That new TV you just got for the holidays will look a lot better mounted on your wall. But there are so many mounting brackets out there, and the right one for you will depend on a lot of factors.

First thing’s first though. Before you mount your TV, you’ll need to know a few important things about your TV to make an informed decision:

  • Where do you plan on mounting your TV? Get specific. Which wall do you want it on? How high do you want it? Are there studs available? Take a good look at the wall you’re mounting on before you start shopping.
  • How big and heavy is your TV? The diagonal size of your TV was probably prominently advertised when you bought it, but if you’ve forgotten, make a note of it. Also, find out how much your TV weighs. Brackets have specific size and weight limits, and you’ll want to strictly observe them.
  • How much does your TV need to move? Wait, isn’t the point of a mount that your TV doesn’t move? Sort of! Some mounts allow you to tilt, turn, or even entirely reposition your TV without taking it off the wall. If you want to be able to point your TV towards the kitchen, or tilt it to remove some annoying glare, keep that in mind while you’re shopping.

You’ll also need to have a few tools handy, no matter what bracket you get. Make sure you have a stud finder, a drill, screw drivers, a tape measure, a pencil, and a straight level. Some mounting kits come with a few of these tools, but it never hurts to use your own.

Once you have all the info and tools you need, here are a few tips to keep in mind when shopping for a mount.

Consider the Stud-Free Option For Light TVs

In most cases, you’ll want to hang your TV bracket on some studs. Empty drywall is flimsy, but wooden studs can handle a lot more weight. However, if you have a light enough TV, this AmazonBasics mount doesn’t need studs at all. That’s convenient if the place you need to mount the TV doesn’t have enough studs placed in the right spot, or if they’re too far apart for a small TV.

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This slim bracket hangs your TV only an inch away from the wall, and the wide bar has enough screw holes to distribute the weight of a small TV so that even drywall can hold it up. The listing says it can hold TVs from 32" to 80" and up to 150 pounds, though we would advise you stay well below those boundaries just to be safe.

Get a Tilting and Sliding Mount For More Flexibility

A high-quality mount doesn’t just lock your TV in place on the wall. It lets you tweak it to position it perfectly. This Sanus mount offers a wide tilt range so you can tilt it up or down to face you directly, while cutting down on glare from lights or windows. It also has two independent extendable arms so you can position them as wide or as close together as the VESA pattern on the back of your TV needs. This also gives you space to get a hand behind the TV if you need to change cables.

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Since the arms extend independently of each other, you can get a little bit of horizontal tilt out of them, to aim the TV more towards the center of your seating area. And finally, the arms can even slide left or right on the mounting bracket to help you center the TV in the room, which is especially helpful in rooms where the studs aren’t quite where you want them. All of these minor adjustments can add up to a much more comfortable set up in your living room.

For Maximum Movement, Get an Extendable Arm Mount

Mounting Dream Wall Mount TV Bracket
Graphic: Shep McAllister

There’s nothing quite as flexible as a TV mount with an extendable arm. This mount, for example, has an arm that can extend up to 15.2" off the wall, and turn up to 45 degrees left or right. If you have a TV in the living room but want to point it toward the kitchen, this is the way to go.

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This mount can also tilt up 5 degrees, or down as low as 15 degrees. This makes it especially good if you need to mount a TV higher than eye level, but still want to position it so people can, you know, see it. If you’re mounting a TV in a game room, bedroom, or another room that’s not designed entirely around sitting and watching TV, then this is a good direction to go.

Use a Wall Cable Kit to Hide All Your Wires

TV Cable Organizer Kit
Graphic: Shep McAllister

Mounting a TV sounds great, until you see all those ugly cables hanging down your wall. If you want to go the extra mile, you can use a behind-the-wall cable kit to run cables inside your wall and out of sight. This requires a bit more legwork than just mounting a TV, but it’s worth it for a clean, cord-free, floating TV look. Note that you’ll need wall-safe HDMI cables, and you should never run standard power cords behind your wall. Fortunately, kits like this one include wall-safe power cabling to run an extension outlet to the back of your TV.