The best cheap standing desks are those that are flexible enough to work well in your existing workspace or just about anywhere around your home. If you are physically able to, standing while working — even in short spurts — is one of the best things you can do for your health. The trouble with standing desks is that they are often expensive and replace otherwise perfect office furniture, but thankfully there are several affordable and portable alternatives. Our favorite overall is the VariDesk Pro Plus 36 because it sits on top of an existing desk or tabletop, and it is incredibly spacious, sturdy, and adjustable.
Best Overall Cheap Standing Desk: VariDesk Pro Plus 36″
VariDesk is one of the most well-known manufacturers of standing desks. In addition to the stand-alone electronic and manual desks, it also makes several desktop units that you can place on existing workspaces. Out of these, my favorite is hands-down the Pro Plus 36. The unit consists of two levels — an upper section for your laptop and/or monitor(s) and a lower area for your mouse, keyboard, notepad, or whatever else you want.
This particular unit is operated by hand, with two clasps on each side that you grip down on to raise or lower the desk. This raising mechanism is so fluid and smooth that practically anyone can operate it, regardless of coordination or strength. It’s also sturdy. I used one at another job, and I found the thing to be rock solid. It didn’t move much when elevated, and I had complete confidence that my laptop and monitor were supported.
The most significant downsides to the Pro Plus 36 are its price (it’s nearly expensive, and it’s not even a full desk) and its weight and size. While it’s easy for anyone to operate while in place, getting it up onto the desktop might be challenging. It comes in at 35 pounds and is at least 36 inches wide and 27 inches deep, so it will take up a sizeable chunk of your existing desk real estate.
- Solid and sturdy
- Big enough to hold a laptop and monitor
- Easy to adjust the height
- Very large
- Heavy to move
- A bit pricey for some
Best Overall Cheap Standing Desk
VariDesk Pro Plus 36 Dual Monitor Standing Desk Converter
- $395 at Amazon
- $395 at Newegg
Double your desktop
The VariDesk Pro Plus 36 is a well-built and easy-to-operate standing desk solution that you can have confidence in.
Best All-In-One Cheap Standing Desk: SHW Electric Height Adjustable Computer Desk
This adjustable electric desk from SHW might be more of what you picture when you think of an open-plan office filled with worker bees at their standing desks, but that image is in your head for a reason. This is an excellent form factor, with a wide tabletop, plenty of legroom, and the ability to raise and lower at will with the push of a button.
You can get this desk in many different configurations, sizes, and colors, but I suspect most will opt for the 48-inch or 55-inch rectangular tabletop models. You can choose from a black or walnut finish to fit the style of your decor. The desk can be adjusted, and there are four memory presets to accommodate multiple people or preferences.
One of the most significant drawbacks to a desk like this is that you don’t have any storage space (apart from a wire cord organizer under the desk), so if you want to keep your stand up desk clutter-free, you’ll need to invest in some boxes or other containers. Once you put this desk where you want it, it’s not that easy to move, as it doesn’t come with wheels or casters. Just something to keep in mind as you arrange your home office space!
- Electric controls
- Clean, classic look
- Comes in multiple finishes and sizes
- Plenty of tabletop space
- Memory presets
- No storage options
- No wheels or casters to move easily
Best All-In-One Cheap Standing Desk
SHW Electric Height Adjustable Computer Desk
- $200 at Amazon
The SHW adjustable height electric computer desk is an excellent addition to any office and provides a clean and open workspace.
Best Value Cheap Standing Desk: FITUEYES Height Adjustable Standing Desk
Not only is this standing desk a great value, but it’s also one of the most versatile and portable options we’ve seen. At only 20-by-30 inches, this desk takes up very little space on an existing desk or tabletop, and at a mere 20 pounds, it’s manageable enough for most people to move. Don’t let its smaller form factor fool you. With its non-slip footings and sturdy steel frame, this desk is durable enough for both occasional and daily use.
Even at a smaller size than other desks on this list, you can still easily fit a decent-sized computer monitor and laptop side-by-side and have room for a keyboard and mouse as well. The biggest downside is that it could be a little challenging to operate the mechanism to raise or lower the stand — at least in comparison to the VariDesk Pro Plus 36 and its much more fluid movement.
- Small footprint
- Sturdy construction
- Great price
- Raising or lowering requires some strength
- 30 inches may not be enough for your needs
Best Value Cheap Standing Desk
FITUEYES Height Adjustable Standing Desk
- From $85 at Amazon
- $100 at Walmart
It fits in many spots
Fitueyes may sound like a funny name, but this is an excellent standing desk option if you want to spend less.
Most Flexible Cheap Standing Desk: Mobile Fixed-Height Two-Tier Stand Up Desk
This standing desk looks like it would fit in well in a hospital as a nurse’s mobile workstation, but it is assuredly flexible enough to fit your needs as well. It comes equipped with two desks or platforms that can be raised or lowered to suit your work style. You can use one side for a keyboard and the other for a laptop or monitor, or you could even share the desk with a friend, family member, or coworker in a pinch.
As its name implies, this desk is not only flexible but mobile as well. It has four wheels or casters on the bottom, so you can quickly push it to wherever you want to work at that moment. Get a change of scenery by moving from the home office to the dining room, or chase that natural light from the living room to the back bedroom. Whatever it takes to get your work done and keep you productive!
This desk comes in four different sizes (24, 32, 40, and 48 inches) and three different color options (black/silver, black/teak, silver/walnut), so you’re sure to find a version that fits your needs and decor.
- Two platforms to stack your stuff on
- Multiple sizes and color options
- Four wheels for mobility
- Very affordable
- Platforms are not independently adjustable
- Adjusting the height once you put stuff on the shelves can be a pain
Most Flexible Cheap Standing Desk
Mobile Fixed-Height Two-Tier Stand Up Desk
- From $129 at Amazon
With two adjustable platforms and four caster wheels, the Mobile Standing Desk from SDADI is meant for those who like to move.
Cutest Cheap Standing Desk: Stand Steady Joy Desk
Yes, I used the word cutest, and I’m not embarrassed about that. This desk is at a good height of approximately 42 inches and has plenty of room underneath for your legs, computer workstation, trashcan, and whatever else you need to hide down there. There is ample workspace on the main tabletop at 47.25 inches wide by 23.75 inches deep, but that’s not even my favorite feature.
Often with these spartan standing desks, what you gain in flexibility you lose in utility with things like storage and compartments. That’s not the case here. This desk features a riser to put your monitor, lamp, plant, or other accouterments on and three large cubbies to tuck away notepads and knick-knacks. This desk is available with glass, maple, or white finish and is relatively easy to assemble.
The biggest drawback that we’ve seen with this desk is that it can be a little on the shaky side if it’s not supported against a wall or other piece of furniture. However, if it’s anchored against something more substantial, you shouldn’t notice much of a wobble.
- Amble desktop space
- Multiple finish options
- Cute cubbies for storage
- Great design
- Maybe wobbly if not adequately anchored
Cutest Cheap Standing Desk
Stand Steady Joy Desk
- $200 at Amazon
Stand up storage
This desk addresses two of the biggest complaints with stand-up desks — style and storage.
Most Portable Cheap Standing Desk: Levit8 Folding Standing Desk
We’ve already seen some good portable standing desk solutions on this list, but this option from Levit8 is the ultimate in portability. It weighs less than a pound, and when collapsed, it’s roughly the same size as a contemporary laptop. After a few tries, it’s easy to assemble and disassemble quickly, and it has such a small footprint, you can turn any flat surface into a platform for your standing desk.
The Levit8 comes in three colors: coral, sesame, and my favorite — sea. It is also available in three different heights, which it labels medium, large, and x-large, but correspond to approximately 12, 14, and 16 inches tall. All heights have the same width and depth at 9-by-9 inches.
While we love how cleverly designed this product is, there are a few potential drawbacks to note. The biggest is that this “desk” can really only support one laptop and nothing else. If you need or want to use an external keyboard, mouse, or monitor, or if you just want room for notes and a pen, you’re out of luck. The other thing to keep in mind is that this product, while made out of durable nylon, is not made out of metal, wood, or even plastic, so its longevity compared with other solutions is a question.
- Super lightweight and thin
- Comes in different stand heights and colors
- Can fit with your laptop in a bag
- Won’t take up any extra space in your home
- No room for anything but a laptop
- Nylon not as durable as metal, wood, or steel
- Can be a bit confusing to get the hang of
Most Portable Cheap Standing Desk
Levit8 Folding Standing Desk
- From $28 at Amazon
The Levit8 is ultra-lightweight and portable. It fits in any laptop bag and can be quickly set up and disassembled.
Best Cheap Standing Desk for School Children: VariDesk Vari Education
Not everyone who needs or wants one of the best standing desks is a working professional or hobbyist. Some are children. Whether they’re forced home by illness or quarantine or just prefer to stand while doing their homework, this segment of the population is often overlooked in the office furniture space. Thankfully VariDesk, which has appeared on our list already, has a line of desks purpose-built for young students.
This Vari Education Standing School desk is well suited for children ages 5-12. It has an adjustable range of 34-42 inches, and it’s 28 inches wide and 22 inches deep. An often overlooked feature of standing desks, this one comes with a dual-level footrest for those fidgety feet. The desktop is also made up of a sealed laminate to stand up to the abuse it will undoubtedly see in daily usage.
In my opinion, the biggest downside to this desk is that your kiddos likely won’t be able to adjust the height without some help. It would be ideal if it were as easy to manipulate as the VeriDesk Pro Plus, but that would be a premium feature with a premium price tag.
- Made for kids
- Dual-level footrest
- Higher priced than some alternatives
- Not easy for kids to adjust by themselves
- Not for older or taller kids
Best Cheap Standing Desk for School Children
VariDesk Vari Education
- $195 at Newegg
Kids need to work too
VariDesk is one of the few standing desk manufacturers we’ve come across that make bespoke children’s furniture.
The best standing desks have become a sensation in the workplace for several years now, and there’s no reason why they can’t make a move to the home office as well. One of my absolute favorite standing desk solutions is the VeriDesk Pro Plus 36 because it’s sturdy, supportive, spacious, and easy to operate. It also doesn’t require you to disrupt your current decor by getting a completely new desk or workspace.
If you prefer a full desk solution, there are many great ones to choose from and more portable options for smaller spaces. Whatever option suits you and your space, you’re sure to come to love the freedom and flexibility that a standing desk can provide — not to mention the health benefits!
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Jeramy Johnson is proud to help Keep Austin Weird and loves hiking in the hill country of central Texas with a breakfast taco in each hand. When he’s not writing about smart home gadgets and wearables, he’s defending his relationship with his smart voice assistants to his family. You can follow him on Twitter at @jeramyutgw.