The Best Electric Standing Desks From The Past – Comprehensive Guide

The Best Electric Standing Desks
Guides Reviews Stand Up Desks

Let’s remember the Best Electric Standing Desks those we loved not so far ago. And what about using these desks today?

We’ve used standing desks for years! From cardboard pop-up desks that convert any flat surface to a standing desk, homemade standing desks, and purpose-built stand-up desks. We also have more standing desks we are currently testing and will soon release a bunch more reviews (currently evaluating three models). Here is our comprehensive list of the best standing desks you can buy right now. These are all standing desks and not conversion systems. We’ll have a guide for stand-up desk conversion systems soon. We’ll also have a guide for manual crank-standing desks soon.

Stand-up desks are not new. People like Leonardo da Vinci used one in his days! Unlike regular desks where you can adjust your seat up and down to get to the right height, a good standing desk MUST be adjustable or made exactly to the height you need. We will focus only on adjustable standing desks in this Guide.

First off, what should we call these things? We hear standing desks and stand-up desks most often used. If we peek at Google Trends, we see that 4 people to 1 will use the term standing desk over the stand-up desk, so we’ll use that.

standing desk versus stand up desk

Health Benefits of a Standing Desk

Although you can find data that supports both sides of the question if standing desks are healthy, we lean towards the research that demonstrates some health benefits. As with most measures, your results may vary. You may have physical limitations or health conditions that may make standing for long periods bad for you. Try it out and see how you feel and if you have any concerns or questions, check with your doctor. Here are some of the research-based health benefits.

  1. Live longer. Over 17,000 Canadians participated in a 2009 study that demonstrated that with more sitting, people had higher risks of dying from all causes. A U.S. study concluded that sitting less than three hours per day may increase life expectancy at birth by about two years. A 2010 study correlated time spent sitting with mortality, regardless of physical activity level.
  2. Lose weight. A 2013 study calculated that standing desk users had heartbeats an average of ten beats faster than when sitting. Ten heartbeats are about fifty calories extra per hour. Over an eight-hour shift, that’s 400 calories or about the equivalent of a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder!
  3. Avoid varicose veins. A 2005 Danish study of about 10,000 working adults over more than a decade found that those who stood at work were almost 50% less likely to receive hospital treatment for varicose veins.
  4. Lower diabetes and heart disease risk. A 2008 study showed that long periods of sedentary (in other words sitting for hours) is connected with greater metabolic risk ( diabetes and heart disease). Even scarier. The Mayo Clinic completed a study that showed people who sit most of the day increase their risk of heart attacks about the same as smoking.
  5. Increase baby’s birth weight. If you are expecting,  see this 1995 study which showed that babies born to women who both stood and walked more than five hours per workday had significantly lower birthweight than the babies of those who stood and walked two hours per workday or less.

Electric Versus Manual Standing Desks

Having used both, there are some points to consider when using an electric versus manual standing desk:

  • An electric model makes switching between sitting and standing easier and thus more likely, especially if your model has memory for your preferred sit and stand heights.
  • Electric models may be louder though any disruption only takes a minute or less.
  • Hand cranking a desk up and down could be visually disruptive for several minutes a day to your office mates.
  • Electric models may catch on stuff while going up or down. I once got my monitor tangled during a desk rise and it crashed before I could catch it or unhook the cord that was stuck. Electric models usually don’t have sensors to determine if something is caught.
  • Electric models require you to have a power source and a way to manage the power cables. An electric standing desk could end up looking sloppy than manual models, especially if you have to run a cord across to a far away outlet.
  • Manual standing desks can be placed anywhere without regard to access to power. An electric standing desk may not be able to be placed exactly where you want it due to proximity to a power source.
  • If your motor fails, an electric model may be stuck at whatever was the last height.
  • Electric motor models often have higher weight limits thus allowing more flexible desk configurations like dual or even triple monitors.
  • Electric models, though more expensive, are usually not that much more! Shop around if you are on the fence.
  • Manual desks take much longer to adjust. We had one that took dozens of cranks to go from sitting to standing.
  • The resell value is likely higher with an electric standing desk.
  • For some people with mobility, arm, or other health issues, cranking a manual desk may be uncomfortable.

Personally, we recommend an electric model simply because these are designed for you to switch from sitting to standing and you want to make that switch easy and fast so you don’t change your mind and not stand as much.

Key features to look for in an electric standing desk

  • How much can the desk carry? If you have an external monitor or two external monitors, you need to make sure the desk can manage. If the carrying weight includes your desktop, you will need to factor that into your setup.
  • Stand straight with your work shoes on, relax your shoulders and arms, set your arms at a right angle (90°), and then have someone measure how high off the ground are your elbows. This is the height your desk needs to raise up to for the proper ergonomic height.
  • Don’t worry about the noise level. They all make noise and it’s only for a few minutes per day.
  • Do you need a wider desk? Some can expand to support wider desktops.
  • 2 legs, 3 legs, 4 legs? With each leg comes more stability. I think if you are not a crazy typist, 2 legs should be good enough.
  • Should you get an L-shaped desk? If you are in a corner, this layout may maximize your desktop.
  • Get a model with height memory. This makes going from sit to stand a one-click process.
  • Most standing desks have no storage space. You need to figure out if you need to have some storage space on your desk or if you can live with storage somewhere else.

Electric Motor Standing Desks Summary

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SmartDesk 2

The Autonomous Smart Desk 2 (check price) can be ordered with multiple options. We have two of these in our office. The build options are a little overwhelming. You can select from several different top shapes (Wave, Ergo, Classic), two different motors (home with 220-pound capacity or business with 300-pound capacity), and the 3/4″ desk material (white, black, walnut, or bamboo). We got white with the bamboo tops with the home motor. The motor supports both 120-volt and 240-volt outlets so should work for almost anyone around the world. They will ship the desk with the type of plug common in your country. We found the motor to be really quiet when moving the desks. The manufacturer claims the motor is rated at about 39 decibels. It took us about an hour to assemble each desk, and if we had to do it again, my guess is 30 minutes is all it should take.

SmartDesk 2, white with Ergo top bamboo material

SmartDesk 2, white with Ergo top bamboo material

We had no problems with the installation. The only complaint I have is the cable clips that come with the desk have adhesive that just doesn’t work. The adhesive is simply not strong enough to hold the cables up against the backside of the desk. If you really need to use them, you’ll need to buy one with a strong adhesive like these cable clips that use 3M backing. Overall, you get more than what you pay for. We paid a little less than $300 each with shipping to Hawaii and I feel the desk is well worth it. You can’t go wrong with this desk.

SmartDesk 3

The Autonomous SmartDesk 3 retails for about $550, and is essentially the 300-pound capacity Smart Desk 2 with what they call “the world’s most powerful AI-powered standing desk.” In other words, you get a standing desk with a built-in, water-resistant touchscreen with some software that is designed to try and make your work life more efficient. From their site:

SmartDesk 3 is designed to save you time and pain. Interacting with your desk teaches it your priorities, so that is able to anticipate your needs and suggest the most efficient way to get things done. By paying attention to how you work, move and live, it recommends shortcuts to help you enhance your productivity and improve your health. SmartDesk 3 creates quick fixes that work long term.

You are supposed to interact with the touchscreen throughout the day and connect things like your calendar or smart home devices so it can send notifications and control things.

The integrated touchscreen on the SmartDesk 3

Once you set up your Smart Desk 3 via your WiFi, you’ll have access to the core desk features as well as connect things like your Google calendar, Nest thermostat, and Uber. While this is probably the coolest standing desk on the planet, I’d pass on it for now. The desk had a rocky start. See this Reddit thread for info on the Smart Desk 3 being canceled by Kickstarter. The product is real though and if you are interested, do check out the Autonomous site for more info and ordering information.


ErgoPose sells an “ePo” standing electric height adjustable desk frame for about $400 (check price). If you also want a top from them, they sell a bamboo top for about $350 in two shapes, straight or with what they call an Ergo Arc. All prices on their site include shipping. The website claims this is cheaper than any dual motor other electric standing desk frame. The frame can hold up to 350 pounds including the desktop. Their bamboo top is about 40 pounds, so this frame can easily lift 300 pounds of your desktop gear.

Ergopose "ePo" Bamboo Desk Table Top

White frame with the Ergo Arced bamboo top


EvoDesk has an expandable frame that grows from 48″ to 90″. If you need a wider desk, this could be your next standing desk. Their online store boasts 200,000 different desk configurations. That’s a bit too overwhelming and subject to the paradox of choice. But for folks who really want to customize a perfect standing desk, you’ll find a configuration you like. EvoDesk also has designs that have storage spaces! And even built-in keyboard trays.

EvoDesk Pro Natural Model with 4-legs


In addition to an electric motor desk, Flexispot (check price) offers a pneumatic standing desk. While not electric, this is also not a manual desk that offers 12 height settings. If you can’t plug an electric desk in but still want some automation, check out this option. Flexispot also has desk bikes. I bought one and used it for a few months. Their electric model offers horizontal expansion so you can fit a desktop from 43.3″ up to 70.9″.

Flexispot pneumatic standing desk


Jarvis Standing Desks, Fully’s line of standing desks, is a wide range of standing desks including a smaller desk for kids to L-shaped corner desks. They have models with built-in drawers as well as one with a treadmill. Chances are, you’ll find a desk that fits your space.

Jarvis L-Shaped Standing Desk


GeedDesk sells frames and two models, the v3 and the Max. V3 offers 275 pounds of lifting capacity while the Max offers 335 pounds. Both offer 3 section legs (legs telescope in three sections, versus the usual two). This offers a greater range of height. A crossbar is added for extra rigidity. GeedDesk now sells sustainably sourced rubberwood treetops, a byproduct of the latex farming and harvesting process.

The GeekDesk Max – Adjustable Height Desk


This is the only standing desk sold in this list by a nonprofit. That’s right! Ikea is a nonprofit. If you are near an Ikea, you can check out their two standing desk models, the Bekant and the Sharsta (check price). Only the Bekant comes with an electric motor option. They are basic and functional models. They don’t have a crossbar so if you are looking for an ultra clean-looking standing desk, consider this model.

Ikea Bekant standing desk


Mayline’s RGE Series height adjustable table (it’s called a table but is really a desk) is one of the more expensive standing desks in our list. You can get one for about $ 2,000. Mayline started off drafting engineering tables back in 1939 and now is one of the leading mid-market contract furniture manufacturers in the U.S. Nothing about the desk specs jumped out at us. It’s probably a really good desk backed by a large company. It’s a bit too pricey for us, and we are likely not the target market.

Corporate setting with rows of RGE standing tables


MultiTable (check price) sells hand crank and electric standing desks, including an L-shaped standing desk. Their ModDesk Pro goes from 24.25″ to 50.25″ which is a really impressive range! They accomplish this by having three-part telescoping legs. If you are on the shorter or taller end of the spectrum, this may be worth a look to make sure you get a desk at the proper ergonomic height. MultiTable claims folks over 6’4″ can use their Pro line. I’m 6’0″ and so far have not had any issues with reaching anywhere near the max height on any of the many standing desks I have tested. Width is also adjustable from 43.3″ to 67″. MultiTable also has a host of accessories for their desks including CPU holders, keyboard holders, cable management trays, wheels, and monitor arms.

MultiTable ModDesk Pro Electric Standing Desk


RightAngle sells Elegante, Effeciente, and Bonita lines of standing desks. Their 2-leg desks support 325 pounds while their 3-leg supports 450. One really unique standing desk that they carry is their Elegante XT Radiology Workstation, a 4-leg, $7,623 large standing desk.

Elegante XT Radiology Workstation

StandDesk sells clean, 2-leg standing desks with a variety of desktop options. I love the look of their reclaimed wood-standing desktop. Their desks are height and width adjustable. Desks elevates between heights of 24.5” and 50”, ideal for people approximately 5’2”-6’5”. Width expands from 41.7″ to 61″.


The Varidesk Prodesk 60 Electric is a commercial-grade standing desk. We have one and will be releasing a more detailed review in a month or two. One feature is an assembly time of five minutes. It took me 10 minutes to install, though I set it up slowly to make sure I didn’t mess anything up. I am sure I can set one up from a box to a working desk in about five minutes for the next one. You get all of the tools you need to set up the desk. It’s clear from the setup to using this desk that the materials chosen are quality and durable. The laminate finish of my reclaimed wood top model is heavy and thick. It should withstand the everyday abuse that a desktop at work goes through just fine.

It has a steel stability crossbar designed to provide stability at any height. I am not sure if this is overkill engineering or not. My Smart Desk 2 without the stability bar seems stable enough for my MacBook Pro with an external 4K monitor and Kinesis keyboard.

I do love the included cable management box that pops on under the desk without screws yet it is securely fastened. I don’t use a monitor arm which usually clamps on the backside of a desk, but if you do, you will need to probably mount your external monitor off-center as this cable management box will likely be in the way. Not a big deal. You probably have your monitor installed offset anyway.

Look for our review soon. In the meantime, without question this desk is fantastic! It does cost about three times as much as the Autonomous desk, and looking at both of them in front of me now I can see why there is a cost premium.

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