Adjustable Height Standing Desk Comparison Reviews
What is an Adjustable Height Desk?
These electric standing desks are typically powered by precision linear motor drives and easily change in height with the press of a button. They have a distinct advantage over most manually-operated desks in speed, convenience, and performance, but tend to cost more than their crank-operated cousins. Nevertheless, with dozens of adjustable standing desks from which to choose, spanning a wide range of capabilities, feature sets, and price tags, it remains the active standing workstation of choice for homes and offices across the country.
Our Comprehensive Standing Desk Review Process
With the sheer number of choices available to standing desk and treadmill desk customers, it can be pretty daunting to find the right desk. That’s why we’ve done the leg work to compile the specifications of every standing desk we’ve reviewed to provide an apples-to-apples comparison of the different products in the market today and are a great place to start your search.
As we explain in our Standing Desk Review Criteria, we look at a number of qualities and attributes when creating our product reviews. These include weight capacity, lift speed, stability, noise, ergonomics, customizable options, and assembly. To learn more about our review process in general, visit our Anatomy of a Review primer.
Standing Desk Product Categories
Since price is often the first qualifier most prospective adjustable height desk users think of when desk hunting, we divided electric standing desks into three tiers, based on their price tag.
- Premium electric standing desks require the biggest investment, but are feature-loaded, and are sure to match the decor of the executive suite. Jump below
- Value 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 offers. Jump below
- Budget standing desks have been optimized for cost-savings. They have generally lower, though not necessarily poor, performance specs, and come with the smallest price points. Jump below
Below, you’ll find abstracts of each product review by category. Note, we also have corner standing desk reviews, but as there are so few models available as yet these are not represented as their own group in this comparison review.
Click on the product name to read the full review, or the button “Add to Comparison Table” (then ‘Go’ in the bottom right) to see their features side by side.
Premium Standing Desks
Uncompromising in their features and capabilities, a premium standing desk should offer the best that money can buy. Nearly every adjustable height desk in this price category includes a digital hand controller and many come equipped with advanced safety and reliability features that give them longer warranties than the average. The ThermoDesk Elite and Omega Everest for example, have a lifetime warranty on their base frames as well as an industry-leading 10-year warranty on all moving parts and motors.
Not just the most functional, these stand up desks tend to have the best aesthetic as well. Thicker tabletops with beautiful finishes abound in this space, and you can also find hardwood and bamboo tops here. Of course, even among the high-tier desks, there is a wide range of quality and price. But beware—high price and high quality don’t always go hand in hand.
Experts’ Rating: 5 stars
Pros: The Omega Everest is the ultimate standing desk to use standing, sitting, and especially walking. It pairs the ThermoDesk Elite’s electric-adjustable base with an embedded version of iMovR’s proprietary, SteadyType keyboard tray. The platform surpasses any other desk on the market in terms of ergonomic adjustability, rock-solid stability, and typing productivity. The SteadyType tray’s ability to work at any tilt angle is not only more ergonomic and comfortable, it’ll increase your typing speed and accuracy. If you’re a treadmill desker, the elimination of “palm anchoring stresses” makes the Omega line a superior choice compared to any other desk on the market, and will allow you to type accurately at faster walking speeds, with far less shaking.
Cons: The keyboard platform does not work well with certain “tenting” keyboards like the Kinesis unless laid flat, but does work with 99% of keyboards otherwise.Where to Buy
Experts’ Rating: 5 stars
Pros: Similar to the Omega Everest model above, but without the built-in SteadyType keyboard tray. Powerful, stealthy motors can hoist heavy loads, while sipping only the bare minimum of electricity. The Elite is entirely American-made, and backed by a stellar warranty – an Elite’s 3D-laminated tabletop actually carries the same warranty as other desks’ steel frames. A large range of base width adjustment makes the Elite ideally suited to sit-stand-walk applications. Unique features like recessed threaded nuts for aligning and installing the base, and pre-drilled pilot holes for installing keyboard trays make the Elite standing desk easy to put together, and take apart. Durable and elegant 3D-laminated desktops set the Elite table tops ahead of the competition by providing the appearance and durability of natural hardwood, yet at a cost equal to or even less than conventional high-pressure laminate offered by most desk makers.
Cons: Aiming for a super low power consumption profile (easily a third as much as other desks) and a long life under warranty, the powerful motors on the Elite base have been governed to a maximum lift capacity of 265 lbs. Minor gripe given the minuscule weight of modern computers and monitors.Where to Buy
Experts’ Rating: 3 star
Pros: The RISE was the first true sit-stand-walk adjustable standing desk we discovered here at WorkWhileWalking (apart from the aging travesty that is the Steelcase Sit-to-Walkstation). Highly width-adjustable and built to last, RISE desks are quiet and heavy lifting – only iMovR Electra and UpTown adjustable height desks can boast a lower sound signature and higher lift capacity. Conference table-thick 1.375” tabletops are highly durable and add some extra stability.
Cons: With an 83″ long top and the desk elevation set up all the way to the top there can be some significant lateral shaking in the desk. Shorter table tops and lower elevations are solid but basic physics apply here as they would to any desk of this width and thickness (i.e. weight) set to the extreme high position. RISE doesn’t seem to be quite ready for retail. Recent trouble with warranty returns and excessively long delivery times has led to some drops – RISE is down two editorial stars, and is no longer offered through any retail stores, to our knowledge.Where to Buy
Experts’ Rating: 3 stars
Pros: The vintage classic electric adjustable standing desk, GeekDesk has been around a long time, is solidly built, affordably priced and loved by their users. Admittedly, GeekDesk users tend to be – you guessed it – a bit on the geeky side (including some of our staff here at WWW who fondly remember the days when GeekDesk was pretty much the only available option.)
Cons: Despite being one of the first kids on the block GeekDesk is today a boutique-y, lifestyle manufacturing company that has not stayed on top of its game, and lacks the vast array of color and size options and the adjustable-width bases that other manufacturers now offer. Assembly takes longer than most other desks. The crossbar is necessary for lateral stability but can be a bit of a knee crusher for the individuals with long legs. It’s the turtle of the pack, with a lifting speed of only 1.1″ per second, compared to the speedy 1.5″ – 2.0″ per second of its competitors. Persistent production delays usually mean the desks can take as long as five to eight weeks to arrive, longer than most people are willing to wait.
Value Standing Desks
Mid-tier standing desks offer the best combination of features and value. More function than form, these desks may lack some of the bells and whistles of the fancier desks on the market: their table tops may be thinner and less exotic, and their electronic controllers may be simpler two-button devices. But make no mistake, these adjustable height desks give you the most bang for your buck and can handle nearly anything your workday can dish out. They come in a variety of sizes to fit any office environment, and most come with hefty lifting capacities upwards of 300 lbs.
Pros: 100% American-made quality, built-in SteadyType™ ergonomics, PerfectPaint glide system, easy assembly (as well as a factory pre-assembly option), low cost, extra base color options (black, silver, and white), industry-leading warranty, extremely quiet operation. Also comes in eight varieties of standing corner desk models.
Cons: Users over 5’11” should upgrade to the XT base (+$100) for extra height range. Note: users over 6’2” can also add 6” height extenders (+$59) to the XT base, a very popular option for extra-tall users that is only offered on iMovR electric standing desks. SteadyType™ removes desk space for the rare user with lots of paper flow.Where to Buy
Experts’ Rating: 5 stars
Pros: All the benefits of the Cascade minus the SteadyType™ keyboard tray. Comes in even more custom tabletop size options, including 24″ and 30″ depths, and 3/4″ and 1-1/8″ thicknesses. Also available in eight varieties of standing corner desk models.
Cons: For those over 5’11”, upgrading to the XT base (+$100) will deliver extra height range. Those over 6’2” can add 6” height extenders (+$59) to the XT base, an option only available on iMovR electric standing desks. For treadmill desk users especially, there is not the ergonomic benefit of the SteadyType™ keyboard tray.Where to Buy
Experts’ Rating: 5 stars
Pros: The Olympus is a mid-tier cousin of the Omega Everest that pairs an embedded adjustable keyboard tray with the same electric base as the affordable UpTown. The SteadyType keyboard tray provides peerless adjustability, to guarantee perfect ergonomics. It’s embedded into the desk, giving you closer access to your workstation and making the desk more stable. Program your sitting, standing, and walking heights with the LED controller’s four programmable height presets, and raise your desk to a 51″ maximum height suitable for any standing or treadmill desk user, regardless of height. The base is the quietest on the market, yet has a lift capacity of 265 lbs. Four different widths available from 42″ to 72″, the widest also being suitable for a “sit-stand-walk” workstation with a treadmill on one side, chair on the other. Also comes in nine varieties of standing corner desk models.
Cons: The SteadyType tray’s ergonomics and stability benefits come at the cost of desktop space (19.5″ x 10.5″). Not as good as the Everest in terms of aesthetics or warranty.Where to Buy
Experts’ Rating: 5 stars
Pros: The ThermoDesk UpTown adjustable standing desk offers a vast array of customization, more than any other desk line on the market. Users can choose different sizes, colors, and the thicknesses of its 3D-laminated tops. The base is the quietest on the market, at 41dB—hushed enough to blend into the office background noise. It features a digital programmable controller, and its acceleration/deceleration damping ensures a smooth transition from sitting to standing. Two different thicknesses and four different widths available from 42″ to 72″, the widest also being suitable for a “sit-stand-walk” workstation with a treadmill on one side, chair on the other. Also comes in nine varieties of standing corner desk models.
Cons: The plastics on the digital hand controller are not as nice looking as some of the high-tier desks like the Everest or Elite. But for the money, the controller is on par with the competition’s offerings.Where to Buy
Experts’ Rating: 4 stars
Pros: The Uprise is Ergoprise’s newest line, an improvement over their aging S2S model. With the same quality base as the ThermoDesk Electra, the Uprise is quieter and stronger than a number of desks on the market, clocking in with a 42 dB noise signature during adjustment and a rated lift capacity of 360 lbs. The base adjusts at a rate of 1.7″ per second, faster than the majority of desks out there.
Cons: Everything above the Uprise’s base is plain-Jane. Its standard, high-pressure table top isn’t as durable as 3D lamination and is susceptible to moisture damage and delamination. Bamboo tops are available for the Uprise, but the added cost would put the desk well above the mid-range category.Where to Buy
Experts’ Rating: 4 stars
Pros: The Mod-E is the fastest adjustable standing desk in the West, with a 2.0 inch-per-second transit speed.
Cons: The Mod-E only comes with a simple up/down controller. It’s also on the louder end of the desk noise spectrum, and at 75dB sounds like a coffee grinder during adjustment. A low max height of 47 inches may be too short for taller deskers and most treadmill desk users. Made in Malaysia, the Mod-E’s tabletop is not of the most impressive quality, and its design is somewhat dated.Where to Buy
Experts’ Rating: 3.5 stars
Pros: The Jarvis is a low-cost adjustable standing desk with a decent warranty. It comprises a commodity Jiecang base which normally exhibit poor performance stats, but uses some customized components that – according to the company – give it better stability than the stock base product.
Cons: The Jarvis desktop is an ordinary high-pressure laminate, lacking the improved durability of 3D lamination. Additionally, its motors move at a crawl, with a 1.25″ per second adjustment rate that’s on the low end of the spectrum for mid-tier bases. (ErgoDepot, the ergonomics retailer that exclusively makes and sells the Jarvis Desk, has elected not to submit their their product to our testing lab.)
Experts’ Rating: 3 stars
Pros: The UpLift adjustable standing desk is low-cost, and features a digital controller with four memory presets.
Cons: UpLift uses a run-of-the-mill high-pressure laminate desktop. While it does feature some modifications to the base, the UpLift’s commodity, Chinese-made, Jiecang base is notorious for being unstable at taller heights. (HumanSolution, an ergonomic retailer that exclusively makes and sells the UpLift, has elected not to submit their desk with the WWW labs for testing.)
Pros: The v3 is a simpler but more affordable variant of the GeekDesk Max. It has decent specs, available in three desktop sizes. Its 275 lb lift capacity is capable, though not as beefy as its high-tier counterpart, or even other mid-tier competitors for that matter.
Cons: The v3 shares the painfully slow adjustment speed of its more expensive counterpart, coming in at 1.1″ per second. Its 48.75″ max height is fine for standing, but both taller users and those moderate height users on office treadmills may be challenged by this limitation. The design is somewhat dated, lacking, among other things, an adjustable-width base.
Budget Standing Desks
Bargain desk hunters will find the cheapest deals for their sit-to-stand offices here. Budget adjustable standing desks come with small price tags, sometimes cheaper even than desktop risers and some manual desks. While this price tier includes a small number of desks that perform adequately, many cost-reduced desks lack in performance in one way or another. Buyers shopping for the lowest priced deals should be especially mindful of the possible compromise on quality.
Experts’ Rating: 5 stars
Pros: The King of Cubicles. More than just an exceedingly affordable adjustable standing desk, the Upsilon is purpose-built for the most compact office environments. Despite its low price, the Upsilon’s 265lb weight rating and 41dB noise signature make it stronger and quieter than even some of the high-tier desks on the market. Its confident warranty and durable 3D-laminated tops culminate in an impressive value.
Cons: The Upsilon’s 24″ desktop depth is a blessing for compact spaces but less than ideal for use with a treadmill (we recommend desktops at least 30″ deep for treadmill desks, for their longer feet and greater longitudinal stability).Where to Buy
Pros: A constant companion in college dorms and budget-conscious homes, Ikea aims to make the sit-stand office as affordable as possible with their adjustable-height Bekant. The desk manages to come in at $489 and offers a 10-year warranty. If your office furniture is IKEA brand this desk would fit in well with the rest of the decor.
Cons: The Bekant’s low cost comes at the expense of unimpressive stats: its 154lb weight capacity is eclipsed by most desks, even manually-operated desks, and its low max height of 48″ makes it less than ideal for tall users or treadmill desk use. For a few dollars more you can get a much higher caliber desk from a manufacturer that specializes in these products. Overwhelming consumer complaints of early failing product.
Pros: The good news is the Autonomous SmartDesk is cheap – really, really cheap. It also has an AI option that will act as your personal assistant, (albeit a very limited personal assistant compared to the Amazon Echo, for instance).
Cons: Unfortunately, it’s cheap in both ways, cost and quality. We’re concerned about stability, reliability of the motors, and durability/appearance of the tabletop. The company is notoriously late with deliveries (customers’ stories of paying five to six months before receiving the product are not uncommon), and the ergonomic “cutout” version is hardly ergonomic and awkward to stand inside of. It takes just a little more to get something of far better quality. Consumer complaints on public forums number in the hundreds while only curated “5-star” reviews are published on Autonomous’ website.