Are Monitor Arms Worth It? – The Benefits of Monitor Arms

Are monitor arms worth it? What are the benefits of a monitor arm? Given that many of us stare at computer screens most of the day, maximizing our comfort and making our viewing experience as enjoyable as possible are important considerations. Monitor arms can help with both; in addition, they save desk space and streamline your work area giving your monitor the appearance that it is “floating”. Still not convinced? Read our monitor arm buying guide.

after monitor arm

Benefits of Monitor Arms

Monitor arms can help reduce neck, back and eye strain and the pain associated with such discomfort. Being able to adjust a monitor’s height, depth and angle to best position for your height and seating or standing style makes a world of difference in an everyday work environment. Increased comfort leads to increased productivity, better health as well as a reduction in stress.

In addition to health benefits, monitor arms create additional desk space by eliminating the (often large and bulky) monitor stand from your workspace. Many monitor mounts also incorporate cable management solutions into their design, cleaning up what can often be a mess of cables in multi-monitor setups. It also looks awesome to see your monitor just floating there waiting for whatever you decide to do next, work or play.

VESA Compatibility

VESA is a display standard for mounting computer monitors and televisions. Before purchasing any monitor arm, you need to make sure that your monitor is VESA compatible. Most modern monitors are VESA compatible and have either a 75mm x 75mm or 100mm x 100mm pattern size. Many popular monitor arms and mounts support both sizes but it’s always best to check the manufacturer’s specifications prior to purchasing.

How to VESA Mount a Monitor or TV

You can quickly identify if your monitor can be VESA mounted by detaching it from its included stand and locating four screw holes. Occasionally, there are screws are already installed in these holes which need to be removed prior to installing the mounting plate for a monitor arm.

Unfortunately, some inexpensive monitors cannot be removed from their stands and the only solution is to purchase a new monitor. One such example is the Dell S2817Q, a cheap TN panel 4K monitor. A dead giveaway is that its stand is connected at the bottom of the display.

dell s2817q

On the other hand, the Dell U3818DW, a far more expensive high quality 38” ultrawide IPS monitor does have a VESA mount. Notice that the stand connects in the middle of the display, there is also a button to unlock the stand from the display.

dell u3818dw stand

Here’s what it looks like when the stand is removed. The Dell U3818DW includes screws in the 4 VESA mount points which can be used to secure the plate that comes with your monitor arm.

dell u3818dw vesa mount

Monitor arms are secured to your desk via a clamp, through an existing grommet or through a hole you’ll need to drill. The clamp and grommet methods are easiest and do not require permanently modifying your desk.

Types of Monitor Mounts

Monitor arms are “mounted” to a desk or a wall and there are several types of monitor mounts including:

  • Spring Mounts
  • Post Mounts
  • Wall Mounts
  • Rail Mounts
  • Laptop Mounts
parts of a monitor arm

Some mounts have USB ports, media card readers and other I/O options.

Spring Mounts

Spring mounts are the more expensive monitor arm solution, however with the added expense comes addition flexibility and adjustability. Spring mounts can move in any direction and allow for very precise positioning. They are meant to be moved around and are ideal in office or work environments where multiple people use the display. These mounts support nearly all swivel, tilt and rotation positions.

gas spring dual monitor mount

There are two types of spring mounts: gas and mechanical. The more expensive gas spring mounts operate quietly and have a very fluid, smooth motion. Mechanical spring mounts operate more loudly and aren’t as smooth as gas spring mounts however with fewer parts and no seals, they last longer.

mechanical spring monitor mount

Post Mounts

Post mounts are less expensive but still provide a strong, stable connection to your desk. The arms on post mounts can be adjusted but they are more static in that they cannot be moved as extensively as spring mounts. However, for a personal space where you do not move your display after adjusting it the first time, post mounts are an ideal monitor mounting solution.

monitor post mount

Wall Mounts

Wall mounts are meant to be installed on a wall just like a wall mounted TV. Wall mounts perform well for medical professionals such as dentists and doctors whose equipment needs to be easily moved out of the way. Wall mount solutions also include keyboard and mouse trays, so an entire “computer” can be brought out to show something to a patient and then pushed away while work is being performed.

wall mounted computer monitor keyboard mouse

Wall mounts are also great at home if you do not want the additional adjustability a spring or post mount offers and instead want a clean look without anything attached to your desk.

wall mounted monitors

Rail Mounts

Rail mounts are less popular in consumer environments as they are typically utilized in the financial, medical and security industries where many (6+) monitors are mounted together. Rail mounts support more weight than a traditional monitor arm while providing a range of customization and adjustable options.

monitor rail mount

Laptop Mounts

Laptop mounts are very similar to a traditional monitor arm in that they attach to a desk but instead of supporting your display, they are designed to support a laptop. There are also laptop mount options that support a second or third display as well so you can mount both your laptop and external monitor.

laptop mount for desk

Multi-Monitor Arms

Last year we reviewed the VIVO Stand V001 which is a post mount monitor arm that was used to mount a 23” ASUS monitor. In our situation, it worked very well, and we were pleased with the upgrade from the included monitor stand which provided absolutely no adjustability.

vivo monitor desk mount review

We recently upgraded that space with a triple monitor setup, adding a 34” Dell ultrawide in the middle and a 24” ASUS monitor on the right. Here you can see the three monitors on their stands before we mounted them. The 23” ASUS’s cheap non-adjustable stand made leveling it with the other two monitors impossible.

multi monitor mount benefits

You can also see a significant portion of our working space was consumed by monitor stands.

before monitor arm

Now all three monitors are mounted on monitor arms. Monitors seen below (from left to right):

The left and middle monitor are mounted on a VIVO Stand V002 dual monitor arm. The third monitor on the right is mounted on the VIVO Stand V001 single monitor mount. One problem we ran into with this setup is that all three monitors are completely different products with different display and bezel sizes.

monitor arm benefits

The 23” monitor is substantially shorter than the 34” ultrawide, thus making it difficult for them to be mounted “flush” next to each other. Being a dual monitor post mount, there wasn’t much height adjustability as both displays had to be mounted together on the same piece. We managed to get the two displays level at the top by adjusting the height on the mount.

best monitor arm

Had we used spring mounts, we could have more easily moved both monitors into the ideal configuration.  This is due to the fact that while dual spring mounts are mounted to the same base, they maintain their free range of movement as they are on separate arms.

monitor arm for ultrawide

There are triple monitor mounts available however most are made for screens up to 24” wide. If you are mounting multiple large monitors such as 34” ultrawides or 32” 4K displays, it’s important to verify with the manufacturer of the monitor arm that your displays will fit.

are monitor arms worth it

Stackable Monitor Mounts

Another way to mount multiple monitors is to stack them. In fact, users of dual ultrawide monitors often stack one monitor on top of the other, sometimes inverting one display to minimize the bezels in the displays.

stackable monitor mount

Here we are stacking two ultrawide monitors. The top monitor is the ASUS ROG Swift PG348Q 34” 100Hz G-Sync gaming monitor and the bottom monitor is the LG 34GK950F-B 34” 144Hz FreeSync gaming monitor. In this double ultrawide monitor setup we are combining the use of an Ergotech Freedom Arm mechanical spring monitor arm and a VIVO V001T extra tall monitor post mount.

double ultrawide setup

Conclusion

We are enormous proponents of monitor arms; they provide numerous benefits and are a relatively cheap upgrade for most people. There are many different styles, materials, colors and options for every type of application from professional and office environments to home users and enthusiasts. Aside from verifying that your display can be VESA mounted, all you need to do is determine whether you want to mount it on your desk or wall!

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Monitors Shown (in order of appearance)

Monitor Mounts Shown (in order of appearance)