Why do I even need an ergonomic monitor arm?

The short answer is that if your monitor is positioned too high or too low, it’s the fast road to neck strain. For every inch that your 12 lb head is leaning forward or backward to look at the screen, your neck muscles need to support an extra 10 lbs of weight. So craning down to look at a laptop screen with your head tilted forward 2 inches means your neck muscles are supporting 32 lbs of weight, for hours on end. 

You might be able to get away with a simple fixed-height monitor mount on your old fixed-height desk, (especially if your monitor has an adjustable-height post), but standing desks are a whole new ball game.

Because our spines bend at the bottom when we’re seated, we stretch out when we stand, making the relative distance between the keyboard and the appropriate monitor height (to avoid neck strain) greater. The taller the individual the bigger this height difference becomes.

Working with a monitor that’s positioned too low while standing can cause users to slouch over, cascading into neck, shoulder and back pain, and a host of other problems in the long run. This is why ergonomic, articulating monitor arms are essential for standing desk users. 

The iMovR Difference

While other companies are using research from the era of fixed-height desks to design monitor arms (or even worse, not considering standing desks at all), iMovR understands that our new active workplaces require specific monitor mounting solutions. And we don’t neglect taller users, for whom many monitor arms are too short to be of use.

We also understand that most ergonomic keyboard trays lower the height of the keyboard relative to the height of the monitor even further and thus require the use of an even higher-reaching monitor arm. And we understand that standing desk converters need a more lightweight solution and a shorter post, since the converter itself typically adds 6" of height to the desk surface where the monitor arm will mount.

Most importantly, we know that quality counts, which is why we back up every arm we sell with a minimum 10 year warranty and 100-day satisfaction guarantee. 

Which monitor arm is going to be the best for me?

When selecting a monitor arm, there’s a lot to consider, from max weight capacity and height, to arm extension (distance range from the user's eyes to the display, depending on the depth of the desk), screen tilt, and for some users, the ability to rotate from the display between landscape and portrait orientation. As we explain in greater detail below, you should be aiming to have the top of your monitor positioned at eye level, or the "zero degree sightline"). Additional arm height is typically necessary for treadmill desk workstations, especially for taller users, while less height is required for standing desk converters that position the arm mount around 4”-6” above your keyboard.

TopView Monitor Arm Models

  • 4 unique designs for everything from lightweight standing desk converters to TV-sized monitor mounting

  • Durable steel and aluminum construction

  • Sleek, modern styling accents

  • Gas cylinder counterbalance for the smoothest movements

  • Supports both desk clamp and grommet mounting styles

  • VESA quick mount makes attaching your monitor a breeze

  • Assembles in just minutes

    • Meets or exceeds ANSI/BIFMA x5.5 and CSA CAN/CGSB44.227 guidelines

    • 15-year warranty

    • Made in Taiwan, TAA-compliant for government orders

    Tempo Monitor Arm Models

    • Sleek, modern styling accents your either your desk converter or full standing desk with a streamlined look

    • Gas cylinder counterbalance for the smoothest movements

    • Each arm lifts minimum 5 lbs and maximum 20 lbs, except for the Heavy Duty version which lifts minimum 10 lbs and maximum 30 lbs

    • Supports both desk clamp and grommet mounting styles
    • VESA quick mount makes attaching your monitor a breeze
    • Assembles in just minutes
    • Built-in weight gauge takes the guesswork out of setting the ideal counterbalance for your monitor

    • 15-year warranty
    • Made in China (not TAA-compliant)

    ZipView Monitor Arm Models

    • Gas-spring powered monitor arm that requires only a finger touch to adjust
    • High range of motion: swivels between portrait and landscape orientation and tilts up and down
    • Supports both desk clamp and grommet mounting styles
    • VESA quick mount makes attaching your monitor a breeze
    • Assembles in just minutes
    • Clip-on tool holder attaches to base bracket keeping hex keys accessible
    • 10-year warranties
    • Made in China (not TAA-compliant)

    Gas vs. Spring Lift Mechanisms

    Monitor arms hold up their loads using either a spring or gas lift mechanism. Neither is strictly superior to the other—they each have their advantages. Springs have the longest lifetime while gas cylinders provide smoother response to movement. (This doesn’t mean that the gas cylinders we use in the Tempo arms are less reliable—they’re backed by our 15-year warranty for a reason). Gas cylinders are also silent, but the amount of noise generated by a spring is so miniscule that it’s unlikely to be a deciding factor. The decision often comes down to cost, with spring-based counterbalances being more economical.

    See our full article on Gas vs. Spring Lift Mechanisms.

    Multiple Monitor Arms vs. Dual Monitor Arm

    Many professionals work with two monitors today, so we’ve always got an eye open for good monitor arms that will accommodate them. If you’re trying to mount two monitors, you may be wondering whether it’s worth considering two single screen monitor arms as opposed to a single dual-screen monitor arm.

    First and foremost, if you’re using a standing desk converter, using two single arms adds more weight, which may make the work surface heavier to lift and too heavy along the back edge.

    For full standing desk users, the option of two single arms is an attractive one. Two single arms will always be more stable than a dual arm set up and you have the freedom to position them anywhere you want on your desk since they are not attached. Dual arms provide similar functionality at a slightly lower cost, but they tend to offer slightly inferior stability (though not enough that you should experience monitor shaking while typing). However, an important distinction is that dual arms make the process of repositioning monitors easier, since you may be able to move both monitors at once. Especially if you select a monitor with a crossbar like the ZipView Unison Dual Monitor Arm with Handle. The final advantage of the dual monitor arm is that it will look less cluttered than two single arms. Note that if your desk sits against a wall you may find two single arms more versatile in repositioning your monitors where you want them without having as much maneuvering room behind them.

    Edge Clamp vs. Grommet Mounting

    Clamp MountAll iMovR monitor arms support both edge clamp and grommet mounting—but which method should you choose? Grommet mounting allows you to mount the arm through the grommet hole in your desktop, while edge clamp-mounting is simply attaching the monitor arm to any edge of the desk (most commonly the back edge). In general, we recommend clamp mounting—the stability is the same with the two methods, but mounting the arms to the back lets you retain a little bit more distance between your eyes and the monitor (it should be about arm’s length away). Over 95% of users choose edge clamping over grommet mounting.

    Clamp Mount pictured right.

    Monitor Compatibility: What is VESA?

    All iMovR monitor arms mount VESA-compatible monitors. VESA (Video Electronics Standards Association) determines the ubiquitous, nearly universally accepted standard for mounting monitors to monitor arms (or flat panel TVs to walls, or any number of other applications). Almost all monitors that can be mounted are VESA-compatible, but you may want to double check, especially if you’re using an older model. The back of your monitor should have four screw holes either 75mm or 100mm apart. Some monitor arms that may appear at first glance to not have a VESA mount option either have a removable panel or an after-market option for attaching one, e.g. Apple iMac computers.

    To find out for sure, look up your monitor arm model online, or chat live with one of our workplace wellness solutions specialists and we can verify this for you.

    VESA Plate on Monitor Arm pictured right.

    Monitor Arm Max Height for Standing Desk Users

    There’s a simple equation you can use to determine whether or not a given monitor arm will work for you, or whether you’re too tall. You’ll need to know the following:

    A—the maximum height of your monitor arm

    B—half the height of your monitor (because the mounting plate is generally located in the center of the monitor, half of the monitor will stick up higher than the plate)

    C—your eye height at the zero-degree sight line (i.e. the distance from the floor to your eyes while standing looking straight ahead)

    D—the height of your standing desk while you are standing

    If A+B  C-D, then you can use the monitor arm without having to look down. (Even if you exceed this limit by a couple of inches, you should be ok—and you’ll certainly be better off with a monitor arm than without one).

    This formula works for standing desk converters as well; you’d just have to use the height of your converter for D.

    If you don’t have a standing desk or converter yet, then you can estimate using the height of your elbows, which are generally going to be at the same height as your standing desk would be (assuming you’re not using an under-desk keyboard tray or a built-in SteadyType keyboard tray).

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