Best Standing Desk Storage Options
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The one big disadvantage many users gripe over when giving up an old fixed-height desk for a new height-adjustable standing desk is losing 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 working surface split between two elevations.
But that isn’t a problem anymore, as there are now numerous options for adding drawers and other storage devices to your standing desk, plus matching furniture accessories like mobile file pedestals, credenzas, and bookcases.
This round-up covers all the add-on accessories for an existing standing desk, but if you don’t have a standing desk yet, be sure to check out our comprehensive round-up of Standing Desks With Built-In Drawers to see if there’s a good option that works well for you without having to go to the aftermarket for accessories.
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. If you really need to have deeper drawers for hanging folders, we strongly suggest going with a matching mobile file cabinet.
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.
What are Your Options for Adding Storage to a Height-Adjustable Desk?
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 also 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. So, 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 60 possible finishes to match your desk.
Mobile File Cabinets and Credenzas
Of course, adding drawers isn’t the only way to gain storage for 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 space in 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. However, be extra 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 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 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.
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 Stand Up Desk Store 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.
Matching File Cabinets, Credenzas, Bookcases And Other Accessory Furniture For Adding Storage To A Standing Desk
At first glance, a filing cabinet unit that has been custom built as a standing desk storage solution may not look radically different from a classic one. But as we continue with this review, you’ll soon know why they’re indispensable to complete an ergonomic workstation built around a standing desk. And why we have awarded 5 stars to the iMovR cabinet for unique attributes that set it in an entirely different class from other units on the market.
In iMovR’s furniture design philosophy, the sit-stand table is usually the centerpiece, and various accessories complete the office. It started out with matching two-drawer file cabinets, but the idea of building an active office furniture “collection” in the classic sense really started to take off with matching keyboard trays, center drawers, monitor risers, and now the two-door credenza. It’s nice that they’ve done this in both their premium 3D-laminate desk lines as well as the luxury solid wood standing desk lines. Available in multiple sizes, the two-door credenza adds anywhere from 8.9 to 12.2 cubic feet of storage, making it the largest piece of matching accessory furniture we’ve seen yet in a standing desk line (although we hear several more pieces are coming, like book cases and etageres). Made in Michigan, these credenzas are extremely well constructed, and come with the same industry-leading warranties as their matching desks.
UpLift mostly worries about three competitors, Fully with their Sidekick 3-drawer mobile pedestal, Vari with their 4+ models of mobile pedestals, and Autonomous with their ultra-cheap rolling file cabinet. The three models that UpLift has created are, like the others, a) made-in-China with thin steel and relatively cheap components, b) designed to go with their own desks, with paint color options matching all four of the colors they offer on UpLift standing desks, c) lightweight and thus a bit of a tipping risk, even with the “prosthetic” 5th wheel under the bottom drawer, and d) very competitively priced between all of them. If you’re wanting to stick in the economy price range of a steel cabinet that matches the legs of your UpLift desk rather than a wood cabinet that might match your desk surface, there’s no need to look further than these matching cabinets from the same factory.
A handsome standing desk outfit should have a matching file cabinet to go with it; otherwise what’s the point of selecting nice desktop finishes and other accessories to match? In all but black, the Sidekick doesn’t actually match paint colors very well with their Jarvis standing desks, so we’re left unimpressed by that. Despite a 10-year warranty we were surprised by the lack of quality in the construction and components of this $249 file cabinet. The seat cushion is a real nice feature, though, that gives it a second purpose as a desk-side seat for office visitors.
Vari (f.k.a. Varidesk) now offers more file cabinet models than any other seller of standing desks, though only in black for the most part (others offer as many as 58 different finishes). So like the Ford Model-T, you can match any of the Vari standing desks, so long as it’s “slate” black. As for the general quality of the cabinet, which—like other Vari products—is mass-produced with low-quality materials and components, it is relatively high-priced for what you get, to cover all the television advertising cost and high rate of product returns. We like the many variations on the theme of a basic file cabinet, but the low-quality drawer slides are aggravatingly “sticky” so that cabinet moves whenever you open or close a drawer. This is despite being advertised as “soft close.” While advertised as a matte paint finish, the rough surfaces of the cabinet smudge easily and do not clean up very easily. We can’t recommend these over other cabinets in a similar price range unless you’re really just trying to match the slate decor of your other Vari furniture.
The iMovR Fly Deck is better than competing monitor risers in every way, outside of a few niche situations. It’s also more expensive than competing risers. It comes down to deciding whether you want to buy the best out there or spend less on a product that will fall short in some way.
The Jarvis Monitor Riser looks good but is on the much pricier end of the spectrum compared to the bulk of the options in this category. It has a clamp-on installation, which is good and bad. It’s good because it will stay on your desk well and free up some extra space. It’s bad because it requires some assembly (minimal) and won’t work on real wood desktops. From an aesthetic appeal standpoint, however, at the end of the day this is a great looking add-on for a Jarvis bamboo desk, but an expensive clash for any other kind of standing desk.
The UpLift Desk Monitor Riser looks nice, has a great warranty and features a clamp-on installation that’s mostly positive, if you don’t have a real wood desktop. On the other side, it requires some assembly and the 15″ version has a weak weight capacity.
The Lorell Sit-Stand Monitor Risers are innovative, but not in a good way. We question the design decision that went into the Lorell Standard’s peculiar lift mechanism, which requires you to adjust two locks on the back side of the unit before lifting and lowering. There’s also quality concerns with its cheap components, and together they’ve led to our low rating.
Price: Standard: $150, Deluxe: $226
The Office Oasis Monitor Riser stands out on looks and weight capacity. The large size is one of the best options available for those with multiple monitors or a single large monitor/TV. The small size has a weight capacity that far surpasses any other monitor risers we’ve seen of similar size. Plus, it comes with a lifetime warranty.
Under-desk Equipment Holders
iMovR’s Tech Dock is an innovative solution both to standing desk storage and limited desk space. Its high quality construction and design allow you to easily access a laptop, tablet, or other device while also allowing you to easily access that device when needed. You may need to add an adapter to install around the crossbar on some standing desk models, but it is an ideal solution for helping to keep your desktop clean and clutter free.
iMovR, maker of standing desks and treadmill desks, now offers a CPU Holder for its desk models. If you use a desktop computer and want to save space under your standing desk, this could be an invaluable addition to your workstation.