50 to 70 percent of people spend six or more hours sitting every day. Research shows that this sedentary lifestyle can lead to things like increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and even an increased chance of developing cancer. You can easily fight off “sitting disease”, improve productivity, and reduce stress and strain on your body all by transitioning to a stand up desk.
There are many standing desks available, so how do you know which one to choose? We’ve broken down the options for you and highlighted the pros and cons of each desk, to make the decision to stand up for your health, an easy one.
DIY Standing Desks
If you are interested in standing desks, but aren’t quite sure what to expect, do-it-yourself (DIY) standing desks are a great, inexpensive way to get your feet wet. DIY desks can cost as little or as much as you desire, depending on how basic or elaborate you want to make yours. They can be made from items around your house (phone books, boxes, books, etc.) or with purchased supplies (wood or other materials). DIY desks would work well for use at home and will help you determine if transitioning to a standing desk is for you. On the down side, a basic DIY desk will have a low weight capacity, can’t be adjusted and, depending on your skill, may not be very sturdy.
Pros: inexpensive way to try out standing desks, can be made from household items
Cons: low weight capacity, can’t be adjusted, may not be very sturdy
Desktop Height Adjustable Workstations
A newer addition to the standing desk market is the height adjustable desktop workstation. These affordable desktops are an add-on to your existing desk that allow you the ability to sit or stand during the day. These adjustable desktops are available in manual, gas assisted, and electronically operated models and will vary in price depending on which option you choose. Depending on the model, they clamp onto your desk, rest on top of it, or can be grommet-mounted. These desktops have a limited weight capacity, will take up a good amount of space on your desk, and the work surface itself is fairly limited in space too. They are a great option if you don’t have the ability to get a new desk, but just keep in mind that they won’t be as sturdy as some of the other desk options, and they won’t be as ergonomic because even at their lowest adjustment, they won’t be flush with the top of your desk.
Pros: add to existing desk, affordable
Cons: limited weight capacity, take up desk space, small work surface, not as sturdy or ergonomic
Gas Lift Adjustable Height Desks
Gas lift adjustable computer desks, otherwise known as laptop desks, are a great option if you are looking to save money and space. The size of these desks allows you to move them easily, and with the use of casters they can even become a mobile work station. Or, you can use them as an add-on for an existing work station by setting them up and using them next to your current desk. These types of desks are perfect for use in hospitals, manufacturing facilities and apartments, but because of their size they do not have a very large work surface. These light duty desks also have a much smaller lifting capacity than electric or crank desks.
Pros: save space, move easily
Cons: small work surface, smaller lifting capacity
Manual Crank Sit Stand Desks
Crank sit stand desks are those which you manually adjust to your desired height. This type of desk is a great option for someone who may not have access to a power outlet in their work area, or may be concerned with electrical components breaking over time. The crank adjustable desks provide you a lot of room to work and the whole desk surface moves up and down which means everything on your desk easily does too. Plus heavy lifting capacities mean you likely won’t have to limit what you keep within arm’s reach. While there are many benefits to owning a crank sit stand desk, you want to keep in mind that they will require a lot of elbow grease to operate. Most manual desks require 6 to 8 cranks for each 1” of height adjustment and most users will need 10”-14” of adjustment to move from a sitting to standing height.
Counterbalance sit stand desks, however, are also manually adjusted but are weight activated and allow you to easily move from sitting to standing in seconds with the simple use of a lever. Counterbalance adjustable desks provide a reasonable amount of work surface, but because they are light/medium duty, they do have a lighter load capacity than other crank desks.
Pros: no power required, large work surface, whole desktop moves up and down, most have heavy lifting capacity
Cons: must manually crank to reach desired height, which takes more work and time than electric desks
Electric Sit Stand Desks
Electric sit to stand desks are our most popular and most well rounded desks. You can move from sitting to standing with the touch of a button, often in just 10 to 20 seconds. While they tend to be the most expensive option, electric adjustable height desks allow you to easily switch positions throughout the day and are large enough to hold all of the contents of your desktop, which means everything moves up and down together. While they are extremely convenient, you want to keep in mind that to operate your desk you will need to have access to power in your work space, and because they are adjusted electrically, there is the chance of components breaking down over time.
Pros: adjust height with push of a button, large work surface, whole desktop moves up and down
Cons: more expensive, require power source, components may break down over time
Standing Only Desks
Standing only desks, otherwise known as fixed height or writing desks, are some of the most common standing desks used today. These sturdy desks are often available in many finish options and can be selected to fit your height, which can easily be determined by using our standing desk height calculator. You want to make sure you are using the correct height desk otherwise you are likely to stop using it and will not experience the health benefits of standing desks. You also want to make sure you are not standing for an entire work day because that can create other health risks. It is suggested you find an ergonomic stool to use with your standing only desk so you can switch off between standing and sitting throughout the day.
Pros: sturdy, can be personalized for height
Cons: not adjustable, also need an ergonomic stool to use with desk to prevent standing all day
As you can see, there are many standing desk options available depending on your needs. The main things to consider when making your decision are space, budget, power availability, weight capacity and ease (or option) of moving between standing and sitting. No matter which standing desk you choose, you will enjoy the health benefits and boost in productivity they provide. If you would like more information about standing desks, we have compiled just about everything you need to know at our standing desk resources section.