Is Your Desk Too Thin For Monitor Mounts? Here’s The Fix

Monitor mounting arms that clamp onto your desk have a pretty big job: hold up a monitor while grabbing onto a small area of your desk.

This small area sees a lot of stress which makes it a bit risky for thin and weak desks. You can still make monitor mounts work on thin desks with the right reinforcements.

Monitor Arm Clamp view from under the table

In this article, we’ll touch on how to safely use clamping monitor arm mounts on thin desks. If your desk is too thick on the other hand, we have a dedicated article on how to attach monitor arms to thick desks as well.

Spreading The Load For Monitor Mounts On Thin Desks

The main problem with thin or weak desks is that the clamping area is too small for the stress. This is especially true if you’re using a heavier monitor such as an ultrawide display.

For example, look at how small the clamping area is for my old monitor arm shown below. That small clamp has to hold my 4K monitor that is far off to one side.

BenQ ScreenBar mounted on 4K monitor on minimal desk, front angle

The solution to using monitor mounts on thin desks is to spread the load across a larger area.

We want the clamping area to be as large as realistically possible. You can imagine how holding onto double or triple the clamping area would give your monitor arm a much stronger hold.

Here are two super simple and proven solutions that people use to support monitor mounts on thin and weak desks. 

Monitor Mount Reinforcement Plates

If you saw our dedicated article on monitor mounts for glass desks, we also touched on the same concept. We want to spread the load so we don’t focus the load on one specific area. 

Fortunately, there are off-the-shelf solutions for this exact problem. They are called monitor mount reinforcement plates

HUANUO Steel Monitor Mount Reinforcement Plate

Protect your desk and increase stability with this easy-to-install reinforcement plate. It reduces distortion and fits more desktops, including glass and paper-filled desks. Use a desk clamping monitor mount arm without damaging your desk.

Check Price on Amazon

These are two simple steel plates that are placed on either side of your desk. Your monitor mount clamps on the outside of these plates instead of directly on your desk. This essentially makes it so you have a really large desk clamp.

This solution spreads the load across a much larger area and takes advantage of more of your desks’ usable space and strength. 

These reinforcement plates come in a large variety of shapes and sizes. I would personally recommend you get the one with the largest surface area on both the top and bottom surfaces. 

Some come with a large top plate and just a small plate at the bottom. I would stay away from those because the bottom plate won’t spread the monitor load out as much. 

Wooden Support Beams

If you want a more DIY solution, you can always use some solid wood to reinforce your desk!  Because we are working with a clamp, we don’t need to do any drilling.

Simply sandwich a larger section of wood underneath or above your desk. The clamp should now be holding the wood and your desk together.

Wood is nice because it’s usually available locally, and some people have spare sections of wood lying around. 

The wood should be significantly larger than your clamp so we are distributing the load more than the original clamp would. 

For example, you can take a 2×4 section of wood about a foot long, and clamp that to your desk with your monitor mount clamp. A 2×4 is actually 1.5” x 3.5”, so take those dimensions as an example of what a good amount of reinforcement would look like. 

Here are some MDF block sections that you can use as load spreaders as well:

3x10in Unfinished Wood Boards for Crafts, 1in Thick

Create custom DIY projects with these 4 blank wood boards that measure 3x10 inches with a 1-inch thickness. The smooth, unfinished surface can be painted, sanded, carved, and stained for custom centerpieces at weddings, baby showers, or engagement parties.

Check Price On Amazon

If you want to go the extra mile, you can add a section of wood on the top side of your desk as well. Just be sure your clamp can still accept the big wood sandwich you’ve created. 

Reduce The Stress On Your Monitor Clamp

There is another way to protect weaker desks from the stress of monitor arm clamps. Minimizing unnecessary stress will make your desk and reinforcements last much longer. 

To reduce the stress on the clamping location, try to place your monitor right above the clamping area (or as close as possible).

When you stretch your monitor far away from the clamping area, it wants to rotate the clamping location, adding more stress than necessary. This is a simple pro tip that will ensure your thin desk will survive in the long run.

Alternatives to Desk Clamping Monitor Mounts

If you are finding that your desk is just too weak or thin and doesn’t work with reinforcement plates for any reason, there are other solutions that are worth looking at. These solutions move away from the clamping method altogether. 

Consider Using Desk Shelves

If your goal is to get more space on your desk, you might want to consider desk shelves. Also known as monitor shelves, these give your monitor a place to sit while freeing up space.

This places the monitor at a more ergonomic height and gives you handy storage space. I currently use one in my desk setup:

aothia desk shelf with ultrawide monitor on desk

These can also give your entire desk an aesthetic boost. We have an article directly comparing monitor arms vs these monitor stands.

Here are some examples of good-looking monitor shelves on Amazon. I am using the first one in the list below from Aothia:

Aothia Large Dual Monitor Desk Shelf
  • Comes in three wood grain colors
  • Made with real poplar wood
  • Supports up to 100 lbs.
  • 43 inch by 9.4 inch surface
  • Affordable compared to other wood desk shelves of the same size
  • Cork legs are not the prettiest
Check Price On Amazon
Bamboo Dual Monitor Desk Shelf
  • Comes in natural wood, black, and brown colors
  • Supports up to 100 lbs
  • Comes with 5x Stainless Steel legs
  • 42 inch x 10.5 inch top platform
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Stainless legs might be too "shiny" for certain desk setups
Check Price on Amazon
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

Use Wall Mounted Monitor Arms

This last solution actually mounts your monitor arm to the wall instead of your thin desk.

I put this suggestion last because it does take the most effort to get installed. It’s also not a great solution for renters. It’s also not a great solution for those with standing desks.

You have to be able to drill into a stud in the wall in front of you and mount directly into it. 

If you are able and willing to go with a wall monitor mount, it will be the most aesthetically pleasing monitor-holding solution out there. As long as you cable manage it properly

When installing a wall mount properly, it looks like your monitor is floating in front of you for a very clean look.

How Thick Should A Desk Be For A Monitor Mount?

According to Insignia, a desk should be at least 0.8 inches thick to firmly support a table clamping monitor mount. 

If you have a desk under 0.8 inches (around 2 cm), may run into long-term issues with using a table clamping monitor mount. 

Even if you do have a desk that is larger than 0.8 inches in thickness, some desks are still made with affordable hollow materials. These can leave depressions of the monitor mount clamp on your tabletop. 

People have experienced this with the very popular IKEA LINNMON desks. KN Tech discusses this in detail in the following video:

So if you have a thin desk or just a desk that could be at risk of getting damaged, refer to the solutions we discussed above. These are the best ways to use these monitor clamping mounts safely. 

Photo of author


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!

Leave a Comment