We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Docking Station?

By David White
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGEEK is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGEEK, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A docking station is a bridge to the past for many newer computers, but users might find that they need one even if they have the latest model. It's a device into which a person can plug a laptop in order to gain extra functionality, such as access to printers, mice, scanners, full-sized monitors and keyboards, and external hard drives. All of these peripherals can be plugged into the dock, and then, when the user connects the laptop, he can gain access to all of those peripherals without having to plug each one into the computer. This can be especially helpful if the laptop has a minimal number of USB or Firewire® ports.

Most newer laptops have more than enough USB or Firewire® ports for casual use, although some users find that they want to access a desktop monitor while using the laptop. Sometimes, a larger keyboard is also easier to type on. In each of these cases, it's usually possible for the user to plug the monitor or the keyboard directly into the laptop. Having everything plugged into a central device can provide more flexibility, however, especially if the laptop is often used on the go.

One instance in which this is particularly useful is when a person wants to hook up a newer laptop to an older printer. Printers of even the recent past routinely have serial port connectors, which are extremely uncommon on most laptops. In this case, it is possible to buy an adapter, but docking stations often include this type of port.

In essence, using a docking station converts a laptop computer into a desktop computer, even for a short period of time. A user can plug all of his peripheral devices into this machine so that they're easy to access, and then just unplug the computer itself when on the go, rather than having to disconnect each individual item. Especially when a combination of newer and older technology is used, this often allows everything to work together more easily.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By anon272071 — On May 29, 2012

Your docking station must be compatible with your laptop. Not all laptops have docking station connectors. Yes, docking stations charge the laptop.

By anon272070 — On May 29, 2012

Docking stations allow you to keep a traditional desk with a large monitor, ergonomic keyboard, laptop charger, optical mouse, LAN, etc. The benefit is that you can instantly snap the PC in and out of this arrangement.

I've found docking stations to be very helpful as an engineer in a factory. I can instantly pop my laptop off to join a meeting or respond to a call in the factory. When I leave at night, my laptop is fully charged.

If you work for a professional organization, it's likely your IT guy can get you one.

By mary1957 — On Mar 26, 2012

How do you connect a laptop if there is no connection at the bottom? The bottom of the laptop has no connection thing.

By anon127450 — On Nov 16, 2010

Points were well presented.

By anon80215 — On Apr 26, 2010

do they charge the laptops at the same time or do i need to also plug the computer in separately?

By anon55895 — On Dec 10, 2009

thank you for sharing this knowledge to us in the third world. kabir --kano-state, nigeria

By ehernandez — On Aug 20, 2009

A couple of things to remember before purchasing a docking station is to get the right model for your make and model laptop. Not all docking station models fit every laptop. Also remember to purchase the docking station power supply to boot both the laptop and docking station. The power pack that comes with the laptop does not have enough power to supply both. This has been my experience.

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.