Prior to getting a monitor arm, I used both my monitors on their default stands that they came with. However, I recently purchased a dual monitor arm for my standing desk. Naturally I did a fair bit of research in order to determine whether getting a monitor arm is worth it.
There’s actually a few good reasons to purchase a monitor arm. For me, the main reason was to clear up desk space and have the versatility to move my monitors around very easily.
I have a toddler and it’s super easy to turn the screen for her to watch some nursery rhymes while she is being fussy about eating (yes, my home office setup is currently in bedroom).
You may find that some of these reasons are more appealing to you than others. Overall, here’s a list of 10 reasons why monitor arms are worth it.
1. Use Your Computer Ergonomically And Improve Posture
Monitor arms give you a lot of positioning flexibility for your monitor. Not only can you change the vertical and horizontal position, but you can also easily change the tilt and orientation.
This versatility allows you to achieve the best possible posture while working. In my article on the ideal distance to sit from a computer screen, I mention that a healthy ergonomic distance is to sit one arm length away from the screen.
When trying to do this, if you sit too close to the monitor and your desk is too small, you may not be able to push the monitor far enough back.
At the same time, moving the chair away will cause you to extend your arms beyond their ergonomic position when using the keyboard and mouse. Monitor arms alleviate the issue as your monitor can be pushed further back on the desk.
Moreover, some built in monitor stands don’t allow the height of the monitor to be adjusted. If this is the case, you may be out of luck when trying to sit with the monitor at the ideal height for good ergonomics.
Monitor arms also help in this scenario as they allow the monitor to be moved vertically a significant distance.
2. Increased Desk Space
I really love this benefit of the monitor arm. I have a lot of things on my home office desk including my desktop computer, two work laptops, and two monitors. Not to mention the peripherals I use such as my keyboard, mouse and USB switch selector.
That’s why I love that monitor arms can free up so much space on your desk. When mounted on the arm, your monitor is held in position in the air. You now have access to all the space under the monitor that was previously occupied by the monitor stand.
In dual monitor setups, with some arms, you can also place both monitors on top of one another instead of next to each other horizontally. This opens up a lot of extra space for you to work with.
With the extra space now available to you, you can add desk top speakers to your home office setup or bring some warmth and life to the setup with a plant. You may also prefer to do nothing with the space and go for an elegant minimalist aesthetic.
3. Easily Adjust The Position Of Your Monitor
Another advantage of a monitor arm is how easy it is to adjust the position of your monitor. Typically you have to tension the arm for the weight of the monitor so that the monitor stays floating when left idle.
With this, you are able to very easily move the monitor around in the air with very little force for input. This ease of adjustment allows for you to easily change the position of the monitor as needed.
For example, you may switch from sitting to standing at your desk at regular intervals while working. With this change, you’ll often have to adjust the position of the monitors to ensure a good posture and it becomes super easy with a good monitor arm.
Moreover, you may also switch from using a monitor horizontally to vertically from time to time. There’s quite a few productivity benefits of a vertical monitor and I wrote a full article about it here. Being able to change the orientation of a monitor from horizontal to vertical with a monitor arm is super easy.
4. Built In Cable Management
Depending on the monitor arm, you’ll get built in cable management capability with the arm. That means you can hide the power and display cables going from your computer to your monitor and make everything look super clean.
Not to mention that you’re cables won’t get tangled or crisscrossed as you move your monitor around on it’s stand or interfere with other cables on your desk such as those of your mouse and keyboard.
Without a monitor arm, cable management of monitor cables can be a pain if your desk doesn’t support it. Most desks don’t come with grommet holes that you can use to route the cables through and hide.
It’s an even bigger problem if your table is not against the wall, since the cables will be visible to onlookers. With a monitor arm, you solve all these problems and guide the monitor cables under the desk cleanly.
5. Position Your Laptop Or Tablet Ergonomically. Not Just Your Monitors
We know that monitor arms help you to position your monitor in ergonomic locations with respect to your body. However, what you may not know is that you can actually mount your laptop or tablet to monitor arms as well with the correct mount.
Using a laptop or tablet on the desk is problematic in many cases because they sit at a fixed height on the desk and its generally much lower than your eye level. Ergonomically, your eyes should line up with the top of the device.
Being able to mount a laptop or table to a monitor arm will allow them to be positioned in the air just like a monitor and allow you to place and use them in ergonomic positions.
You can purchase mounts that support laptops and tablets or you may be able to find adapters for an existing monitor arm.
6. Stack Your Monitors Vertically
A great benefit of a monitor arm is the ability to stack your monitors vertically instead of horizontally. This allows you to achieve a completely different aesthetic and save a lot of space.
Using this setup, you can fit two full sized monitors on smaller desks without issues. The versatility of the monitor arms allows you to change between the setups very easily as well.
I find it so much nicer to look between two screens when they are stacked vertically. The amount of eye movement you need is minimal, and you don’t need to move your head at all (for two 24″ monitors).
I love that I can also watch videos on the top screen to achieve a more theatre like experience.
7. Increase In Comfort
It can be quite discomforting to work at a desk that is not organized and cluttered with things. A monitor arm makes you home office more comfortable.
Instead of the cluttered, busy look of using monitor stands, the monitor arm clears up a lot of space on your desk and makes the monitors organized.
Moreover, monitor arms allow you to position your monitor ideally for when you want to relax and lean your chair back to watch a movie or video.
8. Increase In Productivity
The main way that monitor arms improve your productivity is by allowing you to position your screen in an ergonomic position so you don’t strain your neck and eyes when working for an extended period of time.
You are able to fatigue less and therefore work for longer periods of time and this provides a productivity advantage.
Moreover, monitor arms allow you to easily change between horizontal and portrait screen configurations. As I explain in my article about vertical monitors, a vertical monitor can increase productivity for coding, editing documents, and all kinds of reading including documents, eBooks, forums, emails, web pages, and chat messages.
9. Existing Compatibility With Many Monitors
Monitor arms generally adhere to VESA standards. This is a common guideline for monitors so that monitors of all different brands, shapes and sizes will adhere to a common mounting solution.
What this means is that your monitor will most likely be VESA compatible and will readily attach to a typical monitor arm. However, it is possible if you have a fairly old or cheaper monitor that VESA compatible mounting screws are not present in your monitor.
Before purchasing a monitor arm, you need to make sure whether your monitor is compatible with the monitor arm. If for some reason, you find that your monitor does not support VESA mounting, you may be able to find an adapter to attach to the monitor, allowing you to mount it to the monitor arm.
10. Easy To Install
Last but not least, monitor arms are worth it because they are easy to install. Most arms clamp onto your desk, so you don’t need to make special holes or screw into your desk to secure the arm.
In fact, some dual monitor arms come with two clamps side by side to ensure robustness and stability.
Moreover, the rest of the monitor arm setup is fairly simple as well. Generally, the different parts of the arm snap onto the base clamped to the desk and you only have to screw the mounting plate to the monitor.
Lastly, you have to adjust the tension screw to couple the monitor arm with the weight of your monitor so that the monitor floats in place when you move it to a new position.
Overall, it took me about 30 minutes to set up my dual monitor arm.
The Bottom Line
There are many reasons why monitor arms are worth it. If you want a change from the default setup using the monitor stands, you should seriously consider monitor arms. In this article I mentioned 10 reasons why monitor arms are worth it.
While monitor arms are certainly the most popular option for organizing your monitors on your desk, there are other options as well. You may find that you prefer the monitor shelf or the wall mount style of mounting the monitor. I compare the three in my article here.
Hamid Tahir is a Mechatronics Engineer and founder of WFH Overload. He is currently working from home and is dedicated to the continuous improvement of his home office setup. Hamid has extensive experience setting up workspaces and dealing with the related tech. He hopes to share his knowledge to help you create the most productive and comfortable work from home setup. Read More