Having one of the best laptop stands can be one of the most important tools for busy creatives. While far more convenient than desktop PCs, laptops aren't designed to be used for long periods of work. The clue is in the name, often used on people's laps, the very nature of the device means instead of working with a display at eye level, you'll be hunched over to peer at the screen.
This is where the best laptop stand can be a life (and back) saver. Ergonomics is one of the most important factors to consider when purchasing a stand, but you'll also want to think about portability – particularly if you use a shared workspace. Some of the stands listed here even fold up so you can tuck them into your laptop bag.
If your device tends to run hot, you might want to choose a stand with built-in fans for extra cooling – or at least a well ventilated design (alternatively, you could pick up one of the best laptop cooling pads). Don't miss our round up of the best laptops for graphic design too if you're thinking of upgrading your device.
The best laptop stands available now
If you've invested in a new Apple device, you'll want a suitably smart stand to match, and the Twelve South HiRise for MacBook is exactly that. Not only does it look the part, finished in brushed aluminum, it's also a practical choice for creatives thanks to its spring-loaded piston design. This feature lets you raise your laptop up to six inches, so you can position it level with a desktop monitor with a flick of a switch. The only downside to its minimal design is that there's no 'lip' to stop your laptop sliding forwards, but the non-skid surface should keep it in place.
The super portable Ergonomic Aluminium Foldable X-Stand has a very simple design, but does an excellent job of holding your laptop at a more comfortable angle for working and viewing. It lacks fans, but its open, cross-shaped design means there'll be a good flow of air under your laptop to stop it from overheating, with rubber feet to keep it off your desk. This little stand is also extremely portable, weighing a mere 18 grams and folding up neatly into a package small enough to tuck into your laptop bag. A handy addition to any designer's toolkit, and an affordable one too.
The Thermaltake Massive TM Notebook Cooler will keep your laptop nicely chilled during demanding tasks like video rendering, preventing overheating and extending the life of its components. This certainly isn't the most elegant laptop stand (it was created with gamers rather than designers in mind), but it's definitely one of the smartest. It features a temperature sensor that detects heat in four different areas and responds automatically, plus manual controls if you want to take things into your own hands. The angle and height of the laptop stand can be fine-tuned using a pair of adjustable legs at the back for more comfortable viewing.
This handsome device is one of Rain Design's best-selling laptop stands, with the added bonus of a 360-degree swivel base. The RainDesign mStand 360 is another stand designed with MacBooks in mind, and is available in a range of colorways that match Apple's designs. It features rubberized grips to keep your laptop firmly in place, plus a cable management hole at the back to keep wires neatly out of the way. If you also use an iPad for work, Rain Design's range also includes a tablet stand that will keep it at the same height for a dual-screen setup.
For comfortable working in bed or at a desk, the Lavolta Folding Laptop Table Desk Tray Stand is hard to beat. Its auto-locking joints rotate a full 360 degrees, enabling you to choose the perfect height and angle, wherever you're working. It features two built-in fans, powered by your laptop's USB port (though there's also a fanless version available if you prefer), and it even offers a removable mouse board to keep your hand in a more natural position (take a look at our guide to the best mouse). Its chunky, articulated design won't be to everyone's liking, but we think this stand's versatility more than makes up for any stylistic concerns.
The Twelve South BookArc Stand is a little different from the other entries on our list. Laptops can take up a lot of valuable desk space when not in use, gathering dust and taking up room you might otherwise use for sketchbooks and other work. That's where vertical laptop stands come in. The Twelve South Bookarc Stand has been specially designed for MacBooks, and will keep your computer neatly out of the way when it's shut down, or connected to an external monitor and keyboard. Its sleek design complements Apple's hardware, and there are interchangeable inserts available for different size laptops. All inserts are soft and flexible, so you don't need to worry about your MacBook getting scuffed.
Aluminum laptop stands are fine if you prefer a slick, modern aesthetic, but if you lean more towards natural materials or want something to fit in a more traditional-looking workspace then a wooden laptop stand might be a better choice. The portable wood laptop stand is designed to suit 11-16-inch Macbooks, raising the screen to a comfortable height and providing space for a keyboard to be tucked neatly underneath. Each stand is made to order from solid walnut, so delivery will take a few days more than for other laptop stands – but the result is worth the wait.
If you struggle to get comfortable when working, the HP Dual Hinge II Notebook Stand could be exactly what you need. Its height can be adjusted and locked, it can be tilted to an ergonomic position, and the chunky base offers 360-degree panning. If you own an HP laptop, you can take advantage of this stand's docking station, which allows you to connect peripherals such as keyboards, mice, drawing tablets and external hard drives directly to the stand. However, it also works perfectly well as a versatile, robust stand for any other laptop, and its considerable weight helps keep it stable while you experiment.