Best Home Office Furniture 2020
Uplift V2-Commercial Standing Desk
Uplift’s crossbar-enhanced standing desk is more stable than most rivals, and it’s fast and smooth in operation. It has the largest height range so it can accommodate more people.
The Uplift V2-Commercial Standing Desk is the best value we’ve seen in a full-size standing desk for anyone who wants to alternate between sitting and standing while working. It offers the best mix of performance and features of the desks we tested. It responds quickly to input from your choice of three control keypads and produces minimal wobble even at tall heights thanks to the frame’s crossbar and thick legs. The Uplift starts at a lower height than competing models, and can be set at heights that accommodate workers who are 5-foot-2 through those who are 6-foot-6. The desk is backed by a seven-year warranty, and customer service was surprisingly fast to respond to us over both live chat and email. The curved bamboo bamboo desktop we tried was most testers’ favorite, but Uplift offers hundreds of configurations of desk materials and colors.
If you already have a desk (and legs) you like, or if you don’t want to commit the funds to a full-size adjustable desk, consider the Ergo Desktop Kangaroo Pro Junior. It sits on your existing desk and moves your computer gear up to a standing position in seconds, with springs instead of motors. It’s lighter and less bulky than other conversion options, and you can easily move it to different desk positions. —Melanie Pinola and Kevin Purdy
Standing desk mat
The Topo gives your feet varied terrain, encouraging movement and making standing less tedious. It’s also the easiest mat to move when you’re switching positions.
A standing desk mat helps you stand longer at your desk by relieving pressure on your heels, back, and feet. After more than six years of testing with a dozen standing desks at a coworking space, we determined that the Ergodriven Topo does the best job of accommodating all kinds of standing stances and habits. While the Ergodriven Topo’s flat portions are agreeable for neutral standing positions, its selling point is its “calculated terrain” (a teardrop-shaped bump in the middle, plus raised sides) that gives your feet more to do and helps to keep you standing—and, more important, moving, which is where the benefits of standing come from—for longer periods of time. It’s also resistant to spills and punctures and easy to clean, and perhaps best of all, you can move it with one foot instead of bending over to pull it out. Whichever way you stand, the Topo relieves pressure on your heels, back, legs, and shoulders, and it feels far better than the floor.
If you know you stand fairly flat-footed, or if you prefer to have a wider area for standing (or dancing), we recommend the Imprint CumulusPro Commerical Couture Strata mat. The CumulusPro Commercial is our long-standing pick among traditional flat anti-fatigue mats because it provides cushioned but firm support, it has an eco-friendly single-piece construction, and it offers a generous 10-year warranty. —Kevin Purdy and Nathan Edwards
Picking a traditional desk
No one traditional desk can work for most people, but most people can find a great desk for their work. After speaking with ergonomic and office-design experts, we recommend that you spend more time shopping than you would normally to find a good desk that fits your body and working style.
The best desk for your home office is the desk that most effectively situates your body to face the tools you’ll be using. That best desk also has enough space left over to keep the things you need to have close by. For most people, that means enough room for a properly placed monitor, keyboard, and mouse. The starting point, as Alan Hedge, professor of ergonomics at Cornell University, explains, is a surface that stands 28 to 30 inches above the floor. Sit at that desk and then lean back slightly (100 to 110 degrees). From there, you should make sure of 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.
Two common upgrades are nice to have but not necessities. A lowered keyboard tray, particularly one that allows for negative-slope typing, works only if it lines up with your specific elbow height. And a built-in riser may put your monitor at the proper height, but if anybody of a different size frequently uses your desk, or if you change the size of your monitor, it’s easier to adjust your chair height for flat keyboard typing and use whatever you have handy to raise your monitor.
More than anything, you should spend time—and whatever money you can afford—to buy a desk made with a look and design that fits you, and that fits well in your space. “You should spend money on your home office like you do your bedroom,” said Tim Springer, PhD, president of Illinois-based consulting firm Hero Inc. and an expert in ergonomics and knowledge-work optimization. “You invest a fair amount of resources, emotional effort, and finances into finding the bed, the picture frame, that best fits your bedroom, but that kind of effort seldom goes into your desk, your chair for work. But it should.” Even if that means a reclaimed tractor door, a simple slab of wood, or whatever tables of the right height and size you can find on Craigslist, you shouldn’t settle for the handful of options at your local office store. —KP
It has a wider range of more easily accessible adjustments than any other chair, so you can feel fully supported in almost any position.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $1010.
After over 600 collective hours sitting in 10 top-rated chairs and talking to four different ergonomics experts, we’ve concluded that the Steelcase Gesture is the best office chair for most posteriors. It’s an investment, but the Gesture’s ball-and-socket armrests (which function like a human shoulder) give it a wider range of adjustability than any other task chair. That means you’re more likely to find a fit that works for you, however you like to sit. So if you plan to use it for long hours every day, we think the expense is worth it.
In addition to being comfortable, the Gesture offers an attractive design, comes in dozens of finishing options, and has a more compact shape than any other full-featured task chair. This means it will look better in a wider variety of spaces than its competitors. The chair’s highly adjustable arms let you stow it almost anywhere, since you can lower and tuck them in as needed to fit under a smaller desk. Steelcase is renowned for build quality, too, and the Gesture is no exception, but should anything go wrong, the company’s chairs are backed by a 12-year warranty. —Thorin Klosowski
Lumbar support pillow
The thick memory foam of the Everlasting Comfort Memory Foam Back Cushion is sturdy yet cushiony. The two adjustable, extendable straps make the pillow easy to position so that it hits the right spot for your lower and middle back on most chairs. A cover that you can easily remove for washing and a lifetime replacement guarantee offer peace of mind—this is a pillow that will support your back for years to come. -Melanie Pinola
After spending 10 hours researching 30 different models of filing cabinets, and performing hands-on testing with four of them, we found the 18″ Lorell 14341 Deep 2-Drawer File Cabinet to be the best option for most home offices. It was one of the least expensive filing cabinets we tested, but it had the smoothest drawers and stood sturdily even when fully loaded. The black or putty (tan) color options fit into almost any office without clashing. While the lock won’t prevent a determined person from getting to your documents, it will hold the drawers shut when necessary.
This pick is for anyone who truly needs to keep paper documents on hand. Filing cabinets are far less necessary for most households and small businesses today than they have been in years past. Many documents come transmitted online instead of on paper, and you can scan paper with a portable or flatbed scanner or even just your phone.
In our research, we focused on two-drawer vertical filing cabinets rather than sideways-arranged lateral cabinets, because space is at a premium in most home offices and most lateral cabinets are priced at $200 and above. We also limited our search to steel cabinets rather than wood, not just because they are sturdier and less likely to chip but also because they’re far easier to match with existing furniture.
Of the several great, two-drawer, letter-sized options under $100 we found, most are made by the same company, Hirsh Industries, sometimes under its own branding and sometimes for other companies. After our research at Amazon, Office Depot, and Staples, we selected four models with good reviews and wide availability: the Lorell 14341 and Lorell 16872 2-Drawer Mobile File Cabinet, the Realspace Manager’s 2-Drawer Letter File from Office Depot, and the Office Designs Vertical File Cabinet from Staples.
We loaded each cabinet’s drawers with 20 hanging folders, each containing approximately 100 sheets of paper (about 21 pounds per drawer). Two Wirecutter editors rated the smoothness of the drawers’ pull, as well as how sturdy they felt when extended. The tall Realspace cabinet quickly fell out of the running, as it was less stable than its squatter competition. The Lorell 16872 was wobblier than the Lorell 14341 when we pulled drawers one by one. And while the Lorell 14341 and the Staples Office Designs cabinet look identical, the Lorell 14341’s rails allowed for fluid sliding of full drawers, while the rails of the Office Designs cabinet felt far rougher. The Office Designs model has a higher price, too.
We must note that all four cabinets tipped over when we pulled out both drawers, so don’t do that. We also learned to heed the warning stamped into each drawer: Load them evenly. —Nick Guy
Shredding sensitive personal and business documents can help to ensure that you or your clients won’t fall victim to identity theft or fraud. After testing eight shredders, running over 2,000 sheets of paper, CDs, and credit cards through them, and interviewing a man who made his living stealing other people’s discarded personal information, we recommend the AmazonBasics 6-Sheet High-Security Micro-Cut Paper and Credit Card Shredder for people who receive most of their statements and other paperwork digitally but still want a secure disposal option for occasional use. This compact option boasts a high security rating and can last through around 150 sheets in one session without forcing you to pause for it to cool down. At half the cost of other models, this shredder is a great option for those with light shredding needs.
However, if you’re looking to do some heavy-duty shredding and to get through bigger piles of paper faster, our top pick, the AmazonBasics 15-Sheet Cross-Cut Paper/CD/Credit-Card Shredder, may be a better option.
This pricier model is suitable for anyone trying to cultivate a shredding habit, since its larger page capacity and extended run time expedite the chore of document disposal. It conveniently avoids jamming with overload warning lights, which prevented us from halting its gears (trust us, we tried), and the pull-out waste basket is easy to empty and large enough to accommodate around 250 sheets’ worth of scraps. —Melanie Pinola
The 4.4-gallon Brighton Professional Black Wire Mesh Square Wastebasket looks far better than any other small trash can at its sub-$10 price, and its rectangular shape resists denting and tipping. The mesh sides make it very difficult for odors to build up, and the bin works fine with or without a trash-bag liner.
If you can spend a bit more on your office, you’ll appreciate how much time and frustration you can save, and how much better a wastebasket can look, with the 3.5-gallon Rubbermaid Executive Series Hide-A-Bag Wastebasket. It’s nigh impossible to tip over, it easily fits any type of bag you have, and it looks studious and professional. It usually costs $40 to $60, depending on where you buy it. But if you can swing the price, it’s a small trash can that deserves to be a permanent fixture in your office.
In 2020, we tested the AmazonBasics Mesh Trash Can Waste Basket against our picks. Although the can itself met all of our criteria and performed just as well as the Brighton, it’s also about three times the cost.