Using a monitor arm will improve the ergonomics of your work setup, and allow you to reclaim precious desk space for other tech accessories. Installing your external display onto a monitor arm will allow you to move it freely, so you can find the exact height, distance, and angle that works best for you. If you’ve been suffering from neck strain at the end of a workday, the culprit could be working on a screen that’s above or below your sightline. You could be contorting your body in seemingly minor ways to account for that issue, which can lead to chronic pain after an extended period of time 

Most external displays come mounted onto a stand, which has a broad “foot,” to keep your monitor from tipping over when it’s tilted or moved. We appreciate the stability, but it means monitor stands take up a lot of room on the top of your desk. A monitor arm is attached to your desk with a clamp, which provides the same level of stability while taking up a fraction of the space. If you’ve never tried one of the best monitor arms before, we highly recommend trying one to see how much of a difference it can make. 

Best Overall: Mount-It! Single Monitor Arm
Best Budget: Monoprice Adjustable Gas Spring Desk Mount
Best Dual-Monitor Stand: Amazon Basics Dual-Monitor Stand
Best for Ultrawide Monitors : VIVO Aluminum Desk Stand

How We Picked the Best Monitor Arms

Our monitor arm recommendations are based on a mix of hands-on testing and research. Below are the factors we considered most highly when deciding which computer speakers to include in this buyer's guide. 

Supported Screen Sizes: External displays come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s imperative to get a monitor arm that can accommodate the one you use. Most of our recommendations can handle any display up to 30 inches or so — regardless of which company makes it. We also included a pick that works with ultrawide display monitors that are popular with creative professionals and gamers.

Maximum Weight: A monitor arm will suspend your display above the top of your desk. If your external display is too heavy, the arm may sag, and its clamp may come loose over time. Many of the monitor arms in this guide can “hold” monitors up to roughly 20 pounds. For reference, this 32-inch screen from LG clocks in at 13.4 pounds. 

Cable Management: Some monitor arms are designed with hollow spaces inside, which allows you to discreetly run power and data cables from the display to your computer. This is a convenience feature for anyone who wants the cleanest desk setup possible. 

Best Monitor Arms: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: Mount-It! Single Monitor Arm

Full Control. Mount-It!

Why It Made The Cut: Mount-It!’s monitor arm allows you to easily move your external display anywhere and any way you choose, and the company offers written and video instructions to help you set it up. 

Specs:
Supported Sizes: 19 to 32 inches
Maximum Weight Tolerance: 20 pounds
Integrated Cable Management: Yes

Pros:
— Full articulation
— Multiple installation options
— Video instructions available

Cons:
— No compatibility with ultrawide monitors

We’ve been very impressed by the performance of Mount-It!’s monitor stands, which is one of the main reasons we feel comfortable recommending its monitor arm. This arm allows you to have complete control of your screen’s position, meaning you can pull it closer, push it away, raise and lower it, and tilt it up and down. You can even rotate your monitor 360 degrees when it’s on this monitor arm. That last part is important because it can be very helpful to view the content you’re working on with the screen in a portrait orientation, the way most people will consume it on a smartphone or tablet. Mount-It! Also designed its arm with integrated cable management, so your cords won’t get tangled as you move your display around.

Mount-It! packages its monitor arm with the traditional clamp and a grommet, which allows you to permanently install it onto one place on your desk. Using the grommet will require you to put a hole in through your desk — a DIY project you may not want to attempt — but it’s nice that Mount-It! offers you the option at no cost. One underrated factor that put Mount-It!’s gear over the top is the company’s surprisingly good YouTube channel, which offers step-by-step video instructions on how to install this monitor arm. You’ll still get a set of instructions in the box, but the video can be incredibly helpful if you’ve never used a monitor arm before, and are afraid of putting it together. 

We think Mount-It!’s monitor arm is a great choice for almost everybody, but you should be mindful of its relatively low 20-pound weight tolerance, which means it can’t be used with ultrawide monitors. If the monitor you’re using fits under the 20-pound weight threshold supported by Mount-It!’s monitor arm, we can recommend it without reservations. 

Best Budget: Monoprice Adjustable Gas Spring Desk Mount

Simple and Unobtrusive. Monoprice

Why It Made The Cut: Monoprice’s Adjustable Gas Spring Desk Mount has almost all of the same features as our top pick, but it costs a lot less.

Specs:
— Supported Sizes: 15 to 34 inches
— Maximum Weight Tolerance: 19.8 pounds
— Integrated Cable Management: Yes

Pros:
— Support for a wide range of monitor sizes
— Multiple installation options
— Price

Cons:
— Lower weight tolerance

Monoprice’s Adjustable Gas Spring Desk Mount punches way above its weight, offering most of the same features as our premium picks at a far lower price. This monitor arm allows you to move your monitor in any direction, and rotate it 90 degrees to position your display in portrait mode. You may not be able to rotate your monitor completely when using this monitor arm, but that shouldn’t be a big issue in most cases. 

You can use Monoprice’s monitor arm with displays between 15 and 34 inches that weigh up to 19.8 pounds.  That’s a greater range than our top pick offers. Your display’s weight shouldn’t be an issue, but we strongly recommend you double check its tech specs before getting this monitor arm. Monoprice includes both a clamp and grommet with this monitor arm, so you have multiple installation options. This is a nice touch given the monitor arm’s relatively low price. 

Another unexpected nicety is this monitor arm’s cable management clips. Using clips isn’t the most elegant way to route cables, but it’s a lot better than watching them dangle. If you’re interested in upgrading your desk setup, but don’t want to blow your entire budget on a monitor arm, this model from Monoprice is the one to get.

Best Dual-Monitor Stand: Amazon Basics Dual-Monitor Arm Mount

Double Vision. Amazon

Why It Made The Cut: Amazon Basics’ Monitor Arm allows you to control the precise positioning of two displays at the same time. 

Specs: 
Supported Sizes: Up to 32 inches
Maximum Weight Tolerance: 40 pounds
Integrated Cable Management: No

Pros:
— Full articulation
— Each display can be moved individually
— Video instructions

Cons:
— Takes up more space

If your work setup includes two displays, you’ll immediately appreciate the utility of Amazon Basics’ Dual-Monitor Arm Mount. The remarkable thing about this tool is that each of its monitor arms can be controlled independently. The display on the right can be completely off to one side and oriented vertically while the other is directly in front of your face in a landscape configuration. This means you could dedicate one monitor to your work while the other one is used only for your work’s messaging client and e-mail. The way you position your monitors will be entirely dependent on your needs, but it’s good to know you have options. 

Each of the arms on this accessory can hold a monitor that’s up to 32 inches wide and weighs 20 pounds or less. This is on par with our other recommendations, but you should keep the size of your monitors in mind, as using two gigantic displays will limit your placement options. We typically recommend having one full-sized monitor (27 inches or so) and a smaller secondary monitor (24 inches or so) for the best experience. Using this monitor arm will take up more space on your desk than our other recommendations, but that’s the price you pay for setting up two displays.

Amazon Basics’ Dual Monitor Arm Mount can only be installed onto your desk with a clamp, but the company does offer a wall-mount version if you’d prefer that. The company offers video installation instructions for this monitor directly on its product page. Amazon’s video walks you through the steps of how to set up the single-monitor version of this accessory, but the basic installation methods are the same. If you’re currently using a dual-screen setup that includes a pair of external displays, we couldn’t recommend Amazon Basics Dual-Monitor Arm Mount more highly.

Best for Ultrawide Monitors: VIVO Aluminum Desk Stand

Designed for Wide Screens. Vivo

Why It Made The Cut: VIVO’s Aluminum Desk Stand lets you precisely position your ultra-wide display so you can be immersed in the digital world.

Specs:
— Supported Sizes: Up to 49 inches
— Maximum Weight Tolerance: 39.6 pounds
— Integrated Cable Management: Yes 

Pros:
— Works with very large displays
— Supports heavier monitors
— Built-in cable management 

Cons:
— Only one installation method

Ultrawide monitors have become more popular recently because new games and productivity apps have been designed to take advantage of the extra space. The whole point of using this type of monitor is for the screen to take up all of your peripheral vision, which is why VIVO’s Aluminum Desk Stand would be such a great addition to your setup. It’ll allow you to move a display up to 49 inches wide perfectly within your line of sight, so all you end up seeing is the screen. 

VIVO’s monitor arm can hold displays that are twice as heavy as our other recommendations, which is necessary given the heft of an ultrawide monitor. The arm is still strong enough to offer 180-degree swivel and rotation along with 90 degrees of tilting. You shouldn’t have any problem finding the perfect spot for your display. VIVO also designed its monitor arm with integrated cable management, so you can make your setup look as sleek as possible. 

The company even offers a version of this same monitor arm with two USB ports on it so you can easily charge your devices, though that model costs an extra $20. Our only note about VIVO’s monitor arm is that it only comes with a clamp, so you don’t have the option to install it onto your desk with a grommet. Ultrawide displays aren’t mainstream quite yet, but this monitor arm can improve your work setup if you’re ahead of the curve.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Monitor Arm

Here are the factors you should assess in your desk setup before making your purchase.

Desk Thickness: The easiest way to install a monitor arm is by clamping it to your desk, but that only works if your desk isn’t too thick. A monitor arm will typically fit onto a desk that’s up to two-and-a-half to three-inches thick.

Working Area: The big advantage of using a monitor arm is the ability to move your display anywhere you want, but you’ll be limited by distance between your screen and other objects in your room. If you have tall speakers or a thin desk, you’ll be negating this advantage over a static monitor stand.

FAQs

Q: Do monitor arms work with all monitors?

A majority of monitor arms will work with any display, but be sure to check the arm’s maximum size and weight limitations before picking one. If your external monitor is 27 inches or smaller, any monitor arm should work.

Q: Are monitor arms better than monitor stands?

This depends on your workspace. Monitor arms give you greater flexibility than stands, allowing you to position your display exactly where you want it. Monitor stands, by contrast, only allow you to adjust the height of your screen — if that. If you’re the type of person who’s been suffering from neck strain or posture issues as you sit at your desk, using a monitor arm may help by making your workspace more comfortable.

Q: How long do monitor arms last?

A monitor arm should last a decade or more with daily use. You can continue to use the same arm as you upgrade your external display.

Final Thoughts on Monitor Arms

Ergonomics are an under-discussed part of office work, whether it’s taking place in your home or outside of it. We mentioned this earlier, but using a monitor arm could relieve neck strain, or prevent it from getting worse if you’ve already started noticing some pain. The ability to keep your work monitor(s) at eye level, or having the option to change how you position your body throughout the day could help more than you think. This is especially true if you have a sit-stand desk, and regularly switch between those two modes. 

There’s no guarantee that using a monitor arm will have a material impact on your health, but it’s better to invest in gear that could have potential positive effects than not. There’s no downside to choosing a monitor arm over the monitor stand that came with your display, but the potential upsides are substantial enough that we recommend the upgrade.

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