TV Wall Mounts Buying Guide
As TVs have gotten slimmer, lighter, and decidedly less cube-shaped, the ways we display them in our home have multiplied. Instead of plopping a television atop a pile of precariously stacked books, we can secure them to our walls, ceilings, or even a piece of furniture. Read on to learn about the benefits of a wall-mounted TV, as well as what type of mount is best for your home.
Benefits of Mounting
The best TV wall mounts have a vice-like grip, ensuring your TV won’t budge when tugged, yanked, or rattled. Taking your screen airborne also protects against accidental bumps or the smudgy finger of a curious toddler.
Clunky, cumbersome entertainment centers take up a lot of real estate, and beyond storing DVDs and other components, they exist mainly to keep your TV warm in the winter months. Remove yours, however, and you’ll not only see your TV can withstand the elements, but also that your home feels twice as big.
The look of a slim, sleek flat-panel TV on a wall has aesthetic benefits as well. The look is cleaner, more modern, and can even complement framed artwork or family portraits. It can also give your viewing area the cozy feel of a movie theater.
Certain wall mounts allow you to view your TV from multiple angles, which can provide a more comfortable viewing experience as well as minimize glare from lamps and sunlight.
What Mount is Best?
The world of TV mounts is wide and varied, and as a result there is no single “best” mount—there’s only the best mount for you. To determine the model that will best suit your living space, think about where you’ll put your screen and how you’ll seat your audience.
If your couch rests directly across from the TV...
...go for a fixed mount. Typically the lowest-cost type on the market, fixed mounts secure the screen parallel to the wall and offer no angle adjustments. Since they cling so close to the wall, often as little as an inch away, they’re typically the most aesthetically pleasing style of mount. You'll want to make sure your eyes are level with the TV’s lower border when seated to avoid a reduction in picture quality.
If you’ll be staring up at your TV...
...we recommend a tilt mount. If you want to hang your TV above a fireplace or that hole made by the family wrecking ball, this mount will tilt your TV vertically, providing a comfortable viewing angle that lines up with your gaze. Most tilt mounts offer around 5º–15° of vertical adjustment, which should help reduce the effect of screen reflections and glare.
If your viewing area is particularly spacious...
...opt for a swivel mount. These mounts provide the same level of vertical adjustment as tilt mounts, but also incorporate side-to-side swivel adjustment so you can watch the TV from a variety of angles.
If you can’t sit still...
...you'd better go with an articulating mount. Extremely versatile, articulating mounts have a swing arm that allows for enhanced horizontal and often vertical adjustment, as well as the ability to customize your TV viewing distance by extending the screen away from the wall. It’s also equipped to deal with the continuously changing glare of a fickle sun.
Other Things to Consider
If you’ve got a legit home theater setup…
...look into an AV component shelf mount. Otherwise known as platform mounts, these mounts fortify the traditional mount with shelves for Blu-ray players, cable boxes, gaming consoles, and DVD collections.
If artwork occupies all of your wall’s real estate...
...there are always ceiling mounts. Since they dangle from the ceiling, many mounts of this nature boast the ability to rotate your TV or home theater projector 360º. They’ll usually fall about 19 to 32 inches from your ceiling.
If you’re trying to make the most of a small space...
...try a furniture mount. Ideally suited for small sets in small spaces, these type of mounts can fix your TV to a desk or cabinet. Some can even fold, allowing you to flip your TV out of the way when not in use.
Most flat-panel TVs were designed with mounting in mind, but you should still always make sure a TV is VESA compliant before making mounting plans. VESA refers to a display’s four-hole attachment interface and the screws that help secure a mount to your TV. Smaller screens might have a VESA pattern size of 100mmx100mm, whereas larger ones might have a pattern as big as 400mmx400mm. Check your TV’s manual to find its specific VESA pattern size, then look for a mount that is its equal or larger—along with a list of compatible TV sizes and weights, all mounts will include their compatible VESA patterns.
TV Wall Mount Installation Tips
- Team Spirit: Never mount a TV alone—having a friend or family member nearby ensures you won’t be smothered by a falling flat panel. You’ll always find directions on how to mount a TV in the box. They’re included for a reason; don’t neglect them.
- Find That Stud: Flat-panel TVs are fairly light, but it’s still necessary to anchor yours to a wall stud. Studs are far stronger than the drywall or plaster that surrounds them, and ensure a sure grip that’s sure to last far into the foreseeable future.
- Easy Does It: Once the holes are drilled, secure the mount to the wall. Your TV will then either slip onto the mount, or require screwing to an adapter plate. This is where having a friend nearby is most helpful.
- Mask Those Cables: The power cord and accessory cables that plug into the TV can look messy if they’re left to dangle, so it’s a good idea to gather them or, better yet, hide them from view. A variety of cable-management tools are available for this purpose.