How Do I Choose A Standing Desk?

If you’re new to standing desks but you are ready to take the plunge, choosing your first desk can be a tricky business! With so many different shapes, sizes, lifting systems and weight capacities to get your head around, it’s no wonder you might be a little confused.

We’ve written this article to help you unpick all the different factors that you should consider when choosing a stand-up desk, to help you select the standing desk that suits you and your work style the best.

How do I choose a standing desk

We’ll cover all the different types of sit-stand desks available, how to retain your existing desk and fit standing desk converters, and how to choose which of all of these is best for you. What are the best standing desk brands in Australia? Which features are essential, and which are just for show? Read on for your tailored guide to choosing the perfect standing desk for you.

How Do I Choose A Standing Desk For My Home?

When buying a standing desk for your home workspace, it’s important first to consider the space you have available and your work style. If you are working with limited space, you may not be able to fit a full-size desk – in which case, a single or pedestal desk might be more appropriate.

Next, remember that you need space going upwards in order to properly accommodate a height-adjustable desk. So wherever you will be raising the desk, make sure there are no plants, windows or pictures which might impede your desk’s progress.

You should also consider carefully your setup. Those with multiple screens or desktops will require a desk with a greater lift capacity to guarantee stability. Whereas, if you use a laptop mostly or have a modest home set up, you can obviously downsize your ambitions to some degree.

Sit stand desk setup at a beautiful home

Is A Standing Desk Right For Me?

Whether or not a standing desk is the best option for you will depend on you, the environment you work in, your work style, and what you are hoping to gain from using a standing desk.

If you find you are stiff by the end of the workday, a standing desk could be a good investment. Standing desks allow you to change position during the day, which in turn allows you to relieve strain on muscle groups that become tense and joints that become stiff after prolonged sitting.

Standing during work is good for developing postural muscles, which in turn will help avoid injuries whilst improving your general posture. All of this will help to avoid aches and pains and alleviate any ongoing issues.

If you find that losing weight is difficult, switching to a sit-stand desk could also help. Moving during the workday is proven to help speed the metabolism, helps keep the body’s systems active, and can even help to burn calories during the day.

Coupled with an anti-fatigue mat, which helps the user not only to comfortably stand, but encourages movement, there are even greater gains to be had.

All of this of course adds up to greater productivity, and most standing desk users report a significant uptick in energy levels (especially towards the end of the day).

So, if you want to lose weight, keep your joints healthy, alleviate aches and pains associated with sitting, and boost your health, wellbeing and productivity, then a standing desk could be for you.

It’s worth mentioning as well that you should not wait until you have pain or have gained weight – standing desks are a great way of avoiding these problems in the first place.

Signs when you need a sit stand desk at home

Types Of Standing Desks

Fixed Height Desk

Fixed height standing desks are most commonly used for drafting and drawing, and although useful for these purposes, would require a second desk for seated work. This is fine for architects and designers who work in big offices, but less good for the home user who may have limited capacity and space.

That said, for those who need dedicated spaces for when they’re sitting and standing throughout the day due to their work of course, the fixed height desk is perfect.

Manual Standing Desk

Manual standing desks are often the cheapest option amongst true sit-stand desks. Using a crank system, the user can adjust the height to a level they need by turning a lever. For some this is sufficient, allowing relatively fast transitions between sitting and standing.

Manual standing desks however cannot compete with the lifting power, smoothness, stability or sheer ease of use of their motorised counterparts. However, they are still a solid option for those with minimal setups, a limited budget, or those who are only going to use their home office here and there.

Pneumatic Sit Stand Desks

Pneumatic standing desks use the power of air to raise and lower the desk, much like the system used in many office chairs. Pneumatic desks are great for those with slightly smaller setups, who don’t want to manually raise the desk but also don’t have the budget for an electric or motorised desk.

Standing Desk Converters

If you have an existing desk that you can’t bear to let go, you dont have the budget for a new desk, or you can’t find anything to fit your style, you might want to consider a standing desk converter.

Standing desk converters sit on top of your desk and allow you to mount your monitor or keyboard on separate platforms, which you then raise using a gas spring system or motors. This allows you to work sitting and standing, without having to manually shift your gear, and at a much lower price point than a normal sit stand desk. The comparison of a sit stand desk converter vs a standing desk should be apparent as you might find yourself upgrading 6 months down the track if you find its not for you.

Electric Standing Desk

The king of height-adjustable desks, electric desks use powerful motors to lift the lower the desktop. Motors are the safest and most stable way of moving the desk, and the increase in power means electric desks can support more weight, and you can breathe easily when moving all your gear up to standing height.

Electric stand-up desks are normally operated by remote control, and also allow users to save presets. This means that your optimum positions are accessible at the press of a button, which makes electric desks the most efficient and easiest to use.

Smaller Desks and Pedestal Desks

If you are working with limited space, or perhaps you need to sometimes convert your living room to a sit stand workspace, there are many options available. Single sit stand desks have all the advantages of other standing desks but simply fit in smaller spaces. And pedestal desk can be a great option for those who need their space (and desk) to multi-task like they do!

What Standing Desk Should I Buy?

Sit stand desk for gaming

So now you know the different types of sit-stand desk, it’s time to dig a little deeper and figure out which is the best stand up desk for your needs!

Height-Adjustable Standing Desks

As we covered above, there are non-adjustable sit-stand desks, which pretty much commit you to standing at your desk the whole time . Or, you can opt for a height-adjustable standing desk, which will allow you to vary your position from seated to standing easily.

Height adjustable desks are important as, even though sitting is the new smoking and all that, actually standing all day every day is also not ideal. Foot pain and swelling are associated with excessive standing, and it can also exacerbate postural issues.

Is it better to work sitting or standing? Well, it is important to take the weight off occasionally, which is exactly why height adjustable desks have become ubiquitous in the modern office environment.

Manual or Electric Standing Desk?

If you’re choosing between a manual or an electric sit-stand desk then there are a few main factors to consider: your budget, location, the effort involved, and the size of your work setup.

What Are The Pros Of Electric Standing Desks?

Electric desks have much more lifting power, with some frames capable of shifting up to 300kg. They also have the advantage of requiring zero effort, so for those with larger workstations they can remove a lot of labour. One other distinct advantage is the ability to save preset positions – meaning you can move from sitting to standing at the press of a button.

What Are The Pros Of Manual Sit Stand Desks?

The main thing the manual desk has going for it is the price. Both crank and pneumatic standing desk designs tend to come in cheaper than their automatic counterparts. So if you’re on a budget, a manual sit stand desk can be a good compromise.

You should be aware that crank desks will require a little elbow grease, although pneumatic desks do most of the work for you.

What Size Should My Desk Be?

The size of desk you require will depend entirely on your personal set up, and the amount of free desk space you require. If you have a multi-screen set up, you will either need more desk space or to invest in monitor arms to relieve the pressure on your desk real estate.

Equally, if you need space to consult papers or you draw as part of your job, you will want a larger desktop that allows space for your monitor/s and allows you to work. L shaped and corner desks offer the most desk space, and have extra motors to make sure they can handle the additional weight.

Most L shaped Custom Sit Stand Desks can shift a whopping 200kg with zero shake, so you can rest assured your gear will be safe and sound in transition.

Graphics artist with bigger home office desk space

At What Height Should My Desk Be?

The height you set your desk to will depend of course on your height (or posture when seated). As a rule, start with your desk level with your elbows when standing, allowing you to type with your arms straight down by your sides bent at 90 degrees.

The same principle is true of how to set your desk height when sitting – aim to be sat so the desk is level with your arms, which are by your side and bent at 90 degrees. Of course, these are just rules of thumb, and you will need to experiment to find your perfect position.

Another useful rule to bear in mind when setting heights is to keep your eyes level with the top of the monitor screen. If you are arms are level with the desk and your eyes with the top of the monitor, you are in the right ballpark.

The ability to make micro-adjustments to get your position right is a huge advantage when setting your desk height – as is the ability to save your optimum positions. Ergo edge sit stand desks combine both of these capabilities with an ergonomically shaped desktop to maximise the postural benefits.

How Strong Should My Desk Be?

This will depend on how much weight you need it to carry! Most sit stand desks have a 100kg+ weight capacity, which is enough to accommodate even the most advanced setups.

However, if your setup is less like NASA and more like a laptop on a desk, you might be able to use a manual desk with less lifting power, perfect for most time to time home workers.

Adjustment Speed

If you’re in the swing of a busy day, mid-meeting or mid-task, the last thing you want to be doing is breaking your flow in order to raise or lower your desk. This is one of the primary reasons in fact that many people don’t get the most from their desks – as the thought of adjusting stops them from doing anything at all.

We hope this article has helped you in your search for a sit stand desk. Using the information above, you should now be able to make an informed choice about the best standing desk for your needs.

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About The Author

Tyson Sewell

Tyson Sewell

I’m Tyson and I design furniture. More specifically, I design ergonomic furniture intended to improve the comfort and aesthetics of sit stand desks, ergonomic chairs and accessories.
You may learn more about my story by reading my bio here. Have a productive day!