If you spend all day staring at your laptop, you’re probably no stranger to neck pain or sore wrists. And if your desk setup is causing you discomfort, there’s only one thing to do: think about ergonomics. Whether it's a gaming laptop or a Chromebook, a good first step is investing in a laptop stand, like our favorite Rain Design mStand(available at Amazon for $39.99), to hold your computer at eye level.
Whether you need a stand that lives permanently on your desk or one that you can tote around from place to place, the right product can make a huge difference. But not all stands are created equal, and not everyone has the same needs. Your ideal laptop stand might be very tall, very portable, or perhaps it gives just the subtlest lift. With so many options out there, how do you find the best laptop stand for your lifestyle?
That’s where we can help. We researched the best laptop stands on the market and tested nine of the top contenders. After weeks of testing, we finally determined which stands were the more convenient, comfortable, and helpful to use.
These are the best laptop stands we tested ranked, in order:
Rain Design mStand
Blue Lounge Kick Flip
Rain Design iLevel 2
AmazonBasics Laptop Stand
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The mStand is about as far from a portable laptop stand as you can get. It’s shaped in a curve, made out of aluminum, and has some serious heft to it. You would be hard-pressed to conveniently store it let alone tote it around in your backpack. But if you want a stand that lives permanently on your desk, then this is a great option.
I was surprised to find I liked the mStand as much as I did. Not only does it lack portability, but it also has no adjustment options and can’t be used without an external keyboard or mouse. And yet, since it can’t fold or be adjusted, I didn’t have to fiddle around with it at all, which was kind of nice after using so many height-adjustable folding stands. I set it on my desk, put a laptop on top of it, hooked up the keyboard and mouse, and that was it. A combination of a lip at the bottom of the tray, along with some rubber grips on top, kept my laptop secure.
My neck also felt great during use, and I thought the angle was perfect. It seems like the only way to change the height of the mStand would be to instead change the height of your chair—totally doable for most desk chairs. There’s a lot to be said for adjustability in a laptop stand, especially if you’re particularly tall or short, but I think this stand will serve most people just fine.
I liked the empty space beneath the top portion of the stand, too. When I wasn’t using my keyboard, I was able to tuck it beneath the stand, which freed up valuable desk real estate for scribbling notes in my day planner. Since the mStand has a fairly broad base, this is key for space management. There’s also a hole to feed cables through, which is a nice detail, and the simplicity of the aluminum has a sleek aesthetic reminiscent of a MacBook. For just $40, it’s reasonably priced as well.
If you’re looking for something truly portable, this x-stand from Bosvision is it. The stand won’t lift your laptop particularly high, which admittedly sacrifices some ergonomics in favor of saving you from lugging around a keyboard and mouse, but it’s still better than using your laptop sans stand. I liked the way it gently angled and slightly lifted my laptop, as well as how the lightweight aluminum folds up very small, making it perfect for use on-the-go.
My wrists really benefited from the Bosvision stand, and I felt I hunched less to see my screen, if only by a little. I don’t think this should be your primary daily work setup, but it’s ideal for taking to coffee shops, airports, or anywhere else you need to work comfortably and travel light.
This is one of the few stands that allows you to adjust the length of its arms, giving you some control over the angle and an ability to make sure your laptop fits the stand just right. However, there aren’t any built-in stops when you’re extending the arms, so it will take some trial and error to make sure both sides match and that your laptop can sit pretty.
Be aware that the back of your laptop does rest on top of two small knob-shaped extensions, so the rear portion of the stand doesn’t grip or extend past your laptop. Though the material of these knobs is grippy, I felt that my lightweight MacBook Air didn’t seem extremely secure on the stand and worried that I could accidentally jostle it off the stand, though this would have been more of an annoyance than a danger because the laptop wouldn’t have had far to fall. The heavier Asus felt more secure on this stand, simply because its weight made it harder to move by mistake.
Hi, I’m Kori, former Home and Outdoors editor at Reviewed, current freelance writer, and frequent product reviewer. Like many people, I’m on my laptop all day every day, so having a proper ergonomic setup matters to me.
Years ago, when I first started working full-time, I was surprised to find that this caused my body pain. My hands and wrists were sometimes debilitatingly uncomfortable from the long hours of typing. My neck and shoulders hurt all the time. I eventually started using a monitor, which I boosted to eye level by setting it atop a stack of books, and that helped a great deal, but I missed the convenience of simply working with a single screen. I thought it was a lost cause until a later job provided me with a laptop stand on my first day. The hours were long, but my neck and wrists hurt less. It was a revelation.
Reader, I selfishly agreed to write this review because I, like you, am in the market for the best laptop stand that suits my lifestyle. I’m not an ergonomics expert (though I’ve done a lot of research), but I am a fellow consumer with a human body and a sincere desire to find the best laptop stands out there. I want to keep my spine happy, but there are other things that matter to me too, such as whether a stand is convenient, affordable, and nice to look at. I worked with our head of science to create tests and calibrate scoring, but ultimately the recommendations in this review are what I, an actual human who used 9 separate laptop stands this month, really liked using.
The bulk of the testing I did to write this review was simply to use each laptop stand to do my regular work. I set out to use each stand to work a full, 9 to 5 day on my 13-inch MacBook Air. If the stand was horrifically uncomfortable to use even after making adjustments, I abandoned it for the sake of physical self-preservation (this only happened once). If it felt okay, I used it all day, noting my comfort and whether it was more ergonomic than keeping the laptop flat on the desk. I paid attention to ease of use, adjustability, quality of construction, and how stable my laptop felt on the stand. I took notes on portability, whether it would be convenient to store, and whether each stand had any useful extra features.
I then tried each stand a second time, swapping my light MacBook Air for a slightly heavier, wider 15-inch Asus VivoBook S15. I paid attention to the same criteria, being careful to notice any differences in how it felt to use the laptop stands with a different computer. In many cases, it didn’t make a difference, but some stands were much better or much worse with the heavier laptop. I made sure to adjust each stand to a variety of heights during the portion of testing (if the stand was adjustable) to see how it held up and how it affected my comfort.
As a final test, I placed each stand in my backpack and lugged it around for a bit, just to see if my suspicions about which stands were and weren’t portable held any water.
What You Should Know About Laptop Stands
Why use a laptop stand? The number one reason is ergonomics. It’s better for your neck if you are able to look straight ahead at your screen all day, rather than hunching over a laptop set below eye level. A monitor can be an easy fix for this issue, but a laptop stand should also do the trick, lifting your laptop so you can stare at it without looking down. Laptop stands that lift your laptop high enough to address this problem must also be used with an external keyboard and mouse.
But your neck isn’t the only body part that can be made uncomfortable via laptop use. Your wrists might also bother you if you spend too many hours typing away at an unsupportive laptop keyboard. Some laptop stands can gently angle your keyboard so it’s more comfortable to type. The downside is that these laptops don’t place your laptop as high as you’d need for neck ergonomics, but since they don’t require an external keyboard and mouse, they have potential to be much more portable.
You can use these lower angled stands with a keyboard as well if you’d like, but during testing it felt like these took up more real estate on the desk and would only be effective with a keyboard if they were placed further away from you, making it a less-than-savvy use of space. If you want to use a keyboard with your stand, you’re better off getting a stand that lifts your laptop higher.
Portable vs. Stationary Stands
Some laptop stands are truly intended to travel with you. Many of these more portable ones are “x-stands,” which fold up small when they aren’t in use. Some x-stands truly lift your laptop high enough to require an external keyboard and mouse, making them far less portable, while others simply tilt your laptop a bit. The allure of a portable laptop stand is the ability to take the ergonomics of a monitor desk setup anywhere you go. But if a laptop is your primary work computer or a second screen in your desk monitor setup, you might want to look for a stand that’s designed to live permanently on your desk. These stands might be bulkier or made from heavier materials, which means they also have the potential to be more stable and durable.
Many laptop stands are heavily adjustable, with options to raise and lower the height of the laptop or to simply fit the laptop to the stand so that it’s sturdy. Some aren’t adjustable, though you can always change the height of your office chair or possibly even your desk.
It’s important to remember that a laptop stand alone is a step in the right ergonomic direction, but if you want a truly ergonomic work setup, you’ll also need to get an ergonomic chair (or at the very least, an office chair with armrests that can be raised to support your elbows, according to my physical therapist) and play around with the relative height of your desk and chair.
Other Types of Laptop Stands
Another reason to get a laptop stand is to prevent heat from building up underneath your laptop, which is something we paid attention to in this review. A laptop stand lifts your laptop off the desk allowing for better airflow. This matters more for gaming laptops, which produce more heat, and there are special stands (sometimes called “cooling pads”) with built-in fans designed specifically for use while gaming. We didn’t look at any of these gaming stands in this review.
We also didn’t look at any laptop stands intended to allow you to work while standing up. On the flip side, we didn’t test any laptop “trays” meant to be used in bed or while sitting on the couch. These are out there if you need them, but everything we tested should be used while sitting at a desk. There are also laptop stands intended to hold a closed laptop vertically so that you can save space while using a monitor, but—you guessed it—we gave those a pass this time.
Finally, we only tested stands with minor features, such as built-in cable management, but there are many laptop stands out there with all kinds of features ranging from storage pockets to docking stations.
Other Laptop Stands We Tested
Bluelounge Kickflip Stand
Let’s start with the good stuff. This stand is light, unobtrusive, and dead simple. It’s just a strip of hinged plastic that you stick to the bottom of your laptop. When you want to put your laptop at a more ergonomic angle, you simply bend the hinge, propping up the back of your computer. As someone who struggles with wrist pain when I’m typing, sometimes a little angling can make a difference in my comfort levels, and I really liked using the Kick Flip for that reason. It’s also ridiculously portable because it’s already attached to your laptop, barely adding any bulk (let alone weight) to your laptop situation.
That said, there are some things about the Kick Flip that might give you pause. For one thing, the idea of sticking anything to the bottom of your laptop with adhesive seems a little frightening. No one wants to have a tacky residue permanently adorning their expensive computer. (When I removed the Kick Flip from the Asus laptop, there was no sticky residue, but I can’t speak to what happens when you remove the Kick Flip after it’s been stuck to your laptop for longer than a few days). Another concern about having the stand stuck to your laptop is that, though very thin, it does lift the back of your laptop ever so slightly even when you haven’t folded out the part of the device that is intended to elevate. And if you’re having neck problems, the Kick Flip won’t help much, since it doesn’t add enough height to prevent you from having to look down at your screen. Finally, while it’s not exactly expensive, the materials felt somewhat flimsy and there’s no saying how long it can withstand regular use.
All these issues aside, this is the only laptop stand that I instantly did not want to give back after testing. I can be a bit forgetful, so I liked that the Kick Flip was something I never needed to remember—it was attached to my laptop, so if I remembered to grab the laptop, then I remembered to grab the Kick Flip. Some of the other stands were complicated to set up, and I really appreciated the simplicity of simply folding the Kick Flip back at the hinge. It’s a cheap, easy way to make my wrists feel better, and I think that’s worthy of praise.
Stable enough for a desk, but lightweight and compact enough (when collapsed) to carry around, the Roost laptop stand is a really excellent alternative to the Rain Design mStand if you require the ability to adjust the height. Likewise, if you care about portability but need a more ergonomic setup than you’ll get with the Bosvision stand or Blue Lounge Kick Flip (and are willing to carry an external keyboard), this is for you.
Three height settings give your laptop from 6 to 12 inches of lift and while they aren’t the easiest to adjust (you’ll definitely want to take your laptop off the stand to alter the height), I found them easier to adjust than the very similar Nexstand. I hit a few minor snags the first few times I tried to set up and fold the stand, but after a few days of use, it should become second nature.
My least favorite thing about the Roost was simply that I felt it took up a lot of space. My (admittedly very narrow) desk could not accommodate it, and I had to instead work on a wider surface. I don’t think this will be an issue unless you have a very narrow desk too, but it’s something to be aware of.
Though made of lightweight plastic, the Roost feels like it’s well-constructed and crafted from high-quality materials. It held both laptops securely during testing. I’d recommend this with almost no reservations.
The Nexstand appears almost identical to the Roost and gives a similar performance, but there’s some variation between the two. Like the Roost, it’s fully collapsible and therefore pretty portable, so long as you’re willing to carry a keyboard and mouse along with it. 7 height settings make it very adjustable, giving you from just under 6 to just over 12 inches of lift, but I found it a little trickier to fiddle with than the Roost. It was hard to make sure both sides of the Nexstand were the same height, and I had to remove my laptop in order to make these adjustments.
That said, the Nexstand costs about half the price of the Roost and has something very similar to offer. It holds your laptop securely, allows you to create an ergonomic setup personalized to your needs, and offers a mix of stability and portability. It takes up more space on your desk than feels ideal, but it’s okay if you have the room. A completely fine (good, even) choice.
If we scored on ease of adjustability alone, the iLevel 2 would come out on top. Even when your laptop is already perched on its thick metal form, all you have to do to alter the height and angle of the stand is to move the slider knob on the front from side to side. That is the best thing about the iLevel 2, and it’s admittedly a very good best thing.
Unfortunately, this easy adjustability comes with a few negative side effects. Most annoyingly, the portion of the stand that holds your laptop is a little too… bouncy. I used it with my MacBook Air and an external mouse and keyboard on a slightly rickety desk, where I was dismayed to find that the simple act of typing caused my MacBook to bob up and down while I worked. I switched to a more solid surface and was a lot happier with the outcome, although it still had a little bounce. The Asus VivoBook fared a little better in this regard, as its heavier weight made it less likely to budge, but it wasn’t perfect.
While the dimensions of my 13-inch Air seemed right for the iLevel 2, the bigger 15-inch VivoBook rested strangely in the stand, as the stand’s platform was perfectly lined up with the laptop hinge. Closed, the laptop sat fine, but when I opened the hinge, it was forced back a little bit, creating a gap between laptop and stand at the front and making the VivoBook feel less securely placed.
Unlike its sibling, the Rain Design mStand, the iLevel 2 has a gently jutting curve of metal in front (with the height adjustment slider set into it), which also means it takes up a bit more space on your desk. You’re not going to be able to tuck your keyboard underneath.
Issues aside, the adjustability of this stand is so easy and convenient that I’d still recommend it—just make sure your desk can’t be shaken by typing and your laptop isn’t too big.
I was curious to try the Tiny Tower, which was different from any of the other stands I looked at. But sadly, though it does many things right, I just wasn’t in love.
Setup isn’t intuitive at first, but the clever packaging makes instructions easy to find and follow, so you’ll figure it out soon enough. The stand is on the heavier side, but does fold up small and flat and is easy to transport in the provided holding case. Your laptop sits on two arms, with optional finger clips that you can unfold from the arms that theoretically keep it in place, though I didn’t think they did much. I didn’t feel like my MacBook Air was enormously secure up there, but it was good enough. The Asus, however, was too heavy for the Tiny Tower to handle, causing the whole thing to lean back. I snatched the laptop shortly thereafter, scared the Tiny Tower would topple. The taller the stand, the less stable my laptops felt.
This stand gives you about 7-10 inches of lift, which feels like a lot because the stand doesn’t angle your laptop and everything is held up by fairly narrow support. At its highest setting, I felt like I could use it while standing, though you won’t be able to do so if you’re taller than 5’6”. The instructions tell you how to support your laptop when you adjust the height, but I found it difficult to adjust without simply placing my laptop on the desk while I made the necessary alterations. That said, it was really easy to change the height when my laptop wasn’t on the stand.
Portions of the stand feel sturdy and high in quality, but these parts are combined with flimsier plastic, which detracts from any perception of stability. I liked the built-in cable management, which was cleverly integrated into the back of the arms, but it wasn’t enough to make me want to use the Tiny Tower ever again.
A lot of people seem to like this inexpensive stand, and I’m not entirely sure why. Perhaps they just haven’t explored all their laptop stand options.
The AmazonBasics stand is bulky, unwieldy, and ugly. The metal mesh is unpleasant to touch. There are a number of height settings that essentially adjust the angle of your laptop, rather than rising up or down, which meant that I could only actually use the lowest setting if I didn’t want my laptop screen to point down. Unfortunately, the lowest setting didn’t feel tall enough to prevent me from bending my neck while I worked.
You can use this stand with or without an external keyboard and mouse, but it’s so big that I think you’re probably better off using it without the external keyboard. That said, there are two tabs on the front of the stand that holds your laptop in place, and they’re situated so that they poke your wrists if you don’t use an external keyboard. This is actually more comfortable than it sounds since they’re curved for probably this exact reason, but it’s not as comfortable as it would be if you weren’t being poked at all.
A cord organizer fits on the back of the laptop stand, though you might have to look at images of the stand to figure out what it is and where it goes. This is convenient, I suppose, or it would be if I even wanted to use this stand, which I don’t. My notes say, “It wasn’t the worst ever,” and I think that sums it up.
This stand looks like it should be great. It folds up compactly and has a similar design to the Bosvision, which I loved. It’s sleek and adjustable. It’s also—surprise!—miserable to use.
My issue with the Steklo is simple: the tabs that hold your laptop in place dig into your wrists when you type. I could almost forgive this same issue for the AmazonBasics stand, as it had bigger, curved tabs, but the tabs on the Steklo are small and angular and they hurt. I gave up after a miserable hour or two of typing at awkward angles in an effort to avoid being jabbed, which made my wrists ache. When I finally stopped, I still had indents where I’d unavoidably run into those pesky tabs.
You might wonder if an external keyboard would be an easy fix, and reader, I did give it a try. But while it saved my wrists from Steklo torment, the stand simply doesn’t lift your laptop high enough for it to be worth using with a keyboard. The only reason to use a laptop stand that doesn’t give your laptop a major height boost is if you want to be able to carry it around without also needing to carry a keyboard. If you have to use a keyboard in order to be comfortable, you might as well pair it with a stand like the Roost, which is almost as portable as the Steklo but also puts your laptop at eye level.
Kori began her journalism career as a teenage fashion blogger and has enjoyed covering a wide variety of topics ever since. In her spare time, she’s an amateur poet, avid reader, and gluten-free cake baker extraordinaire.
We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.