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Although sit-stand desks have been around for some time, they’re still a relatively new concept to some. However, one thing’s for certain — standing desks are now touted as a revolutionary way to improve your daily work processes. They’re also said to help with health and, in some ways, fitness. With the right standing desk, you can create an ergonomic setup that can help make your workday much more comfortable.
In this article, we discuss the pros and cons of using standing desks. We also put together a handy buying guide to help you find the best standing desk for your needs. Let’s get right to it!
What Are the Pros and Cons of Using Standing Desks?
It’s completely understandable to be unsure about getting a sit-stand desk. Although they are rapidly gaining popularity, they’re still relatively new to many.
Standing desks, like any other item or product, standing desks have pros and cons. Even the best electric standing desks have the same advantages and disadvantages. If you’re wondering what those are, we discuss them below.
Related: Best Under Desk Treadmill: Get Fit at Work
Pros of Using Standing Desks
Finding the right standing desk has become much easier nowadays, especially when you consider the fact that desks nowadays have so many customization options. You can select your configuration to get a functional and stylish standing desk for your workspace.
Not only are these sit-stand desks versatile, but they also offer many other benefits, such as:
- Standing desks can be better for your health by lessening time spent sitting during your workday. By now, most people are aware of the potential risks of spending too much time sitting down. Sitting down burns less energy than standing overall, even if it’s not by much. Additionally, too much sitting can increase your risk of health issues like high blood sugar, high blood pressure, increased cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer. Thus, including an increasing amount of time on your feet into your workday can be a positive addition to your overall health.
- A sit-stand desk can add some variation to an otherwise monotonous workday. When your work routine involves spending much of your time seated at your desk, having a desk that moves up and down can be amazing. The ability to go from sitting to standing can be enough to refresh you and help you focus more. Additionally, standing gives you freedom of movement, which means you can enjoy your background work music a little better.
- A standing desk brings better ergonomics, resulting in less pain. You don’t need the best-rated standing desk to feel this benefit, either. As long as your desk (and ergonomic chair) is the right size and height range for you, you can improve your overall setup to make sure it lessens and prevents neck, shoulder, and back pain.
- Standing desks can help you burn more calories. If you are completely sedentary, adding some time on your feet can be enough to jumpstart a lifestyle change. Sitting burns about 60-130 calories in an hour. On the other hand, standing can help you burn anywhere from 100-200 calories an hour. For some, even this slight change can be enough to help improve their health. It can even encourage healthier habits.
- A height-adjustable desk can be combined with other equipment to boost activity further. Some like using their sit-stand desks with under-desk ellipticals, desk bikes, and walking pads. Although working and using these types of equipment simultaneously means you probably aren’t getting a proper workout, an increase in activity throughout the day quickly adds up.
Cons of Using Standing Desks
Standing desks aren’t perfect, even if you have the best adjustable standing desk available today. With all the above advantages, you get some disadvantages like:
- Some standing desks can be far more expensive than standard desks. It’s true. You can probably find standard desks at far more affordable prices than equivalent sit-stand desks. In our opinion, quality standing desks start at around $200. Any lower, and they can be somewhat sketchy, at least in terms of quality. It’s worth noting that there are some exceptions, such as height-adjustable laptop carts or sit-stand converters.
- Some desks can be hard to set up. You may struggle if your desk doesn’t come assembled and you aren’t comfortable putting furniture with moving parts together.
- If you have a manual standing desk, you may use its standing mode less often. Let’s face it. Sometimes, adding an extra step, such as manually adjusting your desk’s height, can dissuade you from doing it as often or at all. If you think this might be the case for you, you may want to invest in an electric desk.
- Standing desks have moving parts, and moving parts tend to break over time. Be prepared to take good care of your desk to avoid reducing its lifespan. You should also always avoid overloading your desk beyond its rated weight capacity. This is especially important for automatic desks, as you don’t want to burn your motor out!
- Automatic desks can be noisy. If you’re working late at night, adjusting your desk’s height can be pretty loud in a quiet environment.
- You may need more accessories. For example, standing desks can bring cable management issues. You may need special trays or attachments to hide cables or bring extension cords closer to your electronics. You may also need an anti-fatigue mat to make prolonged standing more comfortable.
Best Standing Desk for Your Work Setup in 2023
FlexiSpot EW8 – Best Electronic Desk with Built-in Storage
- Dimensions: 47.3″ x 23.7″
- Height Range: 28.3″ to 47.6″ (incl. 2.6” tabletop)
- Manual or Electric: Electric
- Maximum Weight: 110lbs
- Additional Features: Drawer; 3 integrated USB ports; 5-year warranty (2 years for switch, controller, electronics and other mechanisms)
The FlexiSpot EW8 is an excellent option for you if you find yourself wanting extra storage in your workspace. Although it only comes with a shallow drawer, the extra storage can be more than enough for some documents, notepads, stationery, and other small items.
You can find this electric desk in five colorways, so you can choose the one that suits your space best. Among them, you can find a glass desktop option.
- 5 colorways to choose from
- Built-in drawer means extra storage
- Relatively easy to assemble
- Integrated USB ports for charging
- Not the best for shorter users
- Can be challenging for smaller users to build
Seville Classics Airlift Sit-Stand Mobile Laptop Desk – Best Mobile Laptop Standing Desk
- Dimensions: 28.1″ x 19.6″ x 27.1″ (height when not extended)
- Height Range: 27.1″ to 41.9″
- Manual or Electric: Manual; gas lift
- Maximum Weight: 35lbs
- Additional Features: Locking wheels
This new model Seville Classics Airlift Sit-Stand Mobile Laptop Desk comes in either white or espresso and has a 28” work surface. It’s a truly mobile workstation made even better by its gas pneumatic height adjustment. It’s not the most stable of desks with standing option, but you can’t quite beat its convenience. With this desk, you can use your MacBook or any other laptop with ease.
You can also buy this in a more affordable version without a gas lift. It’s not the most convenient or easy adjustment, but you can’t beat the price!
- Has locking wheels to allow mobility when necessary
- Larger desktop gives you ample space for a mouse or other accessories and activities
- Not the tallest or most stable
- Still a small desktop for those who need more space
- Only 35lbs capacity
Uplift Desk V2 – The Premium Electronic Desk with the Best Inclusions
- Desktop Widths:
- 42”, 48”, 60”, 72”, 80”
- Height Range: 24.3″ – 49.9″ without desktop
- Manual or Electric: Electric
- Maximum Weight: 355lbs
- Additional Features: Store up to 4 height presets according to your preference; comes with many accessories (wire management tray, bamboo rocker-x board); 15-year warranty
You would hope that you would get quality and great value for the premium price you pay for the Uplift Desk V2. Thankfully, the desk delivers in every possible way. There are five desktop width options so you can choose the perfect size for your space.
This desk can go as low as 24.3”, making it suitable for smaller users. It has a weight capacity of 355lbs, so you won’t have to worry about what you put on your desk. You also get accessories such as the wire management tray and the bamboo rocker-x board for use in standing mode.
- Great for even the shorter users, thanks to lower minimum height
- Five desktop sizes to choose from
- High weight capacity
- Store your height presets
- Comes with plenty of accessories
- 30-day trial window for returns, free return shipping
- 15-year warranty
- Can be challenging to put together
FlexiSpot EC1 – Best Affordable Electric Standing Desk
- Desktop Sizes:
- Height Range: 28″ to 47.6″
- Manual or Electric: Electric
- Maximum Weight: 154lbs
- Additional Features: 5-year warranty (2 years for switch, controller, electronics, and other mechanisms)
FlexiSpot has an entire range of standing desks and desk converters. The EC1 Essential Standing Desk is a fantastic choice for those looking for an affordable option without compromising quality or reliability.
- Plenty of desktop size options
- Plenty of color choices
- 5-year warranty
- Not the easiest to set up, but instructions are clear enough
- Not the best for shorter users
Vivo Manual Standing Desk – Best Affordable Manual Standing Desk
- Desktop Sizes:
- 43″ x 24″
- 48″ x 30″
- 60″ x 24″
- Height Range: 28.8″ to 48.1
- Manual or Electric: Manual; Hand-crank
- Maximum Weight: 154lbs
- Additional Features: 3-year warranty
The Vivo Manual Standing Desk is a great choice for those seeking an affordable sit-stand desk without any electronic components. It comes with a three-year manufacturer’s warranty for extra peace of mind.
You can find the Vivo Manual Standing Desk in three desktop sizes and a dozen colorways, so you can choose the exact configuration that’s best for you and your space.
- 3-year manufacturer’s warranty
- 154lbs weight capacity
- Still easy to hand-crank despite heavier loads
- No electric components means fewer parts to maintain or worry about
- At 28.8” minimum height, this desk is not the best for smaller users
- Still relatively pricey even for a manual desk
FlexiSpot EF1 – Best Two-Tiered Standing Desk for Monitor Ergonomics
- Dimensions: 48” x 24”, 55” x 28”
- Height Range: 28.7″ to 48.4″
- Manual or Electric: Electric
- Maximum Weight: 132lbs
- Additional Features: 5-year warranty (2 years for switch, controller, electronics and other mechanisms)
The FlexiSpot EF1 is one of the best adjustable desks for home office use simply because it comes in two tiers. You automatically get a higher tier for your displays, making it easier for you to create an ergonomic monitor setup. You probably won’t need to buy additional monitor arms or risers!
The lower tier also allows you to have a more ergonomic setup for your hands and wrists, which can help prevent carpal tunnel. Perhaps the only downside is the lower tier isn’t the best setup for writing or other activities needing more space.
- Can be great for ergonomics
- May eliminate the need for monitor stands and risers
- 5-year warranty
- Few color options and desktop size options
- Not for shorter users, due to the 28.7” minimum height
TechOrbits Standing Desk Converter – Best Desk Converter
- Dimensions: 37.4” x 16.1” x 19.88”
- Height Range: Up to 20” high
- Manual or Electric: Manual, gas spring
- Maximum Weight: 35lbs on top tier; 5lbs on lower tier
- Additional Features: Phone or tablet slot; keyboard and mouse tray
If you’re looking for a less permanent solution to your sit-stand woes, the TechOrbits Standing Desk Converter is a fantastic choice. With this converter, you can turn any surface or table into a standing desk. Plop it on your regular desk and call it a day!
This standing desk converter also comes in two other sizes so that you can select the perfect size for your needs. You can also find it in a 32” width or 42” width.
- Gas spring lift allows easy and convenient height adjustment
- Two-tier for ergonomics
- Large enough for two displays
- Bulky and clunky, not the most attractive solution
- Low weight capacity
How We Chose the Best Standing Desks
As we considered which desks should be on this list, we looked at a few factors to help us decide. We also used our experience with standing desks (this editor has gone through two) and the shopping process for them as we put together this list.
Here are other things we did:
- We joined forums and checked social media, including Reddit, to see what people prefer the most. From this point, we began putting together a list of desks to consider.
- We looked at manufacturers to ensure they are reliable, trustworthy, and put out good products according to reviews.
- We made sure to look at both manual and electric standing desks to provide variety for readers.
- We considered desks at various height ranges to ensure we included options for any height.
- We looked at cost and ensured we considered desks at every budget. We also chose desks with good warranties to ensure that they’d have the longevity needed to make your investment worth it.
Other things we took into consideration are customizability (i.e., the ability to choose colors, designs, desktops, etc.), ease of purchase and/or assembly, and whether there are accessories that can come handy in your setup. We also looked at desks that had high weight ratings, so you won’t end up being unable to put what you need on yours. Of course, we also looked at reviews to ensure that the desks we chose were well-received and liked by the users.
The resulting list includes a variety of options to ensure that there is something for you, no matter your needs and preferences.
What to Consider When Buying a Standing Desk
There are a few things to remember when shopping for the best height-adjustable desk. Consider the below:
Do you want a manual or automatic (electric) standing desk?
For some, the best standing desk for home office use is of the manual variety. Others, on the other hand, may prefer electric desks. Each has its own pros and cons.
- Manual desks don’t have motors that can break and burn out, which means less electricity consumption. They can also be much cheaper to buy and can potentially last longer.
- Electric desks are just much more convenient to use overall.
In the end, it will come down to personal preferences.
Desktop Size and Weight Limit
Part of the fun of shopping for standing desks is their customizability. You can pick colorways, desktops, sizes, and more. It’s up to you to decide which desktop size suits your space best!
That said, every standing desk will have a different maximum weight limit. It’s essential to stay within the limit to avoid burning out your desk’s motor or experiencing issues like the desk getting stuck or slowly lowering on its own. Look for desks with higher weight ratings so you can worry less.
Height Range and Stability
Not all standing desks are created equally, just like not all humans are the same size or height. Choose the suitable height range for your needs to ensure your experience is as optimal as possible. With the right desk and a good work monitor setup, you can avoid craning your neck as much!
Some standing desks may not be as stable at full height. Before you purchase your desk, ensure you look at reviews to see whether others have complained of instability when the desk is in standing mode.
Ease of Setup
Some desks may arrive to you pre-assembled, completely eliminating any setup troubles. Others, on the other hand, may arrive in a box with instructions and tools. If you aren’t particularly handy, choose a desk that comes preassembled or is easier to assemble on your own. Alternatively, have someone help you build your desk when it arrives.
Some desks come with better warranty policies than others. If you worry about the longevity of your investment or just want some extra peace of mind, it may help you to purchase a product that comes with a good policy.
- Style, Design, or Aesthetic – The best-looking standing desks can vary depending on people’s tastes. For example, to you, the best-looking choice might be a minimal standing desk. Others may not agree. Choose according to your preferences!
- Accessories – Some desks come with accessories such as cable management trays, grommets, and drawers. Some may come pre-bundled with an anti-fatigue mat. Although it’s not vital to your purchase, considering accessory inclusions may help you get a better deal overall.
Why Trust Us
At Productivity Spot, we do our best to provide support for our readers. We do this by showing them how to do certain things through step-by-step guides, giving product recommendations to help improve their workspaces and quality of life, giving app and book recommendations to help them establish good habits, and more.
With that as our primary goal, we aim to provide accurate and valuable information in every article to ensure our readers benefit as much as possible. In line with this goal, we do in-depth research and rigorous testing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are standing desks really worth it?
Whether a standing desk will be worth it for you depends on your needs and preferences. If you don’t spend much time at your desk or think you probably won’t end up using your desk’s standing function much, then even the best sit-stand desk won’t be worth it for you. However, if you spend a lot of time working at your desk and feel your health is beginning to suffer, a standing desk might be exactly what you need (just make sure you actually use it!).
Is it best to sit or stand at my desk?
You can sit or stand at your desk at will as long as you have an ergonomic setup that won’t affect your body or health. However, there are many reasons you’d probably want a height-adjustable desk if you spend a lot of time sitting. For example, spending more time standing can reduce back, shoulder, and neck pain. According to Harvard Health, sitting less can also reduce your risks for other problems like obesity, diabetes, and more.
Are standing desks better for people with ADHD?
The answer to this question truly depends on the person. In this editor’s experience, a standing desk has been helpful during moments of hyperactivity, thanks to more freedom of movement. Moving from sitting to standing has also helped shift this editor’s mentality into “work mode” on the worst ADHD days. Though that’s all anecdotal, there are some who think a sit-stand desk can be truly helpful for those with ADHD.
How many hours a day should I stand at my desk?
Although it’s good to spend more time on your feet, not everyone can jump straight into standing for hours a day. The best way to figure out how much time you should spend standing is just to experiment — though it’s best to take it a little bit at a time. Start with a few minutes per hour or every other hour, or spend half an hour standing and an hour and a half sitting, etc., until you can find your perfect balance!
How long will a standing desk last?
A top standing desk can last for several years or even decades with good care. Even if the motor in your electric standing desk eventually fails or some of its components break with no hope for repair, you’ll still have a normal desk. Just make sure that when you buy your desk, you purchase it from a reputable manufacturer and that it has a good enough warranty. Also, make sure that your desk is not overloaded. Stay within the weight rating!
If you spend a lot of your time at your desk — and let’s face it, you probably do — a standing desk can be an amazing investment that can significantly improve your quality of life. Choosing the right one for your space is the best way to ensure you have a comfortable and ergonomic setup for many years to come!
Our buying guide above can help you choose the best standing desk for your needs. If you are unsure which one suits your needs best, keep our tips handy to help you choose. And if you think we missed a desk that should be on this list, let us know in the comments below!
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Chriselle has been a passionate writer for over 10 years, working with many publications worldwide. She currently writes for Productivity Spot, The Grad Cafe, and Hackr.io, among others.