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A hard drive docking station is an important piece of equipment that allows you to connect several hard drives together, and then use them like normal external hard drives.
If you use a notebook or ultrabook, one of the most important things you can do to keep your information safe is to buy an external hard drive docking station.
This device allows you to connect your laptop to external storage space and keep an up-to date backup of your computer’s most important files in case anything happens to your machine. This way, you’ll never lose your precious photos, videos and other data files.
Our guide provides advice on choosing the best docking station for your needs. We test the compatibility of hard drives, operating systems and which hard drives and docking stations are the best for their price. Here are our picks!
Our Recommended HHD Docking Stations
Sabrent USB 3.0 Dual Bay External Hard Drive Docking Station
for 2.5 or 3.5in HDD, SSD with Hard Drive Duplicator/Cloner Function
The SABRENT USB 3.0 Docking Station allows you to access desktop or laptop hard drives, without the frustration of assembling hard drive enclosures. By inserting a 2.5 or 3.5in SATA hard drive directly into this docking station, you can quickly access drive contents and transfer files. Plus you can swap out hard drives effortlessly with plug and play mounting. Transfer data quickly and easily through USB 3.0 at speeds up to 5Gbps.
The Sabrent USB 3.0 Docking Station is an easy way to access your hard drives–no assembly required. Installation is straightforward, and though the instructions recommend not connecting the docking station while the computer is in use, we did it anyway, and it wasn’t a problem.
It got us up and running on a Windows 10 Pro laptop with a single cable in less than 30 seconds. It automatically detected our hard drive, which was plugged into one of the SATA ports. We were able to copy a fairly large 10TB drive to our laptop hard drive. For cloning large hard drives, you’ll want to make sure you have a fast USB 3 connection.
The docking station has a LED that illuminates green when the drive is working properly. The Sabrent Hard Drive Docking Station supports drives up to 10TB, which dwarfs the 6TB limit of our former pick. This dual-bay docking station by Sabrent is a solid option for businesses thanks to its affordable price and support for both 2.5″ SATA hard disks and SSDs.
The device comes with the necessary cables and power supply to get you started right away, you only need to connect your internal hard drive or solid state drive so you can access them externally. It also has an offline cloning feature, which means you don’t need to use a computer at all, just insert the drivers into the source/target slots respectively and follow an intuitive one button process. Overall, a good dual docking station for its cost is a great investment for any user who wants to access their internal hard drive or solid-state drives externally, as simple and convenient as possible.
Supports 2.5 and 3.5-inch SATA I/II/III HDD, SSD
Supports up to 6TB HDD, SSD
Hot-swappable, plug and play
- Super-fast data transfer rate
- Not suitable for older machines
- Supports up to 6TB HDD
WEme USB 3.0 to SATA Dual-Bay Hard Drive Docking Station
Offline Clone/Duplicator Function for 2.5 & 3.5 Inch HDD SSD SATA – Support 2X 8TB & UASP
WEme external hard drive duplicator offers quick and easy cloning process. This duplicator is equipped with LED indicator to show cloning progress. It supports SATA HDD/SSD up to 8TB, and comes with a 12V power adapter.
The WEme external hard drive docking station is an excellent solution for anyone who needs to share data on 2.5 and 3.5 inch SATA I/II/III Hard Drives. It offers two ports offering fast data transfer speeds. The docking station’s port supports 2.5 inch SATA drives and 3.5 inch SATA drives. We found that its LED indicator lights were helpful, and it was easy to keep an eye on which drive was being cloned.
Weme drive docking station is a cheap but effective device. It gets the job done, and it’s fast enough for transferring a wide variety of file types, including audio and movie files. This is a usb3.0 docking station that offers fast data transfer rates, and also includes an integrated circuit that protects against over voltage, leakage current, short circuits, or any other form of interference.
The unit itself has a 12-volt DC power supply, however, an extension cord is recommended. It also features one-button offline cloning of your HDD which can be handy. Overall a great docking station for its price and a great investment for any home and office that needs to connect HDDs externally.
Supports up to 2x 8TB hard drive
Intuitive LED Lighting System
Supports Windows XP/Vista/7/8/8.1/10 with the latest Service Packs Mac OS X 10.4.8 (or later) and Linux.
- USB 3.0 Port
- Offline Clone/Duplicator Function
- Compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux
- supports HDDs up to 8TB
WAVLINK USB 3.0 Dual-Bay External Hard Drive Docking Station
Support Offline Clone Duplicator
and Auto Sleep Function
This docking station lets you connect both 2.5″ and 3.5″ SATA hard drives or SSDs to your computer using a single USB 3.0 port. It’s compatible with SATA I/II/III drives, and it supports up to 6Gbps data transfer speeds when used with USB 3.0 ports that support USB Attached SCSI Protocol (UASP). Compact and portable design, easy to carry.
The Wavlink USB 3.Hard Drive Docking Station is an excellent solution for those that need extra storage space. It arrived quickly, worked as advertised, and was easy to connect and use. The Wavlink is capable of cloning hard drives, so it’s a good choice for backing up multiple disks. It’s also compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems, and is easy to install and use, without the drivers. The Wavlink is also great at transferring large amounts of data, making it a better choice than some docking stations we tested that cost twice as much.
The WAVLINK drive dock is a decent low-cost option for quickly adding extra drive space. It offers a fast transfer rate, and the offline/online cloning capability is convenient. It’s also relatively heavy and takes up a lot of desk space. The included manual is vague and difficult to follow.
UASP: Utilizes advanced UASP technology with native command queuing (NCQ), which optimizes the USB performance.
Clone Duplicator: Clone the disk without the computer operation, save time.
Tool-free Installation and removal
- Fast speeds
- Supports UASP
As technology advances, the devices we use to keep up-to-date have to evolve too. Hard drive technology has always been a rapidly evolving one, with new storage formats and interfaces being developed all of the time, and are often incompatible with older devices.
It is not enough to simply move the data from your old HDDs to newer ones, you need to make absolutely sure that they can be read by your computer.
The HDD docking station is an accessory that is used so as to be able to connect many storage devices to the computer or laptop for the purpose of backing up the files stored on them. There are a lot of such devices in the market and some are very high-priced without a reason. What you should do first is set a budget for yourself.
SABRENT USB 3.0 to SATA External Hard Drive Lay – Flat Docking Station for 2.5 or 3.5in HDD, SSD
This docking station is a bit more expensive than most docks, but it’s well worth it if you want one of the fastest and most reliable external drives.
The SABRENT EC-DFLT is, simply put, the fastest external drive we’ve ever seen. In our tests it surpassed every other external hard drive in speed. The dock doesn’t offer any special features; it’s just the fastest, most reliable hard drive we’ve tested.
The Sabrent EC-DFLT external hard drive docking station is one of the best data storage products available. Sabrent says the EC-DFLT can support up to 6Gbps data rates when paired with UASP (USB Attached SCSI Protocol)-capable hosts. The Sabrent docking station also comes with a free 30-day trial of the Acronis True Image software for cloning hard drives, so you can backup your data.
With fast transfer speeds and support for USB 3.0, the Sabrent EC-DFLT is an excellent option for protecting your data. With a 2.5in or 3.5in drive inside, it connects to your computer via USB 3.0, and provides a single, fast connection for your drive. This dock also has USB 3.1 Gen 1 and 2 and 2.5 and 3.5 SATA connectors, so it supports even the latest drives.
- Convenient to use
- Supports UASP and 20TB
- High-speed transfer rate
WAVLINK USB 3.0 to SATA III External Hard Drive
It seamlessly enables your SATA HDD or SSD to be connected to your USB 3.0 port. Supports transfer speeds up to 6Gbps by UASP transfer protocol, which is up to 20% faster than USB 3.0.
The WAVLINK USB 3.0 to SATA III External Hard Drive is a solid alternative to our pick among hard disk docking stations. It’s extremely reliable and quiet, with almost no risk of overheating.
The WAVLINK comes with its own power adapter, making for hassle-free storage and travel. With a SATA connection, you get faster throughput and the potential for much faster data transfers.
It can connect a 2.5 inch or 3.5 inch SATA HDD or SSD to your computer’s USB 3.0 port, and it uses the faster UASP transfer protocol. The installation is tool-free and requires no drivers, and hot-swapping is supported, so you can disconnect the drive and reconnect it in seconds without restarting your computer.
- Easy to use
FIDECO Dual-Bay Hard Drive Dock with TF & SD Card Slots
The docking station is competitively priced and offers enough space for 2 hard drives or SSDs, making it a good choice for people who need to clone hard drives or transfer files among several computers.
The FIDECO hard drive docking station is beautifully designed, and its feature set added to its stunning good looks make it one of the best-featured USB 3.0 docking stations we’ve tested.
Its only drawback is that it’s a bit expensive, but so are many of the docking stations on the market. This docking station is easy to set up and use, it works as advertised, and its two bays make for ideal backup storage.
Setup took about 30 seconds, and it comes with cables that are long enough for most setups. You can use it with 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch drives, and it supports offline clone for occasions when you don’t need a computer.
The duel-bay hard drive dock from FIDECO uses USB 3.0 for fast data transfer, and its offline clone function makes it easy to clone a hard drive.
- 2 x SATA 6Gb/s ports
- Can clone 2.5″/3.5″ HDD/SSDs
SABRENT 4-Bay USB 3.0 Docking Station (DS-U3B4)
Its tool-less design makes it easy to install and remove drives, and the device supports both SATA 6G and SATA 3G drives. On the downside, the DS-U3B4 doesn’t support M.2 NVMe SSDs, and its plastic build feels cheaper than other docks we’ve tested. Overall, it’s an affordable docking station that performs well.
The SABRENT DS-U3B4’s top-loading design makes it the most user-friendly of the SATA docking stations we tested. We appreciated its large hard drive capacity (for four SATA drives) and the solid build quality, but actual transfer speeds were only average.
When you are dealing with hard drives, the less hassle the better, and the DS-U3B4 does a really nice job of simplifying the task of storing, accessing, and transferring data between multiple hard drives.
The ideal storage solution for any PC, the SABRENT DS-U3B4 provides plentiful space for both hard drives and solid state drives. It’s compact, occupies minimal space, and works with both 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch drives. The dock also boasts handy LED indicators that indicate which ports are active. It can be daisy-chained to other docks, too, should you choose to install multiple drives.
A convenient, simple, and economical SATA docking station, the SABRENT DS-U3B4 is easy to set up, to boot. The device is prewired for USB connectors on all four bays, so there’s very little you need to do to get them to work. In fact, the only modification required is to turn the drive-side on/off switch, and then power on the docking station.
- Supports 4 SATA hard drives or SSDs
Tccmebius TCC-S862-US USB Dual Slots External Enclosure with All in 1 Card Reader
This hard drive docking station is compatible with IDE & SATA HDD/SSD. It supports all types of SATA Drive up to 8TB in SATA interface! With all-in-1 card reader (XD card / TF card / MS (Duo / Pro) card / CF card / SD card), and One-Touch Backup Function.
The Tccmebius TCC-S862 owners we talked to really like the layout and utility of this enclosure, and the nice bonus feature of a built-in card reader.
This unit is slightly larger than the average hard drive docking station that we tested, and it’s made of heavier-duty materials. The card reader is one of the best we’ve seen, even beating out external hard drives with integrated card readers.
The only major drawback is that the docking station doesn’t automatically turn off after you’ve copied your files to its hard drive, which means you have to manually turn the unit off. The docking station’s integrated card reader is also a bit slow at reading XD cards and CF cards, which we didn’t notice with MS or SD cards. Otherwise, it’s a great hard drive dock.
- Easy access to your HDD/SSD
- All in one card reader and usb 2.0 hub
- Affordable price
- Difficult to eject the HDD/SSD
SSK USB 3.0 to SATA External Hard Drive Docking Station Enclosure
The SSK DK100 is a well-designed and exceptionally useful gadget. The SSK DK100 Docking Station offers you all the functionalities of a docking station and allows you to quickly access the drive contents and to transfer files.
The SSK DK100 is a well-designed USB 3.0 docking station that does a lot for very little. It converts an external drive or SSD into an external drive capable of connecting to a PC or Mac via USB.
It has an included 12-volt, 2.1 amp power adapter, and it’s compact, too, measuring.
We liked that this docking station was compatible with both 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch SATA hard drives, and it does have a smart auto-sleep feature that protects your hard drive from damage after 10 minutes no operation. This docking station is easy to install and use, and it’s relatively inexpensive.
- Compact size
- Supports 16TB
Zopsc USB 3.0 SATA/IDE HDD Docking Station Three-Bay Offline Clone HUB
This three-bay drive docking station supports 2.5 and 3.5inch HDD. Tool free installation, no driver needed, plug and play, plus it supports hot plug.
The device’s three bays provide convenient access to any IDE or SATA HDDs, which can also be quickly cloned to another HDD, all without having to install the drivers.
The device also features an LED indicator that shows the status of each of the HDDs and power supply. The Zopsc HDD Docking Station is easy to set up, and it works as advertised. It is also quite portable, and it has a small, compact build.
The docking station can help you quickly back up data from external hard drives, or retrieve files stored in memory cards. The dock supports three hard drives simultaneously, and can simultaneously read two hard disk drives, making data transfer faster and more convenient.
The docking station is fan-less, contains no moving parts, and has no noise.It’s perfect for backing up large files, but we found it a little less useful for transferring larger amounts of data because it takes a while to back up.
- Supports USB 3.0 and 2.0
- Card Reader
What to Consider When Looking for the Best Hard Drive Docking Station?
They are quite handy in case you want to connect an internal hard drive but don’t want to bother opening the case. They are essential in case you want to copy an internal hard drive, so for example clone your operating system into larger hard drives while upgrading.
One of the biggest challenges when purchasing a new hard drive is determining how to clone all of your data from the old one onto the new one without having your computer crash in the process of doing so. Thankfully, you don’ t have to do this manually; you can simply use an external cloning tool like Clonezilla.
If you’re reading about this, you’re probably thinking about using a hard drive dock. These docks let you connect your hard drive to a computer via an external port. They make it easy to clone your hard drive, which is based on the sector by sector method of copying, which means that it’s completely safe and secure. Cloning your hard drive is an affordable, easy-to-use, well designed solution for anyone who wants to keep their data safe and secure.
In order to choose the right docking station for your needs you should know how portable the device needs to be, and what additional features you will need from the device. Here are some things you should think about when searching for docking stations:
- Total number supported – You might think that having multiple hard drives is advantageous, but it isn’t always. A docking station may have four or five drives but you will only use one. Instead, look at a docking station that has a drive that fits your needs.
- Drive Size – You need to have a docking system that can support the size your hard drive. Such, as if you have a 500GB hard drive, you need a docking system that can handle it.
- Drive speed – The cloning process can take a long time, so make sure that the docking station supports your hard disk drive’s maximum transfer speeds.
While no two hard drive docking station are exactly the same, almost all come equipped with the same features, including the ability to mount both 2.5″ and 3.5″ hard drives. Some docking station offers features that others don’t. This is an advantage because it gives you more freedom in your backup and cloning strategy.
Even if you are limited on your budget, it is advisable that you pick docking stations that can utilize the latest and fastest ports available. The newer usb 3 connection is backwards compatible with the USB 2 ports, so even though its newer and faster it can also be recognized and used with older computers.
If you need to hot-swap the HDD you should look for HDD docks that come with this feature. Most models will have plug and play support and support both 2.5″ and 3.5″ hard disk drives. They are incredibly useful for data recovery and some may even come with software designed to backup and clone, but you can also find a lot of freeware programs online too.
Keep in mind that if you need to connect the docking station to a Mac or Linux machine you have to make sure that they are compatible and within their system requirements.
Some models offer eSata connections too which is also pretty quick, so if you have spare eSata ports, this may be quite handy. If you don’t want to use USB 3 ports, you can also look for ones that allow automatic duplication of hard drives.
If you need a Hard Drive Dock Station, our list will help guide you towards finding the best Hard Drive Docking Station for your needs, so let’s take a look at the alternatives.