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Sitting kills. OK, maybe that's a little dramatic, but there's ample evidence that parking your posterior all day is bad for your health. Consider: You're hunched over a keyboard, which is hard on the back, neck and shoulders. You're bent at the waist, which can lead to tight abdominal muscles. And doing this for hours at a stretch? Without even stretching? You don't need me to tell you why that's bad.
Time to stop sitting down on the job. A standing desk lets you alternate between butt and feet, the better to keep your limbs loose and body active. I've used one for years, typically switching positions every 45 minutes or so. When I'm standing, I like to sway a little bit, move my hips, and basically just fidget on my feet — a great way to get the blood moving while staying productive.
And here's good news: There's a standing desk for every need and budget. You can get a fully motorized model with multiple memory settings. You can get something compact for tight spaces or something L-shaped with tons of work surface. You can get a riser that converts your existing desk to a sit-stand setup. And there are even models designed with gamers in mind.
Below I've rounded up some of the top picks from these and other categories. My selections are based on a number of criteria, including user ratings, professional reviews, product reputation, price and, where possible, personal experience.
First things first: Desk or riser?
If you already own a desk, you don't necessarily need to replace it. A mechanical or motorized riser can sit on top of your desk and raise or lower to give you the desired sit-stand options. The benefit here is that you get to leverage the furniture you already own (which may have drawers and other storage options you like) and potentially save some money: Risers tend to be cheaper than standalone standing desks.
However, a riser will likely have less usable workspace area than a full-fledged desk, something to consider if you want to, say, spread out with multiple monitors. And because it sits atop your desk, it adds a little extra height even when it's in the "down" position. That could make it trickier to find comfortable keyboard and monitor placement, especially when you're seated.
Standing desk features to consider
What should you look for in a standing desk? Obviously size will be a key consideration, along with color and price. But there are some other features to consider as well:
Height presets: This isn't crucial, but it's awfully nice to have. With the push of a button, the desk will raise to your preferred height. Another push and it lowers to exactly where you like it. These preset buttons are increasingly common, but if you're going to be sharing the desk with, say, a family member, look for one that offers multiple presets.
USB ports: Need to charge your phone, earbuds and other gear? Choose a desk with powered USB ports embedded in the top or front edge. This is a seriously handy feature, one I truly prize.
Cable management: Standing desks are wide open underneath, meaning you may end up looking at unsightly cords running from your workstation to the power outlet. If you're not wild about that, consider a desk that has cable-management options: grommet holes, rear or underside cord clips and so on. Luckily, it's pretty easy to add that stuff to just about any desk; here's a complete cord-management kit for under $15.
Built-in drawers: When you switch to a standing desk, you often give up storage. A built-in filing cabinet, for example, is out of the question due to weight. But even drawers tend to be somewhat rare, which begs the question of where to keep all your pens, paper clips and the like. Thankfully, there are some desks that have drawers; I've identified one top pick in the list below.
Anti-collision sensors: If a desk encounters some kind of obstacle while lowering — your chair, for example — it could seriously damage the motor, to say nothing of whatever it ends up squishing. Some desks can automatically halt if they detect an obstacle.
OK, let's move on to the best standing desks you can buy for work, whether at home or in an actual office.
Best budget standing desk: Fezibo Standing Desk with Drawer
Priced at just $200 (not including shipping, if you order from Walmart), Fezibo's desk offers considerable bang for the buck. It measures 48"x24" and has a black frame, though the top is available in several different colors. Notable features here include four memory presets, a pair of hooks for hanging things like backpacks and headphones, a slide-out fabric drawer and lockable casters. Yep, this desk can actually roll from one place to another.
It's worth noting that the top comes in two pieces, meaning once you've assembled the desk, you'll see a seam running across the middle. There's no functional downside to that, just an aesthetic one. (And speaking of that, not everyone may love that fabric drawer, which looks a little strange beneath a wood top.)
Best standing desk for big offices: Vivo Electric Height Adjustable Corner Stand Up Desk
By design, a standing desk must be a two-legged rectangle, right? Wrong: Vivo brings three telescoping legs to the stand-up party, part of a frame that can accommodate a massive L-shaped workspace and a whopping 200-plus pounds. (I'm not saying you should climb on the thing and go for a mildly entertaining ride — but you could.)
The 3E6B model measures 67 inches in one direction from one corner and 60 in the other. (Vivo does offer smaller versions if you don't have quite that much space but still want a corner setup.) It offers four memory presets and collision detection; Vivo backs it with an impressive 3-year warranty.
My major nitpick with the desks themselves (which are available in four colors) is the lack of grommet holes for cord organization. The product listing does mention a "cable management system," but I can't see any evidence of one, and it's not mentioned on Vivo's website. I wouldn't call this a dealbreaker, it's just disappointing that a seemingly premium desk would overlook cable management.
Best standing desk for gamers: Eureka Ergonomic EGD-S62B
This monster stretches out nearly 63 inches from end to end and comes dressed for fun. The two-piece top comes covered in a striking carbon-fiber finish, while Eureka's full-width mouse pad covers the seam and adds a slick splash of red. There are six-color LED light panels embedded into either side, a double headphone hook at one end and even a cupholder at the other. Like I said: fun!
Another nice touch: Eureka supplies a freestanding game-controller rack that includes slots for three game cases and has four powered USB ports in its base.
As a standing desk, the S62B offers the usual range of motion, four memory presets and an anti-collision sensor. And make no mistake: 63 inches is big, meaning plenty of space for multiple monitors, speakers and other gaming essentials. Available accessories include a side-mount tower/console case holder, a monitor arm and an under-desk keyboard tray (similar to the one listed below).
Worth noting: This desk earned an impressive 4.7-star average from around 160 buyers.
Best compact standing desk: SHW 40-inch Electric Desk
Strapped for space? If you're working in a cramped bedroom or apartment, this 40-inch desk might be the perfect fit. (Larger sizes are available as well if you have room to spread out.) SHW offers a handful of wood finishes atop a black or white frame, and the desk itself has a wire basket underneath to accommodate power cords and bricks. (I legit wish every desk offered this simple but essential add-on.)
It also has hooks and four memory presets. But what's really remarkable is the review average: 4.6 stars from nearly 15,000 buyers. So chances are good if you're looking for a relatively compact standing desk, you'll like this one.
Best exercise desk: FlexiSpot Desk Bike V9
Sitting is completely sedentary, but it's not like standing gives you a workout. If you want to mix fitness and productivity, consider the FlexiSpot Desk Bike V9. It's available with a small desktop for a completely standalone solution, or you can get it without one and park it beneath just about any standing desk.
Available in black or white, the V9 promises quiet operation from its 5-pound flywheel. The bike itself sits on lockable casters, meaning you can easily roll it out of the way if you want a break from biking. There's no power cord; the integrated digital display relies on a pair of AA batteries. The seat can adjust to anywhere between 30 and 37 inches using a very simple latch lever. FlexiSpot says that range should accommodate people from 5'1" to 6'2" in height. Maximum weight: 300 pounds.
A single dial lets you choose between eight resistance settings. It's important to understand, this is no Peloton; the bike uses friction resistance, not magnetic. I suspect the ideal usage is a low resistance and simple, steady pedaling, just to keep your heart rate up a bit. But if that's your goal, this makes a very good standing-desk companion — or simply a biking-desk workstation.
Best riser/desk converter: VersaDesk PowerPro Elite
Already own a desk you love? You'll probably love it even more with the PowerPro Elite sitting on top. Available in multiple colors, each with widths ranging from 36 to 48 inches, this two-tier sit-stand riser features three customizable presets, a USB charging port (only one, though) and something I've rarely seen in any desk: an LED panel that illuminates the keyboard.
The PowerPro Elite also has grommet holes for cable management or, if you're a power user, monitor arms. (The riser can lift up to 80 pounds, so it'll have no trouble with two or even three screens.)
Even fancier, the Elite can pair with your phone via Bluetooth. The VersaDesk companion app includes not only raise/lower controls (which seem a little unnecessary) but also custom reminders that will nudge you when it's time to sit or stand. There's even a game aspect to it: If work colleagues have a similarly equipped VersaDesk, you can compete for the top spot in a sit-stand leaderboard.
Best standing desk accessory: Huanuo Keyboard Tray
One often-overlooked problem with standing desks is keyboard position. If you raise the desk to a comfortable monitor height, you may find the keyboard too high. If you lower it for better typing comfort, the screen might be too low.
Solution: Install an adjustable keyboard tray, one that's able to retract underneath the desk when not needed and also wide enough to accommodate your mouse.
I own (and like) the Huanuo Keyboard Tray, which uses six screws to attach to the underside of the desk is therefore stable enough to handle the weight of your wrists. You can adjust both the tilt and height of the tray using a simple lever that locks and unlocks the position. The tray can even pivot left and right, handy for off-center computer setups.
Huanuo also provides a peel-and-stick wrist rest that extends the length of the tray. However, it collects and show a lot of dust and dirt, and I found it less comfortable to type with it than without it. Thus, after a few days I ended up removing it.
In all other respects, though, this proved a great addition to my standing desk, so it's easy to recommend.
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