Pretty much anyone who sits at a desk all day, hunched over a keyboard and mouse, knows how sore muscles and joints can get. There are plenty of studies floating around that confirm how awful sitting can be on the human body, and so a lot of people choose to stand while they work. It's not quite the same as running across the plains after a herd of deer, but it's better than being completely immobile. If you don't want to shell out a wad of cash on a brand new standing desk, there are some clever budget ways to convert your workspace.
DIY standing desk converter
While pre-made options offer an adjustable height and a more mobile build, you can go even cheaper by building something yourself. Originally created by Colin Nederkoorn and Ryan Witt, this standing mod made up of IKEA parts only costs about $21. Some stuff from the original plan is no longer available, but we can still get a working configuration.
First, you'll want to grab the IKEA Lack table (about $10). This is meant to be a side table, but it's perfect for holding a monitor about 18 inches inches above your existing desk.
Next, a Laiva shelf and Valter brackets (altogether about $11) allow you to put everything together using wood screws. The brackets screw into the legs of the Lack table, and you have a spot for your keyboard and mouse that sits slightly lower than your monitor.
Premade standing desk mods
Office suppliers understand that more and more people are waking up to the benefits of a standing desk, and many have begun creating desktop mods that raise your laptop or monitor, keyboard, and mouse to a height that's in line with you. Many converters cost hundreds of dollars, but there are a few that cost less than $100.
Executive Office Solutions adjustable laptop desk
Those of you who like to use an external mouse with your laptop will likely want to check out this lightweight aluminum desk addition from Executive Office Solutions (about $40). It has an extra platform to the right of the main stand (sorry, Lefties) for your pointer, and you can adjust the height thanks to scissor-action legs.
As an added bonus, you can plug the desk into your PC via USB to power two fans, perfect for any laptops that have a hard time staying cool when under load.
UPERGO standing desk converter
Rather than having a forward tilt and a separate platform for an external mouse, this converter from UPERGO (about $70) has a large flat surface to hold your laptop, monitor, keyboard, and mouse. The scissor-action legs allow it to fold down flat, and the aluminum base keeps it sturdy.
The converter can raise your workspace between 2.2 inches and 16.9 inches, and the wood top will match just about any place you put it.
SONGMICS bamboo standing desk
If an aluminum converter seems a bit too harsh to fit into your workspace, SONGMICS makes a bamboo option (about $100) that includes an adjustable monitor stand and keyboard and mouse deck.
Two legs with multiple slots in them allow you to configure the shelves how you want, adding up to about 18 inches of extra height. The entire thing weighs only about 12 pounds but can support up to about 41 pounds of your office devices and accessories.
For those unsure of whether or not they want to take the standing desk plunge, the Spark from Ergodriven (about $25) provides you with a bundle of cardboard that you assemble into a desk converter. Cardboard might not seem like the best brace for your expensive laptop, but it's actually quite sturdy when assembled properly.
Choose from three sizes based on your physical height, and don't worry if standing isn't for you. The Spark can easily be broken down and recycled.
We all sit sometimes, so why not make the best of it? Have a look at these roundups of the best office chairs on the market.
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Cale Hunt is formerly a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full-time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.