Best Music Stands

Updated April 2021
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Pros
Cons
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

59 Models Considered
28 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
125 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best music stands

If you play an instrument and read sheet music, you know that while your hands are busy with the notes, it can be difficult to effectively engage with your sheet music. This is where a music stand can help. Built to hold sheet music, books, and playing accessories, a music stand is essential for everything from practice and recording sessions to concerts and other live gigs.

When shopping for a music stand, you will find a variety to choose from. This guide will help you to sort through the various music stand features that may or may appeal to you. For example, a wireframe music stand costs a lot less than a solid steel stand, but it generally cannot hold as much weight.

In addition to a detailed run-down of what you can expect at various music stand price points, we also offer a variety of our favorite music stands and share the reasons why we recommend them.

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In addition to holding music so you can see it, a music stand can conveniently keep all your music in one spot.

Key considerations

Durability

Whether you are using it in a practice room or a concert hall, a music stand can incur damage from bumps and knocks. Musicians are often rightly focused on their instruments, and this can be at the expense of a stand. As such, a music stand needs to be rugged.

Solid steel is the most durable music stand material, though notably, solid steel music stands cost a lot more. Foldable, lightweight music stands made of aluminum or a lighter-grade steel may be easier to take on the road, but they are also less durable and sometimes flimsy.

Height

Height adjustability makes a music stand suitable for both sitting and standing musicians. Although almost all are adjustable, some have more enhanced capabilities than others. For example, a pricier stand may be easy to adjust, and it may stretch taller than an inexpensive stand. An inexpensive stand may be harder to adjust, requiring you to bend over and fiddle with hardware.

Stability

A music stand that constantly topples over with the weight of your sheet music is not a great stand. A great music stand should be rock steady, not unsteady. It should remain upright when randomly bumped. A heavy bottom and/or base lend themselves to this.

Portability

Some people buy stands for gigging, while others leave their music stands in the practice room forever. (We’ll refer to the latter as “static stands.”) If you plan to travel with your stand, consider one that is lightweight and portable. Stands that break down and reassemble easily may be best. However, stands that break down are not always as stable as solid steel one-piece stands. For the traveling musician, the ideal stand possesses a good mixture of stability and portability.

While wireframe music stands can be inexpensive and lightweight, they also suffer from stability problems.

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Features

Construction

Music stands can be made from a variety of materials, some durable and others considerably less so. Steel is fairly common for static stands. While pricey, it is long-lasting and can withstand considerable abuse. Some steel music stands include a powder-coating for extra protection from rust and other damage.

Aluminum is common for portable, folding music stands. While lightweight, it is not as rugged as steel. This is particularly true for wireframe stands.

Other less-common materials used in music stands include wood and ABS plastic.

Bookplate

The bookplate, or desktop, of a music stand is designed to hold sheet music, books, and other music accessories. It should offer a wide tilting range for visibility at various angles. Note the depth and width of the bookplate, as these dimensions determine how much music the stand can hold.

For better durability and stability, go with a bookplate that is solid as opposed to a wireframe.

Clips and clamps

Some music stands come with clips or clamps that can be used to hold music in place. Those that include clamps usually include one or two. If you perform or practice outside, these are particularly helpful.

If your stand purchase does not include clamps, you can also purchase them online. Some people have even found success with clothes pins, although the lightweight nature of the pins only allows them to hold a sheet or two of paper at a time.

Color

Black goes with everything, and for this reason, it is a common music stand color. Whether you’re playing at school or with an orchestra, a black stand blends in nicely.

Wireframe music stands are often silver. These tend to be more basic and inexpensive stands that cannot hold a lot of music at once.

If you’re ordering music stands for a school, you can sometimes get them in a chosen school color, such as orange or blue. However, not every manufacturer offers this convenience.

Carrying case

Foldable music stands often include a carrying case for storage and transport. A carrying case can be helpful, but if the music stand has sharp ends, be aware that a flimsy case made of light cloth could easily break down. A rugged case that is built securely and zippers shut (or seals tightly via another method) is more reliable.

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DID YOU KNOW?
Some music stands have holes or vents built into the bookplate. These can offer the same strength as solid bookplates while weighing less and distributing the existing weight more evenly.
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Accessories

Clip-on light: Kootek Music Stand Light
This clip-on LED light for music stands is a top seller for a reason. You can use it on a music stand, at the piano, or even in non-music situations where you need extra illumination. It’s affordable, and it provides a helpful solution to the common problem of low visibility while performing or practicing.

Music folder: JINLI Music Folder
This attractive and inexpensive folder includes 40 transparent pocket pages in which you can store up to 80 sheets of music. The music stays protected inside the folder, and the pre-fastened pages are easy to turn.

Music stand prices

Inexpensive: Simple folding stands, wireframe and lightweight, can be found here. If you seek a basic stand for light use, this may be ideal. Expect to pay between $8 and $14 for these products, which can be easy to transport, though quality and durability are not exceptional.

Mid-range: In the $14 to $30 range, you will find a wide variety of music stands that are either foldable or static. Designed for regular use, these stands are fairly durable and sometimes ship with extras, such as clips or a carrying case.

High-end: Music stands that cost more than $30 are usually professional-grade items. These stands tend to have the best durability, stability, and size. They can generally handle more weight than cheaper stands. You do not need to be a professional to justify buying a high-end music stand. Many musicians find the sturdiness of these items to be more than worth the price.

For stability, consider a music stand with a heavy, wide base.

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Tips

  • For longevity, seek a music stand with the fewest moving parts. The more moving parts a stand has, the more problems you may encounter over time due to wear and tear.
  • In addition to height and depth, width is a valid consideration. A wider music stand can hold more sheets, and you won’t need to turn pages as often.
  • While not standard, some music stands include a built-in tray or shelf. These can be used to hold a variety of objects, from cellphones to metronomes.
  • If you don’t have clips, magnets may work. Consider using magnets to hold music in place on a steel stand.
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With a music stand in your practice room, you are more likely to practice because your music is at the ready, and it’s a visual reminder to pick up your instrument and play.

FAQ

Q. Which is better: a folding music stand or a non-folding music stand?

A. The answer to this depends on how you plan to use your music stand. Folding and non-folding (or static) music stands have designs that are quite different from each other, so this is an important decision to make before you shop.

A folding music stand is ideal for those who seek portability. These stands are generally inexpensive, lightweight, and compact when folded. However, they are also less durable, not as easy to adjust, and better suited for sheet music than music books.

If you won’t be lugging your music stand around much, consider a static music stand. Although pricier, these are usually much more durable and easier to adjust than folding stands. What’s more, they can hold heavier music books and accessories.

Q. How is a music stand adjusted?

A. Most stands adjust via friction clutch or adjustable knob.

Friction clutch: With a friction clutch, you simply push up or pull down on the music stand to adjust it. Friction clutches are usually stronger than knobs, last longer, and cost more.

Adjustable knob: With adjustable knobs, you simply turn the knob to unlock it, adjust the stand height, and then tighten the knob. While not as durable as a friction clutch, adjustable knobs can meet the needs of musicians who seek an inexpensive stand.

Q. What types of instruments are these stands designed for?

A. A music stand can be used for nearly any instrument, from a portable keyboard to a saxophone to a guitar to the human voice. (Don’t confuse a music stand for a guitarist with a guitar stand, which is designed to hold the guitar when it’s not being played.)

 

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