Thursday, October 6, 2022

Best laptop stands for Apple MacBook Pro and MacBook Air

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Apple’s MacBooks are great, but—as with all laptops—using one isn’t that great for your back or neck.

Continual bowing of the head to see a screen can lead to a stiff neck and what doctors call spinal stenosis, which can compress blood vessels and displace nerves—cutting off blood supply to the brain. That’s not a good thing.

Your screen should be at a comfortable height that doesn’t make you bend your neck down to see it. Try to make sure your eyes are in line with the screen while sitting with a straight back.

This also helps when making video calls, so the other people aren’t staring up your nostrils. It also makes using a separate keyboard and mouse much easier. See our roundups of the best Mac keyboards and best Mac mouse.

And, after use, you can hide away your keyboard under the raised stand on some.

Some stands raise the laptop to eye level, and others—known as “vertical stands”—just keep the MacBook closed for minimal desk disruption if you have connected external displays to increase your screen size—learn how to set up a second screen for a Mac.

The eye-level laptop stands will also be more ergonomic, raising the MacBook screen so that you are not straining your neck muscles, shoulders and back. It should also reduce screen glare, which means less eye strain and fewer headaches.

Buy a vertical laptop stand to keep your desk tidy and free up space for other stuff—be that a charger for your iPhone, backup hard disk, or a cup of coffee.

Both types of stand should also raise the laptop, raising it off the desk and keeping it cooler. If a laptop gets too hot, its performance is likely to suffer.

A laptop stand also works nicely with a MacBook docking station, which can multiply the number of ports and slots available to you and allow for multiple larger displays.

Some stands even have their own integrated USB-C hub, which is a very clever addition.

We’ve rounded up the best laptop stands for MacBook that we can find. Most mimic the clean metal lines of the MacBook range, while others think differently.

Twelve South Curve Flex – Most stylish flexible MacBook stand

Pros

Stylish

Multiple height and tilt settings

Portable

Many laptop stands are rigid and offers little flexibility. The Cuve Flex, from premium accessory maker Twelve South, remedies this limitation with both height and tilt adjustability.

It can elevate your MacBook screen and camera up to 22 inches (56cm) so it can be close to eye level and aligned with an external screen if you have one. This flexibility is better for your neck, back and eyes. You can angle the MacBook’s keyboard from 0 to 45 degrees.

The Curve Flex is not just flexible; it’s portable, too. It weighs 28oz (795g), folds flat and comes with a padded neoprene travel sleeve.

While it costs more than the Curve, and indeed many of the MacBook stands tested here, the flexibility and portability justify the extra expense.

The Curve Flex is available in matte black or white.

Twelve South also has a companion stand for the external display you might connect to your MacBook. The Curve Riser will put your second screen at a similar height to the laptop, and includes a handy shelf for a docking station or other device.

Satechi Aluminum Laptop Stand – Best portable MacBook stand

Pros

Portable

Foldable

Color options

Cons

Only one height setting

Satechi’s Aluminum Laptop Stand is more portable than most, being collapsible and lightweight (17.1oz, 485g).

You can simply fold it up, and pack it in your bag or suitcase for travel.

It doesn’t raise the laptop as high as the Twelve South Curve or Beststand Cooling Stand, but it does bring the screen closer to eye level than sitting flat on the desk.

It suits MacBooks in looks, as it is available in Silver, Gold, Rose Gold, Space Grey and Black, but will work with any laptop 12in-17in.

The base is rubberised to keep it secure on your desk.

Urmust Laptop Notebook Stand Holder – Best laptop stand for small desks

Pros

Multiple height settings

Foldable

Color options

Working from home and remote learning is forcing a lot of to work in small, tight spaces. And, in safer times, that coffee shop is convenient, but not designed for healthy laptop use.

The adjustable, aluminum-alloy Urmust Laptop Notebook Stand Holder raises the laptop to a more ergonomic height – between 0-90° – and leaves the little desk space you have for you to spread out papers and books, and maybe room for that cup of coffee.

There’s anti-slip rubber on the feet, so shouldn’t scratch your surface, while remaining stable while in use. It can hold 4kg and up to 15.6in laptops.

Super narrow, it works well in small spaces. Plus, it’s lightweight and foldable, so can be stored away out of sight when not required – or carried around with you.

It’s even available in seven colours, from Silver, Black, Rose Gold and Grey, to Red, Blue and Blueish Grey.

Twelve South Curve – Best fixed MacBook stand

Pros

Stylish

Decent height

Cons

Only one height setting

Elevating your screen to an ergonomic height is important for relieving neck strain on your muscles and vertebrae. A quality laptop stand will do just that for you.

One of our favorites is the Curve, available in Apple-friendly matte black and white.

It is not as flexible as its adjustable sibling, the Curve Flex, it raises your MacBook 6.5 inches off your desk so you can sit up straight and look directly at your screen—and feel less tension in your neck and shoulders.

It also keeps your laptop cool with air flowing underneath it.

It’s a one-piece metal design with non-slip silicone grips on the bottom and arms. It looks fantastic, just like your MacBook.

Hyperdrive 7-in-1 USB-C Hub Laptop Stand – Best portable laptop stand with built-in USB-C hub

Pros

Built-in USB-C hub

integrated cable

Portable

Foldable

Cons

USB-C not Thunderbolt

This clever USB-C hub is a laptop stand that also includes a range of ports to expand those on the connected MacBook.

It features a 5Gbps USB-C port, two 5Gbps USB-A ports, both SD and microSD card slots and an HDMI port for attaching an external display, which will also help you achieve a better ergonomic position.

You can add memory sticks or other external storage devices, or a wired mouse or keyboard if you fancy. The connection is USB-C rather than Thunderbolt so doesn’t offer the full bandwidth but it is still compatible with modern MacBooks.

Some rival hub/stand combos don’t include the built-in cable so you need to use another of your laptop’s Thunderbolt ports to keep it charged, but the Hyperdrive stand connects to your MacBook (13-16in) using its own integrated USB-C cable, leaving the separate USB-C port on the hub free for other devices or more likely a USB-C PD wall charger. It can support up to 100W MacBook charging power.

It’s lightweight (308g or 11oz) and collapsible and can be used in five ergonomic positions.

The base features a silicon layer of cushioning to keep your MacBook securely in position.

Two USB-A 3.0 ports (5Gbps)HDMI – 4K at 30HzUHS-I SD and microSD card slots for adding affordable, portable storage

Ugreen X-Kit – Lightest laptop stand with built-in USB-C hub

Pros

Built-in USB-C hub

Portable

Foldable

Cons

USB-C not Thunderbolt

No spare USB-C port

UGreen’s X-Kit hub-stand fulfils the role of both stand and USB hub. 

It’s a small, foldable laptop stand for 11-16in laptops, with an integrated 5-in-1 USB-C hub and docking station.  

In a great X-shaped design in cool Obsidian black, it’s the hub that really makes this stand, er, stand out. It’s lightweight (283g or 10oz) and small enough when folded for you to slip into a small travel bag.

The hub enables you to tidily connect storage drives, memory sticks, a wired mouse and keyboard, and an external display via the included USB-C cable – without a dangling dongle in sight.

It works with both USB-C and Thunderbolt laptops, although the 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 and 4 laptops will throttle back to 5Gbps when interacting with any devices connected to the X-Kit.

It has four adjustable heights that should offer ergonomic benefits to reduce neck and wrist strain.

Slip-proof silicone bands and protective hooks keep your portable workstation stable.

Its airy construction should help dissipate heat, too.

Compatible with both Mac and Windows laptops, iPad Pro/Air/Mini, and Android tablets, the aluminium Hub-Stand features the following ports:

Two USB-A 3.0 ports (5Gbps)HDMI – 4K at 30HzUHS-I SD and TF card slots for adding affordable, portable storage

PWR+ Ergonomic Laptop Stand – Most adjustable laptop stand

Pros

Multiple height settings

Stable

USB fans

The PWR+ Ergonomic Laptop Stand is like a small Transformer, which can morph into just about any shape you need from a laptop stand.

It has varying heights (much higher than most of the laptop stands reviewed here), and can be angled as you please as a traditional stand or have its surface flat to be used as a table.

It even has two USB-powered fans in its tabletop, which will keep your laptop cooler and more efficient.

It’s versatile enough to be used as a standing tray in bed if you fancy – handy when you fancy stretching out in your “home office”.

It’s not heavy, but it is bulkier than some other collapsable stands. It can easily be folded up to store, however.

Satechi Dual Laptop Stand – Best closed dual laptop/tablet stand

Pros

Holds both laptop and tablet

Cons

Laptop must be closed

This 2-in-1 stand is great to keep your desk tidy when you sport both MacBook and iPad.

The Satechi Dual Vertical Stand can cradle up two laptops, two tablets, or two smartphones vertically at the same time. It’s a closed design so works well with a dock allowing for an external display for the laptop.

While sleek, the stand is sturdy with a weight-balancing base and frame built from stress-resistant aluminum. 

An internal silicon mat has protective grip beds to protect electronics from unwanted scratches, and non-slip pads keep your devices upright and protected.

Bestand Aluminum Cooling Stand – Best stand for cooling laptop

Pros

Decent height setting

Cooling holes

Cons

Only one height setting

If you need a stand that keeps the MacBook open with screen showing, the Bestand Aluminum Cooling Stand looks the part in either Silver or Gray to match your Apple laptop.

It lifts your MacBook to eye level, which should be better for your posture, back and neck.

There are three strip-shaped holes to the pad that the MacBook sits on, which should offer some degree of cooling compared to stands without such basic ventilation.

Another hole at the back allows for cable management and can be used as a handle, too.

There are optional extras that allow you to add your iPhone to the stand.

Rain Design mTower – Best minimal closed stand

Pros

Minimal

Closed design

Cons

Laptop must be closed

The mTower from Rain Design is a simple, minimal vertical (closed) stand that saves you desk space and elevates the MacBook’s vent to keep your laptop cool.

Its anodised aluminium body – that allows the MacBook to “float” above it – neatly matches the design and colour of the Space Gray and Silver MacBooks.

It raises the laptop 88mm (3.5in) off the desk, and fits the 12in MacBook, 13in/14in/15in/16in MacBook Pro and 11in and 13in MacBook Air. It includes a number of inserts to make sure your MacBook fits snuggly.

It’s for use in setups where you have a second or third screen as the screen remains closed.

Twelve South BookArc – Most elegant laptop stand

Cons

Laptop must be closed

The BookArc, from Twelve South, is a simple, elegant stand that lifts your closed Apple laptop off your desk, and supports the MacBook in closed-display mode for a less cluttered desk when paired with one or two external displays.

It has been designed to match the design aesthetic of Apple’s laptops, and works with the MacBook, MacBook Air (2018-2022) and MacBook Pro (2016-2022) including 13in, 14in, 15in and 16in models.

An insert is included with the BookArc so that each laptop fits perfectly. 

Satechi Universal Vertical Aluminum Laptop Stand – Simple closed stand

Pros

Stable

Color options

Cons

Laptop must be closed

Satechi makes some fine accessories that are “universal” but clearly styled to fit with the design aesthetics of Apple’s products.

This elegant but sturdy Universal Vertical Aluminum Laptop Stand might not have a fancy name but it does tick both the “Universal” and MacBook boxes. It’s adjustable, with a knob that tightens or loosens the stand width from half an inch to 1.25in so will fit all but the fattest laptops. It will even take a laptop in a shell case.

As a “vertical” stand it will save you valuable desk space, although of course it requires an external display as the laptop will remain closed. Twin it with a Docking station that includes HDMI or DisplayPort for the ultimate MacBook setup.

There’s a chamber at the bottom of the weighty anodised aluminium body (7.05-x-3.9-x-2.75in) to allow air to flow and keep the laptop cool.

It’s available in Silver, Space Gray and Black.

OMoton Vertical Laptop Stand – Simple closed stand

Cons

Laptop must be closed

Plain

The OMoton Vertical Laptop Stand is a simple, small-footprint design, but with a clever underside.

Flip the aluminum stand over and you’ll find four adjustable screws (it comes with a tool to turn them) so you can determine its width to fit your laptop – from 14mm to 40mm.

Really skinny laptops will still feel some wobble, but you wouldn’t want it gripped too tight anyway. It’s reassuringly heavy at 600g.

The inner (and bottom) features anti-slip silicone, which should also stop any scratching of the laptop shell.

The OMoton stand is available in Black, Gray, and silver.

It measures 150mm x 97mm x 47mm.

There’s also a double version, if you want to keep your tablet nearby.

Lention Aluminum Laptop Stand – Best adjustable closed stand

Cons

Laptop must be closed

There are a lot of very similar laptop stands out there, and Lention makes one that looks and works just like the Omoton.

It’s a closed design that can be adjusted from 0.36 to 1.2 inches in width to fit most laptops.

It has a non-slip protective rubber mat.

Available in Space Gray or brushed Silver.

Belk MacBook Laptop Stand – Best wooden stand

Cons

Laptop must be closed

The curved Belk MacBook Laptop Stand doesn’t follow the trend for stark metal design like most of the stands reviewed here.

Instead, it is a pleasing arc in either Walnut or Black Walnut wood. This natural look might not look much like your laptop, but it may well fit in with your desk more sympathetically.

It comes with two different silicone gaskets so it should fit most laptops. The slim MacBook Pro wobbles a little in even the thinnest, but it’s not a problem unless you are in the habit of violently shaking your desk.

Underneath, there’s cable management to keep your desk a little tidier.

It measures 26.4cm x 12.5cm x 7.5cm, and weighs 6.9oz or 195g.

You might also consider one of our best monitor stands for PC or Mac, which can also raise your laptop. Satechi even has a special iMac stand that really looks the part.

Author: Simon Jary, Contributing writer

Simon was Editor of Macworld from the dark days of 1995 to the triumphant return of Steve Jobs and the launch of the iPhone. His desk is a test bench for tech accessories, from USB-C and Thunderbolt docks to chargers, batteries, Powerline adaptors and Fitbits.

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