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TV screens are growing larger, yet they continue to shed weight. Consequently, you don’t need to dedicate a huge, clunky “entertainment center” to your television anymore. You can open up the space in your living room by attaching it to a wall mount. Using a wall mount allows you to open up floor space in your home. It also lets you select the precise viewing angle you want. Furthermore, many of today’s wall mounts cost less than the hefty, furniture-style entertainment centers of yore.
At BestReviews, we’ve done our homework on TV mounts. Without the proper set of features for your situation, you won’t receive the most benefit from your TV mount. Before you open your wallet, we want you to understand your options.
What’s the best height for a wall-mounted TV? Experts recommend that you position it so the center of the screen is at the same height as your eye level when sitting.
Our mission is to provide you with unbiased product reviews you can trust. For this reason, we don’t accept free samples from manufacturers. We buy our products off of store shelves and online, just as you would. We interview experts, pore over product research, and gather insights from owners in order to provide you with the most up-to-date product information available.
We’ve broken down everything you need to know about TV wall mounts below, so please continue reading if you’d like to learn more about this exciting product. And when you’re ready to make a purchase, we encourage you to consider the five shortlist products in our TV Mount product matrix, above.
A fixed TV mount was the most common option several years ago. It holds the television about one-half inch from the wall, sitting parallel to the wall. Unlike the options discussed below, it doesn’t have any tilt features. It’s the cheapest type of TV mount available, and it’s also the easiest to install.
A tiltable TV mount allows you to tilt the screen, rotating it on a horizontal axis. You can pull the top of the screen outward, which will tilt the TV screen angle downward. This is the most common use for a tiltable wall mount.
Some tiltable TV mounts allow you to pull the bottom of the TV away from the wall, angling the screen upward. This is a less common configuration.
If you pick a tiltable TV mount, don’t expect to angle it at something like 45 degrees to the wall. You only can move the TV one or two inches from the wall in a typical tilt TV mount setup.
If you must hang your TV at a higher-than-optimal level (like over a fireplace), tilting it at a slight downward angle can make it more comfortable to watch.
A TV mount that can both tilt and swivel away from the wall is the most expensive — and for many, the most desirable — option. The VideoSecu product in our matrix, above, is a great example of this technology. The VonHaus Ultra Slim Cantilever is a second option that’s a bit more affordable than the first.
With this type of mount, the tilt feature makes the TV more comfortable to watch, and the swivel mechanism makes it easier for you to access the back of the television to hook up cables.
VESA is a mounting interface standard used to ensure compatibility between TV mounts and flat screen TVs. The Video Electronics Standards Association created the VESA standard two decades ago.
Basically, the VESA standard refers to the screw hole patterns on the mounting bracket and on the TV, ensuring they align properly.
When searching for a proper TV mount, you’ll often hear (or read) that a mount is VESA compliant. But you’ll actually want to make sure both the TV and the TV mount are VESA compliant.
VESA sometimes is referred to as FDMI, or Flat Panel Mounting Interface.
If you already own a mount and you’re planning to upgrade your TV size in the near future, chances are you’ll need a new wall mount bracket to accommodate this purchase.
Because your TV mount will be supporting the weight of a pricey investment, keep the following factors in mind while shopping:
The TV mount must work with your brand, size, and model of TV. Don’t try to fit your TV onto a mount with which it is incompatible. You’ll run the risk of having the mount be unable to support the TV’s weight.
Make sure any TV mount you pick is VESA compliant, too.
You will find TV mounts made of plastic, aluminum, and steel. Some mounts contain all three materials.
A mount that contains a fair amount of plastic won’t be as costly as an all-steel TV mount. But if you’re using a mount that has quite a bit of plastic, it should be limited to a lightweight TV.
This may sound daunting, but that’s one reason why VESA standards exist. As long as the TV model and the mount are compatible with each other, you should feel free to combine them. Understandably, though, you may feel more comfortable with an all-steel mount.
Screen size is measured diagonally by the TV manufacturer. Don’t try to pick a TV mount based on the length of the screen horizontally. The diagonal measurement determines TV mount compatibility.
You can get a rough estimate of this measurement by running a tape measure from corner to corner. But it’s better to use the manufacturer’s official screen measurement when looking for a compatible TV mount.
As discussed above, three types of TV wall mounts exist: fixed, tilt, and tilt/swivel. Look closely at the room where you’re going to hang the mount. Will you need the mount to tilt and/or swivel? Think about how the seating is arranged in the room to determine whether you need some versatility in the TV’s angle.
Flat screen TVs don’t ship with wall mount bracket hardware. Instead, this is an extra purchase you’d have to make.
When it comes to pricing TV mounts, you many not have as many options as you might expect. Although dozens of wall mounts exist on the market, only a few will actually be compatible with your TV size and model.
You’ll still want to shop around, though, as prices can vary a lot, especially for TV screen sizes of 55 inches and larger.
Successful TV mount installation requires you to follow the included instructions exactly. But there are a few “tips” you can follow to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible:
Mounting to drywall alone will not hold the weight of the bracket and TV over the long run.You must attach the mounting bracket to wood studs, and you can use a stud finder to locate the wood studs inside your wall.
If you can’t make your stud finder work, it’s possible to remove the trim at the bottom of the wall and look for drywall screws, which would have been placed into the studs. Or, if you have a drop ceiling, you may be able to see the studs by removing a ceiling panel.
One you think you’ve located a wall stud, use a tiny drill bit and drill into the drywall. If you hit resistance from the wood stud, you’ll feel it in this test hole as you drill. There would be no resistance behind drywall only.
The position of the wall studs affects the location at which you can hang the TV mount. You may have to position the TV a few inches left or right of where you’d actually like to hang it. However, some mounts have the ability to slide the bracket a few inches horizontally after it’s mounted to the wall studs, which can fix this problem.
You can install a TV mount bracket into the brick of a fireplace or into a stone wall. But first, make sure the stone is well-constructed, thick, and secure. (A stone façade may not be sturdy enough.) You’ll then need to screw the bracket hardware into concrete anchors. This is a tricky installation process that requires some know-how.
If you decide to mount the bracket yourself, you’ll need some specific tools. Beyond the tools for finding a wall stud, as described above, you will also need the following:
Your TV mount instructions should include a list of required tools, too.
Do not skip the step of ensuring that the mount is level before hanging the TV.
Use your bubble level to measure the mount both horizontally and vertically, ensuring it’s straight. If it isn’t, take down the mount and start over with the installation process.
A crooked TV mount will leave the television’s weight off-center, which could cause the mount to eventually fail.
If you cannot use a wall mount at your home for whatever reason, manufacturers do make ceiling mounts that can fit a wide variety of TV sizes.
Unless you have a mount that tilts and swivels well away from the wall, you will want to connect the cables to the back of your TV before hanging it. It’s very difficult to slide the cable into a port when the TV is nearly flush to the wall with a fixed mount.
Don’t try to hang the TV on the mount by yourself. Find someone to help you lift and properly position the TV on the mount. And having a third person available who can organize and hold the cables doesn’t hurt.
Q: How do I know whether the mount can support my TV’s weight?
A: Don’t attempt to mount your TV without knowing the answer to this question! Consult your TV manufacturer’s website to determine which brackets are compatible with your TV model. The TV bracket manufacturer’s website should list sizes and brands of TV it works with, too.
If both mount and television are listed as compatible by the manufacturers, the mount will support the TV’s weight.
Q: How can I be sure a TV wall mount is safe?
A: No one wants to have a wall-mounted TV break loose from the bracket and crash to the floor. Proper installation of the bracket should ensure that it will be safe to use. Follow all of the bracket maker’s instructions exactly. And if you’re at all unsure that you can do the work on your own, hire a professional who will guarantee the work.
Q: What do I do with my soundbar?
A: Some TV mounts have extra hardware onto which you can mount a soundbar. Perhaps you could install a wall shelf near the TV to hold the soundbar if your mount doesn’t offer extra hardware.
Q: Do TV mounts work with curved-screen TVs?
A: Most mounts will fit a curved TV and a flat screen TV equally well. Just make sure that the TV mount you want to use is listed as compatible with your curved TV model and screen size.