This change to my multi-monitor setup was totally worth it

Man using dual monitor arm at his desk.

After-market monitor arms are one of those “upgrades” you can perform that I never realized was necessary. I mean, I’ve already spent several hundred dollars on a good monitor for work and gaming, so why would I spend another $50 on a stand that will replace the perfectly good monitor that came with the screen?

It turns out the answer is because they’re better. And not in a $1,000-apple-stand kind of way. Just the better. And when you’re looking to ease back pain in your office, you’ll try just about anything.

So my latest venture was replacing my monitor stand with a third party solution. And I wish I had done it years ago.

You can move your monitor exactly where you want

I’m a big fan of multi-monitor setups. They are great for increasing productivity and giving you a good view on Discord or a Wiki page while gaming. I like it so much that staff writer Jacob Roach and I even had a tech-magazine debate over whether ultrawides are better. But with the constant churn of new PC hardware through my office, I’m keen to make the most of the hardware I have. I want whoever I’m working with to do just that: work. And that means I have some serious legacy hardware still in use. Like a 15 year old monitor.

That 24-inch monitor isn’t just a little heavy — it also has a thick stand, which lacks the usual 2008-era mobility. Combine this with the slightly more mobile Asus MG279Q of a more modern era, and I’ve simply got used to mismatched heights and imperfect angles. Well, this is no longer a problem with the third-party monitor branch. I’ve installed them almost perfectly in line, and importantly, at a comfortable height for me to work, to discourage leaning forward or eye strain.

They’re at a more comfortable angle, so everything feels roughly the same distance from my eyes. Finally, I can enjoy some of Jacob’s emulation of the curved screen wonders of ultrawides. I’m not jealous, I’m honest.

just look at all that space

With my nearsighted focus on improving posture and reducing pain, I didn’t even think about how much extra space using a desk clamp monitor arm would free up. While the old Dell stand was quite large, the new Asus stand wasn’t much better. With the desk clamp dual-arm setup, I suddenly have a few extra square feet of desk space, which makes a big difference, especially when my desk is getting a little cluttered.

Even cable management is easy

When I got my attractive new Uplift desk, I told myself I would eventually route all the cables so they were out of sight and, ideally, out of mind too. At the time, with my old monitor stand, this meant a lot of cable ties and double-sided tape stuck behind the desk. However, over time, as the desk moved and the tape became less sticky, my neat cables weren’t what they used to be.

Switching to the dual monitor branch provided a great opportunity to fix this and it helped a lot. The Arms have their own built-in cable runners, covering the most important and elegant part of the cable run: from the back of the monitor to the bottom of the desk. From there, it’s very easy to hide the cables out of sight, creating a more negative space-filled office space, which feels like it aids productivity and reduces my ever-present desire to procrastinate.

How to buy a monitor arm

Are you intrigued by my Monitor Arm journey and want to join me in this wonderful new world of mobility? Here are the most important factors to consider when purchasing a monitor arm:

  • Compatibility: Check the VESA mounting system for arms that are compatible with your monitor. If an arm doesn’t fit your display it’s no good buying it.
  • Check Weight: Make sure the new monitor arm can support the weight of your monitor. You can probably go a little more – I’ve gone up to a kilo – but it’s probably best to stay within the rated weight tolerance.
  • Choose mount style: Some arms are mounted on the wall, some are clipped to your desk, and some are designed to have holes drilled directly into them. I could do that with mine for added strength, but if you think I’m going to take a drill bit to that walnut butcher block, you’ve got another thing coming.
  • Make sure they can do what you want: Different monitor weapons have different movement capabilities. If you want your monitors to be on top of each other, or far apart, or beyond just basic side-by-side mounting, make sure your chosen mount can do so.

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