Buyer’s Guide: TV Wall Mounts
Learn about the features and flexibility of TV wall mounts to purchase the best model for your viewing style.
The popcorn is popped, the beverages are chilled, and you’re ready to binge-watch your favorite show. Except as you settle onto the sofa, it occurs to you—perhaps not for the first time—how much your viewing pleasure would be enhanced if you got the TV off the console or media center and up onto the wall.
After all, it’s been decades since flat screens took the place of bulky cathode-ray televisions. Not only will wall mounting free up real estate on your furniture, but you’ll also enjoy a more theater-style viewing experience.
For this, you’ll need a TV wall mount. While today’s TVs are certainly thin, their large screen sizes add considerable weight. So when shopping for a TV wall mount, you’ll need to factor in the size and weight of your television. Just as important is to make sure the functionality of the mount matches your viewing style.
Read on for details on the features to look for in the best TV wall mount and learn why consumers like you give the following five models rave reviews:
- BEST FIXED MOUNT: Mounting Dream Fixed TV Mount
- BEST TILTING MOUNT: Echogear Tilting TV Wall Mount
- BEST FULL-MOTION MOUNT: Mounting Dream Full-Motion TV Wall Mount
- BEST CURVED MOUNT: Loctek Full-Motion Curved TV Wall Mount
- BEST UPGRADE: OmniMount Play70
Key Considerations for Choosing the Right TV Mount
Types of Wall Mounts
There are three basic styles of TV wall mounts, and the differences come down mostly to their flexibility.
- Fixed TV wall mounts are the simplest, least expensive type. These hold the TV nearly flush against the wall, lending a clean, contemporary look to the room. It also means, however, that you cannot tilt or adjust the angle of the screen; it faces straight forward at all times. If you always sit in the same spot to watch TV and have the wall space to mount the unit so the screen’s center is at your eye-level while seated, a fixed mount can be a fine choice. Just be aware of potential glare coming through windows at different times of the day. If you must mount the TV near a window, you may need to draw the blinds to prevent glare from reflecting on the screen. Also, be aware that a fixed mount restricts access to the back of the TV, so if you frequently need to reach the ports located there, a fixed mount is not for you.
- Tilting TV wall mounts let you adjust the angle of the screen up and down between five and 15 degrees; they do not enable side-to-side positioning. To allow enough room for tilting, expect the wall mount to hold the television around two inches away from the wall. Tilting TV mounts are a good choice if you always sit in the same spot facing the TV, but need to hang the television a little higher than eye level—over a fireplace, for example. These types of wall mounts also give you a bit of flexibility to avoid glare from windows or room lights.
- Full-motion TV wall mounts, also called articulating mounts, allow almost complete freedom to position the TV. Pull it several inches out from the wall, angle it from side to side, or adjust it up and down. If you like to watch TV from various spots in the room or while lying down, need to adjust the screen to block glare from multiple windows or lights, or want to mount your TV in a corner, you’ll love the versatility of a full-motion wall mount. Do be aware, however, that you won’t get a flush fit with these types of mounts; to allow for full movement, most leave a gap of several inches between the mount and the wall. You must also ensure that all cords and cables have adequate room to remain in place even with the television pulled out as far as the mount allows. Full-motion TV mounts are the priciest option.
Size, Weight, and Mounting Concerns
The packaging of every TV wall mount indicates what size television and how much weight the mount can safely support. The best TV wall mounts are UL-certified, indicating they have passed rigorous testing to prove they can hold the weight they claim. Don’t skimp by buying a mount suited to a smaller or lighter television than the one you plan on hanging. At best, an undersized mount might sag under the load, and at worst, your television could come crashing to the ground when the mount breaks or detaches from the wall.
If you aren’t sure how much your TV weighs, check the manufacturer’s website under the specifications for that model. As for size, remember that television screen sizes aren’t measured horizontally or vertically across the screen; they are measured diagonally from corner to corner.
Another factor to keep in mind is the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) mounting interface, which is basically a rectangular or square pattern of mounting holes found on the back of just about every modern television. These mounting holes must match up to the corresponding screw-holes on the wall mount. Many TV wall mounts accommodate a wide range of VESA sizes, but as a general rule, the most common VESA sizes are:
- 200×200 for televisions up to 32 inches
- 400×400 for televisions up to 60 inches
- 600×400 for televisions 70 inches or more
You should be able to find your TV’s VESA size in the owner’s manual or manufacturer’s website. If not, follow this formula to determine it: First, measure the horizontal distance from center-to-center of the upper holes. Then measure the vertical distance from the center of an upper hole to the center of the lower hole. These two measurements, in millimeters, are the VESA size of your TV, indicated on mounting brackets by the horizontal measurement followed by the vertical measurement.
Level Adjustment Features
While TV wall mounts are fairly simple, a few extras might be worth your while. One is a level adjustment, which lets you tweak the mounted television slightly to ensure that it’s completely level. Another is a precision height adjustment, which gives you an inch or so of wiggle room to move your mounted TV up or down once installed. Other wall mounts have clips or channels to keep cords and wires neatly aligned, although you’ll get much more attractive results by covering the cords with a cable concealer or running them through the wall.
Mounting the TV to the Wall
Most TV wall mounts are fairly easy for the average homeowner to install, although it’s wise to have an assistant to help move a heavy television into place. Typically, you’ll first screw mounting channels to the back of the television, then screw the mount’s base to the wall (it’s crucial to attach the mount to wall studs, not just to the drywall). Finally, you’ll slide the television onto the mount.
To hide the cords dangling from the mounted television , you basically have two options: Either corral the cords in a cable concealer or run the cords through the drywall. While some intrepid do-it-yourselfers tackle this project on their own, be aware that in many areas, building codes restrict the types of electrical wires permitted to run behind drywall. So, you may wish to consult a pro. Typically, installers cut a small window into the drywall behind the television, run the cords down behind the drywall, and then cut another small window near the electrical outlet at floor level where the cords emerge from the wall and plug into the outlet.
Our Top Picks
These five TV wall mounts make the grade for an assortment of sets and viewing styles.
1. BEST FIXED MOUNT: Mounting Dream Fixed TV Mount
This sturdy fixed TV wall mount at a bargain price holds televisions weighing up to 100 pounds with screens between 32 and 55 inches. It works with all VESA sizes up to 400×400, covering the majority of TVs within the mount’s size range. What makes the Mounting Dream Fixed TV Mount really special is its nearly flush profile, which leaves just a bit over an inch between the back of your television and the wall. That gives the installation a clean appearance and prevents your TV from being too intrusive. Plus, the mount has two spring-loaded straps that make it a breeze to remove your TV from the mount when necessary.
2. BEST TILTING MOUNT: Echogear Tilting TV Wall Mount
With the Echogear Tilting TV Wall Mount, your 40- to 82-inch television easily tilts within a 10-degree range, letting you adjust the screen for your best viewing angle or to avoid an annoying glare. The mount is UL-rated for TVs weighing up to 135 pounds and works with all standard VESA sizes. The extra-wide wall plate accommodates even widely spaced wall studs and lets you slide the mounted television left or right after installation for perfect centering. Plus, you can level the television once it’s mounted—no worries about a crooked screen. Two pull strings make it easy to remove the television from the wall, if necessary, to adjust cords or wires. And the slim profile means there are only 2.3 inches between the television and the wall for a sleek look.
3. BEST FULL-MOTION MOUNT: Mounting Dream Full-Motion TV Wall Mount
With the Mounting Dream Full-Motion TV Wall Mount, you can truly have it all: Pull your TV up to 15.2 inches away from the wall, tilt 5 degrees up or 15 degrees down, or swivel the screen up to 45 degrees left or right. Well priced, the mount works with screens between 32 to 55 inches, is UL-rated for televisions weighing up to 99 pounds, and can handle all standard VESA sizes up to 400×400. Considering this functionality, the unit’s profile is relatively slim, leaving only three inches between the television and the wall when fully pushed back. Plus, you can adjust the mounted TV up to three degrees to achieve a perfect level.
4. BEST CURVED MOUNT: Loctek Full-Motion Curved TV Wall Mount
If you love the immersive experience of a curved television screen but wonder how to mount it to the wall, here’s your solution—the Loctek Full-Motion Curved TV Wall Mount. It’s UL-certified for televisions weighing up to 99 pounds, with screens between 32 and 70 inches, and it works with all standard VESA sizes from 300×100 up to 600×400. With the Loctek, you’ll enjoy the freedom to tilt your screen upas much as 2 degrees up or 10 degrees down, while pulling the screen up to 18.8 inches away from the wall or pushing it back to within 3.3 inches of the wall. You’ll also be able to swivel the set 180 degrees from side to side.
5. BEST UPGRADE PICK: OmniMount Play70
While its streamlined appearance is a definite plus, the real beauty of the OmniMount Play70 lies in how very easy it is to adjust in just about any direction. No need to fiddle with knobs or levers—instead, just move the television with the touch of a finger. The mount allows you to pull the TV up to 28 inches out from the wall, or retract it to a distance of 6.5 inches. The screen tilts up as much as 10 degrees and down as much 15 degrees, and you can also rotate it from side to side up to 180 degrees. That’s an almost unlimited range of motion for televisions screens measuring between 40 and 60 inches, and weighing no more than 70 pounds. The mount works with VESA sizes of 200×100 to 600×400.