Elevate Your Laptop With the Best Laptop Stands | IGN

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. Sofia + Sam Laptop Stand Tray

Best Laptop Stand

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Some laptop stands are more style-forward, with slick curves and brushed aluminum that make them look like they were made by Apple, if not an outright extension of your MacBook. Sofia + Sam’s Laptop Stand Tray is a different sort of affair. Its form follows its function, with a pair of articulating legs making it look like the all-terrain vehicle of laptop stands.

The legs articulate and twist in any direction, meaning it can sit high or low, and accommodate any surface from a smooth desk or tabletop to a soft bed. It can sit as low as three-inches off the surface it’s placed on, or as high as 10.75 inches. You can also control the exact tilt you want from the laptop tray, which can help your typing ergonomics. There’s also a mouse tray which you can optionally attach to the either side for right- or left-handed operation. At 6.4 x 5.9 inches, it’s a little on the small side, so you can’t make large, sweeping mouse movements and expect to keep the mouse on the tray.

Made of aluminum, the tray is sturdy, solid, and versatile enough to use while seated at the kitchen table, or raised as a standing desk. If you need to use your laptop in a lot of different situations, this is the stand to get.

2. Griffin Elevator Laptop Stand

Best Budget Laptop Stand

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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 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. Rain Design mStand

Best Minimalist Laptop Stand

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Designed to match your MacBook, the mStand has a sleek Apple-like physique and is machined from a single piece of aluminum with a silver-anodized finish. But while it looks best paired with an Apple laptop, you’ll be happy to learn Windows PCs and Chromebooks don’t burst into flames if you set them on top, so you can use any portable PC with this stand.

The mStand makes some compromises for style. It’s obviously not adjustable, so your laptop will be elevated six inches and set at a fixed angle. But it has grippy rubber bumpers to keep your laptop from sliding around, and has a large two-inch hole in the back for cable management.

Let’s be clear: You’re not going to travel with this stand. It’s not even a little portable. But this is a great option for your desk, either at work or at home, where you know exactly how you want to arrange your workspace and position a mouse and keyboard for your laptop.

5. Avantree Neetto Height Adjustable Laptop Bed Tray

Best Bedstand Laptop Stand

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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.

6. Ergotron WorkFit-T Standing Desk Converter

Best Standing Desk Workstation Laptop Stand

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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.

7. VIVO Single Laptop Notebook Desk Mount Stand

Best Clamping Laptop Stand

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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.

8. Samson LTS50 Laptop Stand

Best Musician’s Laptop Stand

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Not everyone works at a desk. Musicians and DJs, for example, frequently need to set up a laptop somewhere where there’s no traditional surface to set it on. That’s where the Samson LTS50 Laptop Stand comes in: it’s a tall pole-stand with tripod legs and a laptop stand on top.

The stand collapses down to a very compact 32 inches for travel and opens up like any ordinary music stand. The laptop tray can be positioned at any height from 30 to 47 inches, and the tray can be set to any angle as well. The tray itself measures 15 x 11 inches, and has a lip at the top as well as the bottom, which serves as a hard limit for how large of a laptop it can hold. It also has a silicone mat to help hold the laptop in place.

9. 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.

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.

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