The Best Monitor Arms

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After researching more than 60 monitor arms and testing 10 over the past two years, we found that the AmazonBasics Single Monitor Display Mounting Arm is the best for most people who want to save space on their desks. It accommodates a wide range of positions and angles to improve workstation ergonomics, and it’s adjustable, easy to set up, unobtrusive, and sturdy enough to support heavier monitors. It’s nearly identical to the popular Ergotron LX Desk Mount LCD Monitor Arm but less expensive.

Ergotron LX Desk Mount LCD Monitor Arm
The Ergotron monitor arm costs more but has a better warranty. Aside from an aesthetic difference in finish, it’s identical to our top pick.

If our pick sells out or you want a longer warranty, we also like the Ergotron LX Desk Mount LCD Monitor Arm. The Ergotron has the same specs as the AmazonBasics—the two have identical vertical and side-to-side ranges, tilt, and pan and rotation capabilities—but at the time of this writing, the Ergotron costs about $35 more than our top pick. The Ergotron, however, offers a 10-year warranty, while the AmazonBasics comes with a one-year warranty. And the Ergotron has a shiny, polished aluminum finish that looks nicer than the matte black aluminum finish on the AmazonBasics.

People over 6 feet tall need added vertical range to position a monitor at the right height, especially when switching from sitting to standing. The Ergotron LX Desk Mount LCD Monitor Arm Tall Pole has a 13¼-inch pole, versus the 7-inch pole of the regular Ergotron LX. In our tests we found that the extra height provided an ergonomically ideal range for tall people. In other respects, the Ergotron Tall Pole is identical to the standard Ergotron arm; it’s just as sturdy and easy to assemble.

Upgrade pick
AmazonBasics Dual Side-by-Side Monitor Display Mounting Arm
If you need a dual monitor arm, the AmazonBasics model offers a design nearly identical to the Ergotron dual monitor arm for a lot less money.

If you’re looking for a dual monitor arm, we like the AmazonBasics Dual Side-by-Side Monitor Display Mounting Arm. As with the single-arm versions, the AmazonBasics dual model costs less than its Ergotron counterpart but comes with a shorter warranty. Otherwise the two have identical specs, so if a longer warranty isn’t your top concern, the AmazonBasics model is the best dual monitor arm for the price.

Table of contents

Who should get this

If you work at a computer for long periods of time, an ergonomic setup can help protect your health and well-being. To learn about ideal workstation setups, we referred to the work of ergonomics expert Alan Hedge, director of the Human Factors and Ergonomics teaching and research programs at Cornell University.

In Ergonomic Workplace Design for Health, Wellness, and Productivity, Hedge 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. To find the right height, Hedge advises, “the worker should sit back in their chair in a slight recline, at an angle of around 100°-110°, then they should hold their right arm out horizontally at shoulder level, and their middle finger should almost touch the center of the screen.” Getting your monitor position just right will let you see most of the screen without having to crane your neck. Hedge also recommends placing your keyboard just below your elbow level to ensure good posture, and maintaining an elbow angle of 90 degrees or greater to prevent nerve compression.

On a laptop, this arrangement isn’t possible, because its screen and keyboard are so close together. If you use a stand-alone monitor to raise your gaze, you’re already helping your posture, but you may need a monitor arm to get the positioning just right.

A monitor arm can help prevent back and neck pain by properly positioning your screen. Especially if you alternate between sitting and standing at your desk, share a workstation with people of varying height, or just need easy, on-the-fly adjustments, you should consider a monitor arm like the ones we recommend here.

Monitor arms aren’t necessary for everyone, or every desk setup. If you don’t need to adjust your monitor’s height frequently, you can achieve ideal screen placement with a monitor stand, which is much cheaper and easier to set up, or even with a sturdy book or two. Our monitor picks come with adjustable stands, which work for most people in most setups. But those included stands take up more space on your desk, lack the height for very tall people and the range for a proper sit/stand setup, and don’t move left and right, move forward and back, or rotate. If you need those features, you should get a monitor arm.

How we picked and tested

three top pick arms attached to one desk

From left to right: the Ergotron LX Monitor Arm, the Ergotron LX Tall Pole Monitor Arm, and the AmazonBasics Single Monitor Arm. Photo: Ryan Flood

Everyone has a different body, a different monitor, and a different desk setup, so the wider range of motion a monitor arm has, the better. Vertical movement (up and down) is the most important range if you work at a sit/stand desk, but side to side, forward and back, and rotation and tilt are also crucial for achieving ideal ergonomics for a wide range of people, postures, and workflows.

A good monitor arm should support VESA mounts, the most common standard supported by most displays, including our picks. Monitor arms must also sturdily attach to the desk, and most secure themselves with a grommet or desk clamp. A good mount should be adjustable for a range of desk or table thicknesses and widths, and it should include cable-management options, too.

Monitor arms should be easy to assemble and disassemble, and come with clear instructions or supplementary videos online. We also like to see a strong warranty, indicating manufacturer confidence in a device meant to hold an expensive monitor (or two). We focused on desk-mounted arms for this guide, since they’re the easiest to assemble and don’t require putting holes in your wall. But if you want to clear off even more desk space, you can opt for a wall-mounted arm.

We learned that most monitor arms that cost less than $100 had limited vertical ranges and were typically more difficult to adjust. But we found plenty in the $100 to $200 range that met the above requirements. For that reason, we didn’t test any single-monitor arms that cost more than $200. Dual arms are, naturally, a bit more expensive, so in that category we focused on models that cost less than $300.

With the above criteria in mind, we researched 64 monitor arms and tested 10 ourselves: the AmazonBasics Single Monitor Arm, the Ergotron LX Monitor Arm, the Ergotron LX Tall Pole Monitor Arm, the Fully Jarvis Monitor Arm, the Herman Miller Flo Monitor Support, the Uplift Monitor Arm, the now-discontinued Fully (Ergodepot) J2 Monitor Arm, the AmazonBasics Dual Side-by-Side Monitor Arm, the Ergotron LX Dual Side-by-Side Arm, and the Fully Jarvis Dual Monitor Arm.

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, the 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

monitor on top pick arm on desk, viewed from behind

The hefty clamp on the AmazonBasics is easy to secure onto a desk. Photo: Ryan Flood

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.

The AmazonBasics is one of the most agile monitor arms we found, with more vertical range than most of the models we considered. With 13 inches of height adjustment, the AmazonBasics will help most people find the proper ergonomic position for their monitor. (If you’re over 6 feet tall and you need a few extra inches, we have a pick for you, too.) It can extend outward up to 25 inches to move your monitor from side to side, and it can tilt your monitor at an angle up to 70 degrees back and 5 degrees forward. The arm can pan 360 degrees, and it can rotate a full 360 degrees for vertical alignment, too.

writer assembling top pick arm

Assembling the AmazonBasics arm is intuitive, and the arm comes with a thorough instruction booklet, as well. Photos: Ryan Flood

Monitor arms look intimidating, but the AmazonBasics is easy to assemble. Its instruction booklet is more thorough than the Ergotron’s, and unlike the Herman Miller Flo arm—which almost landed uppercuts on two Wirecutter staffers—the AmazonBasics model isn’t hazardous to put together. As a 5-foot-tall person, I had no trouble assembling this arm by myself; setting up the Fully Jarvis arm, in contrast, required two people. You will need a Phillips screwdriver to assemble the AmazonBasics, but the arm comes with Allen wrenches to adjust tension and to tighten smaller screws.

writer moving monitor in different directions on arm

The AmazonBasics can rotate your monitor vertically or pan a full 360 degrees, as well as move side to side, backward and forward, and up and down. Photos: Ryan Flood

Once mounted, the AmazonBasics arm is easy to adjust. It was simple to fine-tune compared with the Uplift Monitor Arm, which we found harder to lock down at just the right height, or the Jarvis, which required a second person’s help. After a week of adjusting and moving the AmazonBasics monitor arm, we didn’t experience any drifting or sagging. But if you do need to adjust the tension, it’s easy to do: Just tighten a small screw on the back of the arm using the included 4 mm Allen wrench.

The AmazonBasics’s desk clamp and VESA mounting plate are both sturdy, an absolute must for an arm designed to hold an expensive monitor. Its wide, heavy desk clamp is easy to tighten, and in our tests jostling the base didn’t move the arm at all; the desk clamp didn’t leave any marks on our desk, either. The Herman Miller Flo’s smaller mount, in contrast, let us shake the arm off the desk even when the clamp was fully tightened. If you’re concerned about someone making off with your equipment, you can use two anchor holes on the base of the AmazonBasics to secure the arm with a cable lock. (Our runner-up, the Ergotron, also has this feature.)

The metal mounting plate—where the arm connects to the monitor—on the AmazonBasics arm is extra sturdy compared with the Herman Miller Flo’s flimsy plastic mounting plate. The AmazonBasics is capable of holding monitors up to 25 pounds (a group that includes our favorite 24-inch and 27-inch monitors), and it’s compatible with VESA 75 mm and 100 mm mounts. The arm comes with screws and thumbscrews for attaching a monitor.

top pick and runner-up side-by-side

The AmazonBasics (right) looks nearly identical to the Ergotron (left). Photo: Ryan Flood

During our research, we noticed that the AmazonBasics model looked nearly identical to the Ergotron LX Monitor Arm, our original arm pick in our home-office furniture and supplies guide, and that the two arms had the same height range and adjustability. After we reached out to an Ergotron spokesperson to ask about the differences between the two arms, Ergotron confirmed that it works with other companies such as Dell, HP, and possibly Amazon to design and manufacture products. Beyond pointing out the obvious differences in warranty and finish, the Ergotron representative, due to a nondisclosure agreement, could not comment on the specific differences between Ergotron arms and those sold by any other company.

We tested the two arms side by side to observe any differences, and we didn’t catch many. The Ergotron has a nicer, polished aluminum finish, as opposed to the matte black aluminum of the AmazonBasics. We confirmed with Ergotron and Amazon that both arms are made from aluminum and steel, so the difference in their finishes is purely aesthetic.

The AmazonBasics comes with a short one-year warranty, while the Ergotron comes with a 10-year warranty. Both warranties cover damage to the arm but not to your monitor. Owner reviews we’ve found have mentioned that their Ergotron arms are still working after about six years, so we have no reason to doubt that the Ergotron LX will live up to its warranty. Given the similarities in construction, we expect the AmazonBasics arm to have a similar lifespan, which means the warranty will cover only a fraction of it. Reviews of both the AmazonBasics and the Ergotron are mostly positive, however, and we didn’t find many reports of long-term issues with either arm. Because the AmazonBasics is more than 25 percent cheaper than the Ergotron at the time of this writing, we think the AmazonBasics is the best monitor arm for the price unless you’re seriously concerned about the warranty.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

We don’t 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. The Herman Miller Flo, for example, has a flexible silicon tube for hiding cables, a component that we found simpler to use than the pieces on the AmazonBasics arm. But the AmazonBasics is our pick because it’s much sturdier and easier to assemble than the Flo. If the AmazonBasics arm’s cable management doesn’t cut it for you, we recommend the Velcro ties we describe in the cable-management section of our home-office furniture and supplies guide.

The AmazonBasics model’s matte black finish did scratch a bit as we set up and took apart the monitor arms for testing. But since you likely won’t be assembling and disassembling your arm as frequently as we did for this guide, we think it’s a minor issue.

Your desk position may affect your monitor arm’s range of movement. If your desk (and thus the arm) is against the wall, you won’t be able to pan the arm a full 360 degrees (that is, move the arm in a circle around the mount), and you may have more limited depth adjustability as the arm butts against the wall. But any desk-mounted monitor arm will have the same limitations.

Runner-up: Ergotron LX Monitor Arm

runner up pick on desk from side

The polished aluminum finish makes the Ergotron look slightly fancier than the AmazonBasics. Photo: Ryan Flood

Ergotron LX Desk Mount LCD Monitor Arm
The Ergotron monitor arm costs more but has a better warranty. Aside from an aesthetic difference in finish, it’s identical to our top pick.

If our pick is sold out or you don’t 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’s finish seems nicer than the cheaper-looking matte black finish of the AmazonBasics, but the Ergotron is also more expensive. Beyond those aesthetic differences, however, the Ergotron is equally sturdy, adjustable, and easy to assemble.

The Ergotron model has a considerably longer, 10-year warranty, in contrast to the AmazonBasics arm’s one-year warranty. A monitor arm is a significant investment, so if you want to make sure your office gear lasts longer, you may want to opt for the Ergotron. The Ergotron is not our top pick, however, because the AmazonBasics has the same features for a lower price.

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

runner up pick and its taller-version counterpart

The extra 6 inches on the Ergotron LX Tall Pole will give people over 6 feet tall enough height to properly position their monitor. Photo: Ryan Flood

If you’re over 6 feet tall and need a monitor arm to use with an adjustable standing desk, we recommend the Ergotron LX Desk Mount LCD Monitor Arm Tall Pole. The Tall Pole version is about $25 more expensive than the standard Ergotron LX and $60 more than the AmazonBasics arm as of this writing, but we found that the regular LX arm isn’t quite tall enough to properly position a monitor for tall people. Two Wirecutter staffers—one at 6 feet 2 inches and one at 6 feet 4 inches—tested monitor arms on our favorite adjustable standing desk, and they found that regular-height arms weren’t tall enough for them. Both testers needed the LX Tall Pole model to achieve ergonomically ideal monitor heights.

The regular Ergotron LX arm comes with a 7-inch pole, while the Tall Pole version measures nearly twice that at 13¼ inches. The LX Tall Pole is just as sturdy and easy to set up as the regular Ergotron arm; the two arms are identical aside from the pole length.

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

dual arm pick on desk with two monitors, and laptop on stand

The AmazonBasics dual arm is similar to the single-arm version in design and adjustability. Photo: Ryan Flood

Upgrade pick
AmazonBasics Dual Side-by-Side Monitor Display Mounting Arm
If you need a dual monitor arm, the AmazonBasics model offers a design nearly identical to the Ergotron dual monitor arm for a lot less money.

Both AmazonBasics and Ergotron make dual side-by-side monitor arms that are similar in adjustability, setup, and material to their single-arm versions. We recommend the AmazonBasics Dual Side-by-Side Monitor Display Mounting Arm for anyone who needs a dual monitor arm. As with the single-arm version, the AmazonBasics dual-arm model is sturdy and easy to adjust, and it has an impressive vertical range. It offers the same features as the Ergotron dual arm, but it’s more than 40 percent cheaper as of this writing.

The AmazonBasics dual arm can adjust 13 inches vertically, extend 25 inches side to side, tilt 70 degrees back and 5 degrees forward, and rotate 360 degrees. In our tests both arms on the AmazonBasics held tension and were easily adjustable, moving from side to side, forward and back, and even vertically to accommodate for a range of dual-monitor setups. This model doesn’t allow for stacking, however. Although some people prefer vertical monitor stacking, most people should get a side-by-side setup for the ergonomic reasons we outline above. We may consider monitor arms that stack vertically for a future update to this guide.

two dual arm models side by side on same desk

The AmazonBasics (left) has a matte black finish, while the Ergotron (right) has a shinier, polished aluminum finish. The two are made of the same materials. Photo: Ryan Flood

Like the single-arm model, the AmazonBasics dual-arm mount comes with a thorough instruction packet, and it’s just as intuitive to set up. This model comes with the same screws and thumbscrews to secure each monitor to the VESA mount, and it can support two 27-inch monitors and 40 pounds total. The dual arm’s desk clamp is hefty and sturdy: When we tightened it, we felt confident that the mount would support both of the monitors on our desk.

Both the AmazonBasics and Ergotron dual arms come with hard-plastic caps to secure their lower sections. These caps are difficult to insert and even harder to remove—to do so, you need to reach into a narrow tube to depress a plastic tab or pry them off with a flathead screwdriver. We opted for the screwdriver method but ended up breaking the plastic piece. We encountered this issue while assembling and disassembling the arms for testing, but most people likely won’t need to take apart an arm after setting it up. Still, we hope that AmazonBasics and Ergotron will improve upon this design.

As for coverage, the same considerations for the single-monitor arm apply to the dual version: The AmazonBasics has a shorter warranty than the Ergotron dual arm—just one year versus the Ergotron’s 10 years. But if you’re looking for the best dual monitor arm for the price, we recommend the AmazonBasics since it’s currently more than 40 percent cheaper than the Ergotron.

The competition

AmazonBasics offers a wall-mounted arm if you want to save even more space on your desk. We chose to test arms that clamp onto a desk or use a grommet since not everyone can drill into a wall to mount their monitor. Aside from the mounting mechanism, this wall model’s performance and range of motion are largely the same as those of the desk-mounted version we recommend. (The wall-mounted model can’t pan 360 degrees, though, because it’s attached to a wall.)

When we tested the Fully Jarvis Monitor Arm and the Fully Jarvis Dual Monitor Arm, we found them to be the most difficult to assemble of all the arms in the group. The Jarvis arms are comparable in price and specs to our top picks and have a five-year warranty, and Fully offers these arms as an add-on when you purchase the Bamboo standing desk, which happens to be our favorite desk. But we don’t recommend the Jarvis arms, because in our tests they required excessive wrangling compared with our picks. As a 5-foot-tall person who works from home, I had to phone a friend to help me set up both Jarvis arms, for fear of ruining an expensive 27-inch monitor as I adjusted the tension and mounted the display; in contrast, I assembled the AmazonBasics and Ergotron arms solo without issue. On the Jarvis arms, you’ll also have to assemble the desk clamp—a component that comes preassembled with our picks—and as you do, it’s difficult to balance the arm, which comes in one piece. Plus, the Jarvis designs’ VESA mount system feels less sturdy than the steel mounting plates on the AmazonBasics, because here the VESA mount slides onto a plastic and metal tab.

Once set up, the Jarvis arms have a wide range of movement and are easy to adjust. They’re also the most aesthetically attractive arms we tested: They come in white, black, or silver and have a slim base that takes up less desk space. But ultimately, we recommend the AmazonBasics single and dual arms because they’re easier to assemble, sturdier, and equipped with similar features for similar prices.

We previously tested and dismissed Fully’s J2 arm, which the company has since discontinued and replaced with the Jarvis.

We tested the Herman Miller Flo Monitor Support and found it difficult to set up and adjust. The Flo has superior cable-management options compared with our pick, but we don’t trust this mount with a valuable monitor. In our tests its desk clamp wasn’t sturdy even when fully tightened, and its mounting plate is made of plastic instead of metal. Plus, the Flo costs $200 (twice the price of our pick) and doesn’t provide an option for very tall people.

In our tests, the Uplift Monitor Arm required a desk-imprinting clamp and proved to be harder to lock down at just the right height. Compared with the AmazonBasics and Ergotron arms, it was difficult to set up and adjust.

We considered testing the North Bayou F80, an Amazon best-seller, but found that it had a more limited vertical range at just 9 inches. That can be an issue for anyone who’s over 5 feet 8 inches and intends to stand while working. Our picks are more adjustable for a wider range of people and desk setups.

We also looked at the Halter Dual LCD Adjustable Monitor Stand, which looks identical to the Ergotron and AmazonBasics design but costs more than $200.

(Top photo by Ryan Flood.)

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  1. Alan Hedge, Ergonomic Workplace Design for Health, Wellness, and Productivity, 2016
  2. Alan Hedge, Ergonomic Guidelines for arranging a Computer Workstation - 10 steps for users, Cornell University Ergonomics Web, June 13, 2015
  3. Measured average height, weight, and waist circumference for adults ages 20 years and over, National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, November 2, 2012

Originally published: February 21, 2017

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