Features to Look for When Shopping for a Display Mount - dummies

Features to Look for When Shopping for a Display Mount

By Danny Briere, Pat Hurley

Shopping for a display mount with the right features takes some consideration. The right display-mount features can help make installation and use easy. When looking for a mount, consider these attributes of a manufacturer’s products:

  • Design/ease of installation: Look for a mount with a lot of open space in its structure so you have a lot of room to do everything else you need to do when mounting a display. Check for a wall plate with minimal surface area so that you have more flexibility in where your cable and electrical outlets are located. Also, look for hands-free wall mount installations.

    The best designs allow one person to install them — for example, Chief Manufacturing’s flat-panel mounts allow you to pound a nail in the wall and temporarily mount the whole unit on that one nail, leaving your hands free for leveling and final bolting. Some swing arms can weigh up to 50 pounds, so you’ll want to be able to preinstall the top two lag bolts and then slide the mount over those bolts — leaving the remaining bolts easier to install.

  • Ease of use: Ease of adjustment after installation is important. You should be able to adjust the tilt of a mount with a push of your fingertip. When you move a display, it should stay there without having to tighten knobs.

  • Weight capacity: Make sure the mount is rated not only for your display but also for any speakers, decorative trim, and other accessories that can add weight.

    Look for mounts that are UL (Underwriters Laboratories) listed. These are tested at several times their rated weight capacity.

  • Range of motion (tilt, swivel, extension, and so on): Make sure that the mount not only fits in your space but also provides the range of motion desired when the size of the mounted display is taken into account.

  • Integrated cable management: You’ll want to hide your cables. Spend time understanding how your wiring will be run. This is especially true for ceiling mounts in which the cabling may go through the center of the pipe. If you have to run cables outside your installation, check for snap-on covers that help hide the cables.

  • Quick detach/attach capability: If you ever have to remove your display — to change the filters or lamps in a projector, for instance — you want a mount designed to maintain all the mechanical settings of the mount itself. You don’t want to have to reset and reconfigure your gear each time you put it back.

  • Integrated lateral shift capability: Lateral shift is the ability to install a mount off center, when taking into account the spacing of the studs in your walls. A high-quality mount will allow you to displace your mount at least 4 inches to the left or right with 16-inch or 24-inch centered studs. An installed display should be able to be positioned vertically as well — quality mounts allow for at least 3 inches of vertical shift.

  • Aesthetics: Look for mounts that look good to you. Check for multiple colors to choose from. Low-profile mounts are important, and details count, such as covers for lag bolts on the wall.

  • Don’t go cheap on your mount: A good mount will last you many TV displays. Consider the future when making your purchase . . . nickel-and-diming here will only hurt you later.