More and more of our time is spent sitting down hunched at our desks staring at computer screens.
If you work a 9-5 desk job or spend a lot of time at your desk, you may not realise but all that sitting can be bad for your health, particularly your posture.
One method to combat this is to get a standing desk or alter your current desk-set up so that you can work while in a standing position.
These desks have become popular in recent years as more and more research studies point to sitting as a cause of certain chronic health conditions (which we’ll go into more depth later on).
If you’re considering getting a standing desk and are concerned about how much time you are spending sitting down, you’re in the right place.
We’ve compiled a list of the best cheap standing desks that are currently on the market that won’t break the bank.
The Benefits: Why Use A Standing Desk?
Numerous studies have found a connection between sitting for long periods of time and the development of a number of health conditions – including obesity, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
Sitting for extended periods of time can also contribute to muscle imbalances, which can result in a whole host of posture problems.
One such condition which is becoming increasingly common is the development of an anterior pelvic tilt.
If you live a sedentary lifestyle and tend to sit a lot, there’s a good chance you may have an anterior pelvic tilt.
By using a standing desk, or working standing up for certain intervals during your day, you can cut the amount of time you are spent sitting down which can help prevent some of these problems occurring.
While more research is needed on the benefits of standing desks, experts believe that standing while working may help to repair the damage caused by years of sitting.
Who Should Use a Standing Desk?
Standing desks are ideal for students, professionals, and anyone else who spends long hours sitting at a desk and is concerned that their posture is being compromised.
It should be kept in mind, however, that standing desks are not intended to replace professional medical treatment.
If you have underlying health issues, it’s a good idea to consult with your physician before drastically changing your work habits.
Types of Standing Desks
Standing desks are available in a wide variety of designs, sizes and styles to suit different purposes.
Standing desks are available in a variety of styles to accommodate different screen sizes and weights.
There are four main types of standing desks:
- Fixed standing desks
- Sit-to-stand desks
- Electric-powered sit-to-stand desks
- Sit-to-stand desktop converters.
Fixed Standing Desks
These desks have a fixed height that cannot be adjusted up or down.
They are less expensive than sit-to-stand desks but are usually too tall to be used while sitting.
These desks can be used while sitting or standing.
The height of the desk is adjusted manually, usually with a crank.
Sit-to-stand desks are more expensive than fixed standing desks, but they eliminate the need for a separate sitting workstation.
Electric-Powered Sit-to-Stand Desks
These desks have electric motors that raise or lower the desk to your desired height.
Electric-powered sit-to-stand desks are much more expensive than their hand-cranked counterparts, but they offer more accurate height adjustments.
Sit-to-Stand Desktop Converters
These devices are designed to convert your existing desktop into a standing desk.
Most models feature a separate keyboard tray to maintain an optimally ergonomic distance between the monitor and the typing surface.
Desktop converters are an inexpensive alternative to full standing desks, but they tend to be less stable than other standing workstations.
The Best Affordable Standing Desks Worth Trying
In this section, we’ll review the best cheap standing desks currently on the market in no particular order.
While most of our selections can be purchased for under $300, we have included a few choices that are slightly more expensive due to their high customer ratings.
1. Mount-It!! Mobile Stand Up Desk
The Mount-It! Stand Up Mobile WorkStation is perfect for users who want to use a standing desk as their main workspace.
It features rock-solid construction with ample room for storing a CPU, printer, monitor, keyboard and other office supplies.
The Mount-It! Stand Up Mobile Workstation features four sturdy platforms, two of which can be optimized for ergonomic placement of a keyboard and monitor.
Built-in casters make moving the desk from room to room easier while locking brakes keep the desk securely in place while you work.
The Mount-It! Stand Up Mobile WorkStation’s height can be adjusted by up to 17 inches, making this versatile desk a great choice for home offices, retail stores, factories, trade shows, and schools.
The desk can even be used as a speaking podium.
That being said, some users have reported that the desk is too high, even at its lowest height setting.
If you’re looking for a standing desk that can also be used as a sitting desk, the Mount-It! Stand Up Mobile WorkStation may not be the right choice for you.
Pros: Heavy-duty construction, casters for added portability, height is adjustable, can be used as a computer desk
Cons: May be too tall for some
2. FlexiSpot M2B Standing Desk
The FlexiSpot M2B Standing Desk is designed to convert your existing sitting desk to a standing desk.
It features a gas spring hovering system that allows the desk’s height to be adjusted according to whether you are sitting or standing.
The FlexiSpot M2B Standing Desk has 12 height adjustment settings, ranging from a height of 5.9 inches to 19.7 inches.
When placed on a standard desk with a height of 30 inches, the FlexiSpot can accommodate users up to 6 feet 2 inches tall.
The FlexiSpot M2B Standing Desk offers a large work surface measuring 31.5 inches wide and 23.2 inches deep.
The desk has a maximum weight capacity of 35 pounds, which is sufficient for holding most laptops and computer monitors.
A separate platform holds your keyboard, while a slot built into the desk surface allows you to easily prop up your smartphone or tablet.
One minor drawback with the FlexiSpot M2B Standing Desk is that the keyboard platform can’t be tilted or adjusted.
Another minor niggle is that the surface of the desk seems slippery, especially when using a mouse.
Overall, though, the FlexiSpot is an excellent choice for anyone who wants to maximize their existing workspace.
Pros: Large work surface, can be raised and lowered with one hand, built-in tablet/smartphone slot
Cons: Some may find the desk surface too slippery, keyboard platform does not tilt
3. Halter ED-258 Height Adjustable Desk
The Halter ED-258 is a standing desk converter featuring two platforms: an upper platform for holding a monitor and a lower platform for holding a keyboard and mouse.
This desk features an X-lift design (straight up and down movement), making it ideal for use in small spaces.
The desk is raised and lowered using a lever and tooth locking system that is engaged by pressing two handles on the underside of the unit.
The unit has a height adjustment range of 10 inches.
When placed on a 30-inch-high desk, the Halter ED-258 can accommodate users up to 5 feet 8 inches tall.
The ED-258 also has an impressive weight capacity when compared to other models of similar design; the top platform can support up to 44 pounds of weight and accommodates monitors up to 20 inches in size.
What we love most about the Halter ED-258 standing desk converter is its stability.
The unit won’t wobble under the weight of a monitor, and the keyboard tray is secured with metal brackets that keep the platform steady as you type.
That said, the Halter ED-258 is not without its faults.
Some reviewers have said that the handles on either side of the desk are not secure enough.
Another frequent complaint is that the air pistons are too weak, making the desk height difficult to adjust.
Despite these minor drawbacks, most customers find that the Halter ED-258 delivers excellent value and performance for its price.
Pros: X-lift design makes it ideal for use in small spaces, features a deep keyboard tray, no assembly required
Cons: Handles not sturdy enough, some may find it difficult to adjust
4. Techni Mobili Adjustable Height Laptop Cart
The Techni Mobili Adjustable Height Laptop Cart is one of the most economical standing desks on the market today.
It features a sturdy desktop with a 20-pound maximum weight capacity and two accessory shelves that can accommodate up to 22 pounds of weight.
Dual-adjustment knobs allow you to adjust the desk height between 27 and 43 inches, while non-marking nylon casters let you easily wheel the unit from room to room.
The Techni Mobili Adjustable Height Laptop Cart is backed by a limited 5-year warranty.
Despite its low price, the Techni Mobili Adjustable Height Laptop Cart is very durable.
Its powder-coated steel frame resists dings and scratches, and a moisture-resistant PVC laminate veneer keeps the MDF wood panels looking brand new.
Another plus is the large storage compartment, which can be used to keep office supplies organized.
There is some assembly required with this desk, which may be a drawback for some.
A few customers have complained that the desk is difficult to put together using the included screwdriver.
If you’re seeking a budget-friendly laptop workstation and don’t mind the extra time and hassle of assembling it, this may be the ideal desk for you.
Pros: Space-saving design, large storage compartment, scratch-resistant frame, tilting desktop
Cons: Some may find assembly difficult
5. X-Elite Pro Height Adjustable Desk Converter
The X-Elite PRO Height Adjustable Desk Converter is similar to some of the other sit-to-stand converters on our list in that it utilizes a hydraulic lift mechanism to adjust the desktop height.
To raise or lower the desk, you simply pull on the levers located on each side of the unit.
The X-Elite PRO features a flat, wide desktop measuring 28 inches wide and 20 inches deep and a space-saving base that measures 16.8 by 24.5 inches.
It can accommodate up to 27 pounds of weight. The desk converter can be adjusted between 5 inches and 16 inches high.
Best of all, the X-Elite PRO is ready to use right out of the box.
We love the large desktop area of this converter, which is ideal dual-monitor setups.
We also like the straight up-and-down movement of the X-Elite PRO, which makes the converter easy to use in tight spaces.
Wobbling and bouncing is a concern, especially when the desk is adjusted to its highest setting.
Another minor drawback is that it can only be lowered to 5 inches, which some may find too high for seated work.
For those seeking a simple standing desk at an affordable price, however, the X-Elite PRO is a solid choice.
Pros: Available in different colours, no assembly required, can accommodate users who are over 6 feet tall
Cons: Some may find it wobbly, may be too high for some even on its lowest setting
6. Stand Up Desk Store Crank Adjustable Desk
With a maximum weight capacity of 154 pounds, the Stand Up Desk Store Crank Adjustable Sit to Stand Up Desk is one of the sturdiest desks on our list.
It boasts a two-tiered design and features a crank-operated height adjustment mechanism that allows you to convert the unit from a sitting desk to a standing desk in under a minute.
The desktop measures 59 inches wide and 28.25 inches deep, which is more than enough room for dual monitors, a keyboard, a mouse, and computer speakers.
The adjustable standing desk is set on four casters, so you can easily wheel it from room to room.
The Stand Up Desk is available in two maximum heights: 48 inches and 60 inches.
The best thing about the Stand Up Desk is its two-tiered design, which allows you to place your monitor and keyboard at optimal heights.
Adjusting the desk from sitting to standing height is quick and easy.
A minor drawback is that the desk has no shelves for storing office supplies, but the spacious desk surface makes up for this shortcoming.
Another common complaint is that the assembly instructions are difficult to follow.
These minor negatives aside, the Stand Up Desk is an excellent option for anyone looking to replace their office desk with a mobile standing workstation.
Pros: Available in a variety of colours, available in two maximum heights, heavy-duty construction, crank adjustable standing desk
Cons: No storage shelves, some may find assembly instructions difficult to follow
7. VIVO Black Electric Stand Up Desk (Frame Only)
The VIVO Electric Stand is a sit to stand desk frame that utilizes an electric lift system to adjust the height of the desk between 28.7 and 48 inches.
The frame is compatible with tabletops measuring 41 to 85 inches wide, 23 to 44 inches deep, and at least 0.75 inches thick.
The VIVO Electric Stand features touch-screen controls, allowing you to set your desired height settings with just a few taps of a finger.
You can also set alarms as reminders to stand throughout your workday.
The VIVO Electric Stand has a maximum weight capacity of 174 pounds, making it more than sturdy enough to hold several monitors, computer speakers, and a laptop.
A frequent complaint among customers is that the VIVO Electric Stand does not come ready to use out of the box.
Although the assembly instructions are easy enough to follow, putting the frame together can take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes.
A few customers have also complained about the desk wobbling slightly when they type. for the most part, though, the VIVO Electric Stand offers excellent stability, durability, and versatility for its price.
Pros: Customizable design, cable management rack, programmable height settings
Cons: Needs to be assembled, some may find it wobbly, you will need to buy a surface separately
8. North Bayou Sit-Stand Desk Monitor Arm
The North Bayou Sit-Stand Desk Converter features a post-and-tray design with a clamp that allows you to easily convert any tabletop into an ergonomic workstation.
It is designed to accommodate monitors up to 35 inches in size and can support up to 19.8 pounds of weight.
A separate keyboard tray extends toward you when needed and pushes away when not in use.
The North Bayou Sit Stand Desk Converter utilizes a gas-assisted spring mechanism to adjust the unit’s height up to 41 inches.
The monitor viewing angle can be adjusted between +8 to -55 degrees, and the display can be swivelled 360 degrees.
The North Bayou Sit Stand Desk Converter has virtually no footprint, making it an excellent choice for those who still want to be able to use their existing desktop.
It also has some neat features, like a gadget storage compartment, built-in USB ports, and a cord management system.
Unfortunately, this space-saving design comes at a cost; some reviewers have complained that there isn’t enough room on the keyboard tray for a mouse.
Aside from these minor drawbacks, most customers are pleased with the versatility, performance, and streamlined look of this desktop converter.
Pros: Gadget storage compartment, cable management system, built-in USB ports
Cons: Not enough room on keyboard tray for mouse
9. Spark Standing Desk
Want to try a standing desk but aren’t ready to shell out a couple hundred dollars for one just yet?
The dirt-cheap Spark Standing Desk by Ergodriven may be just the right product for you.
The Spark Standing Desk is made completely from cardboard and features a two-tiered design with an upper platform that can support up to 25 pounds of weight and a lower platform that has enough space to place a keyboard and mouse.
The Spark Standing Desk can be configured for left-handed or right-handed use.
The Spark Standing Desk is surprisingly sturdy and comes in three different sizes to accommodate different heights.
The upper platform is only large enough for one monitor or a laptop, so this desk isn’t ideal for dual monitor setups.
If you’re just looking for a simple, inexpensive standing desk to try out while you research other options, however, the Spark Standing Desk is a decent choice.
Pros: Inexpensive, easy to Assemble, available in 3 sizes
Cons: Not suitable for dual monitor setups
10. VARIDESK 49900 – Height-Adjustable Standing Desk
The VariDesk Pro Plus 36 is a desktop converter featuring a fixed dual-platform design.
It has a Z-shaped base and a spring-assisted lift mechanism that allows the user to easily adjust the unit to 11 different heights.
To adjust the Pro Plus 36, you simply press the handles on either side of the unit and either press down or pull up the desktop.
The upper platform of the VariDesk Pro Plus 36 can support monitors up to 24 inches in size, and the suspended keyboard tray is wide and deep enough to hold most laptops.
Where the VariDesk excels is in ease of use. The unit is ready to go right out of the box, and adjusting the converter to your desired height takes just a few seconds.
In terms of stability, however, the VariDesk could use some improvement.
Some customers have said that the unit wobbles at standing height.
Another issue that some customers have with the Pro Plus 36 is its small adjustment range, which consists of only 11 height positions.
The VariDesk is more expensive than other desktop converters, which may be a drawback for some.
For those willing to pay extra for a high-quality standing desktop converter, however, the VariDesk is definitely worth a look.
Pros: No assembly required, can be used while sitting, easy to adjust, available in several colours
Cons: Small height adjustment range, not stable enough
The Best Cheap Standing Desk: Recommendations
The best cheap standing desk is the Mount-It Mobile Standing Desk. It’s built solidly and has space for a keyboard and monitor.
But best of all it is a great option for compact spaces.
If you prefer the standing desk converter style, the X-Elite Pro Standing Desk Converter has it all: ease of adjustability, quick setup, a large work surface, and a price that won’t break the bank.
With its lightweight design and relatively small footprint, it’s easy to see why the X-Elite is preferred by educators, students, Fortune 500 company executives, health professionals, and anyone else who needs versatility and portability in a standing desk.
Buying a Standing Desk is Not the Cure to Posture Problems
It must be pointed out however that once you buy a standing desk and start using one, it doesn’t mean that all your posture problems will suddenly clear up.
If you use a standing desk you must be standing with good posture.
There is no use getting one then standing with bad posture as you are only reinforcing your bad posture except in a standing position.
Remember to brace your abs, lengthen the spine and stand tall.
Part of this may mean ensuring you have set your desk height correctly.
Adjust your screen height and keyboard position so the display is at eye level and your elbows bend at a 90-degree angle.
In addition, standing for too long can place excess pressure on the legs and lower back.
Experts recommend standing for up to two hours per eight-hour workday.
Remember to take it slow.
If you’ve been sitting for 8 hours a day then try to stand up 8 hours a day you’re likely to stress yourself out as you are simply not used to standing for that long.
Instead of standing up for long periods of time, you could instead break up the periods so that for every hour that goes by, you spend 45 minutes sitting and then adjust your desk to a standing desk for the remaining 15 minutes.
You may also want to consider using an anti-fatigue mat to ease pressure on the legs while standing for extended periods of time.
Related: Best anti-fatigue mats
All in all, using a standing desk is a great way to ensure a healthier, more productive workday, but rather than being a cure it is more a preventative measure.
If you have posture problems then the best way to fix your issues is through stretching, myofascial release and corrective exercises, however, a standing desk is a superb way to address the root cause of postural issues.
The information contained in this buyer’s guide should help you understand all of the standing desk options that are available so you can choose the best affordable standing desk for your needs.
Good luck with your new desk!