KVM Switch vs. Docking Station

Differences between KVM Switch and Docking Station

Although there are some overlaps, KVM switches and docking stations are basically made for different purposes.

A docking station is used to increase the number of ports available to a single laptop or other mobile devices, allowing access to more external monitors and accessories while also offering a more efficient charging option.

Similar to how a docking station enables the attachment of external USB devices for laptops, a KVM switch can grant the device access to peripherals it might not otherwise have been able to use. But in the end, a docking station outperforms any KVM switch in terms of increasing a laptop’s usefulness. Docking stations are therefore often not utilized in conjunction with desktops or servers and are instead used to enhance connectivity choices for a single laptop.

Additionally, some KVM switches feature external displays through HDMI, DisplayPort, and USB-C outputs, and the ability to add more USB peripherals to any device that is plugged into your switch somewhat duplicates docking station inputs. However, docking stations typically provide a wider variety of connectors while preventing you from switching between devices.

KVM switches are primarily used in environments with many systems to manage, such as with multiple desktop PCs, servers, and data centers, as well as when using different operating systems. They are also used when using a laptop with more capable keyboard and mouse combinations than those that came with the laptop. They are particularly helpful in home offices, where a personal desktop and a laptop provided by the firm may coexist with the same shared accessories and displays.

There are docking stations with a KVM switch built into them in a few specialized situations, but they are often significantly more expensive than either standalone device and can connect to fewer devices while offering a smaller number of ports.

Quote from AV Access Blog