The Cleat Mount universal TV mount is a very simple-to-install fixed TV mount for Sheetrock walls with wood or metal studs. This $50 mount was developed by a company called Lodging Innovations, based in California and founded in 2005 by industrial designer Anthony Lozano. As the name suggests, the Cleat Mount uses the French Cleat hanging/mounting method in which two wedges fit together to provide support and stability. The Cleat Mount can accommodate TVs from 32 to 55 inches, weighing up to 75 pounds. The low-profile mounting system consists of two main elements: an angled aluminum wall bracket (the Wall Cleat) and two smaller angled TV brackets (the TV Cleats) that attach to the top pair of VESA mounting holes on the back of your TV.
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I recently decided to mount a TV on my bedroom wall, and my needs were simple. I did not need any tilt or swiveling functions, just a basic fixed mount for a plasma TV; so, I decided to give the Cleat Mount a try. It proved to be a great solution that took almost no time to install. The Cleat Mount package comes with clear printed instructions, and Lodging Innovations has also created a two-minute video that demonstrates the entire installation process (scanning the QR code on the box with your smartphone takes you directly to the video). All of the needed screws are provided, including wood screws, sheet-metal screws, and TV screws with washers. The package also includes the appropriately sized drill bit and a rubber wall spacer that can separate the lower part of the TV from the wall to minimize vibration and match the depth of the wall bracket.
As I mentioned, the maximum quoted weight that the Cleat Mount can hold is 75 pounds--that's the weight rating for wood studs. For sheet-metal studs, the rating is 60 pounds. If you're wondering what the means in the current TV landscape, I recently had three new 55-inch panels pass through my doors--two LED models (the LG 55LM67000 and Samsung UN55ES8000) and one plasma (the Panasonic TC-P55ST50)--and all three came in well under the 75-pound limit. The LED models came in well under the 60-pound limit, too. The TV I used for this review was the 50-inch Panasonic TC-P50G25, which weighs 58 pounds.
It took longer for my husband and I to agree on the exact position of the TV on the wall than it did to install the mount. From the time we put the stud finder to the wall to the time we hung the TV was less than 30 minutes. As I said above, the instructions are very clear, and the process very simple. You just attach the Wall Cleat to your wall's studs, attach the TV Cleats to the TV, pick up the TV, and set the angled TV brackets into the angled Wall Cleat. The two elements are intelligently designed to accommodate different circumstances. For instance, the Wall Cleat has four different "starting holes" on its left side, where you will first attach it to the wall; these holes have a bit of vertical give that allows you to tweak the position to ensure the bracket is level after you've put in the screws. The right side of the Wall Cleat has two long openings in which to put the second screw, giving you more flexibility to deal with different widths between wall studs (the literature says the bracket is designed for wall studs from 14 to 24 inches apart). While my husband put up the Wall Cleat, I attached the TV Cleats to the Panasonic plasma. Each TV Cleat has three holes to support different VESA sizes (M8, M6/M5, and M4), and all four sizes of TV screw/washer are provided. The final smart touch is that the Wall Cleat and TV Cleats use a Velcro adhesive within the wedge: This keeps the TV from moving around within the bracket and provides a strong grip between TV and mount (a good thing!), yet it still gives you the option to lift the TV and readjust its horizontal position without having to unscrew anything. My TV did indeed feel secure within the mount. However, as the parent of a toddler, I tend to think in terms of worst-case scenarios: If you owned a lighter TV, I wonder if a child couldn't push the TV up and out of the bracket. It's something to be mindful of when considering whether to buy this mount and where to place it on your wall.
Once the TV is resting within the mount, you can swing the bottom out a little bit to access back-panel connections, as long as they are positioned low on the TV's backside. It's probably easier to attach the cables to the TV before you put the TV on the wall. Most new TVs primarily offer side-facing connections anyhow. In my case, the TV had a side-panel HDMI input, but the power jack sat right in the middle of the back panel, so it was definitely wise to attach the power cord beforehand.
The Cleat Mount itself does not come with a cable-management system, but Lodging Innovations does offer a Wiring Solution Kit ($29.95) that you can purchase separately. The Kit includes a sturdy piece of wood that measures 2 feet long and has smooth, rounded edges; cut into the underside of the wood are two channels into which you can place your cables, covered by flexible plastic flaps that hold the wires in the channels. The wood is painted white but can be repainted any color to match your wall (the package even includes a small sponge brush). Again, installation is quite simple and is clearly described in the setup diagram. The company also sells the DIY TV Kit that includes both the Cleat Mount and the Wiring Solution Kit for $89.
Read about the high points and low points of the Cleat Mount on Page 2.