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10 best standing desks that deserve an ovation

Whether you’re WFO or WFH, these platforms will help you feel and work better

Jon Axworthy
Thursday 11 January 2024 16:52 GMT
<p>From adjustable to electric, these sit-stand desks will do you and your back a favour </p>

From adjustable to electric, these sit-stand desks will do you and your back a favour

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The first indication of how bad sitting for prolonged periods is for our health was revealed more than 70 years ago, when researchers found that double-decker bus drivers were twice as likely to have heart attacks compared with their bus conductor colleagues, who spent most of the working day on their feet.

Since then, evidence of the ill effects of spending too long in a seat has been overwhelming, and sit-stand desks, which were once thought to be a wacky work practice, are now believed to be key in helping us live longer, healthier lives.

With flexible working continuing to become the norm, more people are looking to outfit their workspace with a designated standing desk that can help them move from one posture to another throughout the day, without interrupting workflow.

So, let’s think about what you might need from a standing desk. Firstly, you’ll need a good height range, so you can accommodate everyone who might be using the table, from children to adults. For taller users, the table needs to be stable, especially at the upper limits of its height range – a lot of inferior tables will begin to wobble when raised and you begin to type or write, which is never good for productivity.

Tables will have different mechanisms to go up and down, and you need that movement to be smooth and fluid, so you can alter the table height easily and quickly and transition between standing and sitting, without it affecting your work focus.

Finally, you’re going to need the desk to be workable, and that means providing enough room for laptops, workbooks, monitors, maybe some greenery, as well as some standing files or an open A4 notebook or diary, without it feeling like you’re playing a game of desktop Tetris.

How we tested the best standing desks

We worked at all these tables for an extended period of time, to get an idea of how functional they were throughout the working day – whereas before we would sit at our desks and then take regular breaks to stand, while taking a call, for example, the usage was now reversed and we would stand for the majority of the time and then occasionally sit down to take a break.

We needed a desk that would be able to transition quickly, so we weren’t struggling to alter the height whilst also fielding a call or doing some other work task. We were also mindful of whether the sit-stand mechanism would start to lag or whether any other problems would be thrown up with extended use.

Ease of assembly was assessed, and for the basic functionality of the desktops, we applied the cup of coffee test, which looked at how likely we were to spill our obligatory morning brew and cause carnage because the desk was too cramped. 

The best standing desks for 2024 are:

  • Best standing desk overall – FlexiSpot E8 standing desk: £439.99, Flexispot.co.uk
  • Best budget standing desk – Ikea skarsta trotten standing desk: £220, Ikea.com
  • Best sit-to-stand desk – Yo-Yo standing desk 90: £329.95, Amazon.co.uk
  • Best motorised standing desk – Fully Jarvis bamboo standing desk: £875, Hermanmiller.com
  • Best standing desk for kids – FlexiSpot childrens standing desk: £219.99, research proving .co.uk

FlexiSpot E8 standing desk

FlexiE8.png
  • Best: Standing desk overall
  • Motorised: Yes
  • Height range: 62.5cm to 128cm
  • Dimensions: 120cm to 200cm wide x 60cm to 80cm depth
  • Why we love it
    • Efficient motorised mechanisms
    • Rock solid
    • Can take a lot of weight
    • Anti-collision sensor

This minimalist desk with clean lines and plenty of desktop space is clearly made with work-from-homers in mind, as it combines one of the most efficient motorised mechanisms we tested, with straightforward assembly, which won’t take more than an hour.

The lowest this desk will go is 62.5cm, which is great if you’re not super tall, and it raises to 128cm, so you’ll still be able to work ergonomically, even if you’re 6ft plus. It’s capable of supporting 125kg, so you won’t have to worry about overloading it, even if you’ve got a multiple monitor setup, and the table was still rock solid when raised to its highest limit. Dimensions wise, it’s 120-200cm in width x 60-80cm in depth.

The transition from sit to stand was smooth and quick, thanks to a dual-motor lifting system, and there are four pre-sets that you can program in, so different household members can quickly and easily get to work at the desk at their required height.

There are plenty of other features that can be enabled from the keypad, too, from locking the height, so it can’t be tampered with, to fully lowering the table with one button press, when you’re all finished for the day.

There is also an anti-collision sensor when the table is on the move – this will stop the table before it whacks your pet on the head. The legs are rounded for a more attractive look and the desktop itself has a nice, natural grain finish with 11 variations available, to suit your home décor.

Read the full FlexiSpot E8 standing desk review

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Ikea skarsta/trotten standing desk

IKEA.png
  • Best: Budget standing desk
  • Motorised: No
  • Height range: 70cm to 120cm
  • Dimensions: 120cm x 70cm
  • Why we love it
    • Straightforward setup
    • Functional for all kinds of working practices

This table from the Swedish flat-pack specialist was suitably straightforward to assemble and raises via a handle and crank from 70cm to 120cm. Unlike some other cranked tables we’ve seen, the Ikea desk’s crank slides back under the table once you’ve set the height, to stop you impaling yourself on it when you get up to make a cup of tea.

With 50kg of load and a 120cm x 70cm working area, the table is functional for all kinds of working practices, whether you’re sitting at a keyboard and screen or actually making something.

Read the full Ikea skarsta/trotten standing desk review

  1. £220 from Ikea.com
Prices may vary
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Yo-Yo standing desk 90

yoyo-desk-90.jpg
  • Best: Sit-to-stand desk
  • Motorised: No
  • Height range: 15cm to 50cm
  • Dimensions: 89cm x 59cm
  • Why we love it
    • Easy to operate

If you’re happy with the desk you have but would like the option to sit-stand, this riser will sit on top and give you that freedom of movement, raising your keyboard up to 35cm from the base while the desktop itself goes up to 50cm, so you should easily be able to find an optimum working height.

The gas-assisted lifting mechanism is very easy to operate. When you want to sit down, the whole unit lowers, so your keyboard sits flush to your existing desk, with the monitor sitting at 15cm.

Read the full Yo-Yo standing desk 90 review

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Flytta 2 standing desk

Flytta-2.jpg
  • Best: For busy desks
  • Motorised: Yes
  • Height range: 64cm to 130cm
  • Dimensions: 120cm x 80cm or 180cm x 80cm
  • Why we love it
    • Four different sizes of top plate

This desk offers four different sizes of top plate, so, if you work pretty minimally, you can opt for the 120cm x 80cm desk. However, there is also a 180cm x 80cm top that will ensure you can really spread out, without feeling cramped while you work.

The dual motors were very smooth, raising the table (via a responsive keypad) between 64cm and 130cm, and we had no worrying wobbles when working at the upper reaches of the table’s standing mode.

The table has a 100kg weight capacity, which means you can work with confidence, even if it has to accommodate a sizeable digital setup.

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Fully Jarvis bamboo standing desk

FullyJarvis.png
  • Best: Motorised standing desk
  • Motorised: Yes
  • Height range: 53cm to 127cm
  • Dimensions: 120cm x 80cm
  • Why we love it
    • Customisable
    • Durable materials
  • Take note
    • Hard to setup

Right, we’re pretty good at DIY, but it was a bit of a struggle putting the Jarvis together. However, we can say you won’t be disappointed with the end result, because the table supports an astonishing 158kg and is made from premium materials that are built to last – particularly the sustainably grown and harvested bamboo, which looks fantastic and is very workable. There’s plenty of space for your setup, too, with worktop dimensions measuring 120cm x 80cm.

The motorised lifting mechanism is impressively fluid (using up and down arrows on the keypad), and the table is one of the most customisable on the market, with two shapes and seven sizes, so you should easily be able to find a configuration that is tailored to your office space.

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Herman Miller ratio sit-stand desk

HermanMiller.png
  • Best: For modern office spaces
  • Motorised: No
  • Height range: 65cm to 125cm
  • Dimensions: 137cm x 80cm
  • Why we love it
    • Straightforward setup
    • Lightweight

The minimal aesthetic of this desk would make it a very welcome addition to a modern work space, and the fact there are a mind-boggling number of combinations to choose from in terms of the frame colour and finish of the hard-wearing melamine top means you should have no trouble blending the desk into your space.

Putting the desk together was straightforward, and the lightweight components meant we didn’t need another pair of hands to help. Once assembled, the desk felt strong and stable, even when raised to the maximum height of 125cm.

The electric height adjustment mechanism was smooth without any judder, and the desk itself will take 75kg of weight, so will easily be able to accommodate most office setups.

Read the full Herman Miller ratio sit-stand desk review

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Humanscale float standing desk

HumanScale.png
  • Best: For yo-yo workers
  • Motorised: No
  • Height range: 50cm to 120cm
  • Dimensions: 120cm x 60cm
  • Why we love it
    • Fast mechanism
    • Absolutely solid
  • Take note
    • Expensive

If you are one of those workers who’s constantly up and down throughout the working day, this table (made from recyclable steel and aluminium) has one of the fastest mechanisms on test. Rather than motors, the float relies on a constant force spring and counterbalance mechanism to raise and lower the top plate over 50cm of height, via a paddle placed just underneath the table. The transition is smooth, strangely satisfying to operate and, most importantly, quick.

The range offered tops out at 120cm and the desk can support 58kg, but the float was absolutely solid at the top level and never moved, even when we were leaning on it. This is an expensive desk but it’s also supremely functional and impressively engineered and, again, it’s highly customisable – we specifically liked the under-table keyboard system, where the keyboard can be hidden away in a pull-out drawer to give you even more room on the desktop and reduce clutter when the desk isn’t in use.

Read the full Humanscale float standing desk review

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Flexispot children’s standing desk

childrens.jpg
  • Best: For kids
  • Motorised: Yes
  • Height range: 77.5cm to 87.5cm
  • Dimensions: 100cm x 60cm
  • Why we love it
    • One-touch button system
    • Kid-friendly features
    • Waterproof top

Children’s posture is rarely a problem, but kids’ sit-stand desks can still be really useful, as they stop those bad postural habits slowly creeping in.

This Flexispot table features a similar mechanism to the company’s adult desks, so your child can switch from sitting down in front of their homework to standing up for a spot of crafting, without any hassle. This is thanks to a one-touch button that easily raises the table between heights (ranging from 77.5cm to 87.5cm).

There’s plenty of room on the waterproof top plate for exercise books and organisers, thanks to the desk’s 100cm x 60cm dimensions, plus there are some kid-friendly features – such as a hook from which they can hang their schoolbag, so it’s easily accessible.

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Yo-Yo standing desk pro-3

Yo-Yo-desk-pro-3.jpg
  • Best: Standing desk for big offices
  • Motorised: Yes
  • Height range: 70cm to 123cm
  • Dimensions: 140cm x 160cm x 80cm x 60cm
  • Why we love it
    • Efficient motors
    • Generous height range

If you have a larger working area, particularly one that’s suitable for a corner desk, this UK manufacturer has come up with a desk with three efficient motors that will raise the right-angled desktop at the touch of a button. The desk ranges in height from 70cm to 123cm, allowing taller individuals to still work ergonomically, although, there is also a pro 3+ version (£899.95, Yo-yodesk.co.uk) with a height range of up to 127cm – making it suitable for users up to 6ft 8in.

The spacious table didn’t suffer from any wobble at the higher ranges of height, and the powder-coated top plate comes in 10 colours.

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HumbleWorks Stan 2 standing desk

Humbleworks.png
  • Best: For easy assembly
  • Motorised: No
  • Height range: Up to 32cm
  • Dimensions: 37cm x 50cm
  • Why we love it
    • Easily packed away

Not all sit-stand desks rely on motors and fancy mechanisms. If you don’t want a permanent sit-stand option, this birch plywood desk offers both laptop and desktop users the opportunity to feel the benefits of standing. It sets up on an existing desk within minutes, offering a simple system of seven slots into which you can fit two shelves, according to how you want your laptop and screens to be set up.

At the highest level, the stan 2 will raise a monitor 32cm above the height of your original desk, and the whole thing is very easy to pack away again at the end of the working day.

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Standing desk FAQs

How long should you stand at a standing desk?

It’s recommended we alternate between sitting and standing regularly, with research suggesting you should spend one hour standing for every three hours spent sitting down.

Are standing desks good for you?

There are a number of benefits associated with standing as opposed to sitting at a desk, particularly when it comes to your posture. Research shows incorporating standing into the working day reduces back pain caused by prolonged sitting. A study published in the British Medical Journal also noted standing desks have the ability to reduce tiredness among workers and boost productivity.

What are the benefits of standing to work compared to sitting?

Recent research in the physiological reviews suggests that sitting at a desk for too long may contribute to a wide range of chronic diseases including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancers and an overall shorter life expectancy.

In addition, the Orthopaedic Hospital of Wisconsin states that there are seven main health benefits associated with using a standing desk, including burning calories, energy bursts, improved posture, reduced back pain, improved wrist circulation and body circulation, as well as a general mood and focus boost. Lowering blood sugar spikes is also a potential benefit. In a small study of 10 office workers it was found that their blood sugar levels lowered by 43 per cent by standing for 180 minutes compared to sitting for the same amount of time. 

Can you get a prescription for a standing desk?

In the UK, you can’t currently get a standing desk on prescription.

The verdict: Standing desks

Sit-stand desks that operate with a motor don’t come cheap, which is why we were particularly impressed with the features of the sub-£500 FlexiSpot E8 standing desk.

From the excellent raise/lower mechanism and impressive range to easy assembly, it’s a great option. Plus, it can accommodate a variety of heights, while staying stable and supporting a range of working devices.

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