Best Guitar Stand of 2020
The AmazonBasics Folding A-Frame proved to be the best stand that we tested. The combination of sturdy craftsmanship, adjustability, and easy setup led to high ratings throughout our testing process. With three different width settings, this highly adjustable stand was usable for more than just guitars. Setup is as easy as can be thanks to the single piece, folding construction. This unit can hold a lot of weight as well, ensuring that even the heaviest of instruments are safe when stored on this stand.
Although this stand was a relatively high scorer, it wasn't perfect. Our lead tester found that the unit struggled to effectively hold and balance oddly shaped guitars such as the Jazzmaster guitar used in testing. Also, it seems like the padding could be a bit thicker; thicker padding may even help the unit to better balance oddly-shaped guitars. Despite these few issues, this unit is an excellent deal for the price. This unit would work well in a living room, on stage, or even in a top-of-the-line recording studio.
The String Swing CC01KOAK is the best wall mounted stand we tested. Its ability to hold at least twice as much weight as the suggested 15-pound limit led us to recognize this unit for its sturdy build and excellent balance. The String Swing was incredibly versatile and could hold any instrument that we tested. Also, the soft and rubbery padding on the hooked arms ensures that instruments are well-protected and stay in place.
Despite being highly secure, the ease of set up wasn't entirely straightforward. All of the necessary hardware was included, and some of the other hanger-style stands took longer to set up than this did, but this did require busting out the tool kit. The unit is fixed, meaning there really aren't any adjustability options; fortunately, there wasn't much need for extra adjustability. It's worth noting that there are several different options for wood to match the aesthetic of your particular home or studio. If you are looking for a great product to display a special instrument on the wall while simultaneously protecting it, then this is the right choice for you.
The On Stage XCG4 was the best performing traditional-style guitar stand we tested. Overall, it performed well in every category. Setup was fairly uncomplicated, and the minimal parts that it came with were intuitive to connect and did not require directions to put together. It especially stood out for its familiar, easy-to-use design. The included security strap over the neck helped to ensure that a minor bump wouldn't send an instrument falling off the stand.
Since the On Stage XCG4 tested well on all the metrics, most of its flaws were minor or didn't affect performance in a huge way. Our lead reviewer did notice that the unit has a tendency to tip backward when weighted, but this likely wouldn't be an issue unless someone came along and leaned on the stand or instrument. Additionally, the padding could have been a bit thicker, but it was adequate in our testing. This product does exactly what you would want it to and does it well. Even better news, this deal comes shipped in a two pack.
The Ohuhu Wall Mount Hanger is a high-quality wall-mounted instrument stand being offered at a great price. The combination of sturdy construction and a decent amount of padding didn't leave much more to be desired. Couple that with the fact that it can hold many different styles of guitars and instruments, and you can see why it scored well throughout our testing process.
The unit includes silicone rings at the end of the holder arms, but these didn't seem to offer any additional security. One of the few drawbacks to this stand was the straight arms. We found that hooked arms help to prevent instruments from finding their way off the end of the hanger. The setup time was a bit longer for this unit as well. Notwithstanding, this unit performed well in the tests we threw at it. If you would like to try something similar to the String Swing hanger at a two for one price, this is a great option.
For the serious musician or the multi-instrument owning household, the Hercules 5 Piece guitar rack is hard to beat. With no assembly required, you simply unfold the A-frame style design, and you're ready to rack your guitars. The simple design proved to be incredibly sturdy and had no trouble accommodating 150 pounds of weight thrown onto it. Given the nature of the wide base, the rack isn't prone to tipping over even when bumped. The sturdiness of the design plus the addition of a thick layer of padding where the body of your instruments sits, gave us a good sense of security when storing our guitars. The shape also lends itself to racking electric, acoustic, and bass guitars all equally as well.
The biggest issue we had was the amount of space the rack took up, we preferred wall mounts for multi-instrument storage, but the lack of required installation or assembly was a huge plus. The guitar neck holders were deep enough to be reasonably secure but not as secure as racks with neck straps. This rack is ideal for those who want a quick and easy way to securely store their quiver of instruments.
The ChromaCast Folding A-Frame proved to be a well built and sturdy guitar stand. Out of all of the units we tested, it was only rivaled by the Hercules5 Piece stand in terms of speed and ease of set up. Even though it offered a quick set up, it did not sacrifice anything for construction quality. This unit, much like the AmazonBasics Folding A-Frame, was able to hold heavy weight without tipping. A stand really couldn't be easier to use.
Where it lacked was in adjustability, padding, and multi-instrument use. Without the adjustability of the other A-frame style stand we tested, this product was not able to easily hold off-axis guitar shapes or the ukulele we tested. Furthermore, we wished the padding were a bit thicker and/or perhaps a different kind of material. The padding protecting the backside of an instrument's body was particularly flimsy. Beyond these few caveats, we could see this highly portable stand being used just about anywhere you might need to give your instrument a rest.
The Hola Music! Universal Stand was the only stand of its kind to hold any type of instrument that we tested on it. For this reason, we truly believe that this product lives up to the title of "Universal" in its name. Additionally, we found the unit to be quite easy to use and also reasonably secure, given the included strap that can be positioned over the neck of your instrument.
There were a few issues with this product that caused it to lose some ground to its competitors. When we received it, there was a small piece of foam padding that fell out of the box. Unfortunately, it wasn't immediately clear that this piece went on the lower arm portion of the unit. This caused it to take a little more time to put together than other similar units. Additionally, the hinge on the neck of the stand has a design flaw that sometimes caused that portion to require readjustment over time. The padding could also be a bit thicker and softer. Despite these minor flaws, this is still a good stand that you will be able to use with many styles of guitars or other instruments.
The RockJam Guitar Hanger is a decent model that offered excellent padding and a unique security feature. The padding on this unit was ideal, as it is thick, durable, and soft. We based other unit's padding scores off of this hanger for that reason. It also offers a unique weighted mechanism that positions security arms in front of your instrument after placing it on the hanger; this adds a good deal of security to your stored guitar. Almost any kind of instrument that we tested worked well with this product except for the ukulele we used, which was too light to activate the automatic security arms.
While performing well in several categories, the RockJam Guitar Hanger did not perform well in the weight test. The unit simply could not hold the amount of weight we tested on it. Also, it took the longest to set up out of anything we tested, but this was only enough to lower its ranking a bit. Overall, this is still a good choice. We recommend this particular hanger to anyone who wants to be extra sure their instrument doesn't fall off the wall due to someone accidentally bumping it.
The Veidia Wall Mount is a hanger-style stand that comes in a pack of six for less than the price of one of the other units we tested. Even though this choice is supremely cheap, it was still very high functioning in ease of use and multi-use capabilities metrics. The unit is simple enough to set up, and once it is set up, it can be slightly adjusted to better hold the awkwardly cut headstock of certain instruments. In addition, this product was quite versatile and could hold any instrument we put on it.
While some aspects were fine, the lower quality of materials leads to sub-par performances in our testing of padding and weight. This product simply cannot hold as much weight as some of the other units we tested. The padding is made up of a cheaper kind of foam material; our lead reviewer noted that over time this cheaper kind of padding may break down and lead to thinner padding and poorer instrument security. The hanger arms on this unit are completely straight. Again, our team would rather see hooked arms that help to prevent instruments from falling off the end of the unit. If you're looking for a cheap way to mount several guitars on a wall, this is a great choice.
The Cahaya Universal Wooden stand offered up a unique and simple design that works well for certain applications. With only two interlocking pieces, this unit was easy to assemble. The assembled design is quite brawny, as it handled our weight testing with relative ease. Our lead reviewer also appreciated the wooden and unique styling of this unit.
Unfortunately, there were some major design flaws that we discovered in our testing. The first and most notable flaw was with the padding. The thin strips of padding "tape" were already delaminating when our team received the unit; this thin padding left much to be desired. Additionally, the unit had some balance issues as it easily tips forward when weight is applied toward the front. Finally, we felt that the word "universal" didn't apply here because this stand really only excels at holding acoustic guitars. We tested many other electric guitars, and this unit simply could not hold them in a normal position. If you have a love for acoustic guitars, this unit will work fine; otherwise, we would recommend another product from our review.
The Planet Waves Guitar Dock was an interesting concept that fell short in practical application. Despite its flaws, it did provide excellent portability and ease of setup. For portability, you could put the guitar dock in a backpack or guitar case to create a guitar stand almost anywhere. It's also extremely easy to set up, provided you have the right surface to attach it to.
Unfortunately, that's about where the positives ended. We believe that when you buy a guitar stand, the instrument should not be in contact with any other surface than the stand itself. The guitar dock is designed to have an instrument sit on the floor with the neck resting on the guitar dock; this may not be a huge issue if the guitar is sitting on a carpeted floor, but many surfaces are hard. In this way, the guitar dock is not actually a guitar stand, but rather a "dock". It's not so different than resting your guitar against an end table or chair. For these reasons, we can't recommend the guitar dock as a good way to store and protect your valuable instruments when you are not playing them.
Why You Should Trust Us
Our lead reviewer, Adam Minich, received his first guitar at the age of four. Okay, it was a toy guitar, but something stuck, and he has continued to study, practice, and play guitar for over 20 years now. He has worked on various music projects throughout that time. In addition to guitar Adam plays piano, drums, percussion, Ukulele, Bass, and sings. Most recently, he has been working with his band on a second studio album. As a guitarist, Adam knows that guitar stands are a rudimentary, yet vital tool that is needed for both convenience and protection.
In addition to music, Adam enjoys gardening, hiking, climbing, skiing, and pretty much anything else outdoors related. He also strives to do as much of his own motorcycle and vehicle maintenance and repairs as possible. When not reviewing for GearLab, he works professionally to help troubleshoot complex database design issues.
Analysis and Test Results
Our lead tester identified five overall categories of significance to contrast the different guitar stands tested. The five metrics employed were Ease of Setup, Sturdiness/Instrument Security, Padding, Ease of Use, and Multi-Use Capabilities. After 25 hours of testing per unit, these factors helped our lead reviewer to identify the standout guitar stands that did their job the best.
Ease of Setup
No one likes encountering fussy products that are hard to piece together. In preparing for the unboxing and assembly, our lead tester gathered scissors, a powered screwdriver, a level, and the various drill bits that were potentially needed. He then noted the time it took to fully unpack and assemble each of the units we tested. Certain models needed no tools at all, while others required using several tools, which ultimately made them a bit more time-consuming to assemble. It's worth noting that all of the units tested included the necessary hardware for proper installation.
In testing the various stands, two types of stands became evident: those that require drilling and those that don't. Essentially, any of the wall-mounted guitar hangers took a longer time to set up because of the time needed for proper leveling and drilling. The Veidia Wall Mount, String Swing CC01KOAK, Ohuhu Wall Mount, and RockJam Guitar Hanger models all required several tools and extra time to secure to a wall. Although none were particularly challenging to piece together, the additional time spent constructing did lead to lower scores.
All of the other units tested either required no tools or just scissors. The Hola! Music Universal Stand proved to be a little more difficult to assemble than any of the other free-standing units. The upper extension arm was challenging to fit into the lower part of the stand, and a small foam piece had fallen off. Without any instructions, it took some sleuthing to figure where that piece of foam belonged. The Cahaya Universal Wooden is the simplest design out of any of the units we tested. It is just two pieces of wood that fit together using a joint method that requires no glue or screws. This unit was straight-forward to put together, but it can be assembled incorrectly, so best to use a photo to ensure proper assembly.
Stands that stood out as easy to assemble were the AmazonBasics Folding A-Frame, On Stage XCG4, ChromaCast Folding A-Frame, and Planet Waves Guitar Dock. The On Stage XCG4 required minimal assembly that was easy to accomplish, even without instructions. Both A-Frame units merely required unboxing, pulling apart, and placing on the ground to be ready-to-use. Finally, the Planet Waves Guitar Dock was assembled in just over 30 seconds. All you need for the complete setup of this unit is a shelf, chair, or some other solid horizontal surface to fit the guitar dock onto.
Sturdiness, Security, and Balance
In testing the stands for sturdiness, security, and balance, we performed a few different tests. For sturdiness and balance, we used a 30-pound dumbbell to test the units to the extreme. Note that this amount of weight is not recommended for any of the stands, and most instruments, save for a steel guitar or dobro, probably would not weigh close to this much. Most guitars weigh around 10 pounds. Some units simply couldn't bear the weight while others performed miraculously. For security and balance, our lead reviewer also looked for particular features such as a security strap and bent hooks or arms, which helped to fully secure the instrument in place. Finally, we noted any designs that were prone to tipping one direction or another.
The Veidia Wall Mount, RockJam Guitar Hanger, and Planet Waves Guitar Dock all failed to be able to hold the 30-pound weight effectively. To be fair, the Planet Waves Guitar Dock is not designed in any way to hold that amount of weight, since it relies on instruments to be resting on a surface. The Hola! Music Universal Stand could hold the weight; however, due to slight balancing issues, the weight could cause the stand to tip in one direction or another. For these reasons, all of these units received lower marks in our sturdiness and balance test. The RockJam Guitar Hanger and Hola! Music Universal Stand did, however, make up some points because of their security features. The RockJam Guitar Hanger has a unique mechanism that secures the neck of a guitar when weighted. The Hola! Music Universal Stand has a manual rubber strap that ensures that a guitar wouldn't fall forward off that stand. The Planet Waves Guitar Dock does have some "splines" to help hold a guitar in place; however, this feature was not enough for it to make a strong showing in the balance, security, and sturdiness metric.
Units that performed honorably in these tests included the AmazonBasics Folding A-Frame, String Swing CC01KOAK, ChromaCast Folding A-Frame, and Ohuhu Wall Mount Hanger. Both A-Frame units were extremely sturdy, and likely could have held additional weight. The real surprise was the guitar hanger units. Both the Ohuhu Wall Mount Hanger and String Swing CC01KOAK did an impressive job of balancing and securing guitars in place. Additionally, they handled the 30-pound weight just fine, with minimal to no signs of bending or failure. If you have a heavier instrument, then any of these choices would work great.
When you put your instrument down, the last thing you want to question is whether its finish will still be as nice when you go to pick it up the next time. Part of keeping your instrument beautiful and protected is the padding the manufacturers chose to use on each guitar stand. All of the products we tested were thoroughly inspected to see where padding proved adequate as well, as where it may have been lacking. Additionally, the type and thickness of the materials used were also evaluated. In the end, no units were able to achieve a perfect score in this metric as they all seemed to lack something; however, some were clearly better than others.
In our findings, the Veidia Wall Mount, Cahaya Universal Wooden, and Planet Waves Guitar Dock stands all offered below average padding. The Veidia Wall Mount has padding that seems cheap and a bit thin, leaving our reviewer to believe that the padding material could break down over time. The Cahaya Universal Wooden guitar stand has a very thin strip of protective padding that was unfortunately delaminating right out of the box — without any kind of heavy use. Then there was the Planet Waves Guitar Dock whose design necessitates the need for an instrument to be sitting on the floor and leaning onto the guitar dock. Unfortunately, the dock does not offer much in the way of padding for the neck of the instrument, either.
The String Swing CC01KOAK, Hola! Music Universal Stand, On Stage XCG4, and Ohuhu Wall Mount Hanger all provided adequate padding. Our reviewer noticed that all of these options provided soft padding; he just wished that it were a bit thicker to provide better instrument security and durability over time. The biggest standout in this category was the RockJam Guitar Hanger. It has noticeably thicker padding that was soft, contoured, and covered most of the contact points where an instrument would land when you set it down. The common issue with any of the hanger-type guitar stands is that they don't provide any padding to the backside of an instrument. Usually, this issue can be easily avoided by taking extra care when you set your instrument down, but we are all human, and sometimes an unfortunate ding might occur.
Ease of Use
After you get done playing, we believe it should be easy to put an instrument down without having to make many adjustments or perfectly place it on a stand every time. Here we tested the process of placing various instruments on each of the products, noting when there were difficulties or especially easy operation. By paying close attention to any design flaws, our team was able to gain clear insights into why some stands were better than others. Our lead reviewer also found that certain styles of guitars required more finagling to rest properly, but that is covered more extensively in the next metric.
Two of the products we tested underperformed compared to the rest of the field. The Cahaya Universal Wooden stand was okay in this metric, but it depended on what kind of instrument we tried placing on it. Due to the Cahaya's lack of adjustability, it's really up to you to place the instrument on the stand effectively. The stand that received the lowest marks in this metric was the Planet Waves Guitar Dock. This product offers a unique design that is highly portable; however, you need to have the right surface to attach it to for the instrument you are trying to rest on it. Even if the guitar dock is in a more permanent location, it still underperformed here. Splines help to hold the neck of the guitar in place, though we found that these splines would sometimes get stuck in between strings when "docking" or "un-docking" an instrument.
All of the other stands that we tested received good marks in this category, but a few were exceptional. The AmazonBasics Folding A-Frame and Hola! Music Universal Stand both provided a good deal of adjustability that allowed for easy use. Our lead reviewer wishes the Hola! Music stand had some kind of locking feature on the folding neck near the top of the stand, and the AmazonBasics A-frame was, at times, difficult to place certain guitars on. Stands that performed perfectly in our tests were the On Stage XCG4 and the RockJam Guitar Hanger. Each one was able to hold a variety of instruments without requiring extra adjustments. The RockJam has a great design that automatically secures an instrument in place when weighted, which makes for quick placement. The On Stage unit was adjustable and made placing almost instrument feel natural and easy.
For our final metric, we looked at which stands could hold different types of guitars and perhaps even other instruments. Our lead reviewer tested three different electric guitars, two acoustics, a ukulele, a bass, and a mandolin. Electric guitars tested included a standard strat style, a tele body style, and the oblong and awkward cut of the Jazzmaster style. Certain units were able to handle any kind of instrument we placed on it, while others proved to be lacking or one-dimensional.
Three of the stands we tested did not perform admirably in our tests. The ChromaCast Folding A-Frame held acoustic guitars and strat or tele style electrics well, but it could not hold the oddly shaped Jazzmaster. The Planet Waves Guitar Dock could hold most instruments we tested, but if the instruments were different enough in size, then it required us to find a new object to secure the guitar dock to before resting that instrument on it. Then there was the Cahaya Universal Wooden stand. If you place an acoustic guitar on it, the stand performs fine; however, the unit does not seem to be designed to hold any electric guitars in a normal way, which caused it to score the lowest out of the units we tested.
All of the hanger-style stands were able to hold just about any instrument we placed on them. The great thing about the hangers is that the off-axis body stylings of electric guitars don't cause balance issues since the instrument is being held up at the neck and head. The only non-hanger to receive a top score in this metric was the Hola! Music Universal Stand. This unit offered the most adjustability out of any of the units we tested, which means it can hold just about any instrument. It was able to effectively hold the Jazzmaster, despite its awkward shape. It could even be adjusted small enough to effectively hold a concert-size ukulele. If you have a variety of instruments that you may need to use your stand for, then any of the options here would be good choices.
Although it was not used as a defining metric throughout our testing process, it's worth noting which units we considered portable and which are designed for more permanent placement. All of the hanger-style stands are considered permanent because they would require tools to remove and set up again. If you are looking for a highly portable stand, either of the A-Frame units we tested are great choices. Since they do not have any removable parts, you simply fold them up, transport them to the next location, and unfold them. These units would be especially good for the gigging musician who may need a stand on stage to hold their various instruments.
Another item worth pointing out that certain units include multiple stands in a single shipment. The Ohuhu Wall Mount Hangar as well, as the On Stage XCG4 both came shipped as a two pack. Both of these units tested well; therefore, in this case, having two was twice as nice. The Veidia Wall Mounts came shipped in a pack of six units for the price of one! That is a pretty incredible deal, though it's worth noting that this product was not the best performing.
Sure, you could put your guitar away safely in a case, but sometimes it just makes more sense to keep it out. If you are displaying it, you want it to be resting on a stand that will protect the finish without being overly difficult to set up or use. Our tests were carried out by people who love music and gear, and value the proper care of musical instruments. Whether you are at home, on the road, or in a studio, we hope that our investigation can provide you with a clearer picture of which stand will suit your instrument and individual needs perfectly.
— Adam Minich