The Problem With Laptops: They’re Hot, Uncomfortable, and Hurt Your Posture
Laptops are great tools, but man can they be dreadful for your posture, health and comfort! Having the screen connected to the keyboard means it is impossible to type with optimal posture, which is generally defined as holding keyboards at about elbow height and screens at about eye-height. Laptops force you to choose—position them so you can type comfortably and then suffer from hunching over screens that are too low OR hold a laptop so you can look the screen in the eye but type with contorted arms and wrists. It’s a tough decision without a right or wrong answer.
Tied to the conundrum of where to best position laptops is the general sensation of discomfort that creeps over your body when using a laptop. Plop your laptop on a desk and after a while, you’ll begin to feel aches appearing in your back and neck from the unnatural hunching. Regardless of where you type, your shoulders will begin to light up after a while thanks to the inward rotation that’s necessary to type on the small laptop keyboard. Using a laptop is generally an uncomfortable experience.
Adding to the discomfort is the heat generated by the laptop. This is especially problematic if you rest a laptop on your lap when lounging on the couch or in bed. The heat makes placing the laptop on your legs uncomfortable—which detracts from your focus and causes you to squirm in a vain attempt to escape the discomfort. Beyond the heat, laptop radiation has questionable effects on your body.
Laptop Stands Are The Remedy
Using a laptop holder to support your laptop can help alleviate most of these issues. No laptop stand can perfect your posture when using a laptop (the only way to solve this problem is to separate the monitor and keyboard with the use of an external monitor or keyboard); however, adjustable laptop stands can improve your posture by positioning laptops at a more comfortable height and angle and by giving you the freedom to periodically adjust your typing position and not be fixed in a position of poor posture indefinitely. Changing the position of your laptop, for example raising it a few inches to let you sit up straight or lowering it to allow your wrists to type more comfortably, can reduce the strain, tension, and discomfort associated with long-term laptop use.
There are a variety of laptop lap desks that slip over your lap in bed or on the couch. Lap desk hold your laptop off your legs helping to reduce any potential effects of radiation and keep the heat from coming in direct contact with your legs. The best lap desk generally helps cool your laptop and is adjustable to improve the comfort of using a laptop in these relaxed positions.
Key Features of A Laptop Stand: What To Look For When Buying A Laptop Stand
With so many options on the market, here are some of the key features to look for when purchasing a laptop stand:
- Adjustable Tilt: laptop stands that adjust in angle are advantageous in two main ways. First, they reduce screen glare and eye-strain, improving your view. Second, adjustable angle laptop stands provide fine-tuned height adjustments to optimize the vertical position of your laptop.
- Adjustable Height: The easiest way to sit up straight when using a laptop is with an adjustable height laptop stand. Holding laptops at eye-level will make a world of difference for your posture – helping you sit up straighter and even stand up (if your adjustable laptop stand extends tall enough).
- Material: Most laptop stands are made of plastic, wood, or metal. Wood and plastics trap heat and can contribute to laptop overheating. If you select a wooden or plastic laptop stand, it is advisable to choose one with vents or fans to help prevent heat build up and keep your laptop running cooler. Metal laptop stands naturally dissipate heat, the effect is similar to holding your laptop in the air. This full-surface natural heat dissipation is usually sufficient to keep most laptops running cooler. If your laptop tends to get hot, it may be better to choose a metal laptop stand with fans.
- Versatile: Being a portable device, it’s likely that you use your laptop in a variety of places. Rather than having a bunch of stands laying around – a lap desk for bed, a laptop riser for your home office, another laptop stand for the couch, etc – it may be more efficient to choose a versatile, adjustable laptop stand that works everywhere. Many laptop stands are flexible enough to use sitting at a desk, lounging on the couch, laying in bed, and even standing. Choosing a versatile laptop stand can save your space, time, and money.
- Add-Ons: Many laptop stands have a number of add-ons or additional features that make using your laptop more comfortable and convenient. Laptop cooler stands have fans that circulate air around your laptop helping to keep it running cooler. A laptop stand with fans is a great idea especially if your laptop tends to run hot. If you plug a lot of accessories into your laptop, choose a laptop stand with built in usb ports. Stands with USB ports will make your life easier, letting you plug in your mouse, keyboard, phone or other device directly into the stand. If you use an external mouse with your laptop, opt for a laptop stand with a separate mouse platform. Choosing a laptop stand with an adjustable tilt mouse pad is important if you’ll be changing the stands angle because the adjustable mouse pad will ensure that your mouse is always level.