections – but often collects a few different ports in a compact form, frequently with a power supply.

A multi-format adapter adds different kinds of ports, usually in a very portable format that can either draw power from the host computer or channel pass-through power delivery via a USB-C port and your USB-C charger.

A docking station (or dock) is a larger beast with its own bulky power supply and a range of different ports that should cover all your connection and charging needs.

The definitions have merged somewhat and are now often more about the size and format rather than the capabilities.

Which ports do you need?

To connect the hub or dock, your computer will need to include either a Thunderbolt 4 port for a separate cable connection (often included with the hub/dock) or an integrated T4/USB4 cable.

Thunderbolt 4 / USB4 ports  The TB4/USB4 technology allows for four of these ports on a hub or dock – one of which is reserved for the computer connection (called the ‘Upstream” connection, compared to the “Downstream TB4 ports that you use to connect new devices). Previously, TB3 allowed for only two in total.

These are very adaptable ports that can connect to a USB-C display or a display adapter – for example, USB-C-to-HDMI or DisplayPort.

Modern SSDs and other devices also have USB-C or Thunderbolt connections, and so you can attach these using the hub when your laptop or tablet has just one or two.

Look out for the charging capabilities of these ports – many can offer 15W power, enough for most smartphones, SSDs etc.

USB-A   This is the old-school, frustratingly non-reversible USB that is common with memory sticks and older devices and chargers. If you still have a few of these hanging around, make sure your hub has one or two to hand. Look for faster USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports that have a decent 10Gbps bandwidth. 5Gbps is fine, but faster is usually appreciated.

If you want to use one for charging, check out the wattage – 7.5W is common and enough to slowly power up a phone. Some USB-A ports are of the older, slower USB-2.0 variety, which can muster a mere 480MBps, and so are mostly used for weedy 2.5W charging rather than data sync, but are also capable of 4.5W or 7.5W charging. If you plan to use these ports for charging, check out the wattages on each hub or dock.

Display ports   Less common on hubs than docks, look out for one or two HDMI or DisplayPorts. You can use the TB4/USB4 ports to connect to a USB-C display or use USB-C (to DisplayPort or HDMI) video adapters if the hub/dock doesn’t include these, but that will use up your spare downstream ports.

Display adapters are inexpensive, costing under £10/$10 each for an unbranded adapter or around £15/$15 for one from Anker. For example, this generic USB-C to HDMI adapter is priced at £8.99/$8.99, while you can buy slightly dearer adapters from Anker or Lention. USB-C-to-DisplayPort adapters are available, such as this generic adapter.

Or you can really splash out with an Apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter for £75/$69 that comes with a further USB-A port. Belkin has an HDMI adapter priced somewhere in between.

Ethernet   For wired Internet access you need an Ethernet port, at least rated as Gigabit Ethernet (1Gbps). You can also get faster 5Gbps or 10Gbps Ethernet ports as adapters for the TB4 ports. if you have the right setup, 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet will significantly boost your network speed.

SD and MicroSD Card Readers   Known mainly for camera cards, these slots also offer affordable access to extra storage, with 500GB cards costing around $60/£60, and capacities up to 1TB. Look for faster UHS-II card readers.

Audio jacks   Headphone and microphone jacks are also handy ports on a hub or dock to save you locating the same on your computer if it even exists.

Some docking stations include higher-quality digital audio connections for serious audio technologies.

Power and charging

Most hubs and docks ship with their own power supply (or “power brick”) to charge the connected laptop or tablet and power the devices attached to it.

Laptops will require a minimum of 60W for charging at a decent rate, but larger laptops need more like 90W. You are more likely to see higher laptop charging on the docking stations rather than the smaller hubs.

The remaining power is shared among the ports, so look for a decent power supply with around 150W total if you plan on using all the ports at the same time.

Hub and dock designs

Think about how and where the dock or hub will sit on your desk. A vertical format will save desk space compared to a slim horizontal one, although most of the hubs we’ve seen are nicely compact.

Also, consider what you want on the front or back of the device. I’m not a fan of hubs that have the upstream computer connection on the front, which can be ugly and inconvenient, although you might prefer it.

None of the hubs or docks we have tested is particularly portable – not because of the size of the hub, but the bulk of the external power supply. Of course, if you buy a second power supply, you could have one at home and one at the office.

Cables

Most of the hubs and docks tested and reviewed here come with at least one short (0.8m) Thunderbolt 4 cable to connect the upstream ports to your computer, but with up to three downstream ports you may well need some more. See our list of the best Thunderbolt 4 and USB4 cables.

Thunderbolt 4 compatibility

Thunderbolt 4 is here and you should consider buying a certified Thunderbolt 4 dock even if you have a Thunderbolt 3 computer because it’s both backwards compatible with older USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 and future-proof – at least until Thunderbolt 5 comes along.

That’s why OWC calls its Thunderbolt 4 docking station just the “Thunderbolt Dock” as it works with TB3 and TB4, although not the distant TB2. If your computer has T2, you need a new computer.

Note, though, that manufacturers of Windows computers didn’t always follow the guidelines for Thunderbolt 3 and so most TB4 hubs and docking stations are not recommended for PC users. They require a properly certified Thunderbolt 4 laptop.

Apple was much better at certification, though, so TB4 hubs and docks will work with all Thunderbolt 3 Macs, which means any from the past few years (2017 and later) are good to go.

Apple’s M1-based 13in MacBooks still have Thunderbolt 3 ports, even though the company calls them “Thunderbolt / USB 4”. If you connect a TB4 dock or hub to an M1 MacBook, you won’t lose any benefits as long as you are using macOS Big Sur or above. But bear in mind that, right now, M1 Macs can connect to only one external display.

The latest 14in and 16in MacBook Pro models – using the M1 Pro or M1 Max chips – do have Thunderbolt 4 ports and can support multiple external displays – they also come with more varied side ports that might even mean you don’t need a hub or a port.