The Ideal Monitor Height For A Standing Desk
When it comes to using a standing desk, the height at which you position your monitor plays a crucial role in maintaining proper ergonomics and preventing discomfort or strain. So, how high should your standing desk monitor be?
- The top of your computer monitor should be positioned within your natural line of sight.
- As a general rule of thumb, the distance between your screen and face should equal your arm’s length.
- Larger monitors can be positioned slightly lower than normal to ensure that neck strain is at a minimum.
How High Should Your Standing Desk Monitor Be?
Whether you are in a sitting or standing position at your sit-stand desk, your computer monitor should be positioned so that its top is level with your natural line of sight. Since our eyes naturally descend when in a relaxed position, this promotes a neutral gaze where you don’t need to tilt your head up or down excessively.
How Far Should Your Monitor Be Positioned?
Positioning your computer screen too close can increase eye strain and fatigue when working or gaming at a standing desk. In most cases, your monitor position should be at arm’s length from you to provide optimal ergonomic outcomes. Too close, and you will likely start to experience eye strain not to mention having less desk space to work with. Too far, and you will be squinting at the monitor.
Of course, the ideal distance your monitor should be will depend on your personal preferences and comfort. But this should revolve around your arm’s length from the screen. Any changes from this rule should be made in minor amounts and incrementally using your arm’s length as a starting point.
To achieve the ideal distance, extend your arm fully in front of you and ensure that your fingertips touch the screen. This approximate distance ensures that the monitor is within a comfortable viewing range without necessitating squinting or strain. Your neck can rest in a neutral position, and your eyes will experience less strain. For me, my arm length means that my monitor is set about 75cm from my seated position.
Factors To Consider When Setting Your Screen Height
Your body height
Stating the obvious, taller individuals may require a higher screen position compared to shorter people. However, this does inform what accessories you may need to achieve the right height for your screen. If you stand around 180cm then monitor arms are almost necessary to have since they have the ability to significantly raise a monitor, or two, to the height you need. For shorter people, a simple monitor stand will suffice. Equally important is getting the correct standing desk height to base the monitor on.
Related: Standing desk ergonomic height calculator (free).
Larger monitors may need to be lower
Due to their size, larger computer monitors may need to be positioned slightly lower. This is because the extra depth of the monitor will require you to look up more and therefore place unnecessary strain on your neck.
The orientation of your monitor
For a computer monitor arranged in landscape orientation, the top of the screen should be in the centre of your natural line of sight. But this changes if you decide to have a monitor orientated in a portrait position. In this case, the natural line of sight should be just above the centre of the screen so that the degree of viewing the entire screen is as comfortable as possible.
Using multiple monitors
If you use more than one monitor, the screen heights should be consistent to avoid straining your neck or causing discomfort due to different viewing angles. Adjust the height of each monitor to create a seamless and comfortable multi-monitor setup.
Accessories To Help You Set The Ideal Monitor Placement
Adjustable monitor arms are easily the best standing desk accessories to help you achieve the proper height and position for your computer screen. This is due to their high level of customisation options in terms of being able to find the right height, angle, and position of single or dual monitors.
Almost all good monitor arms are designed to allow you to change the height of your monitor. Some consist of a fixed pole that is fixed to your standing desk and the monitor slides up and down to provide the right height. Other monitor arms consist of a base that is clamped to the tabletop and supports two moveable arms.
Whilst monitor arms that comprise a single pole are sufficient for a single computer screen, arms with moving parts provide a great deal more lateral movement and angle options. The other advantage is that you can easily find a monitor arm that can support two monitors at the same time.
A fixed stand
Less effective than adjustable monitor arms, a wooden or plastic stand will be able to raise your monitor to a better height. Although they are not as flexible as monitor arms, they offer a raised platform to position your monitor. The only way to adjust the elevation and angle of your monitor would be to physically move the screen on its stand.
But it’s not all bad news with a fixed stand. They provide more space to place accessories, figurines, and other items needed when working or gaming.
The Angle Of Your Computer Monitor
The optimal angle for your computer monitor depends on factors such as your seating and standing position, eye level, and personal preference. As a general rule, you should tilt the monitor slightly backward, between 10 to 20 degrees. For a standard monitor, you can achieve this by tilting the top of the screen back between 2cm and 3cm.
Tilting the monitor backward helps align the screen with your line of sight and reduces strain on your neck and upper back. It allows you to maintain a more natural and relaxed posture while working. The slight backward tilt also helps minimise glare and reflections on the screen, enhancing visibility and reducing eye strain.
How To Determine The Ideal Height Of Your Monitor
Setting the right ergonomic monitor elevation is an important part of using a standing desk correctly.
Step 1 – Sit down in your usual position
Sit in your ergonomic chair and ensure your ensure your feet are flat on the floor and your back is properly supported by the chair. Relax your shoulders and keep your neck in a neutral position.
Step 2 – Adjust the screen height
Look straight ahead at your computer monitor as you naturally would whilst working. Adjust the height of your monitor so that the top is level at or slightly below eye level. Of course, ensure the monitor is centrally positioned on your sit-stand desk.
Step 3 – Tilt the monitor
To achieve a 10 to 20-degree angle on the monitor and obtain the maximum ergonomic and comfort benefits, tilt the monitor slightly backward. For a standard monitor, you can achieve this by tilting the top of the screen back between 2cm and 3cm.
Step 4 – Adjust the lateral distance
As a general rule, your computer monitor should be arm’s length from your sitting and standing position. From your usual sitting and standing position, reach with your arm to touch the screen surface with the tips of your fingers. If you cannot touch the screen then step in so that you can. If your fingers are bent whilst touching the screen then you are too close.
Step 5 – Test and adjust
Sit back in your chair and test the new monitor height. Pay attention to your neck and shoulder comfort, as well as any strain on your eyes. If needed, make further adjustments to fine-tune the height until you find a position that feels comfortable and ergonomically sound.
The Drawbacks Of Incorrectly Setting Your Monitor Height
Quite often, the effects of not setting your monitor at the ideal height will not be seen immediately. Sometimes, you may not even realise there is an issue after a period of time. Incorrectly setting your monitor height can lead to several drawbacks and potential health issues. Here are some drawbacks of improper monitor height.
- Increased neck and shoulder strain: Placing your monitor too low can cause you to tilt your head downward for extended periods. Similarly, if the monitor is positioned too high then your head may be tilted upwards. Both situations cumulatively lead to neck strain and potentially long-term musculoskeletal issues.
- Eye discomfort and fatigue: If your computer monitor is too high or too low, you may need to strain your eyes to focus. This may lead to eye fatigue, dryness, and general discomfort. Usually, these issues are typically caused by looking downwards rather than upwards.
- Poor posture: If your monitor is not set at the correct height then you may find yourself slouching or hunching forward to view the screen. Simply put, this is not a proper ergonomic position.
- Reduced productivity and concentration: Working with a monitor that is not at the correct height will result in slouching and other negative effects on the body. It goes without saying that your level of comfort will quickly diminish thereafter. If you are not feeling comfortable then your productivity, concentration, and focus will decrease.
Frequently Asked Questions
The optimal height of your computer monitor can be achieved by positioning its top edge so that it is in line with your natural line of sight. Your natural line of sight can vary between being horizontal and 20 degrees downwards. Ideally, your natural line of sight should be focused on the centre of the screen.
The best place for a monitor on a standing desk is centrally positioned with the top edge falling in your natural line of sight. This may vary between being horizontal and 20 degrees downward.
No, sitting higher than your computer monitor will likely result in unnecessary strain on your neck. As a general rule, your monitor should sit lower, at an elevation between 0 and 20 degrees downward.
The ergonomics of an adjustable height standing desk typically focuses on the height of the desk itself. However, the elevation of the monitor is just as important in the seated and standing positions. With the right accessories and know-how, you can easily find your personal ergonomic monitor height. For those without an electric standing desk, there are several quality desk converters on the market that can be used to obtain the right eye level for your monitor too.