Editor’s note: This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter, a buyer’s guide to the best technology. This is a condensed version of several Wirecutter guides; you can find links to the full guides in the discussions below.
Quick survey: How much time have you spent setting up your starred channels and notifications in Slack? How often have you rearranged the home screen on your phone in the past three months? How much effort did you put into picking out the desk for your home office? Your chair? Wait—are you just using your laptop on a card table?
At Wirecutter, we’re almost exclusively remote workers, and we know what it’s like to have a job that demands a lot of attention and decision-making. That’s why we did the work of researching, testing and immersing ourselves in the stuff that makes up an ergonomic and productive workspace and the tech that makes everything happen. Read on to learn about the best things you can buy for the space where treating yourself has a real return on investment.
If you want to alternate between sitting and standing, the Ergo Depot Jarvis Bamboo is the best value we’ve seen in a full-size adjustable standing desk. It’s the sturdiest standing desk we’ve ever tested, and at less than $800 it’s half the price of desks that are less stable. It comes with a seven-year warranty and ships faster than most desks. Most important of all, it looks slick whether in the standing-up position or at table height, and it feels solid and smooth under your arms.
If you’re not ready to commit the space or money for an adjustable desk, the Ergo Desktop Kangaroo Pro Junior sits on your existing desk and moves your computer gear up to a standing position in seconds. It’s lighter and less bulky than other conversion options, and you can easily move it to different desk positions.
Picking a traditional desk
If you don’t want to take the standing route, you can use anything you want (or can find) as a desk. What matters most is how it fits you—namely, your height, your hands, and your sitting style.
First, your desk needs to offer enough room for a properly placed monitor, keyboard, and mouse. The starting point is a surface that stands 28 to 30 inches above the floor. Then, sit at that height and lean back slightly (from 90 to 100 or 110 degrees). From there, confirm the following:
- Your eyes are in line with a point on your screen 2 to 3 inches below the top of the monitor frame.
- Your hands are resting flat and straight on both the keyboard and mouse.
- Your elbows are bending at or near 90 degrees, and both your elbows and your upper arms are resting close to your body instead of reaching forward.
Any desk that keeps your eyes, arms, and hands in proper alignment can work as your desk, whether it’s a slab from IKEA or a door …….