Great minds from Thomas Jefferson to Ernest Hemingway worked standing up. Using a standing desk may not give you their brainpower, but it may save your life—a recent study says sitting all day makes you 54 percent more likely to die of a heart attack. We review 10 options for getting workers on their feet, ranging in price from $40 (for a jury-rigged, DIY setup) to $4,349.
Photograph by Nigel Pavitt/Getty Images
Manual sit-stand / Height: 29”-49” Ergotron’s sit-stand desk smoothly adjusts using a lever. It only supports up to 50 lb., though, so don’t sit on it. Assembly requires power tools and took us 45 minutes. (Price: $899)
Manual sit-stand / Height: 27”-47” Humanscale’s Float table easily goes from sitting to standing by squeezing a handle. The table's legs leave the middle open so you can stretch out. The frame itself (without the table top, which can be switched) supports 160 lb. One of our reviewers said: “This is really a good marriage between a sturdy desk and one built for ergonomics.” ($1,599)
Manual sit-stand / Height: 27”-43"
With a handle, users can move the Airtouch, by Steelcase (SCS) of Grand Rapids, Mich., from a seated to a standing position in two seconds. The desk supports 150 lb. One reviewer commented, “Best looking of the bunch.” ($1,499)
Anthro Steve's Station
Electric sit-stand / Height: 23”-49”
Anthro’s line of Steve’s Station desks comes in smaller sizes, but we tested the mother of them all. This model measures 72” wide, so it's presumably for people with big offices. It adjusts smoothly and quietly with the press of a button and has a weight capacity of 375 lb. Originally designed for radiologists, this model was adapted for office workers. ($4,349)
Electric sit-stand / Height: 23”-48.75”
In addition to holding down buttons, users can program four heights for the GeekDesk Max, making it yet easier to go from standing to sitting. It moves smoothly and slowly. Built strong, it supports 335 lb. without the top. ($949)
Herman Miller Envelop
Electric sit-stand / Height: 28”-48"
Herman Miller's (MLHR) dual-stage Envelop desk goes up and down with a button, and the top can be moved back and forth by hand. The desk even has a semicircular nook that “envelops” the body to keep seated users in an ergonomically correct position when they’ve pulled in the top. We weren't sure how often the back-forth feature would be used. ($3,558)
Desktop add-on / Lift range: 22.8”
Ergotron's add-on attaches to your desk, so you don’t need to replace everything. With the weight of the monitor on it, the WorkFit-S easily glides up and down, stopping wherever you let it go. It’s simple to use, but our reviewer said the assembly is complicated. ($479)
Ergo Desktop MyMac Kangaroo Pro
Desktop add-on / Lift range: 21.5”
The Kangaroo actually just sits on your desk (no clamps). To adjust the height, the user must unscrew and screw brakes on the rail. It offers a sizable work surface, which works best with a "stabilization leg" that slides under the lifted work surface. The leg is not the most attractive accessory, but it reduces shaking. (Note: We tested Ergo Desktop’s Mac product, but there are others for PCs, as pictured.) ($549)
Safco Muv Stand-Up Workstation
Standing only unit / Height: 35”-49”
For standing only, the Muv Workstation has stacked shelves for storing such things as printers, papers, books, and other supplies and clutter. The desk supports 100 lb., and the keyboard tray holds 25 lb. As the top measures only about 29” by 20”, this unit may best suit workers who have another surface to work on. ($505)
Makeshift solution / Lift range: The ceiling’s the limit
Cheap, cheap, cheap! And multipurpose. (At about $6 per ream, $42 for a stack of seven for the monitor. An additional stack is needed to prop up the keyboard.)