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My laptop was ruining my posture. Here's how I fixed it

This simple accessory solved a major problem with my desk setup.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read
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For $16, this laptop stand put my screen up where it belongs.

Photo by Rick Broida/CNET

Recently I realized that because I use my laptop at a desk all day, I'm pretty hunched over all day.

That's a problem, because according to OSHA (among other sources), the top of a computer monitor should be at or just below eye-level. My laptop screen was way below that, resulting in poor posture and some eyestrain issues.

I started thinking about a standing desk, but realized it would have the same issue: My laptop would still be angled well below eye-level.

Rising to the occasion

What I needed, then, was a way to raise the screen to an ergonomically correct height. And I found one in the form of this AmazonBasics Ventilated Adjustable Laptop Stand. Price: a mere $16.22.

I'm using it with a 13.3-inch Asus laptop, though it's definitely large enough and sturdy enough to accommodate a 15.6-inch system or even something larger.

When you solve this particular ergonomics problem, however, you create another: Now the keyboard is angled in such a way that it'll almost certainly aggravate your wrists. (You don't want to trade neck pain for carpal tunnel syndrome.) Thus, if you're going to put your laptop on a stand, you'll need to add a keyboard that can sit flat and allow your arms to be angled at (or greater than) 90 degrees. 

As luck would have it, I had an Anker Bluetooth keyboard lying around, so I paired it to the Asus and got back to work. Just one problem: It has a Function key (Fn) in the lower-left corner, right where the Ctrl key is on my laptop keyboard. Adjusting to that is wreaking havoc on my brain. So if you're shopping for a keyboard, make sure the layout closely (or, better, identically) matches that of your current keyboard.

Other options

Although Amazon's riser solved my issue very nicely -- the screen is now at a much more comfortable height, and I can already tell my sitting posture has improved -- you may want to look at the many, many other similar stands available on Amazon and elsewhere.

For example, if you're not always working at the same desk, you may prefer something that can easily go with you. This $17 Jubor stand, for example, has a folding design that makes it travel-friendly. There are also risers that have room underneath for you to tuck your keyboard out of the way when not in use.

Needless to say, a stand like this would be beneficial with sitting and standing desks alike. If you're a desk-bound laptop user, I highly recommend giving one a try. (If you already have, and have some thoughts to share, hit us up in the comments!)