by Craig Lloyd on
If you’re ready to move on from subpar coffee in the morning and want to start making a worthwhile delicious cup of joe, here’s some coffee gear that will help get you started.
So you’ve finally jumped into the productive world of dual monitors. Good for you! You know what goes great with that? Dual monitor stands. They free up space on your desk, offer flexible configurations, and look cool.
There’s a surprising amount of variety in stand designs for two monitors, ranging from simple freestanding risers to multi-jointed ergonomic arms with gas-powered spring mechanisms. Which one’s best for you?
You’ll probably want something fairly stationary and rigid if you prefer to keep your screens in the same place, or something with more flexibility if you often move them around as you adjust your seating or share the screen with a coworker. You also need to consider your desk setup: most multi-monitor stands use a clamp on the back of the desktop. But if your desk has no lip, or it uses a less durable material like tempered glass or particle board, you might want to look into wall-mounted or freestanding design.
Oh, and before you go shopping, make sure your monitors are compatible with VESA-standard mounts; 100mm is the typical size. All third-party mounting systems use this to attach to the monitors themselves, but some monitor designs omit the mounting hardware—typically the cheaper and/or thinner models. Some super slim monitor models with smooth backs do, however, have U-shaped adapters that can replace the included base with an mounting point. If you have slender new monitor that doesn’t have mounting holes on the back, be sure to check with the manufacturer. Add-on mounting brackets typically run $20-40. For a full run down on shopping for a monitor stand, check out the guide at our sister site How-To Geek, How to Pick the Right Monitor Mount.
With that shopping advice out of the way, here are our choices for the best all-around, best freestanding, best wall-mounted, best budget, and best vertical double-monitor setups. There’s a little something for everyone.
The AmazonBasics line is the retailer’s “house brand,” which generally means lower-quality goods manufactured by third parties at a lower price. But in this case, Amazon offers quite a few monitor stands to compete with other brands, and the top-tier dual offering matches the features of the most expensive alternatives while beating it in price by almost $100.
The Premium Dual stand includes an all-metal construction with gas-spring arms, the same kind of smooth action that’s in the riser in your office chair, to keep your screens where you place them. It also includes three joints on each arm and an impressive 70-degree tilt range. Basically, any position you want either of your screens to be in is easily achieved. An optional grommet bracket (for mounting through a hole in your desk, pre-made or drilled yourself) and integrated cable management ties round out the package. You won’t even need any special tools for the standard clamp mount. One potential drawback: the 2.4-inch maximum clearance of the clamp may not be enough for larger desks.
There are a few dual monitor mounts with a conventional stand setup, but most of them use cheap steel tube construction and rigid joints. I’ve found that these can sag and wear over time, making your workspace look…well, saggy and worn. Ergotron’s Neo-Flex design is more solid, with a wide, heavy base for counterbalance when using larger monitors and a one-piece plate that allows the user to adjust the screens left, right, up, and down easily. Rollers on the base make it easier to move than some of the older designs, which is handy when you’re dealing with 40+ pounds of monitor and stand. It’s a good bit more expensive than some freestanding models, and users with screens larger than 24” diagonally should note that the plate arm design means there’s less room for a tilt to the inside or outside.
Depending on your setup (and your level of comfort with wall mounting), you might want to use two single-monitor wall mounts for your screens. But a combined design offers an advantage in easier leveling and less damage to the wall.
The WALI Universal Dual gives you both of these, and a very agreeable $50 price to boot. Both monitor arms are gas-spring powered and can rotate 360 degrees with a 180 degree tilt, offering all the flexibility you could want, plus a quick-release VESA mount for easier installation and screen swapping. The weight rating is only a bit more than 15 pounds per arm, but even so, you’ll want a solid wall anchor on a stud for this design. You may need to move your desk a bit to get it into an ideal position. You might also want to keep the included hex wrench handy—users report that the monitor alignment joint can be on the loose side.
If you’re looking for a dual stand under $50, you’re going to have to make some sacrifices. But the North Bayou Dual Monitor Desk Mount keeps them to a minimum. It offers the flexible and desirable gas-spring arm structure in a small package that comes in at just a few cents short of fifty bucks (at the time of writing, and before taxes and shipping).
The swivel design and triple-jointed setup are similar to the AmazonBasics model, including the wider base, optional through-the-desk grommet mount, and cable management. The only thing you’re really giving up is the materials: the North Bayou mount includes a lot of plastic in place of steel. The arms may be a bit short if your desk has a long distance from the back of the top surface to the front, where you sit.
Most users prefer a side-by-side monitor setup, but if you want your screens one on top of the other, the EZM Vertical Dual LCD Monitor Mount is a good pick. (And a mouthful.) The issues with hinged steel arms go away when both screens are mounted on a heavy central pole, and plenty of vertical space means you can use the mounts for oversized displays.
But the best part is that it offers both a freestanding option—a rarity for vertical display mounts, and too bad, since they have a tendency to lean—and a grommet installation option. Just don’t expect too much in the way of top and bottom tilt if you’re using larger screens. As a bonus, the EZM model is also quite cheap ($55 at the time of writing), thanks to a much less complex construction than side-by-side mounts.
Image source: Amazon
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