Best Compact Standing Desk Reviews

October 13, 2021
  • Lab tested

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ZipDesk best compact standing desk

When Only a Small Standing Desk Will Do

While 95% of standing desks sold are 30 inches deep there are times when that’s just too big for your available space, and what you really need is a desk with 28 inches of depth or even less. Whether for a small Manhattan apartment, a dorm room or a “hot desk” area, these smaller desks are ideal for the laptop user who doesn’t plan to have a lot of external monitors (for focal depth, users with multiple LCDs will likely want that full 30″ depth in all likelihood).

Our staff review experts have gathered here all the commonly available standing desk options with shallow depths of 23.5″ to 28″, to make your hunt for the perfect compact standing workstation a little easier.

Key Considerations When Buying A Small Adjustable Height Desk

No question, there are a lot fewer options available when shopping for a shallow desk than a standard sized one, but there are a few important things to keep in mind that are unique to the smaller format.

First and foremost is actually the number of options for desktop width. Since you’re already going to have less surface area by virtue of having less depth, you want to make sure you can get the widest desktop to fit your space. Depending on the model this can be limited to anywhere from 30″ to 71″ wide.

And don’t forget to consider the desk warranties. For more information on warranties, be sure to read our primer on How to Compare Warranties on Standing Desks.

Top Standing Desks for Small Spaces

1. ZipDesk Standing Desk Review

Experts’ Rating: 5-Stars

Designed and built in the USA. Top-quality base technology and an industry-leading 10 year “top to bottom” warranty. Unique in the industry as the first “desk in a box” we’ve ever seen. And that means it can ship fast (even same-day through Amazon Prime in some markets) or even be picked up at a retail store. Plus it’s one of the fastest desks to set up, being almost completely factory pre-assembled. This is also a great desk to be able to break down just as easily, transport and set up again in your next office – maybe after you’re done working from home and want to go back to the corporate campus. ANSI/BIFMA and NEAT Certification are a solid indicator of the ZipDesk’s durable and reliable componentry and stable user experience, matching up with our lab-test results.

Compact Size Options: 24″x48″ (the “Small” variant of the ZipDesk)

Color Options: Black or White desktops, powder coat

Assembly Time: 8 Minutes. See assembly video.

Tools Required: Allen key for attaching feet, included in the box.

Individually Tested Before Shipping: Yes

Warranty: 10 years “top to bottom” and 100-day satisfaction guarantee.

Country of Origin: Made in Michigan, USA

Price: $729

Read our full review Buy on ZipDesk (recommended)


2. iMovR Ensign's Standing Desk

Experts’ Rating: 5-Stars

Perfected ergonomics and designer furniture panache combined? This desk brings it all together like no other we’ve seen because it allows you to pick the configuration that best fits both your sense of style and your ergonomic needs at the same time. The Scandanavian-styled Baltic birch top, curved edge option and optional Fly Deck monitor stand together to form one of the most beautiful standing desks we’ve seen. Plus, it has the trusty Lander Lite base beneath it. It’s a desk that forces you to make very few compromises.

Compact Size Options: 28″ x 41″, 28″ x 47″, 28″ x 53″, 28″ x 59″

Color Options: See all 9 stain finishes

Assembly Time: 8 Minutes. See assembly video.

Tools Required: Allen key for attaching feet, included in the box.

Individually Tested Before Shipping: Yes

Warranty: 15 years on base, 5 years on desktop. 100-day satisfaction guarantee.

Country of Origin: Made in Michigan, USA

Price: $1,449

Read our full review Buy on iMovR


3. iMovR Lander Lite Standing Desk Review

Experts’ Rating: 4.5-Stars

iMovR has managed to take the industry’s #1-rated, premium-technology standing desk, the original Lander, keep 90% of the technology features and significantly lower the entry price with this new Lander Lite offering. And now, it’s also available on a compact series a with 24″-deep top. Like the original, the Lander Lite is made entirely in the USA from the highest quality materials and highest precision robotic manufacturing techniques, resulting in a superior value to the consumer. We predict may someday even outsell the original Lander because now features like factory pre-assembly, Bluetooth-enabled height control paddle and smartphone app and built-in health coach are accessible to a lot more users at this great price point.

Compact Size Options: 24″x35″, 24″x41″, 24″x47″, 24″x53″, 24″x59″, 24″x65″, 24″x71″

Color Options: 22 vibrant healthcare-grade 3D laminate colors

Assembly Time: 8 Minutes. See assembly video.

Tools Required: Allen key for attaching feet, included in the box.

Individually Tested Before Shipping: Yes

Warranty: 15 years on base, 5 years on desktop. 100-day satisfaction guarantee.

Country of Origin: Made in Michigan, USA

Price: $799

Read our full review Buy on iMovR


4. iMovR Captain's Standing Desk Review

Experts’ Rating: 4.5-Stars

If you’re tired of the typical “two legs and a slab of wood” standing desk design, the Captain’s Desk is a breath of fresh air. Packaging that design with the technological features of the Lander Lite base makes for an exceptional desk. You get the warranty, assembly, stability, height range and quality you would expect from a premium, American-made iMovR desk, plus a stunning design and the strong Baltic birch desktop.

Compact Size Options: 27.5″x41″, 27.5″x51″

Color Options: See all 9 stain finishes

Assembly Time: 8 Minutes. See assembly video.

Tools Required: Allen key for attaching feet, included in the box.

Individually Tested Before Shipping: Yes

Warranty: 15 years on base, 5 years on desktop. 100-day satisfaction guarantee.

Country of Origin: Made in Michigan, USA

Price: $1,999

Read our full review Buy on iMovR


5. iMovR Energize Standing Desk Review

Experts’ Rating: 4.5-Stars

The iMovR Freedom™ standing desk line shines by offering what, up to this point, has been missing on the market – a quality American-made option priced competitively with popular standing desks built on commodity imported bases. The Energize is a twin in nearly every way to iMovR’s SteadyType equipped Cascade Standing Desk, but offers a flat-surfaced 3D-laminated tabletop, and even more sizing options than the Cascade, including a compact 24” depth and two options for tabletop thickness. Toss in the wide array of customizable options iMovR is known for (over 5,400 variants on the Freedom desk line alone), and the iMovR Energize takes the mantle for the “most configurable standing desk in the world.”

Compact Size Options: 24″x47″, 24″x53″, 24″x59″, 24″x65″, 24″x71″

Color Options: 22 vibrant healthcare-grade 3D laminate colors

Assembly Time: 20 Minutes. See assembly video.

Tools Required: Power screwdriver recommended.

Individually Tested Before Shipping: No

Warranty: 15 years on base, 5 years on desktop. 100-day satisfaction guarantee.

Country of Origin: Made in Michigan, USA

Price: $593

Read our full review Buy on iMovR


6. Steelcase Solo Standing Desk

Experts’ Rating: 3-Stars

Compared to Herman Miller, Knoll and other peers of the world’s largest commercial office furniture manufacturers—as well as Steelcase’s other scrambled-up offerings to list something online for the work-from-home user while the enterprise market takes its time recovering after the pandemic—the new Solo is a better executed product, at least as far as user installation goes. At least there’s a manual in the box, albeit a 25-page manual, which is more than can be said for some of the other desk models that were clearly never intended to be installed by consumers. All-in-all the cost-reduced Linak DF2 base technology, despite being made in Thailand, is from a top-flight manufacturer. But the desktop is of very basic quality and the entire package comes in priced the same as much nicer desks that are much more customizable and tech-forward.

Compact Size Options: 24″x48″, 24″x60″

Color Options: Desktop comes in seven basic colors of standard high-pressure laminate. Base comes in black or white.

Assembly Time: 10 Minutes.

Tools Required: Screwdriver

Individually Tested Before Shipping: No

Warranty: There is no warranty description for the Solo desk anywhere on the Steelcase store website or in the owner’s manual. However, based on other product lines a good guess would be 12 years on the desktop and 5 years on the electromechanical base. This would also match their arch-competitor, Herman Miller. We are still waiting for Steelcase to respond with an official warranty statement.

Price: $599

Read our full review Buy on SteelcaseStore


7. Fully Jarvis Standing Desk

Experts’ Rating: 3-Stars

An exclusive private-label desk offered only through a single ergonomics products retailer, Fully, the Jarvis is built on a commodity base frame made by Jiecang of China (see our separate lab test review of the Jiecang base). A minor modification of a heavier foot distinguishes it slightly from direct competitor UpLift Desk (although UpLift does not offer a compact 24″-deep version). Fully offers many choices for its desktops, including very cheap Chinese-made options and very pricey American-made alternatives. However, all tops are sold without warranty coverage of any kind. But the standalone Jarvis base gets high review marks on Amazon from DIYers who use their own tabletops. Compares favorably against other Chinese-sourced bases like Uplift, S2S and Conset. But for slightly more you can get an American-made base if not an entirely made-in-America desk from makers like iMovR.

Compact Size Options: 24″x30″, 24″x42″, 24″x48″

Color Options: Black or White HPL desktops

Assembly Time: 45-60 Minutes.

Tools Required: Power screwdriver recommended

Individually Tested Before Shipping: No

Warranty: 15 years on base, 5 years on desktop

Country of Origin: Made in China

Price: $539

Read our full review Buy on Fully (Save $40 on any standard laminate Jarvis)


8. Floyd Birch Standing Desk

Experts’ Rating: 2.5-Stars

When you shop at a furniture store and they have one standing desk model off in a quiet corner, it’s probably not where you want to buy your standing desk. The only reason to buy this desk over another is if you love the birch top, but there are both better lifting bases and better desktops (including birch) to be had for the money.

Compact Size Options: 26″x54″

Color Options: The top of the desk can be ordered with a birch veneer, walnut veneer or gray laminate; sides are the exposed birch plywood of the core

Assembly Time: 45-60 Minutes

Warranty: Unspecified

Country of Origin: Made in China

Price: $865

Read our full review Buy on Floydhome.com


9. Knoll Hipso Standing Desk

Experts’ Rating: 2.5-Stars

To avoid comparison to Fully’s Jarvis desk (Knoll acquired Fully in 2019), the configurability of the Hipso desk is severely restricted. Only a single-stage (two-segment) lifting column is offered, so the desk will not work well for shorter or taller users, and therefore no corporation is likely to ever buy these (the base lacks ANSI/BIFMA height range compliance), but ergonomic issues don’t disappear just because a standing desk is used in a home office versus a commercial office. In an attempt to meet a competitive e-commerce price point the simple HPL desktops offered are of minimal quality. Significant assembly is involved. Five-year warranty is relatively short compared to what digitally-native e-commerce sellers (including Fully) offer on desks in a similar price range.

Compact Size Options: 24″x45″, 24″x51″

Color Options: Desktop colors are limited to white, oak and walnut laminate in rounded corners. In square corners an additional color, black, is offered.
Base colors limited simply to black and white.

Assembly Time: About one hour

Warranty: 5 years

Price: $535

Read our full review Buy on Knoll.com


10. Fully Remi Budget Standing Desk

Experts’ Rating: 2.5-Stars

If you’re looking for the cheapest standing desk you could possibly buy and still get decent support, the Remi is worth a look. But you have to be able to live with its limitations in height adjustment range (only good for medium-height users), sizes (only three very non-standard desktop sizes offered), finishes (only 3 desktop colors and 2 frame colors offered) and quality (really cheap particleboard desktop and flimsy TFL finishes). Still, a better bet than other Chinese-made desks sold on Amazon that might cost $100-$200 less but be worthless in durability, with challenging customer support and returns.

Price: $479

Read our full review Buy on Fully


11. Herman Miller Renew Standing Desk

Experts’ Rating: 2.5-Stars

To avoid channel conflict with its golden goose “contract furniture dealer channel” the number of options this desk usually comes in has been pared down to a scant few, with very limited size and decor options, and a narrow height adjustment range ideal only for average sized users. Not even ANSI/BIFMA G1 compliant so even though you’re still paying a lot of money for the quality brand of Herman Miller, the desk you’re getting is severely overpriced compared to more tech-forward, configurable and durable desks made-in-USA you can find online.

Compact Size Options: 24″x48″ (the “Small” variant of the Renew)

Color Options: Ash, Light Walnut, Walnut and White laminate

Assembly Time: At least an hour even if you have experience building standing desks

Tools Required: Power Screwdriver, Philips-Recess Bit #2, Square-Recess Bit #2, Hex/Allen Wrench 5mm and 8mm, Torx Bit T30

Individually Tested Before Shipping: No

Warranty: 5 years on base, 12 years on desktop.

Country of Origin: Made in USA

Price: $1,575

Read our full review Buy on Design Within Reach


12. Herman Miller Motia Standing Desk

Experts’ Rating: 2.5-Stars

Severely overpriced, low-quality desktops in extremely limited sizes and colors, two-month delivery, expensive in-home installation fees, a too-limited ergonomic range and substandard customer service are not a great combo when considering buying a standing desk that costs upwards of $1,400. You can get a far superior product and overall customer experience with one of the other top-rated standing desks we’ve reviewed, and especially if limiting your consideration to made-in-America standing desks that are sold online.

Compact Size Options: 24″x48″ (the “Small” variant of the Motia)

Color Option: White

Assembly Time: At least an hour even if you have experience building standing desks

Tools Required: Power Screwdriver, Philips-Recess Bit #2, Square-Recess Bit #2, Hex/Allen Wrench 5mm and 8mm, Torx Bit T30

Individually Tested Before Shipping: No

Warranty: 5 years on base, 12 years on desktop.

Country of Origin: Made in USA

Price: $1,195

Read our full review Buy on Design Within Reach


13. ModTable 'Mod-E' Powered Stand Up Desk Review

Experts’ Rating: 2-Stars

The Mod-E is the fastest adjustable standing desk in the West, with a 2.0 inch-per-second transit speed, which is fast but also very loud – like a coffee grinder loud. The Mod-E only comes with a simple up/down controller. A low max height of 47 inches may be too short for taller individuals. Made in Malaysia, the Mod-E’s tabletop is not of the most impressive quality, and its design is somewhat dated.

Compact Size Options: 24″x40″, 24″x48″

Color Options: Black, White, Espresso, Maple, Natural Pear HPL desktops

Assembly Time: 45 Minutes.

Tools Required: Power screwdriver recommended

Individually Tested Before Shipping: No

Warranty: 7 years on base, no warranty on desktop.

Country of Origin: Made in Malaysia

Price: $649

Read our full review Buy on Amazon


14. Herman Miller Nevi Standing Desk

Experts’ Rating: 2-Stars

The only good thing going for the Nevi as compared to Herman Miller’s other two desk lines (Motia and Renew) is that you can at least upgrade to a full ergonomic height range on the lifting base so that shorter and taller individuals can also have a decent ergonomic experience. Everything else about this desk is not so good. It’s expensive. Low-quality componentry coupled with a weak warranty is not a winning combo. The additional $199 to $299 delivery and in-home assembly charge is strange in this age of free shipping on practically everything, and customer reports of the in-home assembly experience gone wrong are troublesome.

Compact Size Options: 24″x48″ (the “Small” variant of the Nevi)

Color Options: White

Assembly Time: At least an hour even if you have experience building standing desks

Tools Required: Power Screwdriver, Philips-Recess Bit #2, Square-Recess Bit #2, Hex/Allen Wrench 5mm and 8mm, Torx Bit T30

Individually Tested Before Shipping: No

Warranty: 5 years on base, 12 years on desktop.

Country of Origin: Made in USA

Price: $845

Read our full review Buy on Design Within Reach


15. IKEA Knotten Standing Desk

Experts’ Rating: 1-Star

The IKEA Knotten is great at what it is: A piece of furniture designed for storage in a foyer. The issue is when IKEA calls it a standing desk. It comes in one size and can’t handle either monitor arm or keyboard tray installation, so it’s in an ergonomic barren space. The desktop surface is very small. It is still an IKEA product, so installation is going to be a chore.

Compact Size Options: 20.5″x16.875″

Color Options: Natural birch

Assembly Time: 20-40 minutes

Individually Tested Before Shipping: No

Warranty: 10 years

Price: $159

Read our full review Buy on Amazon




Completing Your Ergonomic Workstation

Acquiring the best standing desk for your decor, budget and performance requirements is Step One. But making it a true ergonomic workstation involves adding the appropriate accessories you’ll need to keep your body in a correct posture, and have a neat and tidy setup. Check out our comprehensive guides to monitor arms, keyboard trays, anti-fatigue mats, ergonomic seats, cable management kits, power management modules, foot rests and under-desk treadmills for both expert advice and lab-tested product reviews of options in each of these categories.

Need more help? Read how to find your correct desk height, then check out 10 ways to improve your office ergonomics and answers to the most common standing desk questions.

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