The 8 Best Compact Laptop Desks and Stands to Buy in 2018

Get a portable laptop stand and work comfortably anywhere

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Using a laptop on a desk is a common scenario, but there’s one serious drawback: When it comes to proper placement, a laptop placed on a desk can be too low, which may cause neck and muscle discomfort to occur over time. It might seem foolish to add an external keyboard and mouse to a laptop, but placing the laptop at eye level can allow for lengthier and more rewarding work sessions. If you’re spending hours a day hovering over a laptop, purchasing a laptop stand will not only help your posture but also provide relief for your neck and arms as well. Take a look at our choices for the best laptop stands.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Rain Design iLevel 2

Rain Design iLevel 2
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Looking for the best laptop stand on the market will inevitably lead you to the Rain Design iLevel 2. Weighing just 3.5 pounds, the iLevel’s laptop tilts upward when you slide the front knob from left to right and lowers when twisted the opposite direction. It’s a simplistic way of adjusting height, but one that’s so easy it’s almost disingenuous. Ultimately, the iLevel 2 can lift your laptop off the desk around six inches on its lowest setting and up to 7.75 inches at its highest.

Made out of anodized aluminum, the iLevel 2 looks right at home with Apple’s MacBook line, but it fits laptops of all sizes. Heavier laptops in the 15-inch screen space might cause a little wobble or bounce in the stand while typing on an external keyboard, but it’s hardly a deal-breaker. The overall tilt design helps cool laptops by allowing heat to escape all while bringing the screen closer to your face. Rubber pads on the bottom of the stand help protect both the stand and the desk.

Runner-Up, Best Overall: mStand by Rain Design

mStand by Rain Design
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Another all-star choice by Rain Design, the mStand is an outstanding option for laptop owners of all shapes and sizes. Weighing just three pounds, the mStand raises notebooks to an eye-friendly height of 5.9-inches from a desktop. The single angle measurement does prevent adjustments down the road, but was chosen by mStand as the ideal placement for different heights and eye levels. Composed of a single, sturdy piece of sandblasted matte aluminum, the aluminum panel acts as a heat sink to provide a laptop with additional cooling and a “rain drop” cutout in the stand allows air to pass underneath the laptop.

Beyond airflow, the mStand adds a circular outlet on the stand itself to route cables through for enhanced organization. Additionally, the area beneath the stand itself is designed to hide a keyboard/mouse when not in use. To prevent any scratching or wear and tear, thick rubber pads adhere to both the bottom of the stand itself and the laptop level holder to prevent friction from damaging both the desk and laptop over time.

Best for Gamers: Tree New Bee

Tree New Bee
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While gamers can utilize any laptop stand for added ergonomics, the demanding nature of the gaming experience on a laptop requires something a little more specific. The Tree New Bee cooling pad for 15.6 to 17-inch laptops has four 120mm fans that spin at 1200 RPM, which are sure to keep your laptop cool while you’re attempting to conquer the Warcraft world. Overall, the Tree New Bee can offer up to 20 percent more airflow and cooling over a traditional laptop stand that offers no fans to assist in cooling.

Additionally, the Tree New Bee adds some basic ergonomic improvements by lifting a laptop up to 2.12 inches in height. This allows for a more comfortable typing experience, as well as better viewing angles. Connecting to your laptop via a single USB cord, the 1.4-inch depth of the Tree New Bee adds another 1.4 inches in height on top of the additional titled 2.12-inch adjustment, which makes for an even more ergonomic experience. Lastly, two anti-skid arms assist laptop placement and prevent any unwanted movement.

Best Budget: AmazonBasics

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The AmazonBasics ventilated adjustable laptop is a standout choice for buyers on a budget. Weighing 2.4 pounds, the stand is adjustable for heights between 12 to 35 degrees (which will help increase airflow and find the right angle for each user). Composed of fine-gauge metal mesh panels, the AmazonBasics stand assists laptop cooling with its forward tilt providing additional airflow around and underneath the laptop. Additionally, the platform itself is designed to absorb and distribute heat away from a laptop while in use.

For its budget-friendly price tag, the AmazonBasics stand offers exceptional organization with six slots on the back of the stand to keep cords both organized and out of the way. The slots work with everything from a laptop power cord to USB, Ethernet, audio/video cables and more. While the stand is built to support 15-inch laptops, the ideal sizing is for 13 inches and below.

Best for Portability: Nexstand

Small, portable and adjustable, the Nexstand laptop stand quickly and easily transforms your laptop into an ergonomically-friendly workstation. Lighter and more compact than many of the portable laptop stand options available, the Nexstand weighs just 8 ounces. At just 14.17 x 1.57 x 1.89 inches in total size, storing the Nexstand in a backpack, messenger bag or briefcase is a breeze, thanks to the included nylon storage bag.

At its lowest point, the Roost can lift a laptop, even 15-inch models, to around 5.5 inches off the desk at the lowest level and 12.6 inches at the highest. Adjusting the size requires gently pressing latches beneath each pillar and adjusting up or down as needed. If the Roost has any drawback, its price point is higher than most laptop stands, but the tradeoff is an absolutely portable option that can be put on any smooth surface for laptops less than one inch in thickness.

Best for Standing: Ergotron WorkFit-T

Ergotron WorkFit-T
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The debate over whether sitting or standing at your desk is best for your overall health continues, but what if you could have both solutions? Enter the Ergotron WorkFit-T stand desktop workstation and its adjustable keyboard and laptop surface that lifts straight into the air rather than angling toward a user. Capable of being used on desks as shallow as 18 inches, the 35 x 23-inch upper level is more than large enough to function as its own work surface alongside the use of a laptop. As an added bonus, the WorkFit ships fully assembled, so the user can unpack, sit on the desk and get right to work.

Once on a desk, the WorkFit provides 15 inches of vertical adjustment and requiries the user to stand in order to come to eye level with the laptop. It’s the best of both worlds; you can easily bring it back down if you want some time off your feet. The keyboard tray moves in tandem with the work surface and sits 4.5 inches below it to provide an ergonomically friendly space between the screen and the keyboard. Ergotron claims the WorkFit is so stable that a user can “freely lean on it” while working without any concern that the height will drop back down.

Best Mobile Office: Seville Classics

Seville Classics
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Sometimes, a desktop-based laptop stand just won’t do and you need something more portable. The Seville Classics mobile laptop desk cart weighs 13 pounds and lets the user manually lift or lower the desk between 23.6 and 36.4-inches with just a few turns of a knob. As an added bonus, the Seville allows an extra tilt with the table itself to create a more natural working position while on a laptop. Additionally, it offers four 1.5-inch casters (two locking), which helps the desk conveniently move throughout a home or office.

Its welded metal frame looks and feels durable and is capable of holding up to 20 pounds. The top area of the Seville, or the desk piece, measures 23.62 x 17.32 inches, so it can hold all laptops, even 17-inch gaming laptops that typically require a large footprint.

Best Desk Replacement: Tatkraft Salute

Tatkraft Salute
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If you’re looking for a true desk replacement that offers the space of a desk with the convenience of a laptop stand, the Tatkraft Salute is an ideal choice. With an adjustable height of 20.2 to 32.6-inches, the Salute works perfectly within an office or with a gaming chair, bed or sofa. The multiple use cases are aided in part by four rolling casters (two locking) that help move the Salute around with minimal effort.

Composed of a steel frame and high-quality, medium-density fiberboard, there’s plenty of durability and a stable frame ensures little wobbling while in use. With more than 23-inches of space in width and 15-inches in depth, the Salute is ideal for 7 to 17-inch laptops.