I’ve seen countless desk and monitor stands on the market. Some of them are adjustable, some static, but most look either mass produced or have too many moving parts to be stable enough for my taste.
Enter Understands, a woodworking company that makes a variety of high-quality, solid monitor stands. First of all, Understands is a fantastic (if initially confusing) name for a monitor stand company. Second, most of their products are made from sustainable wood found close to their factory in Rockford, Illinois. The sustainably sourced wood is all urban wood, logs from downed trees that come down for whatever reason. The rest of their products are made from birch plywood, for the ones that need more structural parts, and from the scraps from those plywood pieces.
I had the chance to try out the Understands Bolt monitor stand, made of Baltic Birch plywood with walnut trim. It’s a simple rectangular table shape that just elevates your monitor, giving plenty of extra room underneath. I wasn’t sure how having a monitor stand would affect my desk experience, since I’d never used one. But my desk is often a bit messy. I have desk toys and doodads, my calendar, to-do list(s), pens/pencils/scissors, a Kleenex box, a lamp, speakers, monitor, keyboard, mouse, wrist rests for both… Now, my desk does have a very large surface. It’s a mid-century steel behemoth that I love with all of my being, and the surface of the main desk (there are three desks) measures 60 inches wide by 30 inches deep. But, somehow, I keep running out of room.
Having this extra shelf not only gave me more square inches of desk space to put things, it has improved my sitting-at-desk posture. (Not that 1800 square inches of surface area isn’t enough, but sometimes you just need an extra clear spot for something, especially when your large cat who thinks he’s small comes and lays down all over everything.)
The Bolt model I tried is the Bolt 30 model, which is 30 inches wide, 9 inches deep, and 5 inches high. It retails for $99; other sizes and heights are different prices. I was hoping it could double as a tool to turn my desk into a standing desk, but it wasn’t quite tall enough for that. It’s much better as a monitor stand. I’d never used a monitor stand before, and now I’m never going back. I love it, and the Understands Bolt 30 model is fantastic. It’s just a nice stand made of wood, but it’s solid and heavy (in a good way), a great size, and made from laminated layers of wood, for strength, uniformity, and stability. This large, solid stand gives me confidence that my monitor will be as secure as if it were on the desk surface itself.
The Bolt stand works really well for a monitor. For smaller monitors than mine, there would also be plenty of room for speakers. Understands makes a variety of other monitor stands, including the occasional one-of-a-kind stand made of interesting cuts of wood. You can browse their site for shelves, stands, different colors of wood, stands with drawers, stands with secret drawers, laptop supports, and more. Know the size of your monitor, though, when you go looking. They have some models that are wide enough to fit two monitors, for some values of monitor size. They make stands up to 42 inches wide.
These stands might cost a bit more than your average monitor stand, but they’re solid, and, frankly, can be used in a lot of different scenarios. In addition to the monitor stand idea, the standing desk idea sort of works if you’re not too tall. It would work well for small tea parties. And it would be a nice lap desk to use in bed for a labtop or other work that you need a surface for.
You might think that shipping something like this might be tricky, but it was well-packaged and secure. It didn’t wobble around in the box, and there was enough Styrofoam to cushion everything while it was held in place. The Understands folks did a nice job of figuring out how to best ship it.
So, if you’re in the market for a monitor stand, check out Understands. They have product options at many price points, and their stands are quality as well as being gorgeous. They’re all made in the U.S., and have free U.S. shipping and a shipping discount for Canada. They also have a free return policy and their items are guaranteed for life against poor workmanship or faulty materials.
Note: I received a sample for review purposes. All opinions expressed here are my own.