The best standing desks are hugely in demand right now. With so many people moving to home working over the past year and a half, more and more of us are realising the benefits of alternating between sitting and standing.
It's a great way to prevent undue pressure on the spine, which can lead to back pain, poor posture and general ill health. And the best standing desks allow you to raise and lower your platform so you can get everything to the perfect height, whether you're sitting or standing. So, how do you choose between them?
How to choose the best standing desk
First you need to decide whether you want a standing desk that moves up and down using an electric motor, or you're happy to crank a handle manually. The former is more convenient, but tends to be more expensive, so there's a balance to be struck there.
You'll also need to think about the height range on offer. Will the desk raise enough for you to be comfortable standing at it, and lower enough for you to be happy sitting? BIFMA (the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association) recommends a range of 22.6 to 48.7 inches as a good rule of thumb, but this will vary depending on your height.
Another consideration is how much weight your desk will need to bear. If you're only using a lightweight laptop, that won't need to be much. But if you have multiple monitors and other equipment, you'll need to check the maximum load before buying. We've listed this, along with other useful measurements, for each of the standing desks on our list.
Finally, you'll of course need to check that the desktop you're buying will have enough space to fit everything on, without being too bulky that it won't fit in your home office. For most of the models on our list, the manufacturers actually provide a variety of desktops to choose from, so while we list the general range of dimensions on offer, it's also worth clicking through to drill into the fine detail.
There are a lot of standing desks on the market today, and many of them are quite similar. But in our experience, this model offers the best combination of stability, build quality and value available.
It needs assembling, but it’s not overly difficult. All the parts are clearly labelled and the instructions are pretty easy to follow. Expect it to take around 1.5 hours if you’re not a big DIYer generally, and between 30 minutes to an hour if you are.
It’s easy to move this electric desk up and down, between a height 58 and 123cm, using the simple console, and the movement is nicely smooth and sensitive. You can save up to four positions in the memory, and the desk supports up to 275 lbs in weight. It looks very stylish, and is robust and solid enough that you’ll feel safe resting your valuable equipment on it.
In use, then, there’s nothing not to like about this standing desk. Just be aware that it is very heavy, so you’ll need a second person to carry the boxes up the stairs, and probably to help you lift during parts of the assembly.
If you have a lot of heavy equipment you need to store on your standing desk, here’s our top recommendation. The Fully Jarvis Bamboo Standing Desk promises to support up to 350lbs (158kg), which is far and away the most on our list.
As you’d expect, then, it’s an extremely sturdy and well-made desk. The flipside of that is that it’s quite complicated to assemble. We found both the written instructions and the how-to video a little confusing, and it took us over two hours to put together. We’d expect that even seasoned DIYers will need 45 minutes to an hour, plus you’ll need an extra person for lifting during the final stage.
Once you’re done, though, you’ll have a solid and dependable electric desk, and won’t have any worries at all about storing a ton of heavy equipment on it. It offers a great height range of between 29-51 inches, and is smooth and easy to operate using the LED console.
There are two more things you should know about the Jarvis Bamboo Standing Desk. Firstly, it’s the best standing desk on our list for customisation, being available in two shapes, seven sizes, and with a selection of accessories such as a cable management system.
Secondly, it’s nice and eco-friendly, being made from sustainable bamboo grown without pesticides or fertilizers. (Yes, that might sound less than tough, but it’s finished with a UV-cured, water-based polyurethane coating that makes it very robust in practice.)
The Maidesite S2 standing desk does everything you could possibly need - admittedly it doesn't have more advanced features such as wireless charging but that does help keep costs down. The dual motor engine ensures a smooth operation from 72-140cm and a responsive, top-quality touchscreen controller makes it easy to adjust the height - you can even pre-program set heights so you can change it at the touch of the button. A timer can be set to remind you to stand in intervals of half an hour. It can be assembled in around half an hour, instructions are clear to follow and it comes with all necessary tools. Depending on what model you go for you might need a drill but only to attach the control panel.
Read more: Maidesite S2 standing desk review
Short on cash? Then head to Ikea, for this bargain-priced standing desk.
To keep the price low, this is a simpler and more limited model than others on our list. For example, there’s no motor, and so you have to crank a handle to raise or lower the desk to your preferred height (between 70 and 120cm). The weight capacity of 110lbs/50kg is at the lower end of the scale. And there are just two color options to choose from.
That said, this standing desk does the job well, and if you’re keen to keep to a budget, that may be all that matters to you. The handle is actually easy to use, and can be mounted on either the left or right side. And the desk itself feels very stable. So as long as you don’t have a huge amount of heavy equipment, this is a basic but great value buy.
If you’re looking to play games on a PC, then the Arozzi Arena Gaming Desk Metal is the best standing desk for your needs. Not only does the desk look the part, but the entire surface is coated in a special microfiber that means it acts as a giant mousepad.
That surface is nice and generous too: at 160 x 82 inches (160 x 82cm) it’s big enough to hold three large sized monitors. It’s also water-resistant, and provides three cut outs for cable management and monitor attachment. There’s a cable management basket, too, that fits tightly under the desk.
The MDF desk is held up by sturdy steel legs, and it’s all quite easy to assemble. Be aware, though, that the legs must be adjusted manually, and can only be varied within a range of 3.9 inches (10cm).
This standing desk is the most expensive on our list, but it sure is stylish. With a sleek and minimalist aesthetic, it will fit nicely into most home offices, both visually and from the standpoint of space. Plus it benefits from a unique counterbalance mechanism, which means it can be raised or lowered without the need for power. Once you've set the tension crank, you can do so just with the push of a single hand.
On the negative side, the load capacity of 130lbs is quite limited, and it's a bit of a faff to assemble. But overall, this is a tough, durable and sturdy desk, which looks great and moves up and down, smoothly and quietly.
Want to ride an exercise bike while working at your desk? Then Flexispot has you covered with this clever hybrid device. Allowing you to burn serious calories while you work, its 23 x 16.5 inches (58 x 42cm) desktop is by far the smallest on our list. But it’s certainly enough space for an average laptop, in fact, even a 17-incher.
Arriving in two parts, the whole thing only takes 10-15 minutes to assemble. Once you’re up and running – okay, cycling – the height of the desktop can be varied between 34.5 and 47.2 inches (87.6-119.8cm), and the seat can be adjusted too, between 29.6 and 37.2 inches. You need to make those adjustments manually, but that’s pretty easy to do in both situations.
As a bike, this is not as sophisticated as other exercise bikes on the market. And as a desk it’s quite limited too. But as a hybrid device, it ticks all the boxes. And for anyone who spends too much time sitting at a laptop and not exercising, it provides a great opportunity to get that blood pumping when you just can’t take time away from work.
If you already have a desk you use for sitting, you don’t need to buy a whole new standing desk too. Instead, you can save space and money by opting for a standing desk converter instead. That’s something you just place on top of your normal desk, which turns it into a standing desk: simple!
The best standing desk converter we can recommend right now is the Varidesk Pro Plus 36. With 11 adjustable height settings, you can be sure of finding that sweet spot for comfortable standing. When you’re not using it, it collapses down, so you don’t have to worry about it taking up space. It comes fully assembled out of the box.
You get an upper tier of 36 x 12.25 inches (91.4 x 31.7cm), which should be enough for up to two monitors, along with three other tiers for things like your keyboard, mouse, calculator and papers. Yes, you’ll get more capacity with a full standing desk, in terms of both space and weight. But if this is all you need, and you have a perfectly good sitting desk that doesn’t need replacing, then it’s a smart solution.
Like the idea of a standing desk converter, but only have limited funds? Then here’s one that’s a lot more affordable but still does a good job overall.
There’s minimal assembly: you just have to attach the keyboard tray. The top surface measures 31.5 x 15.7 (80 x 40cm), which should be plenty enough for a couple of monitors, along with a 31.3 x 11.8 inch (79.5 x 30cm) center tray for your keyboard.
Yes, its height range is more limited than the Varidesk model, and it supports slightly less weight. But given the lower price, this still represents somewhat of a bargain, and an inexpensive way to try out standing at your desk.
Best laptop stands: Prop up your laptop with these helpful lap desks
Best monitor arm
Best monitor stands
Everything photographers need to work from home
Best laptops for video editing: edit your footage easily wherever you are
Best webcam for home working