Laptops may have come a long way in terms of both speed and portability, but very little has changed in their form factor throughout this time. And this means the same ergonomic issues that plagued the very first laptop largely still exist today. Think about that.
Luckily, where this is a problem, the market usually has a solution. When it comes to laptop ergonomics, one of the most important pieces of accessory you can own is the laptop stand.
In this article, I’ll go over the main benefits of a laptop stand. Just as importantly,, I’ll break down the 3 types of laptop stand designs in the marketplace today, and the pros and cons of each type.
Why You Need a Laptop Stand
A laptop stand may be a simple contraption, but its benefits are immense from an ergonomic standpoint. Here are the 4 main ones:
Brings the Laptop Screen to Eye Level
The greatest benefit of using a laptop stand is that it brings the laptop’s screen to eye level.
If you’ve ever used a laptop for any extended amount of time, you’ve probably experienced stiffness or even pain in your neck and back long before the day is over. This is primarily due to the low height of the laptop screen that forces you to constantly look down to see the screen.
You’ve most likely read the studies by now- tremendous stress is placed on the neck in the forward bending position. At just a 15 degree bend, the weight of our head that the neck has to support doubles from around 12 pounds to 27 pounds. At a 30 degree bend, an angle not uncommon when we’re gazing at our laptop screens, that weight jumps to a staggering 40 pounds:
That’s a heck lot of weight for your neck to be holding up every day, and is no wonder neck pain is so prevalent amongst office workers.
A laptop stand remedies this by bringing your laptop to eye level. This is the monitor height that automatically puts your upper body in a more ergonomic position. Your neck is immediately straight, and hunching is eliminated as you work on your laptop. Not bad for a $30 investment.
Improves Typing Ergonomics
The built in keyboard on most laptops are not exactly ergonomic, to say the least. While an external ergonomic keyboard easily fixes this, for many people, this in turn pushes the laptop screen too far away to be viewed comfortably.
A laptop stand lets you connect an external keyboard to your laptop without pushing the screen too far back. Dual rise laptop stands even let you slide the external keyboard beneath the laptop when you need to bring the screen really close to you, such as interact with a touchscreen laptop:
Prevents Overheating and Improves Laptop Performance
Laptops are much more likely to overheat than their desktop counterparts. The reason for this is that the hardware components are closely fitted together, and this minimizes the space available for air circulation.
A laptop that overheats will start to slow down, sometimes even struggling to perform basic tasks as the processor runs less efficiently. The battery will also start to drain faster. Finally, there’s a risk of damaging internal components, which could lead to potential data loss.
One of the not so obvious benefits of laptop stands is that it helps keep your laptop cool, hence running at optimal performance longer, and even prolonging the life of your laptop.
Some laptop stands come with USB-powered cooling fans and fan vents to keep your machine well-ventilated. Even the ones that don’t contain cut outs beneath the stand to allow air to better circulate around your laptop to minimize overheating.
Some Models Can Be Used as Standing Desks
Alternating between sitting and standing is one of the easiest ways to break the cycle of a sedentary lifestyle, which increases heart disease by 147% and certain cancers by up to 66%.
Another huge benefit of laptop stands is that they make for great makeshift standing desks. Whether you’re on a more restricted budget or work outside often, the folding laptop table models are portable enough and can be raised high enough to facilitate working in a standing position on a whim.
The Three Types of Ergonomic Laptop Stand Designs
When it comes to laptop stand designs, in general, they can be broken up into the following three types. See the below comparison table on the pros and cons of each one to make the most informed choice on what to get:
|Slanted Laptop Stands||Dual Rise Stands||Folding Laptop Tables|
|Most Portable, but Less Ergonomic||Less Portable but More Ergonomic||Least Portable but Most Ergonomic|
|Best Options||Best Options||Best Options
As you can see, a laptop stand is one of the quickest ways to compensate for the ergonomic deficits of most laptops. It helps correct your upper body posture, reduce the likelihood of neck and back pain, plus enhances the performance of your laptop. And for those of you not quite ready to ditch your existing desk for a standing desk, certain laptop stand models can even be used as a makeshift standing desk. It’s a no brainer investment.