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The 5 Best Standing Desks to Keep You from Sitting All Day Long

Stand your way to better health in 2023 with the best standing desks on the market, according to physical therapists and satisfied buyers.

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Two Colleagues Looking At Work Using Standing DeskTom Werner/Getty Images

American adults spend around 7.7 hours a day sitting down—and that average rises for adolescents and older populations. Still, less than 20% of Americans have physically active jobs. That means a vast majority of us are tied to a desk day in and day out, where our muscles lose strength, our bones weaken, our blood circulation suffers, and our energy levels falter—all chronic effects of what some experts call “sitting disease.”

That’s where the best standing desks step in, helping to create a healthier workspace whether at the office or working at home that offsets a sedentary lifestyle and the health risks that come with it.

Are standing desks healthier?

As humans, our bodies are designed to be upright—and all of its processes work best in this position, explains Bill Kelley, DPT, ATC, CSCS, owner of Aries Physical Therapy. For starters, “sitting puts so much stress on the spine,” he says. Long hours logged sitting at a desk leads many people to develop back and neck pain, for instance. Whereas at a standing desk, it’s easier to move and shift weight, supporting a better position for your back, neck, and distal joints. “Standing is also beneficial for long-term bone health—think: osteoporosis prevention—and has shown some benefits to other systems as well, such as gastrointestinal relief.”

Other systems that get caught up in today’s endemic sitting disease? According to 2022 research published in JAMA Cardiology, people who sit six hours a day have a 12 to 13% greater risk of heart disease. For those sitting eight hours a day, that risk jumps to 20%—and it escalates from there. Other research points to additional health implications, showing that a sedentary lifestyle increases your risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, hormonal imbalances, and cancer.

As for the immediate benefits of the best standing desks? Improved circulation gives your focus a boost, helping to break up the brain fog you get from grinding away in front of your computer. And whether working from home or at the office, standing desks offer the opportunity for micro-workouts, says Theresa Marko, PT, DPT, MS, board-certified orthopedic clinical specialist in physical therapy and owner of Marko Physical Therapy, PLLC, and Spokesperson for The American Physical Therapy Association. Just by standing, you’re working your core, she says, and “there are so many little things you can do to add in some movement to your day, such as heel raises, toe raises, mini squats, balancing on one leg, hip extension kicks, and hip abduction kicks.”

Check out these 9 anti-fatigue mats you can use with your standing desk

What are the best standing desks?

To hone in on the best standing desks of 2022, The Healthy @Reader’s Digest tapped the insight of three physical therapists for their favorite picks—and then combed through user reviews to suss out the pros and cons of daily use.

The experts say the best standing desks share a few important considerations:

  • Adjustable height: “This is key to ensure it’s a comfortable fit for your height and so you can lower it into a sitting position if you’d like,” says Sandra Gail Frayna, Founder of Hudson Premier Physical Therapy & Sports
  • Enough depth: you’ll want enough space to spread out your workspace, and you’ll probably use it less if it feels too tight or cluttered, says Dr. Kelley
  • Sufficient max height for your body: “When you are standing at the desk, you want your arms bent at 90 degrees and your shoulders and neck relaxed with access to your keyboard at that height,” Dr. Marko says.

Flexispot Standing Desk Ecomm Via Amazon.comvia merchant

Best overall

Flexispot Adjustable Standing Desk

This adjustable model from Flexispot tops the list of best standing desks because of its balance between customizability, performance, and price. There are four different sizes to choose from and a huge spread of design options to suit your home office vibe, like mahogany, marble grey, and white wood grain. It also makes up for where other standing desks fall short, literally. “Rest assured, this desk is more than suitable for tall individuals,” writes 6’8″ user Lauren Lutz. “Additionally, the depth (30″) coupled with the width (48″) makes this desk a steal for the price.”

Pros:

  • An optional keypad includes a height display, three presets, and a timer to remind you to sit or stand
  • Smooth, quiet motor
  • Users rave about Flexispot’s great customer service

Cons:

  • The desk’s motor and transmission bar are exposed
  • Carrying capacity is lower than other models at 154 pounds

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Bamboo Standing Desk Ecomm Via Static.com1271694549

Best splurge

Jarvis Bamboo Standing Desk

Frayna recommends this ultra-customizable Jarvis Bamboo standing desk that allows you to create a truly bespoke workspace. You can design the desk to suit your needs, from options such as a rectangle or curved top, seven desk sizes and dimensions, three different height ranges, and accessories like shelves, monitor arms, and a laptop tray.

Pros:

  • Automatic height adjustment, with the option to upgrade to a programmable memory handset (“def worth it,” writes user Thomas G.)
  • Sustainably made with eco-conscious (and aesthetically pleasing) materials
  • Has a lifting capacity of 348 pounds, so you never have to worry about your work supplies

Cons:

  • Users report set-up can take some time and effort
  • Premium price

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Fezibo Electric Standing Desk Ecomm Via Amazon.comvia merchant

Most functional

FEZIBO Electric Standing Desk

With built-in storage shelves and drawers, users rate this FEZIBO model as the best standing desk for those who need a lot of working real estate—like if you’re using multiple monitors and devices. It comes in four sizes and sleek designs, including options like ambient LED lighting (making it a favorite standing desk among gamers, too.) “The desk is beautifully made and works perfectly for my at-home workstation,” writes user Jo Ray. “The two-level tier allows for my computer monitors to sit at eye level, and the storage underneath is great for storing my keyboard and other desk items.”

Pros:

  • Automatic adjustment with two present buttons to customize your desired heights
  • Users report easy assembly
  • Supports up to 176 pounds

Cons:

  • Thin desk materials feel flimsy for some users
  • Drawers don’t always slide open easily

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Techni Mobili Sit To Stand Laptop Cart Ecomm Via Amazon.comvia merchant

Best space saver

Techni Mobili Sit-to-Stand Rolling Adjustable Laptop Cart

“I don’t require much space when I work, but I like to move around the clinic a lot,” Dr. Kelley says. That’s why he uses this mobile standing desk from Techni Mobili, which he calls affordable but sturdy. The mobile cart desk features open storage compartments and an accessory shelf and has a footprint of just 16 by 21 inches.

Pros:

  • The desk height is adjustable but not automatic (you use knobs)
  • A mobile desk with locking wheels

Cons:

  • Only comes in two colors
  • Small working surface

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Vivo Black Height Adjustable Stand Up Desk Ecomm Via Amazon.comvia merchant

Best budget

VIVO Adjustable Stand-up Desk Converter

Already have a desk you love? Dr. Marko recommends this desk topper from VIVO that instantly creates a standing desk set-up. You can raise and lower it manually as needed to elevate your workspace up to 17 inches above your desk surface. “I can lift my monitor and keyboard very easily with the piston assist,” writes user VP. “I find myself adjusting from sitting to standing about four to five times a day on average.”

Pros:

  • Users say that there’s plenty of space for multiple monitors and other supplies
  • Very easy to set up
  • Includes removable keyboard platform

Cons:

  • If you have a larger keyboard, there’s not much room on the platform for a mouse
  • Only two sizes to choose from: 36 or 42 inch

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Sources

People:

Bill Kelley, DPT, ATC, CSCS, owner of Aries Physical Therapy

Sandra Gail Frayna, PT, Founder of Hudson Premier Physical Therapy & Sports

Theresa Marko, PT, DPT, MS, board-certified orthopedic clinical specialist in physical therapy and owner of Marko Physical Therapy, PLLC, and Spokesperson for The American Physical Therapy Association

Websites:

National Library of Medicine: "Health Risks of an Inactive Lifestyle"

Journals:

Korean Journal of Family Medicine: "Sedentary Lifestyle: Overview of Updated Evidence of Potential Health Risks"

BMC Public Health: "Workplace sitting is associated with self-reported general health and back/neck pain: a cross-sectional analysis in 44,978 employees"

JAMA Cardiology: "Association of Sitting Time With Mortality and Cardiovascular Events in High-Income, Middle-Income, and Low-Income Countries"

JAMA Oncology: "Association of Sedentary Behavior With Cancer Mortality in Middle-aged and Older US Adults"

Leslie Finlay
In addition to The Healthy, Leslie has written for outlets such as WebMd.com, Fodors.com, LiveFit.com, and more, specializing in content related to healthcare, nutrition, mental health and wellness, and environmental conservation and sustainability. She holds a master's degree in Public Policy focused on the intersection between public health and environmental conservation, and an undergraduate degree in journalism. Leslie is based in Thailand, where she is a marine conservation and scuba diving instructor. In her spare time you'll find her up in the air on the flying trapeze or underwater, diving coral reefs.