You can Apple’s latest MacBook Air has a lot of things going for it. The latest M2 chipset, brand new design, and the reintroduction of MagSafe for charging. While its more expensive counterparts — the MacBook Pro 14 and 16 also bring back additional ports, the MacBook Air M2 misses out on them. So, if you want to plug in your SD card or a monitor, you will need a docking station.
A docking station connects to the M2 chipset-powered MacBook Air via the onboard USB-C port and gives you a plethora of connectivity options. Whether you want to edit photos from your camera’s SD card or connect multiple monitors, a docking station is what you need.
We’ve saved you from going through the plethora of options available online and narrowed it down to the best options out there. Here are some of the best docking stations for the Apple MacBook Air M2.
But, before we get to the products, here are some other articles you may be interested in –
- If you travel a lot, don’t miss out on getting a power bank for the MacBook Air to charge on the go.
- Going on a long road trip? Get a car charger for your MacBook Air to keep it powered up.
- Want to charge your MacBook Air and phone at the same time? Take a look at the best multi-port USB chargers.
With that out of the way, let’s get to the docks!
1. HumanCentric MacBook Docking Station
Unlike most docking stations that connect to your MacBook and stick out of the side like an external adapter or dongle, this one from HumanCentric is quite different. Just like its moniker, the docking station is quite human-centric in the sense that it has a practical design to make the most out of the space on your desk.
The docking station has space to vertically rest your MacBook Air M2 in the clamshell mode with all the ports on the sides. You get 10 ports on the sides — an SD card slot, a microSD card slot, 3 USB-A ports, a 3.5mm jack, 2 HDMI ports, a USB-C port, and an ethernet port. All of this while the dock itself takes up both the USB-C slots on your MacBook Air.
While this docking station is practical in terms of design, there are two downsides that can be deal-breakers for you. Firstly, you only get one USB-C port which isn’t ideal. Secondly, some users have complained that a few ports randomly stop working after a while if not used carefully. So, get this dock only if you specifically want the vertical design at a low price.
2. Tobenone Docking Station
Just like the previous MacBook Air M2 docking station, this one also takes up both the USB-C ports on your MacBook Air M2. However, one good feature you get with this dock is pass-through charging. What this means is you can connect your charger to the dock and it will pass the power through to the MacBook Air M2.
While the brand claims you get 15 ports, you technically only get 13 since one USB-C port is used to connect the dock to the MacBook Air while the other is used for power. For those looking for the split-up, you get an SD card slot, a microSD card slot, 6 USB-A ports, a 3.5mm jack, 2 HDMI ports, a USB-C port, and an ethernet port. The takeaway from this is that if you want a lot of USB-A ports, this is the dock to get.
You can get several docks with the same number of features but the reason why we’re recommending this is that the support offered by the brand if at all you face some issues seems to be promising. The ports are also laid out well so you won’t face any interference while connecting multiple cables together.
3. Plugable Universal Docking Station
DisplayLink is a standard that connects an external display to your Mac via USB. This bypasses the maximum supported display limit on your Mac which makes it great for anyone who wants to use multiple monitors. Another advantage of this docking station is that it only occupies one USB-C port on your MacBook Air M2 while giving you 11 additional ports.
You get the usual set of ports like 6 USB-A ports, an HDMI port, an ethernet port, and a DVI port. Looking at the type of ports, you probably realized that there are no SD card slots on this docking station which can be a bummer for content creators. However, this dock offers separate headphone and microphone ports which is a boon if you want to use headphones along with a dedicated mic with your MacBook Air M2.
This brings us to the fact that not all docks are for everyone. If you are a photo or video editor, you may prefer a docking station with an SD card slot. If you record music, use multiple monitors, and want a lot of USB-A ports, this is the one for you. The reviews on this one are also excellent so you’re getting a reliable docking station at an affordable price.
4. Anker Docking Station
This docking station from Anker also gets the usual set of ports but with one exception — a DisplayPort output that can power your monitor at 4K 60Hz. Apart from that, you get a solid aluminum chassis with a nice selection of ports — an SD Card slot, a microSD card slot, a 3.5mm jack, 2 USB-C ports for data, a USB-C port that is used to connect to the MacBook while charging it at the same time, 3 USB-A ports, 2 HDMI ports, and an ethernet port.
The wide array of ports means that you can also use this docking station with more powerful computers like the MacBook Pro in the future. One aspect about this dock you must know is that it gets power via a DC-in port so you will have to power it via a wall outlet. The power is then transferred to the MacBook Air M2 via the USB-C port so you don’t have to separately use a charger for your Mac.
If you want a no-nonsense, reliable docking station with a good selection of ports, you cannot go wrong with this one. You can also use the USB-C port onboard to charge external devices like a smartphone via USB-PD; so this is a good option for those who want to eliminate carrying a phone charger additionally as well.
5. Caldigit TS3 Plus Thunderbolt 3 Dock
The Caldigit TS3 Plus has an SD 4.0 HSF-II SD card slot for fast transfer speeds which is important if you’re a content creator. Then, you get two separate jacks for audio in and audio out. Again, a nice feature that will please users with standalone headphones and mics. There are 5 USB-A ports, 2 USB 3.1 Gen.2 Type-C ports, two Thunderbolt 3 ports with support for up to 40Gb/s, an ethernet port, a DisplayPort 1.2 out, and finally, a S/PDIF port for audio to top it all up.
If you look at the selection of ports, all are practical and useful for users of all kinds. You will need to power the docking station via a DC-in cable and the dock connects to the MacBook Air M2 via a single USB-C port. However, since you’re getting two Thunderbolt ports on the dock itself, you’re not really sacrificing any ports at all.
Besides all the ports and speeds in numbers, this dock is for those who transfer data between their Mac and external devices frequently, and also for those who want to interface a sophisticated speaker system with their MacBook Air M2 via digital optical audio out port.
6. Kensington SD5700T Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station
Obviously, the main highlight of the Kensington SD5700T docking station is the array of 3 Thunderbolt 4 ports along with one host port to connect the dock to the MacBook Air M2. Along with these ports, you get a UHS-II SD 4.0 slot for fast transfer speeds via an SD card. This is a godsend for those who transfer large files from their cameras to their MacBook.
There’s a USB-A port that outputs power at 7.5W, a combo 3.5mm jack for audio, an ethernet port, and 3 USB-A ports. Clearly, the number of ports is lower than on the Caldigit dock but once again, if the Thunderbolt 4 ports and the advantages it brings in the form of transfer speeds are important to you, opt for this one.
However, if you plan on using the dock with other devices like a Windows machine either simultaneously with your MacBook Air or in the future, keep in mind that some users have reported connectivity issues with some Windows laptops. So, you might want to consider other options.
There’s no doubt that two USB-C ports are far from ideal on a full-fledged laptop like the MacBook Air M2. So, getting a dock becomes almost necessary to connect various external devices. Make sure you get a docking station for the MacBook Air M2 based on your use case and requirements.
Last updated on 17 August, 2022
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