Welcome to our pick of the best standing desks in 2020, but why should you buy a standing desk? Sitting is the new smoking is the new cliché which the mainstream media certainly picked up and ran with, although researchers have warned that shock headlines built around this phrase devalue the perceived risks of the truly damaging habit of smoking.
All this publicity has doubtless helped drive the popularity of standing desks, though, making people sit up and take notice – or indeed stand up and take notice. And while the danger is that sitting cannot remotely be equated to smoking – the American Journal of Public Health points out that the latter increases the risk of premature death (due to any cause) by around 180% – sitting is still bad for you.
The same researchers found that excessive sitting (for something like more than eight hours a day) is still very harmful, potentially increasing the risk of premature death (or developing some chronic diseases) by around 10% to 20%.
Standing all day can be as bad for you as constantly sitting, though, so the theory with standing desks is actually to mix up sitting and standing – the best standing desks are height adjustable – varying your posture to hopefully also help with potential ergonomic issues and related aches and pains.
Some studies have found “an improvement in discomfort and pain as people use the desks”, and not just with the obvious lower back pains long hours in a chair might cause.
Of course we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that being sedentary is the real enemy here in terms of the damage done to the body, whether you’re sitting, standing, or doing handstands.
So whether you have an ordinary or standing desk, don’t forget to regularly move away from it, walk around, and generally get your blood pumping a bit in some manner. Beyond simply standing or sitting, you should be moving some of the time (which is why things like ‘walking meetings’ are catching on with more progressive businesses).
At any rate, if you’re considering purchasing one of the best standing desks, we’ve picked out the top products right here, from high-end smart desks to more wallet-friendly options, as well as desk converters and even a standing desk targeted at gamers.
As a final note, along with your standing desk, it’s well worth considering the purchase of an accompanying mat to stand on, to make things easier on your feet and help with comfort levels. Many standing desk makers offer bundled mats of one kind or another, though you may find a cheaper product by shopping around online elsewhere.
The best standing desks 2020 at a glance:
- Uplift V2
- ApexDesk Elite
- Fully Jarvis Bamboo
- Varidesk ProDesk 48 Electric
- FlexiSpot Manual Height Adjustable Desk
- FlexiSpot EN1B
- Stir Kinetic Desk M1
- Evodesk Gaming Desk
- Uplift E7 Electric Standing Desk Converter
- FlexiSpot ClassicRiser Standing Desk Converter
- Also see the best ergonomic office chairs of 2020
The best standing desks of 2020
Uplift V2 is a standing desk that benefits from top-notch build quality, and prides itself on stability. An issue which can be found with some standing desks is that they might be a bit wobbly, particularly when extended to higher levels. Uplift is nicely stable, though, thanks to built-in stability braces.
Dual-motors mean the desk can change heights quickly, with a smooth and quiet action, and anti-collision tech is also in the mix (meaning if the desk is lowering and hits something – like your seat, or heaven forbid your head – it stops).
The desk also benefits from a large number of mounting points for accessories, with some pretty nifty extras that can be hooked up to this thing – including an under-desk hammock (yes you read that right – it attaches underneath when the desk is fully raised up). If there’s any testament you need to the stability of this unit, it’s being able to sleep in a hammock under it!
There are loads of choices for desktop sizes and colors (and indeed frame colors), you get built-in cable management, and there are curved or corner desk models. The products are backed by an impressive seven-year warranty, too.
The Uplift is available in standard and commercial standing desk versions (the latter has even more stability thanks to a crossbar), and those outside the US can order a unit to be shipped. However, it will be delivered as ‘palletized freight’, and could be expensive – so the maker suggests purchasing the Uplift frame only and sourcing your own desktop for it locally.
Need a lot of desk space for all your stuff, like multiple monitors, or other peripherals? Then ApexDesk Elite is a good port of call for another high-quality desk which delivers some serious walnut real-estate (other woods are available, of course!) – and the real bonus is that it’s nicely priced for what you’re getting here.
There are actually two sizes with a 60-inch and 71-inch version of the Elite, but obviously if you want maximum desk space, go with the latter, which also has a depth of 33-inches – more than most (it’s a few inches deeper than the Uplift, for example).
It’s a superbly built standing desk with a dual-motor lifting system, featuring a smooth, albeit a little slow, lifting mechanism (and a controller with the ability to set four preset heights). The lifting capacity is just over 100kg to ensure you can indeed fit plenty of hefty bits of hardware on top of this desk. The Elite is sturdily built with the center beam providing greater stability (without having to have a crossbar underneath).
Furthermore, you can get some pretty smart deals on these desks if you shop around, and if you go the ApexDesk route, you’ll likely get a lot of desk for your money.
Another top-notch standing desk is the Jarvis Bamboo, which as the name suggests is fashioned from bamboo – it’s environmentally-friendly in that the bamboo is sustainably grown (without pesticides), plus it has a tough polyurethane coating.
Underneath that is a frame capable of supporting over 150kg, and with a full extension suitable enough for someone who is as tall as 6-foot 7-inches. It’s a sturdy desk and moves into position very smoothly (and quietly) with adjustments made using a simple up/down control panel, or an upgraded programmable handset (which you can use to set different heights into the memory).
You can get the Jarvis in the standard rectangular desk shape, or contoured (with a concave curve at the front). There are all manner of nifty options with this standing desk, as well, including desk lamps, drawers, and a desk shelf for your monitor – or indeed if you want to get really fancy, a gas-activated monitor arm.
It’s not so much a standing desk as a thing of beauty in terms of its design – and eco-friendly credentials – but like the other higher-end products here, it doesn’t come cheap.
This is a solid standing desk which is nicely stable, and is another model to benefit from a crossbar between the legs to provide some extra stability at those higher extensions (it rises to an impressively high level, too, and Varidesk says it’s suitable for users up to 6-feet 6-inches tall).
A further perk here is the ease with which the ProDesk 48 can be put together – indeed, the company claims it will only take five minutes, and customer feedback online seems to pretty much bear this out.
There’s a control panel, with three different height levels that can be committed to memory, and a good cable management system to hide away any untidy leads. While this is the 48-inch desktop, ProDesk also comes in a 60-inch size for those who want a bit more real-estate to spread out on.
Those who want a budget option for a standing desk should check out this FlexiSpot offering. As a manually operated product, it keeps costs down, but the real secret for the cheapest possible way to go here is simply to buy the frame only. It’s a low-cost yet still well-built and sturdy frame, and if you can source your own desktop – assuming you’re decently handy with DIY – you’ll be able to put together a truly wallet-friendly solution.
That said, you can purchase this frame with a desktop at some retailers, and that’s another affordable option. The inclusion of the desktop does push the price up to not much less than a motorized desk – and as such, you might be better going with our next entry, as in this case, the relatively small saving likely isn’t worth it unless you’re really set on a manual crank mechanism (perhaps for reliability, and less potential for anything to go wrong).
It’s really the DIY route we are thinking about here, which may well be tempting for handier folks (even more so if you can work with wood, or maybe even re-purpose your existing desk).
If you want a motorized standing desk, but you don’t want to pay the earth, then check out the FlexiSpot EN1B. It benefits from a quiet motor lift, with a keypad that allows for three height presets that can be customized. There’s also a programmable alarm to let you know when it’s time to change from sitting to standing (or vice versa), which is quite nifty.
The frame is built using double-steel tubing and is pretty solid, but may suffer from a touch of the wobbles when extended to its very highest levels.
The FlexiSpot EN1B is impressively cheap compared to rival motorized products, providing some great features at this wallet-friendly level, plus the company backs the desk with a five-year guarantee (and the motor gets a slightly shorter three-year guarantee). Note that in the UK, the equivalent model is the FlexiSpot E1.
If money is no object, and you want a truly smart standing desk, then check out the Stir Kinetic Desk M1. It not only looks smart, with its contemporary-looking curved lines, but it actually is smart, being cloud-connected and monitoring the way you use it, learning from that data, and adapting to your needs.
It will gently remind you when it’s time to change position with a feature called ‘whisperbreath’ whereby the desk gently raises itself an inch, and lowers itself again – a quick and subtle prompt that can be ignored if you wish. And when you do ignore it, the M1 will learn from your likes and dislikes (like maybe not being so keen to stand up first thing in the morning).
The controls come in the form of a 5-inch touchscreen built into the surface of the desk, and the M1 offers multiple logins to make desk sharing easy. Indeed, the desk can even recognize users by their Fitbit (which it syncs with) and then automatically load that particular person’s data and preferences.
On top of this, it’s a beautifully finished high quality desk, and if you’re willing to pay top dollar for these smart features, the Stir Kinetic Desk M1 could be the right choice for you.
Evodesk makes some great standing desks, including one specifically aimed at gamers. So what features are targeting the gaming market, exactly? Firstly, the desktop can be a large one, with options for a 48-inch desktop all the way up to a 72-inch behemoth.
And secondly, that desktop has an Evoguard finish – in other words a finely-textured surface similar to a high quality mouse mat, which is perfect for using your gaming mouse on. The Evodesk Gaming Desk also has a curved (concave) edge for better ergonomics, and an option on an integrated Harman Kardon sound system.
This desk is well-built and nicely stable, which is obviously critical for when the action gets furious, and you’re mousing like crazy on that Evoguard finish. The Gaming Desk is adjustable to 250+ different height positions, with a smooth raising/lowering action (and comes with the usual memory settings).
Some of the features may seem a little gimmicky, like the built-in speakers – serious shooter players doubtless have their own far superior set of headphones, for instance – but overall this hits the mark as a quality desk which makes some worthwhile advances for keen gamers.
Note that it might be worth forking out a little extra for an oak or bamboo desktop for long-term hardiness, as wear-and-tear could be one of the concerns for those intending to mouse directly on the Evoguard surface.
If you don’t want a fully-fledged standing desk for whatever reason, you can always turn your existing desk into one by using a converter solution such as the Uplift E7 Standing Desk Converter.
There are a number of similar products, but Uplift gets the nod as the overall champ because it is not only a fantastically built affair – just like the company’s Uplift V2 full desk – but it has a nifty keyboard tray. This hangs down lower than the main platform, meaning you’re in the right ergonomic position to type and use your mouse, while looking comfortably at the monitor on the platform at eye-level (the same being true when you’re sat down).
You also get a neatly integrated keypad for one-touch adjusting of the height, and a memory function so you can save your sitting/standing settings. This can be a much more compact – and indeed somewhat cheaper – solution than a full standing desk.
If you prefer a cheaper standing desk converter rather than the powered model from Uplift above, then check out the FlexiSpot ClassicRiser. This is a manually adjustable model, which is obviously where a lot of the cost-savings come into play, but it’s still a nifty solution nonetheless, despite being considerably cheaper.
The ClassicRiser is easy enough to operate when raising or lowering the platform, which is achieved with a light squeeze on a lever at the side, and like the Uplift, it has a wide keyboard tray below the main platform (although this is removable).
You can select from different-sized platforms from the smallest 27-inch (M1) offering up to 47-inches (M3), with a range of various options available including monitor arms, anti-fatigue mats, and indeed an under-desk exercise bike. The M1 model is unsurprisingly the cheapest, but it doesn’t cost much more to ramp up the size to an M3.
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