Since its release, the MacBook Air M1 has quickly climbed to the best-selling charts. It’s one of Apple’s best-value products to date.
The problem is the MacBook Air M1 only has two Thunderbolt ports, one of which is used for charging the device, leaving one free.
So you need to buy a dongle to connect external devices. Which leads us to the question, what is the best dongle for MacBook Air M1?
The best dongle for you will depend on what additional ports you need.
There’s no point in buying an expensive dongle with lots of ports that you will never use.
To make it easier for you, I’ll clarify which dongle is best for user-specific activities.
Note: Dongles that support power delivery can get hot or even damage the Thunderbolt ports on your Macbook. I’ll talk more about that later on.
Let’s dive in:
P.S. Looking for other product recommendations?
Best Dongles for MacBook Air M1:
This Anker 8-in-1 dongle is the best for MacBook Air M1 because it’s a well-rounded hub with all the extra ports you need, with power-passthrough and a 1 GB/s ethernet port.
The additional ports:
- USB-C 3.1
- USB-C Power Delivery
- SD Card
- Micro SD
- 2 x USB-A Gen 2
Connect the Anker USB-C 8-in-1 dongle to one of your MacBook Air M1’s Thunderbolt ports and you will instantly have access to all the extra ports that you will need.
There are two features that stand out from this dongle: the ethernet port and USB-C power delivery.
As you might have noticed, the MacBook Air M1 does not have a dedicated ethernet port, so you’re limited to Wi-fi speeds.
For most of us with a desk setup, a stable Ethernet connection is a must-have because not only is it much faster than Wifi but it’s also more reliable.
With a max output of 100 Watts, the power delivery (PD) can charge the MacBook Air M1 directly through the same Thunderbolt port.
Overall, I think this is the best dongle for the MacBook Air M1 because it has all the most important ports. The two extra USB-A ports can be used for a flash drive, an external mouse, and a keyboard, to name a few.
The only ports that might not be useful for you are the SD card slots. Also, if you’re a mobile user, and don’t download much, the ethernet port might not be needed either. Some customers have complained that it’s unreliable too.
There are cheaper dongles without those ports that will work just as well for you.
Now, if you’re looking for a basic MacBook Air M1 dongle, this Belkin 4-in-1 is a good option. It’s a very simple dongle, with an HDMI port, two USB-A ports, and one USB-C port for 100W power delivery.
This Belkin dongle is great for people who want to connect their MacBook Air M1 to an external display, mouse, and keyboard.
It gets the job done, and you won’t get a bunch of unnecessary ports. It’s perfect for people who use their monitors on a desk with an external monitor.
P.S. Take a look at my recommended monitors for MacBook Air M1.
The downside is there is no ethernet port, so you’ll be limited to your Wifi’s speed, which should be fast enough.
Here’s an interesting dongle that is perfect for people who hate cable clutter.
What makes this dongle special is the part that connects to the Thunderbolt port does not have an extension cable.
The dongle attaches to the side of your Macbook, and you can permanently leave it there if you want. Hence, the name micro-USB-C hub.
It has two USB-C connector ports, meant to be plugged into the two ports on the side of your Macbook. It adds another two USB-C ports, one for power delivery, another for data, an HDMI port, and two USB-A ports.
It doesn’t have any of the fancy ports like an SD card reader or LAN, nevertheless, it’s enough for a couple of extra devices.
I personally really like the design of this dongle. It helps that the color options are the same as MacBooks; Gold, Silver, and Space Grey.
If you want something without extra cables and that has the essential extra ports, this dongle is for you.
The Satechi aluminum dongle is a decent mid-range dongle with plenty of extra ports. The aluminum cover keeps the dongle cool, although it can get warm under heavy usage.
The extra ports include HDMI, 3 x USB A, Gigabit Ethernet, USB-C power delivery port, and a Micro/SD card reader. It’s a great dongle for photographers who need to backup files from SD cards. It’s also nice that the dongle comes in the same colors as MacBooks.
Bear in mind, the power delivery function on this dongle only supports 60 watts. If your MacBook requires more than 60 watts, I do not recommend charging it with this dongle.
The good news is the power delivery is totally optional, and since the dongle only takes up one of your Thunderbolt ports, you can use the remaining one to charge your MacBook.
Looking for a dongle that expands your ports but doesn’t include the complications of power delivery?
The Anker USB-C 5-in-1 dongle is a good choice. It’s a basic dongle, with one HDMI port, 2 x USB A, and Micro/SD card slots. It’s worth mentioning the USB ports are USB 3.0 which support faster transfer speeds. Remember, this dongle does not support power delivery.
Nevertheless, the performance was great, and I never had any issues with it.
Do You Need a Dongle That Supports Charging?
No. While a dongle that supports charging is convenient for your MacBook Air, it can also lead to issues like power ports burning out and broken dongles.
If you want a dongle that supports power delivery, I recommend spending a little bit extra to make sure the power-handling standards are met. Many cheap dongles that support power delivery create more problems than they solve. You could also simply avoid charging the device with the dongle.
You definitely don’t want to damage the limited ports on your MacBook. For that reason, I would choose a dongle that does not support power delivery because the risk of damage is much lower. Dongles that don’t support power delivery also won’t get hot.
The last dongle on our list, Anker 5-in-1 is a good non-PD option.
Can MacBook Air Dongles Support Multiple Monitors?
No. The MacBook Air M1 can only officially support one external display at a time. However, it is possible to connect multiple monitors to a MacBook Air using a special dongle.
Read my tutorial to learn how to connect multiple monitors to a MacBook Air M1 for more information.
While on the subject of monitors, take a look at my recommended monitors for MacBooks.
There are plenty of good dongles for the MacBook Air M1. It really boils down to what features you need. The adapters on my list are all extremely well-rated and I can vouch for them. My only tip is to be wary of power delivery issues.
Other than that, almost any dongle that has the ports you need will work. The good news is you can use these dongles with your other devices, for example, Windows laptops, phones, and others. For example, these adapters will work for a portable Samsung Dex station.