Research by Matt Rowan, B.S.
Updated August 14, 2021
What is an Electric Standing Desk?
An electric sit to stand desk is a completely free-standing height adjustable desk that raises and lowers with the assistance of 1 or 2 electric motors. The operation is typically regulated by a simple control unit mounted under the desk surface. Electric standing desks are our favorite type of desk because it makes standing easy. Alternative designs like crank-operated desks or standing desk converters require more effort to transition from sitting. This often will lead to less standing and a more frustrating operation. Electric standing desks also allow you to find your ideal height with ease and some desks allow a height setting to be memorized.
Table of Contents:
Why Go Electric With Your Sit to Stand Desk?
Electric sit to stand desks make using standing easy and simple. If you're undecided on a manual or electric standing desk here are the main reasons people often choose electric over manual sit to stand desks:
- Time and effort: While the point of a standing desk to burn more calories and reduce back pain, the physical activity of cranking up a manually operated desk will take considerable time and effort when you want to transition from sitting to standing or vice versa. An electric standing desk makes it easy to sit when you want or stand when you want without being burdensome.
- Memory Settings: Nearly all electric standing desks come with control modules that feature memory settings. While this may seem like a nice extra we consider it a must-have. Being able to set your ideal sitting and standing height means you can return to a perfect ergonomic position each time. Manual desks struggle in this regard since you have to find and dial in your exact height each time you raise or lower the desk. This can lead to fewer standing and less benefits from standing realized.
- Noise: Every manual crank-operated desk we've ever reviewed is super loud. This makes it a tough choice for offices and even some home environments. You certainly don't want to feel disruptive when operating your desk. Electric standing desks, while some louder than others are all much quieter than their manual counterparts.
Choosing the best electric standing desks started with creating a list of key factors that make an electric standing desk great. Our first-hand experience with many different products over the years has helped us identify exactly what to look for in an electric standing desk:
- Range of Adjustment- Range of adjustment is particularly important for proper workplace ergonomics. Many choose to get a standing desk for the ergonomic benefit, to help with back or neck pain, or to simply be more active and reduce health risks. You will want to make sure, especially if you’re taller, that the desk can rise to the ideal height, which is at or slightly below your elbows.
- Quality and Stability - Most appreciate quality, especially in products where it matters. It certainly matters in your standing desk. A quality engineered desk will be stable sitting or standing at any height in both forward and backward directions.
- Design and Customization Options- Your standing desk services a practical purpose but you want it to look good and or be customized to your needs and style. We like desks that offer options like power cord management, desktop, and frame color/surface choices. A desk with a range of options will enable your desk to settle into your new space nicely. Many electric standing desks have a similar overall at a high level but there is a decent variety in frame design, finishes, and desktop surface materials and shapes.
- Warranty and Customer Service - Like any expensive electronic device you buy you’re likely to consider the warranty. Every standing desk manufacturer has slightly different warranty coverage. Some cover every aspect of the desk for a while, some choose to cover only the frame and desktop, some offer a different warranty on the electronics and others are combinations of the above.
- Ease of Assembly - All electric standing desks require assembly. It’s nice to know what you’re getting yourself into since some desks are easier than others to build. Also, how simple is the desk to build? Some desks if not assembled properly won’t operate right. The drivetrain may bind, or not lift level. We like idiot-proof desks.
- Operation and Features - What is the desk like to use? Does it transition smoothly from sitting to standing height? Is it quiet? The operation of your desk is important. We’ll look at things like the control unit, noise, and smoothness of the operation.
- Lift Capacity - Lift capacity becomes important if you plan to use extra monitors, speakers, and a full desktop machine. The weight adds up quickly. Some budget-focused electric desks use a single motor and simply don’t have the lifting capacity for some of our desktop needs.
- Overall Value - Value is a combination of everything a desk has to offer relative to its price. We like recommending desks that deliver great value for money.
We started the actual selection process by revisiting all the standing desks we’ve already reviewed and contacted manufacturers to learn about any new models or improvements to current models. As the standing desk market is constantly growing with new companies making excellent desks, we frequently scan for newcomers to the industry and the desks they offer. Lastly, we leverage user reviews and feedback to point out which desks we review for consideration on our best list.
Best Electric Standing Desks
#1 - Jarvis
"Best Value Electric Standing Desk"
The Fully Jarvis has been one of our favorite electric standing desks for a few years now. If you’re looking to get an electric standing desk for less than $400 it is truly hard to beat the Jarvis. The Jarvis is one of the most popular choices for home offices and businesses alike and will deliver years of reliability and function while looking great.
It’s easy for us to recommend the Jarvis because it’s a desk that has an affordable starting price while not cutting corners on features, operation, quality, or design. The Jarvis comes complete with great features like a full control unit with memory settings and smart options like cable pass-throughs and power outlets.
The Jarvis may have more options than any desk we’ve reviewed that make it easy to get everything you need when ordering your desk. We have always been impressed with the extremely smooth operation and impressive lift capacity of the Jarvis. With a lift capacity of 350 pounds, you’ll have no problem with installing as many monitors as you’d like. This lifting capacity is one of the highest of any desk we’ve tested and is borderline excessive. One minor gripe that comes with this is the noise from its dual motors. While it’s louder than single motor desks it's far from an issue.
#2 - Titan Fitness
"Best on a Budget Electric Standing Desk"
Titan Fitness, the exercise equipment company has burst into the standing desk market with one of the best budget-conscious desks we’ve reviewed. For just over $300 with free shipping, it may be difficult for anything at this price point to compete with it. While it has a low lift capacity, it still includes an excellent control unit, smooth and quiet operation, and a well-made frame.
In the past, it was difficult for us to find a budget-conscious electric standing desk we would recommend. Many suffer from cheap table tops, part failures, or manufacturing defects. The standing desk from Titan Fitness doesn’t follow suit. The Titan Fitness desk is a well-made desk that operates well has must have electric standing desk features.
This desk includes an excellent control unit similar to the Jarvis. It has a digital readout of the height value and 4 memory settings so two people can store their sitting and standing height. We think control units like this are essential for any electric standing desk and the fact that a desk at this price point has one is impressive and awesome.
#3 - Herman Miller Renew
"Best Design and Quality Electric Standing Desk"
The Herman Miller Renew is an ultra-high-quality electric standing desk that is exquisitely designed and manufactured. Extensive thought has gone into every aspect of the desk from the integrated cable management and power cord running through the leg to the quality finish of every surface. This desk will outlast the rest and was recently improved.
Herman Miller is among the best and most high-quality office furniture manufacturers around. They have been providing offices and businesses with durable and well-designed electric standing desks for years and the Renew especially has been a common choice for tech companies. Since the renew was designed for business demands, having one in your home office will ensure decades of headache-free use.
Key Features of Sit to Stand Desks
Shopping for an electric sit-to-stand desk can be daunting. Despite all of them serving the purpose of standing to work, these desks can vary extensively in features and ergonomics. Here are the key differences that may make a desk the right match for you:
- Lifting Capacity - Lifting capacity varies a lot from desk to desk, especially between desks that have one motor and two. When shopping for an electric sit to stand desk consider the weight of all the items you plan to have on your desk, including monitors, computers, printers, etc... It all adds up.
- Memory Settings - It is quickly becoming hard to find electric standing desks that do not come with memory settings but always make sure you have it. We consider Memory settings a must-have for standing and think you should too.
- Desktop Thickness - If you plan to use monitor arms you will want a desktop that is heavy and on the thicker side. Monitor arms place a tremendous amount of leverage on your desk and the thicker the desk the more stable your monitors and desktop will be.
- Desktop Depth - It's important to consider the depth of your current desk or work-space before purchasing your desk. Some standing desks are relatively wide but not very desk, some around 24 inches.
- Edge profile of the Desktop If you're someone looking for maximum typing comfort a desk with a beveled edge can help maintain a good typing position and offer a smooth area to rest your forearms compared to a 90 degree angled desktop profile.