As digital nomads, we work wherever we lay our laptops. Sometimes that’s in a fancy, air-conditioned coworking space with ergonomic desks, chairs, and perfect lighting.
Other times it’s not.
Most of the time we’re hunched over random apartment desks, cafe tables, or resting the computer on our knees in the airport. While that’s fine for a quick task, if you’re working like this for any meaningful amount of time, you can suffer from the following:
- Neck pain
- Shoulder pain
- Muscle and joint stiffness
- Poor posture
- Reduced lung capacity
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
They don’t happen overnight. They creep up over the days, weeks, and months, and they’re tough to undo.
We’ve reviewed the best digital nomad laptop stands so you can avoid that struggle altogether.
Health benefits of using a Laptop Stand
Anyone who’s ever taken a health and safety workplace evaluation knows that the height and position of your screen are crucial for good posture.
- The top of the screen should be at eye level
- The screen should be around arm’s length away
- Maximize contact with the back of your chair
- Neutral neck position, not leaning forward or back
That’s all easy to achieve with a desktop computer, but tricky with a laptop unless you use a stand.
A quality stand raises your laptop screen to the correct height, while tilting the keyboard to make it more ergonomically correct and keeping your arms/wrists bent at the optimal angle.
This relieves pressure on your neck, eases the curve of your shoulders, helps correct your posture, and opens your chest to allow full, deep breathing.
They also make video conferencing calls much more professional, as the camera’s no longer pointing up your nose, but now resting at eye level.
Do you get all that from one little laptop accessory? Yes, you do, but not all laptop stands are created equal.
What to Look for When Buying a Portable Laptop Stand
The best portable laptop stand doesn’t need to be crazy expensive, nor have an endless list of bells, whistles, and great features. It needs to be functional, practical, and reliable.
It needs to support your health, but also the health of your computer. That doesn’t just mean having a sturdy design or anti-slip pads.
As digital nomads we know, a healthy laptop means a happy nomad. The best laptop stands are built with this in mind.
Overheating is one of the major risks to the long-term health of your computer. Your laptop overheating can lead to programs stalling, a massively reduced battery life, or your machine shutting down.
How does it overheat? By placing it on a surface that doesn’t allow correct airflow – pillows, books, metals that don’t dissipate the heat.
A good laptop stand, and all the ones on this list, are designed to keep your laptop cool and prevent overheating.
Weight and size
The perfect portable laptop stand must have a lightweight design. It’s vital for digital nomads, as every pound of weight and inch of space in your backpack is precious. That’s why the stand also needs to fold down to a compact size.
Check out our list of essential nomad gear to learn how to travel as light as possible.
Also, does it take up much room on the desk when fully extended? Consider your work environment and the available space – coffee shops don’t tend to have huge desks.
Your portable laptop stand should be adjustable to suit you and your machine. We’re all different shapes and sizes, and so are our computers. You need a stand that adjusts to your needs.
Does it fit your laptop securely? The best portable laptop stands are versatile, holding machines ranging from 10-18 inches in screen size.
Does it raise the computer enough to keep the screen at eye level? Does it have an ergonomic design so your hands can rest naturally and type efficiently? Is it easily foldable?
Choose a stand that’s well constructed with quality materials. It needs to keep your laptop secure while you’re working, without wobbling around or with a fear of slipping off.
You want the best quality laptop stand at an affordable price. If you’ve got a super lightweight travel laptop, a plastic design may be perfect. The heaviest laptops may require a steel structure, while most mid-range machines will be fine with an aluminum stand.
It all depends on your setup, your equipment, and your needs.
The 5 Best Digital Nomad Laptop Stands
1. Nexstand K2 Portable Laptop Stand
- Weight: 8 oz / 225 grams
- Dimensions: 14 x 1.5 x 1.5 inches / 35 x 3.8 x 3.8 cm when folded
- Maximum height adjustment – 12.6 inches / 32 cm above desktop
The Nexstand laptop stand is a solid piece of gear. Weighing in at only 8 oz, it checks the box for being lightweight, and it shouldn’t take up lots of space when packed in your backpack.
The adjustable height, over 12 inches above the desktop, is huge! Plus, it can hold a maximum weight capacity of 20 lbs / 9 kgs. Hopefully, your laptop doesn’t weigh anywhere close to that weight.
It comes with anti-slip pads, meaning your machine will be secure, and additional spacer fittings mean it can adapt to hold the slimmest of computers.
Depending on the height of your work surface, you may need to use a wireless keyboard to maintain correct wrist posture while the screen is at eye level, but that’s a common occurrence when using most laptop risers.
2. Roost V3 Laptop Stand
- Weight: 5.8 oz / 164 grams
- Dimensions: 13 x 1.2 x 1.3 inches / 33 x 3 x 3.3 cm when folded
- Maximum height adjustment – 14 inches / 35 cm above desktop
Smaller, lighter, and with more elevation than the Nexstand, this is a great option if you travel with a very light laptop. The price, however, is almost 3 times that of the Nexstand, costing around $90.
Design-wise, it’s like the Nexstand, but can feel a little flimsy when compared side by side. That being said, if you’re using one of the lighter, thinner laptops, this won’t be an issue.
If space and size are your most important consideration, give the Roost V3 serious consideration.
3. Jubor Laptop Stand
- Weight: 10.8 oz / 306 grams
- Dimensions: 10.08 x 1.89 x 0.79 inches / 25 x 4.8 x 2 cm when folded
- Maximum height adjustment – 6.6 inches / 17 cm above desktop
The Jubor Laptop Riser has a unique design. Rather than lifting the whole machine, the Jubor has 6 levels of angle adjustments, tilting the base of your machine.
This means less elevation, but you won’t necessarily need an external keyboard. You can still comfortably type on your laptop while using the Jubor.
Supporting up to 40 lbs / 18 kgs of weight, you won’t have to worry about it collapsing. It also comes with anti-slip grips, meaning it’s sturdy while in use.
It folds down smaller than other laptop stands for easy storage, supports even the heaviest laptops, doesn’t require any additional equipment, and fits laptops up to 17.3 inches.
The only thing stopping it from being the best laptop stand available is the lack of vertical height, but it’s certainly a solid contender!
At $15, this is clearly the perfect budget-friendly laptop stand option for digital nomads.
4. Rain Design iLevel 2 Laptop Stand
- Weight: 3.3 lbs / 1.6 kgs
- Dimensions: 10.1 x 5.4 x 8.8 inches / 25 x 13.6 x 22 cm
- Maximum height adjustment – 7.9 inches / 20 cm above desktop
The Rain Design iLevel 2 has an original design, placing aesthetics and a sleek design over being compact and travel-friendly.
If you’re regularly based in a coworking space, with a regular desk, and want to emulate the feel of a desktop machine, the iLevel 2 is perfect. It resembles a MacBook Pro stand, with elegant curves, but this has a unique feature.
The adjustable angle slider on the front means you can tweak the settings to get the perfect angle for your viewing pleasure.
It also boasts an aluminum base, which cools your machine and acts as a heat sink, stopping your laptop from overheating and prolonging the battery life.
At $65, plus the lack of transportability, it’s not perfect for everyone living the digital nomad life, but it has its place. If your remote work setup is office based and you want a professional, presentable setup, the iLevel 2 could be your accessory.
5. MeFee Portable Laptop Stand
- Weight: 1.57 lbs / 712 grams
- Dimensions: 11.02 x 10.63 x 0.98 inches / 28 x 27 x 22.5 cm when folded
- Maximum height adjustment – 7 inches / 17.7 cm above desktop
Another unique design, the MeFee looks and feels more like a console gaming accessory.
Supporting up to 44 lbs / 20 kgs, and non-slip silicone pads, the MeFee isn’t going anywhere. It’s also suitable to be used with or without an external keyboard.
One unique feature is a bottom ‘turntable’, meaning you can spin and swivel the laptop, useful when working with others and you want to quickly share your screen. It also sports a mobile phone bracket holder, so you can view your phone and laptop screen side by side, hands-free.
It doesn’t fold down as small as some others, but it could easily slide into a laptop sleeve in a backpack, saving you extra space.
There’s also no hefty price tag, as it’s on sale for just $14. If you don’t need a huge height range and want something that looks cool, grab a MeFee laptop stand today.
The best digital nomad laptop stand is one that enables you to sit comfortably, type without discomfort, and hold your machine securely.
It also has to fit your workstation.
If your workplace is consistent – a home office or coworking space, and appearances are important, choosing a sleek design over a lightweight model isn’t the worst crime.
Just because you’re a nomad, doesn’t mean you can’t be stylish, right?
If your workplace is less reliable or more random, lightweight and a simple design might be the winner.
The ultimate aim is to protect and maintain your neck, back, and overall health. They’re priceless, so take your time and invest wisely.