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The best monitor arms

The best monitor arms
From Engadget - September 15, 2017

Who should get this

If you work at a computer for long periods of time, a monitor arm can help prevent back and neck pain by positioning the screen in an ergonomically ideal location. Alan Hedge, an ergonomics expert and director of the Human Factor and Ergonomics program at Cornell University, recommends that the top of a screen be about 2 to 3 inches above eye level, because human eyes see more below the horizon line than above. Monitor arms are also helpful if you alternate between sitting and standing at your desk or share a workstation with people of varying height.

How we picked and tested

Everyone has a different body and a different workstation, so the wider range of motion a monitor arm has, the better. A good monitor arm should support VESA mounts, the most common standard supported by most displays. Monitor arms must also sturdily attach to a wide range of desks and include cable-management options. We also like to see clear assembly instructions and a strong warranty.

We tested by assembling each monitor arm, attaching each arm to a Dell UltraSharp U2715H (our previous pick for the best 27-inch monitor), and mounting each to a desk. For each arm we assessed the setup process, sturdiness, and the range of movement, and we had people of varying heights use and adjust the monitor in both sitting and standing positions.

Our pick: AmazonBasics Single Monitor Arm

The AmazonBasics Single Monitor Display Mounting Arm is the monitor arm we recommend for most people because it's the most adjustable, the easiest to set up, and the sturdiest arm for the price. It has 13 inches of height adjustment, extends outward up to 25 inches, and can tilt 70 degrees backward and 5 degrees forward. You can also pan and rotate a full 360 degrees for vertical alignment. It comes with a 1-year warranty covering damage to the arm, but not damage to your monitor.

The AmazonBasics desk clamp and VESA mounting plate are both sturdy, an absolute must for an arm designed to hold an expensive monitor. The wide, heavy desk clamp is easy to tighten, and in our tests, jostling the base did not move the arm at all.

We do not love the AmazonBasics Single Monitor Arm's cable-management system, which consists of a flimsy piece of plastic that hooks onto the underside of the lower arm plus zip ties that hook cables under the top portion of the arm. If the AmazonBasics arm's cable management does not cut it for you, we recommend the Velcro ties we describe in our home-office furniture and supplies guide.

Runner-up: Ergotron LX Monitor Arm

If our pick is sold out or you do not mind spending around $35 more for a monitor arm with a longer warranty, we also like the Ergotron LX Desk Mount LCD Monitor Arm. The Ergotron LX is nearly identical to the AmazonBasics aside from the polished aluminum finish on the arm and base. The Ergotron also has a considerably longer warranty (10 years, versus the one-year warranty on the AmazonBasics). Beyond those differences, however, the Ergotron is equally sturdy, adjustable, and easy to assemble, which is why it's not our top pick: the AmazonBasics has the same features for a lower price.

A sleeker-looking option: Fully Jarvis Monitor Arm

For tall people at a sit/stand desk: Ergotron LX Tall Pole Monitor Arm

For dual-monitor setups: AmazonBasics Dual Side-by-Side Monitor Arm

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