The best budget electric standing desk are those that are flexible enough to work well in your existing workspace or just about anywhere around your home. Standing while working — even in short spurts — is one of the simplest things you can do for your health if you are physically able to. The trouble with standing desks is that they are often expensive and replace otherwise perfect office furniture. But thankfully, there are several affordable and portable alternatives. Our favourite overall is the FLEXISPOT Standing Desk Converter because it sits on top of an existing desk or tabletop, and it is incredibly spacious, sturdy, and adjustable.
If you’re looking to get a cheap standing desk, the good news is there are many options on the market to choose from. The bad news is that not all of them are of decent quality. This is where our lab tests really serve to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Our experts have lab-tested dozens of sit-stand desks over the years (you can see all of them in our Best Sit-Stand Desk Reviews roundup). As we frequently get requests from readers for a shortlist of the best affordable standing desks to consider, we previously asked our editors to compile their top picks under $700. Now we’ve asked them to compile the best you can buy for under $400.
You should note that the cost of standing desks has gone up almost everywhere in the market ever since the pandemic with the increasing costs of raw materials and shipping globally, so there are fewer options than there used to be in this price range.
If you tend to feel less productive while working from home and think your current work setup has something to do with it, a standing desk — or a standing desk converter — may help you. Standing desks can improve poor desk posture and mitigate chronic body pain associated with sitting during the day. But you may not be aware that standing desks may also help add to your fitness abilities over time and, more importantly, keep you energized and focused throughout the entire workday.
With the help and expertise of Rachel Rothman, Chief Technologist and Director of Engineering in Good Housekeeping Institute, and Stefani Sassos, MS, RDN, CSO, CDN, NASM-CPT, the Good Housekeeping Institute Nutrition Lab’s Deputy Director and certified personal trainer, we’re sharing the best standing desks on the market today. These are our top tested and expert-approved standing desks, which we evaluated in our own home offices for adjustability, ease of assembly, customisation, price, size and appearance.
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 roundup.
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. Great site.
Value (under $800) standing desks offer good feature sets and specifications without costing as much as the premium adjustable height desk offerings. 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.
How Is Cheap 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. We highly recommend any prospective desk buyer read 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. 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 roundup 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, there are numerous electric desks that 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.
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.
List of Cheap Standing Desk
FLEXISPOT Standing Desk Converter (M7MB)
In addition to the stand-alone electronic and manual desks, FLEXISPOT also makes several desktop units that you can place in existing workspaces. Out of these, our favourite is hands-down the standing desk converter. The unit consists of an upper section for your laptop and monitor(s) and a lower area for your mouse, keyboard, notepad, etc.
This unit is operated by hand, with two clasps on each side that you grip down to raise or lower the desk. This raising mechanism is so fluid and smooth that practically anyone can operate it, regardless of coordination or strength. It’s also sturdy and doesn’t move much when elevated, so you can have complete confidence that your laptop and monitor will be supported.
The most significant downsides to this are its weight, size, and assembly process. While it’s easy for anyone to operate while in place, getting it up onto the desktop might be challenging. It comes in at 36.8 pounds and is at least 35 inches wide and 23.7 inches deep, so it will take up a sizeable chunk of your existing desk real estate. Check out the post right here.
SHW Electric Height Adjustable Computer Desk
This adjustable electric desk might be more of what you picture when you think of an open-plan office filled with worker bees at their standing desks, but that image is in your head for a reason. This is an excellent form factor, with a wide tabletop, plenty of legroom, and the ability to raise and lower at will with the push of a button.
You can get this desk in many different configurations, sizes, and colours, but I suspect most will opt for the 48-inch or 55-inch rectangular tabletop models. In addition, you can choose from a black or walnut finish to fit the style of your decor. The desk can be adjusted, and there are four memory presets to accommodate multiple people or preferences.
One of the most significant drawbacks to a desk like this is that you don’t have any storage space (apart from a wire cord organizer under the desk), so if you want to keep your stand up desk clutter-free, you’ll need to invest in some boxes or other containers. Also, once you put this desk where you want it, it’s not that easy to move, as it doesn’t come with wheels or casters. Just something to keep in mind as you arrange your home office space!
Mobile Fixed-Height Two-Tier Stand Up Desk
This standing desk looks like it would fit in well in a hospital as a nurse’s mobile workstation, but it is assuredly flexible enough to fit your needs as well. It comes equipped with two desks or platforms that can be raised or lowered to suit your work style. You can use one side for a keyboard and the other for a laptop or monitor, or you could even share the desk with a friend, family member, or coworker in a pinch.
As its name implies, this desk is not only flexible but also mobile. It has four wheels or casters on the bottom, so you can quickly push it to wherever you want to work at that moment. Get a change of scenery by moving from the home office to the dining room, or chase that natural light from the living room to the back bedroom. Whatever it takes to get your work done and keep you productive!
This desk comes in four different sizes (24, 32, 40, and 48 inches) and three other colour options (black/silver, black/teak, silver/walnut), so you’re sure to find a version that fits your needs and decor.
Levit8 Folding Standing Desk
We’ve already seen some reasonable portable standing desk solutions on this list, but this option from Levit8 is the ultimate in portability. It weighs less than a pound, and when collapsed, it’s roughly the same size as a modern laptop. After a few tries, it’s easy to assemble and disassemble quickly, and it has such a small footprint you can turn any flat surface into a platform for your standing desk.
This one comes in three colours: coral, sesame, and my favourite — sea. It is also available in three different heights, which it labels medium, large, and x-large, but correspond to approximately 12, 14, and 16 inches tall. All heights have the same width and depth at 9-by-9 inches.
While we love how cleverly designed this product is, there are a few potential drawbacks to note. The biggest disadvantage of this “desk” is that it can support only one laptop and nothing else. So if you need or want to use an external keyboard, mouse, or monitor, or if you just want room for notes and a pen, you’re out of luck. The other thing to keep in mind is that this product, made out of durable nylon, is not made out of metal, wood, or even plastic, so its longevity compared with other solutions is a question.
Airlift Tempered Glass Electric Standing Desk
Seville Classic’s adjustable model (which lifts up to 47 inches tall easily in tests) is as smooth as it looks, easily transforming from a spacious sitting desk to standing height with a touchscreen controller equipped with 3 different programmable settings. Its sleek rounded design is also one of the more compact options on this list for those who might be short on ample space but still require a standalone desk. We also like that this model comes with a drawer, dual USB ports built-in and a tempered glass surface you can write on with an erasable marker!
Comhar All-in-One Standing Desk Glass Top
This model was one of the fastest installs in our tests — painless and ready to use soon after it was unboxed. The tempered glass top has rounded edges to avoid painful bumps in tight spaces, but the compact nature of the desk makes it a great option for a nook or an unused corner of an apartment’s living room. The expanded keypad controls are handy, as is the desk’s anti-collision feature, which saves you from accidentally crushing a chair or box beneath it.
Vari Electric Standing Desk
At $795, the Vari Electric Standing Desk is expensive, but it’s also the best standing desk I tested. Measuring 60 inches wide, with a depth of 30 inches, providing ample desktop area and a weight capacity of 200 pounds, the Vari electric desk can easily hold a dual-monitor work setup using monitor arms and pretty much any other office accessories or desktop options you need. This stable standing desk looks nice, too. I got the “reclaimed wood” finish, but the top is really made of plastic (although it doesn’t look cheap). The steel legs are very sturdy, and you can adjust the feet if there’s any wobbling.
It was surprisingly easy to install, too, considering it’s the heaviest desk of the bunch. I did need help moving the top of the desk onto a flat surface for the installation (make sure the surface is cushioned to avoid scratching it) — and flipping over the finished desk at the end. Still, there was minimal hardware and few steps involved overall.
The digital display on the electric control panel makes it easy to see the height of your desk, and it provides four buttons for setting custom desk heights. The adjustable standing desk also comes with an optional storage mount to organize your cables — and a couple of sturdy hooks to hold a bag or headphones. And, it isn’t loud when it’s raising and lowering the adjustable height.
The Vari is too big for my house, but it’s still the best standing desk with an easy installation, an attractive design, simple, quiet controls and tons of space. I do wish this one included a standing mat for the price, but that’s my only complaint.
Autonomous SmartDesk 2 Standing Desk – Home Edition
There’s no such thing as a free lunch, and a $299 desk made from the lowest cost components in China is not worth the savings over a desk of reasonable quality and reliability. The SmartDesk 2 Home Edition, with its single-motor, single-stage base, is weak as a kitten and shaky even at relatively low heights, with a one year warranty that tells you all you need to know-it’s lucky to last a year. The more robust dual-motor, dual-stage Business Edition is a definite improvement worth the $100 but still shakes like a leaf at standing height and isn’t built to last. You could upgrade to a quality vendor with better real-world specs and better support for not a lot more money.
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 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. Visit site.
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 aerodynamics. 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.
Frequently Asked Questions About Standing Desk
Are standing desks actually worth it?
Standing desks are also linked to higher rates of productivity by as much as 45%. Users may also have better heart rates, improved energy levels, and a better mood overall than those who only sit. Switching from sitting to standing while working at your desk is an easy change to make.
How big of a desk do I need for 2 monitors?
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. A desk that has a 60” or bigger size will be long enough to hold computer peripherals and many desk accessories comfortably.
What size standing desk do I need?
To begin, set your standing desk at about elbow height. This means your elbows should be in a 90 degree position from the floor. As a guide, the average 5’11” (180 cm) person would have their desk about 44 inches (111 cm) high.
Is standing better than sitting for circulation?
Standing desks are said to not only increase your focus but also improve circulation and make you more mindful of how much you’re moving throughout the workday. Most experts recommend standing up and moving around for about 15 minutes for every 45 to 60 minutes you spend sitting.
How much do standing desks cost?
When it comes to price, there are standing desk options for nearly any budget, ranging from $150 to over $2,000. Typically a great value for money standing desk will be $500 to $750. A quality standing desk converter can be around $200.