Top X-Lift Standing Desk Converters – Expert Reviews
X-Lifts may be the second most popular type of stand up desk converter in the market. They lift straight up and down, eliminating a slight weakness of their (more popular) Z-Lift cousins, which lift up and out. Lifting straight up and down saves space and eliminates the ‘teeter totter’ effect that comes from a device that arcs out into the standing position. However, we haven’t yet seen a model with a tilting ergonomic keyboard tray, and you’ll want to be careful not to pinch your fingers in the frame.
X-Lifts are usually a bit less expensive than Z-Lifts (at least upper end Z-Lifts), but keep in mind you’ll have no built-in way to adjust your monitor height for when you stand. Without a monitor arm or monitor post, you’ll be craning your neck down to see your monitor(s) while you stand. Adding a monitor arm of some kind will add to the cost, and make an X-Lift more comparable in price to a Post & Base model (which come with a built-in monitor post), for instance.
One more point on X-Lifts before we get into the reviews. Unlike some Z-Lifts, the X-Lifts we’ve reviewed do not have lift mechanisms with brakes for stopping at precise heights. They have spring-aided lift mechanisms with gas struts, and limited height settings. They latch into place when you adjust the height, and depending on the model, this makes some noise. Enough to bug your coworkers? Depends on the product. Our reviews discuss this and more in detail.
Best Stand Up Desk Converters (X-Lifts, Single Arm) by Ranking
Instead of dual lifting arms on either side of the unit, these models have a single x-frame lift in the center. They span a wide spectrum in terms of quality and ergonomic soundness.
Pros: Great value, silent lift mechanism (as opposed to models that make loud latching noises), space-saving X-Lift design, infinite height stops in its range, unique buffering system for smoothly lowering unit, solid height range, monitor arm compatible (with a minor caveat), deep work surface is better for viewing a larger monitor or dual monitors, no assembly required
Cons: Low weight capacity (25 lbs.), 2.4” distance between the back edge of work surface and frame member means larger monitor arms will not fit, no tilt adjustment on the keyboard tray.
Bottom Line: No other standing desk converter in the $199 price range offers the feature set of the Eureka Sit Stand Desk New Generation: a silent lift mechanism, unlimited stops in its height range, a buffering system for smooth descent, a deep work surface ideal for larger monitors, and a healthy height range to boot. While it’s missing a tilting keyboard tray like ergonomic models in the tier above, this converter is a top choice if you’re looking for a manual converter with quality engineering at the lowest cost. Read Our Full Review
Pros: Convenient carrying handle for moving around your home or office, silent adjustment (no latching noises like competitors), unlimited stops within its height range, sturdy work surface, solid construction, no assembly required
Cons: Only accommodates laptops, low maximum height (16”) will work for users up to about 6’ 3”
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for the best of the best when it comes to single platform standing desk converters designed for laptops, the Eureka Portable is that crème de la crème contender. The sturdiest and the most sophisticated lift mechanism, the Eureka Portable will keep you working comfortably all around the house or office. Its X-Lift is silent and stops at any point within its height range (as opposed to a limited number of preset height stops). A convenient carrying handle makes it easy to take into the kitchen, the living room, and back to your office. Overall our review staff was blown away by the quality of the design and construction for a product at this price point, and dubbed it the Expert’s Choice for the single platform converter category. Read Our Full Review
Pros: Very inexpensive price point, space-saving X-Lift design, lowered keyboard tray (removable for use with laptops), above-average maximum height for corner units, high reported stability levels
Cons: Keyboard tray doesn’t rest flush with tabletop in the sitting position, some assembly required (keyboard tray), plenty of potential pinch points in X-Lift frame
Bottom Line: A single X-Lift frame may normally cry quality concerns, but the Alcove M7 series from Flexispot is a durable and sturdy fleet of desk risers. The corner version features an extra-deep work surface and is shaped to fit seamlessly in corner areas. Note the keyboard tray doesn’t rest completely flush with the tabletop in the sitting position and that you will be required to assemble the keyboard tray (no tools). Overall, a top contender in the lowest cost tier of corner desk converters. Read our full review
Pros: Large keyboard tray, work surface cutout accommodates two 27” monitors easily, sturdy steel base and solid construction, space-saving X-Lift design, no assembly required
Cons: High price point for those on a budget, heavy weight requires two people to lift, no tilting keyboard tray for better ergonomics
Bottom Line: Ergotron’s WorkFit Corner Standing Desk Converter is one of the highest-priced manual corner standing desk converters we’ve seen on the market and a major improvement over the (extremely overpriced) Varidesk Cube Corner models. The Ergotron WorkFit Corner provides a smoother height transition, solid stability at all heights, and a spacious keyboard tray for larger keyboards. It still lacks a tilting keyboard tray found on more ergonomic models like the iMovR ZipLift Corner. Read our full review
Pros: Multiple color and finish options, less quality complaints than other devices in this price range
Cons: Users report difficulty lifting due to weak counterbalance force in lifting mechanism, low maximum height (15.5″) makes it unusable for workers over 6’0″
Bottom Line: AirRise Pro is one of the nicer budget desk converters. It also doesn’t have as many construction issues as other desks in the same price category. The non-adjustable keyboard tray has enough room for a keyboard and mouse. However, its maximum height is only 15.5”, which is considerably lower than some of its competitors. Read Our Full Review
Pros: Lightweight, simple, and sleekly designed
Cons: Ergonomically insufficient due to lack of a keyboard tray and incompatibility with monitor arms, extremely noisy during height adjustment, overpriced for what it does
Bottom Line: It may look pretty, but the X-Elite Pro is simply not an ergonomic solution for anyone looking to type at standing height. You’ll end up straining your neck or your wrists if you plan on typing on this thing for an extended period of time. It’s not a good decision for your wallet or your health. Read Our Full Review
Best Stand Up Desk Converters (X-Lifts, Dual Arms)
Pros: Four models—27″, 35″, 42″(corner), or 48″ wide work surfaces, extra deep work surfaces ensure proper viewing distance from monitors, solid stability at all heights, straight up-and-down motion saves office space
Cons: No tilting keyboard tray; some assembly required
Bottom Line: Not the most ergonomically sound given the lack of adjustability on the keyboard tray. But if you’re looking for “second-to-none” stability and spacious work surfaces, the FlexiSpots are some of the best standing desk converters on the market. Read Our Full Review
Pros: Wood grain HPL work surfaces are a nice alternative to solid-color competitors, arrives fully assembled, so you can use it right out of the box
Cons: While the converter has an advertised weight capacity of 44.1 lbs, we found that it could not even hold 40 lbs., a combination of weak counterbalance pistons and cheap handles makes the ED-258 very difficult to lift, the handles were of exceptionally poor quality—unfinished, and attached to the frame by a single (bent) screw with no nut
Bottom Line: The Halter ED-258 is a perfect example of a product that looks good on paper, but simply does not work as advertised. Our model collapsed under the weight of 40 lbs. Additionally, the handles are the worst we’ve ever seen, requiring a very tight grip to unlock the height-adjust feature. Its redeeming factor is an extra-deep keyboard tray that can fit your laptop, but we’d caution any potential buyers not to put too much weight on this converter. Read Our Full Review
Pros: Miniscule footprint makes it better suited for compact workstations than other Varidesks, improves upon original Varidesk models by adding ‘lowered’ keyboard tray
Cons: Ill-equipped for long-term use, thanks to its lack of ergonomic customizability, extremely low 10 lb. weight capacity, very few height settings, making it difficult to find your ideal position
Bottom Line: Dubbed the “ironing board” by our reviews team, the Laptop 30 is so-so. Its compact design lends itself well to workers with limited desk top space, or limited space behind them. It’s the first Varidesk model that you can easily move around the office, and it comes with a very low price point. But this mobile construction forces a few concessions that make it ill-equipped for long-term use. Its condensed work surface is designed only for small laptops, and has very little room for an ergonomic keyboard. And, just like the rest of its Varidesk siblings, its height adjustment mechanism doesn’t permit the precise tuning we’ve come to expect from modern desktop converters. Less precise tuning means less chance you’ll find the right ergonomic height to stand at. Read Our Full Review
For all our standing desk converter reviews, see our sit-stand converter comparison review page.
Top 3 Factors to Consider When Buying X-Lift Stand Up Desk Converters
Keep these points in mind as you’re comparing X-Lifts.
Do You Use Dual Monitors?
Like Z-Lifts, some X-Lifts are better able to accommodate multiple monitor setups than others. Here’s a quick list of specs to consider if you want an X-Lift to hold more than one monitor:
- Work Surface Width
- Weight Capacity
- Counterbalance Force
You’ll see each one of our detailed reviews tackle these aspects one by one, but here we’ll make a quick note on “Counterbalance Force”. X-Lifts come equipped with an air piston that aids in lifting the device up and lowering it down. Without these you’d be stuck lifting the whole weight of your device (monitors and all) up and down, which would put a hefty strain on your back (and be simply too much to lift for some people).
On cheaper X-Lifts, you’ll see tiny, inexpensive air pistons that aid little in the lifting process and basically put the burden of lifting on you alone. These will likely break sooner than larger, high quality pistons, and the issue is exacerbated when you’re adding multiple monitors. That’s why it’s so important to choose a unit with strong counterbalance force if you’re planning to put a lot of weight on your converter. We’ll assess each unit’s counterbalance force in our detailed reviews (as it’s not usually an advertised spec).
How Noisy is the Unit?
Unfortunately, noise is a concession you’ll have to make if you choose to go with an X-Lift. These units use spring lift mechanisms with gas struts as aids, but none of them have the braking system you’ll see on a high quality Z-Lift. This means X-Lifts will make some kind of noise (some worse than others) when latching into place at their predetermined height settings.
Is it Ergonomically-sound?
We’ve already mentioned monitor arms are not included with most X-Lifts. They will be an extra cost. As for tilting ergonomic keyboard trays, we haven’t seen any X-Lifts to date with this key feature. A tilting keyboard tray correctly emulates a proper ‘neutral’ position for your arms and wrists to rest at while you type and stand.
If you want more items to consider when purchasing a desktop riser, see our article Top 8 Factors to Consider When Buying a Standing Desk Converter.