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The research is clear: sedentary lifestyles are killing us, and office workstations play a huge role in that. Sitting for too long can significantly increase your risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and perhaps most obvious, obesity.
Over the years, you’ll also run into issues of ruined posture. It happens to pretty much all of us, which is why people are literally dying for advice on posture and back pain.
Long story short: changing how you use the computer can improve your health and even help you sleep better. If you’re on the computer for hours at a time on a day-to-day basis, you need a standing desk. But not just any standing desk — an adjustable standing desk.
Why Standing Desks Must Be Adjustable
Adjustable standing desks, also called sit-stand desks or standing desk converters, are standing desks that allow you to change its height on demand and switch between “sitting” and “standing” modes.
While sitting still for too long is detrimental to your health, standing still for too long is also bad for you, just in other ways. You’re prone to develop poor standing posture, issues with your feet, hips, and knees, and fatigue because standing uses more energy than sitting.
It turns out that the important bit isn’t standing but moving. To counteract the detrimental effects of office work, your muscles need to move and your blood needs to flow.
An adjustable standing desk offers three big benefits:
- It lets you alternate between sitting and standing, which mitigates the likelihood of bad posture in either form.
- It lets you use “standing mode” when you need to be creative and/or productive and “sitting mode” when you’re doing mundane tasks like checking email.
- In standing mode, you’re less likely to “feel” lazy. This can translate to more drinks of water, more stretching and exercises, and more productivity.
At the end of the day, you’ll feel healthier, be more active, have more mental clarity, and experience a boost in overall productivity. There’s no doubt about it: an adjustable standing desk is a tech purchase you will NOT regret.
The Best Adjustable Standing Desks
Keep in mind that the best adjustable standing desk is one that: fits your space, accommodates your height, provides enough room for your monitor(s), and sits within your budget. In this sense, none of the desks below are strictly “the best” — pick whichever appeals most to you.
The Jarvis Electric Desk is its own desk, which sets it apart from the other options below. It’s only a frame, so you’ll need to buy a tabletop separately (or upcycle the one you’re currently using). Fortunately, it works fine with pretty much anything, including ones from IKEA.
This desk has an adjustable range of 25 inches (from 23.25 to 48.75 inches high) with a total lifting capacity of 350 pounds, meaning you can put as many monitors and printers and other devices you want and pretty much never worry.
Perhaps its best feature is its programmable memory: you can preset up to four different heights and quickly switch between them on demand. If you share the desk with someone else, both of you can have personalized “sit” and “stand” settings.
The VARIDESK Pro Plus 36 sits on top on an existing desk. It alone weighs 52 pounds, so keep that in mind before you stack monitors and whatever else on top — make sure your desk is strong enough to hold all of it.
The desk has an adjustable range of 17.5 inches from flat to fully extended, with a total of 11 different height positions to snap into. The spring-loaded mechanism makes adjustments easy and supports up to 35 total pounds.
The surface is wide enough to support two monitors, and it has a two-tier design so your keyboard and mouse can sit lower, which is better for ergonomics. However, it does cut into the surface area, so there’s less room for writing on paper and whatnot.
The Ergotron WorkFit-T is a strong option. It weighs a heavy 58 pounds, so make sure your desk can support it plus whatever else you intend to put on top of it.
The desk has an adjustable range of 15 inches from flat to fully extended, with a total of 20 different height positions, which offers more precision than the VARIDESK. It also supports up to 40 total pounds, which exceeds what the VARIDESK can hold. The spring-assisted mechanism makes it easy to adjust without much force.
While the surface area is slightly deeper than the VARIDESK, the second-tier keyboard tray is narrower and doesn’t pull out at all. If you like standing a bit further away from your monitors, this may be a deal-breaker.
If the ones above are outside of your price range (yeah, they’re pretty expensive), then the FlexiSpot Standing Desk is a good substitute. At 54 pounds, it has the same concerns as the others: put it on strong desks only.
This desk has an adjustable range of 14 inches from flat to fully extended, with a total of 12 different height positions and a maximum load of 35 pounds. It uses a two-handle gas-spring mechanism that allows for smooth transitions and no accidental adjustments.
What’s nice about the FlexiSpot is that the second-tier keyboard tray doesn’t eat into the actual surface area, so you can use it as a true workstation desktop. But it also comes with a tablet stand, which is surprisingly useful for reading documents, checking email, etc.
The Stand Steady X-Elite Pro is the lowest-cost option we’d recommend. It’s still fairly pricey, and cheaper alternatives do exist, but you do not want to skimp on quality when it comes to something that’s holding up your monitors! It only weighs 27 pounds.
This desk has an adjustable range of 9 inches from flat to fully extended, and it uses a pump-lift mechanism that lets you set the height anywhere within that range. It can support up to 20 pounds, which is enough for one monitor and maybe a laptop.
The surface area is deep at 28 inches but narrow at 20 inches. You won’t comfortably fit two monitors on it. Unfortunately, the tabletop is made of laminated particleboard. Even so, it’s still a good overall pick for quality and longevity.
Other Ways to Improve Your Workstation
Once you do have an adjustable standing desk, there are two more things to consider: common standing desk mistakes that you should avoid, and useful accessories for standing desk owners. With these in mind, your standing desk will go from “practical” to “indispensable.”
Furthermore, there are many other ways to level up your workstation setup beyond upgrading to a standing desk. And don’t forget that clutter is bad for the mind — keep to these low-tech desk tips for maximizing productivity.
Which standing desks are you considering? Are there any other good ones we missed? If you already have one, tell us about your experience with it!