Sitting all day is generally a bad idea, and standing desks can give you the flexibility to stand and move around, and leaves you a little freer to get that activity that we all need, standing desk or no. However, some standing desks are definitely better than others—they’re either more customizable, more affordable, easily adjustable, bear more weight, or are just better for most workspaces. This week we’re looking at five of the best.
Earlier in the week we asked you which standing desks you thought were the best, from the DIY to the high-end. You responded with your picks, but we only have room for the top five. Here they are, in no specific order:
The UpLift 900 Sit-Stand Ergonomic Desk is a simple, sturdy, height adjustable (26″), motorized desk without too many extra bells and whistles, but is still flexible and sports a powerful enough motor to really give you the option of sitting when you choose and standing when you prefer. Your nomination was really for the frame—which you can buy on its own and customize the rest to your liking (or DIY the rest), or order as part of an already-completed UpLift 900 desk, with a 48″ x 80″ desk surface installed. All in all, the desk system is designed to withstand over 335lbs (152 kg) of weight on the desk surface at any time, is available in black or white, and the base on its own retails for $ 549. All models come with a five year, all-inclusive warranty. The entire UpLift 900 system with its default configuration will set you back $ 769, but it goes up from there when you start adding components like cable management, casters, monitor arms, keyboard trays, and more—but it’s pretty nice that all of those are available right out of the gate, and can be added to build and customize your perfect desk.
Those of you who nominated the UpLift and some other UpLift models praised the company’s flexibility in ordering, giving you the option to just buy frames or components to complete or build out your dream desk as you choose. You also noted that UpLift offers free shipping, which is a huge deal when you’re ordering large motorized components like these—they can easily add hundreds onto the overall purchase price. Check out the nomination thread here for more.
The UpDesk UpWrite is a simple, all-white, standing/sitting workstation with adjustable height (26″) and single-touch motorized controls. You have the flexibility to make it as tall as you want when you choose to stand, or lower it on those days where you need to sit. It supports 300lbs (136 kg) of weight, is wide enough at the base to accommodate treadmills (for those of you who nominated treadmill desks), and, perhaps its claim to fame, the UpWrite features a 30″ x 60″ erasable whiteboard work surface. You can use it to jot down notes, draw sketches or designs, or just personalize your workstation. UpDesk says the surface works fine with both wet and dry erase markers, and cleans up easily. It’s not cheap though, the UpWrite will set you back $ 1149 with $ 129 shipping in the US, although it comes with five year limited warranty with your purchase. Some of you also noted that if the price point is too high (or you just don’t want a motorized version), there’s a hand-operated version for $ 300 less.
Those of you who nominated and praised the UpWrite noted UpDesk’s customer service and support, who many of you commented were really great, and noted that delivery and setup of the UpWrite (or any other UpDesk model, for that matter) was simple and hassle-free. You also mentioned that the motor was powerful enough to switch from sitting to standing positions in less than 30 seconds, which is pretty impressive for a motor that’s pushing 300lbs (136 kg) of equipment around, potentially. Check out the nomination thread here to read more.
The VARIDESK Pro is less of a full standing workstation as it is an attachment to go on top of your current desk, but that doesn’t mean it’s not flexible or customizable. It’s perhaps one of the most affordable in the roundup (sans the DIY option, of course) at $ 300, but at its heart the VARIDESK is more of a height adjustable monitor stand and keyboard tray. That’s not a slight by any means—the fact that it goes on top of your desk means you don’t have to buy a new desk or completely rearrange your cubicle to use it—it’ll work just about anywhere. It can be switched from standing to sitting work positions, thanks to its scissor-style unfoldable arms (and a spring-assisted lift so you don’t have to heft all the weight of your stuff), and it can be adjusted to lock in any height you prefer. It’s wide enough for dual monitors (23″ x 36″ work surface). It has 15.5″ of adjustable height, supports 35lbs (16 kg) of weight, and comes with a one-year limited warranty.
Those of you who nominated the VARIDESK Pro praised its portability and flexibility—you don’t need to reinforce a desk to put one on top, and you can move it easily enough from workstation to workstation if you change desks in the office, have to move offices, change jobs, and so on. The price point doesn’t hurt compared to other options, and you noted that the build quality was solid as well. Read more in the nominations thread here.
Ergotron has been making height adjustable and customizable workstations for ages, and the Workfit series is one of their flagship products. It’s actually a number of different desks, articulating arms, and standing workstations, but you guys nominated the Workfit A and the Workfit S most specifically (you can see them individually at the link above). The Workfit A is an articulated arm that’s designed to clamp onto your existing desk, attach to your monitor, and lift it and your keyboard up to the height you prefer to work. Beneath the display is a work surface for papers, desk accessories, or anything else you need to have front and center while you work. It comes in two flavors—one with a suspended keyboard tray and another with a keyboard tray that’s attached to the primary work surface. The Workfit S on the other hand is a fully adjustable standing desk attachment that goes on the front of your current desk and has the display mounted at the top, as opposed to on an arm. The entire workstation, including the display at the top and the keyboard and mouse tray, are on an adjustable track that can be moved up or down depending on your personal preference.
All of Ergotron’s systems are designed for easy adjustability without a ton of switches or locks, and while they’re not motorized, they are easy to move around. Both models also come in dual-display setups, so you don’t have to feel locked in to a single monitor workspace like the designs shown above. Prices vary depending on your configuration though you choose. The Workfit S ranges from $ 379 to $ 479 for single monitor setups, and the Workfit A runs from $ 379 to $ 499 in most cases (they have Apple friendly versions that are even more expensive.) You can see all of the single monitor setups here. If you have dual monitors, the Workfit S goes up to $ 399 to $ 499, while the Workfit A bumps up to $ 399 to $ 519, depending on your selections. You can check those out here. Workspace width and depth vary, of course, but if you’re going for a model that’s not just a monitor stand and a keyboard tray, on average you’re looking at 10″ x 23″ space for papers and accessories, and an overall weight capacity of between 20-30lbs (9-14kg). All of Ergotron’s products come with a five year warranty. Read more in the nominations threads here and here.
The DIY Standing Desk
There are tons of workstations with adjustable heights, motorized controls, huge desk spaces, and more, but sometimes the best standing desk is the one that you make yourself. We’ve highlighted tons of DIY standing desks, from affordable IKEA hacks to collapsable and expandable wall-mounted desks, to the super-cheap. You can see more on our standing desks tagpage. Many of you shared your own DIY options in the call for contenders post. The beauty of the DIY option is that it gives you a way to try out a standing desk in your own workspace, without spending a ton of money, but still build something that’s perfect for you and your space.
Those of you who praised making your own noted that, of course, you can customize it to fit any workspace you already have, turn your existing desk into a standing model, build it up to be just as high as you want and support all of the equipment you have, and perhaps most importantly, with the right stuff lying around, it can cost you a whopping zero dollars. Check out the nominations thread here.
Now that you’ve seen the top five, it’s time to put them to an all out vote to determine the Lifehacker community favorite:
This week’s honorable mentions go out to the NextDesk Terra and the Ergo Depot AD17 standing desks, both of which earned high praise from The Wirecutter in their roundup of the best standing desks, and they tested tons. If you already have a desk that you’d like to convert to a standing desk, you still have tons of other options (including some of the nominees not mentioned here) but they also suggest the Kangaroo Pro Junior as an attachment for your desk that will get you up, standing while you work, and moving around in no time.
Have something to say about one of the contenders? Want to make the case for your personal favorite, even if it wasn’t included in the list? Remember, the top five are based on your most popular nominations from the call for contenders thread from earlier in the week. Don’t just complain about the top five, let us know what your preferred alternative is—and make your case for it—in the discussions below.
The Hive Five is based on reader nominations. As with most Hive Five posts, if your favorite was left out, it didn’t get the nominations required in the call for contenders post to make the top five. We understand it’s a bit of a popularity contest. Have a suggestion for the Hive Five? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!