I’m a recent convert to the convertible standing desk.
Want to see what all the hype is about?
We'll review the biggest advantages of standing desks, and highlight some of the best options to get you started.
Table of Contents
- Why Buy a Standing Desk?
- Types of Standing Desks
- What to Consider When Shopping for a Standing Desk
- Our Picks for the Best Standing Desk
- 1. FlexiSpot E7
- 2. FlexiSpot M3 Riser
- 3. Vivo Height Adjustable Desk
- On a Budget? – DIY Options for Standing Desks
- Standing Desk Accessories
- Ergonomic Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Standing Desk
- Frequently Asked Questions
Why Buy a Standing Desk?
Should you even buy one? Why?
This might sell you on it.
For starters, there are some health benefits to being able to stand while you work.
Using a standing desk often helps people experience less back pain than sitting at a conventional desk, though there hasn’t been a clear medical reason for this. It also increases circulation to switch between standing and sitting, preventing varicose veins and that “pins and needles” feeling.
There has also been some speculation that using a standing desk can boost mood since it breaks up the typical sitting from 9-5 that many of us with office jobs have to endure.
Added benefits include the ability to use one of those treadmills made for your desk. You can do that. I lack the coordination.
Types of Standing Desks
Yep, you’ve got options.
Here are some of the options you can choose from when you take a stand and get that standing desk.
Manual Adjustable Standing Desks
For those with commitment issues but also tight-ish budgets.
The manual adjustable desk allows users to switch between sitting and standing mode. This can go down (and up) in a few different ways.
Most manual adjustable desks use a hand crank on the side that you turn to raise and lower the top of the desk, requiring just a little elbow grease to switch between seated and standing positions.
Some manual adjustable standing desks are a little bit trickier, requiring users to lift the desk by loosening screws on the side of the legs, physically lifting the desktop, then tightening the screws to lock the desk into position.
Electric Standing Desks
If you’re looking to get a little fancy with it, go for an electric standing desk.
These models use a hydraulic system that allows users to raise and lower the desktop by using buttons on the side.
Some of these models also have memory functions that allow users to set specific heights as favorites, meaning all that you have to do is press a button and your desk will adjust all by itself, resting at the perfect height.
Dedicated Stand-Up Desk
Dedicated stand-up desks are also an option.
These are pretty self-explanatory. Dedicated stand-up desks are built at one unique height that cannot be changed, and some of them come in different heights.
Some people believe these types of standing desks provide more stability than adjustable ones.
Standing Desk Converters & Risers
If you like your desk just the way it is but want an option to make it taller when necessary, a standing desk converter or riser is for you.
These contraptions are adjustable platforms that sit on top of your existing desk. You rest your computer on top of them and suddenly your sitting desk has transformed!
A standing desk converter or riser is typically going to be the most affordable way to enjoy the benefits of a standing desk while allowing you to maintain your current office setup.
What to Consider When Shopping for a Standing Desk
We hate making decisions, too. Hopefully, this makes it easier.
Before making any decision, you have to think about how much you can (and are willing to) spend on your standing desk solution.
Have some extra cash and want to make the leap? Get an electric desk.
Budget a bit tight? Try a standing desk converter first to try it out.
Since some electric desks can get pricey, make sure to do your research before making such a large commitment.
Also, see if insurance can cover the costs of a standing desk.
Size & Design
Okay, look around at your office right now.
Be honest. Do you have a large, expansive space that can accommodate a whole living room set of furniture? Or are you working with an 8 by 10 extra bedroom?
If your home office is also your bedroom, size becomes even more important.
A small space can probably only afford a sleek, manually adjustable unit on casters that allow you to move around as you wish.
A larger space will allow you to buy a large electric desk, more striking in appearance.
Programmability / Memory Settings
For electric desks, you have to think about all of the bells and whistles that you want.
Is it important (or just more convenient) that your electric standing desk allows you to set specific standing and sitting heights and allows you to switch between the two easily?
If so, you’re going to want to make sure your sit/stand desk has a “memory setting” or “programmable setting” feature.
Desk Height & Adjustability
One issue with “standing height” for desks is that people don’t come in a standard “standing height.”
Even some adjustable desks only have so much range. Make sure that the standing desk you’re looking at is adjustable to your height, especially if you are a particularly tall or short person.
Also, keep in mind whether you want a manual or electric adjustable sit-to-stand desk.
Dedicated Vs. Sit-to-Stand
Each type of standing desk has its benefits and its weaknesses.
Dedicated standing desks are known to be very stable, and they’re a great option if you’re looking to stand or walk on a treadmill your whole shift in the office. There are even standing desk-height chairs for when you want the occasional break.
Sit-to-stand desks, on the other hand, offer one obvious advantage over their stationary counterparts: versatility.
Since it’s generally more recommended health-wise (and comfier) to switch between sitting and standing throughout the day, it’s worth it to invest in a sit-to-stand desk, whether it be manual or electric. With today’s models, you don’t have to sacrifice stability for this versatility.
Lift & Weight Capacity
This might not be that important to you if your office setup is just you and your little laptop, but for folks with a monster of a desktop setup, it’s obvious that your desk needs to support all of your precious equipment.
If you’re one of those desktop dudes reading this thinking, “there’s no way I could put my whole station on a desk that moves around,” just hold on one second– you can.
Some of the newest adjustable desks come with a lifting weight capacity of over 300 lbs, promising no decrease in stability while on the higher settings. This means your equipment is safe and sound while you swap between sitting and standing throughout the day.
If you’ve never experienced a complete breakdown while assembling a flat-pack piece of furniture that nearly ended your relationship, then just take our word for it; you don’t want to have to.
Checking out reviews or even YouTube videos can easily show you just how complicated assembling your new standing desk will be.
Our Picks for the Best Standing Desk
We tried them out, so you don’t have to spend up to $2k hoping for the best.
Best Electronic Standing Desk
Starting with the first step, after getting the very heavy package in the door (you’ll need a buddy for this one), assembly was super easy and took my 11-year-old daughter, to whom I delegated the task to, around 42 minutes with my supervision.
Once assembled, I loved the sleek look of the desk, which featured a bamboo top. Functionally, the up/down movement is efficiently fast, smooth, and surprisingly quiet.
It has the option to set preferred seated and standing heights, allowing users to switch between the two with just the touch of a button.
It’s also very sturdy while at seated height, standing height, and during lift/lower (you can find a video of them operating the desk with a guy actually laying on top of it for proof.)
A cable tray keeps all charging cords in place, which is important during movement.
If you’re looking to add a whole workout while you work, FlexiSpot has plenty of unique accessories available. You can choose from a treadmill that allows you to take a jog on the job, a stationary bike to have a cycle class while you type, and a vibration mat that just gets the blood flowing.
Read my FlexiSpot E7 Standing Desk review.
Best Desk Converter
This desk converter is very large, which is a great thing or a tricky thing, depending on how much space you’re working with.
So let’s go through that quick checklist. Assembly? Easy. Detachable keyboard tray? Check. Surface area? 47” of space, allowing for 2 30” monitors. Stability? No wiggles or wobbles. Easy to raise and lower with the handle? Yep.
The only cons to this one are that 1. In its lowest setting, it may be a bit too tall for shorter users to use, and 2. It is pretty large, so if you have a smaller desk, it’s not going to work.
This is our top pick for a riser/desk converter for a standing desk transformation.
Read my FlexiSpot M3 Riser review.
Best Manual Adjustable Desk
A more affordable option for folks looking for a full, adjustable unit is the Vivo Manual Height Adjustable Desk.
This table allows for height adjustment through the use of a crank that users can easily turn, kind of like the ones you used to find in old-school car windows (remember those days?).
Users get 63 x 32 inches of workspace and 132 lbs of support, enough to fit and hold all of the equipment you could need.
Assembly is pretty easy, a recent improvement after previous reviews complained about the difficulty. There is also a video tutorial available to walk you through all of the steps.
The wide variety of heights (29.8” to 48.8”) allows users even 6’4” tall to use this manual adjustable desk effectively.
Check out our full list of the best standing desks >>
On a Budget? – DIY Options for Standing Desks
You don’t have to miss out on the benefits of a sit-to-stand desk just because it’s out of your budget.
Here are some super cheap ways that you can create a standing desk solution today.
Ikea Converter for Standing
Ah, Ikea. Home to cheap furniture, a gigantic layout that you could get lost in for days, and great Swedish meatballs.
And also affordable standing desk converter options.
You need to get a little crafty with this one, but it’s only going to cost you around $20.
Just modify a cheap LACK side table by using a few brackets to attach a shelf to the front. The table is well under $20 and, at 17”, could be the perfect height to place on top of your regular desk.
Raise Your Existing Desk
An outside-the-box option to convert your desk to a standing one? Just raise the whole thing.
You can buy some furniture risers for cheap on Amazon. Select the height you want, position them under each of your desk’s legs, and enjoy your new, cheap standing desk!
Standing Desk Accessories
If you’re already upgrading to a standing desk, why not go all the way and get all of the fun accessories that can come with it?
These will help you fully renovate your whole workstation.
Monitor Arms / Stand
Want your monitor to move up and down with you while keeping it in place?
Attach your monitor securely using a monitor arm that lets you move your monitor up or down and even angle it as you please.
Hesitant about installation? Try a stand and place your keyboard underneath it.
If you get one of those monitor stands, you’re going to want to put your keyboard in a comfier and more convenient place.
The best way to do that? A keyboard tray, of course.
You can get a slide-out one to easily slide your keyboard out of the way when not in use for more desk space or one that angles up and down for ergonomic benefits.
Tall Office Chairs
If you decided to get one of those dedicated standing desks, went the desk riser route, or just know that you aren’t going to want to go through the hassle of cranking your desk up and down every time you want to sit down for a bit, get an ergonomic tall office chair.
This one has a smaller seat and no back, encouraging good posture, gently engaging the muscles that keep your torso up, and keeping your coccyx from resting in a soft chair that could lead to bruising.
Standing Desk Mat
Though standing is better for your back and body than sitting all day, your feet can get tired after a while, especially while you adjust to the new setup.
An anti-fatigue standing desk mat can keep your feet cushioned and comfortable, allowing for improved circulation and proper alignment for the rest of your legs and back.
Wrangling cables with a stationary sitting desk is annoying, but doing it with a moving adjustable desk? Even worse.
Using a cable management kit that gives you options to secure, organize, and cover all of the cables necessary for your equipment keeps your workstation clear and prevents accidental unplugging fiascos while your sit-to-stand desk is in transit.
Ergonomic Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Standing Desk
Yeah, standing some of the time is great when compared to sitting the whole day, but there’s more to it than that.
Here are a few ergonomic tips that you can use to maximize the benefits of your standing desk.
Monitor Arm Position and Height
When you’re sitting down all day, your arms have few options for positioning.
When you go to standing, however, things change a little bit.
When you’re standing, you want your elbows to be at a 90-degree angle, with your forearms resting comfortably on the desk.
This means that your desk needs to be set to a height that allows you to rest your forearms.
Set Ideal Height
Your standing desk should be set at about elbow height to allow for that forearm placement we were talking about earlier.
If you’re using a mount or monitor stand, have that set to hold your monitor comfortably and at eye level so that you don’t have to hunch over or strain your neck.
Since you now have control over your seated height, too, you can adjust your desk to the perfect height that allows for the same forearm placement while seated.
If you have an electric standing desk with memory, it’s easy to set it and forget it, pressing the button for your pre-set height any time you need to switch.
If you’re using a manual crank desk, mark a line on the legs so that you can return to it without too much trial and error each time.
Just when like standing any other time, overall posture is important when using a standing desk.
You want to make sure weight is evenly distributed between both feet (unless you’re using a treadmill or under-desk bicycle, of course). Knees should be relaxed, not locked, with a slight bend.
Your core should be slightly engaged and your spine straight, with your shoulders fully relaxed and your forearms resting on your desk.
Ideally, your monitor should be on a stand that allows it to sit at eye-level height, keeping your head straight without scrunching your neck up or hunching over.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between a converter and a standing desk?
A standing desk is an entire unit designed to allow the user to stand while using the desk and a converter is a piece of equipment that goes on top of an existing desk to modify it by raising the height.
How do I choose a standing desk?
To choose a standing desk, consider your budget and space, deciding if you want an electric adjustable sit-to-stand desk, a manual adjustable sit-to-stand desk, or a standing desk converter.
Are standing desks expensive?
There are some very affordable standing desks and standing desk alternatives, but some of the higher-end standing desks can get expensive.
Is it worth buying a standing desk?
If you work a desk job and have the mobility to stand up and sit down throughout your shift, buying a standing desk can be worth it to reduce the health risks associated with sitting all day.
What are some of the benefits of a standing desk?
Some of the benefits of a standing desk include improved circulation, a decrease in back pain, and more energy throughout the day.