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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. This way we were able to find the best standing desks available on the market today!
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.
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 a sitting one, 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 an 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.
Having the ability to go from sitting at your desk to standing in a few seconds without interrupting your workflow 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. Alternatively, you can choose to stand or exercise while working by using a bike desk vs a standing desk.
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 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.
The Jarvis Electric Adjustable Standing Desk Frame is a powerful electric frame with the ability to support up to 350 pounds.
Award: 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 the 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 making it easily one of the best models available and our Top Pick.
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.
See also: Pair your standing desk with one of the best standing desk chairs to improve your comfort and productivity.
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. That way you have the office furniture that you want. 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 in 2016.
Another popular standing desk is the UPLIFT V2. The frame has been engineered for safe, reliable, and fast height adjustment with two separate motors. With a 335-Lb lifting capacity and Whisper-Quiet Operation, it’s easy to see why this desk is popular.
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Award: Best Small Sit Stand Desk
Price: $519 | Full Review: Duke Adjustable Standing Desk Review | Desk Dimensions: 15 x 11 inches | Desk Weight Capacity: 12 lbs.
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, with a keyboard tray, costs about $100 more than the single platform design.
You Might Like: If you’re looking for a standing desk on a budget then check out the best standing desk under $100.
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″ total range, but the platform can move more suddenly than you’re expecting until you learn to control it. This pairs well with the best gaming chair as well.
Award: 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 comes 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.
Type of Movement
Sit-stand desk converter options have three ways to control their movement.
Range of Movement
Ignoring Ergonomics: Having the ability to adjust the height of the standing desk easily is no substitute for using proper ergonomics. This is particularly important if you’re looking for a standing desk to reduce aches and back pain. 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 (whether you have a carpet or cement floor), 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.
The best sit-stand desk may not be for everyone, but 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.