Are Monitor Shelves and Risers Worth It? Consider These Factors First

Monitor shelves have become a very popular desk accessory these days. It’s a simple little shelf that goes under your monitor and does a few things very well. 

In this article we’re going to talk about everything they are capable of so you can decide if they are worth it or not. 

Key Takeaways

  • Monitor shelves and risers lift your monitor to ergonomic heights, give you more concealed storage space, and can give a huge boost to your desk’s aesthetics. 
  • However, they do take up a significant amount of desk space and the really nice ones are not cheap. 

Benefits Of Monitor Shelves & Risers

Let’s break down the complete list of benefits you’ll experience if you pull the trigger on a monitor shelf for your desk. 

Ergonomics

First and foremost, you get a boost in ergonomics. Factory monitor stands don’t always allow your monitor to go high enough for a comfortable viewing experience. Some are not even height adjustable!  

Your monitor height relates to your viewing height, and that affects your overall posture. So if you get your monitor height wrong, this can actually lead to poor posture. 

WESTREE Dual Monitor Stand Riser, Sturdy Wood & Steel Computer Monitor Stand, Monitor Stand Riser for 2 Monitors, Multi-Purpose Desktop Organizer Riser for Computer,Laptop,Printer,TV

Check out this article on computer monitor positioning from monitor manufacturer ViewSonic. Screen height is the first topic in the category of “factors you should be aware of” in that article. 

When your monitor can’t reach an ideal viewing height on its own, a monitor shelf can help here. You simply put that monitor on a shelf and you find yourself looking straight instead of looking down.  

More Desk Space

Sounds impossible that something can take up desk space and give you more space at the same time. Monitor shelves pretty much do exactly this. 

Yes they take up desk space, but now instead of that desk space just having one surface, it has two surfaces. We effectively double the surface area! 

You can place something below the shelf and above the shelf. Viola! Space hack! 

Aothia Large Dual Monitor Stand Riser, Solid Wood Desk Shelf with Eco Cork Legs for Laptop Computer/TV/PC/Printers, Perfect Desktop Stands Organizer with Underneath Storage for Office Accessories

Instead of your monitor taking up all the space in front of you, place it on top of the shelf. Now you have the entire area in front of you under the shelf available! 

With monitor shelves, you create a concealed additional space that was not there before. 

Organizational Solution

This brings us to our next benefit. You can get much more organized when you have a desk shelf (check out the best Grovemade desk shelf alternatives!). This concealed area makes a great local space to store commonly used items. 

It basically acts like a more convenient top desk drawer. But instead of having to reach down and out of the way, you just reach in front of you! 

If you’re someone who has a lot of little things on your desk, you can just get a

to place all the little things in one place. 

Slide that in under your monitor shelf and your desk just got way cleaner! Just like this gif from Grovemade.

So far we made our desk more ergonomic, added a storage location, and made our desk more organized in turn. That’s a lot of benefits so far. 

Easy Cable Management

It can be a pain to hide all of those cables at your desk. Especially in a world where every single thing needs power or charging. 

I remember when watches needed a battery change every couple of years…

With all these cables, a monitor shelf gives us a really easy and clean way to hide accessible cables away. Charging cables and power cords can all be routed under your desk from behind or under the monitor shelf. 

2 Tier Compact Monitor Stand

The shelf itself can conceal a bunch of cables, so this makes our cable management job much easier. 

General Aesthetics Boost

You know how there are those desk accessories that just make anyone’s desk look better? Like accent lights, or ultra wide monitors?  Desk shelves can definitely fall into this category. 

Just look at these sweet designs from Grovemade, Oakywood, and HumanCentric. Here is what one of these desk shelves looks like in the wild

They just make your desk look different and fresh. The organization and cable management aspects make the desk look cleaner as well just because things have a home now! 

Disadvantages of Monitor Shelves

Now it’s not all benefits with these monitor shelves and risers. There are some disadvantages that can make this a deal breaker for certain people. 

Takes Up Desk Space

If you have a shallow desk to start with, you might not be willing to sacrifice a big chunk of your desk space for a shelf. 

I would say if you have a desk that is under 24 inches or so in depth, a desk shelf might take away too much space. 

For example the desk shelf below is 9.4 inches deep. That is a big chunk of desk depth to give up for a shelf. Remember you still need some depth for a desk mat, your wrists, and so on. 

Keep the depth space in mind before you purchase a monitor riser, or consider one of these smaller versions:

2 Tier Compact Monitor Stand

Elevate your monitor with this ergonomic and stylish stand riser made with MDF wood. With cable management slots, a cell phone holder, and ample storage space, this stand keeps your desktop tidy and organized. Plus, it's easy to assemble and includes soft rubber feet to protect your desk.

Check Price on Amazon

Limited Adjustability

If you are depending on your monitor being a specific height with a monitor shelf, keep in mind that they have a fixed height. 

Unless your monitor has an adjustable height stand, you won’t be able to fine-tune your monitor height position. (Find out how to setup the ideal monitor height here.). 

To make sure you have the right viewing height, double and triple check the desk shelf height so you know exactly where your monitor will be before you buy. That way you know if the monitor mount will actually help in the ergonomics department or not. 

Nice Ones Aren’t Cheap

I pointed out a few great brands in the “aesthetics” benefit section. There is one problem with all of these brands. 

The reason they look good is because they are super high quality products and cost way more than most people are willing to spend. 

This video is a good comparison of what affordable models look like and what they offer compared to the smaller models. 

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Dasun

I'm a big time workspace enthusiast who is constantly experimenting with my setup. Sharing along the way to help people make their own desk setups more functional and inviting, whether it be for productivity or play!