Top Electric Stand Desk Converters – Experts Review
- Lab tested
We’ve reached a major inflection point in the market for electric standing desk converters, with prices on some new units actually meeting the price of hand-operated converters (e.g. see our top pick below). You can now find a wide assortment of converters under $350, including electrics as inexpensive as $249. Just a couple of years ago, the least expensive electric converter would have run you $900, so this is truly a momentous improvement in cost-engineering and volume economics.
Just as electric windows quickly replaced crank windows in cars, we expect the same to happen in the world of standing desk converters now. In fact it’s really just a rinse-and-repeat of what happened with full sized sit-stand desks over the past few years – where the market share of crank desks has dropped to less than 2% of all sit-stand desks being sold today – inevitable when prices between manual and electric start to equate.
Why should you consider an electric converter?
1. Heavy Weight Capacity
More and more people are using two or more monitors these days, and many are using all-in-one PCs (e.g. the iMac) or large panoramic displays. After years of seeing LCD monitors get lighter and lighter, the average user’s desktop monitor heft has started to increase again. Add the weight of ergonomic monitor arms that bring your screens to the proper height when switching between sitting and standing, and the overall effect is only increased. (When we stand our lower spines stretch out, making the distance between keyboard and monitors greater and necessitating an ergonomic arm to eliminate strain from neck craning.)
So if you’re one of those heavy duty users already, or you think you might eventually switch to more and/or larger monitors, you should certainly consider electric. Electric models generally have better weight capacity than other types of standing desk converters.
2. Easy & Effortless Adjustment (Easy on the Back)
The other classic criteria for choosing electric is when you’re prone to suffering from low back pain. Some manual converters, notoriously the Varidesk units (and their many Chinese copycat competitors) force the user to lean over to lift the work surface to standing height. With an electric unit, there’s no leaning over to assist the lift. Compared to some post & base converters, there’s also no holding up your monitors while you adjust their height position relative to the work surface – a serious problem for many people with shoulder issues. So if you have any of these ergonomic concerns, electric is now a very practical choice—and one that no longer has to break the bank.
Most of the electrics come with options for multiple monitors, but not all do, so you’ll want to be sure your model comes with an easy way to adjust your monitor height when you stand. We’ll cover all this and more in the detailed lab-test reviews you can click over to from the abstract summaries below.
Who shouldn’t consider an electric unit? Given the recent move to price parity with manual units, the only situation in which electric can be disqualified is when there’s no power outlet conveniently located near the desk. We dare say that’ll be less than 1% of users’ situations, less if you can obtain a long extension cord to solve the problem.
Best Electric Stand Desk Converters
Pros: Unprecedented price point for its quality and features, ultra-quiet lift, unique buffer design keeps lifting process smooth while lowering to a sitting position, deeper work surface is better for large monitors, X-Lift lifts straight up-and-down to save space at your desk area, electronics stowed underneath work surface for better protection, tablet holder and usb charger built-in, no assembly required
Cons: Just available in black, l-bracket connecting keyboard tray has slight flex (barely noticeable)
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for an electric standing desk converter and want the most for your money, theEureka Sit Stand Electric is a clear winner. Rolling in at $299, this smooth and quiet lifting X-Lift electric has a deep work surface for larger monitors, all the electronics stowed cleanly underneath the work surface, and a unique ‘buffer system’ that ensures a smooth transition to the sitting position (unlike competitor models which violently collide into the desk surface during the last inch of movement). An impressive 19” max height fits users up to about 6’ 6”, and it also comes with a convenient mobile device holder for tablets/phones and a built-in USB charger. Our top pick in the under-$500 electric standing desk converter category.
Price: $ 299
Pros: Polished, refined aesthetic, electric lift mechanism with programmable positioning for sitting and standing, innovative monitor focal depth adjustment for superior ergonomics and screen-sharing, stable work surface for typing, models available for 1, 2, or 3 monitors
Cons: It has a price tag to match its state-of-the-art capabilities
Bottom Line: For the executive with a budget for office décor, the Winston-E offers an unparalleled combination of style, ergonomics, and stability. It’s a “Made in America” product with a classy design. And it’s the first free-standing desktop riser we’ve seen to boast monitor focal depth adjustment—a concept patented by the manufacturer—which gives you another dimension for positioning your monitor(s) ergonomically. Highly recommended for those who make it a policy not to settle for second-best.
Pros: With the same DNA as other Kangaroo products, the Electric Kangaroo has a wide range of adjustability, and an independently-adjustable monitor mount. Monitor tilt, pan, and rotation are all easily adjustable, and the included stabilization leg prevents distracting worksurface shaking. 150lbs lift capacity is far and away the strongest among risers.
Cons: The Kangaroo is a bit less pretty that some other, less-performing desktop risers, with its ‘form follows function’ design philosophy.
Bottom Line: The Kangaroo might not be the most gorgeous thing you’ll put on your desk, but it does get the job done. It’s equipped with the same 24”x28” worksurface as the older Kangaroo models with plenty of space for keyboards, mice, and more. Unlike the One-Touch line of risers, there is currently no option for a drop-down keyboard tray, but if you’re willing to live with that you’ll find the Kangaroo a roomy experience.
Pros: Can accommodate up to four monitors, 100 lb weight capacity, easy one-touch electric height adjustment is quiet and smooth
Cons: Monitors are somewhat difficult to tilt/pan/rotate, aesthetic is a little bit industrial, with motor and cords exposed
Bottom Line: Ergotech’s new desktop riser, the One-Touch Free Stand, represents a step in the right direction for electric-powered risers. Its main competitor, the tankish Taskmate Executive, seems like an anachronistic behemoth next to the comparably sleek and customizable new riser.
Pros: Comes with two tablet/document holders, adjustable keyboard tray for better typing ergonomics
Cons: All metal, quasi-military look isn’t going to win any beauty contests, assembly is difficult
Bottom Line: One small rise for HealthPostures, one giant leap in riser design. The Taskmate Executive riser is the first entrant into what we hope will become a much more populous category. A satisfyingly “clicky” switch and a highly responsive electric motor don’t disappoint – the Executive is downright enjoyable to adjust. While it is an expensive option, and requires some tricky assembly, we’re extremely pleased with our first electric desktop riser.
Pros: Deep work surface (7” deeper than Versadesk Power Pro Plus), stable, easy to adjust due to electric motor, competitive price, huge 80 lb. weight capacity
Cons: Cheap “lunch table” surfaces, noisy motor, slow transit speed, build quality concerns
Bottom Line: Like its relative, the Versadesk Power Pro, the Power Pro Corner looks good from a glance at the specs but has issues that detract from the overall impression. Particleboard construction and high-pressure laminate surfaces aren’t associated with lifetime quality guarantee, and the pinch points leave us concerned. The transit speed is quite slow. On the plus side, there are five colors available. The corner model also features a 7” deeper work surface than the Power Pro.
Pros: Impressive-sounding weight capacity of up to 110 lbs. Easy to adjust with electronic presets for sitting and standing positions. Can accommodate even the tallest of likely users.
Cons: No way to practically adjust height of monitor(s) relative to keyboard height. Keyboard tray bounces and lacks tilt or depth adjustment. Monitor options are fairly limited due to weight and width constraints.
Bottom Line: The E7 features smooth movement, a slick height adjustment keypad, and an impressive weight capacity. However, it lacks some basic flexibility in adjusting for different positions and requires some significant assembly of very heavy parts (the unit weights 92 lbs – get a friend to help). While its features make it a consideration, the limitations hold it back from being the best in this price range. There are better electric sit-stand converters for less money.
Price: Starts at $585
Pros: Variety of colors and finishes, four monitor pole support
Cons: Abrupt stopping motion may cause converter to drop on top of the table, Keyboard tray depth is shallow
Bottom Line: The Versadesk Power Pro looks good from a glance at the specs, but has some issues that detract from the overall impression. Particleboard construction and high-pressure laminate surfaces aren’t associated with lifetime quality guarantee, and the instability in the build and pinch points leave us seriously concerned. To top it all off, the transit speed is quite slow. On the plus side, there are four sizes and five colors available.
Pros: Inexpensive price point, relatively sturdy look and feel, work surface easily holds two 27” monitors, tilting keyboard tray for better typing ergonomics, usb charging port, easy electric height adjustment, convenient accessory slot
Cons: Very small keyboard tray makes mouse work difficult, lots of potential pinch points in frame, lingering questions about quality due to VIVO’s reputation
Bottom Line: Concerns include product length of life, enough space for mouse work, and too many pinch points. Worth checking out higher quality, slightly more expensive electric alternatives.
Price: $ 229.99
Cons: Cheap construction, complicated assembly, loud height adjustment, limited surface space, low weight capacity, history of poor customer experiences with SmartDesk
Bottom Line: The $299 price tag does impress, but as the old adage goes “you get what you pay for”, and in this case it’s remarkably cheap manufacturing and poor ergonomic design. At the end of the day, many of the top-rated manual standing desk converters out there—which still represent 99.9% of the market—have higher lift capacities, more surface area, come fully assembled, are far more rigid, and likely to be more reliable in the long run. For the best budget converters, we recommend sticking with the manual lifts.
For all our sit-stand desk converter reviews, see our sit-stand converter comparison review page.
Top 3 Factors to Consider When Buying an Electric Stand Desk Converter
Keep these points in mind as you’re comparing Electric converter models.
Do You Use Dual Monitors?
If you do, you’ll have to pay extra for a model that accommodates multiple monitors. The Winston-E holds up to 3 monitors, and the Kangaroo Electric holds up to 2 monitors. Some models do not accommodate dual monitors at all, like the Autonomous SmartDesk Mini.
How Noisy is the Unit?
Noise is a factor you should keep in mind when comparing electric standing desk converters. They don’t make any noise when they latch into place (like many Z-Lifts and X-Lifts) but they do make a quiet hum with their motors. In some cases, it may be enough to irritate your coworkers.
Is it Ergonomically-sound?
Most Electric standing desk converters use the fundamental design of a Post & Base model. This means they have a built-in monitor pole to keep your monitors at an ergonomically sound viewing position. However, making subtle adjustments to your monitors is another story; some models make tilting, panning, rotating, and changing the focal depth of your monitors much easier than others.
If you want more items to consider when purchasing a sit-stand desk converter, see our article Top 8 Factors to Consider When Buying a Standing Desk Converter.
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