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The Very Best Standing-Desk Converters

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

Working from your couch certainly has its comforts, but it isn’t exactly easy on your posture. “Sitting for prolonged periods of time in front of a computer can cause significant upper-back and neck pain,” says chiropractor David Perna of Back & Body Medical. An ideal work-from-home setup should accommodate both sitting and standing, as well as offer changes of position to accommodate a variety of body types and postures. “Posture is a worsening problem,” says Jan Lefkowitz, a chiropractor at New York’s Body in Balance Chiropractic. “I have noticed that younger people are getting much more back pain and neck pain than they used to, and I feel it’s from the fact that screen time starts at a much earlier age than it did for older generations.” Alternating periods of sitting and standing can help manage those aches, which is where standing-desk converters come in. By allowing you to work in different positions, a standing desk or standing-desk converter “puts less stress on the lower back and helps a person achieve a more upright position,” says Perna. And if you don’t want to get a whole new standing desk, a converter can transform your regular worktop into one that is more ergonomically useful. And while we’ve written about lots of ergonomic office furniture and accessories — including the best laptop stands, office chairs, and seat cushions — here, we’ve rounded up the best standing-desk converters you can buy online.

Best overall | Best less expensive | Best with a removable keyboard tray | Best low height | Best minimal

What we’re looking for

Overall size, maximum height, and maximum weight: Finding the right converter design for your desk is all about aesthetics and practicality. Standing-desk converters are not exactly known for their sleekness — many have cumbersome designs, with keyboard trays and legs that protrude onto your desk like scaffolding around a skyscraper. There are more minimal and sleek converters that can be easily stowed away when you’re not using them, and larger ones that tend to be sturdier, hold more weight, and rise higher but take up a lot of space on the desk. We’ve listed the approximate surface area required on your desktop for each standing-desk converter below.

You will definitely need to consider how tall your desk converter can rise, how much height it will add to your current desk, and how those measurements will work with how tall you are. Standing-desk converters top out at around 20 inches; the shortest recommended converter below tops out at 15 inches. You’re aiming for having your desktop or keyboard tray at elbow height, so you can use a keyboard and mouse with your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle for better ergonomics, and your screen at eye level. A good rule of thumb is to try testing out a stack of books on your current table. See how many you need to get to your laptop keyboard to elbow height and use that measurement as a guide. Most converters should be more than suitable for a variety of heights, but that depends on the desk you already own and how tall it stands.

Finally, think about what you’ll be putting on top of the standing-desk converter and pay attention to the maximum weight it can hold. All of the options in this guide can hold more than 20 pounds of weight, which should be more than enough for a laptop and a monitor, and many hold 30 pounds or more, which is typically sufficient for even dual-monitor setups.

Lift controls: To position your converter at the right height, whether you’re sitting or standing, your converter will have either manual or electronic/motorized controls, though motorized controls are more rare. Adjusting your standing-desk converter may require using a handle to lift it with one or both hands, or simply putting a little oomph into raising it to your desired height. Manually adjustable standing-desk converters are the most affordable option and don’t require a power source.

Price: Standing-desk converters can easily cost just as much as — or more than — a basic standing desk, so the best setup for you will come down to the furniture in your existing workspace, how much you want to spend, and what features you’re looking for. More expensive standing-desk converters will usually offer a sturdier build, a higher maximum weight, and smoother lift controls. For this guide, a price ranking of $ denotes standing-desk converters under $200, a ranking of $$ denotes a price range of $201 to $400, and a ranking of $$$ denotes a price of $401 and up.

Best overall standing-desk converter

Max height: 17.5” | Max weight: 25 pounds | Manual lift | 36” wide | $$

Lefkowitz recommends the Varidesk because it easily switches between sitting and standing heights with a spring-lift mechanism. Integrative pain expert Joe Tatta explains that “substituting prolonged standing for prolonged sitting results in a greater feeling of discomfort,” so he likes that this desk “accommodates a variety of body types and postures.” You can choose between 11 height settings, which max out at 17.5 inches. The Varidesk has a weighted base to add stability and will easily hold a monitor and a laptop, supporting up to 25 pounds. It also has a two-tier design, with an integrated keyboard and mouse tray to make using it more ergonomic and comfortable — when it’s lowered to the desktop while you’re sitting, it still functions as a monitor riser, and when it’s raised while you’re standing, it can keep your screen at eye level and your keyboard at your elbows. It arrives fully assembled and also comes in a 36-inch Pro model with a higher weight limit that can easily hold a dual-monitor setup, as well as a 48-inch width if you prefer an extra-large workspace.

Best less expensive standing-desk converter

Max height: 20” | Max weight: 33 pounds | Manual | 32” wide by 15.7” deep or 26” wide by 11.8” deep | $ 

The Vivo stand is one of the best-rated standing-desk converters available on Amazon, with thousands of five-star reviews. Reviewers report that it is easy to set up, easy to use, and suitable for all kinds of work setups. One called it a “game changer for at-home work flow,” writing that the “quality is outstanding, [it’s] super easy to adjust to my height, and goes up and down super smooth.” Another says using it has helped to totally resolve their “back, neck, and shoulder issues.” The Vivo reaches a max height of 20 inches and it can hold up to 33 pounds. In describing its adjustability, one reviewer says “you can raise and lower the shelf with one hand” because it “has [a] piston operated lift (so no lifting) and goes up and down very gently — even with two monitors.” It also has a keyboard and mouse shelf with space for other accessories. It comes in four colors and two widths for anyone who needs to fit it on a smaller or larger desk.

Best standing-desk converter with a removable keyboard tray

Max height: 19.7 inches | Max weight: 33 pounds | Manual lift | 28” wide by 16.3” deep | $$ 

Rae Wellness co-founder Angie Tebbe told us she likes this standing-desk converter because it helps her to “stay active and stretch my legs in between meetings.” Alexa Buckley, co-founder of Margaux, is also a fan of standing-desk converters in general: “Both at home and at the office, I’m able to easily alternate between sitting and standing,” she says. “Standing makes a world of difference in my posture and energy levels.” (She suggests pairing a converter with an adjustable-height stool like this one.) The AlcoveRiser also has a clever removable keyboard stand with a cutout on the upper level of the converter so that you can use the tray for either a stand-alone keyboard or a laptop. You can adjust it with one hand via a handle on one side. It has a max height just shy of 20 inches and it can hold up to 33 pounds of weight.

Best low-height standing-desk converter

Max height: 15 inches | Max weight: 35 pounds | Manual lift | 35” wide by 23.3” deep | $$$

“I’m very particular about the aesthetics of my workspace and have had to change the layout and dimensions of my desk several times over the years to accommodate shifting spaces,” says Helen Hou-Sandí, lead developer for WordPress. She initially tried the Varidesk standing-desk converter, but it unfortunately “moves forward when you go into lift mode, so in my workspace it backed me into a wall and I didn’t like that,” Hou-Sandí says. She appreciates that the Ergotron easily adjusts straight up and down and has “a perfectly sized keyboard/mouse area for my needs.” It is available in black or a “more sleek,” according to Hou-Sandí, white. It reaches a maximum height of 15 inches (the lowest of the converters in this list) and can hold a max weight of 35 pounds.

Best minimal standing-desk converter

Max height: 15.7 inches | Max weight: 22 pounds | 31.3” wide by 22” deep | Manual lift | $

Fully is the maker of our favorite standing desk, which has been recommended to us by three Verge editors for its minimalist design and levels of customization. The Cora has Fully’s same design language; it’s sleek and easy to store away after a day of work. When it’s not fully extended, it kind of resembles a slightly heightened desk mat. It reaches a maximum height of 15.7 inches and holds a maximum weight of 22 pounds. It has a manual two-hand lift that is easy to operate and smoothly glides up and down. The Cora was created with a similar ethos to Fully’s highly regarded Jarvis standing desk; it’s just easier on the budget and more versatile and portable if you like to work in different spaces around your home.

Our experts

David Perna, chiropractor at Back & Body Medical
• Jan Lefkowitz, chiropractor at New York’s Body in Balance Chiropractic
Helen Hou-Sandí, lead developer for WordPress
• Angie Tebbe, co-founder of Rae Wellness
• Alexa Buckley, co-founder of Margaux
Joe Tatta, integrative pain expert

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The 5 Very Best Standing-Desk Converters