Many people quickly set up their home office spaces with the thought that they'd only be working there for a matter of weeks during the early stages of Covid-19. Still, the professional landscape has evolved drastically since lifting restrictions and more offices, allowing workers to return. While some have returned to their in-person cubicles, many others use their makeshift offices on a full-time basis. Regardless of your situation, it may be time for some upgraded equipment.
A best budget stand up desk can be a great option (or a great gift!) for any WFH setup. Not only does it give you a designated space to work, but it provides an opportunity to stretch your legs throughout the day. Plus, standing burns more calories than sitting.
While many ergonomic desks can get pricey, we found some top-rated options that total less than $300. From desk converters to mobile options, you'll want to upgrade your home office space with one of these affordable standing desks.
When you are working remotely from home, fewer distractions create the opportunity for leaving your desk. You've got your coffee refill just a few steps away, and there's no daily meeting to get up and walk to the conference room for. You don't even have to commute, getting those steps in during the walk across the parking lot or during your train transfer.
Along with these awesome benefits of working from home is the opportunity for you to choose what you purchase for your ergonomic home office. For us, the home office we set up in our small apartment only has one other option for working: our couch (which we use for sitting).
Some of the most common mistakes when you work from home are either sitting all day in the same position (terrible for your body) or working from a desk that isn't right for you. A standing desk fixes both of these issues, so standing desks are one of the most popular trends for working from home nowadays.
How Much Does A Stand-Up Desk Cost?
Standing desks we've reviewed range from $159 to well over $2,000. Desks with solid wood or custom desktops can be much more expensive, the biggest and nicest solid wood L-desks ranging up to $8,000. So there's quite a range, but to make it simple, we split up the desks we've reviewed into four tiers:
Ultra Premium (over $1,100) standing desks should offer the best desk you can buy. You should expect stunning finishes and premium quality components in this price range. Go to Ultra Premium standing desks round-up.
Premium (under $1,100) standing desks require a bigger investment, but are feature-loaded, usually feature better build quality and warranties, and are sure to match the décor of the executive suite.
Value (under $800) standing desks offer good feature sets and specifications without costing as much as the premium adjustable height desk offerings. As a result, this tier is typically where you find your best value for the dollar.
Budget (under $400) standing desks have been optimized for cost-savings. As a result, they generally have lower, though not necessarily poor, performance specs and come with the smallest price points and shortest warranties.
Best standing desks of 2022
Uplift V2 is one of the best standing desks that benefits from top-notch build quality and prides itself on stability. An issue which can be found with some standing desks is that they might be a bit wobbly, particularly when extended to higher levels. Uplift is nicely stable, though, thanks to built-in stability braces.
Dual-motors mean the desk can change heights quickly, with a smooth and quiet action, and anti-collision tech is also in the mix (meaning if the desk is lowering and hits something – like your seat, or heaven forbid your head – it stops).
The desk also benefits from a large number of mounting points for accessories, with some pretty nifty extras that can be hooked up to this thing – including an under-desk hammock (yes, you read that right – it attaches underneath when the desk is fully raised up). If there's any testament you need to the stability of this unit, it's being able to sleep in a hammock under it!
There are loads of choices for desktop sizes and colours (and indeed frame colours), you get built-in cable management, and there are curved or corner desk models. The products are backed by an impressive seven-year warranty, too.
The Uplift is available in standard and commercial standing desk versions (the latter has even more stability thanks to a crossbar), and those outside the US can order a unit to be shipped. However, it will be delivered as 'palletized freight' and could be expensive – so the maker suggests purchasing the Uplift frame only and sourcing your own desktop for it locally.
Vari Electric Standing Desk
Vari's Electric Standing Desk is available in three different widths (48in, 60in and 72in) to suit the needs of your home office and can be set up in minutes using the two included Allen wrenches. The desk features two t-style legs that each contain a motor that allows it to be raised to a maximum height of 50.5in (128cm) or lowered to 25in (63.5cm).
In addition to choosing from three widths, Vari's Electric Standing Desk is also available in five different finishes (black, white, dark wood, butcher block and reclaimed wood). The desk is able to support up to 200lb (90.7kg), which makes it an ideal choice for power users with multiple monitors and heavier workstation PCs.
However, what impressed us most was how much thought Vari put into the assembly process of its desk. The desk's frame comes pre-attached, and customers only need to assemble the legs. A control panel resides in the middle of the frame, and the cords for both motors as well as the keypad at the front of the desk plug into it. Vari also sells an optional Cable Management Tray that easily attaches to the back of the desk and has more than enough room to hold a power strip and even a large power adapter for a business monitor.
The keypad allows you easily and quickly adjust the desk's height, and there are four memory presets for storing your preferred sitting and standing heights. The desk is rather quiet when moving between heights, and we could even lower and raise the desk without spilling a full cup of coffee. Vari also offers free shipping in the contiguous US and 30-day risk-free returns. Check over here!
The Flexispot EG1 is our pick for the best budget standing desk as this motorized desk provides the benefit of working from a seated or standing position at a very affordable price.
There are also a variety of width and depth options for the desktop, starting at 48-inches x 24-inches and going all the way up to 55-inches x 28-inches. The Flexispot EG1 has a minimum height of 28-inches and can be raised up to 47.6-inches. Meanwhile, the desktop has a thickness of 1-inch, and the two T-style legs help hold this desk firmly in place.
In addition to a wide variety of desktop sizes, the Flexispot EG1 comes in maple, black and white, walnut, white and black and black, so you can find a colour combination to match your office or home workspace. According to Flexispot, the EG1 can be assembled in under one hour, so you'll be up and running in no time.
Unlike the FlexiSpot EF and other more expensive electric standing desks, the Flexispot EG1 features a two-button controller. This more simple controller will allow you to raise or lower the desk's height, but there are no programmable preset buttons. As a result, you'll have to remember or write down your preferred standing and sitting heights instead.
Flomotion Standing Desk
Not too sure if you want to purchase a standing desk? Think that maybe testing one out – trying before you buy – could be the way to go? Flomotion makes this possible for customers based in the UK, and offers an impressive level of customer service going by online feedback on the firm.
None of this would matter much if the standing desks Flomotion makes weren't up to scratch, of course, but this isn't the case. So instead, Flomotion offers a wide variety of wood types for its desktops – handmade and locally sourced – and a newly introduced high-quality sit/stand desk frame (called Skyflo; you can buy the frame only if you wish).
The Skyflo frame is rated for 120kg of lift capacity and is suitably quiet when moving up or down with dual motors. It also boasts anti-collision detection and a nifty control panel that offers Bluetooth connectivity and an app to control the height (plus various memory positions can be set). In short, it's a smart desk frame indeed.
As mentioned, one of the big attractions here is the ability to try out a desk for free if you live within 30 miles of Norwich (and that includes free delivery and setup). Those further afield in the UK can still get a two-week trial but will have to set up the desk themselves and pay a collection fee if the product has to go back to the manufacturer (a £60 charge, or £40 for a frame-only). Customer service is top-notch, according to the feedback we've seen.
Note that at the time of writing, the trial option has been suspended due to the situation with Covid-19, but when things get more back to normal, hopefully so will the trial.
Those in the US looking for a free trial option for a standing desk should head over to FlexiSpot (a company that has a couple of products elsewhere in this list), as it's currently running risk-free trials for businesses. (And right now, folks in the UK can benefit from FlexiSpot's 30-day money-back guarantee as a kind of trial, in lieu of Flomotion, if it's the trial aspect you're most interested in).
Symple Stuff Hassen Adjustable Standing Desk
If you like your desk to double as a miscellaneous storage spot, you'll appreciate this standing desk. In addition to the large desk surface, it features two shelves where you can store books, office supplies or anything else that needs a place to be stored. It also folds for easy storage.
If your workspace doesn't have that many power outlets or just wants to eliminate cable clutter, perhaps a manual standing desk is better. The Ergotron WorkFit-D keeps things simple with a single lever on the right underside to raise or lower the desk. Due to its brake cable system, this desk can actually be raised or lowered faster than many electric standing desks.
The Ergotron WorkFit-D features a smooth laminate surface and is available with either a walnut or birch desktop. The desktop's edge is black, which helps it match the desk's legs and feet.
The desk can hold up to 165lbs (74.8kg) though Ergotron recommends not exceeding 65lbs (29.5kg) so that it can be raised and lowered easily. There are also two compartments on the backside of each leg with a bolt that can be loosened or tightened depending on the weight of the equipment placed on the desk.
The Ergotron WorkFit-D also sets itself apart from other manual standing desks by using a patented mechanical lift system as opposed to a crank to lift or lower the desk.
If you don't want to add any more wires to your workspace and are looking for a quick and simple way to be more active throughout your date, the Ergotron WorkFit-D could be the perfect solution for you. More info here.
Is A Standing Desk Worth It?
Are standing desks overrated? As with most questions, that depends on context. We know that sitting for long periods of time is terrible for you. We also know most people have to work (often at a computer) for long periods. How do you reconcile these two facts? You stand while working.
At the same time, a standing desk is not a panacea for all of your back and neck woes. Alone, it won't help you lose a lot of weight. However, a standing desk is worth it if you'll use it (and some have a very effective "health coach" feature to make sure you do). A standing desk that stays at sitting height is just an overly expensive desk that lacks storage.
We also find standing desks to be an excellent "gateway drug" into the world of ergodynamics. Once they start standing more, most people will be very happy, and many of those will then move on to explore monitor arms, keyboard trays and treadmill desks.
How Cheap Is Too Cheap?
As part of assessing which cheap standing desk is best for you, we'd like to point out some other important articles on the subject, which we highly recommend any prospective desk buyer reads before they commit to one brand or model over another. Probably the most important is our primer on Why Some Sit-Stand Desks Shake More Than Others, since reasonable stability is going to be the main thing that will be hard to find in a desk under $400—in fact, only one model meets our experts' standards in this price range.
Along with stability, any buyer should be concerned about manufacturing quality, ease-of-assembly, ease-of-use, customer support and warranty when buying a product of this complexity and cost. See our article How We Conduct Standing Desk Reviews for more detailed criteria. For more information on what warranties cover and don't cover, be sure to read our primer on How to Compare Warranties on Standing Desks.
We have not included any manual sit-stand desks in this round-up because they represent less than 2% of the US market at this point; the electric sit-stand desk has won the game, and at this point, numerous electric desks are less expensive and far more reliable than the few sit-stand crank desks still on the market.
It is also worth noting that there are now fewer cheap standing desk options due to the new Chinese tariffs, so we've had to drop a few former contenders from the roster below. For example, the Stand Desk, which found tremendous success as the first $400 standing desk on Kickstarter in 2014, now starts at $479.95 when configured bare bones. Look at this site.
As you might expect, the cheapest standing desks most commonly emanate from China. Learn more about the differences in quality, durability and performance you can expect from Chinese-made Standing Desks versus Made-in-USA.
How About Building Your Own?
When searching for a cheap standing desk, the other route is to build your desk with an inexpensive base and an inexpensive top. This is slightly more work because you have to make two purchases instead of one, but it shouldn't add any more assembly since full desks in this price range generally require attaching the desktop as part of the installation. We've added abstracts below for all of the standing desk frames we've reviewed that are under $400. Be sure to check out our full round-up of electric base frames and our guide to choosing the right desktop for more information about the process of building your own desk.
Frequently Asked Questions About Standing Desk
Standing desks are, without a doubt, over-hyped, and most of the supposed benefits simply aren't true. While the science is still catching up, the existing research strongly points in the direction that standing desks simply aren't worth the investment.
For standing height, you can multiply your height in inches by 0.6 to get a close approximation of how high you would need your standing desk to go. These desks should accommodate people who are over 6′ tall (as tall as 7′ for the Uplift V2 and the Vari; 6′ for the Jarvis with a low-range frame).
Standing desks seem to help ease back pain, but doctors don't know how much time you need to stand to get this benefit. More productive: In a study of call centre employees, those with standing desks were 45% more productive on a daily basis than employees who sat during their shift.
Standing desks are expensive because the materials they are made of are costly and have electric motors for height adjustability, which take more time and effort to build. Also, these desks are known for their ergonomic benefits for health and productivity that also affect the actual desk cost.
It finds that people burn more calories when they stand than when sitting or lying down, but the increase is smaller than many of us might hope. Those of us who overindulged and slacked off on our exercise regimens over the holidays also mean that being upright is unlikely to help us lose weight.
And here's the right answer: The desk should be 55" wide and 25" deep to set up two monitors or even bigger if you want to set up three monitors. The desk that has 60" or bigger size will be long enough to hold computer peripherals and many desk accessories comfortably.