It’s finally time to trade in those boxes, old phonebooks or reams of paper stacked under your computer monitor, for some adjustable monitor arms. They will allow you to maximize your workspace, and they’re good for your health!
What is a monitor arm?
An adjustable monitor arm allows you to adjust the height and angle of your computer monitor to your liking with ease. They can be used with sit-stand desks and regular office desks… and easily attach to your workspace or wall. There are several types of monitor arms to choose from depending on your needs, which we will be going over more in depth.
Why do I need a monitor arm?
There are many ergonomic advantages to using an adjustable monitor mount at your workspace. They allow you to easily place your screen at the appropriate height, depth and angle which will promote good posture and eliminate the need to strain or hunch over to see your screen. Straining can take a toll on your body over time, causing neck and shoulder pain, backaches, eye strain, and other pains that affect your physical well-being and even cause you to miss time away from work.
This comfortable working atmosphere can also help boost your productivity. You will no longer have to spend a lot of time readjusting your workspace to see your screen better, since you can adjust the height and angle of your monitor quickly and efficiently depending on your workspace needs. This will give you more time to focus on work tasks, which will increase your efficiency.
In addition, if more than one person uses the same workspace, monitor arms allow for easy adjustments between each computer user, which would be extremely difficult (if not impossible) if your monitor was simply sitting on your desk. Monitor arms are also great when working in restricted spaces. They free up desk space and give you more room to work. Plus, when you are not using your monitor, you can simply push it out of the way.
What should I think about when shopping for monitor arms?
There are many things to consider when shopping for the appropriate monitor arm:
You will want to check that your monitor is VESA (Video Electronics Standards Association) compliant. This means the back of your monitor features a standard hole pattern used for mounting purposes and ease of attachment. A VESA hole pattern is measured both horizontally and vertically between mounting holes. For example, the most common mounting hole pattern for monitors less than 30 pounds is either 100 x 100 mm or 75 x 75 mm (VESA 75 x 75). Mid-size displays (up to 50 pounds) have a 200 x 100 mm mounting hole pattern, and large displays (screens larger than 32”) have varied hole patterns that are spaced in 200mm increments, such as 600 x 400 mm.
There are products, such as Apple products, that are not VESA compatible and will require you to purchase a special VESA adapter. This is why it is extremely important to check your monitor to make this determination before purchasing a monitor arm product. If an adapter is not available, your display cannot be attached to VESA-compliant mounts.
Tip: To determine if your monitor is VESA compliant you can first check the back of your monitor to see if the hole pattern is visible. If it is not visible, you may need to take off the stand (make sure to follow your instruction manual to remove it properly). Otherwise, you can do a quick internet search or contact the manufacturer to see if your product is VESA compliant.
When selecting a monitor arm you will need to consider the weight of your monitor to ensure you are selecting a mount that is appropriate for your workspace. When reviewing monitor arm options, you will see the weight capacity listed in the specifications.
How many monitors do you use? You will need to make sure the monitor arm mount you choose will be able to accommodate all of your monitors.
Lastly, you will want to determine the depth of your desk so you know how long your monitor arms will need to be.
How will the monitor arm mount attach to my desk?
If you choose a desk-mounting monitor arm, many models come in either a grommet or c-clamp version.
The c-clamp is the most popular version because it attaches to the back of your desk without the need for you to drill any holes into your workspace. If you choose the c-clamp version you will want to ensure that your desk has a deep enough lip so the clamp can attach properly to your desk.
If your desk will not allow for a c-clamp, then you will need a grommet mount. Grommet mounts need to be mounted through a hole in your workstation surface. Some desks come with a pre-made grommet hole, but if yours did not, then you may need to permanently modify your desk.
Some monitor mounts use a universal mounting system, eliminating the need to choose between a c-clamp or grommet mount.
Will I need additional accessories?
With your monitors up higher you will have a clearer view of all of the cords that tend to bunch toward the back of your desk. But you can contain all of your cords with a cable management system that easily installs under your desk.
Once your monitor is mounted to the appropriate height you may also discover that a keyboard tray may be needed to keep your keyboard and mouse at the correct height and allow for an ergonomically sound workstation. This will minimize the physical strain on your body.
Which monitor arm should I choose?
Once you have determined all of the specifics that will play into your decision, you can select which monitor arm will work the best in your setting:
Spring mounts attach to your workspace and stabilize your computer monitor at the height you prefer. These monitor arms allow for easy adjustment depending on the needs of the user and adapt easily for multiple users. Spring mounts also save valuable space by lifting your monitor off of your desk allowing you more room to work. See all spring mounts
Post mounts are similar to spring mounts in that they also attach to your workspace and allow you to place your monitor at your preferred height. These monitors adjust easily between users and are easily adaptable to fit dual or multiple monitor arms from a single column. Using these arms will save workspace, and both these and the spring mounts work well with available keyboard tray options. See all post mounts
Wall mounted monitor arms maximize space and efficiency. They are often used in healthcare applications because they work well in high traffic areas. Not only do these monitor arms save space, they allow convenient access to patient or customer data. These monitor arms can also be used in other settings, especially if desks have limited workspace. See all wall mounts
Rail mounts are a great choice if you need to keep an eye on multiple monitors at your workstation. Single or multiple rail options allow you to organize your monitors for optimal viewing without taking up a lot of space. Rail mounts are popular in healthcare, financial and security settings. See all rail mounts
Laptop mounts can help you create an ergonomic workspace. These mounts allow you to place your monitor at a height that is easily viewable and alleviates strain on your body. A keyboard and mouse can then be placed on your workspace, allowing you to work efficiently. Laptop mounts save space, allow you to move your laptop out of the way when it is not being used, and are easily adjustable for multiple users. Mounts that allow for an additional external monitor to be used next to your laptop are also available.
No matter which monitor arm you choose, you will enjoy extra space at your desk and the health benefits they provide.
Do you use monitor arms? If so, we’d love to hear your experiences. If you are new to monitor arms and I didn’t cover a question you may have, please let me know! We want to make sure your workspace works perfectly for you!
Additional Office Ergonomics Resources
- The History of Ergonomics in the Office
- How Proper Ergonomics in the Workplace Reduces Employers’ Cost
- Importance of the Neutral Reach Zone
- Top 7 Problems and Solutions for Keyboard Trays
- Top 6 Reasons to Buy an Ergonomic Keyboard Tray