If you are experiencing neck and upper back pain while spending many hours in front of your laptop, you may want to look at purchasing a laptop stand (or notebook riser). Apart from ergonomic benefits, some people find that they can type faster when their keyboards are slightly elevated, increasing productivity.
There are literally hundreds of different laptop stands to choose from. Their prices vary considerably, mainly due to differences in size, design complexity, as well as the types of materials used in manufacturing. When making your decision on which to purchase, you need to ask yourself the following question – what is the main factor in determining what I need from my laptop stand, is it ergonomics or convenience? The answer to this question will help determine which type of laptop stand will suit you best.
If ergonomics is paramount and your number one priority, you need a laptop stand to align the height of your laptop screen level with your eye level when seated at your desk. Most commonly, these types of stands lift your entire laptop off the working surface. With this type of set-up, it is advisable that you purchase a laptop stand as well as a separate keyboard and mouse. The reason for this is that to lift the screen to the suitable height, your existing laptop keyboard will not be ergonomically positioned for typing. These types of stands are more suited to you if you tend to work in one location, as the extra keyboard and mouse will take up space in your laptop bag and set-up time is relatively long. Below is an example of this type of laptop stand.
If you work remotely and require more portability and convenience with some ergonomics benefits, then there is another type of laptop stand to consider. When carrying your laptop between meetings or while travelling, the most convenient stand will generally be the smallest, lightest, collapsible stand that is easily attachable/detachable to and from your laptop. This will mean that you will have a stand that sets up and folds away in a couple of seconds and takes up little laptop bag space. Some people are also quite particular as to the typing elevation they prefer. In this case it is safer to purchase a stand that has more than one height adjustment. Below is an example of this type of laptop stand.
Other factors to consider before purchasing:
Strength: You will want to ensure that the stand you buy is strong enough and is stable while typing. Since laptops are not very heavy, most materials such as metal, wood, bamboo or plastic should be strong enough to hold your laptop plus some extra ‘hand weight’, unless it is poorly designed.
Heat dissipation: Most laptop stands are designed with this in mind. If you have heat issues with your laptop, you will need to ensure that the laptop stand provides better ventilation when sitting on your stand as opposed to normal usage on a desk surface. The smaller the footprint of the stand in its usage position, the better the ventilation will be (this assumes that the stand lifts most of the laptop underside away from the working surface).
Research: Do your research on the stand you are interested in buying and read the customer reviews on e-commerce websites. Although not all reviews are accurate or fair, you should get a good idea as to how the stand has been received by other customers.
Brand: While undertaking your research, you may find a particular brand that resonates with you. Some people like to buy locally manufactured products, or one whose company values align with yours.
Whichever laptop stand you decide to purchase, we are sure that you will value the ergonomic benefits of owning one.