The best office chairs of 2021

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overhead view of one of the best office chairs we tested in 2021
  • A good office chair should be adjustable and properly support you for hours of sitting.
  • We talked to ergonomics experts for advice on buying the best office chair.
  • For most people, the Steelcase Leap is the best, most versatile office chair.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

A good, ergonomic office chair can help reduce the negative effects of sitting for too long. There’s a reason quality chairs come with several buttons, knobs, or levers.

“It needs to be adjustable,” Dr. Scott Bautch, president of the American Chiropractic Association Council on Occupational Health, said. “The average office chair for a male is made for a 5-foot 10-inch, 165-pound man, which is less than 6% of the population.”

To test the office chairs in this guide, I used each one for at least a week. I reviewed their construction, movement, adjustability, lumbar support, recline, and comfort in the short and long term.

While we currently only recommend two chairs, we have several options that we plan to test next. Keep in mind that many office chairs are currently out of stock, but we’ll be keeping this guide up-to-date with the most current prices and availability.

Here are the best office chairs in 2021

What we recommend: Steelcase Leap

front view of the steelcase leap the best office chair in 2021

With unparalleled adjustability, the Steelcase Leap is supremely comfortable and supportive, which makes it the best office chair for most people.  

Pros: Incredibly comfortable, easily adjusts to fit your body, supports your back in different positions, built to last 

Cons: Expensive, back and seat can get warm

A great office chair will react to support your body in different positions and allow for movement throughout the day. The Steelcase Leap does precisely that; it’s endlessly adjustable, incredibly comfortable to sit in for long stretches of time, and built to last. While it is expensive, there’s enough perks to justify the price and its features are on par with those of much pricier office chairs. 

There are lots of customization options with the Steelcase Leap, so you can pick different frame finishes, as well as upholstery colors and materials. Most of this comes down to personal preference, but we do recommend opting for the fully adjustable armrests. There’s also a Plus version of the Leap that supports up to 500 pounds.  

There’s no assembly to worry about, but adjusting your Steelcase Leap correctly for your body is vital. I was a little intimidated by the sheer range of options when I first unboxed my chair, and I recommend watching Steelcase’s useful video tutorial as you work things out. 

It requires some effort to set the right height, seat depth, lumbar support, resistance level, and armrest positions, but it’s worth taking your time. The experts I spoke to also pointed out that it may take a while for your body to adjust to a better posture, so if you’ve been using a poor-quality chair or hunching, sitting correctly can feel strange at first.

The Steelcase Leap is well-padded in the seat and back area, with firm arm rests. The initial comfort doesn’t wear off, as it can with some chairs. I have often spent a full eight-hour workday in the Leap and continued to use it at night for gaming sessions. I like the fact that it encourages me to sit up straight for work, and then I can recline and put my feet up for breaks.

The build quality is excellent and there are no squeaks or clanks as you settle into this chair, or even when you adjust it. I can also attest to its durability, as I’ve had it for around a year now and it looks and feels as good as new. 

Steelcase offers a limited lifetime warranty. This is the second version of the Leap, which is a bit lighter than its predecessor and has improved arm rests. I used the original Leap for around four years before upgrading; my son now uses it, and it’s still going strong. 

Despite sitting in a lot of different office chairs over the years, I’ve never found one as comfortable as the Steelcase Leap. After testing some other office chairs for this guide, including the slightly more expensive Steelcase Gesture, I didn’t feel they offered any substantial improvements. 

The Steelcase Leap is not perfect; the back and seat can get very warm, particularly on hot days. It’s also not the most striking piece of furniture. It blends in quietly, rather than making a statement. 

Suitable for anyone seeking a dependable and comfortable office chair, the Steelcase Leap is our top pick. It offers the best experience in its price bracket with no superfluous features. If it’s beyond your budget, then consider buying a refurbished Leap, as there are lots of good deals out there.

Find out more about this chair in our Steelcase Leap V2 review.


What we recommend: X-Chair X3

back view of the x-chair x3 the best office chair in 2021

The impressive X-Chair X3 has an eye-catching look and offers full adjustability with dynamic lumbar support, and some optional extras like a headrest, memory foam seat cushioning, and heat massage. 

Pros: Extremely comfortable, intuitive adjustment options, dynamic lumbar support

Cons: Expensive, some extras aren’t worth the additional cost

With an attractive design that offers cushioning and support, the X-Chair X3 boasts intuitive adjustments to fit your body and comes with a range of optional extras. The build quality is extremely good. It has all the essential adjustment options you need, and it’s seriously comfortable, particularly when you recline. 

Adjusting the chair properly for your body is important, but the X-Chair is straightforward and doesn’t have quite as many options as the Steelcase Leap. To make it quick and easy, the company offers a video guide. The dynamic variable lumbar is a smart way of ensuring lower back support in different positions, as it curves into your spine and encourages the right posture. The headrest and armrests can be pulled into your preferred positions.

A paddle on the side lets you lock position or recline, and the X-Chair X3 leans back far enough for you to put your feet up and potentially even take a nap. I found it comfortable for work, though not as comfortable as the Steelcase Leap in the upright position. For reclining and relaxing, however, the X3 is second to none. 

The X3 is well-padded, and I found the memory foam seat extremely comfortable to sit on for hours at a time. The seat and back are covered in a woven nylon that features something X-Chair calls Advanced Tensile Recovery. It’s like the material is stretched over the frame but has some elasticity to it, which feels supportive. It also means the back doesn’t need padding, and because air can circulate it doesn’t get as warm as some chairs can. 

There are a few customization options with the X3; you can opt for one of four colors, decide whether to add a headrest, add extended width or memory foam to the seat, and choose different casters. The big optional extra is the heat and massage module that sits in the lumbar support section. I tested the X3-HMT, which has the heat and massage feature, with a memory foam seat, a headrest, and X-Wheel casters, but I only recommend some of these features. 

I’ve enjoyed my time with the X-Chair X3. I love the dynamic lumbar support, the added seat comfort makes the memory foam worth getting, and I was surprised to find that I really liked the headrest, which added support when reclining. I’m unconvinced by the X-Wheel casters, which made changing direction on my carpeted office floor awkward, though they are great on hard floors. While my kids loved the heat and massage unit and wanted to use it every day, I found it a bit gimmicky. 

This feels like a well-built chair, and it comes with a five-year warranty. The nylon covering is spill-resistant and feels tough, but because it’s layered, lint, fluff, and pet hair, can get trapped in the material, which is a minor annoyance. 

Arriving in a very heavy box, the X-Chair requires some assembly and you’ll likely want a second person to help you, at least with unpacking all the parts. It took me less than 20 minutes to unpack and build using the assembly video.

Even without some of the superfluous extras, this is a big investment, but I think it’s one worth making. This is a comfortable and supportive chair, and it’s quite easy to adjust without a lot of fiddling. It’s also good-looking without sacrificing practicality.


What else we tested

overhead view of the green Steelcase Gesture another chair we tested and recommend for the best office chairs in 2021

What else we recommend and why

Steelcase Gesture: Featuring a smart design that’s comfortable and fully adjustable, the Steelcase Gesture is an excellent office chair that offers good support throughout the day. It has the most adjustable armrests of any chair we tested, though I found them a little too easy to bump out of position accidentally. It came close to claiming the top spot, but I feel the Leap offers better back support and a slightly more comfortable seat. If you prefer less cushy lumbar support, the Gesture may suit you better. The differences between them are pretty minor, so ultimately the fact that the Leap is cheaper (even after adding the four-way armrests) makes it a better pick for most people.

What we’re testing next

songmics office chair in front of a table one of the contenders we're testing for the best office chairs in 2021

Autonomous ErgoChair ProThere are tons of adjustable components of this chair from popular home office brand Autonomous, from the seat tilt to the headrest. It also has responsive lumbar support for your lower back. 

Branch Ergonomic ChairBranch’s reasonably priced office chair is made from recyclable materials and has a generous seven-year warranty. The brand also claims you can assemble it in 20 minutes or less. 

Fully Desk Chair: This desk chair is comfortably supportive and straightforward to assemble. The mesh chair back is breathable and flexible so you can lean back whenever you need a break from work. 

Humanscale World One Task ChairThe curved edges make the Humanscale chair look a bit more sleek and compact than other contenders. However, keep in mind you’ll currently have to wait 8-10 weeks for your chair to be delivered. We’ll be seeing if the wait is worth it. 

Songmics Mesh Office ChairOnly $100, this chair has impressed us so far with its easy 30-minute assembly and sturdy construction. It’s certainly more bare-bones than other options but great for anyone who only needs a simple but supportive chair. 

Ikea Markus: This popular office chair graces many home offices and is hundreds of dollars cheaper than our top picks. We will be testing it out over several weeks to see how it compares to more expensive office chairs and to find out if it’s a good choice for people with limited budgets. 

Humanscale Liberty Task Chair: As the manufacturer of a popular range of ergonomic office chairs, Humanscale was specifically recommended by Dr Bautch. The Liberty Task is the next chair we have lined up to test, and it features automatic lumbar support, a mesh back, and mechanism-free recline, albeit at a premium price. We’re looking forward to spending some time with the Liberty Task Chair to find out how it measures up. 

AmazonBasics Mid-Back Office ChairThis popular option from Amazon is very affordable, but it’s relatively bare-bones with minimal adjustment options. Can you get a decent office chair for less than $100? We plan to call this chair in for testing to answer that question. 

Herman Miller Aeron: Long considered the office chair gold standard, the Herman Miller Aeron is our previous top pick. It comes in three sizes, offers a good range of adjustments, and blends solid functionality with desirable design. It’s also very expensive, though you can save a lot of money by buying refurbished. Herman Miller makes chairs to order, and we’ve been unable to test the Aeron out due to high demand but we do plan to try it as soon as we can.

Office chair FAQs

X Chair

What to look for in an office chair

Ideally, an office chair will allow you to fine-tune the height, seat depth, lumbar support, and arm rests according to your needs. It’s also vital to set up your whole workstation correctly so that you aren’t hunching or stretching, which is why we’ve included expert primers on the best way to sit and how to create an ergonomically sound home office below.

What’s the best way to sit in an office chair?

Even with the best office chair in the world, you need to adjust it properly for your body and try to maintain good posture.

“You need to have some kind of a checklist to make sure your chair fits you,” says Dr. Scott Bauch, President of the American Chiropractic Association Council on Occupational Health. Here’s his: 

  • Adjust the height of the chair so that, ideally, your feet are comfortably flat on the floor. If that’s not possible, you may want to look at getting a footrest.
  • A waterfall front — curved edges that slope slightly downward — on the chair helps prevent pressure buildup and there should be some space between the front of your chair and the back of your knees.
  • Your knees should be slightly higher than your hips and close to a 90-degree angle.
  • With your arms comfortably by your sides, your wrists can be slightly extended but should be at a 90-degree angle with the desktop.
  • Adjust the armrests so that you can take some pressure off by resting your elbows on them when you’re not typing. When you are typing, your arms should rest on the desktop.
  • Lumbar support should fit into the small of your back above your belt and, ideally, move with you to provide support throughout the day, whether you’re sitting forward or reclining. 
  • The headrest, if there is one, should adjust in height and position to support your neck.
  • Aim for a neutral posture where none of your body parts are awkwardly bent or twisted. 
  • Be conscious of your position and resist the urge to lean forward or hunch. 
  • Check your chair positioning and readjust from time to time. Perhaps someone else sat in your chair and tweaked it, you accidentally adjusted a setting, or you intended to change something temporarily and forgot to change it back. Both of our experts pointed out that it’s common for office chairs to be set up incorrectly or for them to stray from the right position over time.

To help you sit correctly and get the best from your office chair, it’s also crucial to consider your entire work area, including your office desk

How can you make your work station ergonomic? 

“Think of a computer workstation like the interior of a car,” said Alan Hedge, a certified ergonomist and professor in the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis at Cornell University. “You have to be able to get your seat close enough that you can get your feet on the pedals, but not so close that you’ll get squashed. You have to be able to see out of the windscreen and reach everything.”

To help you set up your work area correctly, Hedge has created a free Home Office Ergonomics app for Android and iOS. It offers advice on different aspects of your home office environment with photos to illustrate what to aim for and what to avoid. Here are a few tips:

  • The top of your laptop or monitor screen should be in your direct line of sight.
  • Your keyboard and mouse should be in a straight line from your elbow. If you use a laptop, consider getting a separate keyboard and mouse, so you can elevate the screen to eye line.
  • Do what you can to reduce glare and reflections on your screen but bear in mind that daylight and a view out of a window are positive things.
  • Ensure there’s room under your desk to accommodate different positions, stretch your legs, and flex your ankles. Movement is good.

Because you can’t see yourself working, Hedge suggests recording a short video of yourself, so you can see any potential problems and make changes. 

Ultimately, both of our experts stressed the need to mix up your positions throughout the day and not to sit for too long at once. Hedge subscribes to a research-backed 20-8-2 pattern where you aim to sit for 20 minutes, stand for 8, then stretch or walk around for 2, and repeat. Bautch suggested microbreaks of a few seconds every 15 minutes or so. The main takeaway is that frequent short breaks to move, stand, walk, or even dance will benefit your health.

Check out our other office gear guides

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Read the original article on Business Insider

The best standing desks for home offices in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • A standing desk can contribute to a healthy and ergonomic working environment.
  • The best standing desks adjust to a range of heights while remaining stable.
  • The best standing desk for most people is the Fully Jarvis Standing Desk.

Studies show that standing has many benefits over sitting, including burning more calories and reducing back and neck pain. A good standing desk can help you get out of your chair, so you’re not sitting all day.

“The rule of thumb is that too much sitting is going to shorten your life,” Alan Hedge, a certified ergonomist and professor in the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis at Cornell University, told Insider Reviews. During the work day, you should be doing a mixture of standing, sitting, and moving.

For this guide, we tested and researched several standing desks and standing desk converters. We spoke with experts and peers who use standing desks to get more insight for those desks we didn’t personally test.

The desks and converters in this guide meet our criteria for customization options, ease of assembly, price, durability, and more.

You can read more about our testing methodology and how to best use a standing desk further down.

Here are the best standing desks in 2021

The best standing desk overall

fully jarvis standing desk in a home office the best standing desk overall in 2021

The Fully Jarvis Standing Desk provides the right amount of customizations for style, height, and accessories to create an ideal desk for many people. 

Pros: Customizable design, quick and easy to adjust, customizable height presets, useful add-ons, priced low to start, seven-year warranty

Cons: Slight wobble at upper heights, the additional crossbar can limit leg space

The Fully Jarvis Standing Desk is a great desk with a good height-adjustment range, a smooth and easy-to-use mechanism, and the ability to accommodate different set ups. It also comes at a relatively reasonable price with a strong warranty.

The metal frame with the motorized adjustment mechanism comes in several colors and materials and is about as minimal as you’ll find. The desktop is available in varying sizes and rectangular or curved options. 

You can use your own monitor arms or other accessories, but Fully has its own as well. These options cost extra, and some will require you to drill holes. The only one we deem essential is the programmable memory panel, which lets you save four height presets. This is useful if you share the desk with someone else. The adjustment itself is quick, though there is a high-pitched noise as the motor goes to work. It’s not terribly loud, but you won’t want to adjust it when you’re on a call.

Fully offers an extended range for an extra $20, which enables the desk to go from 24.5 to 50 inches, to accommodate shorter and taller heights. Even with a couple of custom options and extras, the Fully Jarvis comes in cheaper than most comparable alternatives.

The Fully Jarvis has excellent stability. I have two 27-inch monitors on dual gas-powered monitor arms attached to my desk. It goes up and down with ease. I can also lean on the desk without fear, but when extended to higher levels, there is a perceptible wobble. My monitors sway slightly if I bump the desktop, and I can feel a slight front-to-back movement when I lean on the desk, though it’s relatively minor. The obvious way to increase stability here would be to add a crossbar, but you wouldn’t be able to easily extend your legs under the desk when seated.

I’ve been using the Fully Jarvis for a couple of years now, and the mechanism works every bit as smoothly as it did the first day. I have the older control panel with physical buttons; the newer version is a touch-sensitive OLED, which may not be quite as responsive, according to some reviews. — Simon Hill

The best standing desk for tall people

the autonomous smartdesk 2 with two computer monitors on it the best standing desk for tall people in 2021

The Autonomous SmartDesk 2 Premium can quickly and quietly adjust to accommodate heights taller than 6 feet 8 inches.

Pros: Fast height adjustment, wide height adjustment range, customizable height presets, customizable styles, meets ANSI/BIFMA and UL certification for office use

Cons: A bit unstable at higher heights, limited customization options

The Autonomous SmartDesk 2 Premium has the fastest height adjustment speed, at 2.3 inches per second, and the lowest noise at 45 decibels. In comparison, our top pick, the Fully Jarvis, moves at 1.3 inches per second, with a noise level of 50 decibels. These factors might be important if you plan on adjusting your desk often. 

The frame is sturdy and the XL table length can accommodate two 32-inch monitors and two office chairs comfortably.

There aren’t as many customization options as the Fully. You can choose from seven top-and-frame combinations. You can also customize your own from a selection of two top lengths, five top materials, and three frame colors.  

Each Autonomous standing desk comes with one or two grommets (holes for passing cables through) for a standard or XL top. There’s a programmable control panel to easily adjust preset heights for different users. You can also adjust the height by pressing the up and down arrows. The programmable control panel comes included with the base price, something other brands charge extra for. There are plenty of add-on accessories that cost more, such as monitor arms and trays.

Setup took about an hour and a half and required two people. The instructions are clear enough, but I thought watching a video was easier and more efficient.

In testing this over the course of six months and adjusting the height several times a day, I never worried my monitors would fall off the desk, though they would wobble at the highest height. That’s on par with the other standing desks in our guide, though.  — Jada Wong

The best cheap standing desk

flexispot standing desk in a bedroom with a laptop and sewing machine on the desk top the best cheap affordable standing desk on a budget in 2021

The no-frills Flexispot Standing Desk moves quickly, smoothly, and quietly to reach your desired height. It’s an affordable option for people who need a basic standing desk.

Pros: Straightforward controls, spacious, quiet 

Cons: Difficult to assemble

Flexispot’s budget-friendly offering is spacious and sturdy, and assembly shouldn’t take any longer than an hour. While it lacks the customizations of the other two true standing desks in our guide, it’s more than appropriate for anyone who just wants a simple and straightforward standing desk. 

It lifts to your desired height at a smooth and quiet rate of one inch per second with a simple two-button push system. The desktop has enough space for two monitors, plus other items like supplies. And the overall desk quality is great. 

The biggest drawback of the desk is that the assembly instructions aren’t clear and some parts don’t fit together as well as they should. Our advice is to take it slow and enlist a friend to help. Once you get past the assembly process, you’ll be able to enjoy the standing desk with little to no problem. 

The best standing desk converter

vertdesk converter on top of an office desk the best standing desk converter in 2021

The VertDesk Converter boasts a stable, two-tier design that’s easy to raise or lower, and it’s suitable for use with monitors or laptops. 

Pros: Great stability, good range of height adjustment, separate keyboard tray, easy to use, durable, five-year warranty

Cons: Too heavy to be portable, few customizations

With a versatile and roomy design and a smooth adjustment mechanism, the VertDesk Converter is our favorite standing desk converter. You can set it up on a traditional desk or table to accommodate a laptop, one or two monitors with stands, or a monitor arm for mounting. There’s a separate keyboard tray, so your arms and elbows are more ergonomically placed. It’s a smart design that’s easy to use, and it includes some thoughtful extras.

When adjusting the VertDesk Converter during testing, the transition was smooth, silent, and effortless. There are no fixed positions, so you can adjust to the exact height you want. It does swing toward you a little when you raise it, but not by much.  

The VertDesk Converter is not attractive, but there are a few customization options, at least. You can get the standard VertDesk Converter in black or white, with or without a single monitor arm. There’s also a larger, heavy-duty version, with an optional single or dual monitor arm.

The standard VertDesk Converter provides enough room and stability for two, 24-inch monitors. There is also a single grommet for routing monitor cables. The keyboard tray can be adjusted by turning a knob on the right, then tilting the tray to the position you want. The keyboard tray is a little small, which could be a problem if you use a large mechanical or ergonomic keyboard.

The keyboard level sits 0.75 inches above the desktop when folded down and goes up to 14.75 inches. Depending on the table you’re using with the converter, the lowest position might have the monitor sitting too high for shorter people.

This is the most stable converter I’ve used. It barely moves, even when it’s fully extended. Rubber feet prevent it from sliding around, and the metal frame feels very solid. The maximum weight limit is comparatively low, but a dual-monitor setup is no problem. It doesn’t budge at all if you lean your weight on it, though that’s not recommended. — Simon Hill

The best budget standing desk converter

fully cora on a dining table with a laptop on top the best budget standing desk converter in 2021

With a minimal design that’s easy to adjust and a value-oriented price, the Fully Cora Standing Desk Converter is perfect for laptop owners looking to stand while they work. 

Pros: Simple design, accessible price, easy to use, stable at different heights, durable

Cons: Too heavy and awkward to be truly portable, not suitable if you’re over 6 feet 2 inches, no attachments or add-ons

If you’re on a budget, the Fully Cora Standing Desk Converter could be the ideal way to try out the standing desk life without spending too much. It’s designed to sit on top of a traditional desk or table and provides a workspace that’s suitable for a laptop. It can also accommodate a monitor, separate keyboard, and mouse. The simple design enables it to fit in anywhere, and it can fold down when you don’t need it.

The desktop is made of a durable laminate material. The frame is aluminum, with soft pads on the bottom that help it stay in place and prevent it from damaging the furniture it’s sitting on.

There isn’t much customization on offer here. You just have a choice of a black or white frame. It can fold flat to be stowed away neatly, but I think that the weight and awkwardness of picking it up will deter a lot of people from doing this. There’s also no cable management, and you won’t be able to attach a monitor arm to this standing desk converter so it’s best used with laptops.

To adjust the desk height, you simply push in the side levers and lift up or down. It’s a smooth and silent mechanism, and there are no pre-set levels so you can adjust it to the exact height you want. 

I tested the Fully Cora Standing Desk Converter with my laptop on my dining table, and it felt very stable even when fully extended. The rectangular aluminum frame base is solid, and the padded sections add grip, so it doesn’t slide easily if bumped. Once I had the height I wanted, I didn’t have any qualms about putting drinks and other things on the desktop. The laminate has a durable, water-resistant finish that’s easy to wipe clean.

The maximum weight limit is plenty for a laptop and accessories. It’s best not to lean your weight on it unless you’re trying to lower the desktop, but it held firm when I tried during testing.  — Simon Hill

Our testing methodology

There are a lot of things to consider when assessing a standing desk or a standing desk converter. Where possible, I will test out the standing desk in everyday use, changing from standing to sitting positions several times throughout the day. For standing desks I’ve been unable to test myself, I’ll talk to a colleague or another trusted source with hands-on experience living with that desk to find out what the pros and cons are. 

Here are the main criteria during our tests of the best standing desk: 

Height adjustment: I’m interested in the full range of height adjustment for each standing desk, how well the mechanism works to raise and lower, how quickly and easily you can adjust it, and how noisy it is. A good standing desk will offer presets for different heights and an easy mechanism for adjustment. Charts from BOTD and Autonomous helped us figure out recommended general heights for the desks’ adjustment ranges, and we cross-referenced them with calculators from The Human Solution and OmniCalculator. The heights for people that we mention in this guide are approximate.

Customization: Any piece of furniture must fit in with its environment, and so the materials and desktop finishes are important. It’s also important to look at how big each standing desk is in terms of the overall footprint and the available desktop space. Does it offer a lot of customization options, add-ons, and accessories? And what kind of extras, like cable management, drawers, and monitor arms, can you choose from?

Stability and durability: A wobbly desk can be very distracting, and stability is often a problem when standing desks are adjusted to the limits of their height. I look at how the desk copes with bumps or being leaned upon and how being fully loaded impacts stability. The stated durability for long-term use and the warranty that’s being offered is also taken into consideration. Other important factors include the weight limit and the returns policy.

Set up: Some assembly is usually required, but you don’t want to spend all day building your standing desk. I look at how quickly you can have it set up out of the box, if you need help to build it, and whether there are any potential issues with setup.

What else we tested

Uplift Desk

What else we recommend and why

Uplift V2: While this is a great all-around choice, it was a much more expensive standing desk that offered few benefits to justify the price difference. To compare the specs to our top pick of the standard Fully Jarvis, the Uplift goes higher by a little over an inch and a half — enough to accommodate people as tall as 6 feet 8 inches, approximately. It holds five pounds more weight but is $100 more expensive. 

Even if you pay extra for the extended height range of the Fully Jarvis, the Uplift is still $80 more expensive. Given how little that $80 gets you, the Jarvis is a better value for most people. If the Uplift V2 was less expensive, it would’ve been a strong contender for our best overall pick. But if you want the extra height, weight, and customizations (there are 19 finishes), and have the budget to spare, the Uplift V2 might be a good choice. Read our full review.

What we don’t recommend and why

VariDesk Electric Standing Desk: This may be a good choice if you hate assembly as it’s very easy to put together. It also offers a good range of height adjustment, customizable height presets, and relatively quiet operation. On the downside, customization options are scant and it has a 200-pound weight limit, which doesn’t come close to our top picks.

VertDesk V3: Offering solid construction, excellent stability, and lots of customization options, the VertDesk V3 came very close to making our list. It’s a well-built, reliable standing desk that comes with a good warranty, but it can get expensive as you begin to add extras or jump up sizes. It also has a limited range of height adjustment, and it’s tricky to assemble.

Ergo Desktop Kangaroo Pro Junior: This is a smart converter that you can add to a regular desk, and it offers separate keyboard and monitor platforms that are adjusted via the built-in pneumatic spring mechanism. Unfortunately, it’s not designed for laptops, the stability leg is an eyesore, and it has a limited weight capacity.

IKEA Idasen: With a distinctive look and great stability, this is a solid standing desk from Ikea, and it comes with a reassuring 10-year warranty. Unfortunately, the weight capacity is very low, the tabletop is particle and fiberboard, and it’s slow to adjust with no preset height option on the keypad.

Yo-Yo Desk Mini: This is a versatile standing desk converter that can sit on a table or regular desk. It’s easy to adjust, thanks to a gas spring mechanism, and it supports various heights. It comes in a few sizes, but the keyboard tray is a bit too small, and the mechanism isn’t as smooth as we’d like.

NewHeights Elegante XT: Extremely stable, with top-quality internal electronics and plenty of customization options, there’s no denying this is one of the best standing desks around. It offers reliable adjustment with a wide, 24-to51-inch range and has no obvious weaknesses. The problem is simple: It’s just too expensive for most people.

Xdesk Terra 2s: This is a very good-looking standing desk, with lots of customization options, including dual-level desktops and beautiful build quality that combines bamboo, oak, or glass desktops with an aluminum frame. Sadly, it’s way beyond most people’s budget and doesn’t do quite enough to justify the premium.

Standing desk FAQs

What are the benefits of a standing desk? 

Benefits of using a standing desk include reduced neck and upper back pain, reduced risk for weight gain (standing burns more calories than sitting), and potentially lowering blood sugar levels

Each person is different. If you aren’t sure if a standing desk is right for you, check with a doctor first to see if you’d benefit from one.

Is standing at your desk healthier than sitting?

A standing desk alone isn’t going to improve your occupational health — you can’t just simply substitute standing for sitting. According to Alan Hedge at Cornell University, people tend to hunch over their desks after just 10 minutes at a standing desk, even if they started off with a good posture.

“You’re not really getting a lot of benefit from doing that,” Hedge said. 

For the biggest impact, you’ll want to mix sitting, standing, and moving throughout the day. “Mixing things up reduces any negative effects [of sitting or standing] in terms of musculoskeletal discomfort, your level of alertness, or productivity,” Hedge said.

How long should you stand at a standing desk?

Hedge suggests a 20-8-2 pattern based on his research and real-world testing — sit for 20 minutes, stand for 8, stretch or walk around for 2, and repeat. These numbers aren’t absolute, but what’s most important is not to stay in one position for too long, Hedge said.

Once you’re settled with your standing desk, you may want to pair it with a standing desk mat to encourage more movement and provide cushioning.

Are standing desks really worth it? 

Since buying a standing desk a few years ago, I feel that changing positions and moving more throughout the day boosts my productivity, but I’ve also experienced far fewer back problems.

We think they’re worth the investment if you’re not sure when you’ll be returning to the office. Due to frequent policy changes in the ongoing pandemic, it’s worth investing in a comfortable and productive home office set-up now. 

Check out our other office gear guides

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The best desks for your office in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • A good desk should be ergonomic, giving you enough room to work without causing back or neck strain.
  • We consulted an ergonomist and an interior designer to find desks that combine comfort with style.
  • If you also need a supportive office chair, check out our guide to the best office chairs.

Whether you work from home or are back in the office, a good desk will help keep you comfortable and productive. A poorly designed desk can lead to back and neck strain, which will inevitably interfere with your day.

To find out what makes a great work desk, we consulted with experts in ergonomics and interior design to narrow down the hundreds of desks available at online retailers. We looked for desks that were between 23 and 29 inches tall for the best ergonomics (with bonus points going to products that are adjustable), as well as being stylish and made from high-quality materials. We explain our research methodology more at the end of the guide.

The best desks for your home office in 2021

The best standing desk

Fully desk with plants and office supplies on it.

The customizable Fully Jarvis Standing Desk provides a spacious work surface and an adjustable height, allowing you to position the desk to suit your frame.

From an ergonomics standpoint, an adjustable desk like the Fully Jarvis Standing Desk is the best option for most people since it allows you to change the surface height to match your frame and chair height. 

This particular adjustable desk comes in several widths and heights. We recommend opting for the “Extended Range” height option, which allows you to adjust the surface height between 24.5 and 50 inches. The metal frame is available in four colors, while the bamboo top comes in two finishes, and you also have the option to swap in a contoured tabletop on several of the larger sizes. 

The Jarvis has a toggle handset to adjust its height and lifting capacity of 350 pounds. While the base version of the desk is fairly simple, you can choose to outfit it with powered grommets, desk organizers, wire management kits, and more, creating a tailored solution to suit your needs. If you’re not satisfied with the desk, the brand offers a 30-day free return policy, as well as a 10-year warranty on desk frame components, mechanical parts, motors, and electrical components.

Read more about the Fully Jarvis in our standing desk guide, where we ranked it the best overall option.

The best desk for corners

Ameriwood L-shaped desk with a lamp, laptop, pencils, and a picture frame on top.

The Ameriwood Home Aden Glass Desk has an L-shaped frame that offers more workspace than traditional desks.

The Ameriwood Home Aden Glass Desk‘s L-shaped design will fit perfectly into the corner of an office, taking advantage of the extra space and providing a larger work surface than traditional desks. It’s just over 59 inches long and wide, and 29 inches tall. That may seem lower than most standard desks, but our experts say that 30-inch desks are too tall for most people to comfortably sit at. 

This corner desk has a black metal frame with a tempered glass top and faux cherry wood accents. The desk can support 60 pounds on each side and has two built-in storage shelves. The wooden corner piece and shelves are made from PVC laminate (a type of plastic), so they’re easy to care for.

The best desk for small spaces

Green Forest desk with laptop, photo frame, pen, and other office supplies on top.

The GreenForest Folding Desk is compact while still providing plenty of space for your work, and it can fold flat so it’s easy to store. 

The GreenForest Folding Desk can easily fit into a small apartment, dorm, or makeshift office, as it’s just 32 inches wide and 32 inches deep. The design features a lower desktop that can easily hold a laptop, notepad, or textbook, and there’s also a 6-inch upper shelf that’s ideal for a computer monitor or other desk essentials. 

This desk is supported by an X-shaped metal frame, and the desktop is made from medium-density fiberboard. There’s no assembly required, and when not in use, you can fold the desk flat and tuck it into a corner or behind a sofa.

The best desk for cable management

Union & Scale desk with white background.

The Union & Scale Essentials Powered Writing Desk features an integrated power strip with two USB ports, helping to streamline your workspace.

While its design may be simple, the Union & Scale Essentials Powered Writing Desk offers convenience for anyone who is regularly searching for an electrical outlet. It has an integrated power strip that you can access right on the desktop. There are two USB ports, allowing for easy charging for all your devices. The power cable for these outlets discreetly protrudes from the bottom of the desk’s back leg, helping to minimize the number of wires running behind your desk and reducing clutter in your space. 

This desk, which comes recommended by our experts, is 60 inches wide and just over 29 inches deep, and it has a 29-inch height that will be comfortable for most people. It’s supported by four metal legs and has a laminate top. You can choose between an all-white or faux wood finish to complement your decor.

The best affordable desk

Coavas desk with laptop, calendar, and pencils on top.

For a desk that won’t break the bank, the Coavas Computer Desk is a comfortable size and it folds down flat when not in use, making it easier to store and move. 

Despite its low price, the Coavas Computer Desk checks off many of the boxes for a comfortable, ergonomic workspace. The desk has an industrial-inspired design with a metal frame and faux wood top. It’s a moderate size at 40 inches wide, 20 inches deep, and 28 inches tall.

Because of its shallow depth (a common feature among budget-friendly desks), it may not be the most comfortable to use when working on a computer, but it will work well for reading, writing, and studying. You can assemble this desk in a matter of seconds, and it’s equally easy to disassemble if you want to put it into storage or move it. 

This desk has a weight capacity of 200 pounds thanks to its metal frame. The top is made from medium-density fiberboard, which means you should avoid getting it wet or placing hot objects on the surface. While it might not last forever, the Coavas desk is budget-friendly and sturdy, making it a worthwhile choice for a temporary office.

The best minimalist desk

Ikea white desk.

The Ikea Bekant Desk has a simple design that adjusts to different heights, and it features an integrated cord management system to keep your workspace neat.

If you prefer a minimalistic appearance, the Ikea Bekant Desk is about as plain as they come with its monochromatic two-leg design. However, this desk is sturdy and functional, thanks to its adjustable height and built-in cable management system. 

The desktop is 63 inches long and 31.5 inches deep, and you can adjust its height between 26 and 33.5 inches to best suit your height and chair. The table has a weight capacity of 220 pounds, and it has a melamine surface that’s stain-resistant and easy to clean. Additionally, there’s a net underneath the tabletop that allows you to tuck away unsightly cords, keeping your workspace tidy.

Just keep in mind that the Bekant doesn’t have electronic controls. To change its height, you need an Allen key (otherwise known as a hex key), so it isn’t the best choice if you want a desk you can adjust at the touch of a button.

The best extra-wide desk

Article desk with white background.

The Article Madera Desk gives you plenty of space to spread out thanks to its 71-inch width. The desk is crafted from durable solid wood and features a hidden cable management cabinet.

Need ample room to spread out all your work essentials? The Article Madera has a spacious 71-inch design that allows you to set up a computer, with plenty of space left over for documents, books, and other work essentials. This stylish desk is available in either oak or chestnut finishes, and it’s crafted from solid and veneered wood for a durable frame that will stand the test of time. 

The desk is 71 inches long, 30 inches deep, and 30 inches high. Its height means it might be best for taller people. The table has an industrial style with metal accents and exposed bolts, and the wood is finished with a wire brush for a naturally textured appearance. 

There’s a hidden cable management cabinet at the rear of the desk so you can tuck away charging cables and cords. For added storage, Article also offers a matching Madera File Cabinet to complete your home office.

The best wall-mounted desk

Pottery Barn Trenton desk with white background.

The Trenton Fold Out Table takes up minimal space thanks to its wall-mounted design, and you can install it at the appropriate height for an ergonomic workspace. 

If you’re hoping to turn any space into a makeshift office, the Pottery Barn Trenton Fold Out Table is an ideal solution. The versatile table mounts on the wall, and its solid pine surface easily folds down when it’s time to work. Once you’re done for the day, you can simply clear off the tabletop and fold it back up, freeing up valuable space in your home. 

This fold-out desk is 30 inches wide and just over 22 inches deep. Because of its shallow depth, it’s not the best option for working on a computer, but it will work well for reading and writing. Since you can mount it at any height, you can find the perfect spot to match your height and chair and keep your body ergonomically aligned. 

The desk’s frame is made from powder-coated steel for durability, and its kiln-dried pine surface is easy to maintain. You can use the steel brace as a magnet board, pinning up important notes and other documents in front of your work area.

The best writing desk

Pottery Barn Bedford white desk with 3 drawers on the left.

The Bedford Writing Desk from Pottery Barn is a well-made piece of furniture with a classic design, and it features a two- or three-drawer cabinet for all your storage needs.

Writing desks have a simple yet timeless design. Because they’re designed for note-taking, reading, and writing, they’re often not as large as computer desks. The tricky part when shopping for a writing desk is finding one that doesn’t have a pull-out drawer in the center that will interfere with proper ergonomics. With that in mind, one of the best options is Pottery Barn’s Bedford Writing Desk.

This desk is 52 inches long and 23 inches wide, giving you ample space to spread out with your papers. It’s crafted from kiln-dried pine and veneers with an antique white finish, and you can choose whether you want a two-drawer cabinet with two file drawers or a three-drawer cabinet, which has one file drawer and two small standard drawers for supplies. This cabinet tower fits on either side of the desk, allowing you to tailor the piece to your space. The back of the desk is finished in case you want to have it facing the room.

The best drafting desk

Zeny light brown desk with stool in front of it.

It’s easy to adjust the height of the Zeny Drafting Desk to suit your needs, and the top tilts to make it easier for architects and other creative professionals to draw. 

Drafting desks are a popular choice for architects and creative professionals, as the tabletop tilts to allow for more comfortable drawing, painting, or sketching. The Zeny Drafting Desk is ideal for any of these tasks. It has a spacious and adjustable workspace, as well as two storage drawers, a built-in pen container, and a side table for other supplies. 

The desktop measures 34 inches wide and over 23 inches deep, and you can adjust the height of the drafting desk between 28 and 36 inches. Additionally, the tabletop adjusts from 0 to 45 degrees, allowing you to tilt it to a comfortable angle. The desk has a steel frame and MDF surfaces, and it also comes with a matching stool.

What to look for in a desk

Two desks with one having a lamp, picture frame, pens, laptop, and other office supplies on it. The other is empty.

To develop criteria for evaluating desks, we consulted with two experts. We spoke with Melissa Afterman, MS-HFE, CPE, the principal ergonomist of Learn Ergo and a consultant with UC Ergonomics Research Lab, and interior designer Sherri Monte of Elegant Simplicity. Both regularly work with their clients to create comfortable, ergonomic, and highly functional home offices. They highlighted several important features that you should prioritize ahead of aesthetic appeal.

I used their guidance, as well as my background as a product reviewer for four years, when selecting desks for this guide. I used my experience testing household products to develop a comprehensive testing methodology. 

Height

While 30 inches is the standard height for many desks, this is actually too high for most people. “The correct height for your computer desk is your relaxed elbow height when you are sitting with your feet flat on the floor,” said Afterman. 

“It really depends on your own height and upper arm length, but the range that most people fall in is between 23 and 29 inches above the floor. I usually recommend a 28-inch tall desk if you can find it, but even that may be too high” said Afterman. She typically prefers height-adjustable desks, which allow you to find the best height for your frame. If you’re looking specifically for standing desks, check out our guide.

Depth

While desk width is a matter of preference, the depth of the surface can impact your comfort if you’re using a computer. If you plan to put a computer monitor on your desk, our experts recommend avoiding desks that are too narrow, which can cause back strain.

“I always recommend a 30-inch-deep desk,” said Afterman. “The problem with a shallow desk is that you cannot get enough distance between your eyes and the monitor when sitting relaxed back in the chair.” You end up resting your hands and wrists on the desktop when using the keyboard and mouse. “These postures can quickly fatigue the upper back and compress the soft tissue or nerves in the wrist,” Afterman said.

However, for those who don’t need a computer, a narrower desk may work just fine.

Thin table top without drawers in the center

Many desks include a drawer or two underneath the tabletop, but this type of design can cause strain on your body. Afterman explains that you increase the risk of bumping your knees on features like drawers, shelves, or panels, and they can interfere with your ability to set your work chair at an appropriate height. “When you have a drawer under the desk, you can only raise your chair so high without your legs bumping into the bottom of the table. This leads to shrugging your shoulders up to use the keyboard and mouse, which quickly leads to shoulder and neck soreness or pain,” said Afterman.

Material

The most common desk materials are wood, metal, glass, and manufactured materials such as medium-density fiberboard, frequently called MDF. Kiln-dried hardwood and metal are more durable choices, but they also drive up the price. If you only need a temporary solution to last a few years, MDF or other faux materials are budget-friendly, but they’re also more prone to wear, stains, and warping. 

Storage

There are many items you may want to keep on hand as you work, ranging from pens and pencils to files, books, and charging cables. If there aren’t other storage spaces nearby, you may want to look for a desk with a side tower of drawers or a built-in file cabinet, as long as they don’t protrude into your leg space

“Ultimately, a good desk provides you with the basic things you need for when you need them,” says Monte. “Maybe this desk has file storage built in or perhaps it’s just got a few basic drawers, but functionality matters.”

Design

Finally, there’s also the matter of choosing a desk that matches your aesthetic. This should be a secondary consideration after ergonomic requirements are met, but there is no shortage of desks to choose from, including modern, contemporary, mid-century, traditional, and more. We focused on ergonomics here in our guide and considered the design when choosing our top picks.

What type of desk do I need?

Four different types of desks in one photo.

There are several common desk styles that you will encounter, and the differences between them can be confusing. Here are the distinctions of each style.

Height-adjustable desks

Height-adjustable desks have gained popularity in recent years, as they allow you to set the exact height of the desktop to suit your chair and body. “A height-adjustable table can be used to optimize the desk height when you’re sitting and has the added bonus of providing a standing option as an alternative to mix into your day,” said Afterman.

These desks are often controlled by electronic panels (which means they need to be plugged into an outlet), but some budget options are manual. Others require tools, like an Allen key, which is more time-consuming.  

Computer desks

Computer desks are specifically designed to accommodate an electronic setup. These desks typically have larger desktops that provide space for a monitor, keyboard, mouse, and other components, and they often have various cord management features, as well. 

Writing desks

When compared to computer desks, writing desks are typically not as spacious. They’re often not deep enough to comfortably use a computer monitor. Writing desks frequently have drawers on one or both sides, as well as under the desktop, providing space to store writing implements and notebooks. Some also feature a hutch on top for additional storage. Because they’re a more traditional style of furniture, you’ll find that many writing desks have a classic aesthetic.

Corner desks

Corner desks have an L-shaped design that fits into the corner of a room. They come in many different styles and materials, and they often provide more workspace than traditional desks. Some may also feature shelves, file cabinets, or drawers built into their designs.

Executive desks

Originally used by managers and other high-ranking professionals, executive desks are large and stately. Because they’re often arranged in the center of a room, they typically have finished backs. Many executive desks have a double-pedestal design, meaning there are file cabinets or drawers on each side. They naturally become the focal point of any space.

Drafting desks

Drafting desks, also called drafting tables or architect’s tables, are used for drawing and sketching. They’re defined by a tilting tabletop, which can generally be fixed at several angles. These desks often have large work surfaces that can accommodate oversized architectural plans or sketch pads, and there may also be drawers, side tables, and organizers for things like pens and paper.

How should you sit at a desk?

White desk with laptop, notebook, lamp on it and a black office chair in front.

In addition to having a desk that’s the proper height, width, and depth, you should also sit properly for comforot and ergonomics. “Foot support is critical to reducing back strain,” said Afterman. “Your feet should be flat on the floor or on a footrest if your seat is raised. The knees should be even with, or slightly lower than, your hips.”

You’ll also want to ensure that your arms are in an appropriate position. “The arms should be supported with the shoulders relaxed,” said Afterman. “You can get support from the chair armrest or the work surface. Avoid resting on the elbows as this can compress the ulnar nerve. Instead, rest on the muscle area of the forearm to allow the shoulders and back to relax.”  

Finally, be sure to position your chair and computer monitor in proper locations to reduce strain. “You should sit close enough to the desk to keep the elbows near the body and avoid reaching forward,” says Afterman. “Set the monitor height with the top of the screen at eyebrow level (lower for bifocal wearers) and close enough to read while you relax back in the chair.”

How should you style a desk?

Desk with photo frame of puppies, black lamp, several books leaning together and flat on the desk as well.

It’s not always easy to arrange your furniture in a way that’s functional but also stylish, and it’s extra challenging when it involves a work desk in your home. “When arranging your desk in your home or office, you want to think about what the focal point of the space is,” says Monte. “When a room lacks a focal point, our eyes tend to bounce all over the place.”

If you have a designated room for an office or want to create a dedicated office space in a living room or bedroom, try creating a natural focal point with a rug. “Not only will this be soft under feet while you’re working, but it will also layer in a bit of warmth to any office,” said Monte. 

Monte recommends opting for a rug that’s significantly larger than your desk, as this will ensure your chair isn’t constantly rolling off the edge. If you’re looking for recommendations for office seating, check out our guide to the best office chairs.

Check out our other home office guides

Full photo of a desk with two monitors, various office supplies, a plant on the floor, and a lamp to the right of the desk.

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