Do You Need a Hub or a Dock?
USB hubs can expand the number and kind of ports available, and USB docks let you turn a laptop into a full-blown workstation with one plug. After testing several different USB hubs and docks, these are the best we've found for different needs.
There's a grey area between USB hubs and docks since they technically do (mostly) the same thing: add more ports and connectors to your computer. However, there are some slight differences and it's worth understanding them before you buy one.
USB hubs are smaller, cheaper dongles that can add extra USB ports, SD card readers, display outputs, or a headphone jack. These often don't supply extra power, so you might be unable to charge gadgets plugged into them. They're also portable enough to throw in your laptop bag to use at home and on the go.
USB docks are often larger, more expensive, and are designed to spend most of their time on your desk. They often come with their own power supply, so they can charge other devices, and have multiple monitor outputs and Ethernet connections. If you frequently use your laptop at a desk, a dock can let you quickly connect it to a keyboard, mouse, monitors, and any other peripherals you need simultaneously.