If you regularly read recipes on a tablet, an e-reader, or a smartphone, or even in an old-school cookbook, you could use a solid stand. After testing dozens of device and book stands, we’re confident we’ve found the best models for most kitchens. For your electronics, the Stump Stand offers the best value. Designed to work with any device, it supports more viewing angles than the competition and sits more solidly on the counter; it’s also one of the easiest stands to store. For books, we like the Clear Solutions Deluxe Large Cookbook Holder with Cherry Base, which has a sturdier base and a better splatter shield than any other stand we’ve found.
If you primarily use a tablet, we found Heckler Design’s @Rest Universal Tablet Stand to be the most sturdy stand. It’s constructed of heavy steel, so it doesn’t wobble, and it offers two convenient reading angles with space for your tablet to charge while in the stand. This model is also one of the few stands that can accommodate some laptops, such as the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air.
For holding traditional paper recipes and cookbooks, we suggest the Clear Solutions Deluxe Large Cookbook Holder with Cherry Base, which was better than any other stand we tested at holding books of various thicknesses and weights. Its large, hinged acrylic shield offers the greatest overall protection against splatters and allows for easier page turning. Though it’s on the larger side, it folds flat for convenient storage.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $45.
For smaller kitchens, we’d go for the Joseph Joseph CookBook. It sacrifices some stability and lacks a splatter guard, and you can’t turn cookbook pages as easily as with the Deluxe. But it folds compactly and will also double as a tablet holder.
Dan Frakes, The Wirecutter’s senior editor for gear and Apple products, has tested many device stands for The Wirecutter, as well as during his time at Macworld, so we relied on his expertise and experience when narrowing down our selections for device stands. For electronic devices—such as tablets, e-readers, or phones—you’ll need to find a sturdy model that resists tipping over or shaking too badly when you tap the device’s screen but also makes inserting and removing the device easy. The optimal stand for electronics should also be adjustable and allow space for you to charge your device while you have it in the stand. Ideally, the design will look nice, too.
We considered stands specific to each device as well as those that could hold multiple kinds of gadgets. Additionally, we looked for stands that didn’t take up a lot of space on a kitchen counter and could easily hide in a cabinet. We ruled out collapsible portable stands in favor of sturdier desktop stands, because in general such collapsible models sacrificed the stability and weight necessary for devices in a kitchen setting. Although we didn’t encounter a stand that included a plastic cover for splatter protection, we did find that device pouches designed for specific gadgets did the trick. We then tested the stands by positioning tablets and phones in the holders and navigating their screens to see if the devices would wobble or tip over with applied pressure. We also took note of how easily we could position and adjust our devices in each stand.
For traditional cookbooks, we looked for sturdy, adjustable stands that could accommodate different book thicknesses and angles for ease of reading. We wanted a stand with a solid base to hold heavy cookbooks without wobbling, and a large shield to prevent book pages from splatters. A hinged shield allows for easier page flipping; shields that don’t hinge require you to lift the entire book out of the stand just to turn the page. Although bigger models take up more counter space, we found they were better at accommodating books of different sizes.
We tested the book stands on a variety of books ranging from 5¼ by 7¾ inches when closed (1 pound, 3 ounces) to 10½ by 13¼ inches when closed (6 pounds, 11 ounces), as well as on magazines, three-ring binders, standard printer paper, and 5-by-8-inch note cards, each time considering the stands’ stability and adjustability. For models that included a splatter guard, we looked at how well they covered the surface area of different-size books and how easy they were to fold down in order to turn the page.
The Stump Stand is the best stand we’ve found for accommodating nearly any device, including phones, e-readers, and tablets. Molded from a single piece of silicone (available in a number of colors) with a metal weight inside for stability, the Stump Stand measures just 4 inches across but remains heavy enough to hold an iPad Air in portrait orientation. This product is one of our picks in our guide to iPhone and iPad accessories, but it works with non-Apple products, too.
The Stump Stand accommodates most cases up to half an inch thick. Grooves in the stand help it provide more viewing angles than other stands we looked at: nearly upright, roughly 30 degrees from vertical, and a low position for typing on the screen. (The front of the Stump Stand even has a handy Home-button cutout so that you can easily wake up your device or exit an app.)
The grippy-silicone base keeps the holder from moving and is easier to clean compared with the bases of other stands. It’s the smallest stationary stand we found, so you can easily stash it away in a kitchen drawer or cupboard when you’re not using it. The Stump Stand does wobble a little when you tap the device’s screen in portrait orientation, but we think this is forgivable since the stand offers compatibility with so many devices, supports a range of reading angles, and occupies minimal counter space.
If you have more counter space, we also like the Heckler Design @Rest Universal Tablet Stand, which was the most sturdy of all the tablet stands we tested. It’s bulkier than the Stump Stand, and it has only two viewing angles (30 and 60 degrees), but it offers more stability for bigger tablets and will even work with some laptops.
Changing the angle or tweaking the stand for a thicker case is quick and easy: Simply slide the included pegs into the correct slots on the stand. Machined cable slots let you charge your tablet or laptop while it’s in the @Rest.
We considered the CTA Digital 2-in-1 Kitchen Mount for tablets. Its ingenious design allows for inconspicuous mounting under a kitchen cabinet, or you can adjust it to turn it into a tabletop stand. While we love the versatility of this holder, we didn’t try it in this round of testing, so we can’t give it a solid recommendation. However, we plan to revisit this tablet holder in future updates.
To see other stands we considered, read The Wirecutter’s The Best Accessories for Your iPhone, iPad, and More.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $45.
The Clear Solutions Deluxe Large Cookbook Holder with Cherry Base outperformed every model we tested. With the heaviest, sturdiest base among the models in our test group, it supported the weight and thickness of even the heftiest cookbooks. And its hinged, extra-wide acrylic shield provided more splatter protection and allowed for easier page turning than the designs of the two other traditional stands we tried.
You can position the 8-by-11-inch acrylic back support vertically to hold a piece of paper and very tall books, or horizontally for small to medium-size books. You can also fit the back support into any of several slots in the base to accommodate various book thicknesses. This design provides a much wider range of positions than most other stands offer.
Though it’s the largest model we tested, the Deluxe Large Cookbook Holder folds flat for storage in a kitchen cupboard. If you have the space, though, the cherry base makes this stand nice enough to leave out on the counter to display your favorite cookbook.
Since the feet on the base aren’t nonslip, this cookbook stand will move with the slightest nudge. However, some of our testers preferred its ability to pivot without effort, which they found convenient when moving between the stove and their work station. This stand also hogs more counter space, but we think that’s excusable since it has the sturdiest base and offers the widest possible protection. Cook’s Illustrated (subscription required) also recommends this model.
After six months of occasional use, the Deluxe Large Cookbook Holder is still going strong. We’ve found that the hinges can sometimes be difficult to clean if splattered with sauce and left to dry. For easy cleanup, we recommend wiping the hinges clean with a damp paper towel or cloth as spills occur.
If space is at a premium, consider the much smaller Joseph Joseph CookBook. It’s the lightest of all the models we tested, and it’s a great space saver due to a sleek design that collapses to ¾ inch thick, just right for tucking it away on a bookshelf or in a cupboard. The Joseph Joseph stand also accommodates tablets. But it doesn’t include a splatter shield, its plastic page holders are weak, and overall it doesn’t feel especially durable. We also think its foldable design could easily pinch tiny fingers, so we recommend keeping this stand out of the reach of small children.
Deluxe Cookbook Holder with Wooden Base: This model is almost identical to the Deluxe Large Cookbook Holder with Cherry Base, only smaller. We think spending additional money to buy the larger version is worthwhile because it offers more page coverage to protect against splatters.
Crate & Barrel Cookbook Stand: This stand is similar to our top pick, only it’s about 4 inches shorter and doesn’t offer as much shield protection. While the back is adjustable, it isn’t a flat support, so it doesn’t hold a single piece of paper or a small recipe card as well as our main pick does.
Clear Cover Cookbook Holder and Protector: This model has a hinged splatter guard similar to that of our top cookbook-stand pick, except it doesn’t fold forward far enough to allow for turning pages; you have to lift the cookbook out of the stand before flipping the page. Additionally, the back support on this stand is hinged without any way to lock it in place, so it falls periodically while the book is in the stand.
OXO Good Grips Pop-Up Cookbook Holder: The splatter shield on this model requires you to use two hands to fold it down when you’re turning pages, which can be cumbersome with messy fingers. Cook’s Illustrated (subscription required) specifically does not recommend this stand.
Lipper 8825 Bamboo Cookbook Holder: Although this stand is adjustable and designed to fold flat for easy storage, it doesn’t come with a splatter guard. It also isn’t as wide or as tall as our top pick for traditional cookbook stands, providing less coverage.
Actto BST-09 Green Portable Reading Stand/Book Stand: The biggest drawback to this model is that its page clips don’t fold down for quick and easy page turning (you have to lift the book out of the stand to turn the page).
Hala Flip Cookbook Holder Bamboo Large with Acrylic Shield: We didn’t consider testing this model because too many reviews indicated that it was poorly made and fell apart after only a couple of uses.
CSHP Cabinet Mounted Acrylic Cookbook Holder: While this cabinet-mounted holder frees up valuable counter space, it doesn’t provide enough overhead space to hold a large cookbook. And you can’t store this holder out of sight since you permanently attach it to your cabinet.
To read your recipes on your devices, we highly recommend Paprika, an app available for Android and iOS. In our guides to the best recipe apps for Android and the best recipe apps for iOS, we found that Paprika offers the best combination of grocery lists, menu-planning help, and cooking-focused recipe views. If you’d like a stylus to navigate recipes, we recommend the thick and durable Cosmonaut, which we feature in our iPad stylus guide. For more tablet accessories, such as waterproof pouches, refer to our accessories guide for iPhones, iPads, and other devices.
(Photos by Michael Sullivan.)
Originally published: December 17, 2015