Desks are a critical component of any office environment, whether you’re working in a corporate office in a cubicle, you’re given your own office in the building, or you’re establishing a home office during pandemic lockdowns. Now that we’re moving into 2021, it’s time to treat yourself and start looking for a desk that suits you.
For those who are bigger and taller than average, your desk needs may be outside the norms. While it’s not as difficult to find a suitable desk as it is a chair, it’s still an important decision. That’s why we’ve put together this list of 12 of the best office desk options available to you today.
What to Look For
If you’re a tall person looking for a desk that suits you, you probably already know that a normal desk is uncomfortable, but you might not know exactly what’s going on. In part, you can fix some of your problems by getting a chair better suited to your body type, but that will only solve some of your problems.
When shopping for a desk, here’s what you should be looking for.
- Legroom. Tall people often have very long legs, and a small desk that has its legs in the way, or under-desk support structures, or a keyboard tray, can dramatically hamper the amount of space you have to sit. Thus, you want a desk that is big enough to accommodate longer legs with no obstructions.
- Height. A taller torso means a taller level from which your head is looking at your desk, and from which your arms are reaching to interact with items on your desk. The best desks for you are typically going to be adjustable and able to be positioned at a higher level than a standard desk surface.
- Space. In order to maintain ergonomic posture even though you’re tall, you’ll want to position your computer screen at something closer to eye level. This means you need enough space for a monitor riser, monitor arm, or another supporting device to position your screen just below eye level. Remember a screen that is too high or too low will lead to neck and back pain.
Of all of these, height is typically the most important. A taller desk means more legroom and an easier viewing angle for your screens as it is, so the other issues are minimized, if not altogether mitigated, by having an adjustable or a taller desk.
One of the simplest possible designs for an adjustable sitting-standing desk is motorized legs and a simple rectangular flat surface. That’s what this desk provides you, but with additional features that include computerized adjustments and smooth transitions. While this desk is originally designed for standard height in both sitting and standing, it can extend to a height ideal for tall people, and when sitting, it can stop and lock in a higher-than-average position to give you more height and legroom.
This is a good desk to pick if you want to experiment with a standing desk and aren’t sure if you’re going to like it. The design and computerized electronic motors minimize the typical issues you might experience with a manual adjustment standing desk, and the 52” top height makes it ideal for standing as well as sitting.
The second option on this list is another desk from Autonomous. This desk uses the same set of technology as the SmartDesk, and as such, offers the same range of benefits as the SmartDesk 2. It can adjust to a height tall enough for a big and tall person, and it’s nice and open beneath, offering plenty of space for longer legs to sit comfortably.
The primary benefit of the L-shaped desk is the space on the desktop surface itself. Big and tall people have a larger “wingspan” than average people as well, which means a smaller desk surface can sometimes feel cramped even if there’s enough space for your normal tasks. This desk takes care of that problem by giving you plenty of surface area to work on.
Much like the L-shaped desk from Autonomous, this desk provides all of the same benefits but serves as a kind of a cross between the SmartDesk 2 and the L-shaped desk. It’s larger than the normal SmartDesk surface, giving you more area to use. It has the same height adjustments, the same amount of legroom, and the same computerized controls.
The only potential drawback to this desk is the curved surface. It’s ideal for creating a ring or array of several desks side by side, but if you’re simply using one desk, it might not use your space efficiently. It doesn’t really nest up against a wall as easily as a traditional or L-shaped desk does, so there’s a little bit of space left in a corner. On the other hand, that space can be ideal for a monitor mount, a standing lamp, or another accessory to make your life easier, so it really comes down to personal preference.
The Ikea Bekant desk is sort of like a traditional rectangular desk surface, except it has a slight extension, which can be found in both right-hand and left-hand versions. This provides you slightly more desk surface and space to work than a traditional desk, without taking up as much space as a full L-shaped desk.
The primary benefit of the Bekant desk is that it’s adjustable in height above and beyond what a normal sitting desk is, so you can adjust it to be higher than average to suit your own personal height. It’s a mechanical adjustment, so it’s not as easy as a computerized standing desk. It’s also not a standing desk, so its maximum height is lower than the standing settings on a standing desk. You can, however, put it on a standing desk underframe also available from Ikea if you’re willing to make a second purchase.
This desk available from Costco is a somewhat expensive desk for a standing desk option. As a sit-stand desk, it offers an adjustable height all the way up to 72” in height, suitable for even the largest people on record. This desk also comes with monitor arms, though those arms are not given a wide range of adjustments, nor do they fit all computer screens.
While this desk provides an adequate height and adjustment capability, it is also a hydraulic lift rather than a motorized lift. This means it can be jerky and awkward to raise or lower, which can disincentivize adjusting between the two positions throughout the day. It can also make it more difficult to adjust to a specific height that is most comfortable for you; you may have to settle for “close enough” more often than you would like. Plus, you will need a Costco membership to make the purchase.
This shaped offering from ApexDesk is a traditional rectangular desk with a semicircular cutout where you sit, allowing you greater freedom of movement and greater depth than you get from a traditional desk. This can be good or it can be bad, depending on whether or not the wings of the desk get in the way of the arms of your chair or not.
The desk is another sit-stand desk with an electronic control box and smooth movement, making it ideal for a frequently-adjusted lifestyle. However, it only adjusts to a maximum height of 48”, which means it might be too short for the tallest people reading this article.
This desk has a minimalist design with an open framework. This makes it ideal for legroom, but it’s not that great for the desktop surface itself. Sometimes it can feel more like a thin counter space than an actual desktop surface, especially if you have a monitor or two in place and need more room for other office tools. The desk is also not adjustable, which means it has relatively narrow benefits for a small range of large people. On the plus side, it’s one of the cheapest desks on this list, so it’s a budget-friendly option.
This is a simple, cheap desk available from Walmart and other department stores. It’s a decent budget option, but suffers from some of the same drawbacks as the Bon Augure desk; namely, that it has a relatively narrow surface. The cage for the legs can also be a little constricting. It is an adjustable height desk, but rather than adjusting the entire surface by raising the legs, it essentially has a Z-lift converter built into the surface of the desk. This means that the actual surface of the desk does not raise from the bottom, so it can’t adjust upwards for additional legroom.
This desk is nearly identical in construction to the Tribedesigns desk, only instead of being made of a mixture of wood and steel, it’s made entirely out of wood. Sauder desks have greater longevity than other cheap desks, and they look great, but all of the other pros and cons of this desk style still apply. The maximum desk surface height is lower than you might want, and it restricts legroom more than might be comfortable. Still, it’s a valid option if you want something that can match with other furniture in your home.
This is a sit-stand desk and, as such, has the flexibility in height that gives you an adequately raised surface and legroom you need. It can also adjust high enough to be a standing desk for many tall people, though it’s not the tallest desk on this list. On top of that, it’s a relatively small desk designed for portability, so it can be moved easily from place to place as your needs change, and it can fit in a variety of rather compact home offices.
That said, the additional back support is restrictive and the small surface area makes it better for relatively short tasks rather than extended work sessions.
This desk is most comparable to the SmartDesk 2 in that it’s a traditional rectangular desk with an electronic adjustment and a tall maximum height. However, it’s smaller in overall surface area, and it’s a little less stable. It’s a functional desk, however, and the Seville Airlift line has a variety of other options you can explore if it doesn’t quite suit your needs.
This desk is relatively large and open, and gives you one benefit over others, in that it has a raised footrest. If your chair height and desk height are taller but your legs don’t quite reach the ground, this is an ideal option. This is also a convenient folding desk that does not require assembly and can be folded and put away with ease.
There are a few other options you may have seen online, that may or may not work. For example, some people recommend bed risers, 2x4s, or other hard items propped underneath the legs of a more traditional desk. These can partially solve the issue, but they can lead to additional problems, such as:
- Taller legs without an attached connection is a point of instability and the desk can fall off if it is impacted from the side, which can be dangerous to both the items you have on the desk and to any children or animals who might have pulled the desk over.
- The appearance of a desk propped up by DIY nonsense is that of poor quality, and it can be a source of environmental stress, negative self-image, or negative perception of a company that doesn’t adequately cater to its workers.
- The desk may still have horizontal legroom issues and other problems depending on the style of the desk.
It’s 2021. Treat yourself to a desk that works for your body type, rather than a DIY lifehack that only delays the problems you face.
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