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One constant in any office environment is the tendency to sit for too long, which can lead to various health problems. “Prolonged sitting in one position hunched over a desk can lead to neck and back spasms, as well as shoulder pain and degenerative conditions,” says Dr. Allen Conrad, BS, DC, CSCS of the Montgomery County Chiropractic Center in North Wales, Pa.
And even if you sit “correctly,” the very act of sitting can be problematic. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that sitting for long periods of time is a risk factor for early death—even among people who exercise.
One solution is to invest in a standing desk, which lets users alternate between sitting and standing for a healthier work environment. But, with so many options on the market, it’s important to consider a few factors; Dr. Sapna Sriram, a chiropractor and injury expert at Integra Health Centre in Toronto, says the desk should be easy to adjust and recommends options with multi-level surfaces. Additionally, she suggests using a floor mat for more comfort. The size and weight capacity of the desk should also be considered so it can support all of your office essentials and still raise or lower.
Best Overall: Vari Electric Standing Desk
One of the best standing desks on the market, the Vari Electric Standing Desk has whisper-quiet dual motors and three stage legs that can lift the desk from 25.5 to 50.5 inches. Compared to most standing desks that have two buttons, Vari’s LED panel has six, including four programmable height settings—ideal for accommodating multiple users. The desk includes two hooks to hang your headphones, bag, and other essentials, along with a silicone drink coaster and cable management ties.
There’s also an option to add a cable management tray that attaches to the back to keep wires off your desk and out of the way. Measuring 60 x 30 inches, this is a sturdy, heavy desk, and it supports up to 200 pounds. For eco-conscious consumers, the desk is available with a reclaimed wood top, in addition to color options like black, dark wood, and white. Plus, this standing desk is Dr. Conrad’s top pick.
Best Standing Desk Converter: VariDesk Pro Plus 36
If you already have a regular desk that you like and want to keep, the VariDesk Pro Plus 36 is another way to get the standing desk experience. It’s a standing desk converter that you can simply place on top of your own desk. It weighs 52.5 pounds and arrives fully assembled—so, you just place it on your desk, and using a spring-assisted, dual-handle lift, you can raise it, adding up to 17.5 additional inches to the height of your desk.
The desk converter is also spacious (at 36 X 12.3 inches) with enough space for two monitors or a monitor and a laptop. Additionally, there’s a separate tier for your keyboard and mouse. This standing desk converter has a weight limit of 35 pounds.
Best Manual: Devaise Adjustable Height Standing Desk
While most people assume that standing desks are electric, there are also crank models, which means you use a desk’s crank handle to raise and lower it. The advantage of a manually-adjustable desk is that it’s significantly less expensive than most electric models. The Devaise Adjustable Height Standing Desk is an excellent option that offers a good value.
By turning the crank handle, you can manually raise the desk’s height from 29.5 to 45.5 inches. It’s also spacious and sturdy, as it can hold up to 100 pounds. Available in colors like black or white, this standing desk is 55.1 x 23.6 inches, which is plenty of room for two monitors.
Best Value: Flexispot Adjustable Standing Desk
Admittedly, a quality standing desk can be quite expensive compared to regular desks. However, the Flexispot Adjustable Standing Desk is an economically-priced option that’s well made and performs well. This particular model is 48 x 30 inches, but there are also a few smaller and larger versions available.
The desk is simple to operate and has a two-button controller: push the up arrow to raise the desk and push the down arrow to lower it. Height adjustable from 28 to 47.6 inches, this standing desk supports up to 154 pounds and has plenty of room for your office supplies. In addition to various frame color options, the desk’s tabletop comes in colors like black, mahogany, and white.
Best Eco-Friendly: Jarvis Bamboo Standing Desk
If you’d like to make an eco-friendly purchase, consider the Fully Jarvis Bamboo Standing Desk. The bamboo is grown in sustainable forests without pesticides and fertilizers and is allowed to mature for five years. A water-based coating is applied that’s designed to preserve the bamboo’s color. Plus, an eco-friendly water-based stain is used in the dark bamboo finish.
Best of all, the Jarvis Bamboo Standing Desk is customizable. In addition to either natural bamboo or dark bamboo finish, you can choose between a rectangular or contoured top. The model shown is 42 x 24 inches, but the desk is available in several different sizes. Even more, there are three height ranges to pick from: 22.9 to 43.2 inches, 30 to 49.3 inches, or 25.5 to 51 inches. This standing desk will hold up to 350 pounds.
Best Large: ApexDesk Elite Series 71-Inch
At 71 inches wide (and 33 inches deep), the ApexDesk Elite Series standing desk provides plenty of space for all of your office essentials. Case in point: there’s enough room to include three monitors, along with a keyboard, mouse, and other items.
It has a dual-motor lifting system that can raise the desk’s height from 29 to 49 inches, and the digital controller also includes four programmable preset buttons. The desk can support up to 235 pounds and includes a cable management tray to hide cables. It comes in a number of colors for the tabletop, from light oak to walnut, and a few colors for the frame, too.
Best Traditional: Flexispot Theodore Standing Desk
If you like the idea of a standing desk, but don’t like how they look, the Flexispot Theodore Standing Desk is an elegant alternative. It looks like a traditional desk, but it can quietly and smoothly adjust in height from 29.5 to 49.2 inches via the up or down buttons. Next to those buttons are three charging ports (two USB-A and one USB-C), so you can charge your laptop, smartphone, and tablet while working.
The desk is spacious (at 47.6 x 23.6 inches) and has a weight limit of 99 pounds. It also has a sturdy drawer (with metal knobs) that is large enough to store your laptop and other accessories. Plus, the included cable ties and adhesive helps keep your desk clutter-free and cords out of sight.
Best Glass Top: Seville Classics airLIFT Desk
Tempered glass tops can make any desk look sleek, like the Seville Classics airLIFT Desk. Besides looks, however, the glass top lets you write down notes and ideas using dry erase markers—just wipe the surface to clean it.
The desk also uses dual motors that can quietly and quickly raise it from 29 to 47 inches, and the touchscreen controller includes three memory buttons. Additionally, it has two USB-A ports and a drawer with dividers to neatly store your office accessories. This standing desk measures 47.6 x 24 inches and has a weight capacity of 160 pounds.
Best Corner Desk: Fezibo L-Shaped Electric Standing Desk
If you’re tight on office space, the Fezibo L-Shaped Electric Standing Desk is a great choice as it can fit in any corner. The desk has a general work surface of 48 inches, and it has a weight limit of 176 pounds. The dual motors lift the desk from 27.6 to 47.3 inches, and the advanced sensors will automatically stop when detecting obstacles.
The desk also includes a cable management tray and a set of two desk hooks to hang headphones, bags, and other items. This standing desk is available in colors like black, and note that it’s made up of three separate pieces.
The Vari Electric Standing Desk (view at Amazon) is the best overall standing desk, as well as Dr. Conrad’s top choice. The dual motors quickly, quietly, and smoothly raise and lower the desk, and the four programmable height buttons make it a good choice for multiple users. For a more budget-friendly alternative, the Flexispot Adjustable Standing Desk (view at Amazon) is also an excellent pick for its durability, simple controls, and choice of several finishes.
Are standing desks really good for you?
“An adjustable standing desk can be set to fit your body type and reinforce a positive posture, which will help prevent aches and pains from happening,” says Dr. Allen Conrad, BS, DC, CSCS of the Montgomery County Chiropractic Center. “Most computer screens are intended to have you looking directly at the middle of the screen, which helps prevent you from positioning your neck up or down to look at the screen.” However, he says a standing desk can be set up to fit your exact height, which will provide more comfort when working long periods of time.
There are other benefits as well. “As standing burns more calories, this is a way to keep you more active during the workday,” says Dr. Sapna Sriram, a chiropractor and injury expert at Integra Health Centre. She says this can lower the risk of gaining weight, too. “Also, if employees have the option to stand, choosing to do so after a meal is a great way to help with reducing blood sugar spikes and to help with digesting meals,” says Dr. Sriram.
How long should you stand at a standing desk?
Dr. Conrad points to a study by the National Library of Medicine, which recommended that the optimum ratio for prolonged sitting to standing should be 1:1. “Other studies have recommended that for every one hour of sitting, you should use a standing desk for two hours, or 2:1.” Dr. Conrad recommends trying the 1:1 ratio to see how your body feels. “Most patients feel a decrease in neck and back pain with the use of a standing desk, as well as improved overall proper posture,” he says.
How tall should a standing desk be?
The height of the user will determine how tall the standing desk should be. Most desks adjust from approximately 25 to 50 inches, which is more than adequate for most people, regardless of height. However, some companies, like Jarvis, include options with a height range from 22.9 to 43.2 inches.
Why Trust Investopedia?
We researched and reviewed dozens of highly-rated standing desks—and also consulted with experts—before selecting our top picks using several factors. Ease of use is a critical factor, so we evaluated the level of effort required to raise and lower each desk. Quality is also an essential feature, and we chose products based on how well they were built, including the sturdiness of the legs and desktop, as well as the desk’s weight limit. Additionally, we ensured there were a variety of options at varying price points, considering that remote and small business workers have specific needs, such as budget, desktop size and height, and style.
We also relied on the expertise of our writer. Terri Williams has tested hundreds of products. She has written product reviews for Tom’s Guide, The Spruce, Bob Vila, Apartment Therapy, and more. She also covers personal finance for Time, Yahoo, The Balance, Realtor.com, and more.