how to select standing desk

Everything You Need To Know Before Buying A Standing Desk

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Imagine this: that you work with more enthusiasm and energy while at the same time adopting a healthier office lifestyle. Sounds too good to be true? It’s not. 

Everyone already knows that sitting is considered the new smoking, but did you know that just by standing at your desk, you’ll improve your health and help prevent serious illnesses?

All you need to stay healthy is to switch from a regular desk to a standing desk. Our guide will help you pick the standing desk perfect for your needs. 

What is a Standing Desk?

As the name suggests, a standing desk is a desk you can work at while standing. Standing desks can be fixed height, although these are rarely recommended because standing all day is just as bad as sitting or height-adjustable. This means that you can alternate between sitting and standing while you work. 

Why Use a Standing Desk?

There are, in fact, several reasons why you should use a standing desk. First of all, it’s terrible for your health. In fact, experts have claimed that `sitting is the new smoking.` According to several studies, the more you sit through your workday, the higher the odds of dying at a much younger age. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to serious health problems like:

  • obesity, 
  • type 2 diabetes, 
  • cancer, 
  • heart disease.

Standing isn’t bad just for your body, but your mind as well. Studies have shown that people with a sedentary lifestyle are much more likely to experience depression and anxiety.

Another important aspect of using a standing desk is that it gives you more energy and helps you stay in a better mood. In fact, studies have shown that working while standing will improve productivity and even job satisfaction.

Standing Desk Types

There are several types of standing desks you can choose from:

  • Manual standing desks 
  • Electric standing desks 
  • Fixed height standing desks
  • Standing desk converters 
  • Portable standing desks 

Manual standing desks 

Thes are regular size desks, raised and lowered with the help of a crank mechanism. This can be both tiring and time-consuming, especially if you switch between standing and sitting positions several times a day. People who use manual standing desks don’t change positions many times throughout the day, mainly because it’s tedious. So, instead of alternating every half hour, they’ll probably spend a lot more time sitting. 

Pros: cheap, don’t require an electrical cord;

Cons: adjusting height takes time and can become tiring.

Electric Standing desks 

These are regular-sized as well, but the height is adjusted with a precise electrical motor. This means that the operation is quicker and not tiring at all. Compared to manual standing desks, the electric ones are much more expensive. 

Pros: easy to use, height adjusted quickly;

Cons: expensive, need an electrical outlet.

Fixed height standing desks

Unlike the previous types, these cannot be adjusted and can be used only in a standing position. This means that you will have to get rid of your regular office chair and buy a leaning stool. For more information, read our fixed height standing desk guide. 

Pros: cheap;

Cons: cannot be used as a sitting desk, will need to replace chair as well.

Standing desks Converters

These are just add-ons that sit on top of your regular desk. Standing desk converters only raise your keyboard, mouse, and screen(s). Converters are much smaller and cheaper, but you can’t use them if you have more than 2 monitors. For more information about these products, check out our standing desk converter guide. 

Pros: cheap;

Cons: limited surface and low weight limit.

Portable standing desks 

These are small add-ons that you can carry around everywhere. The portable standing desks are small, lightweight but are only suitable for laptops. If you want to find out more, read our portable standing desk guide.

Pros: cheap, can be used anywhere;

Cons: only suitable for laptops.

Things to Consider When Buying a Standing Desk

When purchasing a standing desk, there are several factors you need to consider. These will help determine which standing desk is best suited for your needs.

Determine Your budget

The first need you need to do is figure out how much you want to spend on a standing desk. No matter what type of desk you want to buy, the price range will be pretty wide.

Manually adjusted standing desks (or crank adjustable standing desks) start around $200 and can go all the way up to $500. Price varies mainly due to surface size and quality of materials. If you want to buy a manual standing desk, you won’t have too many models to choose from, mainly because they’ve become less popular in recent years.

On the other hand, electric standing desks start at around $400 and can easily go up to $1,000. High-end models can even go up to $2,500. They cost more than the manually adjusted ones because they come equipped with a motor and touchpad that allow you to adjust the height with just a push of a button. 

Height Range

One of the most important things to consider when purchasing your standing desk is the height range. The optimal height range for a standing desk is between 22.5″ and 49.5″. 

Most desks have a height range roughly between 27″ and 47″, which means that they aren’t suited for very short (under 5’11”) or very tall (over 6’5″) users.

For more information about the perfect desk height for you, check out our standing desk height chart.

Desk Size

Next up is the desk size. Depending on what you want to put on your desk, the footprint can be bigger or smaller. 

Depth

You’ll want to go for a desk that has at least 24″. This is the minimum depth you need if you don’t want to use a keyword tray and have enough space for your monitor and keyboard. If your office space permits, you should buy a standing desk with a 30″ depth, as it will give you all the room you’ll ever need. 

Also, keep in mind that you have multiple options for the shape of the desk’s work surface.

Width

Do you use more than one monitor? If yes, you’ll want to purchase a standing desk with a width of at least 55″. This will give you plenty of space to put at least 2 monitors, or even 3, plus office supplies or other ongoing projects. 

If you don’t need that much space, a 36″ desk could be the best choice for you, although those are pretty hard to find. Most manufacturers usually give you 2 options: 48″ or 55″.

Weight Capacity

The weight limit is an essential factor if you plan on using a computer workstation with multiple monitors. Most of the standing desks manufactured today can easily hold a regular adult’s weight or even more. 

Just to be on the safe side, before you purchase the desk, make sure that it can handle at least 150 lbs. It will hold even the heaviest computer workstations, and you’ll even be able to lean on it without fear of breaking.  

Materials

The quality of the materials will impact the standing desk’s price but also its durability. So, you’ll want to make sure that you purchase a product made out of high-quality materials, especially the tabletop.

The cheapest one is MDF or medium-density fiberboard. MDF is made out of finely-ground wood scraps bound together with glue or resin. This material is light and pretty durable, but don’t expect it to last too long.

The next choice is HPL or high-pressure laminate. HPL is much more durable, heat and impact resistant, and easy to clean. As such, it’s slightly more expensive than the MDF tabletop.

Lastly, we have natural wood tops. These are the best for a standing desk. A natural wood top is sturdy and will last for a very long time, but it’s also expensive and requires proper care. You also have the option to buy a reclaimed wood tabletop. But if you think reclaimed wood is actually an eco-friendly solution, you’re wrong. In fact, the energy and resources spent to recycle and reuse wood are much higher than the amount used to make a new tabletop. Still, reclaimed wood table tops are beautiful.

As for the frame, a steel or iron one is an excellent choice.

Noise Level

Another critical aspect to consider is the noise level your desk makes when you lower or raise it. 

Crank adjusted standing desks are much noisier than electric ones. So, if you plan on using it in a packed office, you should stay away from a crank adjusted one. You’ll constantly disturb your colleagues, and after a while, you’ll stop switching from sitting to standing altogether.

Electrical standing desks use a motor that is far less noisy than the crank system. Many products nowadays have a motor that produces less than 50 dB, which is quieter than the regular office background noise. 

Ease of Use

This mostly applies to electric standing desks. The more expensive ones don’t just have a couple of buttons for raising and lowering the height. These come with a touchpad that allows you to preset certain height levels. Then, when it’s time to switch from a sitting to a standing position, all you have to do is simply press one of the buttons, and the desk will adjust to that specific height.

Motor 

Some standing desks have one motor, while others are powered by 2. You might think that 2 are better than one, but this isn’t always the case. 

Desks that have two motors are slightly more tricky to repair. First of all, they are smaller than the motor used by itself and hidden within the frame, making them less accessible. Also, if one of them breaks, you won’t be able to use the desk before fixing it. 

Lastly, the single motor desks usually have a higher quality motor than the ones with a dual setup. 

Warranty

Most standing desks come with a 3-year warranty. But some manufacturers offer even 5 years. Needless to say, you’ll want to go with the product that has the most extended warranty and, if possible, even a 30-day money-back guarantee, just in case you don’t find the desk to your liking.

Ease of Assembly

Nobody wants to spend hours assembling a standing desk, or any kind of furniture for that matter. Nowadays, most standing desks are reasonably easy to assemble. All you need is a screwdriver and a few minutes, and you’re done. 

To make sure the product you want to buy is easy to assemble, check out the reviews on our website.

Accessories

Standing desks are great for your overall health, but if you’re not careful, you might end up with sore feet and back at the end of each day. And this, in time, will make you stand less and less.

Fortunately, there are some great accessories that can help you keep your feet in top shape and increase the time you spend standing.

Anti-Fatigue Mat

The anti-fatigue mat is an excellent accessory if you want to be able to stand up more. In fact, a good mat can even triple the time you spend on your feet versus sitting, without any foot or back pain. Not only this, but a good one can help eliminate tension, improve posture, reduce joint stiffness and fatigue. Check out our anti-fatigue mat buying guide to learn how to pick the right product.

Footrest

Using a footrest while sitting will help reduce tension in your legs and your back. It will also prevent your feet from dangling or your knees staying at an odd angle, issues which can often cause blood clots or varicose veins.

Adjustable Monitor Arm

Installing a monitor arm on your standing desk will help improve your posture even more. This accessory allows you to fine-tune your monitor to the most ergonomically comfortable and healthy position for your height. 

Shoes

Just like the anti-fatigue mat, the shoes can help you remain standing for longer without tiring your feet. If you want to know how to pick the perfect shoes, check out this guide. 

Balance Board

Want to make standing more fun? Consider buying a balance board. This is a great accessory to invest in, especially considering it will also improve your balance and strength. Read our guide to find the perfect balance board for you. 

Chair

You can still use your basic ergonomic office chair when you switch to a standing desk. But what if there was a better solution? How about if, instead of sitting, you are simply leaning? A leaning stool is a much healthier choice than a regular office chair as it improves comfort, energy, productivity, and mood. Want to learn more? Check out our leaning stool buying guide.

Conclusion

Before you buy your standing desk, you first need to determine which type you need, based on your available office space and budget: manual, electric, fixed height, portable, or just a standing desk converter. 

When looking for which product to buy, remember to review all the essential factors, like size, height range, weight capacity, materials, motor quality, and warranty.

After you found the perfect standing desk for you:

  1. Remember to also purchase useful accessories, like an anti-fatigue mat, footrest, adjustable monitor arm, and balance board.
  2. Don’t forget to invest in a good pair of shoes to help you stand longer.
  3. Consider ditching your old chair and switch to a leaning stool.

Now that you are a standing desk expert, it’s time to buy your first standing desk and start enjoying all of its benefits.

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