Best Laptop Stands for a More Ergonomic Workspace


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Jan 28, 2024

Best Laptop Stands for a More Ergonomic Workspace

A laptop stand can be a cheap way to raise your laptop screen for a safer, more

A laptop stand can be a cheap way to raise your laptop screen for a safer, more comfortable office setup

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Laptop stands get a lot of online raves from people looking for a cheap way to raise their laptops off their desks—no stack of dusty books needed. For as little as $15, they say you can get a device that improves your posture, enhances your productivity, tidies up your workspace, and keeps your laptop from overheating. You simply place the stand on your desk, and your laptop on the stand, and off you go.

I bought five of the most popular laptop stands from Amazon and Best Buy, and evaluated them using my 13-inch MacBook Air. All cost less than $50, and together they offer a variety of ways to adjust the height and angle of the laptop. They were the Besign LSX5 Aluminum Laptop Stand ($20), Insignia Ergonomic Laptop Stand ($32), Kentevin Laptop Stand ($15), PWR+ Laptop Table Stand ($45), and Soundance Laptop Stand ($25).

You’ll find dozens of other options available, many of them lookalikes, which means you don't have to limit yourself to the models I tried, as long as you understand the pros and cons of each style.

The point of a laptop stand is to raise the device off your desk so you don't strain your neck looking down at the screen. Since we’re all built differently, the best laptop stands are easy to adjust, as well as sturdy and attractive.

When the laptop is placed on the stand, the top of the screen should sit at or just below your eye level, according to Consumer Reports’ in-house ergonomics experts. (See illustration below.) The more precisely you can adjust the height of the stand, the better off you’ll be.

Now, when you raise the laptop off your desk, the keyboard and trackpad get elevated, too. So a laptop stand works best when paired with a standalone keyboard and mouse, like the setup you’d use when pairing your laptop with a computer monitor.

In addition to height, some models also let you adjust the angle at which your laptop is tilted, which can help you see the screen more easily. Some stands offer bonus features like a swing-out stand to hold your phone or even built-in fans to cool your laptop. I did not find those to be particularly useful, but you may disagree. According to Antonette Asedillo, who oversees laptop testing at Consumer Reports, simply elevating your laptop will help keep it cool by allowing air to circulate beneath it. "I’m not sure how much benefit you get from the fan," she says, "unless you own a high-powered gaming laptop."

You may want to consider aesthetics, too. Some models are available in a range of colors and you should be able to find a stand that you’ll like seeing on your desk every day.

The Besign, Insignia, and Soundance stands all have a simple aluminum design—somewhat like a music stand—that unobtrusively raises a laptop off your desk. The Kentevin and PWR+ stands are more complex. The first is a plastic, wedge-shaped device—almost like a doorstop—that raises the laptop screen by shifting the angle of the laptop ever so slightly, as opposed to moving the entire computer up and down. The second has elaborately jointed legs with a vaguely Pixar-robot look that allows for a very wide range of height adjustments.

Here's a closer look at what each has to offer, starting with my personal favorite.

Photo: Nicholas De Leon/Consumer Reports Photo: Nicholas De Leon/Consumer Reports

Price: $32Where to Buy: Best BuyThis model—made by Best Buy's in-house electronics brand—is my top pick. It delivers everything you want in a stand. Made of lightweight aluminum, it requires no assembly or tools to adjust the height. You merely press or pull on the stand, elevating the twin arms, to reach the desired position. And despite not locking into place like the Besign model below, it still feels sturdy during use. The Insignia can raise the laptop up to about 8 inches off the desk, which is high enough to suit most users’ needs. It's only available in silver.

Photo: Nicholas De Leon/Consumer Reports Photo: Nicholas De Leon/Consumer Reports

Price: $20Where to Buy: AmazonThe Besign comes fully assembled, but requires the use of an Allen wrench (included in the box) to loosen the joints in the lone arm that connects the base and the stand. With it, you can adjust the height of the stand (up to 8 inches in the air) how much the laptop tilts. Once the setup is complete, the stand feels sturdy and secure. It's available in black, gray, and silver.

Photo: Nicholas De Leon/Consumer Reports Photo: Nicholas De Leon/Consumer Reports

Price: $25Where to Buy: AmazonThe Soundhance requires minor assembly: You snap the two arms into the base of the stand and, when you’re done, your laptop sits about six inches off the desk. The problem is there's no way to adjust the height and tilt, which makes it difficult to properly position the screen. The stand is made of aluminum and available in 10 colors, including red, green, navy, and purple.

Photo: Nicholas De Leon/Consumer Reports Photo: Nicholas De Leon/Consumer Reports

Price: $15Where to Buy: AmazonThe Kentevin stand is the one that resembles an oversized doorstop. It's made of plastic with a non-slip rubber pad on top that holds the laptop in place (no assembly required). To adjust things, you gradually raise the slope of the stand by anchoring the arm in one of eight ridged grooves in the base. This does raise the laptop, but only between 5.5 and 7 inches, thereby limiting the ergonomic benefits. The model also has a built-in phone stand that flips out so you can look at the laptop screen and phone screen side by side.

Photo: Nicholas De Leon/Consumer Reports Photo: Nicholas De Leon/Consumer Reports

Price: $45Where to Buy: AmazonThe PWR+ resembles a TV dinner tray with accordion-style legs that you use to adjust the height. The marketing material included with the stand suggests that, with the legs fully extended, you can use it as a work surface while seated on a couch (rather than at your desk). I tried it, but needed to hunch forward to type. At that height, the thing is quite wobbly, too, rattling around as I pressed the keys on my laptop. But how is it on a desk? Well, at the lowest setting, the PWR+ raises your laptop more than 11 inches off the surface—and that's too high to be of ergonomic benefit to anyone who doesn't play center in the NBA. The stand also measures more than 16 inches wide, which means you need an extra-large desk to accommodate it.

That depends on what you’re hoping to accomplish.

For someone like my CR colleague Lisa Chow, who doesn't have space for a tricked-out home office complete with an external monitor on a Gordon Gecko-sized desk, a laptop stand makes a lot of sense.

"Pre-pandemic, I worked in an office, so I had a desktop," says Chow, a communications specialist at Consumer Reports, who was employed by a different company at that time. "Working from home wasn't planned, so I just sorta had my laptop on my desk. When people started setting up home offices for the long term, the company asked what equipment we needed. That's when I got a laptop stand."

It does what it's supposed to do, she says: Raise the display to eye level. "Because laptops are so tiny, I’d be hunched over for long stretches of time if I didn't have the stand," she adds.

And Chow is not alone. When I asked the folks on CR's Slack channel for input, nearly a dozen came forward to explain the virtue of owning a stand. When paired with an external mouse and keyboard, it helps approximate the ergonomic experience of an all-in-one desktop, at a fraction of the price.

It's hard to argue with that. The model from Best Buy's in-house Insignia brand costs only around $30. For a home office upgrade, that feels like a fair price. At the same time, it's hard to recommend a laptop stand if you’re not prepared to buy an external mouse and keyboard, too. Without them, you’re simply replacing one ergonomic issue with others. But, you can easily find a basic mouse and keyboard combo for less than $20.

Still, if you’re setting up a permanent workspace in your home, I’d recommend first springing for a monitor—you can buy a decent 24-inch model for $150 or less. It's the better solution for ergonomics. You might still pick up a laptop stand, though, so you can use two screens at once, both at the right height.

Nicholas De Leon

Nicholas De Leon is a senior reporter for Consumer Reports, covering laptops, wireless routers, tablets, and more. He has been at CR since 2017. He previously covered tech for Vice, News Corp, and TechCrunch. He lives in Tucson, Ariz. Follow him on Twitter for all things tech and soccer @nicholasadeleon.

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