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I'm considering wall mounting a 40" LED TV.

Up front, I realize this is a somewhat vague question. Is there any real quality difference between brands or retailers for TV wall mounts? It seems like the big box stores have exorbitant markup; Best Buy prices most mounts $50 to well over $100. I also see visually identical mounts for around $20 from sites like Amazon and Harbor Freight.

What I can't determine is whether these mounts are really comparable. One one hand, Best Buy loves to charge $30 for an HDMI cable. On the other hand, Amazon has become a clearing house for low-quality and counterfeit items. Harbor Freight has served me well, but after the jack stand recall, I'm less confident about any item that holds something heavy over my head.

Is there any standards body that rates or certifies TV mounts that I could look for? For example, UL, ANSI, or OSHA?

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    Ah marketing... It's what allows a manufacturer to sell a 50 cent item for $1, while another sells a 50 cent item for $100. – FreeMan Oct 14 at 14:45
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    The weak point in mounting a TV on the wall is the installation method to the wall and not the mount itself. Some higher price model mounts allow you to rotate, tilt, and move the TV horizontal. New 40" TV weights are light in comparison to 70"+.TV. Just pick the one you like and make sure it is mounted to a stud in the wall. For a fixed wall mount, I would look for enough space behind the set to allow you easy access to the cables. – Programmer66 Oct 14 at 15:35
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    @isherwood we've had, accepted, and provided answers to quite a number of "how do I mount my mount" questions. The OP did a fine job of skirting the "shopping recommendation" issue, to, I think by asking if there were standards. – FreeMan Oct 14 at 15:54
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    The weak point will always be the drywall. You could buy Apple brand Mil-spec drywall and it’s still made of chalk. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Oct 14 at 20:25
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    @FreeMan - Yeah just the chalk. You'll have to buy the paper separately if you want to actually use it as drywall :D Slightly more on topic - I buy $50 mounts from the rainforest that support 70 or so inch TVs and do all the things and I've never had an issue with them. I've mounted and dismounted probably 50 tvs/times over the years and my rule is to always hit two studs with four lag bolts in total. Drywall is pretty; not structural. – iDriveSidewayz Oct 15 at 15:27
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The answer would seem to be "Yes." In short, you'll want to look for VESA and UL certifications for monitor/TV mounting brackets.

There are VESA Flat Display Mounting Interface (FDMI) specifications for wall mounts but those seem to be mostly constrained to the "geometry" of the mount and its usefulness for fitting VESA-compliant monitors and televisions. The VESA standards do seem to set weight specifications that must be met in order for the mounting system to be considered VESA Certified though.

UL certifies TV/monitor mounts, and "mounts that are UL-approved have undergone an additional level of testing that only adds to our peace of mind while hanging a TV off the wall. To attain UL certification, a mount is tested to at least four times the advertised weight rating. Most of the mounts we researched have an advertised weight rating of 130 to 175 pounds, which is already excessive, given the relatively light weight of today’s TVs."

NY Times, The Best TV Wall Mount", OCTOBER 2, 2020

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From my experience after installing many of these bracket, they have all been constructed pretty damn well. I'm big on following instructions and heeding warnings and have never seen any certifications for the brackets. The main problems occur after they've been installed improperly. Best Buy has a lot of overhead and a large following so they can charge more. Some of the other stores are known for cheaper prices so they charge less. Bottom line, it's usually the same company that makes the bracket. So get a good price on one that fits your TV and install it correctly and you'll be fine.

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In the US, Underwriters Laboratories (UL) has a standard, UL 2442, for this type of mounting equipment, and in Canada, CSA has C22.2 No. 60065 which is similar. If you can find a mount that's UL and / or CSA listed, the design has been tested and it's a safe bet it will be very sturdy.

Fake UL listing claims, even including counterfeit stamps and reference docs, are pretty common, so if it really matters to you you have to verify carefully. However I am not sure many people bother to look for this in a mount, so I'd be surprised if the junk makers bother to lie about it.

I have used some cheap, no-name TV mounts that seemed very sturdy and I am not too worried about using them for simple mounts on fairly light TVs. For cantilever articulating mounts with heavy TVs, and mounts suspended from the ceiling, I insist on top quality manufacturers and listed equipment.

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