Large monitors are awesome. Whether it is to increase productivity or to get a better gaming experience, they are here to stay. To get the best experience, however, it is a good idea to use a monitor arm. These give you the best ergonomics and help reclaim a lot of the desk space that otherwise gets taken up by the monitor and its stand.
Not every monitor arm is suited for large monitors. Most arms are not capable of supporting the heavy weight. In order to have a stable, wobble-free platform for the monitor, it is essential to use a sturdy arm that is built for this purpose.
The Ergotron HX is an example of such a product. It is one of the few monitor arms that is strong enough to deal with the largest monitors available at the moment. For example, 49″ super ultra wide monitors.
Recently I picked up a desk mounted HX for the heavy (39 lbs / 18 kg) LG 43″ monitor that I use at home. In this review of the Ergotron HX, I will share with you my thoughts on this monitor arm, its pros and cons, and compare it with some of its competition.
Let’s find out if the Ergotron HX is worth your money!
The first impression when unboxing the Ergotron HX is that it is a quality device. The components feel solid and are particularly heavy. When assembled, the arm weighs about 15 pounds (7 kg) just on its own.
Aside from the arm itself, you will find a variety of mounting hardware in the box. This hardware lets you mount all kinds of monitors to the arm and also gives you several desk mounting options.
The box of the Ergotron HX contains the following:
- The components of the arm itself
- A desk mount
- A grommet mount
- VESA adapters
- M8-M5 reducers for TVs that have M8 threaded VESA holes
- A variety of mounting screws
- Hex keys for assembly and adjustment
In short, everything you need. Well, almost. While the box contains some of the tools you need for assembly, you do need to provide your own Phillips-head and flat-head screwdrivers.
|Monitor weight||20 to 42 lbs (9 to 19 kg)|
|Forward extension||23.6 inches (60 cm)|
|Vertical lift||11.5 inches (29 cm)|
|Tilt||70 degrees upwards
5 degrees downwards
|VESA mount options||75x75mm / 100x100mm / 100x200mm /
200x100mm / 200x200mm
|Max. desk thickness||2.59″ (66 mm)|
Assembly of the Ergotron HX is straightforward. As long as you follow the included instructions, not much can go wrong. There are a couple of things to pay extra attention to, however. If you don’t do this, then you risk having to take the monitor arm apart again for one or two small changes.
Limiting arm rotation
The first thing you need to keep an eye on is the small screw on the base of the arm. Depending on your needs, you might want to drive it further in, or leave it sticking out.
If you screw the screw in (like the instructions suggest), then the rotation of the lower section of the arm is limited to 90 degrees left or right. In other words, the arm is not able to rotate further than the edge of the desk.
This is ideal if the back of your desk is positioned right against a wall. With its range of motion limited like this, it is impossible for the arm to over-rotate and hit the wall.
My own desk is positioned further from the wall. In situations like this, keeping the screw loose can be more useful. This lets the arm rotate further and gives you the option to move the monitor a greater distance back (more desk space!) when needed.
The elbow joint of the arm has a similar screw that works on the same principle.
These small features make it easy to control the limits of the arm and prevent accidental damage to surroundings.
Preventing monitor rotation
Not only can you limit the rotation of the arm, you can do the same for the monitor itself. The VESA mount contains space for a screw that, when inserted, keeps the monitor’s rotation fixed.
If you intend on switching your monitor from landscape to portrait orientation (or vice versa), make sure to leave this screw out.
On the other hand, if you know for sure that you will keep your monitor in a fixed orientation, it is better to insert the screw. This will help keep the monitor aligned.
The screw can not be easily added or removed after assembly, so it is important to decide on this beforehand.
Two pairs of hands is better than one
While it is possible to install the monitor arm by yourself, it can be tricky with particularly large monitors. Large monitors are heavy, and with one person it can be a challenge to lift the monitor and position it correctly onto the arm at the same time.
The bigger the monitor, the more difficult the assembly will be. So if you intend on using the Ergotron HX as a monitor arm for a Samsung 49″ CRG9, for example, it is best to get some help during installation.
Adjusting the spring tension
After installation, it is essential to adjust the spring tension of the arm. This is mentioned in the manual, but I have seen several reviews of people that missed this step. As a result, they ended up with a monitor that would drop immediately down to the desk after lifting the arm up.
So when you have installed the monitor, make sure to continue with the adjustment steps of the manual. These help you set the proper lift strength and friction. This is easily done with the included hex key and does not take much time.
If ever switch to a monitor with a different weight, you will need to do these steps again to get the best results.
Simply put, the build quality of the Ergotron HX is amazing. The metal parts are of high quality and seem to be made with a lot of precision. As a result, the components fit well together. This lets you enjoy your monitor without any wiggle or play in the arm.
The white version of the arm is powder coated with a white paint. It looks to be of high quality and I don’t expect it to come off any time soon.
To make moving the monitor around easier, some of the arm’s parts contain coiled springs. Labeled ‘Constant Force Technology’ by Ergotron, these springs basically suspend the monitor in mid-air. Because of this, you only need to apply a small amount of force when adjusting the monitor.
In practice I find this to work well. Moving the screen around is smooth and effortless. Especially when dealing with large monitors this is important. These can be difficult to maneuver if you have to support their entire weight yourself. With the springs assisting you, adjusting the heavy monitor is a breeze.
I did not experience any drooping or sagging of my monitor either, unlike with cheaper monitor arms that I have used in the past. Given that the monitor I use is especially heavy (39 lbs / 18 kg), I think it is safe to say that the Ergotron HX is stable enough for any monitor within its weight range (20 to 42 lbs / 9 to 19 kg).
Range of motion
With its 23.6 inches (60 cm) of extension and 11.5 inches (29 cm) of lift, the Ergotron HX has an excellent range of motion when it comes to monitor arms for large monitors.
Its range isn’t as large as that of other arms, however, like the Ergotron LX. The LX gives about 2 more inches (5 cm) of both extension and vertical lift. The HX sacrifices some of that reach in favor of more stiffness and rigidity. For large monitors this is essential.
In terms of the degrees of freedom that you can move the monitor, they are all there. You can rotate the screen 360 degrees, swivel it 90° either side, and tilt it 70° up or 5° down. As far as monitor arms go, it doesn’t get much better.
Personally I use the HX for an LG 43″ monitor (LG 43UN700-B) and I found the mobility of the arm to be more than enough for anything that I want to do with it. And I am quite picky in terms of ergonomics.
There are some scenarios in which you can run into the limitations of this monitor arm, however. For example, when using a Cintiq drawing tablet. Because of the relatively limited vertical range of the arm, it is not possible to lower the drawing tablet down all the way to your desk.
People do report the monitor arm being more than sturdy enough to draw on. And instead of lowering the tablet to the desk, they just raise their chair further or tilt the drawing tablet forward a bit more.
This limitation is still something to keep in mind if you want to use this monitor arm for Cintiq drawing tablets.
The Ergotron HX comes with two different options for mounting the monitor arm to your desk. The most popular method is a clamp, but there is also a grommet mount included.
The clamp is pretty straightforward. It clamps on the edge of your desk and holds the rest of the arm in place. It is easy to reposition along the edge of your desk if you are not happy with its position.
The other option to attach the monitor arm to the desk is to use the included grommet mount. It attaches through a hole (0.4″-2″ / 10-52 mm diameter) in your desk or table.
Some desks come with a grommet hole by default. This is typically used for guiding cables through. If your desk does not have a grommet hole, you need to drill it first.
As you can imagine, drilling a hole in your desk is not ideal. When you want to reposition the monitor arm, you would have to drill a new hole and cover up the old one.
One benefit of the grommet mount is that you can install the arm in the center of a desk or table, instead of being limited to the edges. This gives extra mounting options that can be useful on large desks or tables.
The grommet mount also has the advantage that it works with desks up to 2.83″ (72mm) in thickness, as opposed to the 2.59″ (66 mm) of the clamp.
Alternatively, if you want a monitor arm for large monitors that mounts on the wall, you can look at the Ergotron 45-478-026 HX. This is basically the same arm as the one in this review, but it comes with a wall-mount instead.
The cable management on the Ergotron HX consists of two velcro cable straps (at the top) and a cable channel with plastic cover (at the bottom). This setup works very well and I did not encounter any problems with it.
I prefer this cable management system over that of cheaper monitor arms. These often come with plastic clips that come loose when a cable gets pulled. With the HX, there are no such issues.
Also included with the arm are two extra velcro straps that you can use as spares. It doesn’t seem to me like these would wear out. But then again, this product is supposed to last for at least a decade. Maybe by that time I will find the need to replace the straps.
Other things to keep in mind
- The Ergotron HX comes in two color options: white and polished aluminum. Based on the reviews I read, the polished aluminum version gets easily stained with fingerprints and smudges and is hard to keep clean. The white version version does not have this issue. It is painted with a powder coat that does not attract fingerprints.
- Make sure that you use the monitor arm with a sturdy desk. Or a strong wall in case of the wall-mount version. When the arm is fully extended, there is a large force acting on the desk. With a flimsy desk this can cause problems.
- Depending on the length of your current monitor cables, it is possible that you have to buy longer ones. There is quite some extra length needed with the arm extended.
- Aside from the single monitor version that I review here, there is also a dual monitor version (45-476-216) available. It is practically identical to the single version except from the area where the monitors are mounted.
The Ergotron HX works well with almost any monitor, provided that it weighs between 20 to 42 lbs (9 to 19 kg). If the weight of the monitor does not fall within this range, then the springs of the arm will provide too much or not enough force.
When checking the weight of your monitor, make sure to look up the weight without the stand. In order to mount the monitor on the arm, the stand needs to be removed. So there is no need to include the weight of the stand in your calculations. This can make a big difference, because stands for large monitors tend to be heavy.
The Ergotron HX comes with a wide range of VESA mounting options (75x75mm to 200x200mm and any combination in-between). With the included brackets, you can mount almost any monitor to the arm.
For extremely large screens that have a VESA mounting pattern larger than 200x200mm, like the LG CX 48 OLED, you will need to use an additional VESA adapter bracket.
People report the Ergotron HX to work well with large monitors like the Dell U4919DW, HP Z43, Alienware AW3418DW and the Samsung 49″ CRG9.
Keep in mind that if you want to use this monitor arm for the Samsung CRG9, you will need to use the included circular wall mount bracket that is included with the monitor. So make sure you have it at hand during installation.
Cintiq drawing tablets
When using this monitor arm with Cintiq drawing tablets, it is not possible to rest the screen on the desk surface. The arm does not articulate far enough down for that.
This is not necessarily an issue, as the arm itself is stable enough to draw on. Raising your chair higher and tilting the monitor further forward is often enough to keep good posture.
Using the Ergotron HX with iMacs is possible too and looks particularly good with the white version of the arm. You will need to use an iMac VESA mounting adapter for this.
One monitor that does not work with the HX, despite the specifications suggesting that it does, is the Samsung Odyssey G9. The swivel joint at the top of the arm is not strong enough to hold the monitor up. My theory is that the 1000R curvature of the screen causes the monitor to extend too far forwards. As a result, the monitor applies too much force on the joint.
Despite all this praise, the Ergotron HX does have a couple of shortcomings, albeit minor ones.
- The polished aluminum version stains easily and is a magnet for fingerprints.
- The price. For a monitor arm it is expensive. You do get what you pay for, however. It is one of the few monitor arms that is strong enough to lift large monitors and that gives a lot of freedom in motion. And it does all of this without wobbling or complaining.
- There is no black color version. Its main competition, the Humanscale M10, does give you this option.
Ergotron HX vs LX
Both the Ergotron HX and the Ergotron LX are some of the best monitor arms that are currently available. It can be difficult to choose between them if you don’t know their difference. So here is a quick comparison.
|Ergotron LX||Ergotron HX|
|Weight capacity||7 to 25 lbs (3 to 11 kg)||20 to 42 lbs (9 to 19 kg)|
|Vertical lift||13 inches (33 cm)||11.5 inches (29 cm)|
|Extension range||25.6 inches (60 cm)||23.6 inches (60 cm)|
|VESA mounting||75×75 to 100×100 mm||75×75 to 200×200 mm|
The difference between the LX and HX is mainly in their maneuverability and weight limits. In terms of monitor weight, the Ergotron HX complements the Ergotron LX nicely. Approximately where the LX reaches its limit, the HX takes over.
The LX is excellent if you have a relatively lightweight monitor that can benefit from more mobility, whereas the HX is a more stable monitor arm for big monitors.
The Ergotron HX is one of the best monitor arms for large monitors that you can buy at the moment. It is one of the few arms that can handle today’s biggest monitors, including super ultra wides, without wobbling or sagging.
It comes at a price, but for that you do get a high-end product with excellent build quality. In combination with the 10 year warranty, you can be assured that you have a monitor arm that can handle almost anything you throw at it for a very long time.
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