The 9 Best HDD Docks

Updated April 02, 2018 by Jeff Newburgh

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We spent 37 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. Whether you're looking to accomplish simple data migration using your computer's internal hard disk or you need to clone the contents from one drive to another, one of these HDD docking stations will be perfect for the job. We've included docks that balance fast transfer speeds, affordable pricing, and robust designs. Many of them are compatible with multiple operating systems. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best hdd dock on Amazon.

9. Sabrent DS-UB31

Boasting lightning-fast duplication speeds, the Sabrent DS-UB31 is designed to accept any hard drive up to an 8-terabyte capacity. It is backward compatible with both USB 3.0 and 2.0. Unfortunately, the power button is rather flimsy.
  • no software drivers required
  • good for data recovery
  • initial mounting takes a long time
Brand Sabrent
Model DS-UB31
Weight 1.4 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

8. Unitek Y-3366

Sporting built-in ventilation holes and a flat open structure, the Unitek Y-3366 is conducive to rapid heat dissipation, ensuring stable operation of most hardware without any data bottlenecks. A sliding dust cover protects your sensitive equipment from damage.
  • low power consumption
  • compact design maximizes desk space
  • the leds are difficult to see
Brand Unitek
Model Y-3366
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

7. OWC Dual-Bay

The OWC Dual-Bay accommodates 2 SATA drives and provides simultaneous access to the contents of each without forcing you to reboot your computer when alternating between them. Each slot is equipped with an independent power switch.
  • mac and pc compatible
  • 2-year limited warranty
  • it's on the pricey side
Brand OWC
Weight 3 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

6. Plugable USBC-SATA-V

If you're copying many large files, the Plugable USBC-SATA-V won't let you down during the process. It works using 4K sector Advanced Format technology, which partitions and maintains data at high storage densities without compromising its integrity.
  • accepts thunderbolt 3 connections
  • supports bulk-only transfer
  • the dust cover is flimsy
Brand Plugable
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

4. StarTech SDOCKU313E

The StarTech SDOCKU313E supports USB 3.1 and eSATA connections. Its compact, top-loading design allows for easy vertical hardware insertion from most laptops and computers, making it a practical option for IT professionals who specialize in data recovery services.
  • backward compatible with usb 2 and 1
  • works with drives up to 6 terabytes
  • the fan is quite loud
Brand StarTech
Model SDOCKU313E
Weight 1.9 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

3. Icy FlexiDock

Consider the ruggedly-designed Icy FlexiDock as a secure fortress for all your file storage needs. A durable metal chassis and sturdy ABS plastic fully protect your equipment, while the tray-less design facilitates smooth and efficient hot-swapping.
  • built-in ventilation slots
  • variable speed cooling fan
  • very quiet operation
Model MB524SP-B
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. Silverstone TS12

Capable of working with 2.5- and 3.5-inch hard drives, the Silverstone TS12 offers convenient plug-and-play operation for data cloning without a computer. A transfer speed of up to 10 gigabytes per second makes it ideal for your high-volume archiving projects.
  • compatible with uasp
  • tray-less design for hot-swapping
  • sleek aluminum body
Brand SilverStone Technology
Model TS12C
Weight 2.2 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

1. StarTech SDOCK2U313R

The StarTech SDOCK2U313R can copy the contents of a 6-terabyte SATA solid state drive at speeds of up to 28 gigabytes per minute. Its sector-by-sector duplication method maintains data integrity when you're trying to recover information from potentially damaged hardware.
  • no computer connection required
  • convenient eject button
  • usb-a and -c cables included
Brand StarTech
Model SDOCK2U313R
Weight 1.9 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

Hard Drives Versus Solid State Drives

When one buys a new laptop today, the store's customer service representative might ask them if they want a model with a hard disk drive (HDD) or a solid-state drive (SSD) storage unit. One of the main differences between an SSD and an HDD is that an SSD has no moving parts. An HDD stores information inside of a rotating platter. A read/write head sits just above that platter and when it spins, it reads and writes the data. It looks slightly similar to an old record player. An SSD, however, stores data inside of tiny microchips, and the storage unit does not need to move at all to deliver information to a computer.

The still nature of an SSD is what makes it faster than an HDD; the user can access information instantly through the SSD’s embedded processor, rather than wait for an arm to read and analyze it. Computers using HDDs are, however, catching up in speed to SSDs. The speed of an HDD depends on how quickly its platter spins. Many computer manufacturers today are creating ones that boast up to 7,200 rotations per minute. Some server-based HDDs have platters that spin up to 15,000 rotations per minute.

One might wonder what the advantage is to one of these types of storage units over the other. HDDs are typically less expensive than SSDs. Many laptop hard drives come with around one terabyte—or 1,024 gigabytes—of storage, but ones with SSD storage generally come with 512GB or less. Prices are always changing, but an HDD-based computer may cost fifty percent or less of the price of a similar model with solid state storage of the same capacity. That being said, through the use of NAND flash technology, SSD-based computer manufacturers are hoping to increase the storage capacity of their product while keeping their prices low in an attempt to be more competitive with HDD-based computers.

History Of Hard Drive Disks

When hard drives first came on the market, they were very expensive. IBM produced the first one in 1953 and released it in 1956. It was called the IBM 305 RAMAC, it held five megabytes of data, and it cost $10,000 per megabyte. The RAMAC was enormous, using fifty 24-inch platters to store data. A few years later, IBM created the flying head that floated over the magnetic platters of a hard drive, reading and writing the information. It wasn't until 1963 that IBM released the first external hard drive, which was significantly smaller than their original model. This removable hard drive was composed of six 14-inch platters, and could hold half of the data of the first model.

These primitive hard drives were very clunky and moved slowly. In 1973, IBM put out their Winchester hard drive, which had lubricated spindles for quicker file access, and low-mass heads that didn't take up as much space. IBM was the only major producer of hard drives until a company called Seagate Technology started making them in 1979. After that, IBM and Seagate seemed to be in a race to put out a better, faster product. In 1980, IBM made its first gigabyte hard drive, and in that same year, Seagate introduced the first 5.25-inch hard disk. Other hard drive manufacturers came on the market around this time, including Western Digital, Shugart Associates, and Rodime.

Shugart created an interface that would become the first small computer system interface (SCSI) in 1981. 1988 saw the emergence of the 1-inch by 3.5-inch hard drive, which is still standard size for desktops today. In 1991, IBM made the first drive with film magnetoresistive heads (MR) and in 1992, Seagate stole the show by releasing the first 2.5-inch hard drive, which has become the standard size for laptop HDDs. Seagate would again shock the technology world when it put out the first drive capable of 15,000 rotations per minute in the year 2000.

What Makes A Hard Drive Dock Unique

There are a total of nine internal hard drive sizes, but the only two that are currently active are the 2.5 and 3.5-inch ones. Some hard drive docks have the ability to read both of these sizes. Many hard drive docks even have readers for SD cards and XD cards, making them useful for almost any computer task from gaming to photo-viewing.

Some people have internal hard drives that they want to keep protected inside of their computer at all times. A docking station makes it so they do not have to remove their internal hard drive in order to work with an additional one. Internal hard drives can also overheat and crack inside of a computer. Docking stations allow the user to periodically back up these internal drives, so they don't lose all of their data in the event that they are destroyed.

Most docking stations can also read one hard drive while they write to another. So the user can both work on files contained in one hard drive on their computer, while simultaneously adding data to another one. Some models even have offline cloning technology that allows the user to perfectly duplicate the data and save it to another drive, without ever removing data from the original one.

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Last updated on April 02, 2018 by Jeff Newburgh

A dedicated writer and communications professional spending his days lost in the intricacies of both proposal and freelance writing. When not sharing the knowledge of both fully and self-insured medical benefits to employer groups of all industries within California, Jeff Newburgh can be found at home spending time with his family and 3 dogs, pondering the next chew toy to be thrown, while kicking back and relaxing with a nice glass of red wine.

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