Buyer’s Guide: Standing Desks
Don’t just sit there! Learn everything you need to know about these workplace wonders that may help you stay healthy on the job.
Sitting at a desk all day had long been associated with “secretary’s spread,” but doctors at the Mayo Clinic point out more serious health risks associated with spending long hours in a chair, including increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, abnormal cholesterol levels, even cardiovascular disease. If you’re like most people, you can’t very well become a professional hiker, so the most sensible way to get off your derriere may be with a standing desk. Though not new—Leonardo da Vinci and Benjamin Franklin were said to be proponents—today’s best standing desk options have come a long way. So if you’re considering purchasing one for your home office (or appealing to your office manager to supply one at work), read on to learn what to look for and check out some top-rated picks.
The Right Desk for You
Just as endless sitting can be detrimental to your health, standing for long periods can be hard on your legs, lower back, and feet. The solution, say experts, is to frequently alternate between standing and sitting—which is why there are several types of standing desks available.
• A stand-only desk is handy if you also have a separate traditional desk nearby, but if you work at a PC, it can be bothersome to move your monitor and keyboard every time you want to switch positions. Stand-only desks are best suited to busy offices with multiple workstations where employees freely move from one area to another without interrupting productivity. This line of desks start around $200 for the bare bones and run as high as $1,000 for hardwood models.
• A sit-stand desk is adjustable, either manually or by motor. Budget-friendly manual models adjust upward and downward by turning a crank or by loosening a knob and then pulling or pushing the desk surface to the desired position. Powered models often come with presets so you needn’t fuss to suit your height every time you change. Convenient adjustment comes at a cost: Manually adjusted sit-stand desks range from about $200 to $800, depending on size and manufacturer, while motorized versions start at around $600 and run upwards of $4,000 for executive models that incorporate even more bells and whistles (read: Wi-Fi and artificial intelligence).
• A sit-stand conversion desk is used in combination with an existing desk. They’re extremely popular because they let you keep your existing desk, with all your pens, paperclips, and other office supplies at your fingertips, with the added benefit of an adjustable desk surface. Conversion desks may be motorized or manual, and range from $200 to more than $1,000, based on brand and power options.
WHAT GETS A STANDING OVATION
These top models have got reviewers—everyone from the experts who tested selections out on a quest to find the best standing desk to the consumers who put them to task every day—up out of their seats.
Ergo Desktop’s Kangaroo Pro Junior ($424)
In the sit-stand conversion desk category, the Kangaroo Pro Junior comes highly recommended by Forbes. After years of testing various models in their own workspace, Forbes chose the Kangaroo Pro Junior for employees who like their existing desks but want versatility. The Kangaroo Pro Junior is a non-attached unit that rests securely on the desk surface but can be lowered or even set aside when necessary. It comes with a work surface and a separate monitor mount that adjust independently for a custom fit. The main work surface is 24 inches wide and 18 inches deep, big enough to comfortably hold a laptop or keyboard. You can manually elevate the work surface, via lifting, up to 15 inches above your existing desk surface. Amazon buyers give the Kangaroo Pro Junior an enthusiastic 4 out of 5 stars for portability, stability, and quick manual surface adjustment. Available from Amazon.
LUXOR Standup-CF48-DW Desk ($335)
For sturdiness, spacious design, durability, and ease of adjustment, the Jerusalem Post made the LUXOR 48” Crank Adjustable Stand-Up Desk its top pick. The non-slip desk surface measures 29.5 inches deep and 47.2 inches wide, giving the user ample room for a laptop, widescreen monitor (or dual monitors), keyboard and other desktop essentials. The working surface adjusts from 29 inches to 42 inches in height and its generous size and smart design make it perfect for the highly motivated to pair with a treadmill or stationary bike. With 3-inch rolling casters, it can easily be relocated without scratching floors; once in place, locking brakes keep it from moving. Amazon buyers give the LUXOR Standup desk 4.6 stars; one buyer notes that the desk can be lowered, via manual crank, from standing to sitting in less than 30 seconds, making it a snap to adjust. Available from Amazon.
Stir Kinetic M1 Sit-To- Stand Desk ($2,990)
Macworld calls the motorized, tech-savvy Stir Kinetic “the smartest desk $2,990 can buy.” Its embedded touch screen allows finger-swipe control as the desk quickly and smoothly adjusts from sitting to standing height. At 33 inches deep, 66 inches wide, and adjusting up to 36 inches in surface height, it also boasts an ergonomically curved desk front with gently sloping sides for ultimate standing comfort. There’s a cable slot and four AC power outlets to accommodate a laptop, monitor, peripherals, even a plug-in a desk lamp. Amazon buyers give the Stir Kinetic a full 5 stars for sleek design and cutting-edge technology. The desk is Wi-Fi- capable, offers cloud storage, and features an integrated fitness app designed to sense your presence and coax you into healthier work habits. You can program it to gradually increase your standing time and to adapt to your personal habits. Available from Amazon.