The 3 Best Eco-Friendly & Low VOC Standing Desks

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Written by Leigh Matthews, BA Hons, H.Dip. NT


Leigh Matthews, BA Hons, H.Dip. NT

Sustainability Expert

Leigh Matthews is a sustainability expert and long time vegan. Her work on solar policy has been published in Canada's National Observer.

Table of Contents
  1. Xpressions Writable Surface Standing Desk
  2. iMovR Lander Standing Desk
  3. BDI Furniture Centro Lift Standing Desk

If you’re one of the many folks now permanently transitioning to a work from home setup, you may be in the market for a stand-up desk.

Before we get into our top picks, a few notes on the health benefits of using a standing desk in your home office. This may seem like just another trend to some, but the health benefits of reducing the time we sit has been on the radar of the CDC going back to 2011 with its Reducing Occupational Sitting Time and Improving Worker Health Initiative.

If you’re interested in the science on why sitting too much can be bad for our health, this JAMA study is worth looking through. To quote the scientists at JAMA:

Evidence-based strategies to reduce sitting time, increase physical activity, or both would potentially benefit most US adults, particularly older adults.

Emily N. Ussery, PhD, JAMA, 2018

My top tip, skip the toxic MDF, pressed plywood, and laminate veneer, and go for a truly eco-friendly, non-toxic desk that won’t ruin the indoor air quality of the room you’ll be spending hours in each day. be safe and check that furniture is certified by Greenguard Gold or other credible body as emitting low or zero VOCs (volatile organic compounds). You can read about our unique research process here.


Xpressions Writable Surface Standing Desk

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Highlights: One of very few desk to be Greenguard certified, sustainably made, and a budget-friendly option in comparison to some of its competitors.

The Xpressions Writable Surface Standing Desk is one of the best budget-friendly and eco-friendly standing desks around. It is one of very few desks to be Greenguard certified to support better indoor air quality for business and home offices.

This desk has a durable steel frame with a tempered glass surface you can write on with dry erase marker. Great for when your kids have run off with your notebook as you try to work from home. That handy back panel is also an excellent place to store loose papers, files, and other bits and bobs.

The desk has a patented swing pendulum footrest bar to amuse fidgety workers and is noise-free, so you can fidget all you like without annoying those around you. The desk weighs 62 lbs and ships ready to assemble. It measures 35” wide, 23” deep, and 49” high when assembled, so is easily big enough to accommodate either a laptop or desktop computer and a giant cup of coffee. There’s also an option to add on shelving.


iMovR Lander Standing Desk

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Highlights: Made in Michigan using American-grown wood and natural waterborne stains and sealants, and the buying/customization process helps to make an accurate choice that matches your room the first time around.

iMovR make a wide range of eco-friendly standing desks in Michigan using American-grown wood and natural waterborne stains and sealants. Their Lander series is the most eco-friendly and comes in standard, Lite, and L-shaped models.

The Lander desks are ergo-contoured on all four edges, so there’s no pointy edge to cause discomfort if you lean against the desk. This smoother edging also holds up better to dings and scratches and just looks better than sharp edges.

You can choose to add grommet holes (for cables and such) and a built-in SteadyType keyboard tray, and if you want them to stain the underside of the desk, they will. iMovR use a 7-step sealant process that helps protect the wood from humidity, so it’s less likely to crack or warp.

I highly recommend the Lander Lite as it’s a bit more economical with its material use, measuring 0.75” thick as opposed to 1.25” thick for the Lander and L-shaped. The Landers can all rise to a whopping 55”, meaning they’re great for taller folks. And the motors that raise and lower the desk are very quiet, with a 1.6” per second transit speed and a 360 lb weight capacity.

The Lander line comes 99% pre-assembled and tested, so you can get back to work almost immediately (sorry!). The desk is also well packaged to help prevent damage during delivery. Oh, and if you’re worried about the desk fitting in with your current décor, you can purchase real wood samples in advance and have the cost deducted from your desk if/when you buy one.


BDI Furniture Centro Lift Standing Desk

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Highlights: As sleek as it is eco-friendly, this standing desk is sure to match whatever room you put it in and is packed with an automatic, height-adjustable lifting mechanism.

If you’re looking for a sleek, modern standing desk for your home office, BDI Furniture has just the thing. Their height-adjustable Centro Lift Desk is beautifully designed with a powder-coated steel frame and a lightly textured, satin-etched glass top that is resistant to smudges and fingerprints. Importantly, the glass top is non-reflective, so you won’t be squinting because of glare from screens or the sun.

This automatic desk lets you quickly and easily find the most comfortable sitting or standing position and you can store that perfect height for next time, thanks to the Centro’s four height memory presets. There are also generous openings and a wire management ledge to keep all your cables tidy and out of sight, and BDI even provide reusable cable ties to keep everything secure.

The Centro 6452 Standing Desk measures 66” wide, 30” deep, and 24.75” high, with a maximum height of 50 inches. It also comes with an optional storage drawer (model 6459). The smaller Centro 6451 measures 60” wide and 24” deep, with the same minimum and maximum height options. The storage drawer isn’t available with the 6451 model, however.

Both Centro desks contain no toxic materials or finishes and are fully compliant with Prop 65.

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