Whether you work at home or in an office — or maybe both — it may be time to upgrade your setup to include one of the best standing desks. A standing desk lets you decide how you want to work, and it could help with your health, too.
Studies, including this one from the Mayo Clinic (opens in new tab)have found that sitting more than three to four hours per day can lead to increased rates of heart disease and obesity, as well as posture and back problems.
If you’re having health issues — or maybe you just don’t want to sit down all day — one of the best standing desks could be part of the answer (proper diet and exercise is also essential). To make your choice easier, we put together and tested a number of standing desks to bring you the best models for your home office, whatever your budget.
What are the best standing desks?
Based on our testing of five of the top models — which included assembling them and raising and lowering, raising and lowering each to see how they stood up to everyday use — the best standing desk overall is the Vari Electric standing desk. Of the models we tested, it was by far the most attractive, offered a wide range of customization options, and it was also the easiest to assemble.
The Flexispot EC1 is the best standing desk if you're on a budget; it costs half as much as the Vari desk, yet has an equally smooth motion when raising and lowering. However, it doesn’t look as elegant — its motor is exposed on the underside — and it can’t support as much weight.
Pretty much every standing desk can be customized with different finishes, sizes, and accessories, so if you don’t like the look of the ones we tested, the companies might offer the desks in a style that you like. And, while you’re outfitting your home office, be sure to check out our picks for the best office chairs, the best desk lamps, and the best air purifiers.
If you are having trouble with your back, you should also check out the best exercises to do if you sit down all day. Also, one of the best under-desk treadmills is a great way to get a workout in if you have a standing desk.
Read on for all our top picks for the best standing desks.
The Vari Electric Standing Desk stood out immediately for its gorgeous work surface, which not only looked better than the rest, but was thicker, too. We especially liked its chamfered edges, and the fact that Vari throws in two hooks — so you can hang your purse or a set of headphones — as well as a coaster to protect its surface. What’s more, the company also offers a range of accessories, from power strips to cable-management trays to monitor arms, to fully outfit your desk.
If you’re not particularly enamored with the reclaimed wood of our review model, the company offers a variety of other materials, including white, butcher block, black, and darkwood. While not as varied as other standing desks on this page, each option was very attractive. Our model also came with a programmable control panel that let you set four preset heights for the desk, and had a small LCD readout that displayed its height. It’s a feature you can get with most standing desks, and it’s one worth picking up.
What especially impressed us about the Vari desk was the ease with which we were able to put it together. It took about 15 minutes total to get everything assembled, about half the time as other standing desks we tested. If you’re not particularly handy, this is definitely the standing desk for you.
Read our full Vari Electric Standing Desk review.
The Flexispot is the best standing desk for those who are on a budget but still want an electric standing desk. While it’s not as attractive as the Vari desk, we do like its bamboo work surface and clean lines. We also like the fact that its starting price is around $300 — half that of our favorite model overall.
However, there are a few compromises to be made: If you look on the underside of the Flexispot, you can see its motor and turning mechanism — things that are concealed on the other standing desks we reviewed. Also, the Flexispot can’t support as much weight as other standing desks, so if you’re planning to load it down with a lot of heavy items, you’ll want to look elsewhere.
Read our full Flexispot EC1 standing desk review.
If you want to save even more money when buying a standing desk, you could consider a model like the Ikea Trotten. While it lacks a motor — you’re going to build up your forearm muscles cranking this thing up and down — it costs about $250, making the Trotten the least expensive standing desk on this list.
As mentioned, though, it lacks a motor, and, unlike the other standing desks on this page, has very little in the way of customization options: You can choose from two desktop colors and two leg colors. Also, it only comes in one size (47.25 x 27.5 inches), and supports just 110 pounds, the least amount among the standing desks we’ve tested. While it was easy to assemble — no surprise given that it’s made by Ikea — it wasn’t as simple as the Vari desk, and took about as much time to put together as the Flexispot, Fully Jarvis, and Uplift models.
Read our full Ikea Trotten standing desk review.
Fully’s Jarvis Bamboo standing desk is an attractive, if unspectacular model that performed well in our tests and offers a lot of customization options when it comes to the desk material, sizes, colors and more. The Jarvis was fairly easy to assemble, but it was more complex, and took twice as long as the Vari desk.
With a minimum and maximum height of 30 to 49.3 inches, respectively, the Fully Jarvis doesn’t have as big a range as the Vari Electric Desk, which can raise and lower from 25 to 50.5 inches. However, the Jarvis can support up to 350 pounds, 150 more than the Vari, and 200 pounds more than the Flexispot EC1, our favorite budget electric standing desk.
Read our full Fully Jarvis Bamboo standing desk review.
We’ll admit, we weren’t the biggest fans of the walnut veneer that came with our Uplift V2 standing desk. Fortunately, Uplift offers its desk in a variety of surfaces, from laminate to bamboo to solid mahogany; there’s even a whiteboard option, in case you like the idea of writing on the desk itself.
Like the Fully Jarvis, the Uplift can support up to 350 pounds, the most among the standing desks we tested. It also took roughly the same amount of time to assemble as the Jarvis — while not overly long (about half an hour), it was still more involved than the Vari standing desk. Ultimately, the Uplift is a very good standing desk, but not our favorite model.
Read our full Uplift V2 standing desk review.
How we tested standing desks
To determine what are the best standing desks, we called in five top models. We then went through the process of assembling them, noting how long it took to put each one together, how easy the instructions were to follow, and what, if any, other tools were required but not provided.
After the desks were assembled, we then tested their stability by raising them to their maximum height and rocking them back and forth. For motorized standing desks, we listened to see how loud their motors sounded, and how smoothly they went up and down.
We also evaluated the desks on aesthetics; after all, it should look nice in your home office. However, many standing desks can be configured with different materials and surfaces — you can choose from laminate and hardwood tops, colors, and more — so we also took into account how customizable the desk was in determining its final rating.
Lastly, we also factored in the price of the desks. While the desks we tested weren’t identical, we went to each company’s respective site and configured all of them to best match each other, so we could compare how much each would cost if it were the same as the others.
For more information on how Tom's Guide rates and reviews, check out our how we test page.
What to look for when looking for the best standing desk
Pretty much every standing desk can be ordered in a variety of materials, with prices to match. Laminate surfaces — that is, a veneer of wood overtop a core — tend to be the least expensive, while solid-core desks made from oak, maple, mahogany or some other wood type will cost more. Bamboo desks straddle the middle, and are not only a good compromise, but are very durable.
The higher you raise a standing desk, the greater potential there is for it to wobble or fall over, especially if there are a lot of heavy items on it. If you can, it’s worth checking out a standing desk in person, raising it to its maximum height and then rocking it back and forth to see how it manages.
Minimum and maximum height
This is the range with which the standing desk’s height can be raised or lowered. Most will fall between 25 inches to around 50 inches; better desks will have a wider range, though the difference will usually only be a few inches on either end.
Maximum weight supported
If you’re planning to use your standing desk to hold more than just your computer — maybe you like dancing on tables — then you’ll want to pay attention to its maximum supported weight. Smaller, less expensive desks won’t be able to hold as much weight as more expensive models.
Ease of assembly
When it comes to putting together a standing desk, all you need is a screwdriver and a little patience. All of the models we tested came with the requisite screws, Allen wrenches, and clear instruction manuals. Still, some desks are easier to put together than others, and most — especially those with larger tops — will require a second person to help.
Motorized or non-motorized?
How much work do you want to put into raising and lowering your standing desk? The vast majority of standing desks are motorized, meaning all you have to do is press a button to change the height of the desk. However, if you want to save some money — and you don't plan on moving the desk much — then you might want to check out a non-motorized desk. These will have a hand crank that you'll have to turn. You won't need arms like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but you will have to do a little work.
Apart from the surface size and material, the better standing desk companies will also offer a variety of ways in which you can customize your desk. These can include attachments such as cable-management trays — the one accessory that you should get with a standing desk — different controls to raise and lower the desk, different leg types and more.