Best Standing Desk Storage Reviews
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The one big disadvantage of giving up your old sitting desk for a new height-adjustable standing desk is losing your drawer space. In fact, it’s one of the biggest reasons that many people go for a standing desk converter instead of swapping out their entire desk.
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 (and the added shipping weight), and the strain that the added weight of a drawer(s) might place on the sensitive lifting columns mechanisms.
This is gradually changing as more and more standing desk storage offerings reach the market, and hence the creation of this new Standing Desk Storage Reviews round-up on WorkWhileWalking. We have scoured the market to identify the most practical drawers and file cabinets specifically designed for standing desks, compared their specs, and lab tested several of them in the initial establishment of this important new standing desk accessories category. (Subscribe to our free newsletter to stay abreast of new offerings as they appear on the market.)
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.
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.
Of course, there are also pricier drawers that are much easier to install, are more securely attached to the desktop, sport higher content weight ratings and are way 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.
What are your options for an adjustable height desk with storage?
As far as options on the market today, add-on drawers are a very popular way to go. Every major standing desk manufacturer has at least one, and most have multiple drawer options. These are generally cheaper than mobile file pedestals (which we’ll cover below) but are generally shallow and won’t be able to hold hanging file folders.
Most of the cheaper drawers for standing desks do have some drawbacks. Not surprisingly, we’ve seen a lot more squawks about flimsiness in the verified user reviews from people who installed these less expensive drawers. This is one of those categories where reading reviews before buying is essential, and always be wary of fake and fluffy reviews on sites like Amazon.
As mentioned above, there can be fit issues. Just like with a keyboard tray, you’ll have to confirm there is enough space between the crossbar and the front edge of your desk for the drawer to fit. Generally, C-frame desks will have more space than T-frame desks. Your desk also needs to be sufficiently wide to mount the drawer far enough to the side that when you bring the desk down to sitting height the drawer doesn’t crush your lap.
All-metal and all-plastic drawers often aren’t as classy looking as the desks they’re being attached to. If you want to avoid the metal and plastic, there are bamboo options from Fully and UpLift, and the versatile iMovR Premium Drawer has more than 56 possible finishes to match your desk.
Adjustable desk with drawer
There are a handful of options for a standing desk with drawers on the market today, and two main ways manufacturers have gone about it. One method is a shallow drawer built into the desktop, like the FlexiSpot Theodore and FlexiSpot Comhar on the commodity end (very low cost standing desks made in China) or the high-design, American-made iMovR Captain’s Desk.
The other method is building Pendaflex folder-depth drawers on the left and right sides of the desk, such as the now-defunct HealthyDesks line. These designs are challenging because of interference with the lifting columns, but we have seen previews of some new designs, like iMovR’s upcoming Admiral’s desk (part of their Baltic Line along with the Captain’s Desk and Ensign’s Desk) that feature cleverly crafted solutions to maximize drawer space.
Mobile File Cabinets
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.
Which standing desk storage option is best for you?
A few more notes to consider when making your choice:
- You may need more space from an add-on drawer than you think. 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, but 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 table 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 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 drawers built-in, like FlexiSpot’s Theodore and iMovR’s Captain’s Desk, 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.
- If you decide you’d rather keep some storage space and go with a standing desk converter instead of a full standing desk, be sure to check out our full convertible desk roundup, including standing desk converters from Vari, iMovR, Autonomous, UpLift and more.
There are many add-on drawers on the market, available in a wide range of costs and quality.
The UpLift Locking Under Desk Drawer is a solid drawer. We don’t love the design that pushes it down so far into the user’s leg space, but some people might. It also comes in four colors. If not for a competitor with a similar design that’s much cheaper, the UpLift drawer would rank even higher.
The iMovR Hide-Away drawer is a cheaper alternative to the company’s premium Lander drawer. The Hide-Away is a simple product and it delivers on what’s promised with a small storage addition to your standing desk.
It’s cheap and there’s a 15-year warranty, but the Fully Desk Drawer loses some appeal because it doesn’t pull out all the way. That means you lose quite a bit of the already-limited space. You also need to be very careful to make sure it will actually fit your desk.
The StandUpDeskStore Sliding Under-Desk Drawer has the same downsides of most add-on drawers of this type, but it is cheap, offers two colors and a locking option to help set it apart.
Fully missed the mark on the Jarvis Bamboo Desk Drawer by failing to include a hardware pull and drawer slides.
Adjustable Desk With Drawer
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.
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.
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 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.
A minimalist “secretary desk” design in solid wood, the Albright is a pretty desk, for sure. From a practical standpoint, however, its design could have been better thought through. The two drawers are top-side, not slung under the desktop, so to open them you need to clear the space in front of them.
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 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.
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.