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Best standing desk 2021: Improve your posture with height adjustable desks from £32

Flora Baker
17 Nov 2021
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Ease your aches and pains with our pick of the best standing desks

Whether it’s slumping shoulders or crossed legs, we’re all guilty of bad posture when sitting at a desk. Prolonged periods of sitting in a fixed position can be bad news for both body and mind, which is why it’s recommended to get up and move around throughout the day, as often as every 30 minutes.

If you’re one of the many who forget to do this, never fear: standing desks are the latest solution to the collective posture problem. Using a standing desk helps to relieve pressure on your neck and back, keeps your core engaged, and makes you feel more alert and productive – although standing all day has its own issues, too, as anyone working in hospitality can attest.

Luckily, many standing desks are adjustable, so they can be moved back down to a sitting position if your feet need a break. We’ve put together a guide to the best standing desks available at the moment, along with a quick explanation for what you should be looking for when choosing a standing desk.

Best standing desks: At a glance

  • Best budget standing desk riser: Deskmate | Buy now
  • Best standing desk riser for easy construction: Humbleworks | Buy now
  • Best luxury standing desk: Humanscale Float | Buy now
  • Best standing desk frame: Fully Jarvis | Buy now
  • Best standing desk with storage: Westerleigh | Buy now

How to choose the best standing desk for you

What types of standing desks are there?

Static standing desk: This style sits at one specific height that can’t be changed. It’s the best choice for the committed stander who knows they won’t need a brief sit down during the day, or who has an alternative desk for seated work.

Mechanically adjustable standing desk: A manually adjustable desk is on the cheaper end because it requires hand-turning a crank, which can take some time and effort to use. A benefit is the ability to reach the perfect height for any user.

Electrically adjustable standing desk: Push a button to smoothly raise or lower the desk’s surface with little effort on your part. These desks are typically more expensive as they require internal motors or gas-powered pistons.

Desk riser/desk converter: The most economical option is a desk riser that sits on your existing desk, as these take up less space and are more portable than full sized standing desks. The downside is having to transfer your screen, keyboard and mouse on and off the desk riser each time you use it.

How do I use a standing desk properly?

The desk should be deep enough to provide 50-70cm distance between you and your screen. Adjust your standing desk until the surface is at elbow height and your screen sits at eye level. Your wrists should be parallel to the desk surface, and stay straight while you’re working. Your shoulders should be relaxed and knees unlocked. If you’re prone to fidgeting, try going for a quick walk around the room rather than repeatedly changing how you stand, as this could affect your body’s alignment.

How much should I spend?

The price range for standing desks is pretty broad: you could spend anything from £50 to £1500. For the budget conscious, a desk riser constructed from sturdy cardboard like the Deskmate costs around £40, while an electric desk riser starts at around £150. We’ve included some higher priced options, like the Humanscale Float, based on materials, sturdiness, and how comfortable and easy they are to operate. You can also investigate adjustable frames instead of full desks for a lower cost. If you’re committing to an expensive option, be sure to check the warranty and return policies.

READ NEXT: The best monitors to buy

The best standing desks to buy

1. Deskmate Standing Desk: Best standing desk on a budget

Price: £32 | Buy now from Deskmate

The Deskmate’s affordable and portable approach to standing desks is, essentially, a two-tiered cardboard box. But before you scroll past it, bear in mind that the double-walled industrial strength cardboard can hold up to 20kg in total (or 10kg per shelf), yet can also be folded to just 3cm deep in a matter of seconds for storing away at the end of the work day.

Although this cardboard option is obviously not as weight-bearing as a solid wooden desk, you’re still gaining all the standing desk benefits for a fraction of the typical cost. The Deskmate is a great option for standing desk-ers who change work locations often or need to minimise their work space at home.

One possible downside is the fixed height. Deskmate has extensions available for a bit of height and width difference, and also offers a 15-day money back guarantee for unsatisfied customers.

Key features – Dimensions: 51 x 53 x 51cm (HWD); Maximum Weight: 20kg; Material: cardboard; Colours: black

Buy now from Deskmate


2. Humbleworks Sit Stand Workstation: Best desk for easy construction

Price: £199 | Buy now from Amazon

Aesthetically speaking, this desk raiser from Humbleworks is perhaps the most striking on our list. It looks a little like a child’s toy in grown-up size but is supremely satisfying to use: simply fold out the main structure then slot the two birchwood shelves into any of the corresponding openings – no need for Allen keys or nuts and bolts. Because it’s vertical, this wooden workstation takes up very little space, and it feels more elegant than metal or plastic alternatives, although you do need an existing desk to use it on. Some customers also report it smells like freshly cut wood, which can only be a plus.

In terms of shelf size, the top level is 40cm by 23.5cm, so can accommodate screens of up to 15in, while the keyboard shelf is 48cm by 23.5cm which doesn’t leave much space for a full-sized keyboard and mouse to be used together. Humbleworks does sell an extension shelf that’s slightly longer to cope with this issue, though.

Key features – Dimensions: 70 x 43 x 31cm (HWD); Maximum Weight: 5kg; Material: wood; Colours: natural wood

3. Humanscale Float Height Adjustable Sit/Stand Desk: best luxury standing desk

Price: £1499 | Buy now from John Lewis

If you’re after a fully adjustable standing desk with one-handed manipulation, take a long look at the Humanscale Float. It may look simple, but hidden inside this desk is a counterbalance mechanism that raises or lowers the desk in a matter of seconds via a quick squeeze of a lever on the desk’s underside. There’s no pedestal to get in the way of your feet, either: all the mechanics are neatly tucked inside the desk’s frame, so you can use the space beneath however you’d like.

Your external keyboard and mouse are stored neatly on a tray that slides out from beneath the desk so you can maximise every inch of surface space. If you’re inclined to fill your desk with heavy objects, the Humanscale Float can accommodate up to 72kg, and there’s a weight adjustment handle which, when turned, offsets how much force is needed on your part to adjust the desk height.

Key features – Dimensions: 68-120 x 120 x 80cm (HWD); Maximum weight: 72kg; Material: Oak, steel, aluminium; Colours: Oak

Buy now from John Lewis


4. Fully Jarvis Frame: Best standing desk frame

Price: from £449 | Buy now from Fully

If you already have a preferred desk surface that fits your needs, why not opt for an adjustable frame instead? The Fully Jarvis frame allows you to turn any existing table top into a standing desk, as long as it’s a minimum size of 112 x 69cm and a maximum of 208 x 91cm. This metal desk frame is satisfyingly sturdy and well built, with powerful motors housed in each leg. A push button handset controls the height adjustment and the frame can support 158kg, which should be more than enough for both a chosen table top and your usual desk additions.

We particularly like the customisable aspect on the Fully website: choose between accessories like an up/down switch or a programmable memory panel (for £20 extra), castors on the desk legs, a monitor arm, clamp-mounted power strip, and three different height ranges for the frame itself. Fully has some other desk frame options available, like the crank-powered frame (from £279) or the L-shaped frame (from £769) that is perfect for awkwardly shaped or smaller office spaces.

Key features – Dimensions: 68-120 x 120 x 80cm (HWD); Maximum weight: 72kg; Material: steel; Colours: black, white, silver, alloy

Buy now from Fully


5. Westerleigh Height Adjustable Standing Desk: best standing desk with built in storage

Price: £399.99 | Buy now from Wayfair

Fans of the more traditional-looking desk will love the Westerleigh height adjustable desk from Wayfair. At first glance, it’s a typical desk with two drawers on the right and a third in the middle – but the false middle drawer hides an extension mechanism to lift the top surface. This rising part is 71.6cm by 50cm and can hold 45kg, so there’s plenty of room, and it moves smoothly enough to barely disturb a cup of coffee.

Both functional and aesthetically pleasing, this elegant desk fits seamlessly into any home office space. We particularly like the gold accents on the dipped feet and drawer handles, and the open shelf at the bottom is a great spot for a printer or large box file. A minor issue is that some customers report the height clearance from floor to the desk’s underside is rather a tight squeeze at 58cm, so it may not be the best choice for those over 5ft 10in.

Key features – Dimensions: 101 x 116 x 50cm (HWD); Maximum weight: 45kg; Material: MDF and solid wood; Colours: white, graphite grey

Buy now from Wayfair


6. Duronic Sit-Stand Electric Height Adjustable Office Workstation: best electric desk riser

Price: £187 | Buy now from Amazon

We love how much space there is on the main platform of the Duronic desk riser. You can easily fit a full sized monitor on this 90 x 59cm electronic desk, along with notebooks and coffee mugs, and there’s also an inbuilt slot for a phone or tablet.

Adjusting the desk riser’s height just requires a touch of the two-way button on the side of the steel frame, and there’s very little wobbling, even when the desk rests at its maximum height of 49cm. The entire structure flattens down significantly to just 16cm, making it easy to store away when not in use. Some customers say the keyboard shelf, at 90 x 29cm, isn’t large enough to hold a full sized ergonomic keyboard, so it’s worth double checking measurements before you buy.

Key features – Dimensions: 16-49cm x 90cm x 59cm (HWD); Maximum weight: 15kg on platform; 2kg on keyboard tray; Material: steel; Colours: black

7. FlexiSpot E8 Standing Desk: Best all-round standing desk

Price: From £420 | Buy now from Flexispot

For a frame and worktop combo, Flexispot comes out on top in terms of pricing at only £500 (you can purchase just the frame for £420, or add one of ten different desktops for an additional £80-£160). The E8 desk is a new addition to its range and has a dual-motor, hydraulic system that makes the desk incredibly strong, holding up to 125kg. We were particularly impressed with the smooth gliding motion, which makes barely any noise as it travels from 60cm to 125cm in height, and the ability to pre-set four different heights on the desk’s touch sensitive smart control panel.

When you buy a product this substantial, it’s also worth knowing that the packaging is up to standard. This desk arrives in separate deliveries from two different manufacturers and is sufficiently padded out with foam, bubble wrap and corner protectors. Construction does take a while and needs a screwdriver (not provided), but the instruction manual is pretty thorough. The E8 desk’s streamlined appearance also belies the sheer weight of it, so make sure you construct this desk in the same place it’s going to be used.

Flexispot has a number of different standing desks if this one doesn’t take your fancy. Browsing the website is also pretty entertaining thanks to the sheer number of add-ons you can incorporate into your order: anything from gaming chairs and drawers to cable managers and desk bikes. Flexispot has a 3-year warranty for the motors, a 5-year warranty for the frame, and a 30 day risk-free return policy, so keep hold of all the packaging.

Key features – Dimensions: 60-125cm x 120-200cm x 60-80cm (HWD); Maximum Weight: 125kg; Material: solid wood and metal; Frame colour: black or white; Desktop colour: graphite, white, maple, black, mahogany, bamboo, brown, grain, marble or walnut

Buy now from Flexispot


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