Getting a standing desk is a sure-fire way to make everyone in the office hate you and consider kneecapping you in the parking lot. It’s also a good way to extend your life span, burn extra calories while on the job, and increase blood flow. While sitting was branded “the new smoking” new studies have shown that it isn’t as deadly as previously thought, but that in order to counteract the effects of sitting – as most office jobs require – you have to engage in hours of physical activity every day or risk heart disease, type two diabetes, and innumerable other health risks.
If you have the time to be active for hours out of your busy schedule, then you might not need a standing desk, but if you aren’t, it might be time to think about using these in lieu of hitting the treadmill. Just be sure you know exactly how to work with a standing desk, as the ergonomics and proper use are just as important as having the desk at all. It may literally save your life. Here’s the best choices if you’re choosing to go the upright route.
You could slap a footstool onto the top of your desk and see how it works out, but that won’t give you a really good litmus test for whether or not a standing desk will work for you. If you’re thinking about making the leap, the dirt cheap Spark is the smart way to test drive a standing desk scheme without spending a lot. It is made of cardboard, but made in three sizes with a keen eye toward ergonomics mean that it does a much better job than even far more costly options at allowing you to work comfortably. You can also take it down with a quickness should you decide it’s time to rest on your laurels. Really, you have almost nothing to lose. Purchase: $20+
Extremely large for a conversion choice that works with your existing desk, the Varidesk is large enough for some dual-monitor setups and has an intuitive scissor design that allows you to set the height you want and then lock it in. It doesn’t require mounting, letting you move it from place to place, or push it aside when not in use. The excessive size comes with a lot of weight, and it’s overall a bit cumbersome as a conversion choice, but if you’re wed to the conversion method, you won’t find a more expansive choice anywhere on the market. Purchase: $395+
Ergo Desktop Kangaroo Pro Junior
Some of us already have a desk that we love dearly, because it allows us to menace our employees when they walk through the door. If this is the case and you’re looking to convert your existing rig to a standing option, the Kangaroo Pro Junior is an excellent – if badly named – way to do just that. It’s a bit more convenient than other conversion choices simply because it sits atop your existing desk without being mounted, and even when folded down flat, you can still use it, rather than having it waste space. The movement is a bit tedious, and the workspace is more limited than you’d get with a dedicated standing desk, but the convenience and smart simplicity are easy to work into almost any office arrangement. Purchase: $399+
If you’re looking for a standing option in a limited space that can easily be adjusted from sitting to standing, or simply moved aside, the WorkFit-T is the compact choice. Part of a whole line of variable standing work desks and workstations, there’s customization as far as the eye can see, all with solid construction, respectable feature choices, and nearly anything you could ask for. We’ve found it’s ideal for workers who need a flat surface away from their computer who then like to pop up when it’s time to type. Purchase: $439
Fully Jarvis Bamboo
Considered by most to be the alpha and the omega of the standing desk world, largely because it is among the most stable choices out there, something that can be a major problem in many desks. Even when extended to its full height, the Jarvis Bamboo doesn’t offer up a single wiggle, which makes your workstation more steadfast, but also reduces stress by making it less irritating. The top provides 60 big inches of work area, with cutouts for threading computer cords through. Rising and falling is handled by the push of a programmable button so that it hits your ideal size at speed, without any guesswork. Those of us who are on the long and lean side will be happy to note that Jarvis works for folks as big as 6’5″, which is an ergonomic blessing unto itself. The bamboo aesthetic fits both homes and offices, making it look good wherever you work. Purchase: $470
Uplift Standing Desk
The executives behind the Uplift have a background in ergonomics, which has led to the design of a stellar stand-up that is easy on your body and requires minimal adjustment to get right. Extremely stable, with a thick top that won’t give a wisp of a wiggle when you use it, you can also get the Uplift in a multitude of options, with bamboo being the most common, but other choices, like reclaimed teak, being around for those who want a little more splash. You can also get the desk with different leg arrangements and variable top arrays to better accommodate your work style. Adjustment goes through the simple, programmable motor, and moves smoothly without jolts or jerks like some lesser options. Purchase: $499+
A step away from the standard rectangular desk that seems to be the norm among the standing desk community, the UpWrite is a more modern sit-to-stand choice with its curved surface that allows you to get closer to your keyboard, and gives you different angles to organize, along with a look that’s far more contemporary than classic. It aims for a minimalist style, with a plain white or black top that does double duty as both a work surface and a whiteboard for scrawling quick notes without wasting paper. Additional options and features are limited, but movement is sleek and wobble is minimal even at full 49″ height (workable for those up to about 6’4″ or taller if you choose the optional casters.) Purchase: $899
More a snazzy, “space-age” option, the TableAir gets points for style and utility, as it has splashy, flashy lights that wrap around it and adjusts by sensing the height of your hand and extending to hit it. It’s large, providing a lot of space to spread out, and comes with extra bells and whistles, like an app that gives you information about the ergonomics of your setup, proper height, and allows you to control the desk remotely, if you’re not willing to move you hand. Stable and capable of lifting a couple hundred pounds worth of gear, it’s a lot of pomp, but a reasonable amount of circumstance if you have the coin. Purchase: $2,721+