Best Standing Desk Converter of 2021
Our reviewers loved the effortless and intuitive functionality of the VersaDesk PowerPro. It raises and lowers straight up and down with the click of a button. The keyboard tray attaches to the workstation with four thumbscrews, making it simple to install and easy to remove. There are three ports to install monitors, and the desk works well with a dual monitor set-up. The workstation is made from a high-quality particle board with a nearly seamless laminate, and the frame is made from high carbon steel, so it is built to last.
The downsides with this workstation are minimal and fairly inconsequential. The main drawback is that the push-button control is located on the top of the workstation, a potential issue if you need to maximize workspace. Additionally, if you require a mousepad, the keyboard tray is not quite deep enough to accommodate a vertical pad — though it does work well with a horizontal one. These minor things aside, we found this model ideal for anyone who wants a sit-to-stand desk that is well-designed and effortless to raise and lower.Maximum Weight: 80 lbs
Product Weight: 21 lbs
Work Surface Dimensions: 36" (W) x 16 1/4" (D)
Desk Size Options: 36", 40", 48"
Size Tested: 36"
It should come as little surprise that the FlexiSpot M7 AlcoveRiser was a favorite amongst our reviewers. This popular model ticks the boxes on nearly every one of our metrics — it provides a wide range of adjustability, raises straight up and down, and moves fairly effortlessly between positions. Beyond that, it is affordable and aesthetically pleasing. This riser is a slightly less beefy, but only marginally less stable, option than the other FlexiSpot in our review. There is minimal assembly required, as the brackets are pre-installed on the keyboard tray — all you have to do is slide the tray into position and lock it into place. As such, it is easy to ditch the keyboard tray if you only want to use the main workstation. Like other pneumatic risers, it is nearly effortless to raise, and because there are no pre-programmed heights for adjustment, you can hone in on the perfect height for your desk.
There are a few relatively inconsequential drawbacks with the M7. Similar to other pneumatic risers, this desk requires some effort to overcome the spring and lower your workstation. In the lowest position, our reviewers also noticed some play in the keyboard tray. This wasn't a big issue for us, but if you are a keyboard pounder or use a manual keyboard, this could be annoying. The workstation features an "alcove" cut-out, which creates more space for unimpeded typing. However, this could be a drawback if you wish to use the workspace for monitor/s and a laptop. Finally, the keyboard tray on the 28" model proved a bit narrow for use with a horizontal mousepad, though it does accommodate a keyboard and mouse without a mousepad just fine. Overall, this riser is great for students and telecommuters who want a nearly effortless sit-to-stand desk converter that won't break the bank.Maximum Weight: 33 lbs
Product Weight: 34.7 lbs
Work Surface Dimensions: 28.4'' (W) x 16.3''(D)
Desk Size Options: 28", 32", 35", 42"
Size Tested: 28"
The FENGE Sit to Stand Desk Converter was one of the unsung heroes of our review. It strikes a balance between simplicity, ease of use, quality of materials, and affordability. Once you open the box, this riser is ready to go. It features a single lever, a small pneumatic spring, and rubber wheels integrated into the legs of two of the feet, so when you elevate your workstation, the wheels roll along your desk until you get it in the proper position. It is simple, intuitive, and relatively easy to raise and lower. This is the lightest model in our test suite with a gas spring, which means it is easy to move between desks or to set it aside when you're not using it. It also proved to be just as stable as the burlier gas spring models, despite being one of the lightest.
The FENGE is more pared down than other models in that it does not have a keyboard tray. That said, it is comfortable enough to use with a laptop. Additionally, while it is easy to raise and lower this riser, it is not without effort. To activate the gas spring, you must give the workstation a slight boost past the first inch. When you lower it, it lowers smoothly until the final inch when it wants to collapse into its footprint. This could be a problem if you tried to raise or lower the desk with a full cup of coffee balanced on your workstation (not recommended!). This certainly isn't a dealbreaker, but it took our reviewers a few tries to master the raising and lowering mechanism on this model. Finally, while the rubber wheels did not leave any marks on our desks, they may leave marks on yours over time as the wheels wear down. These things aside, the FENGE is a great option for anyone who wants a portable laptop riser on a budget, especially those with minimal office space or smaller desks.Maximum Weight: 37.4 lbs
Product Weight: 17.2 lbs
Work Surface Dimensions: 25.7" (W) x 15.9" (D)
Desk Size Options: 25.7"
Size Tested: 25.7"
The FlexiSpot M2B ClassicRiser is one of the most popular standing desk converters on the market for good reason. It splits the difference between design aesthetic, stability, nearly effortless raising and lowering, and accommodating a wide range of adjustments. This model is nearly ready to go out of the box, only requiring you to slide the keyboard tray into place. If you decide not to use the keyboard tray, it is easily removable with the flick of two quick-release levers. The surface of this desk is unencumbered, providing ample space for dual monitors and a laptop, or whatever your work scene requires. The work surface features a nearly seamless laminate overlaid on particle board with a steel frame and beefy gas spring. It has the appearance and feel of something that was built to last. Beyond function, this riser excels in form as well. It was the crowd favorite in our design survey, winning the highest-ranking of the models in our review.
Like most of the pneumatic risers, the M2B ClassicRiser does require some effort to lower. As a result, it is noticeably more difficult to transition between standing and sitting than with an electric riser. That said, unless you expect to test the weight limits of this model or you have a strength-related medical condition, this shouldn't be a dealbreaker for you, as it still lowers with ease once you overcome the initial resistance from the spring. Unlike many of the other models in our review, this riser has 12 pre-programmed fixed heights, meaning you may not be able to achieve the same degree of finesse in height adjustment. However, this did not impede our reviewers from achieving the appropriate rise for their work set-up. Finally, the M2B has some minor side-to-side wobbling when elevated, but it's not significant enough to affect typing. However, keep this in mind if you are an aggressive typer and your surface desk isn't stable, or if you plan to load your converter up with heavy dual monitors. Overall, this is an excellent option for someone seeking a versatile, durable, and aesthetically pleasing sit-to-stand workstation who doesn't mind the extra effort required by a pneumatic lift over an electric option.Maximum Weight: 35 lbs
Product Weight: 50.6 lbs
Work Surface Dimensions: 35"(W) x 31.5"(D)
Desk Size Options: 27", 35", 41" ,47"
Size Tested: 35"
The Seville Classics airLIFT features an effortless transition between sitting and standing thanks to an electric motor. The switch is located on the right-hand side of the desk and includes a USB charging port, freeing up your workstation for actual work. This desk riser provided the most functional space of any model in our review and includes a tablet or phone slot to aid in your on-desk organization (or distraction) scheme. Our reviewers were impressed with the quality of construction and the elegance of design. This model features clean lines, beveled edges, a high-quality laminate over particleboard, and a beefy steel frame.
This riser was among the heaviest we reviewed, at over 50 pounds. Given how large and heavy it is, you will want to put it on your desk and leave it there, as it is not easy to relocate. Compared to the other converters in this review, the airLIFT also commanded a longer set-up time because you have to install the mounting brackets to the keyboard tray and then install the keyboard tray to the workstation. As such, the keyboard tray is rather fixed. You could unscrew it from the workstation, but this would be annoying to do with any frequency. Additionally, there are stickers on the brackets to help you identify which side of the keyboard tray to install them to, which proved rather difficult to remove even with rubbing alcohol. Aside from these issues, our reviewers were still impressed with the smooth raising and lowering of this model. It would be a perfect fit for anyone with a large desk who seeks an effortless transition between sitting and standing, especially those in need of a workstation to accommodate dual monitors and a laptop.Maximum Weight: 33 lbs
Product Weight: 50.7 lbs
Work Surface Dimensions: 36" (W) x 23.3" (D)
Desk Size Options: 36" (Electric)
Size Tested: 36"
With its weighted base, the VariDesk Pro Plus is one of the more stable risers in our review. This converter also arrives ready to go with the keyboard tray pre-installed — just lift it out of the box and get working. The keyboard tray is among the most spacious in our review, large enough to accommodate a small laptop or a standard keyboard and mouse with mousepad. This model's quality is among the best in our review, with a seamless laminate with beveled edges and a steel frame that's built to last. The VariDesk performed well in our design survey as well, scoring within the top four among respondents. The workstation is roomy enough to accommodate dual monitors, a monitor with a laptop and notebook, or most anything else you're planning to throw at it.
Some of the features of the VariDesk Pro Plus that enabled it to earn high marks were also drawbacks when considered from a different angle. For one, the weighted base that leads to increased stability makes the VariDesk one of the heaviest desk risers in our review. Additionally, this desk has 11 fixed heights, which means that for some people, it may be too high or too low for their preferences. Given that this converter swings forward, it is essential to make sure you have a wide enough desk to accommodate it — the base requires a 24" wide/deep desk to ensure maximum stability. It features a dual lever lift that requires some muscle to counteract the lift's thrust and some effort to lower the riser. To get it to lock into place in the lowest position, you have to put pressure on the desk; otherwise, it wants to lock into the second-lowest position. To raise and lower, you must simultaneously engage both paddle levers on each side — if one side of the desk doesn't lock into place, the riser may stop in a lopsided position. Be mindful of this when the desk is fully loaded with unattached monitors or a cup of coffee, as this could cause a disaster. All of that said, once you become accustomed to the quirks of this standing desk converter, it is a surprisingly stable option with tons of workspace for a large desk. This is why we believe it would be an ideal option for a dedicated home office with room to accommodate the forward swing.Maximum Weight: 36 lbs
Product Weight: 64.8 lbs
Work Surface Dimensions: 36" (W) x 12.25" (D)
Desk Size Options: 30", 36"
Size Tested: 36"
If you tend to exert as much force as a mini-jackhammer while pounding away on your keyboard, the Vivo DESK-V000VD Desk Riser might be an ideal match for you. It was the most stable of all the desk risers in our review. This riser features a recessed workstation, which allows you to situate your keyboard slightly closer to your monitors and type unimpeded by the workstation. The pneumatic lift enables a smooth rising mechanism, and the spring feels less punchy than other models that swing forward as they rise. The spring action is slower than other risers, but this makes it easier on whoever has to lift it. Additionally, with the levers being positioned slightly forward from the middle of the work station, it is easy to use the wings of the workstation to give you extra leverage as you lower it — as long as your arms are long enough and your hands are large enough to engage both levers. There is a tablet or phone slot at the front of the desk for better desk organization or to allow you to use your tablet in conjunction with your monitors or laptop. The keyboard tray is easily removable with four thumbscrews. However, once removed, a steel tab extends off the riser, which could be annoying when the tray is not in use. If you don't need the tray, you can remove the brackets with a screwdriver.
Out of the box, the Vivo DESK-V000VD commands some extra time for installing brackets on the keyboard tray and screwing rubber feet to the base. The rubber feet are not secure, they are held on with screws, but the screw heads are too narrow to bite into the rubber. As such, this riser left noticeable gouges in our lead reviewer's lower desk surface. If you opt to go with this model, it would be a good idea to find bolts with a larger head or washers sufficiently wide to hold the rubber feet in place. This riser also requires you to sacrifice more desk space to accommodate the length of the desk feet. It swings forward as it rises, which moves you backward from where you would typically stand, demanding more space adjacent to your desk. The keyboard tray is fairly narrow and does not have wings that extend beyond the workstation, meaning there is minimal space for using a mouse, especially if you intend to use a mousepad. Despite these concerns, the Vivo is a great option for someone seeking a sturdy standing desk converter to hammer out late-night soliloquies or do detail-oriented work requiring minimal monitor movement.Maximum Weight: 33 lbs
Product Weight: 41.4 lbs
Work Surface Dimensions: 36" (W) x 22" (D)
Desk Size Options: 32", 36"
Size Tested: 36"
The popular no-frills FEZiBO Standing Desk is a reasonable option for the price. With a sliding x-style spring, it raises straight up and down, resting in its footprint in the lowest position. The gas spring is well-tuned on this model, offering smooth, intuitive, and almost effortless height adjustment. We appreciate the large adjustment range, which is essential if you are on the taller end of the spectrum. If you prefer to have the option to ditch the keyboard tray, it is easy to install or remove. This riser also features a tablet/phone slot in the front of the workstation, and the keyboard tray is wide enough to accommodate a standard keyboard and mouse.
Out of the box, the FEZiBO requires some extra time and attention to install the keyboard tray. The assembly instructions are somewhat difficult to follow, but the pieces fit together intuitively — just be sure you install the brackets on the correct side of the keyboard tray. The product comes with three foam pads to install on your keyboard tray as surface protectors. It might be a good idea to place the riser on your desk and then place the foam pads on the keyboard tray where the tray makes contact with your desk. Our biggest concern with this product is that ours wobbled like a patio table at a dive bar. To give it a fighting chance, our lead reviewer wedged the equivalent of several sugar packets under one of the feet. Once stabilized, the desk was balanced enough to forget our initial concerns. Finally, akin to other pneumatic risers, this one does require some muscle to urge the work station down.Maximum Weight: 37.5 lbs
Product Weight: 33.71 lbs
Work Surface Dimensions: 36" (W) x 15.7" (D)
Desk Size Options: 32", 36"
Size Tested: 32"
We love the sleek, attractive, portable, and lightweight design of the affordable Nulaxy Laptop Stand. Ready to go out of the box, this laptop riser is great for anyone looking to elevate their laptop while reading or meeting in Zoom-land. It features a ventilation hole to deter your laptop from overheating and accommodates a range of laptop sizes from 10"-17". To adjust the height, you must rotate each hinge and then use the lever to get the final range of extension. Unlike other models in our review, it is better to adjust the height or angle without your laptop on the stand. When seated, you can use the Nulaxy to change the angle of your laptop and slightly elevate it for better posture. This aluminum stand is well-designed and aesthetically pleasing, featuring high-quality construction with tight hinges.
If you crave a desk riser that can move easily from standing to sitting, the Nulaxy may leave you wanting, as it can be somewhat annoying to change the height of this model. The stand is not very stable while typing in the highest position, and the highest height is much lower than with other risers. Perhaps our biggest complaint is that the rubber pads on the front lip dug into our reviewer's wrists while typing. This is a bigger issue for people with large hands, but it is a significant concern if you want to use your laptop stand for typing. However, if you are just looking for an affordable option for standing while reading or teleconferencing, then the Nulaxy might be perfect for you.Maximum Weight: 22 lbs
Product Weight: 2.76 lbs
Work Surface Dimensions: Compatible with 10"-17" laptops
Desk Size Options: N/A
Size Tested: N/A
The HUANUO Adjustable Laptop Stand is the most affordable standing desk converter in our review. We were impressed with how stable this stand is, even in the highest position. It is well crafted for what it is, with a laminate-coated particle board work surface and decently lightweight steel. Were any of the joints or pieces to wear out, they all look easy to replace with a standard toolset. In other words, it gets the job done without any extra bells and whistles and without breaking the bank.
Unfortunately, the cons stack up from there. You must install the work platform out of the box, which is fairly straightforward, but the HUANUO had the most time-consuming and annoying assembly of all the models tested. Additionally, to install the workstation, you drive tiny self-drilling screws into particleboard, and it was a struggle to get some of the screws to bite into the wood. This was also the most challenging of all the stands to raise and lower — it's straightforward but quite finicky. Perhaps the worst aspect of this stand is a metal "catch" for the laptop to make sure it doesn't slide off, but this catch digs into the wrists while using. As such, this might be better suited for reading or Zooming than for typing. Drawbacks aside, this is an affordable option for anyone looking to elevate their laptop while reading or having a video call.Maximum Weight: Unknown
Product Weight: 11.43 lbs
Work Surface Dimensions: Compatible with laptops ≥15.6"
Desk Size Options: N/A
Size Tested: N/A
Why You Should Trust Us
This review is brought to you by Mary Witlacil. As a perpetual graduate student, Mary has logged thousands of hours writing and reading at her desk, both at home and in the office. Her years spent working on a Ph.D. lend to an astute eye and analytical mind, ideal for examining every aspect of the standing desk converters covered in our review.
We waded through more than 40 of the most promising standing desk converters before whittling them down to the selection you see here. Once they arrived, we busted the risers out of their boxes, assembled them as needed, and put them through rigorous side-by-side comparison. In our analysis, we considered ergonomics, ease of use, quality of materials, and design. We loaded them up, used them standing and sitting, tested each of their moving parts, and tried to find their weaknesses. If you found our review because you feel overwhelmed by the proliferation of similar-looking and sounding products, read on to learn about their subtle differences and how each riser stacks up against the competition.
Analysis and Test Results
To test each converter's quality, we considered every riser from box to desk and assessed each model for strengths and points of failure. Our reviewers tested the risers for the ease of raising and lowering, the stability of the desk, ergonomics, features, design, quality, and aesthetics. Below, we've detailed the ins and outs of each metric.
Ergonomics is the most important consideration when choosing a standing desk converter. For the sake of our review, ergonomics encompassed the adjustability of each riser, the stability of the riser while in the highest and lowest positions, and the proper position of the workstation relative to the keyboard tray. We also considered if each model worked well when either standing or sitting.
The VersaDesk PowerPro performed impressively on this metric, providing a surprising degree of stability and one of the highest ranges of adjustability (from 5 - 20" above the surface of your desk). The height of the keyboard tray compliments the height of the workstation, though the difference between the two works better with a monitor than a laptop. The keyboard tray can easily accommodate an ergonomic keyboard and mouse and can be removed by twisting three thumbscrews if you don't need it.
Another ace performer in terms of ergonomics is the Seville Classics airLIFT. This riser has slightly less adjustable range (from 6.5 - 19" above the surface of your desk) but is one of the most stable models in our review. The keyboard tray is large enough to accommodate a keyboard and mouse or a laptop; however, it is annoying to remove the tray with any frequency as it is affixed with four screws. The distance between the keyboard tray and the workstation enables good posture in both seated and standing positions, as long as you have an office chair that can accommodate a slightly elevated keyboard.
We were also impressed by the ergonomics of the FlexiSpot M7 Alcove Riser, which offers a nominally better range of adjustability (from 4.75 - 20" above the surface of your desk) and impressive stability for a model with an x-spring raising and lowering mechanism.
Ease of Use
The second most important aspect of a standing desk converter is how easy it is to use. To determine this metric, our reviewers paid attention to the set-up and assembly process, the ease and intuitiveness of raising and lowering each riser, and whether or not it was seamless to move between standing and sitting. Was the product ready to go out of the box, or did it involve an aggravating assembly process? Were the instructions easy to follow? Finally, how easy was it to lift and lower the desk?
In general, the electric-powered options are the easiest to raise and lower with some variation in how much assembly they require. The VersaDesk PowerPro is a clear winner in this category, as it arrived with minimal assembly required out of the box, and it raises and lowers with the push of a button. Another electric model, the Seville Classics airLIFT, is incredibly easy to use once the keyboard tray is installed (a rather involved process with difficult-to-remove stickers). Otherwise, raising and lowering both of these models is smooth, intuitive, and easy.
Among the pneumatic gas spring options, the M7 AlcoveRiser and the M2B Classic Riser (both from FlexiSpot) proved the easiest to raise, lower, and assemble. Like most of the pneumatic spring risers, elevation is easy and smooth, but lowering the workstation requires a little effort. Overcoming the mechanical resistance of the spring while lowering could be a challenge for folks with low back problems, arthritis, or other medical conditions. Additionally, this can be problematic with a fully loaded workstation or for shorter people. Of all the pneumatic options, however, these two proved easiest to transition between sitting and standing. And, given that FlexiSpot desk converters come with quick release keyboard trays, these two require minimal set-up time. Simply lift them out of the box, situate them on your desk, install the keyboard tray, load them up with your equipment, and go!
Quality of Materials
When investing in something like a standup desk converter, one primary concern is whether it can withstand heavy use over the long haul. To address the quality of each product in our review, we considered the quality of the work surface, laminate, frame, and lifting mechanism. We paid attention to each desk riser's moving parts, hardware, and joints, noting any weak points in manufacturing.
Yet again, both of the electric models scored favorably in this category. The VersaDesk PowerPro features a scratch-resistant laminate over a durable particleboard surface. The hardware is powder-coated carbon steel and built to last. The Seville Classics airLIFT boasts a seamless laminate with beveled edges, a particleboard work surface, and steel hardware. Our only gripe with the Seville, like several other models in our review, are cheap-feeling plastic covers for the feet. However, this likely won't be an issue unless you have to move this behemoth of a desk around regularly.
No surprise that the VariDesk Pro Plus also performed well in this category. The work surface is top-notch with a seamless laminate and the brackets connecting the keyboard tray are steel and riveted to the tray. Like the Seville airLIFT, the covers for the feet are plastic, which could chip or wear over time, but that's likely only a concern if the converter gets moved around a lot.
Finally, the FlexiSpot M2B ClassicRiser checks all the boxes for a quality desk converter. This model has a seamless laminate, high-caliber workstation, steel hardware, and a well-tuned gas spring. It has the appearance of something that is built to last.
To assess design, an admittedly subjective metric, we polled a group of friends and colleagues, asking them to rank the desk risers in terms of their aesthetic appeal. Besides asking for our friend's opinions, we also considered each model's features, how well the keyboard tray integrated with the workstation, and whether the converters left noticeable marks on our desktop.
Many of the top performers in this category only eked out marginal leads over their competitors. However, the crowd favorite in this category by a large margin was the popular FlexiSpot M2B AlcoveRiser. This riser is elegant in its simplicity, featuring clean lines and an unencumbered workspace. The keyboard tray has a quick-release lever, which is a definite perk for those who don't use a separate keyboard. The double-x style spring raises and lowers in its footprint, so it doesn't command extra real estate on the surface of your desk, and it didn't leave any noticeable marks on our desk.
The VersaDesk PowerPro came in a close second in this category, holding up to scrutiny in both form and function. It is aesthetically pleasing and designed to meet the needs of all users. The keyboard tray is easily removable, and the work surface has three cut-outs for mounting monitor arms or routing cables. With the release of four thumbscrews, you can easily remove the keyboard tray, a great feature for those just using a laptop. However, the switch for raising and lowering the desk is on the top of the work surface, which could be a problem depending on how you organize your workspace.
The FlexiSpot M7 AlcoveRiser and the VariDesk Pro Plus tied for third in our design survey. The FlexiSpot is quite attractive and features a u-shaped work surface, which works well with either a laptop or monitor. The keyboard tray is well-integrated with the desk thanks to the cut-out and is also easily removable. The VariDesk is sleek, elegant, and provides ample space for whatever equipment and accessories you may want on your desk. The keyboard tray is fixed but large enough to accommodate a laptop or a large keyboard and mouse. The only aspect of the design that raises any questions is that when you raise or lower the desk, it swings forward and requires some extra attention to make sure it doesn't rise too fast. It also requires a bit of extra muscle to engage the lowering mechanism.
If you want to stand your way to better health but don't want a whole new desk, a standing desk converter can be a great solution. However, it can be challenging to discern between so many similar-looking and sounding products on the market. Our expert review team tested some of the best options to help you decide which model is best for you. We assessed each model for stability, adjustability, and features, testing each in various ways to help disambiguate the field. Whether you're looking for a high-end electric converter to accommodate multiple monitors or a simple laptop stand, our review can help steer you in the right direction.
— Mary Witlacil