“Best standing desk?” Doesn’t seem like exactly the perfect-match topic for a “WordPress advice” blog, does it? Well, actually, it kinda does. Two reasons:
- If you do anything with WordPress professionally, you probably spend most of your day butt-in-chair staring into a screen, hence your desk is almost certainly your main work tool.
- As it turns out, most of our team plus the people we work with remotely do use various types of standing desks daily, which gives us a nice, first-hand insight into the world of the best standing desks available in the market.
So … are standing desks any better than normal desks? I’m not the scientist here, so I’ll let you decide for yourself, but what’s for certain is that standing desks can be intimidating if it’s your first time considering getting one.
🤔 Will I be comfortable standing up for long periods of time? Will there be an option to sit down and chill? Will the investment really be worth it? Which is the best desk for a beginner?
In this resource, we take the topic head-on and compare some of the top options in the market, looking for the best standing desk out there!
This entire post is based on our own experience, the desks we’ve been using, the pros and cons about them, and our conclusions after 6+ years of working while standing up (don’t worry, we do sit down occasionally).
🍫 The types of standing desks
In my book, there are three main types, as illustrated here:
|Fixed standing desks||Converter desks||Sit-stand desks|
Here’s the kicker, there’s no single best standing desk to rule them all – just like there’s no best car overall. What you can do, however, is find the best standing desk for your individual needs. To do that, you first need to decide which of these three types you want to go with. I’ve experimented with all of them, and they certainly all do have their pros and cons.
The surprising thing is that the one that’s actually best suited for a beginner isn’t the one you think…
🤔 How to decide which type of standing desk is best for you
⚡ Should you use converters?
At first thought, converters seem like a good idea for a beginner. After all, a converter is basically a standard desk with an additional stand(s) for your keyboard and monitor on top of it. But there’s more to the story:
👍 The pros of converters
- You can put them on any desk or any flat surface.
- They’re cheap.
- Somewhat portable.
- You can adjust the height to whatever fits you best.
- You can lower it down and use the desk while sitting down.
👎 The cons of converters
- They’re not very ergonomic.
- Can be unstable and wobbly since there’s a couple of elements that make up the desk.
- They don’t look good (granted, this is a personal opinion).
- They’re the spork of the standing desk world.
Let’s elaborate on that last thing for a minute. Why are they the spork of the standing desk world? Well, I think you know why. They’re truly great at neither letting you work while standing up nor while sitting down.
You’re always going to get a better experience with a dedicated solution – a desk that’s fixed either in the up or down position. Converters are simply a huge tradeoff.
Also, about the ergonomics, the big downside is that as you’re standing up, you have your desktop somewhere around your waist area, and it’s protruding beyond the rest of the setup. This means you don’t get the space you might need to feel comfortable. You can see this in the previous image. Additionally, when you’re sitting down, there’s just too much stuff on the desktop – stuff that doesn’t need to be there.
So should you use converters? If it’s your first time getting into standing desks, the answer is no. They will only make things more uncomfortable and cluttered compared to a single, clean desktop with only the essentials on it.
If you’ve already experimented with standing desks and you need a setup that’s somewhat portable and allows you to set yourself up outside of your office, you can give them a try.
⚡ Should you use fixed standing desks?
Now for a more beginner-friendly type of desk:
The fixed standing desk!
This might sound counterintuitive, but hear me out:
👍 The pros of fixed standing desks
- You can keep your desktop clean.
- They’re extra cheap.
- They actually look like a desk and people won’t laugh at you.
👎 The cons of fixed standing desks
- They can’t be used while sitting down.
- Adjusting the height is problematic.
It might come as a surprise, but fixed standing desks are the cheapest of all types of standing desks. If you decide to buy yours from IKEA (more on that later), you can get it for as little as $83 (a more polished setup is around $160).
As for the cons, they’re not really serious once you start living with your setup day to day. You likely only need to set the desk up once, to match your height, so adjusting the height of the desk on an ongoing basis isn’t really something that happens.
⚡ Should you use sit-stand desks?
Last but not least, we have the final type of standing desk – the sit-stand desk.
Those come in two flavors: motorized by a hand crank (as in, it’s your muscles that actually motorize the desk), motorized by an electric engine.
👍 The pros of motorized standing desks
- You can keep your desktop clean.
- They actually look like a desk.
- Can be used when sitting down.
- They’re super convenient when changing from stand to sit.
- You can program a couple of height settings to match your preference.
- Adjusting the height is literally push-button easy.
👎 The cons of motorized standing desks
- They tend to be expensive.
Literally, if it wasn’t for the price (usually in the range of $200-$800), the motorized desk would be the best solution of them all, hands down!
But as much as I love my desk, I do have to acknowledge that it’s not the perfect solution for someone new to standing desks who doesn’t necessarily know yet if it’s a style of work they’re going to stick with. The investment is just too big.
🎓 The verdict on which type of desk to choose
In summary, here’s the conclusion on the best type of standing desk:
|Fixed standing desks||Converter desks||Sit-stand desks|
|Best for a newbie.||Best if you want a portable setup and don’t mind the flaws.||Best if you’re already confident that standing desks are for you.|
Now that you know what type of desk is probably going to be best for you, let’s look at actual desk models that you can get:
🔥 Looking for the best standing desk: six options compared
IKEA DIY build
The cheapest standing desk you can get at IKEA (at the time of writing) is $83. In that price, you get four of these legs, and this table top. If you want to go more premium and also get more desktop space, get this top instead.
Frankly, the dimensions above are just an example since IKEA allows you to customize your desk however you wish. You can pick from a huge catalog of table tops and legs and then just put the two together to get a more personalized look.
One additional benefit is that the legs in this setup are adjustable, meaning that if you don’t end up loving your desk, you can still lower it down to a sitting position and use it normally.
On the flip side, you don’t get any additional features with this desk. No drawers, no cable management elements, etc. That being said, it’s IKEA we’re talking about here, so you can always just grab yourself those as you’re going through the store.
SKARSTA is IKEA’s only sensible sit-stand desk, as it turns out. While the company does offer solutions like BEKANT, which come with an electric motor, the reviews on those are not stellar (2/5) – so you’d most likely experience some problems further down the road.
SKARSTA, on the other hand, has very good reviews, and most people seem to love it! … Sans the need to crank it up and down by hand.
The mechanism is reliable, and there are two main versions available, based on the top size.
Actually, those are the exact desks that we have at the office. Check them out:
When it comes to extra features, there aren’t any. Cable management, drawers and storage, that’s all on you. But, again, you can get all you need from IKEA as you’re buying the desk itself.
Generic electric desk from VIVO/Allcam/PrimeCables
This is the desk I currently use. And, in all honesty, it looks like it’s a generic electric desk of Chinese origin. You can buy it all over the world under a handful of different brands. PrimeCables sells it in Canada under their own brand, Amazon sells it in the US, branded VIVO and in the UK and Europe, branded Allcam. Those all look to be the same once you start examining the assembly instructions.
The price varies a lot depending on where you buy it. Mine was $350, but I did need to buy the table top separately since there was only the frame in the package (double check that when buying yours).
When it comes to the mechanism, it’s nice, and there are dual motors. Relatively silent, but you’re not going to be moving it up and down all the time anyway, so it’s no big deal either way.
You can store three height settings and switch between them via this cool touch console, which also displays the current height.
The arrows allow you to move the desk up and down in small increments. The box contains all the components needed, but the whole thing comes disassembled. Though it can be intimidating when you see all those parts, the setup is pretty straightforward and takes about 30 minutes.
Another perk is that the frame can also be adjusted to fit different size tops. Refer to the manual when making the purchase.
Jarvis offers a couple of interesting standing desks and a range of accessories that go with them. Though it can get expensive quickly, the reviews seem to suggest that the investment might be worth it.
First off, you get to pick the shape of the top, add a chair that’s built specifically for sit-stand setups, get an additional standing mat, plus a couple of other interesting things.
VIVO Converter Desk
VIVO is the one used by our colleague Colin, though he has a couple of extra elements added (the converter itself is highlighted):
What this standing desk has going for it is that you can adjust the height of both surfaces – the top (for your monitor) and the lower deck (for your keyboard). This gives you a lot of customizability, which can make longer sessions easier.
However, the thing about converters is that they still can’t be cheaper than fixed desks most of the time. There’s just too many parts to make the mechanism work, compared to just a standard “legs + top” setup of fixed desks.
In this case, you can get the manual version for $140 and the motorized one for $230, which is a bit too close to the price of a normal motorized sit-stand desk if you ask me.
Fancierstudio Riser Desk
Fancierstudio Riser Desk is a great alternative to VIVO’s if you want something perhaps a bit better looking and you don’t mind the higher price tag compared to the entry-level model of VIVO.
The Fancierstudio’s desk has really good reviews and an interesting mechanism. Whereas VIVO moves kind of like a harmonica, the Fancierstudio’s Riser moves up and towards the user. This helps you gain more space and avoid the protruding desktop problem that I talked about above.
It also looks quite good when you’re using it as a monitor stand when sitting down.
📊 Best standing desk: summary
Here’s a quick summary table of everything that we’ve discussed in this post:
|IKEA DIY build||IKEA SKARSTA||VIVO / Allcam||Jarvis Desk||VIVO Converter Desk||Fancierstudio Riser Desk|
|Price||$83-$160||$249-$279||$250-$450||$439||$140 (manual), $330 (electric)||$180|
|Max height||36 3/4 “||47 1/4 “||48 1/2 “||45 3/4 “||from 4.2 ” to 19.7 ” above your desktop||from 5 ” to 17.7 ” above your desktop|
|Top||47 1/4 x 23 5/8 ” (cheap) OR 61 x 29 1/2 ” (premium)||47 1/4 x 27 1/2 ” (cheaper) OR 63 x 31 1/2 ” (more expensive)||41 x 23 ” to 85 x 44 “||from 30×27 ” to 72×30 “||31.5 x 15.7 ” + 31.3 x 11.8 ” (lower deck)||29.5 x 38 “|
|Capacity||110 lbs||110 lbs||175 lbs||350 lbs||unknown||30 lbs|
|Motorized||no||hand crank||yes – electric||yes – electric||yes/no||adjustable by hand|
Here’s what the team thinks of their standing desks:
What they’re missing: a small drawer for keeping the desk clean. I also think they’re quite expensive for someone who doesn’t work from home full time.Sabina Ionescu
Pros: This one is obvious, it’s just nice to be able to stand up, stretch a bit, and proceed to work in a different position.
Cons: I have days when I get tired really fast, and want to also sit down, so it’s time-consuming getting the desk up and down multiple times.Rodica Andronache
I’d say the advantage is that you can adjust the height to match your preference (not only when standing up). For me, many desks have a low height, but with this one, I can have it higher or lower depending on my needs. Plus, in the afternoon standing up really helps with focus.Radu Cănănău
I have a motorized desk. It’s good, but perhaps a bit too expensive (500 EUR in my case). I think the hand-cranked ones are actually perfect. In my case, 95% of the time I use it in the same position. Since I don’t transition a lot, I don’t really need the electric motor.Ionut Neagu
⭐ Bonus: Other accessories to consider
Buying your standing desk is usually step one, but you’re also going to need a couple of extras to make your work more enjoyable.
- swivel chair – $120
- non-flat anti-fatigue mat – $79
- under-desk computer holder – $84.12
- heavy-duty monitor arm – $76.56
Of course, you don’t need all those, and the under-desk computer holder is just funny. In all seriousness, though, the non-flat mat is a really nice addition and can help you a lot through long work sessions.
So, do you use a standing desk? What’s your experience been so far? What is the best standing desk for you?
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