Standing desks started gaining popularity around 10 years ago when medical experts began warning that sitting all day wasn’t great for health — and, in fact, it could be dangerous. Ample research has pointed out that too much sitting can raise your risk for developing serious health concerns, including obesity and metabolic syndrome. And believe it or not, sitting too much can even increase your chance of dying from cardiovascular disease and cancer.
However, the key isn’t standing; it’s actually moving your body over the course of the day, which is difficult for many of us in this new work-from-home world.
Benefits of standing desks
“The big thing is just changing positions is important, for overall spine and back health,” explains Boston-based orthopedic spine surgeon at Tufts Medical Center and clinical instructor at Tufts University School of Medicine Dr. Ashley Rogerson. “When you’re sitting in a chair for too long with poor posture in sedentary jobs, it makes you kind of prone to sort of chronic low back and neck pain. I see probably a handful of patients a week that are now working from home or just less active than they would be normally that have developed sort of acute and chronic neck pain and back pain.”
Dr. Blake Dircksen, doctor of physical therapy and certified strength and conditioning specialist at Bespoke Treatments New York, agrees. “The biggest benefit of a standing desk is that it adds movement variety to our workday,” he says. “Our bodies crave movement, and when we are in one position for too long, our bodies start to get achy.”
Standing desks are good for almost everyone, says Rogerson. “As long as you can stand and walk, there’s no absolute contraindication for having a standing desk, but I would say if you’re prone to foot pain, if you have foot issues, then standing for long periods of time may aggravate that chronic foot or ankle pain.”
The good news? There are tons of standing and adjustable desks available for all budgets, so read on to find the best choice for you.
Best sit stand desks
“Ideally, in [an] effort to consistently vary between a sitting and standing position, look for an easily adjustable desk that can go from a low, seated position, to a tall, standing one,” says Dircksen.
Jarvis Laminate Standing Desk (starting at $499; fully.com)
This award-winning motorized adjustable desk is an editor favorite and features an eco-friendly laminate desktop and seven-year warranty.
Workplace2.0 Height-Adjustable Table ($680.99; staples.com)
This height-adjustable work table gives you the ability to sit or stand as you go through your workday. The large table works as a computer desk and allows space for writing or drawing projects.
Techni Mobili Sit-to-Stand Rolling Adjustable Height Laptop Cart ($87.99, originally $111.60; wayfair.com)
This high-rated little desk easily adjusts from sitting to standing, has shelves for stashing pens and snacks, and is “a good standing desk for limited space,” according to a reviewer.
Steelcase Airtouch Height-Adjustable Standing Desk ($1,812, originally $2,703; wayfair.com)
This stunning desk from Steelcase is one of the highest-rated desks on Wayfair, with a patented “Airtouch” motion adjustment. “This work surface is so unbelievable that it is hard to describe,” writes one reviewer. “The functionality of this item is wonderful.”
Best stand-up desks
“Standing desks are generally safe for everyone. If you’re safe to stand, you’re safe to use a stand-up desk,” says Dircksen. These desks adjust for height but pretty much stay fixed once you’ve set them up.
Vandoren Standing Desk ($227.99, originally $451; wayfair.com)
We love this multilevel fixed standing desk for people doing hands-on work or who don’t want the hassle. “Not worth risking hydraulics or cranks breaking. This gives you the best of both worlds,” writes one satisfied reviewer.
Stand Steady Joy Desk (starting at $159.99; amazon.com)
This desk delivers style and function at a reasonable price, with a beautiful modern design. Writes one reviewer, “I wanted something inexpensive but nice-looking and sturdy, and this desk is perfect.”
Best standing desk converters
A conversion desk sits on top of your current desk or table (or even your kitchen counter) and moves up and down as needed. You may have had one in your office, and they’re great for anyone who is tight on space and needs to use a space for more than just work. These are also often priced significantly lower, as they’re not an entire desk.
Halter Preassembled Height-Adjustable Desk Sit-to-Stand Elevating Desktop ($149.99; amazon.com)
Need an expansive workspace for more than one monitor? This adjustable desktop sits on your current desk, is preassembled and is extremely well priced.
Change Desk Mini Height-Adjustable Standing Desk Converter ($106.99; wayfair.com)
Simple, streamlined and able to fold flat for easy storage, we love this affordable option, which is large enough to hold two monitors. Writes one shopper, “This was easy to set up, and it is working great! Right out of the box my standing desk is being used every day.”
Mount-It! Electric Standing Desk Converter ($269.99; staples.com)
This desk converter works on your existing desk, adjusting to your height, and reviewers rave how easy it is to bring the converter up and down as they please.
Victor Technology High Rise Standing Desk Converter ($84.79; staples.com)
Hon Standing Desk Converter ($284.99, originally $619; wayfair.com)
This 5-star-rated converter fits on most surfaces, from a desk to a kitchen table, and it’s super practical. Writes one reviewer, “I like how big it is. I can put a laptop on it and a second screen and still have room for notes. Easy to move up and down.”
Sky Solutions Anti Fatigue Comfort Floor Mat ($38.99, originally $47.97; amazon.com)
With more than 10,000 reviews on Amazon, this anti-fatigue floor mat will keep your feet cushy as you stand on your feet for most (or all) of the day.
Finally, don’t forget that the most important thing to keep pain-free is to move. “It’s also really important just to take breaks if you have mostly a desk job,” Rogerson says. “Every half hour to an hour, get up, go for a little quick 10-minute walk around, or go visit someone in the office or in your home, rather than just being seated in one position.”
Note: The prices above reflect the retailers’ listed prices at the time of publication.