How to wall-mount your flat-panel TV
A DIY guide
Steve Kindig has been an electronics enthusiast for over 30 years. He has written extensively about home and car A/V gear for Crutchfield since 1985. Steve is also a volunteer DJ at community radio station WTJU, where he is a regular host of the American folk show "Atlantic Weekly," as well as the world music program "Radio Tropicale."
More from Steve Kindig
In this guide, you'll find in-depth info on how to mount your TV on a wall. Our short video should help you decide whether you're up to the task. If you opt not to do it yourself, look for a certified professional installer in your area.
Choosing a mounting bracket
We carry a broad selection of wall-mounting brackets, to fit a wide range of TV screen sizes. Start by reading our TV wall mount buying guide. If you already have your TV, use our mount finder application to find mounts that fit your specific TV. Here are two key tips:
- Check the screen sizes that the bracket says it can hold, and stay within the appropriate range.
- Check the maximum weight a bracket can hold to be sure it can support your TV.
Where to mount your TV
Ideally, the middle of your TV screen should be at eye level when you're seated. Mounting it too high can result in neck strain. Plus, the picture will look its best when viewed as close to head-on as possible, rather than at an angle. If you do decide to opt for a higher placement, consider using a tilting wall mount so you can angle the TV down.
Check your TV's owner's manual for mounting height tips. Better yet, use our height finder application.
Try to minimize screen glare
Sit in your favorite TV-watching spot and look at the place on the wall where you plan to mount your TV. Is there light reflecting off that area? If so, is it something fixable (by closing the curtains, or by moving a lamp)? Screen glare can be distracting, and detract from an otherwise beautiful picture, so be aware of potential sources of glare. A tilting wall mount can help reduce glare.
The popular above-the-fireplace location — not always the best choice
Flip open any home decor magazine, and you'll likely find an image of a sleek flat-panel TV mounted above a fireplace. Based strictly on appearance, it's a great choice. And home builders often run power and video cabling to that location, so it's easy, too. Even so, it's seldom the best option — and not just because it's too high on the wall.
If you have a wood-burning fireplace, and you actually light a fire occasionally, we'd recommend not mounting a TV above it. A wood fire generates heat and smoke, neither of which is good for the long-term health of your TV.
Now, if you have a gas fireplace, that's different. A gas fire burns very cleanly, and this type of fireplace usually has special venting to disperse the heat, so it's not concentrated on the wall above.
See our article on TV placement for more tips on placing your TV for optimum viewing.
Where to run the wires
Part of what makes a wall-mounted TV so appealing is the neat, uncluttered look. There are a number of ways to conceal your power and A/V cables — from quick and simple cover-ups to more labor-intensive in-wall options.
Easy-to-install cable management raceways hide the cables that run between your TV and an A/V cabinet below.
It's a good idea to figure out how you'd like to manage your wires before deciding where to mount your TV, since some locations will be more install-friendly than others.
- If you'd like to run your wires on the outside of your wall, you can use paintable cable management raceways to hide your TV's A/V and power cables.
- If you need to run cables further than just straight down to your A/V cabinet, check out our article on managing your A/V cables for some simple options, like running wire behind your baseboard or crown molding. By running your cables in places that won't require drywall repair, you'll save yourself lots of time and effort.
The Sanus PowerBridge system lets you neatly run power and A/V cables behind your wall to a mounted TV. Both the "input" and "output" panels come pre-wired for easy snap-together power connections, and they include openings for your A/V cables.
If you want a really clean, professional look, consider running wires inside your wall. Depending on your skill level and experience, you may decide to tackle it yourself or hire an installer. Here are a couple tips if you decide to go that route:
- Try to avoid mounting your TV on an exterior wall, since these walls have extra bracing and insulation that can make running wire difficult.
- Follow your local building and fire codes. In many cases, this means you'll need to get UL-rated A/V cable labeled CL2 or CL3.
- See our in-depth guide to in-wall wiring and article on concealing wire outside your walls for more info.
Some TV wall-mount brackets have pre-existing holes for A/V cables. Before you start cutting drywall, drill a pilot hole and explore the space behind the wall, to make sure it's free of electrical wiring and plumbing. Cut the hole using a manual drywall saw.
- Don't route your TV's power cable through your wall — it's not rated for safe in-wall installation. If you want to keep that cable hidden, you'll need to use a kit like the Sanus PowerBridge. Or you can hire an electrician to install a recessed AC outlet on the wall behind your TV.
- If you drill through a fire block, patch it with comparable material. If you drill holes between floors, seal them with fire-resistant caulk per National Electric Code standards.
- Turn off the power in areas you'll be drilling or cutting to avoid electric shock.