Humanscale M8.1 Monitor Arm Review: Best Monitor Arm

Continuing our quest for the best monitor mounting solution, today we will be reviewing the Humanscale M8.1 monitor arm. It is considered to be among the most well-made monitor arms ever crafted. It’s the type of high-end, luxury product that you’d likely spot supporting several monitors on the desks of programmers working at a top Silicon Valley tech company. After being disappointed with Herman Miller’s best attempt at a quality monitor arm, we are anxious to see if Humanscale can deliver where Herman Miller failed.

Unboxing & Setup

After removing it from the box, we are left with this tray in which everything is neatly organized. We received the M8.1 desk mount version which includes a desk clamp for installation, however you can also request either a bolt-through mount or a sliding desk mount. In addition to the assembly instructions, the desk clamp, arm and all necessary installation hardware and tools are included.

humanscale m8.1 unboxing

Everything is wrapped in bubble wrap and plastic. Inside the bag with the VESA bracket are screws and spacers to maximize compatibility with all monitor shapes.

humanscale m8.1 parts

Here is a close-up of the underside of the desk clamp. Humanscale intelligently thought to add soft padding not only to the bottom but to the back of the desk clamp, protecting your desk from scratches. What’s impressive here is that they also lined the back of the clamp with padding, something most other monitor mounts fail to do.

humanscale m8.1 desk clamp padding

The end of the arm that clicks into the back of your monitor is also lined with protective padding.

humanscale m8.1 monitor arm vesa connector

Yet another ingenious addition to the M8.1 is the inclusion of the required hex tools to adjust the tension in the arm. They are neatly hidden within the base of the desk clamp and covered by the gray plastic piece seen on the left. While we’re typically not fans of plastic, we’ll give Humanscale a pass for two reasons. One, its hard plastic which doesn’t feel cheap. Secondly when it’s covering the base of the desk clamp, it’s solid as a rock due to the snug fit.

humanscale m8.1 desk clamp tools

Before we could mount the desk clamp to our glass desk, we needed to adjust the bottom screws on the clamp to accommodate our desk thickness. There are numerous adjustment levels on the M8.1 essentially making it a universal desk clamp.

humanscale m8.1 desk clamp bottom

We started here.

humanscale m8.1 desk clamp

And ended up here so we could slide it over our desk.

humanscale m8.1 bottom desk clamp installation

Here is the desk clamp portion secured to our desk. If you look on the left side, you’ll see a small piece of carboard protruding for the picture. Since we’re installing on a glass desk, we didn’t want to scratch the underside of the desk while tightening the clamp screws. Perhaps in a future revision, Humanscale can add some of the same soft padding to end of each clamp screw as they do make contact with the desk when fully tightened.

humanscale m8.1 desk clamp attached

Next, we added the first link of the arm onto the base. We left the smart stop ring set to 360° degrees as our desk sits far enough away from the wall that we can move the arm around in a full circle without hitting it. However, the ability to adjust it to a lower setting is yet another nice feature that sets the M8.1 above other monitor arm solutions. For example, if your desk sits against a wall and you want to ensure that the arm doesn’t hit the wall, you can limit turns to 180° degrees.

humanscale m8.1 angled link installation

Next we added the second and final link which has the connector for the VESA bracket which will be installed on the back of our 38” LG ultrawide monitor. The monitor we are using is the LG 38BK95C-W.

humanscale m8.1 dynamic link installation

Before we install the VESA bracket, here’s a shot of the tension adjustment gauge Humanscale includes on the 2nd link of the monitor arm. Depending on the weight of your monitor, you may need to adjust this setting so that it stays in place once the display is mounted.

humanscale m8.1 tension meter
Demonstrating the 360° movement.

The M8.1 has some pretty great cable management routing paths built in. The bottom piece is completely removable, and the top piece opens from underneath so you can insert your monitor cables then close it back together.

humanscale m8.1 cable management

Excellent implementation of an underrated but well appreciated feature!

humanscale m8.1 cables

Here’s our 38” LG ultrawide ready for the M8.1’s VESA bracket to be installed.

humanscale m8.1 vesa bracket installation

First, we removed LG’s included VESA mounting screws. LG’s included screws are too short if you’re using spacers as we will be.

lg 38 ultrawide vesa plate installation

Next, we set the spacers in place.

ultrawide vesa bracket spacers

Then, we screwed the metal VESA bracket in place. Yes, it is made of metal, something we were thrilled to find out. There’s nothing more daunting for a $1,000 monitor than to be mounted with a cheap, plastic bracket.

humanscale m8.1 vesa bracket

Finally, we added the top cover.

humanscale m8.1 vesa bracket cover

And here’s the result!

monitor arm glass desk

Conclusion

The Humanscale M8.1 is the best monitor arm available, it’s as simple as that. Between its nearly all metal construction, superior materials, easy assembly (and disassembly!) process and sheer quality, we are duty to bound to recommend it to anyone looking for a solid monitor arm. We absolutely enjoyed every part of getting it set up and all the little things that Humanscale added in from the included hex tools hidden in the stand to the excellent cable management system which was extremely well thought out.

best ultrawide monitor arm

The M8.1 comes in white, silver and black and can be enhanced further via Humanscale’s M/Connect 2 docking station, an alternate mount which acts as a bridge between your laptop and monitors with USB-C and Thunderbolt connectivity.

humanscale m8.1

Yes, the M8.1 is certainly a pricier option among monitor arms but we are confident that it could be the last monitor arm you’ll ever need to buy, it is just that well-made.

humanscale m8.1 review
performance computer editors choice award

We are advocates of spending a little more for something that is light years ahead in terms of quality an experience. A monitor arm might not seem like something that’s worth paying a premium for but as with all things, cheap items break, wear out and let you down. The M8.1 on the other hand will not only outlast the competition, it will do it in style.

We highly recommend the Humanscale M8.1 monitor arm and are proud to award it our Editor’s Choice award!

You can purchase the mount directly from Humanscale here.

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Humanscale M8.1 Monitor Arm
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