Let’s face it, buying a standing desk isn’t a common occurrence for most people. While some may be purchasing their second desk, a lot of others have yet to enter into the standing desk world. While I wouldn’t consider standing desks to be new, they are more popular today than ever before.
We’ve been involved in the standing desk industry since our company was founded in 2005. With all that time comes an extensive amount of experience, using one personally, as well as selling them to customers. Over the last thirteen years, we’ve seen customers make the same mistakes, repeatedly. Our goal with this post is to help you avoid these common mistakes and avoid the extra expense that can come with them. Ultimately, getting you standing at your new desk sooner.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Purchase a Standing Desk That is Too Small or Too Big
2. Buy a Frame Only, Without Locating a Desk Top First
3. Waiting to Buy Some Accessories Until Desk is Received
4. Require Excessive Lifting Capacities
5. Don’t Consider Stability
6. Assume Wider Desks are More Stable
7. Think a $400 Desk is the Same as a $1500 Desk
8. Don’t Consider How Large Desks Will be Shipped
1. Buy a Standing Desk That is Too Small or Too Big
Purchasing the wrong size standing desk can be a costly mistake. Depending on the brand, having to make an adjustment to the desk size after receiving it can be costly. Some might have restocking fees, others might also have return shipping costs. The loss of productivity is a killer as well. Where will you work while you’re swapping out the desk?
Properly estimating the amount of space you require to work comfortably is important. Bigger is almost always better with standing desks since you can take more of your belongings to standing height. This is true, right up until the time you order a desk that’s too large for your space.
Measuring twice to ensure you order the right size is always highly recommended. Mocking up your desk space is a good idea too. That way you can get a feel for how much space you require for the items that stay on your desk.
2. Buy Frame Only, Without Locating a Desk Top First
The most common DIY standing desk consists of a commercial standing desk frame, paired with a top from another vendor. This can be done for various reasons, cost savings or not liking the vendor of the frame’s top selection.
But, what happens when the DIY top you decided to go with ends up being a dud? Or the cost was exponentially higher than originally planned for. Sometimes you may just decide you’d prefer to simplify things and end up buying from the frame vendor.
If you look around at some of the most popular standing desk brands, their top only prices are high. Sometimes they can be as much as 50-75% of the complete desk package. The main reason for this is the shipping costs. When paired with a frame, they ship as a package. Splitting them up means you’re getting charged shipping on the top only. Sometimes it’s just the vendor wanting to make a larger margin on the top. Regardless, it can be an expensive mistake.
If you’re unsure what direction to take, I’d recommend doing some additional research. Find out how much the surface will be on its own. Or verify that you will be able to source the alternative surface.
3. Waiting to Buy Accessories
A continuation of the last mistake people make is waiting to buy accessories; this can bite your wallet. Like the surface, many of the brands offer a discount when pairing accessories to the desk when buying the package. How much will depend on the brand, but a lot of this, again, comes down to shipping costs.
The second thing to consider is assembling the accessories. Once your desk is upright and assembled, it becomes more difficult to attach things like a keyboard tray or CPU holder. Drilling up into the surface of a desk is more difficult than when the desk is upside down on the floor. If you’ve loaded up the desk surface with items, you may have to remove them and flip the desk upside down to attach the new accessories properly.
Some brands offer no restocking fees and free return shipping on accessories because of this. If you’re on the fence about some accessories, it would be smart to reach out to the retailer and ask about their policy.
4. Look for Excessive Lifting Capacities
Having a large lifting capacity doesn’t always correlate with better quality for a standing desk. This is a big misconception that exists in the industry today. The other issue is that a lot of the weight ratings are created by the brands and not verified by their OEM manufacturer.
Look at your current desk setup and think about the amount of weight that you really need to lift. Then add another 20% onto it just to be safe. The average user will require 75-100 lbs., plus the weight of the surface.
5. Don’t Consider Stability Before Ordering
Stability of a standing desk is one of the more subjective areas. How stable a desk feels can vary from user to user. It doesn’t make it any less important though. One of the best ways to look at stability is by comparing it to a wobble pub table or restaurant table. While both only have a small amount of movement, some people will be annoyed, and others will ignore it. Which one are
The problem with stability on a standing desk is that it can’t be easily fixed. These engineering flaws must be resolved at the factory. A small weakness in the frame or top can create enough small movement to recreate your experience with the restaurant table.
If you’re performing tasks that make a lot of movement, you’re a hard typist or like to lean on the desk, you will notice stability issues. If you’re sensitive to movement while working, pay attention to the stability of your new desk.
6. Assume Wider Desks are More Stable
When searching for better stability, one of the comments that we see being passed around is that a wider standing desk frame will be more stable. Unfortunately, this is not true and buying a wider frame will not eliminate the frame’s stability problems.
We have the ability to test a standing desks frame deflection so we tested a 48” and 72” for comparison. After the test was complete, the results were so close that users wouldn’t be able to feel the difference between sizes.
7. Think a $400 Desk is the Same as a $1500 Desk
Now that standing desks have become popular, we’ve seen a big influx of new brands to the market. Most of the brands make claims that they’re premium quality and offer maximum stability. The truth, when you’re paying $400 for a complete electric standing desk, you can’t expect the same quality as a $1500 desk. That doesn’t mean there isn’t value in the lower cost alternatives.
Will a $400 desk work for you? Or do you need a $1500 premium product? Those questions can only be answered based on the value you put into certain aspects of the desk. Premium products from brands like Linak, OMT Veyhl and NewHeights are a cut above the rest. The internal components from these brands will be some of the best available. The fit and finish of the frames will also be a cut above the rest.
At the end of the day, most of the products from $400 to $1500 will lift your desk up and down. If you’re just looking for an opportunity to stand at your desk, the lower cost options could be a better fit for you.
8. Forget to Consider How Large Desks Will be Shipped
Are you thinking about getting the largest desk a retailer offers? If so, there is a good chance they will be shipping something large via freight carriers. This means an 18-wheeler is delivering the new furniture and the experience is much different than a FedEx/UPS driver. Avoid the surprise and find out the details with the delivery.
The first thing to consider is where the desk is being delivered. If it’s your home, can you accept a 53’ semi into your neighborhood? Is there a gate, a long driveway or on a cul de sac? Freight shipments require someone there to accept delivery. Are you able to make a delivery appointment with the shipper?
Freight carriers’ default to the back of the truck or tailgate types of deliveries if additional services aren’t added before the shipment leaves. This means you are responsible for pulling the items off the back of the semi-trailer. Drivers will roll the pallet to the back of the truck and break the banding for you. It’s then your responsibility to pull each of the boxes off the truck. Most drivers will help get it down from the truck, but without additional services, they aren’t responsible to move it beyond that point. A dolly is a good option to assist in moving heavy items.
There are additional services that can be added, such as a lift gate service and inside delivery, but some freight carriers charge more for these services.
Buying a new standing desk doesn’t have to be a bad experience. Armed with the top eight mistakes, you should easily be able to avoid most of the common pitfalls. Getting the right standing desk, the first time, will get you standing sooner. If you have any additional questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.