If you work at an office or from home with a computer on your desk, you probably sit most of the day. That's not great for your back, especially if you tend to slouch.
People who sit with poor posture put themselves at risk for a variety of health issues, including misalignment of the spine and knees, exacerbation of arthritis and shoulder and back pain. One of the ways some workplaces have tried to curb this issue is by adding standing desks at the office. According to a 2019 survey (cited by U.S. News & World Report) from of the Society for Human Resource Management, "standing desks are the fastest growing benefits trend. In 2013, just 13% of employers provided or subsidized standing desks; 44% did so by 2017."
If you want to install a standing desk at your office or home, keep two things in mind. It's best to consult a doctor or physical therapist, and get some professional help before setting it up — because an improperly installed standing desk can strain the neck or cause other physical ailments.
Also, once you get a standing desk, don't stand all day at work all of a sudden. Too much standing can be as much of a strain on your back and the rest of your body as too much sitting. At first, try standing for 15 to 30 minutes at a time, and then you can work your way up to longer intervals. But always vacillate between standing and sitting. Most of all, if your body tells you it's tired of standing, listen to it and grab a seat.
If you are looking to buy a standing desk, here are the best ones, as recommended by chiropractors, interior designers and people who work from home all day.
Best Standing Desks, Updated September 2020
WorkFit-Z Mini Sit-Stand Desk Converter: From $231 at Amazon
Colin Haentjens, is a licensed architect with The Knobbs Company in Omaha, Nebraska, whose has been featured in Interior Design and had a project nominated by the International Interior Design Association. So if you're looking for a desk with style, he understands. He also knows that people often wind up sitting at work, even when they have a standing desk available to them.
"Standing desks provide a lot of flexibility and positive health impacts, but I've found the best quality and appearance desks are automatic (powered) sit/stand desks that come with a bigger price tag. In offices I've designed in which a significant portion of employees requested sit/stand desks, I've learned later than only a fraction actually use the function; most end up sitting 100% of the time," he says. "For this reason, I advise a converter that sits on top of a typical desk. They come at a lower price and will let you test how often you actually switch between sitting and standing. From there, you can make a more educated purchase of an integrated sit/stand desk."
He recommends the WorkFit-Z Mini Sit-Stand Desk Converter, which "provides high-quality finishes and adds more than 17" of height to your desk. It comes ready to use, and has grommets to cleanly run wires between the keyboard, mouse, and monitor."
Readydesk 2 Adjustable Standing Desk: $154.99 at Amazon
There's a standing desk for everyone. According to Haentjens, the Readydesk 2 "is for those who prefer natural finishes and flexibility. It adds up to 21" of height to your desk, with 10 heights to try for both the monitor and keyboard," he says. "It might not be ideal for a law office, but designers, students, and home-office workers will love the look and cost."
Stand Steady Mega Standing Desk: $99.95 at Amazon
You don't have to invest in that crazy of a setup. If you already have a regular desk, the Stand Steady Mega Standing Desk can pretty quickly transform it into a standing desk. And you can quickly go back to the regular one once it's time to change back, after you've gotten the benefits from standing.
“The Stand Steady Mega Standing Desk will help prevent neck pain from constantly looking downward at the keyboard,” says Dr. Allen Conrad, BS, DC, CSCS of Montgomery County Chiropractic Center in North Wales, Pennsylvania.
"Repetitive leaning over a keyboard while typing at the computer can lead to many problems. These include neck and back pain, referral cervicogenic headaches, and carpal tunnel syndrome to name a few. By using a standing desk, you can perform your activities with proper posture and form, and this standing desk allows that,” he says. “It has an extra-wide tabletop which can accommodate two monitors and a laptop, and it has adjustable legs which is good for people who are taller."
Caitlin Scanlon is a Los Angeles-based interior designer who has a particular niche for designing offices for production companies. She was a development and production executive in the movie business for many years, and her work can currently be seen on Apple TV's The Morning Show. That's a show with a lot of desks, and she has several favorite models.
In particular, she says that "Poppin is fantastic as they are cheap and cheerful, good quality, and come in all sorts of configurations—single (for residential use), decking, L-shaped, etc. They also have coordinating filing cabinets and accessories to provide a nice finished look. Great company with great customer service."
Symple Stuff Tamara Double Standing Desk Converter: $309.99 at Wayfair
Working from home doesn't mean you have to work from the couch. Laurice Wardini is a full-time freelance writer in Las Vegas and the founder of the fashion website ClothedUp.
"After doing extensive research on the benefits of standing desks years ago, I decided to purchase one," she says, though she admits she wasn't happy with what she found on her initial search. "My home office is very modern with white, gold, and pink accents and plenty of plants. A clunky black desk would have looked horrible.”
But she kept trying, and found the White Tamara Double Standing Desk Converter. "It was so much easier to buy this converter than replacing my entire desk or making space for a new one, plus it matches the color of my desk and looks great."
SmartDesk 2 Premium: $569 at Autonomous
Jose Gomez, a Newport Beach, California-based web and software developer who owns the marketing agency Evinex, works 60+ hours a week — most of it in front of a computer. He's also a big fan of standing desks. "I've been using standing desks for the last three years, and they changed my life, improving my overall wellness," he says.
"My recommendation is the SmartDesk2 from Autonomous," he says. "This one is my current desk at both my office and home. It is a mechanical desk that allows you to set the exact height so you can work on your chair or standing up. It is rock solid and looks beautiful, the best standing desk I've tried so far."