By Alex McIl – 29th Apr 2020
My laptop is literally my office as long as I have internet. And just like any other digital nomad, I love my laptop.
However, one issue that persists when travelling is finding yourself in a new place with a new desk height and a new chair that doesn’t meet your comfort requirements.
Travelling in itself can also be an issue. Resting your laptop on your lap during your journey is far from ideal or comfortable. Even worse, it can result in neck & back pain and overall stiffness.
This is where I think portable laptop stands come to the rescue. For example, an ergonomic portable laptop stand can alleviate such pains and even help your laptop’s health and performance by preventing overheating through free flowing ventilation.
Our Top Netbook Stands For You
Boyata Travel Holder
Huge load-bearing of 44 lbs (20 kg). Made out of aluminium so is light, strong & durable.
Rain Design mStand
Made from aluminium and has an Apple “feel” to it. Has no moving parts, so little can go wrong with it.
Nulaxy Portable Tray
Truly portable and folds into a tiny area of 11″ x 2″. Super light with 6 height levels of adjustability.
Six More Reasons To Consider A Laptop Stand
Here are 6 other reasons to keep in mind when purchasing a laptop stand. These stands aren’t expensive (although they can be).
However, it’s always a good idea to choose one that suits your needs, so you do not have to return it and start over again.
#1 External Monitor
If using an external monitor with your laptop, it’s important to have both screens at similar levels to prevent neck & eye strain. This will also result in a more comfortable working environment.
#2 Air Ventilation
The gap between your laptop and desk, allows for more ventilation / cooling of your machine, which increases its life span and performance. The less overheating endured, the longer your computer will last.
Most laptop stands are light and foldable. Just like a laptop you can transport it to your next destination.
#4 Posture & Body Pains
Having a laptop at desktop height means arching your back to type. This can cause more than just back problems, including, neck, shoulders, hands, wrists and arm pains. An adjustable laptop stand allows you to position your laptop at a height that is somewhere between the ideal monitor height (center of the screen at eye level).
#5 Screen Angle & Glare
Direct and constant glare can lead to eye strain. Ergonomic laptop stands for desks can help you position the angle so your eyes don’t get the full brunt of light… think about this, you only have one set of eyes.
#6 Space Management
You can reduce desktop clutter by placing your cables, mouse, keyboard etc under your stand.
What To Look For Before Buying An Adjustable Laptop Stand – 5 Factors To Consider
There a few factors to consider before buying a stand for your laptop. Some of them may not be that obvious until after you made your purchase.
To prevent you from making that mistake, here are 5 things to consider before purchasing your travel laptop stand:
Let’s expand a little more on these factors!
Compatibility & Size
Laptops and stands come in different sizes. Therefore, it’s vital the stand you buy isn’t too small for your laptop size and shape.
When choosing a portable laptop stand, many on the market are adjustable and made to fit laptops of many shapes and sizes. Therefore, there shouldn’t be a problem finding the one suited for your needs.
Adjustability & Set Up Process
Many stands are solid units and all that’s required is to place your laptop on top of them (no height settings required). These units tend to be the most solid, as they are one piece and have no moving parts. The downside, they aren’t foldable and tend to take up too much space while travelling.
On the other hand, stands that are foldable and have moveable parts may require some thinking in terms of how to set them up. And although this isn’t rocket science, some designs may be annoying and fiddly.
Stability & Sturdiness
Many of the factors mentioned above will directly influence how sturdy your laptop stand is. The use of cheap materials such as thin metals or plastics can make your stand feel wobbly. Likewise, the same thing can happen with a unit that has many moving parts.
Adjustability and portability are great things, but laptop stands that are one solid piece are generally more sturdy.
Portability & Foldability
Let’s be honest, a laptop is a portable machine designed to be carried from destination to destination. Therefore it goes without saying that a stand should be portable too!
If like me you travel plenty, it’s important your stand can fold up nicely or be as slimline as possible to save much needed space for when you embark on your journey to other parts of the world. This is why they are sometimes called travel laptop stands, but not all are as portable as they may first appear.
Which Are The Best Priced Portable Laptop Stands For My Needs?
Disclaimer: I haven’t physically tested all these laptop stands / trays, it would be very hard to do so and very costly to test out all products. I do however, spend time researching each product so you don’t have to.
So without further ado, here are my recommended portable laptop stands that can bring you comfort, keep aches & pains at bay, reduce glare to the eyes and can even look stylish on your desk.
Oh and before we continue, most mentioned here are designed for desk use rather than a tray used for resting horizontally on a sofa… ah what a way to work!
Boyata Travel Holder: Adjustable Ergonomic Holder
With a load-bearing of 44 lbs (20 kg), this portable laptop stand will be sure to hold in place any laptop weight. Further to this, you can incline the base at different angles while being able to elevate & lower to your required height.
The aluminium frame doesn’t only provide strength & durability while being light-weight, but will absorb laptop heat and then reflect it for instant cooling effect. There is also a hole cut out on the tray that provides even more ventilation and lightness.
The tray is designed to hold a variety of laptops up to 17-inches. So you’ll be sure your MacBooks, HP, ASUS and Lenovos (plus many more) will fit snuggly.
Rain Design mStand: Single Aluminum Piece
This baby has a stylish aluminium design that most MacBook users will recognise and love. This design compliments the look and feel of Mac users and more importantly is solid.
There are no moving parts to this stand, so little can go wrong with it. But that also means no foldable capabilities and therefore not easy to travel with.
Nulaxy Portable Mount: Fully Collapsible
This is a true portable piece that can fold away into the tiniest of areas (11″ x 2″). It’s so slimline and light, while being sturdy, that you can throw it into your backpack along with your laptop after you’re done working on the go.
To top it off, it’s adjustability is second to none with 6 levels of height adjustments, so that you can find optimum comfort.
All the stands on this list where selected so not to break the bank, while still being a good piece of kit that won’t fail you and even help with promoting long-term health.
There’s always going to be a balance between functionality and portability, especially if you are a digital nomad on regular travel adventures. Any fixed unit will solidly hold your laptop in place, but will lack adjustability… and without adjustability, you cannot have a unit that folds-up neatly into your backpack.
If you’re looking to do most of your work at home at a standard desktop height with minimum features so less can go wrong, check out the Rain Design mStand. It’s solid, simplistic and does what it says on the box… little to go wrong with it.
If you’re a regular traveller and earn money on the go, then check out the Boyata Travel Holder. It’s solid, compact and can hold up to 44lbs at different adjustable heights. For any light traveler with limited luggage space, the Nulaxy Portable Mount folds away so efficiently you can practically put it in your back pocket!
✓ What health benefits does a laptop stand have?
At desktop height, a laptop screen tends to be lower than head level. This means having to arch your neck and possibly your back to look at the screen, ultimately affecting your posture. There's something to be said about keeping your screen to eye level if you care about posture and want to reduce repetitive strain on your back, neck and even wrists.
✓ How easy is it to carry a portable laptop stand around?
If you can find carrying your laptop around without great difficulty, then there will be no problems with carrying a portable laptop stand. Bear in mind, this will depend on the design of the stand, however, some designs are so compact, you can slip them down the side pocket of your backpack.
✓ How is typing affected when using a laptop stand?
Your laptop is now going to be angled and raised up off the table top. This means your arms are going to be at a higher elevation and might need some getting used to. Resting your arms while typing adds some strain on the stand, so be sure you have a sturdy one that does not shake... there's nothing worse than a screen bouncing up and down.