Best Standing Desks With Drawers
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The one big disadvantage of giving up your old fixed-height desk for a new height-adjustable standing desk may be losing your drawer space. In fact, it’s one of the biggest reasons that people sometimes opt for a standing desk converter instead of swapping out their entire desk, despite the disadvantages of having a work surface split between two elevations.
But it doesn’t have to be that way anymore. In this round-up, we bring together the increasing number of standing desk models we have reviewed that either have built-in drawers or offer optional drawers as configuration options when buying them.
If you already own a standing desk and are looking for ways to add storage to it, be sure to check out our separate roundup of Best Options For Adding Storage To A Standing Desk.
So Why are Drawers So Uncommon on Standing Desks?
There are several historical reasons that you still don’t see drawers on standing desks too often. Chiefly, these have to do with the significant amount of weight that would be added by attaching wooden drawers to a wooden desktop, space constraints underneath the desktop of typical standing desks, the cost of fabrication (with the added shipping weight), and the strain that the added weight of a drawer(s) might place on the sensitive lifting columns’ mechanisms.
As we explain in great detail in our primer on How much do standing desk lift capacity ratings really matter?, the side-loading stresses on a standing desk’s legs when lifting an unbalanced load can significantly reduce their rated lifting capacity. And it can shorten their lives by putting too great a strain on the motors and wearing down the glides that separate the tubes. We’ve seen at least one poorly-engineered attempt at putting full-depth drawers on a standing desk, like on the now-defunct Healthy Desks bamboo executive desk, but designs have significantly improved since then.
There are also a lot of interference issues with other components typically found on the underside of a desktop, like crossbars, top support arms, cables, and handsets. The biggest challenge is with “T-frame” standing desks, which limit the available drawer depth, as compared to “C-frame” desks where there’s more distance between the user edge and the desk’s crossbars.
Finally, assembling some of the lesser quality, lightweight drawers that are offered for standing desks can be a huge pain, starting with flipping your desk over and figuring out where to drill pilot holes and ending with assembling a flimsy, if not unsightly drawer. These are often made with thin metal parts and pseudo-woods like bamboo in order to keep the cost and weight down. Low-quality drawers tend to handle less content weight and may easily rip out their screws if overloaded.
We cover those cheaper options in our other round-up of Best Options For Adding Storage To A Standing Desk, but for this one we’re going to focus on standing desks that have built-in drawers, or optional drawers that were really designed as integrated components both aesthetically and mechanically. When truly integrated into the design, these drawers tend to be much easier to install, are more securely attached to the desktop, sport higher content weight ratings, and are just much nicer to look at.
This is definitely one of those categories where you get what you pay for, and you pay for what you get. We’ve seen some pretty cheesy looking add-on drawers offered for very nice standing desks, and it doesn’t make any sense to us why anyone would want to deface their investment that way. So, the standing desks with drawers that we list below are ones that actually look like they were meant to have them and function that way.
What are Your Options for an Adjustable-Height Desk with Storage?
Built-in or add-on drawers mounted in the center of the desk are the most common.
Having a drawer in the center is aesthetically and mechanically balanced, and will have more depth and width available than drawers mounted on the sides where they will run into the lifting columns, top support arms, height control handsets, etc.
Center drawers do have to be shallow, though, so they don’t run into your lap when the desk is at sitting height. Some desk designs are improper in this regard, such as Fully’s Jarvis Evolve standing desk, which has triple drawers that look beautiful, but they’re so deep that this $2,300 desk can only be used standing. Such desks shouldn’t even be marketed as sit-to-stand desks because they’re really only usable when standing.
The other important consideration when choosing to have a drawer in the center of your desk is that you won’t be able to attach an ergonomic keyboard tray there in the future. If you don’t ever intend to use one then the issue is moot, but if you’re unsure about it, you might want to find a different solution for desk storage.
There are an increasing number of options for a standing desk with integrated drawers on the market today, and two main ways manufacturers have gone about it. One method is to build a shallow drawer built into the center of the desktop, such as you see on the Captain’s, Theodore, Comhar, Esben, Northread, Jarvis Evolve, Jarvis Albright, and a few others we’ve reviewed.
The other approach is to have an optional but integrated drawer that hangs from the desktop, such as iMovR’s Premium Drawer, that can be installed on any of their desks that have 1.125″ or thicker desktops. This includes their most popular Lander desk line, as well as the Jaxson desk when configured with thicker “select” desktops. Ergonofis does the same with their solid wood Sway standing desk.
While you can technically install the Premium Drawer on any standing desk with the clearance for it, because it has a heavy-duty 50-lbs content weight rating, iMovR recommends installing it on thicker desktops with enough wood screw purchase to hold up the fully-loaded weight, if your contents are actually going to be that heavy.
Then we get to the elevated plateau of executive standing desks with more than just one built-in drawer. The category leader in this segment is iMovR’s Lander Executive Solid Wood Desk, which features not only three drawers across the front, but a concealed electronics drawer along the back side of the desk that spans its entire length. But we’re talking a starting price of around $6K for a fancy-schmancy unit like this.
Mobile File Cabinets and Credenzas
Of course adding drawers isn’t the only way to gain storage at your workstation. Most of the major standing desk makers today offer mobile file pedestals, typically in wood laminates matching their desktops or painted steel matching their base frame colors. These specially-designed, two-drawer and three-drawer file cabinets can fit nicely underneath or beside a stand-up desk and are usually high enough off the ground to roll over the feet of the desk, as well.
Some, like the iMovR Mobile File Pedestal and the UpLift Rolling File Cabinet, are so sturdy they can even be rolled out as an extra seat for an impromptu guest who stops by your office. These mobile pedestal options come in a wide range of quality, features, sizes, and decors. For more information about these rolling file cabinets check out our comprehensive, separate round-up of Standing Desk File Cabinet Reviews.
So far, we’ve only seen something bigger than a mobile file pedestal in décor-matched storage accessories from iMovR with their 2-door solid wood credenza, which adds a whopping 10 cubic feet of additional storage.
As we understand it, iMovR is also working on various bookcases, etageres, and other matching accessories for their Lander Collection, Solid Wood Collection, and Executive Desk Collection, all coming soon. Everything centered around one of their premium-grade sit-to-stand desks in some 60 different finish options.
Under-desk Equipment Docks
There are some clever solutions out there for freeing up desktop real estate currently being taken up by a laptop, tablet, or other devices. Of course there are conventional CPU holders that most standing desk manufacturers offer (or you can find on Amazon), but one of our favorites for standing desk and treadmill desk workstations is the iMovR Tech Dock, which is super versatile.
Not often thought of as a means of adding more storage to a standing workstation, monitor risers can help create more desktop storage by creating space underneath your monitor(s).
See our full round-up of The Best Monitor Risers For Standing Desks.
Which standing desk storage option is best for you?
A few more notes to consider when making your choice:
- You may need more storage space in your standing desk workstation than adding on a single drawer can provide. Most add-on drawers aren’t very tall and don’t pull out all the way, meaning the back section will be very hard to access. If all you’re storing is mobile devices, note pads, and some standard office supplies, you may be fine. However, be sure to check the inside dimensions before buying.
- Check interior dimensions carefully. We’ve seen several manufacturers list rough dimensions at the top of their product page, only to list slightly smaller dimensions elsewhere in the “specs” section. This could be an issue if you plan to store your laptop or tablet in the drawer and come to find out the drawer is ¼” too short to accommodate it.
- Measure your under-desk spacing very carefully. If you have a small desk or a keyboard tray, it could be hard to fit an add-on drawer.
- Some standing desk add-on drawers, like the UpLift Locking Under Desk Drawer with Shelf, hang down very far. This will limit your leg space when sitting and make it harder to rotate out of your chair as you get up.
- Standing desks with built-in drawers don’t allow you to add a keyboard tray and make it difficult to install a monitor arm. These kinds of desks are best used with laptops or for shorter sprints at work. Any desk you’re going to be at for hours on end should be fully outfitted with an ergonomic keyboard tray and ergonomic monitor arm for maximum productivity and prevention of repetitive strain injuries.
Height-Adjustable Desks With Drawers
It was rare to find a standing desk with drawers just a year ago, but now there are a few options on the market.
The Lander is the rare revolutionary—not simply evolutionary—standing desk. It’s entirely made in the USA, assembles in minutes without tools, and boasts a sleek height controller that syncs to your smartphone, among other distinctive technological advancements. Now with the optional Premium Drawer, it even boasts a solution to your standing desk storage needs. Also available are matching file pedestals, credenza, fly deck monitor rizers and other storage options for completing your office.
If you’re looking for the most elegant and sophisticated standing desk available in the market today, you’ve found it. But be prepared to pay what it costs for this kind of quality workmanship and materials as this desk is made 100% of solid wood, and the most premium select cuts of wood at that. This is a truly bespoke product, with 6-8 weeks of artisan woodwork labor to produce it. Even the delivery experience is exceptional. The lifting base is the strongest we’ve ever seen on any standing desk at 540 lbs, as it needs to support the weight of three drawers, the full-length concealed electronics cabinet, and all the desktop equipment and drawer contents that an executive user might add to their desk. The full-length concealed electronics cabinet is a major innovation, as is the optional 1800W Executive Power Bus that goes in it. Like test driving a Bentley (which we actually did in preparation for this review), when we got to test out the very first Lander Executive units, we were blown away by all the little touches that make it a true luxury product.
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 or Red River birch desktop.
Canada’s premier standing desk manufacturer, Ergonofis’ Sway Desk is a solid wood standing desk with optional, fully-integrated solid wood-faced center drawer. Like iMovR, they also offer matching solid wood faces on their mobile file pedestal.
The Jaxson is one of the most technologically-advanced new standing desks on the market, with thousands of desktop shape, size and color combinations, made-to-order in the USA and shipping in one week. The iMovR Premium Drawer is a fully-integrated option on these desks when configured with 30″-depth and “Select” (thicker) desktops.
The FlexiSpot Theodore is very specifically designed for the person who wants a drawer in their standing desk, and doesn’t intend to install any ergonomic accessories like a keyboard tray or monitor arm. It’s minimalist in performance specs, easy to assemble, and if it matches your traditional office decor, it may be one of the best values out there.
This desk is made for a laptop user who doesn’t have specific ergonomic needs like a keyboard tray or monitor arm. Options and weight capacity are minimal, and it, unfortunately, comes with a crossbar running between the legs right where your feet want to be. It’s a good value for those who don’t mind the drawbacks because of its price, easy assembly and built-in drawer and USB ports.
The glass top on the ApexDesk Lumi Standing Desk may sound like it will give your office a stylish upgrade, and on the surface, an undamaged version of the desk could do that, at least until you start using it. The glass easily picks up highly visible prints. The controller can be annoying to use before you get the presets established. Lack of safety features in the controller can be dangerous. And that isn’t mentioning the flaws that are overlooked by quality control or damage that happens in transit. But the USB port is a nice addition, and controller being in the glass desktop will protect it from bumps from office chair arms. It is also pretty easy to assemble, if not the fastest we have seen. But those perks are probably not enough to make up for something that is supposed to look stylish but likely won’t arrive that way, even at its low price point.
This Northread adjustable-height desk is a low-cost addition to the available compact standing desk and those with quick installations (relative to other commodity-grade standing desks in this price range). It does have some nice features, like the extra power ports built into the controller and pencil drawer. On the other hand, the manufacturing quality is quite low, resulting in short warranties, open gaps to the inner mechanics, misaligned parts, and shaky stability. However, that is basically what you will get when paying that little for a product you are going to use almost every day.
Discontinued Standing Desks
At WorkWhileWalking we’ve been lab testing and writing reviews of ergonomic office furniture and accessories for over a decade. In that time, we have seen many of the products we reviewed fall by the wayside. This is inevitable due to the cycle of continuous improvement, with new models supplanting their predecessors. Of course in some cases products weren’t as competitive as they needed to be, or their manufacturers ran into financial challenges (which very much accelerated as a result of the post-pandemic economy).
For whatever reason, these products now fall into the discontinued category, but we will still keep their reviews published and available to read. Whether you want to know more about the desk, monitor arm, etc. that you bought years ago, need more info because someone is selling one second hand, or just want to compare current offerings with what was available in the past, these reviews will remain here for your reference.
Another entrant in the category of standing desks with drawers, the FlexiSpot Esben distinguishes itself from the similarly priced and similarly featured FlexiSpot Theodore with an extra drawer and more utilitarian looks.
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.
The minimal design of the Albright solid wood standing desk is certainly attractive. But when you really look at it, Fully could have thought it through a bit more. With two drawers top-side, not attached underneath the desktop, you need to clear the space in front of them if you want them to open up. Another issue is compatibility with monitor arms because they would have to mount on the shelf, which creates some ergonomic problems. The solid wood quality of the woodwork is on par with UpLift’s, but nowhere near the quality of American solid wood tops like iMovR’s. At the end of the day, it’s a decent handcrafted solid wood product on a cheap Chinese-made Jiecang lifting base with an annoying assembly. So, unlike other designer desks that marry high-quality American constructed tops with reliable American-made bases (and better warranties all around), we don’t get the reasoning for this mish-mash.
The Evolve falls into several premium categories that occupy the rarified air of designer standing desks. It’s priced at $2,300, so that puts it in the most expensive “executive standing desk” tier. And of course it’s made of solid wood, as is to be expected of any desk in this price tier. And it has not just one, but three drawers. Artisan handcrafted in Michigan, it’s certainly beautiful to look at. That’s the good news. The bad news starts with the fact that the drawers are so thick that you can’t actually bring this desk down to sitting height without crushing your lap. It is strictly a “standing desk,” not a “sit-stand desk,” from an ergonomic point of view. The design also disallows the addition of any ergonomic accessories like monitor arms or keyboard trays, so it’s pretty much a laptop desk. We’ve never understood Fully’s (and some of their other competitors’) choice of pairing an expensive, American-made desktop with a commodity-grade lifting base from China (Jiecang, like on all the Jarvis desks). While Vincent Leman has risen to the top of the field in designer standing desks nowadays, the Evolve was his very first creation. That was quite a few years ago now, and sadly the Evolve lacks any ergonomic sense whatsoever. Like the other Fully solid wood desks, it’s finished to a minimal level to minimize cost, and lacks some things you’d expect at this price tier, like high-quality drawer slides, ergo-contoured edges, more precisely aligned drawers, and at least a full sealing of the bottom of the desk, if not staining.
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.