Saturday, January 23, 2021

Best Laptop Stand 2020: Ergonomic Laptop Risers for Your Setup

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You know the experience: Set your laptop on a tabletop or standing desk, and you’re in for an ergonomic nightmare. The screen is too low, forcing you to angle your neck and slump your shoulders at an uncomfortable angle. If you plan to use a full-sized keyboard, there’s nowhere to place it because the laptop itself is in the way… and forget about trying to use the laptop in bed or on the sofa.That’s why there’s an entire industry of laptop stands designed to raise, angle, and support your laptop in a variety of situations. If you spend much of your time working from home, some sort of laptop stand is virtually essential. If you use your laptop in a variety of locations, you might even need more than one type of stand, since some work best on the kitchen table, others can help you work in bed, and yet others are designed specifically to turn your desk into a standing desk or help musicians follow music while performing on stage.

Whatever you are looking for, I’ve rounded up the best laptop stands to choose from. Be sure to check out the end of the article, where I’ve put together a buying guide that highlights what you should keep in mind when you shop for your laptop stand.

TL;DR – These are the Best Laptops Stand Trays:

1. Rain Design mStand

Best Minimalist Laptop Stand

Rain Design mStand

On Amazon

For simplicity and elegance, the mStand by Rain Design is a strong pick. And when we say strong, we mean it. This laptop stand is built from a single piece of aluminum that can hold up even weighty laptops. That said, these stands are particularly well suited to Macbook owners, as they come in three different colors that nicely match the stylings of Apple’s notebooks (of course, it works just as well for Windows laptops and Chromebooks).

The mStand will lift your laptop display 5.9 inches up, giving you a better view of the display without having to bend your neck down. But, that’s not all it’s doing. The stand also includes a whole that can help you keep your desk space tidier with better cable management. You can run your power cables up through the hole and route any wired accessories through it as well. If you want to spice up your setup even more, Rain Design also offers a mStand that can swivel around its base as well as smaller mStand models designed for tablets and phones.

2. Griffin Elevator Laptop Stand

Best Budget Laptop Stand

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Griffin Elevator Laptop Stand

On Amazon

The Griffin Elevator Laptop Stand is a curious hybrid. It looks like what you’d get if you asked an early 20th century Minimalist painter to create a laptop stand based on the Rain Design mStand. It’s a fixed-height and fixed-angle stand machined from aluminum, but formed from two angled metal strips held together with a bar of plastic.

Its construction means this stand is surprisingly portable. In fact, it comes flat packed, requiring you to assemble it out of the box, so there’s no reason you couldn’t take it apart and toss it into a laptop bag any time you needed to. The design is completely open, which Griffin says is great for cooling. They’re not wrong. Cable management is of the “let it all hang out” variety. Rubberized strips keep the laptop fairly secure, and the whole thing is light and easy to move when needed.

3. Roost Laptop Stand

Best Portable Laptop Stand

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Roost Laptop Stand

On Amazon

Roost got its start as a crowd-funded Kickstarter project, and this newer version of the Roost stand benefits from lessons learned making the original. The key takeaway: Roost is ideal for mobile users who need a small, compact stand that can go on the road and be used in a variety of locations. Opened up, it looks like a simpler version of the Sofia + Sam stand, but without an actual tray for the laptop to sit on, or any articulating legs. When it’s time to pack up, it collapses down to 13 inches long and 1.25 inches square, which effortlessly slips into a backpack or briefcase.

While the Roost is adjustable, it’s not quite as adjustable as some other stands. Your laptop can sit as low as 6-inches off the table or as high as 11-inches. It also has a few preset angles for positioning the keyboard and screen. The Roost is made of lightweight plastic, but is rock-solid in use, and thanks to clever “pivot clips:” when you slide your laptop into place, the stand grips it solidly. There’s no way the computer can slide around. The pivot clip design, though, limits you to laptops that are .75 inches thick or less (not including the lid) – but it’s a rare laptop that’s bigger than that.

4. Avantree Neetto Height Adjustable Laptop Bed Tray

Best Bedstand Laptop Stand

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Avantree Neetto Height Adjustable Laptop Bed Tray

On Amazon

This stand looks sort of like a tray you’d use to deliver breakfast in bed, and if you want, you could use it for exactly that purpose. The Avantree Neetto Height Adjustable Laptop Bed Tray is made to support your laptop, but after you’ve finished editing the TPS reports, set your laptop aside and use this stand for a bedtime snack, to read a book, or any other task requiring a tray that can sit comfortably around your torso. You can even set it on the floor and use it as a TV serving tray for your kid.

Calling it a tray is a bit of a misnomer: It’s really more of a miniature table, with legs that hold flat for storage (the same way a folding table closes up). The legs extend vertically, allowing you to adjust the height of the laptop from sitting at a height of 9.5-inches to 12.6-inches. The miniature table also angles to a maximum pitch of 30-degrees. The tray itself is 20.5 x 11.8 inches – big enough for even large gaming laptops and still give you space for a mouse on the side.

Unlike most stands, which are made from aluminum or plastic, the Avantree Neetto’s tray is oak (and available in several different finishes). And while you can travel with this laptop stand – it packs flat and weighs about 3.4 pounds – it’s probably more convenient to leave at home for all the non-laptop jobs it can do when you’re not working.

5. Ergotron WorkFit-T Standing Desk Converter

Best Standing Desk Workstation Laptop Stand

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Ergotron WorkFit-T Standing Desk Converter

On Amazon

In the last few years, we’ve heard a lot from ergonomic and health experts that sitting at a desk might not be the healthiest way to spend eight hours a day. Some workplaces are happy to provide standing desks for workers who want them, but for everyone else – and for folks who spend a lot of time working from home — there’s the Ergotron WorkFit-T Standing Desk Converter. This oversized laptop stand actually supports a laptop and a second monitor, with a two-tier design that lets you place a full-size keyboard and mouse underneath.

Folded flat, the top tier is five inches high and the keyboard sits at desk level. When you are ready to work standing up, it elevates easily – it’s spring-loaded and can be operated by one person. The stand locks in place with a “handbrake,” and can be positioned anywhere up to 20-inches high – more than enough to simulate a standing desk.

6. VIVO Single Laptop Notebook Desk Mount Stand

Best Clamping Laptop Stand

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VIVO Single Laptop Notebook Desk Mount Stand

On Amazon

Need to keep your desk completely clear? Mount your laptop on a pole-and-clamp that hangs off the corner of your desk. This set-up is a common solution in industrial and lab environments, where you need access to a laptop but can’t keep it on the work surface. VIVO’s desk mount stand is a steel pole with a rigid clamp that attaches to an arm that holds the laptop tray. (The package also includes a monitor bracket, so you can hang a display from it instead.)

The arm can be mounted at whatever height you need, from desk height to about 17 inches high, and once configured, you can swing the arm around the pole and adjust the angle of the laptop. But to adjust the height of the arm, you’ll need to keep an Allen wrench handy, since that gets securely locked down during assembly. And don’t worry – you don’t need to drill holes or otherwise damage the desk. The pole clamps onto the desk, and includes pads to avoid scratching the surface.

The laptop tray is enormous – 14 x 12 inches – and can accommodate any laptop in existence. It’s also “ventilated” with a Swiss cheese arrangement of holes, to keep your laptop cool. It also comes with integrated cable clips to help you manage your wires by securing them to the pole.

7. Boyata Laptop Holder

Best Adjustable Laptop Stand

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Boyata Laptop Holder

On Amazon

Sometimes you’ll want a bit of flexibility in your desk setup, and the Boyata laptop holder can give it to you. This stand offers the kind of height you’d want from most laptop stands, but it has a Z-shaped design that offers extra positioning. The Boyata laptop stand is made out of an aluminum alloy for a strong structural design that’s balanced out by a low weight at just under three pounds. It also includes rubber pads to help prevent your laptop and the stand from scuffing each other.

The stand can lift your laptop’s display up to 10 inches, and since it’ll be holding your laptop on an angle, it includes 0.8-inch tall hooks to prevent your laptop from sliding down. The stand also has a large ventilation hole to help keep your laptop properly cooled while you’re using it. And, since the stand can fold down to a compact size, you can easily take it with you for workspace flexibility on the go.

8. Kantek MS520

Best Laptop Stand with Storage

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Perhaps you’re shopping for a laptop tray and you’re not looking for features like height or angle adjustments or portability – instead, what you need is storage. If that’s the case, look no further than the Kantek Extra Wide Height-Adjustable Monitor/Laptop Stand with Drawer.

This laptop stand (which is also designed to accommodate a monitor) stands a maximum seven inches off the desk but can be adjusted from three inches to seven inches in approximately one-inch increments. The angle isn’t adjustable, though: it sits level because it has a storage drawer under the laptop tray. The drawer is high enough it doesn’t interfere with the placement of a full-size keyboard.

The stand is a simple affair, made entirely of plastic with a spacious 13 x 23-inch surface for positioning your laptop, and has cable ties for cord-management.

9. Razer Laptop Stand Chroma

Best RGB Laptop Stand

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Razer Laptop Stand Chroma

On Amazon

You don’t want to prop up your beastly gaming laptop on some shabby, plastic stand that makes it look like it lives in a museum. Razer has you covered with the Razer Laptop Stand Chroma. The stand is low profile, so it won’t take up a bunch of extra space on your desk, nor will it call attention away from the stylings of your laptop. And, naturally for a Razer product, there’s a healthy dose of RGB lighting that will shine out from underneath the front of your laptop, so you can add some extra flair to your setup.

This stand is going to do several favors for your setup. For one, the open design creates plenty of room for airflow to your laptop’s fans, which can really help keep up performance while gaming. The heightened screen will also help with your posture, as laptops low displays are less ideal for lengthy gaming sessions. And, the stand doubles as a USB hub, with three USB 3.0 ports to let you easily hook up a keyboard, mouse, and perhaps a pair of wireless gaming headphones.

10. MOFT Laptop Stand

Best Portable Laptop Stand

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MOFT Laptop Stand

On Amazon

While many laptop stands can be handy for making your laptop more usable at home, not all of them are as ready to travel as your laptop. That can mean you’re left without a stand when you’re on the go. Luckily, the MOFT laptop stand is made to travel with you.

This ultra-thin, ultra-light laptop stand is essentially a sheet of sturdy material that sticks onto the base of your laptop. From there, it has a series of special folds that let it lift up the rear of your laptop, hoisting it up two or three inches to elevate your display. While the stand weighs less than a fifth of a pound and is only 3mm thick, it can hold 15.6-inch laptops and support up to 18 pounds. You won’t find many laptop stands that add this little bulk to your carry-on.

What to Look for in a Laptop Stand

A laptop stand doesn’t need to be expensive. It’s usually just something designed to raise the laptop screen to a more ergonomic viewing height and clear the path for a full-size keyboard and mouse. Need a stop-gap? A stack of books could do that (albeit poorly) for free.

Perhaps the most important criteria for an effective laptop stand is that it should position the laptop to work best for your sitting or standing height. A common ergonomic recommendation is to put the top of the monitor at eye level. While even a fixed-height laptop stand is an improvement over staring down at a portable PC on the tabletop, it can be well worth investing in one that gives you the flexibility of an adjustable height.

But your eyeline isn’t the only thing a laptop stand can help: laptop angle is also critical to your typing ergonomics (unless you’re using a full-size external keyboard). Again, a stand’s adjustability is a useful feature.

As you can see from the models on this list, there is a lot of variety in laptop stands. Decide whether you need one you can permanently set on your desk at home or in the office, or if your laptop stand needs to be portable. A stand you’ll want to toss in your laptop case should fold up or collapse for convenience when traveling, and be lightweight as well, or it’ll end up getting left behind. At the same time, though, look for a sturdy design that is strong enough to support your laptop – and has some way to keep your expensive computer from accidentally falling, even if that’s just rubberized or silicone pads to grip the bottom of the laptop.

You should take your own laptop into consideration as well. Will it physically fit on the stand you’re eyeing? Most laptop stands can accommodate even the largest laptops, but some have design features limiting the footprint or thickness of laptop it can hold. Another consideration when picking a laptop stand is how your laptop circulates air. If the fans flow down through the bottom of the laptop, your laptop stand should have a way to let that air escape, otherwise you risk overheating and unexpected shut-downs.

More Expert Tech Roundups

Dave Johnson has been writing about gaming and tech since the days of the Palm Pilot. See him shout into the Twitter void @davejoh

Mark Knapp is a regular contributor to IGN and an irregular Tweeter on Twitter @Techn0Mark



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