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Why Every Laptop User Needs a Proper Stand in 2023: An In-Depth Guide

As remote work and hybrid arrangements continue to be the norm for many companies, the makeshift work-from-home setups that many of us have been making do with are starting to take their toll. Hunching over a laptop on the couch or at the kitchen table for hours on end is a recipe for aches, pains and potential repetitive strain injuries over time.

Investing in proper office ergonomics has never been more important. And one of the simplest, most effective upgrades you can make is a well-designed laptop stand.

In this in-depth guide, we‘ll dive into the key benefits of laptop stands, what to look for when choosing one, and review some of the best models on the market for different needs and budgets. By the end, you‘ll see why a laptop stand is an absolute must-have accessory that you won‘t want to work without.

The Ergonomic Perils of Hunching Over a Laptop All Day

It‘s no secret that laptops aren‘t designed with optimal ergonomics in mind. With the screen and keyboard so close together, it‘s impossible to simultaneously keep your head/neck straight while also maintaining a neutral wrist position for typing.

As a result, most people tend to crane their neck forward and hunch their shoulders to look down at their laptop screen. This puts a lot of strain on the cervical spine and surrounding muscles. Over time, this awkward position can lead to:

  • Neck pain
  • Headaches
  • Shoulder pain
  • Upper and lower back pain
  • Eye strain and fatigue
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive strain injuries

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are one of the most prevalent and costly health issues facing workers today. They account for nearly 30% of all worker injury and illness cases reported to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) every year.

Some sobering stats on work-related MSDs from OSHA:

  • MSDs are the leading cause of work-related illness, accounting for 33% of all worker injury and illness cases
  • In 2018, there were 272,780 MSD cases reported in the private sector alone that resulted in days away from work
  • The average MSD results in 12 days away from work
  • Work-related MSDs cost employers $15-20 billion per year in workers‘ compensation costs and lost productivity
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome, often caused by repetitive motions and poor wrist positioning, results in a median of 27 days away from work per incident

Yikes. Clearly, the scope and cost of MSDs in the workplace is no joke. And with more people working remotely without a proper ergonomic setup, those numbers are likely to keep climbing.

The Scientifically-Backed Benefits of Elevating Your Laptop

So how exactly does a laptop stand help mitigate the ergonomic issues of hunching over your computer all day? Let‘s break down the key benefits and look at what the research says:

A More Neutral Neck and Head Position

The biggest ergonomic benefit of a laptop stand is that it raises your screen to eye level, allowing you to maintain a straight, forward-facing neck and head position. This neutral positioning puts much less strain on your cervical spine and neck muscles compared to constantly looking down.

A 2012 study published in the Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society found that a higher monitor position (27 inches above the desk surface) reduced neck and shoulder discomfort compared to a standard monitor height (17 inches above the desk). Participants also reported less musculoskeletal discomfort in the upper back, shoulders and arms when using the higher monitor position.

Another study from the International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics found that the optimum screen height for minimizing neck pain while working on a laptop was having the top of the screen level with the eyes. This lines up with the general ergonomic recommendation to have your eyes in line with the top third of your screen.

Reduced Eye Strain and Visual Fatigue

When your laptop screen is positioned too low, it can cause you to tilt your head forward and strain your eyes to see clearly. This can lead to eye fatigue, headaches, blurred vision and other symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS).

According to the American Optometric Association, CVS affects 50-90% of computer users and can cause a wide range of symptoms including:

  • Eyestrain
  • Headaches
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Dry, red or irritated eyes
  • Neck and shoulder pain

Elevating your laptop screen to eye level with a stand can help reduce eye strain by allowing your eyes to focus more naturally straight ahead, rather than constantly looking downward. This can help with maintaining proper posture and also decreases the tendency to lean forward to see the screen.

A higher screen position also makes it easier to maintain a proper distance away from your screen (about an arm‘s length), which further reduces eye strain. When your screen is too close, your eyes have to work harder to focus.

Improved Circulation and Breathing

The hunched posture that many people adopt when working on a laptop can compress the chest and diaphragm, leading to shallow breathing. This decreases the amount of oxygen getting to your brain, which can negatively impact your energy, focus and cognitive performance.

In contrast, an upright, neutral posture enabled by a laptop stand allows your lungs to fully expand and take in more oxygen. A 2006 study published in the International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics found that participants who used a laptop stand reported significantly less discomfort in the upper back and shoulders and also had better respiratory function compared to those who didn‘t use a stand.

Better Typing Posture and Wrist Alignment

While a laptop stand doesn‘t directly impact your wrist positioning, elevating your laptop to use as a screen does make it much more feasible to connect an external ergonomic keyboard and mouse.

Using your laptop‘s built-in keyboard and trackpad forces your wrists into an awkward, non-neutral position that can strain the muscles and tendons over time, potentially leading to repetitive strain injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome.

An external keyboard allows you to adjust the height, distance and angle to keep your wrists straight and your elbows at a 90 degree angle while typing. And an ergonomic mouse promotes a more natural, neutral wrist position compared to a trackpad.

What to Look for in an Ergonomic Laptop Stand

With so many different laptop stands on the market, it can be tricky to know which features are most important. Here are the key criteria I recommend considering when choosing a stand:


The more adjustability, the better, as this allows you to customize the screen height and angle to your exact needs and posture. Ideally, look for a stand that offers a wide range of height settings and tilt angles.

Some stands have a fixed height and angle, which may work fine if it happens to line up with your eye level out of the box. But you‘ll likely need to use a separate monitor riser or stack of books to get your screen to the proper height, which kind of defeats the purpose.

Sturdiness and Durability

A flimsy, wobbly laptop stand is not only annoying to work on, but can also pose a safety hazard if your laptop is at risk of toppling over. Look for a stand made of high-quality, durable materials like aluminum, steel or wood.

For maximum stability, choose a stand with a wide, weighted base and non-slip feet or pads. Some cheaper plastic stands can be too lightweight and prone to tipping over.

Ventilation and Cooling

Adequate airflow is crucial for preventing your laptop from overheating, which can damage the internal components and lead to performance issues over time. The best laptop stands will have an open-air design with plenty of ventilation holes, grills or fins to allow for proper cooling.

Avoid stands with a solid base that completely blocks airflow to the underside of your laptop. Some stands even have built-in fans for extra cooling power, which can be a good choice for gaming laptops or other high-performance models.


If you plan to regularly take your laptop stand between your home and office, or travel with it frequently, portability is an important consideration. Look for stands that are lightweight, collapsable and easy to disassemble or fold flat to fit in a backpack or briefcase.

Keep in mind that some of the sturdiest, most durable stands are also the heaviest and bulkiest, so there is often a tradeoff between portability and stability. For frequent travelers, it may be worth investing in a dedicated travel stand and a separate, heftier stand for home use.


Most laptop stands are designed to accommodate a wide range of laptop sizes, but it‘s always a good idea to double check the minimum and maximum dimensions to ensure a good fit.

If you use a laptop with an unusual shape or size (like a gaming laptop or a 2-in-1), you may need to choose a stand with extra wide or deep dimensions. Some stands also have weight limits, so be sure to check that as well if you have a particularly heavy laptop.

Cable Management

A good laptop stand should help keep your desk area tidy and organized, not add to the clutter. Look for stands with built-in cable management features like cutouts, grommets or channels to keep your charging and peripheral cords contained.

Some stands even have a designated storage compartment for your laptop charger and other accessories when not in use. The easier it is to keep your cords tidy, the more likely you are to actually do it.

The Best Laptop Stands for Different Needs and Budgets

Now that we‘ve covered the key features to look for, here are my top picks for the best laptop stands for a variety of different needs, budgets and style preferences:

Best Overall: Rain Design iLevel 2

($60, supports up to 15.6" laptops)

This sleek aluminum stand checks all the boxes for adjustability, stability and style. It features a unique sliding knob design that allows for smooth, continuous height and angle adjustment. The stand is sturdy and stable, with non-slip pads to keep your laptop secure.


  • Infinite height and angle adjustment
  • Sturdy aluminum build
  • Sleek, modern aesthetic


  • Not the most portable option
  • Only fits laptops up to 15.6"

Best Budget Stand: AmazonBasics Ventilated Laptop Stand

($20, supports up to 15" laptops)

At just 20 bucks, this basic mesh metal stand from Amazon is a great entry-level option for anyone on a tight budget. It‘s lightweight and compact, with rubber feet for stability and padded tips to protect your laptop from scratches. The open mesh design allows for plenty of airflow to keep your laptop cool.


  • Affordable
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Good ventilation


  • Fixed height and angle
  • Not the sturdiest build quality

Best for Portability: Roost Laptop Stand

($75, supports all laptop sizes)

For frequent travelers, you can‘t beat the portability and adjustability of the Roost stand. Weighing less than 6 ounces, this compact stand folds down to just 1.3 x 1.3 x 13 inches, making it super easy to stash in a backpack or carry-on. But don‘t let its small size fool you – the Roost is remarkably sturdy and offers 7 height adjustment settings suitable for a wide range of laptops.


  • Ultra lightweight and portable
  • Multiple height adjustment settings
  • Sturdy and stable design


  • Pricey for a travel stand
  • Can take some practice to adjust quickly

Best Wooden Stand: SAMDI Wood Laptop Stand

($40, supports up to 17" laptops)

This attractive birch plywood stand adds a touch of warmth and style to your workspace. The compact, u-shaped design allows for good ventilation while the non-slip feet keep your laptop secure. At 6 inches tall, this stand offers a comfortable viewing height for most users.


  • Attractive wood design
  • Sturdy build quality
  • More affordable than most wooden stands


  • No height or angle adjustment
  • Some assembly required

Best with Storage: Urmust Laptop Stand with Organizer Drawer

($36, supports up to 17" laptops)

If you‘re looking to keep your desk extra tidy, this aluminum stand has a handy pull-out drawer that provides hidden storage for your laptop charger, mouse and other accessories. The ventilated laptop platform can be raised or lowered to 5 different height settings, while the drawer stays put on your desk surface for easy access to your essentials.


  • Hidden storage drawer
  • Adjustable height settings
  • Includes reusable cable ties


  • Drawer isn‘t the most spacious
  • Some reviewers found edges a bit sharp

Most Stylish: Grovemade Wood Laptop Stand

($150, supports up to 16" laptops)

For a true statement piece, this architect-designed wooden stand is a work of art. Hand-crafted in Portland, Oregon from premium walnut or maple wood, this stand is heavy, stable and absolutely gorgeous. An aluminum stop lined with premium vegetable-tanned leather keeps your laptop in place.


  • Stunning design and craftsmanship
  • Solid wood and metal construction
  • High-end leather accents


  • Very expensive
  • Not portable or adjustable
  • Some users found it a bit slippery

FAQs About Choosing and Using a Laptop Stand

Will using a laptop stand damage my computer?

No, a properly designed laptop stand should not damage your computer in any way. In fact, many stands promote better airflow which can prolong the life of your laptop by preventing overheating.

Do I need to use an external keyboard and mouse with a stand?

While it is possible to use your laptop‘s built-in keyboard and trackpad with a stand, it‘s not the most ergonomic setup as your wrists will be at an awkward angle. For maximum ergonomic benefit, it‘s best to pair your stand with an external keyboard and mouse.

How do I know what size stand to get for my laptop?

Most laptop stands list their minimum and maximum supported laptop sizes in the product specs, so be sure to check that your laptop‘s dimensions fall within that range. When in doubt, err on the side of a larger stand that will give you more room.

Are laptop stands FSA or HSA eligible?

In some cases, yes. If you have a medical need for a laptop stand (like a documented repetitive strain injury), you may be able to get reimbursed for the cost through your FSA or HSA. Check with your plan administrator for details.

Can I use a laptop stand with a docking station?

Many laptop stands are compatible with docking stations, but you‘ll want to check the specs to ensure the dimensions and ports will line up properly. Some stands even have built-in docking stations for an all-in-one solution.

The Bottom Line

A good laptop stand is one of the best investments you can make in your health, comfort and productivity as a laptop user. By promoting better posture, reducing neck and eye strain, and improving ventilation for your computer, a laptop stand can help ward off repetitive strain injuries and make your workday a lot more pleasant.

Whether you‘re looking for an adjustable stand to alternate between sitting and standing, a portable option to take on the go, or a stylish centerpiece for your desk setup, there‘s a laptop stand out there to suit every need and budget.

So if you‘re still hunching over your laptop on a flat surface all day, it‘s time to give your neck and back a break and upgrade to a proper laptop stand. Trust me, your body will thank you!