In past decades, bulky tube televisions have been an eyesore and a space drain. However, with the advancement of technology and the global transition to flat screen TVs mounted on walls, this is no longer the case. Wall mount TVs can look sleek, and seamless into your space’s style and design.
There are a variety of factors that you should take into consideration when you’re determining which TV wall mount is right for you. In this article, we’ll help you walk through those variables and compare several of the best TV wall mounts so that finding the perfect fit for you and your space is a breeze.
Things To Consider Before Mounting Your TV To The Wall
Before you do any sort of wall-mounting of your television, it’s important that you view your space objectively and with a critical eye. The following tips are key questions you need to consider.
Is your wall strong enough to support a wall-mount TV?
Before you consider anything else, you must determine whether or not your wall could even hold up the TV or not. Flat screens of today are certainly sleeker and lighter than the tubes of yesteryear, but they’re still relatively heavy when compared to other traditional wall hangings. And the wall mounts themselves weigh something, too. You need to determine if, in the place where you want your TV, there is enough stud support to handle the anchored screws.
Solution: Determine your wall’s capacity to hold the wall-mount simply by using a stud finder. The presence of at least one stud (or more, depending on the size of your TV and the style of wall mount you choose) is required for mounting a television to the wall. Drywall anchors are a fine solution for hanging artwork where studs are absent, but this is not a solution for a heavy TV; eventually, the weight of the wall mount and the television will pull the drywall anchors out and crash it all.If there is insufficient stud support, you need to re-evaluate your wall-mount TV location.
Is there a fireplace near your wall-mount TV?
It’s a modern trend to have a warm cozy fireplace down below and a glowing television screen mounted to the wall above it. However, this is not always the best idea, for several reasons that you can research further if you’re interested.
- Some types of TV screens, especially the very common LCD, looks suboptimal and/or fuzzy when viewed at an angle. Mounting the TV above the fireplace encourages this problem.
- The TV will likely be placed at a higher level than is comfortable to view, resulting in sore and stiff necks after a few minutes of watching.
- Fireplaces in use produce heat; wood-burning fireplaces produce not just heat but also soot and smoke. These things are quite damaging to electronics.
Solution: Refrain from mounting your TV above the fireplace. If you simply must do it, hire a professional to do it right. If mounting your TV above the fireplace is the method you choose to take, however, the following guidelines are recommended:
- Test the area’s radiant heat. With a fire going in your fireplace, hold your hand(s) around the area where your above-fireplace TV might be mounted. If the area feels noticeably hotter, it is not a great place to mount your TV because the heat will greatly reduce the TV’s lifespan. Consider moving your wall-mounted TV to another location.
- Hang the television 4”-12” above your mantel, depending on a variety of factors such as mantel height and TV screen size. If your mantel is positioned above 4’ high off the ground, then mount your TV 4”-6” above the mantel. Another way to think of it is: your flat-screen TV, mounted above the fireplace, is similar to a large piece of art. Treat it that way as you position it.
- Use a tilt mount. Because your above-fireplace TV is likely higher than a regular wall-mounted TV, it will be more comfortable for your viewing to have the screen face slightly downward. This will help with neck comfort while viewing as well as decrease potential glare from lighting throughout the space.
Is there an accessible place for the components?
If all you were going to do was mount a flat screen TV to the wall, that would be one thing. But the majority of people don’t want to simply mount their television – they also want their sound systems, cable boxes, gaming consoles, DVRs, and whatever else to hook to the TV.
All of these devices will work perfectly well with a well-strategized wall-mounted TV. You just need to make sure there is space for them to be housed within their cords’ easy access to the television hookups.
Solution: Here are some ways to provide useful horizontal surfaces near and around your potential wall-mount TV spot:
- Build and/or install shelves to fit your devices aesthetically. These shelves can take a variety of forms to conform with your room’s style. Consider installing contemporary floating shelves, industrial galvanized shelves, or even mid-century credenzas to work this out.
- You could even, quite simply, place an entertainment center or bookshelf beneath the wall-mounted TV to house devices. You can always drill any sort of holes in the backs of these pieces to thread whatever cords through that need to be somewhat “invisible.”
Will the TV ports be accessible?
Each television is different in its design of port location; some are located on the left, some on the right, some top, some bottom, some center, and some TVs have ports all over the place. Wherever the ports are located on your flat screen TV, you’ll need to make sure these locations are accommodated by the wall mount you choose.
Solution: For the TV that has ports on the back of the television (which is the majority of TVs, but not all), you will likely want to lean toward purchasing a wall mount that telescopes outward, away from the mounting wall. This allows you to move the TV away from the wall, plug in or unplug whatever you need, and then push the TV back toward the wall. The alternative to this solution is a wall mount that doesn’t move out-and-away, which means you’ll be unmounting your TV every time you need to access the ports.
Do you have a strategy for concealing cords?
Not only do your devices need a place to sit, they also need to have an aesthetic way to connect to the TV and/or electrical outlet. Or, let’s say you have no devices, just the wall-mount TV. There will still be a cord running from the bottom of the TV mount to the nearest electrical outlet. This is unsightly at best, but closer to tacky and unfinished.
Solution: There are several solutions to hiding the cords to/from a wall-mount TV, depending on each television’s surroundings and circumstances. These solutions include the following:
- Hire a professional to install the cords inside the wall itself. This is a good idea if you see your wall-mount TV being a permanent fixture in your space.
- Install, or hire a professional electrician to install, a power outlet directly behind the TV. This allows the television to plug into the wall right around the wall mount, which means no cords will be dangling or visible. This might not be as useful if there are lots of devices, though.
- If there are only a few devices that you need to hook to your TV, you could consider mounting them directly behind the television. This way, they could also use the behind-the-TV outlet. But this is not practical in the instance that there are a bunch of devices.
- Buy a cord camouflage kit. There are tons on the market that range from simple tubes with sticky tape on one side, to complex and sophisticated methods of cord hiding. Find one that you like and that makes the most sense for your space.
Is your viewing angle optimal?
Many people end up mounting their televisions way too high on the wall, forgetting that primary TV viewing is done while sitting. Some people have to mount their TV higher than optimal due to architectural constraints. Others like to angle the TV screen to face them head-on regardless of where they’re sitting. Still others need to adjust their screen based upon the glare from windows in the room.
Solution: Take into consideration those wall mounts that are adjustable and rotatable to meet your needs and maximize the comfort level of your viewing angle, whatever it might be.
How To Select A TV Mount
It can feel a bit overwhelming to choose the best TV mount for your space. But, when you consider the primary variables, it’s actually not too bad to narrow down your options. Here are things to consider when choosing your TV wall mount.
Compatibility with walls
The vast majority of TV wall mountsis compatible with drywall and, thus, come packaged with the hardware that you’ll need to install the mount to drywall. This hardware includes bolts and drywall anchors, although we strongly recommend using stud support rather than anchors to mount your television.
With walls that are plaster or brick or something else altogether, you’re going to need to purchase a different type of hardware that is stronger and compatible with the different wall type.
Mounting pattern on the TV itself
Most televisions now use a standardized mounting pattern. This is called a VESA (Video Electronics Standards Association) pattern, and it helps to ensure that, whichever wall mount you choose to use for your TV, it will easily attach. If for some reason your TV has a different mounting pattern on the back, you should be aware of this and choose a compatible wall mount accordingly.
Support size and weight
Wall mounts are typically rated by the compatible TV screen sizes, in addition to the weight that they can appropriately support. These two numbers – your television’s screen size and weight – are incredibly important to have available as you are considering the best TV wall mount for you. Keep in mind that even TVs with the same screen size will weigh differently, depending on the brand or even the model. Wall mount product descriptions will include the size and weight maximum or range, so you can easily access this information while you research.
Flexibility of viewing
Do you want to be able to adjust your TV once it’s mounted? If so, how? This is important to consider, as different wall mounts offer different ranges of motion, in terms of viewing flexibility. Some will swivel up and down but not side to side. Some will swivel side to side but not up and down. Some will swivel in all directions, allowing the screen to be angled in nearly any direction.
If you have different seating arrangements or want the TV to be viewed from another room, take flexibility into consideration. Most mounts today can at least pivot and tit. If, on the other hand, you don’t ever need to move your TV, you don’t need to pay extra for adjustable options (plus, installation will be easier).
Corner or wall mount
If your plan is to mount the TV to the corner wall, you will likely need a mount that is specially designed for corners. These will likely include fully articulating flexibility components, as the TV will likely be always extended at least to some degree.
Best TV Wall Mounts
Below is a selection of popular TV wall mounts, including a general description of each. Choose what features are most important to you in your space as you narrow down your selection.
Full Motion/Swivel TV Wall Mount
This wall mount easily fits most 22”-55” flat screens, including LED, LCD, plasma flat screens. Heavy gauge steel supports screens up to 88 pounds with various VESA compatibility patterns. The wall mount itself is a full-motion swivel: tilt is +15/-5 degrees, swivel is 180 degrees. There is a post-installation level adjustment option, which allows you to level the TV perfectly even after installing the mount. The wall mount has a low profile, retracting to just 2.2”, which saves space; conversely, it can extend out to 20” from the wall for adjustability.
Interactive TV Wall Mount
This wall mount provides smooth, continuous, and multi-directional movement of the mounted TV. No knobs are required, due to a patented Constant Force technology that allows light-touch adjustments, as well as a gravity pivot that enables tilting. The mount retracts to 5.5” away from the wall yet can extend 24” from the wall as needed. This mount is particularly beneficial for televisions that are mounted high on the wall, providing easy ergonomic adjustments for viewing.
Low Profile TV Wall Mount
This versatile TV wall mount fits most standard sizes of LCD, LED, plasma, and HDTV flat panel screens, from 30” up through 75”. It’s compatible with VESA mounting hole patterns from 200×200 to 600×400. The mount itself is ultra slim, meaning the screen can maintain a very low profile of 1.5” away from the wall if desired. A heavy duty steel construction provides loading capacity of up to 165 pounds.
Ultra-Thin TV Wall Mount
This incredibly thin TV wall mount fits perfectly into the contemporary space, accommodating large TV screens without sacrificing intrusion from the wall. The TV mount fits ultrathin TVs from 51” to 80” screens and up to 150 pounds. Call it super slim, low profile, and/or ultra thin, this TV mount design holds flat screens just 0.55” away from the wall. Quick-release tabs and a ClickStand provide TV unlocking capability for easy cable access and adjustment. There are also post-installation height and leveling adjusters to make installation easy and accurate.
Articulating TV Wall Mount
This universal TV wall mount holds TVs from 37” to 70” in screen size and up to 132 pounds, although the mount is tested to hold 4x the amount of weight that they’re rated for. The mount can extend 16” away from the wall or retract back to just 2.6” out from the wall. Swivel options include 150 degrees to the left or the right. There is also a 15-degree tilt capability to adjust the screen to decrease window or lighting glare.
Ceiling TV Wall Mount
This ceiling-mounted bracket accommodates most 37”-60” LCD and plasma flat panel TVs, although some LED screens can go up to 75” for installation. VESA mounting patterns are accommodated from 200×200 to 680×460 mounting holes. The mount has a loading capacity up to 110 pounds. It is mountable on flat ceilings and vaulted ceilings, with an adjustable height range of 26”-35.4” from the ceiling. (Adjustable increments are every 1.5” for maximum viewing options.) This ceiling mount offers not only a forward and backward tilt, but also a 360-degree pan adjustment to achieve an ideal viewing position from anywhere in the space.
Curved TV Wall Mount
With the increase of curved flat screen TVs comes an increase in the need for wall-mounts to accommodate such modern technology. This wall mount is designed to do just that, with fits for most curved TV mounts. The heavy-gauge TV mount supports televisions ranging from 32”-70” and up to 99 pounds. VESA is accommodated up to 600×400 mounting holes spacing. The mount extends out to 18.8” from the wall and retracts back to just 3.3”. Tilting adjustability is from -2 to 10 degrees down to reduce glare, and there is swiveling optional to the left and right, depending on where you’re sitting.
Tilting TV Wall Mount
This TV wall mount allows you to eliminate annoying screen glare by offering a smooth 15-degree effortless tilt option. The low profile mount retractsto just 2.5” away from the wall. This mount comes with a simple three-step installation guide. Durable steel mounts are designed for most VESA mounting patterns as well as most televisions from 32” up to 70” screen size.
Fixed / Stationary TV Wall Mount
This slim TV wall mount fits most flat screens from 32” up through 60” in size. VESA compatibility is universal, up to 600×400. Its incredibly low profile and ultra-slim design holds the TV only 1” away from the wall, for a clean and professional look. This design is perfect for ultra-thin LED and OLED televisions. A heavy-duty fixed bracket holds up to 175 pounds of carrying capacity, allowing peace of mind with your mounted TV. Three different TV bracket positions allow for the TV’s height adjustment on the wall plate, and an anti-theft locking bar provides added security.
Under Cabinet TV Wall Mount
This ingenious TV mount holds 17”-37” flat panel display televisions, mounted under cabinets. Technically, it could also be considered a ceiling-mount TV bracket, but its smaller size and scope leans it more toward under-cabinet application. Excellent uses for under cabinets in kitchens, offices, RVs, etc. The mount is retractable, folding up when not in use. The mount is VESA compliant from 75×75 to 200×200. Its adjustable pole extends from 10.6” to 15.7” down from the ceiling, and there is a tilt option of 90 degrees downward.
Platform TV Wall Mount
While it’s not exactly a TV mount, this universal office PC riser includes a large vented tray to keep the device from overheating. Compatible with a variety of notebooks, up to a 17-inch portable computer. The platform size is 14”w x 11.8”d, with a bottom lip to securely hold the laptop in place. The mount includes a full-motion assembly, with an arm that can easily be adjusted up and down along the 17.7” vertical pole (above the desk surface). Dual folding arms involve three joints that allow the tray to swivel/articulate right or left and toward or away from the user. The tray can also be tilted. The mount can accommodate 22 pounds, with a heavy duty C clamp integrated double lock to ensure stability of mounting.
How To Choose The Wall Mount Tv’s Precise Placement
After considering all the factors, you have finally identified and purchased the best TV wall mount for your space. Now it’s time to determine just exactly where to install it. Here are some tips for finding the optimum placement for your wall-mounted TV:
- Measure your TV screen, including the surrounding television “frame.” Cut this size out of cardboard or a piece of butcher paper.
- Place the paper TV in the spot you think your wall-mounted TV should go.
- Tape the paper TV to the wall with painters’ tape.
- Consider the factors of lighting and the potential for glare. While your paper TV will not have a glare, it’s possible that your TV screen will. So be aware of lighting placement and positioning.
- Sit, stand, and walk around the room to cover all viewing angles. See if the TV feels centered, level, and appropriately high/low. Take your time with this step. Pay attention to your neck comfort as you check; the tendency for people is to mount their TVs too high, which results in strained necks while viewing.
- A good rule of thumb for maximizing your wall-mounted TV’s viewing comfort is to mount it at the eye-level height of a seated viewer. This generally means the center of your TV will be 40”-45” up from floor level, although different seating arrangements and screen sizes may vary this number slightly.
- One more consideration, when determining the ultimate location of your wall-mount TV, is proximity to electrical outlets. Make sure to measure cords and cables to ensure you have enough length to aesthetically power the TV.
How To Install A Wall Mount TV
Now that you’ve determined the best place for your TV wall mount, it’s time to look into how to go about installing one. Here’s an outline of the barest essentials of wall-mounting your television.
Find the stud(s)
While stud finders can be incredibly useful, they can also be deceptive, depending on the type and placement of the walls they’re used on. Exterior walls can be particularly problematic, as are walls next to concrete or other building materials. They can register false positives, which just won’t work when you’re installing a wall-mount TV. So go slowly, use painters’ tape to mark studs, then measure between them. Mark at least three studs in the area; if they’re equally spaced, then they’re likely accurate readings. Drill small pilot holes first to ensure that a stud is, indeed, waiting behind the wall.
Follow your specific wall mount directions
Each wall mount’s installation instructions will be slightly different. Be sure to follow the instructions on your specific product carefully – when done right, installing wall mounts and their partnering TVs isn’t too bad, but when done incorrectly, watch out. However, below is a generic outline of the process:
- Lightly mark with a pencil where the corners of your TV will hit the walls. This is easy to do if you’ve used a paper or cardboard TV cutout.
- Mark on the wall studs the points of the top and bottom holes on each TV mounting arm. Ensure level.
- Hold the wall mount up to the wall. Ensure level (twice), then drill the mounting holes.
- Install the wall bracket plate securely to the wall.
- Attach mount to wall, ensuring level. Tip: Drill screws in only halfway, check for level, adjust as needed, then drill the screws in the rest of the way.
- Attach the mounting plate to the back of your TV. Attach A/V cables to the TV as someone holds the TV close to the wall mount.
- Mount the TV to the wall, ensuring that the television is completely secure before stepping away. Tip: Use a helper or two during this entire process for safety and accuracy in level installation.
Level it out
Hopefully, your freshly wall-mounted TV looks perfectly level from the get-go. But this is not always the case. In the instance that your hard work has resulting in a screen that looks slightly askew, don’t throw in the towel. Here are some options to consider:
- Carefully, but firmly, try to force the TV into being level by holding it on the sides and muscling it. Sometimes, if the connecting bolts aren’t overtightened, there’s a little wiggle room in flexibility and leveling capacity. Be careful with this option, though, as there’s also the potential to damage everything.
- Try taking the TV down off the wall and loosening the bolts that hold it to the mount arms. Reinstall the bolts after pressing the arms in the direction (up/down, right/left) that they need to be to make it more level. Reinstall the TV and see if that works. If not, you could try these same steps on the wall plate itself.
Buy longer cables and cords than you thought necessary
Nothing will set your hard work back further than having a great-looking wall-mounted TV…that has to be pulled off-angle because the cable is too short. Don’t mess with that. You can always find ways to safely and creatively hide any excess cordage, so get the longer length. This is particularly important with tiltable, adjustable, and rotating wall-mount TVs; you’re going to need some extra cable length in order to allow the movement options that you wanted in the first place.
Good luck in your hunt to find the perfect TV wall mount. There are so many variables to consider when researching and determining the best TV wall mount for your space, but once you break down your needs, it won’t be so overwhelming. Enjoy the process, and sooner than you think you’ll be enjoying your newly wall-mounted TV.
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