The Apple Mac Mini with M1 chip shares a similar look with the older Mac Minis. However, this time, Apple has reduced the number of connectivity options on the Mac Mini M1. Compared to the 2018 Mini (which had 4 Thunderbolt ports), the new variant has only 2 Thunderbolt ports, and you can’t swap the SSD or add more RAM. That’s when docking stations can be helpful.
These docking stations increase the number of connectivity options and also have dedicated enclosures for a SATA-based SSD or an HDD. So you can extend your Mac’s storage minus any cable clutter.
Even after the M2 Mac Mini launch, the older M1 version still remains relevant thanks to its affordability. So, if you have one or plan to buy one, here are the best docking stations that are suitable for your Mac Mini M1.
Let’s get going, shall we? But first,
- Here are the best USB‑C 4K monitors that you can buy
- Take a look at these cool monitor arms with built-in cable management
1. Elecife USB-C Hub With Hard Drive Enclosure
The Elecife docking stand is a low-profile dock that brings a host of ports to the table. All the ports are at the front for easy access. There is a couple of USB 2.0, USB 3.0 ports, and a duo of card readers.
It’s an affordable dock but doesn’t come with fancy features like Thunderbolt and audio ports. You can fit a SATA-based hard drive up to 5TB.
You get decent speed from the USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports along with the SATA interface.
The Elecife docking stand connects via USB-C cable to the Mac Mini. This dock has received decent reviews from its user base and most of them praise its storage capacity and connectivity options.
However, if you plan to connect several hard drives simultaneously, skip this one.
2. Hagibis Type-C Docking Station
The Hagibis USB Type-C docking station is another affordable dock for the Mac Mini M1 if you are looking for a couple of extra ports. The highlight of this device is its compact shape and the front-facing ports, making it easy to connect peripherals and accessories.
Like the one above, the Hagibis docking station includes a 2.5-inch SATA interface, two USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports each, and slots for Micro SD and SD cards. The SATA interface supports up to 5TB drives.
The USB 3.0 ports support up to 5Gbps transfer speeds and can be used to connect USB Type-C peripherals. Do note that it doesn’t support DisplayPort over USB Type-C. And if you have to connect a secondary display, you will have to use the HDMI port on the Mac Mini.
That said, file transfer speeds are decent. The dock works if you plan to transfer stuff occasionally and don’t care much about the speeds.
Like the one above, it mounts beneath the Mac Mini. The Mini may slip off without any silicon grips or indentation if you are not too careful.
3. Agptek USB-C Docking Station & Stand for Mac Mini
The Agptek USB-C docking station is a small and affordable dock that lets you extend the use of the Mac Mini. It shares quite several with its counterparts above, whether it’s the shape or the number of ports.
One of the advantages of this dock is that the USB Type-C port supports secondary monitors, and you can run up to 4K displays on this one. However, it would be best to use the Thunderbolt or the HDMI ports on the Mac Mini.
At the same time, it has an enclosure underneath that supports up to 2.5-inch SATA-based hard drives and SSDs. While the company claims that the dock can support up to 5GB, check the size and dimensions of your drive before hitting the buy button.
Again, the dock has a slippery and shiny surface. While it’s great to look at, the same dilemma applies here—your dock has a small chance of slipping.
4. Satechi USB Type-C Aluminum Stand & Hub
Satechi is known for its quality accessories, and the dock for the Mac Mini M1 is no different. It is more expensive than the products above. But the good news is that it packs a few important features. For one, the dock has a slight indentation that allows your Mini and the dock to stack up properly. At the same time, the Satechi dock packs an audio jack, which is missing in all the docks above.
The best part of this dock is the design. Apart from the indentation, the air vents keep the Mini cool. Plus, the LED indicator aligns with the light of the Mac Mini and helps to give it a uniform look.
The type of ports is similar to the ones above. Apart from the audio jack, there are three USB Type-A ports, a single USB Type-C port, and slots for a Micro SD card and an SD card. There’s a dedicated cavity for a hard drive.
This dock works as advertised. So far, users have connected peripherals like printers, monitors, and speakers without issues. However, if you have high-speed cards like CF and XQD cards, you may want to use a USB Type-C card reader to make the most of them.
The Satechi dock for the Mac Mini is popular on Amazon. Users have praised its design, easy-to-use nature, and its solid build.
5. READYXIO Mac Mini Docking Stand
This vertical docking station from READXIO has three USB-A ports, a headphone jack, a USB-C port, a micro SD card slot, and a standard SD card slot. Additionally, you’re also getting a phone holder, which you can use to rest your phone in the horizontal orientation. Good for consuming media on your desk.
As mentioned earlier, the primary use case of the READYXIO dock is if you have a small desk. Since the Mac Mini M1 would be resting vertically, you will have space to keep other peripherals. Despite the change in design, the brand has included the additional storage space to house an SSD just like some other docks on this list.
It is slightly more expensive compared to some other run-of-the-mill docks. But you’re paying for the design and unique form factor.
6. OWC Thunderbolt 3 Mini Dock
The OWC Thunderbolt 3 Mini Dock is a good pick because it brings the Thunderbolt advantage. Naturally, an extra Thunderbolt port gives you the benefit of speedy transfers.
The OWC Thunderbolt 3 Mini makes for a good buy if you switch between using the Thunderbolt port on the dock and the Mac Mini. The dock already has two HDMI ports. You will not find much use for them if you use the dock primarily for your Mac Mini.
However, if you can’t compromise on speed and want a third Thunderbolt port (apart from the usual USB ports), then the OWC Thunderbolt dock is worth buying.
Alternatively, you can also check out the Belkin Thunderbolt Mini dock. It shares a similar design with the OWC dock, although the build quality is better in this one.
FAQs for Apple Mac Mini M1 Docks
You can connect up to two external displays to your M1 Mac Mini. You can use the built-in HDMI port to connect one display and a dock to connect the other one.
All the docks mentioned on this list obtain power from the Mac Mini and don’t need any external power source.
A dock is one of the simplest ways to add more connectivity options to the humble Mac Mini with an M1 chip. Because at the end of the day, the two Thunderbolt ports and the single HDMI port do not suffice.
The USB-C docks mentioned above should be enough for your needs if you want to connect many USB-A peripherals, and transfer speed is not your top-most priority. And if on some days, you need really fast transfer speeds, the secondary Thunderbolt port on the Mac Mini should be enough to quench the thirst. But if not, you can always spend a few bucks more and get a Thunderbolt dock.
Last updated on 23 February, 2023
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