We came, we stood, we’re never looking back.
Having been confined to a chair at a desk for many, many years now, we jumped at the recent opportunity to try three of the leading standing desks on the market: Humanscale’s QuickStand, Ergotron’s WorkFit-S with a work surface, and Varidesk’s Pro Plus 36.
These things are revelatory.
Aside from the numerous benefits that you’ve probably already heard about, we’ll give you our account of using these desks over the course of a few weeks. Each is a desk that you install by either clamping on to or setting on top of your current desk or work surface. Each is customizable to your height and allows you to alternate between sitting and standing.
First, a word on the experience of standing at work, generally, regardless of the apparatus in front of us. We love it. Across the board, we felt more energized and focused. We don’t think we surfed the Internet a ton in between tasks, which — maybe we’re the only ones, but… — tends to happen while sitting. Once we finished a task on the computer, we found ourselves much more inclined to just walk away — to the kitchen, to another colleague’s desk, etc. — for a quick break, instead of plunging into an Instagram hole.
Another cool experience: conference calls while standing up. We tend to gesticulate when we talk, and taking a call on our feet allowed us to move around, talk with our hands, and more fully express ideas on the phone. Our seated conference-call-taking posture is way different, and we were left to wonder if sometimes phone calls seem so miserable because we’re hunched over our desks, teetering on the edge of that same Instagram canyon, not fully engaging in the conversation because we just want it to be over. The experience was entirely different — and better — on our feet.
One word of caution: you do get tired, and your feet do get sore. After a couple hours of standing, we definitely felt like sitting down for a few. But this has a lot more to do with us than the desks — and in fact, researchers have found that the optimum approach is to split your day 50/50 between sitting and standing.
Now, to the specifics of each model we tested.
Humanscale QuickStand, $699
The QuickStand is, to our eyes, the most elegant of the three we tested: the adjustment is smooth and incredibly stable, and it had the most minimal impact in terms of affecting how your desk is already set up. Cables for your monitor, keyboard, and mouse are harnessed in the arm where you connect your monitor, which is lovely.
The only drawback? The desk in this image has a larger work surface than the one we tested, which left us wishing we had space to set a notebook, pens, and maybe even a cup of coffee while we worked.
Ergotron WorkFit-S with a work surface, $499
The WorkFit-S’s big standout feature is the option to attach a work surface. One drawback of any standing desk that clamps on to your current desk is that, as mentioned above, once you raise it, you’ve lost your work surface. Not so with the WorkFit-S — your pens, notebooks, and even your coffee can move with you.
Aside from the useful work surface, there’s not much else to distinguish the WorkFit from the QuickStand — the movement when you adjust it is a little bit wobbly, but the lower price point may be appealing to some. Here, too, you can neatly route the cables through the adjustable arm.
Varidesk Pro Plus 36, $395
Here’s the wildcard of the group, paying no mind to these more complex standing desks! No clamping or complicated cable management — it comes fully assembled, just plop it right down on to your desk.
Cables slide through the opening between surfaces, and there’s enough going on that you don’t really notice them. If your job requires lots of supplies, you’ll like this one, because you can really spread out on it. This is also great for someone who works primarily from a laptop (and for testing and review, that’s what we did — laptopped).
End of the day, we’d recommend any one of these desks. If pressed, we’d tell you that QuickStand is the superior choice of the three, but if price is an issue, you’ll stand more at any of them, and at some for less.