Updated March 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Buying guide for best standing desks

Anyone who works in an office spends a great deal of time behind a desk. It’s inevitable. While sitting may seem like a pretty harmless way to to spend your day, it can actually pose a variety of health risks. Several studies have linked long periods of sitting with weight gain, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and other health issues.

The solution probably seems pretty easy — just stand up a little more — but if your work involves a computer, standing isn’t very practical.

Unless you invest in a standing desk.

As the name implies, a standing desk allows you to stand while you work at your computer, talk on the phone, or do paperwork in a comfortable, ergonomic way, so you don’t spend the entire day sitting in a chair.

If you’re going to purchase in a standing desk, it’s important to choose the right one. That means getting the appropriate size, material, design, and other features so you're as comfortable as possible.

At BestReviews, we buy all our own products, so our recommendations are completely unbiased. We also conduct field research and consult with experts like Matthew, an IT professional and product manager with over a decade of experience. Our diligent work allows us to pass along all the info you need to make the most educated shopping decision.

If you’re ready to buy a standing desk, take a look at the product list above for our top recommendations. For general info about choosing a standing desk, continue reading our shopping guide.

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If you begin to feel fatigued while standing, try to take a walk or even sit down for a moment to change your pose.

What is a standing desk?

Simply put, a standing desk is a desk that’s tall enough to allow you to stand at it comfortably while working. Many models are adjustable, so you can find the ideal standing height for your needs or lower it completely so you can sit for periods throughout the day.

"Some research indicates that standing desks can actually help boost your mood and increase your energy level as compared to a sitting desk. "
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Why should you buy a standing desk?

  • Standing burns more calories than sitting, so using a standing desk can help lower your chance of weight gain and obesity.

  • A sedentary lifestyle has been linked to an increased chance of heart disease, so using a standing desk can help boost your heart health.

  • A lack of physical activity is linked to many types of cancer, including breast, ovarian, prostate, and colon, so a standing desk is believed to help reduce your risk of cancer.

  • Standing after lunch helps reduce blood sugar spikes that occur after eating, so a standing desk can help keep your blood sugar levels under control.

  • If you suffer from back pain, a standing desk often helps alleviate the symptoms.

  • A standing desk can help improve your posture if it’s set up the right way because it keeps you from slouching or hunching over your keyboard.

  • Some research indicates that standing desks can actually help boost your mood and increase your energy level.

  • Studies suggest that a standing desk can increase your workplace productivity, even if you use it for as little as four hours a day.

  • Research has shown a link between sitting for prolonged periods and premature death, so a standing desk may actually increase your life expectancy.

How do you get accustomed to a standing desk?

If you’re ready to switch to a standing desk, it’s best to ease your way into using the new furniture. Alternate between sitting and standing in 30 to 60 minute intervals so you don’t get tired from standing all day.

A good way to make the adjustment is to start your day standing, but then sit down whenever your legs start to feel tired. When your back, legs, or hips start to feel tight from sitting in a chair, stand up again.

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Expert Tip
Many standing desk users lose weight in the first few weeks of use thanks to the increased activity.
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What should you look for in a standing desk?

Size

When it comes to standing desks, you can choose from two main size options: large, freestanding models, and small, add-on styles.

A freestanding desk is exactly what it sounds like: a large desk that’s similar to any traditional desk, except that its height allows you to stand while you work at your computer.

These desks have the proper space to elevate your keyboard, monitor, books, and other accessories, so they’ll all be within reach when you’re on your feet. The desks can vary slightly in size just as traditional desks do, making it easy to find an option that fits your workspace.

If you’re purchasing a freestanding desk, measure your workspace carefully so you know what size model you can accommodate.

An add-on standing desk is a small table or platform that you place on top of an existing desk to increase its height, so you can stand. Some models hover above the desk surface, rather than sitting on it to maximize space.

Some add-on standing desks have a single, fixed height, which means you can’t place your computer components at different heights. That can affect the desk’s ergonomics, so you may develop wrist pain.

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Expert Tip
A standing desk can help improve your posture because it keeps you from slouching or hunching over your keyboard.
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Material and construction

Standing desks come in a variety of materials, including wood, metal, and laminate. Most models feature a metal frame and work surfaces or shelves made of wood or laminate. You often have a choice of color when it comes to the wood and laminate, so you can select a desk that complements your existing workspace.

The best standing desks feature multiple work surfaces or shelves, so you have plenty of space for your computer, lamp, and other office accessories.

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Expert Tip
If you’re new to standing desks, look for an adjustable option that can be used for both standing and sitting.
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Adjustability

Many standing desks are adjustable, so you can alternate between standing and sitting at the desk. However, some standing desks are easier to adjust than others.

If you’re looking for the easiest desk to adjust, opt for a model with electric adjustability. You simply press a button, and the desk moves up or down.

A crank standing desk allows you to raise or lower it by turning a lever manually. It’s a fairly easy process, but it may not be the best option for individuals with arthritis or other joint pain.

Other standing desks can be adjusted if you remove some bolts and extend the legs. These are the most difficult to adjust, though, because you must remove all of your belongings from the desk surface to raise or lower it.

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Expert Tip
Proper ergonomic setup for your standing desk may help save you from chronic back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, RSI, and even more serious health issues like blood clots.
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Walking feature

If standing alone doesn’t seem like enough of a boost for your health, you can opt for a standing desk that actually allows you to walk while you work. With an attached treadmill, you can stay mobile as you use your computer, talk on the phone, and complete other work.

Look for a model with a quiet motor so you can concentrate on your work. It also helps to choose a style that tracks your steps for the day, so you know exactly how active you’ve been.

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Did you know?
While many doctors recommend standing desks for health benefits, be sure to maintain good posture while working at them, or they may be detrimental in the long run.
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How much should you pay for a standing desk?

Standing desks vary in price based on their size and other features, but you can typically expect to pay between $85 and $3,000.

For a standing desk riser that’s placed on an existing desk, you’ll usually pay between $85 and $150.

For a basic adjustable standing desk, expect to pay between $160 and $400.

For a large, adjustable standing desk, prices range between $500 and $900.

For a large, adjustable standing desk with special features, you’ll usually pay between $1,000 and $3,000.

Tips and tricks

  • You don’t necessarily need to stand all day with a standing desk. Adjust the desk periodically throughout your work day to alternate between sitting and standing.  Aim for one hour of standing for every one to two hours of sitting.

  • With a standing desk, it’s important to get the position of your computer screen right. Set it up so the monitor is approximately 20 to 28 inches from your face.

  • When you’re standing at your desk, keep your mouse and keyboard at the same level so your wrists are straight when you type. That can help eliminate wrist pain.

  • Using an anti-fatigue mat beneath a standing desk promotes subtle movements in the muscles in your legs to boost blood flow. It can make standing for long periods more comfortable.

  • It’s a good idea to add arm supports to your standing desk to take pressure off your wrists when you’re typing.

  • Practice good posture when using a standing desk. Stand so that your toes are pointing forward and your hips are back, and use your ab muscles to align your spine.

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Compared to working while seated, standing desk users burned more than 170 additional calories in the same time period.

FAQ

Q. Are standing desk difficult to assemble?
A.
Standing desks usually aren’t any more difficult to assemble than traditional desks. Most can be assembled in less than an hour, though it can take even less time if you’re particularly handy.

Q. What height should I choose for a standing desk?
A.
The ideal height for a standing desk depends on your height and body type. In general, a desk between 38 and 44 inches works well for people between 5’2” and 6’0”. If you’re taller than 6’0”, opt for a desk that’s 45 inches or taller.

Q. Do certain shoes work better with a standing desk?
A.
For maximum comfort at a standing desk, opt for shoes with little to no heel. Make sure that they don’t put pressure on any particular part of the foot.

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