As we began compiling our list of the best sit stand desk options, we didn’t have a lot of history to lean on. After all, the idea of standing desks has only been really popular for a few years. So rather than relying on time-established rules, we decided to make our picks based on the most important features we’ve observed after testing sit stand desks, such as the mechanism which adjusts the desk height, the total weight capacity of the desk, the height range the sit stand desk can achieve, how stable it is at full height, and price point.
Related: Best Standing Desk
After looking at a variety of sit or stand desks, our #1 pick — the Jarvis Electric Adjustable Standing Desk Frame (~$500) — best fits the criteria we’ve established. The Jarvis desk frame can support up to 350 pounds of weight through an electric adjustment mechanism, which can move the desktop an impressive 1.5 inches per second. You can adjust the range of the desktop by more than two feet from top to bottom, which should fit the needs of most people. And its price point is reasonable at less than $500, which makes it the strongest sit stand desk on the market.
Best Sit Stand Desk
|Jarvis Electric Adjustable Standing Desk Frame||Duke Adjustable Standing Desk||Halter ED-258 Adjustable Desk|
|Ranking||#1 Pick - Editor's Choice/Best Electric Sit Stand Desk||#2 Pick - Best Small Sit Stand Desk||#3 Pick - Best Value for Sit Stand Desks|
|Read Review||Jarvis Standing Desk Review||Duke Adjustable Standing Desk Review||Coming Soon|
|Desktop Size||Up to 44 x 82 in. (desktop not included)||15 x 11 in. (upper platform); 28 x 24 in. (keyboard platform)||35.6 x 20.4 in.|
|Range of Movement||25.75 in.||17 in.||18 in.|
|Lifting Weight Capacity||350 lbs.||12 lbs.||44.1 lbs.|
|Electric Movement Design|
|Pneumatic Movement Design|
|Hand Crank Movement Design|
|Color Options||Gray or New Black||Black||Black with wood desktop|
|Buy Now||Buy Now||Buy Now|
How We Choose the Best Sit Stand Desk
Although the standing vs sitting desk market is a young one, the top units in the market share some key features, though the biggest of all is the ability to adjust the height smoothly, and easily. Our top pick, the Jarvis Electric Adjustable Frame, uses electric power to adjust the height of the desk. Other desks adjust the height smoothly through a pneumatic device such as a gas cylinder. (A pneumatic device provides resistance as you adjust the height of the desk, allowing the movement to be smooth, even though you’re adjusting the height manually.) You don’t want to see an expensive computer monitor or laptop crash to the ground because of a sudden jolt as you try to adjust the height of the desk. All of the desks on our list are able to be adjusted with just one hand, which reduces the risk of hurting the electronics that rest on top of it.
Related: Top Standing Desk Mat
Any adjustments you make to your sit stand desk need to occur quickly, too. If it’s going to require more than a few minutes to shift a desk from a standing position to sitting, most people aren’t going to take the time to move back and forth between the two options. The three units on our list move through the adjustment process quickly and smoothly. I expect a good sit stand desk to achieve its full range of motion within 5-10 seconds.
Finally, stability is a important consideration. I hate a standing desk that has any wobble to it, as I don’t feel comfortable placing my expensive electronics on it. And if you’re standing at the desk, chances are you may end up naturally leaning on it from time to time, and you don’t want to feel as if it will collapse under your weight because it isn’t stable. A steady desk will have plenty of support brackets, and metal pieces are better than plastic. Look for a wide base or pedestal to provide stability. If the support legs or pedestal is confined to the center of the desk, it won’t be as stable at its maximum height as one where the supports are widely spaced.
Why You Should Buy a New Sit Stand Desk
Having the ability to go from sitting at your desk to standing in a few seconds without interrupting your work flow is undoubtedly the best reason to migrate to a new sit stand desk. If you own one of the older desks, you’ll be pleased with how much faster and smoother these new desks can make the transition from sitting to standing.
If you’re still using a traditional sit-only desk, migrating to a sit stand option will give you some of the health benefits that moving throughout the day can provide, versus sitting for a hours on end. Health professionals don’t all yet agree on the full benefits of standing and working, but they are in agreement about the health improvement you’ll see if you’re moving around more during the day, going from sitting to standing and vice versa.
One of my favorite aspects of a sit stand computer desk is the ability to adjust the height of the equipment on the desk for either sitting or standing. For example, to receive the proper ergonomics from your desk, you need to have the top of the computer monitor at eye level when sitting, and these desks allow you to easily adjust the height of the desk for sitting. The best new sit stand desks allow for an easy adjustment of the desk height when sitting or standing for work.
#1 Pick Jarvis Electric Adjustable Standing Desk Frame – Editor’s Choice/Best Electric Sit Stand Desk
Price: $480 | Desk Dimensions: 82 x 36 in. (maximum) | Desk Weight Capacity: 350 lbs.
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Smooth moving standing desk can handle heaviest computer equipment.
The Jarvis Electric Adjustable Standing Desk Frame is an impressive sit stand desk, offering quite a few desirable features for a unit that costs less than $500. Its ability to lift up to 350 pounds shows how sturdy this frame is built, so you won’t feel a wobble with the Jarvis Electric Adjustable Standing Desk Frame at any point.
With the electric motor, the Jarvis Standing Desk Frame can move through its entire 26-inch range of movement smoothly and quickly. The motor raises or lowers the desk by 1.5 inches per second, and it has four desktop heights you can program into memory, so you can move immediately a favorite height with a single button press.
Probably the biggest drawback to the Jarvis standing desk is that it doesn’t ship with a desktop if you buy from Amazon; you’ll only receive the metal frame, but this is a way to both save money and lets you customize what kind of desk you want to work on in the long run. So even though you will have to spend a bit more for some sort of desktop, considering all of the great features in this unit, it remains a good value even with the extra cost, ranking as the best standing desk 2016.
#2 Pick Duke Adjustable Standing Desk – Best Small Sit Stand Desk
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: It’s small enough to fit many different desktop sizes.
The Duke Adjustable Standing Desk has a small footprint, allowing it to fit on even small desktops. Yet it remains a sturdy piece of equipment … as long as you don’t overload it. And if a co-worker crashes into the Duke, it’s going to tip over, as the pedestal base only has dimensions of 17 by 15.7 inches. So you’ll have to be a bit careful with this unit.
If you make use of the single platform design (pictured here), the Duke can handle up to 12 pounds on the upper platform, while the dual-platform design can handle 30 pounds collectively. The dual-platform design, which allows for two monitors or laptops, costs about $100 more than the single platform design.
It takes a little practice to use the pneumatic design of the Duke properly. You’ll squeeze a handle to allow you to adjust the height of the platform throughout its 17″ of total range, but the platform can move more suddenly than you’re expecting until you learn to control it.
#3 Pick Halter ED-258 Adjustable Desk – Best Value for Sit Stand Desks
Price: $299.99 | Desk Dimensions: 35.6 by 20.4 inches | Desk Weight Capacity: 44.1 lbs.
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Great value and versatility among sit stand desks.
If you have a smaller budget for your next sit stand desk, the Halter ED-258 Adjustable Desk will give you a solid option at less than $300. Both the keyboard platform and the display platform have similar widths of 35.6 inches, which means they’re wide enough to hold more than one piece of equipment. The Halter unit can hold a total of 44.1 pounds, so you will have to exercise a bit of caution in determining just how much equipment you want to put on top of it, lest the whole thing come crashing down.
The ED-258’s metal frame sits on top of a desk or table. You’ll use a pneumatic design to change the height of the platforms, squeezing handles on both sides of the unit to raise or lower them. It’s important to squeeze both handles at the same time, or you could end up with an off-balance unit. The Halter ED-258 is a sturdy unit, but it will start to wobble if a co-worker heavily leans on it or if you overload it with too much stuff.
Best Sit Stand Desk Features to Look Out For
Type of Movement
Sit stand desk converter options have three ways to control their movement.
- Electronic: Like our #1 pick in the Jarvis desk, electronic desks are a great sit stand option because they move quickly and smoothly with the press of a button. They also can remember your favorite positions, moving immediately to the precise height you like. They can also handle the most weight among the three different movement designs.
- Pneumatic: A pneumatic sit stand desk will use a gas cylinder or similar type of device to provide resistance as you adjust the height of the desk, which allows it to move smoothly. However, this design doesn’t provide the ability to hold as much weight as an electric desk might.
- Hand Crank: A hand cranking desk is a bit of an older design that still works well enough in a pinch. It takes longer — and more muscle power — to adjust the height of a hand crank sit stand desk than the other two designs. Also, if you don’t balance the weight on the desk properly, a hand crank desk is prone to potential tipping too.
Range of Movement
- The difference between the maximum and minimum height of a sit to stand desk reveals a strength of the unit as a whole. The larger the range of movement a desk has, the more versatile it will be.
- One of the most frustrating things I encounter when testing sit stand desks is an inability of the desk to reach the height I need to maintain a good ergonomic position when either sitting or standing. For this list we considered desks that had at least 16 inches of range, although more is always better if you can afford it (and your back will thank you for it).
- You should not notice any unsteadiness from a sit stand desk, no matter what height you’re using it at. The adjustable sit stand desk must be able to support the weight of your equipment without wobbling, even when set to the maximum height.
- Although sit stand desks are designed more for comfort and usability than beauty, who really wants to spend their hard-earned cash on an ugly looking desk? Keep in mind that some such desks, such as the Duke model, sit on top of your regular desk at all times. So if you choose this type of sit stand desk, make sure it looks good with your current desktop.
Mistakes to Avoid
Ignoring Ergonomics: Having the ability to adjust the height of the standing desk easily is no substitute for using proper ergonomics. Any health benefits you’re receiving by moving from sitting to standing during the day will be negated if you don’t have the height of the monitor and keyboard set correctly. Finding an ergonomic sit stand desk should be one of the important considerations when you make your purchase, because what’s the point of spending the money if you’re not trying to be comfortable while you work throughout the day?
Not Pairing With a Standing Mat: When you’re standing at a desk for a few hours, you’ll probably begin to notice some fatigue in your legs. One way you can alleviate this problem is with the best standing desk mat. These mats provide more cushion than the floor provides, giving your legs a bit of a break. Just don’t roll your office chair over these standing mats when you’re ready to sit again; move the mat out of the way or you’ll reduce the longevity and effectiveness of the standing mat.
What Else You Should Think About
Because the best sit stand desk may not be for everyone, if you’re looking for more comfort but aren’t sure you want to spend part of your workday standing, consider our list of the best office chairs. Even the best office chair cushion can give you some nice support. Before making your final decision though, consider our list of standing desk reviews and office chair reviews, which can help you make the choice.
Or you could pair our #1 pick for a sit stand desk — the Jarvis Electric Adjustable Standing Desk Frame — with the most comfortable office chair and receive support both when sitting and standing. The Jarvis unit can handle up to 350 pounds of weight and ships with a 7-year warranty, giving you plenty of peace of mind for protecting your equipment.
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