The MacBook Pro (Late 2016 and newer) sports at least two, and up to four Thunderbolt 3 ports, but that's all. What to do if you need other ports? Get a hub!
If you made the jump to the 2016 or newer MacBook Pro, you might be wishing for some of those missing port options (especially USB-A). If you're in need of something more powerful than just a way to connect your iPhone to your Mac — if you want to connect two Thunderbolt supported display screens to your MacBook Pro, for example — here's a list of the tip-top hubs (or docks, if you prefer).
If you're just looking for a USB-A, HDMI, or Lightning adapter, check out our list of best adapters.
- Elgato Thunderbolt 3 Dock
- CalDigit TS3
- Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Express Dock HD
- OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock
- Lenovo USB-C Hub
Elgato Thunderbolt 3 Dock
I've been using Elgato's updated Thunderbolt 3 Dock since it first came out and it's been absolutely fantastic when I need a variety of ports to connect to my 13-inch MacBook Pro. It's got two USB-C ports that transfer data up to 40GB per second, three USB-A 3.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, and a DisplayPort port. It charges your MacBook Pro with up to 85 watts and is capable of charging multiple devices, even when not connected to a computer, at up to 15 watts.
It also has a 3.5mm microphone and 3.5mm headphone jack, so you can connect your podcasting gear, right to your MacBook Pro.
The DisplayPort supports a single 5K display up to 60 Hz, or you can connect two 4K displays (one via DisplayPort and one via USB-C) up to 60 Hz.
At about $300, Elgato's powerful USB-C hub is a solid investment if you use multiple displays, need ultra-fast data transfer, and like the idea of charging your devices without having to connect anything to your computer.
CalDigit's TS3 is a powerful Thunderbolt 3 dock that has everything you could ever want in a MacBook Pro hub, and then some. It features three USB-A ports, two USB-C ports a DisplayPort port, and an HDMI port. It has super fast charging with 2.1A for juicing up your iPhone and iPad at the same time. It also works with Apple's SuperDrive.
The thing that makes CalDigit's TS3 stand out is that two of those USB ports are eSATA ports, which can be used to connect external hard drives, storage boxes, and more.
The Wirecutter considers it the number one choice for Thunderbolt 3 docks.
CalDigit's TS3 is the best Thunderbolt 3 dock for most people because it has a similar set of ports as the competition, but it's the most compact model available—meaning it takes up less room on your desk, especially if you stand it on its end.
Oh yeah, did I mention it can be set up on its side, so you can tuck it in with your sci-fi books on the shelf if you want to keep it out of sight?
The TS3 will cost you about $300, with a slight increase in price if you want a longer cable. If you need an eSATA port (or two), this is currently the only Thunderbolt 3 supported hub with any.
Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Express Dock HD
Belkin is a tried-and-true Apple accessory maker. iMore's Rene Ritchie recently described the company as being what Apple would be if it were an accessory maker. The Thunderbolt 3 Express Dock HD fits that to a T. It features two Thunderbolt 3 ports with up to 40GB per second of speed, two USB-A 3.0 ports, a DisplayPort port, a Gigabit Ethernet port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. It is capable of up to 85 watts of power so you can juice up your 15-inch MacBook Pro and 15 watts of device charging for your iPhone and iPad. The DisplayPort port and USB-C port make it possible to connect two 4K displays for a yowza of an experience.
It's the smallest on this list and technically could stand upright, though the tiny size might make it topple over when you plug in all those peripherals. It comes with a 3.3-foot cable and costs about $340.
OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock
This bad boy sports 13, count 'em, 13 ports, including the coveted SD card reader, which most Thunderbolt 3 docks do not have. It has five USB-A 3.1 ports, an Optical audio out port, a FireWire 800 port, a Gigabit Ethernet port, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, and a mini DisplayPort port. It also has a 3.5mm jack for headphones or a microphone.
With the FireWire 800, you can hook up your ancient, but still useful, devices. Thanks to the mini DisplayPort and Thunderbolt 3 ports, you can also hook up one 5K display or two 4K displays.
If you're still kicking around a FireWire-connected Mac, miss having an SD card reader, and still find yourself using five USB-A accessories at the same time, you need OWC's Thunderbolt 3 dock at $300.
Lenovo USB-C Hub
If you're looking at this list and choking on your LaCroix at the hefty price tags you're seeing on these USB-C hubs, it's probably because you don't need the powerful extras that come with the professional-grade docks mentioned here. If you're just looking for something to expand your port options for connection and charging, Lenovo makes a fantastic low-cost hub (about $65). This is not a Thunderbolt 3 supported hub, but it will connect and work with your 2016 or later MacBook Pro, just in a slightly limited capacity. You can charge your devices with the USB-A 3.0 ports, connect storage cards with the SD and microSD card slots, and hook up your 4K television with the HDMI port. It's not going to give you super fast data transfer, and it's not going to charge your MacBook Pro while you work, but it is going to connect things you need so you can expand your accessory options.
If you don't need to connect two 4K displays, don't need 40GB per second of data transfer, and don't want something that will fast-charge your 15-inch MacBook Pro while you work, the Lenovo USB-C hub is more up your alley. It's much less expensive and works great for simple connections.
Thunderbolt 3 is fairly new, and that means third-party accessory makers are still working on their products. Do you have a favorite Thunderbolt 3 supported USB-C hub? Let us know in the comments and we'll check them out.