When choosing a microphone stand, it is important to consider a number of variables that will affect the quality and usefulness of the stand you purchase. Because microphones can be used in a variety of settings and for several different purposes, your stand must accommodate your particular needs. Therefore, you'll need to consider how you will be using it, how heavy it needs to be, and how you want to place it.
First, you must decide what you will be using your microphone stand for. A professional musician will need a different one than a home musician, and a public speaker may require a different stand than an actor in a musical. So before taking any further steps, determine what you will be using your stand for; this will largely determine not only what type of stand you purchase, but also how much you spend on your stand.
A basic stand good for home use or other basic purposes can be lightweight and compact. Less expensive models come with foldable legs that expand into a tripod. These tend to be somewhat less sturdy than heavier-duty stands with heavy, round bases, but if you are looking for a cost-effective way to hold the microphone, a foldable, tripod-style stand may work just fine.
The round-base stands tend to be more expensive but much sturdier. They will be more appropriate for professional use and other applications. The most basic type is the straight stand, which can be built with a round or a tripod base. The straight stand is a straight pole attached to the base, and the pole typically telescopes to adjust for people of varying heights. A microphone clip is attached to the top.
A boom microphone stand can also come in the round base variety or the tripod style. It has the same straight pole as the straight stand, but at the top of the telescoping pole is a different type of attachment that fixes a boom to the stand. This boom allows for more versatility in how the stand can be placed, and it keeps the it farther away from the performer or speaker.
Other types of stands that might be appropriate for your needs include a podium stand, which is short and sits on a podium or tabletop; a drum mic stand, which is short and can be placed in front of a kick drum; and a microphone clip, which can attach to a shirt or other article of clothing.