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The best monitor arms in 2021: make your computer more comfortable to use

best monitor arms
(Image credit: Ergotron)

Looking for the best monitor arm to help make image and video editing more comfortable? You've come to the right place. It's easy to assume the basic stand included with your monitor is as good as it gets for monitor positioning. However, these stands usually only offer limited forward/backward tilt movement, restricted (or possibly zero) height adjustment, and really cheap stands can cause larger monitors to wobble should you so much as press your space bar with a bit too much gusto.

Fortunately, it's not just the best monitors for image or video editing that have mounting holes on the back specifically designed to allow you to fit an aftermarket support. Almost all displays should have a standardized VESA mounting point that you can use to upgrade your bundled stand to something beefier, but a better and more maneuverable option is to mount your screen on a monitor arm. These can still be mounted to your desk, so no DIY drilling required (though we have included a wall-mounted arm on this list should you want to keep your desk top completely uncluttered). But rather than resting on your desk and requiring a large base to maintain stability like a conventional stand, a desk-mounted monitor arm clamps securely to the back edge of your desk, thereby maximizing your work area in front.

But the biggest advantage with a monitor arm over a more basic monitor stand is adjustability. You can expect far greater height, pan (left/right) and tilt (up/down) movement from the double-hinged design of most arms. 360 degrees of rotation is also a common feature, allowing you to easily switch from landscape to portrait monitor orientation should you need to. Higher quality arms can also be found with a gas spring inside that can be tuned to perfectly balance a wide variety of monitor sizes and weights, so you can move your monitor with effortless fingertip ease and it'll stay exactly where you place it.

All this adds up to optimal viewing ergonomics, with your monitor perfectly positioned for the most comfortable viewing experience and eliminating eye strain. What's more, monitor arms don't only have to be for a single display. Many manufacturers also offer dual, triple and even quad-arm variants of their products, allowing you to perfectly position a multi-monitor set-up.

Every monitor arm on this list is compatible with monitors that use the industry-standard 100x100mm or 75x75mm VESA mounting hole patterns. Before buying, first check that your monitor has four holes on the back with one of these spacing distances, but chances are it will.

The best monitor arms in 2021

(Image credit: Ergotron)

1. Ergotron LX Desk Monitor Arm

Simply the best monitor arm right now

Specifications
Arm type: Desk mounted
Max monitor size: 34"
Max monitor weight: 25lbs / 11.3kg
Height adjustment: 7.9" / 20cm
Tilt adjustment: 70 degrees backward, 5 degrees forward
Pan adjustment: 360 degrees
Mounting hole patterns: 100x100mm, 75x75mm
Arm weight: 8lbs / 3.6kg
Reasons to buy
+Rugged-looking design+Lots of adjustment+Can support up to 34" screen
Reasons to avoid
-Somewhat pricey-Only 20cm height adjustment, though taller option is available

Ergotron is a big and well established name in the field of ergonomic computing and desks, as well as monitor arms. The LX Desk Monitor Arm immediately impresses with its polished aluminium construction which is solid enough to support a monitor weighing up to 11.3 kg and/or 34-inches screen size, plus it's guaranteed for 10 years. The arm itself weighs in at 3.6kg and attaches via a clamp to a desk surface 10-60mm thick, and it's packed with ergonomic adjustment. You get 33cm of height adjustment, 70 degrees of backward tilt and 5 degrees forward tilt, 360-degree pan and 360-degree rotation. The arm can fold right back to sit directly above the base, maximizing desk space in front. Just be sure the monitor you'll be mounting has VESA mounting holes conforming to either a 100 x 100mm or 75 x 75mm pattern, though these are almost universally standard.

(Image credit: Mount-It!)

2. Mount-It! MI-1771 Single Monitor Arm Desk Mount

The best budget monitor arm

Specifications
Arm type: Desk mounted
Max monitor size: 32"
Max monitor weight: 20lbs / 9kg
Height adjustment: 13" / 33cm
Tilt adjustment: 90 degrees up or down
Pan adjustment: not stated
Mounting hole patterns: 100x100mm, 75x75mm
Arm weight: 4.37kg
Reasons to buy
+Decent adjustability+Accessible price
Reasons to avoid
-Weight capacity not that high-Not particularly attractive

This desk-mounted monitor arm may not have quite as much wow-factor as pricier options on this list, but it can certainly match them on specs. You can mount a display up to 32 inches, it'll support up to 9kg, and there's an excellent 33cm of height adjustment. You also get all the usual range of adjustment, with up to 90 degrees of up or down tilt and 360-degree rotation. There's even a gas spring inside to balance varying monitor weights for super-simple height adjustment. The aluminium and steel arm can be had in silver of black finishes and will attach to a desk up to 8.4cm thick. Providing your monitor has a 100 x 100mm or 75 x 75mm mounting hole pattern (highly likely), this arm is a great value buy.

(Image credit: Ergotron)

3. Ergotron MX Wall Mount LCD Arm

The best wall-mounted monitor arm, and great for large monitors

Specifications
Arm type: Wall mounted
Max monitor size: 42"
Max monitor weight: 30lbs / 13.6kg
Height adjustment: 5" / 12.7cm
Tilt adjustment: 75 degrees up, 5 degrees down
Pan adjustment: 360 degrees
Mounting hole patterns: 200x200mm, 200x100mm, 100x100mm, 75x75mm
Arm weight: 3.7kg
Reasons to buy
+Can support very big and heavy screens+Stylish looks
Reasons to avoid
-On the expensive side-Height adjustment could be better

Don't fancy mounting your monitor to your desk and want a more solid fixing point? A wall-mounted arm could be the answer. You'll just need a power drill, some basic tools and the right fixings to suit the construction of the wall you'll be mounting to. Once in place, Ergotron's MX Wall Mount LCD Arm is ideal for supporting big-screen and ultrawide monitors up to 13.6kg in weight and a whopping 42-inches large. As such, the mounting plate is larger than average, accommodating typical 100 x 100mm & 75 x 75mm VESA hole patterns, along with large panel 200 x 200mm and 200 x 100mm hole patterns. The arm itself is easy on the eye with its polished aluminium finish and it features internal cable routing to maintain the sleek look. Monitor manoeuvrability isn't quite as extensive as with some desk-mounted arms, but it's still respectable, offering 12.7cm height adjustment, 90 degrees rotation and 360 degrees of pan movement.

(Image credit: Kanto)

4. Kanto DMS2000 Dual-Monitor Desktop Mount

The best monitor arm for dual displays

Specifications
Arm type: Desk mounted
Max monitor size: 32"
Max monitor weight: 16.5lbs / 7.5kg (per arm)
Height adjustment: 9.5" / 24cm
Tilt adjustment: 25 degrees backward, 25 degrees forward
Pan adjustment: Not stated
Mounting hole patterns: 100x100mm, 75x75mm
Arm weight: 15.4lbs / 5.5kg
Reasons to buy
+Premium build+Good looking+Can support two 32-inch monitors
Reasons to avoid
-Limited load capacity per arm-Expensive, but you get what you pay for

Not so long ago 4K was the next big thing and a 4K monitor would set you back an arm and a leg. Now 8K is taking centre stage, with an increasing number of cameras capable of shooting this gargantuan 7680 x 4320 resolution. 8K monitors are still a rarity, but this Dell display is actually quite well priced for such bleeding-edge tech.

Despite this being a large 31.5 inch display, containing the equivalent of 33.2 megapixels means you get an unusually high pixel density of 280 ppi, resulting in a near-Retina effect.

And it's not only that headline resolution figure that impresses. You also get first-class color space coverage, with 100% Rec. 709 capability and a hugely admirable 98% DCI-P3 coverage. Factory color calibration ensures a Delta-E color accuracy of less than 2, while a modern, slim bezel case design means this monitor looks the part even when it's switched off.

The only potential issue here is you'll need a real powerhouse of a computer fitted with a top-notch graphics card to pump this many pixels to the monitor without stuttering.

(Image credit: Amazon)

5. AmazonBasics Single Monitor Stand

Best for smaller monitors

Specifications
Arm type: Desk mounted
Max monitor size: 24"
Max monitor weight: 10kg
Height adjustment: 16cm
Tilt adjustment: 85 degrees backward, 15 degrees forward
Pan adjustment: Not stated
Mounting hole patterns: 100x100mm, 75x75mm
Arm weight: 2.54kg
Reasons to buy
+Bargain price+Clamps to a wide range of desk thicknesses
Reasons to avoid
-Aesthetically challenged-Max monitor size only 24 inches-Limited and basic height adjustment

It's far from the sexiest option on this list, but this back-to-basics arm will get the job done, and does so without breaking the bank. The only catch (other than the iffy looks) is you're limited to a max monitor size of 24 inches. But if that's not a problem, this arm enables a decent range of adjustability, although changing height requires you to release a clamp and to slide the arm up or down the mounting pole - no gas lift monitor balancing here. But since most of us rarely need to change the height of our display, that's not necessarily a deal-breaker. This arm will however clamp to any desk from 2 to 10cm thick and it's compatible with standard 100x100mm and 75x75mm VESA hole patterns, so you should have no trouble fitting it to your desk or monitor.

(Image credit: Ergotron)

6. Ergotron LX Desk Monitor Arm, Tall Pole

Best for tall people

Specifications
Arm type: Desk mounted
Max monitor size: 34"
Max monitor weight: 25lbs / 11.3kg
Height adjustment: 13" / 33cm
Tilt adjustment: 70 degrees backward, 5 degrees forward
Pan adjustment: 360 degrees
Mounting hole patterns: 100x100mm, 75x75mm
Arm weight: 9.7lbs / 4.4kg
Reasons to buy
+Great height range+Excellent all-round adjustability
Reasons to avoid
-Noticeably pricier than standard version

If you're tall, a wall-mounted monitor arm may be for you. It allows you to position your screen at the ideal height to suit your eyeline. But if you'd rather not start drilling big holes above your desk to fit a wall-mounted arm, this desk-mounted alternative with an extended height range is worth considering. Where the standard Ergotron LX Desk Monitor Arm 'only' offers 20cm of height adjustment, this Tall Pole version ups that range to 30cm. So even LeBron James perched on a bar stool should still be able to be able to get a comfortable viewing position. Apart from the extra lift, this arm is essentially the same as a regular Ergotron LX Desk Monitor Arm with excellent adjutsability. There's also a dual-screen Tall Pole option should you need it, but we're focusing on the single-monitor version here.

best monitor arms in 2021

(Image credit: Chief)

7. Chief Kontour K1D Dynamic Desk Clamp Mount

Another great desk-mounted monitor arm

Specifications
Arm type: Desk mounted
Max monitor size: 30"
Max monitor weight: 25lbs / 11.3kg
Height adjustment: 13" / 33cm
Tilt adjustment: 75 degrees backward, 10 degrees forward
Pan adjustment: 360 degrees
Mounting hole patterns: 100x100mm, 75x75mm
Arm weight: Not stated
Reasons to buy
+Excellent range of movement+Sexy design+Suitable for larger monitors
Reasons to avoid
-More expensive than most rivals

The sleek, carefully engineered Kontour K1D sure looks the part, and this arm is far from just style over substance. Inside the forged aluminium arms gas springs enable effortless, perfectly balanced height adjustment which can be easily fine-tuned for different monitor weights. You get a huge 33cm of height adjustability, while the monitor backplate can tilt 75 degrees backward and 10 degrees down. Cables are neatly routed through the arm, concealed by tool-less covers. The Kontour K1D can support up to a 30-inch monitor weighing 11.3kg, with its mounting plate compatible with 75 x 75 and 100 x 100mm hole patterns. It clamps straight to a desk with a tabletop thickness between 1.3cm and 6.4cm.

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Ben Andrews

Ben is the Imaging labs manager, responsible for all of the testing on Digital Camera World and across the entire photography portfolio at Future. Whether he's in the lab testing the sharpness of new lenses, the resolution of the latest image sensor, the zoom range of monster bridge cameras or even the latest smartphones, Ben is our go-to guy for technical insight. He's also the team's man-at-arms when it comes to bags, filters and all manner of accessories – his lab is a bit like the Batcave of photography!