Since we started our Learning Center in January of 2017, a lot has changed in the sit stand desk category. We’ve seen new companies come and go, with products that promised to offer new features that have never been seen before.
If you have followed our standing desk content over the last few years, you are familiar with our obsession with stability. This is one of the core aspects of the sit stand desk market that we believed was being missed.
Customers have been asking for better stability and we’ve been pushing for it as well. While our content might not be loved by all competitors, they have been paying attention too. Three of the four products found on our list come with traditional cross supports. Two of these products didn’t exist until we started to push for desks with cross supports.
If you read through the sit stand desk brands’ websites, even if they haven’t improved their stability, most talk about it now. This wasn’t something that was addressed by most in 2017 or even 2018 for that matter. Change is happening, which is good for everyone.
How To Use This List
When reading through our best sit to stand desks under $800 for 2021, there is something very important we must express. We rank products based on the average of seven categories that we deem to be most important with a standing desk. While these are the categories we consider to be most important, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will feel the same way.
A good example of this is if you’re biggest concern is assembly. Because our list is based on the average of seven categories, the easiest to assemble product isn’t guaranteed to be ranked number one overall. If this is your biggest concern for a standing desk, you should rearrange the list based on what you feel is most important.
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Full Disclaimer: We are an office furniture dealer and sell some of the products we review. To learn more about the products we sell, our review process and why you can trust us, please visit: Why we’re different. Who is BTOD.com and The Breakroom Blog?
Best Sit Stand Desks Under $800
- VertDesk v3 – 82/100 Rated Sit Stand Desk
- Uplift v2 Commercial – 79/100 Rated Sit Stand Desk
- VARIDESK ProDesk 60 – 77/100 Rated Sit Stand Desk
- Uplift v2 Standard – 77/100 Rated Sit Stand Desk
- 7 Things To Consider
- Bottom Line
Requirements For Best Sit Stand Desk List
Selecting the four desks for this list was easy. There were only four that met my requirements to even make a consideration for the list. Using the ratings I have created in my reviews, desks that fell below 75 out of 100 were not included. This left only four options for 2021 that were under $800.
Best Sit Stand Desks Under $800 Video
1. VertDesk v3 Sit To Stand Desk – 82/100 Rating
VertDesk v3 Pros and Cons
Built-in the USA
20″ adjustment range
Reason For Inclusion
Our first ranked product is BTOD.com’s own VertDesk v3. Previously scored with an 81/100 rating, we made an update to our warranty to be in line with our closest competitors. This change was significant, increasing the length of coverage from five to seven years for the electronics. Because the frames are covered for ten years and the surfaces five years, it edged out the other products in the list by a small margin.
After testing thirteen standing desks from the mid-range, I have found the VertDesk v3 to be the best overall standing desk under $800. The VertDesk v3 is good at just about everything and great at one thing, overall stability. Depending on your needs, this product has the potential to be a good fit.
Looking at the other three desks selected in this list, each has something they do better than the VertDesk v3. As you look closer at the ratings, you’ll notice that the VertDesk v3 scored 80-90 in almost every category. The exceptions being the assembly (70) and adjustment range (75).
During stability tests we found that the VertDesk v3 showed almost no wobble or rocking motions. Only when the desk was raised about 46” did it start to show slight signs of rocking. This rocking started as the overlap in the columns started to become very small. In order to provide this stability, the VertDesk was designed with a traditional cross support. We also shortened the overall stroke to 20”, reducing overlap issues within the columns. We weren’t willing to sacrifice the stability for an additional inch of travel.
Looking at the electronic components, the VertDesk v3 also scored high with a Laing Innotech control box and Ketterer motor. Both are considered to be premium electronics from Hungarian and German manufacturers. They are also backed by a seven-year warranty. While this isn’t the best in class, it is well above average for the mid-range.
Inside the columns are quality gear and glide systems, each designed to hold up to long life cycles. During our cycle testing, we found that each held up well with over 21,375 full up/down cycles completed on the VertDesk v3. German manufactured Ketterer gears are used within the VertDesk v3 frame. Because of their cold rolled manufacturing process, they looked and felt new after cycle testing that amounted to over 20 years of normal use.
The use of Acetal Delrin, for the glide systems on the VertDesk v3, also proved to be a good choice for durability. With minimal wear on the glides, the VertDesk v3 was able to maintain most of its stability by the end of the cycle testing.
2. Uplift Desk v2 Commercial Sit Or Stand Desk – 79/100 Rating
Uplift Desk v2 Commercial Pros and Cons
Traditional cross support system
Reason For Inclusion
The Uplift v2 Commercial is the first desk we’ve tested to rival our own VertDesk v3 for stability. While some might have thought we only wanted our product to be successful with this aspect, we had hoped the industry would pay attention and build better frames. The Uplift Commercial was the first product to provide very good to good stability through all heights we tested.
The expandable frame of the Uplift v2 commercial is overbuilt on purpose, with oversize columns (legs) and a plate steel foot that is formed for additional strength. Typically expandable frames pose an issue with moving parts, but the thickness of the cross support and set screws eliminated any issues that we’ve found in the past on products like the StandDesk Simple.
Something unique about the Commercial was their focus to create a desk that went low enough to capture the bottom 5% of the population. With a minimum height of 22”, this desk has the potential to properly fit people that are under 5’2”.
Like previous Uplift standing desks, the Uplift Commercial includes a 7 year warranty on their electronics. Both Fully and Uplift were responsible for the change to a longer warranty in the mid-range category of standing desks. To be fair, it was the reason we updated the warranty on our products as well.
Lastly, the six-way accelerometer added to the Uplift v2 Commercial has improved the collision avoidance that was found on previous iterations of the Uplift Desks. While these systems aren’t guaranteed to protect you from soft collision with things like fingers, they are much safer than the software driven systems found on most mid to low range products being sold today.
3. VariDesk ProDesk 60 Electric Sit and Stand Desk – 77/100 Rating
VariDesk ProDesk Pros and Cons
Quick assembly process
Poor connection of cross support and frame to columns
Reason For Inclusion
The VariDesk ProDesk 60 Electric is our third ranked desk on the list and the third desk to include a cross support. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that with the traditional cross support design, the ProDesk has very good lateral stability through most heights. In fact, we found the VariDesk has good stability at all heights below 45”.
If you’re looking for a desk that is easy to assemble, the VariDesk ProDesk is hands down the easiest we’ve ever assembled. We tested their claim to assemble within five minutes and on my first try, without reviewing the instructions, I was able to complete it in seven minutes. Had I reviewed the instructions, I’m sure five minutes would be achievable.
The ProDesk comes with a 25” adjustment range, that moves from 25.5” up to 50.5” at max height. While it won’t go quite as low as the v2 Commercial, it will go two inches higher. The VariDesk is a better solution for users that are over 6’6”.
With most brands offering a programmable switch as an upgrade that costs additional money, the VariDesk ProDesk includes it at no charge. Offering four preset memory positions, with the only downside to it’s switch being the lack of one touch functionality.
While the VariDesk doesn’t come with as strong of a warranty as the other three desks in the category, it still has five years coverage on the entire desk. This is still above average for the category, with a solid company backing their warranty.
4. Uplift Desk v2 Standard Sit Stand Desk – 77/100 Rating
Uplift Desk v2 Pros and Cons
7-year warranty on frame
No traditional cross support system
Reason For Inclusion
The Uplift v2 Standard is the best desk we’ve reviewed under $800, that doesn’t include a traditional cross support. While not as stable as the three desks above, it is still more stable than almost every other desk we’ve tested since 2017. It offers good stability up to 43” or 44” tall.
If you are over 6’6” and want an Uplift Branded product, the Standard is a better alternative to the Commercial when considering range of motion. Moving from 25.5” to 50.1”, this version of the Uplift Desk is the best option for fitting tall users.
Like the Commercial v2, the Standard Uplift Desk comes with a seven year warranty on electronics and their frame. This is well above average for the category and is backed by a strong company.
Uplift Desk offers a wide selection of in stock surface material types, including bamboo and rubberwood. Some of these options include an ergo edge design, which creates a cutout for the user. Uplift’s warranty on surfaces is a bit more murky and my suggestion would be to reach out and get this portion in writing if you’re concerned.
If you need a desk that has a large lifting capacity, the Standard Uplift comes with a 355 pound capacity. Through testing, we found the desk didn’t have an issue lifting this load. Because the Uplift Desk doesn’t include overload protection, it can lift over 400 lbs. While the desk is capable of lifting this, my suggestion would be to stay under the recommended capacity.
Lastly, the six-way accelerometer, added to the Uplift v2 Commercial, has improved the collision avoidance that was found on previous iterations of the Uplift Desks. While these systems aren’t guaranteed to protect you from soft collision with things like fingers, they are much safer than the software driven systems found on most mid to low range products being sold today.
Top 7 Things To Consider When Buying Sit Stand Desks
When making the transition to a full electric standing desk there are factors you must consider. This is a new product for many customers, so getting it right the first time will make your experience much more pleasant. Based on my own experience, I put stability as the most important aspect of the standing desk. Wobbly standing desks create inefficient workspaces and can lead to discontinued use of the desk at standing height. There is a lot involved with creating a stable standing desk. It’s important to look at how a frame is constructed from the bottom up. Also, the use of a traditional cross support and proper fit glides are the foundation of a solid sit to standing desk.
Because the desks in my list use electronics, finding a product with a good warranty and strong track record is also important. Finally, making sure that your new standing desk can lift the load you put on it everyday shouldn’t be overlooked. Is it consistent when it moves from sitting to standing? Below, I will take a closer look at these factors and explain why each is important. Through this process, you will be able to better understand what you truly care about with your new standing desk. Again, none of the desks in the list are perfect, it truly is a give and take situation.
One of the first things you’ll notice when shopping for a sit or stand desk is that all brands say their desks are stable. Many of the product reviews on their sites will also make a mention of this. The problem, these users typically have only had experience with one desk. Looking at over 20 desks in the mid-range and more from the bottom and top-end, I can assure you they are not all created equal. We have even taken this one step further and provided stability videos for almost all brands I have personally tested. Until you have put all of these standing desks next to each other, it is difficult to get a good sense of what stable really is.
One of the most important parts in creating a stable sit stand desk is the traditional cross support. Every desk we sell has one for that exact reason. While some products without a cross support performed better than others, the only products that were rock solid during testing included a cross support.
Front to back rocking motions are also something to consider with stability. Standing desks that have a traditional column design, with the biggest column on the bottom and smallest on top are typically the most stable front to back. This is true with the desks we have listed below.
Because there are so many moving parts on a standing desk, just adding a cross support and traditional column setup won’t always solve all stability issues. Bad engineering and cheaply made components make it difficult to eliminate wobble and rocking. Our test of the StandDesk Simple was a prime example of this. Because they had so many bolts holding the frame together, there was no way to put a bandaid (cheap cross support) on it to eliminate the wobble problems.
The second most important aspect of an electric standing desk is the electronics themselves. After all, if your desks electronics fail, you can’t move the desk from the current position it’s in. Depending on the height where it stopped working, it could be a serious problem. We’ve found the leaders in the field always use a single board control box, engineered specifically for use with a standing desk. These circuit boards tend to be the the most clean, with minimal if any use of silicone caulk for holding important components in place. Instead, they use stands with permanent soldered connections. With standing desks natural vibrations from movement and the use of motors, solid and consistent connections are important for the products to hold up well over the course of 10,000 to 20,000 cycles up and down.
3. Gears & Glides
Inside the columns (legs) of your new sit to standing desk are very important components. The gears and glides are two aspects of a sit stand desk that most users likely don’t consider. I’d be willing to bet that most of the brands offered online don’t know much about them either. After opening all 30+ of the desks I have reviewed, I have to say this feels like a sit stand desks skeleton in the closet. There was a lot inside the cheap columns that I’m willing to bet the manufacturers would prefer you not see.
When I opened the columns for each desk and pulled the spindle gears out it became fairly obvious what was good and what was not. Lower quality gears are typically over lubricated and include a lower quality plastic components. Using cheap plastic components for the gear creates an opportunity for a weak point. Unfortunately, this appears to be a common theme with most of the gears I saw coming from Chinese brands.
Looking at the higher-end gear, products made by Linak and Ketterer, you could see the attention to detail with each. Cold rolled for better durability and to improve overall efficiency, these gears were noticeably nicer. Just moving the gears with your hands when they were pulled out, the difference was obvious.
4. Weight Capacity
Finding a desk that will lift the items on your desk efficiently is important. While most users won’t require a desk that lifts more than 150 to 200 lbs, it should be able to lift that weight without slowing significantly. It’s important to note that these weight capacities include the weight of your desktop as well. Generally, a desk that is 30” x 60” will have a top that weighs between 50 and 60 lbs. Most of the desks that we have tested from the mid-range have been consistent with their lifting speeds. However, some models have had serious issues lifting loads between 150 and 200 lbs. When desks start to function differently with loads similar to this it should be a cause for concern. The motors themselves are likely being strained and this could impact the lifecycle of your product.
5. Adjustment Range
It’s important to factor the height adjustment range into your decision. Some of the cheapest desks will include the smallest adjustment ranges. Look at the bottom height first, sitting at the proper height is just as important as standing at the correct height. The standard office desk is between 29” to 30” tall. For many short users, this height is too tall and can potentially create ergonomic issues. The standing desks on our list will give you the opportunity to start sitting from 24” to 28” tall.
Next, you want to consider the proper standing height. We have created a standing desk height calculator that will help you find the best height for standing. For most users, you should look for a height that allows your elbows to rest at your sides comfortably. In this posture, your hands should be at elbow height or just below. Users that select a height taller than this run the risk of causing neck and shoulder issues from too much reaching. Also, using your sit stand desk below this height can create issues as your wrists are bent awkwardly while typing or mousing. To give you an idea what height is good, users that are 5’6” should set their desk height to 40” to 40.5” tall. Users that are 6’0” should look at heights from 43.5” to 44” tall. If you are 6’6”, you will likely need a desk that allows you to stand at 48” tall.
6. Adjustment Speed
Adjustment speed is important, after all we don’t want to be waiting forever to make an adjustment from sitting to standing. Looking at all of the desks we tested, I would consider anything above 1.3” per second a good place to start. During testing we found speed inconsistencies with desks that offered speeds greater than 1.6” per second. Once you start to add more than 150 pounds of weight, they start to slow down significantly. Meanwhile, desks that offer more conservative numbers are typically better at maintaining something close to the original speed. Depending on the load you will be putting on your desk, the fastest advertised desk might actually end up being one of the slowest options. It’s important to pay attention to the speed/load testing results. Most brands won’t offer this information, but our reviews have broken down most of these numbers.
The last thing that I recommend considering is the warranty of the desk, more importantly, the warranty on the sit stand desks electronics. While issues with the gears, glides and frame can occur, faulty electronics are the number one warranty issue with electric standing desks. This is especially true with brands that use Chinese made electronics. The electronics will include motors, switch and control box system. This is something we have experienced ourselves, specifically when we used the TiMotion brand of electronics. For more than two years we have had constant electronics failures on our VertDesk v1.
If you buy something with low quality electronics, that come with a one or two year warranty, you are likely to purchase a replacement. Because so many new brands are entering the market, the product you currently own could potentially change as well. This means the opportunity for replacement electronics on your current desk might not exist after your one year warranty has expired. If they do, it could require you to buy a new complete electronics package. This includes motors, control boxes and switches. All of the products in my list either include premium electronics or have a warranty to cover issues with these components free of charge for a minimum of five years.
A lot has changed since our original list of the best sit stand desks in 2017. There has been a major shift in how brands are considering stability with their sit stand desks, which is a good thing for the consumer. While not all brands have actively improved their products, some of the most well known brands are offering desks with cross supports to improve lateral stability.
When selecting the best desk for your needs, it’s important to consider the things that are most important to you. Whether it be stability, range or quality of components, there are products being made to fit most peoples requirements. Doing the proper research will ensure the next sit stand desk you purchase will be a good investment instead of a major headache. Happy standing!