Since early 2017, I have had the opportunity to review over 30 electric standing desks. These desks are what I have deemed to be the most popular options available during this time period. While I have been involved in the standing desk industry for over a decade, my understanding of the products offered has grown tremendously over this last year. The opportunity to bring in competing products, put them together, test how they function and then completely tear them apart, has been amazing.
While standing desks might look the same from the pictures presented online, I can assure you, once you open them up, they are anything but the same. There are big differences in a lot of the brands offered and this was unknown to most buyers until I started to complete the reviews. My goal with these in-depth reviews has always been to help those who treat this purchase as an investment. Armed with this knowledge I hope you are able to make a smart buying decision. With that let’s take a closer look at the best standing desks for 2021.
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8 Best Standing Desks For 2021
- NewHeights XT – 89/100 Rated Standing Desk
- VertDesk v3 – 83/100 Rated Standing Desk
- Uplift v2 Commercial – 80/100 Rated Standing Desk
- VariDesk ProDesk – 78/100 Rated Standing Desk
- Jarvis Desk – 78/100 Rated Standing Desk
- Uplift Desk v2 – 78/100 Rated Standing Desk
- IKEA Idasen – 72/100 Rated Standing Desk
- Autonomous Desk – 72/100 Rated Standing Desk
- Other desks we tested for 2021
- Why trust The Learning Center?
- What is our testing process?
- How did we pick the best standing desks?
What is an electric standing desk?
An electric sit to stand desk is a complete desk that moves from sitting to standing heights. While there are various types of sit to stand desks, including crank, pneumatic and electric, we have focused on the electric models only. Operated with the push of a button, electric sit to standing desks are the most popular option when looking at a complete standing desk.
Alternatives such as standing desk converters are also popular, but they fail to provide the best all-around solution a full standing desk can. If you’d like to check out standing desk converters, please see our top standing desk converters for 2021 post.
7 Things To Consider When Buying Standing Desks
Compare The 8 Best Standing Desks for 2021
|#3||Uplift Commercial v2||7.0||8.5||6.2||9.0||9.1||6.5||9.6||8.0/10|
|#4||VARIDESK ProDesk 60||9.3||8.5||7.0||7.0||8.7||6.1||8.0||7.8/10|
|#8||Autonomous Business Edition||7.0||3.4||4.5||8.2||9.0||9.5||9.0||7.2/10|
The Best Standing Desk List
1. NewHeights Elegante XT Standing Desk – 89/100 Rating
Elegante XT 2021 Starting Price: $1510.99 + Free Shipping!
Read Full NewHeights XT Standing Desk Review >>
NewHeights Elegante Pros and Cons
Custom extruded aluminum columns
High Price Tag
NewHeights Elegante XT Summary
What we liked
The NewHeights XT is rated as our best overall standing desk with a score of 89 out of 100. With one of the most expensive price tags, this should come as no surprise. The NewHeights XT frame components and desk surface are made in the USA. All of the assembly processes for this desk are also completed in the USA.
The NewHeights XT features custom extruded aluminum columns, a large 27” adjustment range and a conservative 325 lbs lifting capacity. A closer look inside the columns and you’ll find high quality components like the German manufactured gears and motors from Ketterer.
The NewHeights XT also features a premium electronics pack from Laing Innotech, with a lifetime warranty on the complete desk. This is the longest warranty we have found in the industry to date. The NewHeights XT was our most stable desk tested on the WobbleMeter in 2021. This was one of the only products we tested to include a horizontal wire management system that was more than just a gimmick. It was easily big enough to fit surge protectors and a good majority of wires.
What we didn’t like
Unfortunately, this desk, like all of the others on the list, isn’t perfect. A high price tag likely puts it out of the range of some more cost-conscious shoppers. Because aluminum extrusions are used for the columns, natural flexing occurs at heights beyond 47”.
It is also one of the louder desks while in motion, with an average decibel rating around 60-64 decibels. With the majority of the desktop options being wood essence laminate and hardwood, the lack of material types might be a deal breaker for some.
2. VertDesk v3 Sit Stand Desk – 83/100 Rating
VertDesk v3 2021 Starting Price: $663.99 + Free Shipping!
Read Full VertDesk v3 Standing Desk Review >>
VertDesk v3 Pros and Cons
Built-in the USA
Max height of 47.5″
VertDesk v3 Summary
What we liked
The VertDesk v3 ranked as our second best desk overall, but the first desk to be listed from the mid-range category. With its claim to fame being stability, the VertDesk v3 features a traditional cross support and extra thick steel tubes used for its columns. These thick tubes were designed to eliminate flexing found on most standing desks when extended to tall heights. With the feet and upper supports welded to the columns, the potential for a loose connection here was also eliminated.
Inside the VertDesk v3 you’ll find high-end components, similar to those found in the desks offered for a much higher price tag. These include single stage cold-rolled gears from German manufacturer Ketterer paired with one of their strongest single motors to match. A premium electronics pack from Laing Innotech that comes standard with GyroSense Technology for one of the best collision avoidance systems in its class.
The VertDesk v3 averages an adjustment speed of 1.55” per second and is one of the faster options we have tested. During our load testing, the single motor system was able to lift 275 lbs., only dropping to 1.35” per second. With overload protection turned off, we were able to lift 350 lbs. at 1.27” per second.
What we didn’t like
While the VertDesk v3 has a lot of solid features for a desk starting at $520, the truth is that it still has its shortcomings. With a height adjustment range of only 20”, it won’t be able to go as low or as tall as other desks in the list. If you require a desk to go lower than 27” you will need to add a keyboard tray which will add to the cost.
The overload protection system on the VertDesk v3 kicks in at 275 lbs., so it won’t be able to lift as much as others in the list. With a hex rod driven system, the assembly process can be a pain point for some.
Depending on your requirements for a desktop, it might not be a good fit as the VertDesk surface options are mostly made up of wood essence laminate and hardwood.
3. Uplift v2 Commercial Standing Desk – 80/100 Rating
Uplift v2 Commercial 2021 Starting Price: $679.00 + Free Shipping!
Read Full Uplift v2 Commercial Standing Desk Review >>
Uplift v2 Commercial Pros and Cons
Traditional cross support system
Uplift v2 Commercial Summary
What we liked
There is a lot to like about the Uplift v2 Commercial standing desk. The most obvious is the improved stability, especially when compared to its peers from JieCang Linear Technology. This is the most stable JieCang frame that we have tested to date. It wasn’t a surprise either; more stout than any other JieCang frames we’ve tested, it includes a heavy traditional cross support system.
Stability isn’t the only thing the Uplift v2 Commercial has going for it. If you are a shorter user, the Commercial frame goes lower than any of the other standing desks in the list. With an Uplift desktop, the Commercial will go down to as low as 22.6 inches. This is great for users as short as five feet.
The latest version of the Uplift v2 includes a six-way accelerometer for better collision avoidance. This is the same system that is on the standard v2 as well. Uplift is one of the first companies we’ve tested that has included this technology on their JieCang frame. In addition to this, we found that they included an overload protection system that engages at their max weight capacity. This is an improvement, as the standard Uplift v2 we tested didn’t include this same function at their max listed capacity.
What we didn’t like
While the Uplift v2 Commercial has made some good strides, there is still room for improvement. This isn’t surprising, considering the desk is found in the mid-price range and no desk we have tested is perfect.
The first area of improvement is in the electronics. Taking a closer look at the circuit boards inside, they are similar to previous iterations by JieCang. Their two-board system features a mass produced power supply system. On the power supply, there is a significant amount of silicone caulk used to help hold components in place. This is common for many of the standing desk frames we’ve tested that are made in China. While we’d like to see cleaner single board systems like those on Logic Data and Linak, it’s my opinion that this is likely linked to the additional costs associated with those cleaner single board systems.
We have seen additional improvements internally for the v2 Commercial product. I believe the original gear system used was lacking when compared to premium manufacturers of gears. JieCang has responded with a gear system that appears to be more complete than previous iterations. While their latest system is starting to look closer to the likes of Linak, they haven’t been able to reproduce a perfect copy.
The v2 Commercial product used the latest JieCang gear system, which has made strides from previous iterations. Unfortunately, they haven’t quite been able to replicate gear systems from premium providers like Linak and Ketterer. The use of a spring at the top of their gear is common on gears we’ve tested from products manufactured in Asia. These springs help prevent back driving with heavy static loads on a desk. These systems work but cause additional friction in both directions for the desk’s motor to have to power through. The better solution here is proper engineering within the worm drive gear for their motors.
4. VariDesk ProDesk 60 Electric – 78/100 Rating
ProDesk 2021 Starting Price: $695.00 + Free Shipping!
Read Full VariDesk ProDesk 60 Standing Desk Review >>
VariDesk ProDesk Pros and Cons
Quick assembly process
Poor connection of cross support and frame to columns
VariDesk ProDesk Summary
What we liked
There was a lot to like about the VariDesk ProDesk 60 electric, starting with the focus on stability. Introducing a steel cross support that was a single piece can make a big difference on lateral stability and in the ProDesk 60’s case, it definitely did.
VariDesk’s focus wasn’t only on stability though, they wanted to improve on the long assembly process typically found with full size standing desks. Touting a 5-minute assembly, we were excited to get our hands on the desk to test just how fast it could be assembled. Even though it took us a little longer than five minutes to assemble, it was still the easiest standing desk we’ve assembled to date.
Other features like it’s wide adjustment range and standard programmable switch made it easy for us to rank this in the top 10 of all standing desks we’ve reviewed.
What we didn’t like
Like all of the desks in our best standing desks for 2021 list, the ProDesk has some areas where it could improve. While the lateral stability was better than 80% of the desks in our list, we believe it could be even better.
With VariDesk’s focus on quick assembly, they introduced plastic connection points between the cross support and frame. While this ensures 99% of users can quickly slide the cross support into place, there was too much flexibility in the plastic creating wiggle at an import point in the frame.
We also found issues with 3d printed glides that were used in the upper portion of the frame, this created an inconsistency that if fixed would see a dramatic improvement on the overall stability.
5. Jarvis by Fully – 78/100 Rating
Jarvis Desk 2021 Starting Price: $539.00 + Free Shipping!
Read Full Jarvis Desk by Fully Standing Desk Review >>
Jarvis Desk Pros and Cons
26″ Adjustment Range
Jarvis Desk Summary
What we liked
The Jarvis by Fully was previously the three-year reigning pick featured on WireCutter’s “best standing desk”. This product only ranks as our second best JieCang frame. The Uplift v2 Commercial currently ranks higher in our list. Similar to those brands, the Jarvis includes a large 26” adjustment range.
Recent changes to the JieCang motors in the Jarvis increased its speed from 1.33” per second to a quicker 1.52” per second. These changes to the motors on the Jarvis also improved the desks noise level when in motion, averaging 56-57 dB.
Like the Uplift Desk, the Jarvis features a 15-year warranty on their electronics pack. While the Jarvis doesn’t feature quite as many surface options, it stills boasts one of the largest assortments of top options available in the mid-range.
What we didn’t like
With its C frame and traditional column design, the Jarvis by Fully was the least stable JieCang frame design we’ve tested. While the front to back rocking test was better than the Uplift Desk, its wobble test was significantly worse. With wobble motions starting as early as 36” tall, the wobble became bad by 40” and would impact your work.
Like the other JieCang frames, over lubrication is a major concern as Jarvis’s black frame turned white after only minimal use. A closer look at the control box raised concerns with poorly wrapped toroid cores, excessive caulk used to hold components in place and cheap plastic connections between their two-board system.
6. Uplift Desk v2 – 78/100 Rating
Uplift Desk v2 2021 Starting Price: $599.00 + Free Shipping!
Read Full Uplift Desk v2 Standing Desk Review >>
Uplift Desk v2 Pros and Cons
15 year warranty on complete desk
No traditional cross support system
Uplift Desk v2 Summary
What we liked
The Uplift Desk v2 is our first JieCang made desk to make the list. While the quality in the JieCang products is less than the desk featured higher in the list, they are one of the better options when compared to other Chinese made products we have tested. With a C foot design and the non-traditional column (small on the bottom, big on top), the Uplift Desk frame was more stable than almost all of the other JieCang products.
The non-traditional column design allowed them to include a wedge design on the upper column and motor box. This improved lateral stability significantly when compared to products without a cross support, that do not include a cross support.
With an adjustment range of 26” and ten-year warranty on electronics, the Uplift v2 has a lot to offer for the price. The Uplift v2 also boasts a wide variety of surface options that allow you to customize your desks look.
What we didn’t like
While the Uplift Desk v2 was one the best of Chinese products we’ve tested, there are some concerns with this product. Upon opening the Uplift Desk, the differences between this product and those featured higher in the list were obvious.
Having to keep costs down, areas of the desk that aren’t visible from the outside are where most costs are cut. Low-quality electronics, excessive grease on gears and a dated motor system were the most obvious. While the Uplift v2 comes with a large weight capacity, the lack of overload protection could open the door for unintended overloading of the desk.
Lastly, if you’re looking for an extremely stable desk, the Uplift v2 standard isn’t it. A better alternative from the Uplift brand is the Uplift v2 Commercial product.
7. IKEA Idasen Adjustable Standing Desk – 72/100 Rating
IKEA Idasen Desk 2021 Starting Price: $599.00 + Shipping
Read Full IKEA Idasen Standing Desk Review >>
IKEA Idasen Pros and Cons
Change to Linak as OEM
Low weight capacity
IKEA Idasen Summary
What we liked
Having previously reviewed the IKEA Bekant with less than stellar results, the immediate thoughts of a new IKEA standing desk didn’t exactly have me overly excited. A bit deeper research led me to the fact that they switched from ROL Ergo to Linak for their OEM. Knowing this immediately changed my impressions and led me to believe the Idasen could actually be a solid performer.
Like other Linak columns we’ve brought in, the fit and finish on the IKEA Idasen were well done. Internally, the columns were fitted with high-end, two-stage gear systems and a well thought out glide system. With this two-stage design, the Idasen is able to offer a wide, 26-inch adjustment range from 24 inches up to 50 inches tall.
The fit of the columns was extremely tight, which can pose an issue if done incorrectly with collision avoidance systems being triggered by false positives. The benefit of a well fit column is improved stability. The IKEA Idasen was surprisingly stable and ranked second overall in our most stable standing desks for 2021, likely due to the fit of the columns and the lower leg/foot design.
What we didn’t like
Because IKEA is known to offer products at a consumer friendly price point, there are areas of the desk that suffered. This doesn’t mean it’s bad for everyone, but if you’re looking for a workhorse for a desk, the Idasen is unlikely to be a good fit.
Featuring a weight capacity of 165 pounds, if you’re in need of a desk that lifts a lot of items, the Idasen might not be a good option. With only a 100-pound load added to the surface, the speed of the desk dropped almost 50 percent, from 1.48-inch/per second to .98-inch/per second.
The IKEA Idasen is a fairly straightforward electric standing desk, with the Linak paddle added for up and down adjustments. The basic paddle is the equivalent to a standard up/down switch from other brands and will not include memory positions or one-touch functionality. Fortunately, Linak offers bluetooth connectivity to an app that allows for three memory positions. The only problem is that you still are unable to utilize one-touch height adjustment.
8. Autonomous SmartDesk 2 Business Edition – 71/100 Rating
Autonomous Premium Desk 2021 Price: Starting at $699.00
Read Full Autonomous Business Edition Standing Desk Review >>
Business Edition Pros and Cons
Low price point
Stability issues above 37″
Business Edition Summary
What we liked
The Autonomous SmartDesk 2 Business Edition is the highest level offering from the Autonomous lineup. While still considered to be a mid-range desk, the Business Edition was one of the least expensive options on the market. In 2021, Autonomous had a large price increase on all of their products. This product the price up on the Premium to the same or higher than most alternatives in the category.
The SmartDesk 2 is the fastest desk we tested, averaging 2.09” per second. That is almost 20% faster than its closest competitor. The Autonomous SmartDesk also features a large adjustment range of 26”, with the ability to first wide portion of the population. It is also one of the few products to come standard with a four-button programmable switch.
While it isn’t as consistent with heavier loads, it is still able to maintain 1.84” per second with 185 lbs. (included desktop). When loaded to 295 lbs, the speed dropped to 1.15” per second. The Business Edition also comes standard with a five-year warranty on electronics which we’ve found to be above average, especially when comparing in the same price range.
What we didn’t like
Unfortunately, with such a low price point, the Autonomous SmartDesk Business Edition comes with a list of issues. It is one of the least stable desks we tested with front to back rocking issues starting as low as 32”. By 37” tall, the desk had significant stability issues and would impact your work efficiency.
The second most glaring issue was the use of TiMotion electronics. We had used the same manufacturer for our VertDesk v1 and had so many problems we discontinued use of them. TiMotion is known to provide a nice looking package, but inside the components are severely lacking. Upon opening the control box, what starts as a nice looking molded box turns into low-quality circuit board system.
This was actually one of the cheapest boards we’ve reviewed. It had poorly wrapped toroid cores, a cheap single-layer circuit board for the power adapter and excessive caulk used throughout each board to hold components in place.
Why trust The Learning Center at BTOD.com?
Simply put, we are experts. We have been selling office furniture for 12 years and have seen the sit to stand desk market grow from the beginning. We are not a company that is simply dedicated to writing reviews on emerging markets in hopes of making a quick buck. Office furniture is our life and we have gained extensive knowledge about the products within our space. We know what to look for and what to avoid. Our goal is to share this knowledge so that customers are better informed when making their buying decision.
One thing that really separates The Learning Center from almost every other review site is that we bring in all of the products that we review. We do not do forensic reviews or reviews based on what other customers have said about the product. We order the product for ourselves so that we know how it performs. Some of the products we sell on BTOD.com, but many of them we do not. Regardless, we have tested every product we have reviewed.
What is our testing process?
The testing process we use for the best standing desks is straightforward, but also very thorough. Since we purchase all of the desks we are able to get an idea of what the experience will be from placing the order to receiving the furniture. Having the opportunity to fully assemble each desk is important. If there are any pain points we want to know about them. Once the desk has been assembled we are able to start using the desk.
All desks go through the same testing process. We first test the specs that are common across all sit-stand desks. This includes weight capacity, adjustment speed, sound rating, anti-collision function, overload protection, stability at various heights, etc. Once these specs have been tested we completely tear down each desk. We then take a closer look at the internal components; the glide systems, gears, motors and internal control box circuit boards. Opening each of these components allows us to find anything that might be hiding behind a pretty cover. While a lot of the full standing desks we have tested look similar on the outside, the second you open them up it becomes a completely different story. Inside you are able to learn a lot more about the level of quality for each component. If a high level of quality control exists it will become obvious the moment you open each part.
How did we pick the best standing desk for 2021?
All of the sit stand desks we have reviewed have been given an overall numbered score ranging from 1-100. The score is based on several categories that we chose. The categories below are what we feel to be the most important things to consider when shopping for a sit or stand desk. Each category has its own 1-100 rating and each category has the same weight when calculating the overall score. One thing that you will notice with our scoring is that we are very realistic. There is no such thing as a perfect standing desk and our scores reflect that. You will not find products with 100/100 ratings here because such a product doesn’t exist. We have yet to find an electric sit-stand desk that has scored over 85/100.
All of the full standing desks that we have tested required some assembly. Because of this, we felt it was important to include this in our overall score. Depending on your ability, some products will require a lot more work to complete assembly. If you don’t feel comfortable assembling many parts, these products are likely best to avoid. The amount of time required for the desks we reviewed varied from 30 minutes up to a few hours. It’s important to note that how long it will take you is solely dependent on your abilities and the tools used. We recommend using a cordless drill to speed up the assembly process. If you rely on the tools that are provided by each brand you will be left assembling your desk with small allen wrenches that can oftentimes be very time consuming to use.
One of the most important aspects of any full standing desk is the overall stability of the desk when raised to standing position. I always go back to the experience that most can relate with, which involves the wobbly table at your favorite restaurant or pub. When you encounter this table it becomes your number one goal to fix the wobble. While these types of restaurant tables can be easily fixed with coasters or napkins, full standing desks are not that simple to fix. In fact, many of the top reasons that standing desks wobble cannot be fixed in the field. Its stability is important than purchasing a standing desk that is stable out of the box is the only way to avoid an unstable desk.
While our process for this test isn’t scientific, each stability test we perform gives you a good idea on how the stability of the desk will impact your work. With all of the desks that we have tested, we always check the same two motions. The first motion is a front to back rocking motion and the second is a left to right wobble motion. While the amount of force applied to each desk might vary slightly, desks that have stability issues are obvious. With the use of only a couple of fingers, desks with poor stability will clearly wobble and rock. These desks also tend to continue in motion once you quit applying pressure to the desk.
When we look at the electronics of the desk, we are focused mainly on the control box itself. The control box is the central computer system that acts as the brain of the desk. While most control boxes will look similar from the outside, with the most obvious difference being size, the quality of each will vary significantly. Opening up the control box, you will find out if something is low or high quality fairly quickly.
One of the first things we look for is if the circuit board system is designed with a single or multiple board setup. Premium manufacturers engineer their boards specifically for use with their own system, which means it is always on a single board system. Lower quality products tend to come with dual board systems, mass-produced for many other applications. These lower quality boards will oftentimes have wires connecting the two boards to each other with poor connections. A closer look at these boards and you will find large components used with poor connections to the circuit board. This poor connection requires the use of large amounts of caulk to hold each of the components in place. The inconsistency with this process is likely due to a low level of quality control and is a major concern for the life cycle of the electronics.
The weight capacity testing seems like it should be a fairly straightforward process. The only problem is that just because a manufacturer labels a product with a capacity, doesn’t mean it can actually lift that much or can do it with any consistency. Our testing will verify first that a product is able to lift the advertised load. Next, we check to see how different weights impact the desks overall adjustment speed. Some products we have tested advertise weights that are significantly more than the actual OEM recommends. While the desks may lift that amount of weight, the actual manufacturer who has done extensive testing would not recommend the same max load. When considering the efficiency of your desk, using it beyond a manufacturer’s recommended capacity can shorten the desks life cycle.
It’s also important to note that just because a brand may advertise a high weight capacity doesn’t mean they are more stable. Through testing 20 adjustable standing desks I can tell you there is zero links between capacity and stability. The truth is that a lot of the desks we tested that have some of the highest weight capacities were the least stable when raised into standing position.
Understanding the adjustment range and how it can impact you is an important part of the buying process. The typical range of motion for adjustable standing desks that we have tested varies from 17” up to 27”. While a 10” difference might not seem like a lot, it can make or break the ergonomics of your set up. If you are below 5’5” you will likely need to incorporate an adjustable keyboard tray to your set up to get the desk low enough to sit comfortably. Users that are taller than 6’5” will need to look at desks that rise beyond 47” for proper standing ergonomics. Using our standing desk height calculator is a good place to start. If a desk will not go high enough for your specific needs it could likely be a deal-breaker.
The range of the coverage for warranties in the group of standing desks tested varied significantly. There are two specific things to consider when looking at a brand’s warranty. The first is the warranty for the structure of the desk. This includes things like the desk surface, frame, feet, etc. The second and more important is for electronics. This includes the control box, switch and motors. The electronics of the standing desk are the biggest concern and the most likely to fail during ownership. While some brands might advertise a limited lifetime warranty, a closer look at the fine details show a much shorter period for the electronics. From what we have seen, the better warranties will start at five years and go up from there. Some warranties we have found go as long as ten years. While these long warranties are good, it’s important to recognize that just because a warranty is ten years doesn’t necessarily mean the product is high quality. Some of our lowest-rated desks have included warranties that were ten years on the electronics and are known to fail well before that period has expired. If you have a good warranty in your back pocket you have something to fall back on.