The Best Laptop Stands | Reviews by Wirecutter
Photo: Sarah Kobos
The Roost is stable enough to hold laptops up to 15 inches. It’s easy to set up and break down, and it’s compact enough to throw in a bag and use on the go.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $75.
If you work while traveling, or if you commute between multiple workspaces and want a stand to use both at home and at your destination, we recommend the Roost laptop stand. Like the iLevel 2, the Roost is rock solid and adjustable. Plus, it’s quick and easy to set up and break down—this model folds down to roughly the size of two large Snickers bars end to end, and you can easily throw it in a bag to take it wherever you’re headed for the day.
The Roost can raise a laptop a bit higher than our other picks. Its lowest point is about 7¾ inches off the desk, while its highest is around 10 inches. That’s roughly the same adjustment range as the iLevel 2 but with about 2 inches of added height across the range, so it’s a better option for tall people. Comparatively, the Nexstand—our other portable pick—can dip your laptop lower than the Roost (to 5½ inches) or raise a laptop as high as the Roost does, to 10 inches.
But the Roost’s height is more difficult to adjust than the iLevel 2’s: To lower the Roost, you must press the white latches behind each pillar with your index fingers and then gently press down until the stand goes down one or two notches. (Roost’s directions say you can make this adjustment with the laptop on the stand, but doing so made us nervous about the expensive laptop, and we wouldn’t recommend it.)
Raising the stand’s height level—either to get a higher viewing position or to fold the Roost back up after you’ve lowered it—requires at least two hands and some practice, unlike the iLevel 2 model’s simple sliding knob. The easiest way we found is to anchor your index fingers on the white latches and brace the bottom rubber stands in your palms. Then press in on the white latches, push upward with your index fingers, and gently squeeze your palms together to close the stand.
The Roost’s rubber feet and laptop grips prevent your laptop from wobbling. Photo: Sarah Kobos
Because portable laptop stands fold up or break down for transport, they’re usually not as stable as desktop stands. In our tests, however, the Roost was stable and well-balanced, even with 15-inch laptops that weighed over 5 pounds. The stand’s rubber feet and laptop grips minimize vibration and hold the computer firmly so that it doesn’t slide around or shake when you type.
When folded, the Roost measures just 13 inches long and 1¼ inches by 1¼ inches thick, which makes it simple to throw in your backpack or bag. The Nexstand, our budget portable pick, is a little bigger than the Roost, which may make it less convenient for traveling; it measures 14 inches long and 1½ inches by 1½ inches thick when folded. The Roost is noticeably lighter than its cheaper counterpart, too, weighing 5.8 ounces compared to the Nexstand’s 8.8 ounces.
Simply pull the two rubber feet apart to unfold the Roost and push them together to fold the stand back up. Video: Sarah Kobos
The Roost is lighter and easier to transport than the other portable options we looked at; it also requires fewer steps to fold out or up. To unfold the Roost, you just pull the two rubber feet apart until they stop.
As with the iLevel 2, the biggest drawback of the Roost is its price. At around $75 as of this writing, it isn’t cheap. But if you often work at a laptop while traveling, it’s worth the cost to save your neck and back.
Long-term test notes
Wirecutter staffers think the Roost looks a little odd but praise its functionality both at home and while traveling. “I like that it holds my laptop firmly, at a good angle, without adding a lot of visual bulk to the desk,” said senior editor Nathan Edwards, who primarily uses the Roost on his desk at home. “Most people, when they see the Roost come out of its sleeve, make a confused face,” said senior staff writer Kevin Purdy, “But it’s earned its place in my work-from-anywhere toolkit. It’s never felt like it’s going to drop a laptop, even a heavy business model. And the shape and protective sleeve mean I can usually fit it into any backpack, no matter how stuffed.”