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Expert Shopper Music

The best music stand

Which music stand works best for you?

Whether you are a professional musician attending performances and recording sessions or a player practicing at home, a good music stand is essential for keeping your sheet music in order and in a position that is both easy to read and within reach.

While music stands vary in size, materials, weight and portability, most musicians agree that durability is a crucial deciding factor when choosing their ideal model. To this end, the Manhasset Symphony Stand is a sturdy choice that has become something of an industry-standard option among performing musicians. 

What to know before you buy a music stand

Durability vs. portability

A collapsible model is usually the best option if you regularly travel to and from performances and practice sessions. If this is the case, you must compromise between sturdiness and convenience. Stands that feature a solid bookplate while offering better strength and support do not fit into small carry cases like foldaway counterparts. 


Instruments can be unwieldy, and space can be tight when playing as part of an ensemble. As such, it is not uncommon to knock out a stand while performing onstage or maneuvering during practice sessions. If this is likely to be a cause for concern, consider buying one of the sturdier, solid-backed music stands or opt for one with a heavy base.  


All music stands are somewhat adjustable. Some can alter the height, tilt the bookplate and extend or collapse the legs. Standing players should ensure that a model is tall enough to meet their requirements, and telescopic joints and legs should be quick and easy to lock into position.

What to look for in a quality music stand

Bookplate width

A wider bookplate is a real asset if you regularly work with large scores, with some orchestra-friendly models spanning 32 inches. If, however, you favor a more compact option, a standard model is usually between 16 and 20 inches in width.

Build quality

Construction materials play a large part in determining the build quality of a music stand, with the best made from lightweight aluminum or stainless steel. One alternative is powder-coated steel, although this is prone to rust if scratched. Other points to look for include robust locking hardware and sturdy rubber feet.

Locking mechanism

Some music stands feature sprung mechanisms that enable a user to quickly and easily raise and lower the bookplate by depressing a lever on the shaft. Most models, however, incorporate a tried-and-tested knob and screw mechanism that uses friction to set the stand in position. 

How much you can expect to spend on a music stand

A good quality music stand should not be costly, with a professional option costing around the $50 mark. A lightweight, collapsible model will cost $15-$25, while a durable model for home use will cost $25-$35.

Music stand FAQ

Is my music stand large enough?

A. A music stand should extend to the user’s chest height and maintain stability when fully raised. Most people are happy with a standard-width model capable of holding two sheets of music side by side. However, those using three or more sheets at once should look into options with oversized bookplates. 

Is my music stand strong enough?

A. It is a good idea to ensure that the loading capacity meets your requirements before making a purchase. Those wishing to support a laptop computer or heavy textbooks should consider those options that feature solid backplates and more robust locking mechanisms on their telescopic joints and bookplate hinges.

What’s the best music stand to buy?

Top music stand

Manhasset Symphony Stand

What you need to know: This stand is easily adjustable and features excellent materials and build quality. It is a favorite among professional musicians.

What you’ll love: It has sturdy low-profile legs that are less intrusive than the common tripod setup, and it can be operated with just one hand, thanks to its unique friction grip. 

What you should consider: It’s not one of the more portable options as it remains rather large when collapsed.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top music stand for the money

Kasonic 2-in-1

What you need to know: This stand is eminently portable and lightweight. It is a good choice for the student or working musician who wishes to keep clutter to a minimum.

What you’ll love: Its bookplate pulls apart from the main stand, and you can position it on a desktop, piano or other flat surfaces.

What you should consider: The music shelf is a little shallow for those wishing to place more than one textbook or a large volume of sheet music upon it.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out 

Donner DMS-1 Portable

What you need to know: This stand is one of few models with a large bookplate and collapses into a small, lightweight unit for transportation.

What you’ll love: It comes with a host of accessories, including a carrying case, rechargeable lamp and sheet music clip.

What you should consider: Its ABS plastic bookplate is not as sturdy compared to those that use a metal construction.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Luke Mitchell writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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