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If you’re planning to get a standing desk for your home office environment, this guide is for you. With too much sitting being declared the new smoking, standing desks are becoming a safer alternative for office workers.
But there are hundreds of models out there available in all sizes, shapes, designs, price ranges, and so much more.
And finding the best standing desk that meets all your needs can be an overwhelming process. You need to do lots of research, analyze, and compare different models. Since different models aren’t built the same, you also need to take your time to find a well-made, reliable desk.
The process gets even more challenging if you have no prior experience with the sit-stand desks.
Worry not, though!
Our guide below will hold your hand and walk you through the entire process of choosing a stand-up desk for the first time.
We have outlined the most important factors to look out for to help you easily navigate the world of stand-up desks and easily find the most suitable one for you.
Table of Contents
How To Choose A Standing Desk
Whether you’ve just started working remotely or want to avoid too much sitting, the following factors will point you in the right direction.
Type of stand-up desk
As the standing desks continue growing in popularity, the standing desk companies are now producing them in varieties to meet the needs of different users.
What works for your fellow office workers may not work for you, so having varieties to choose from is a plus for you.
Let’s briefly discuss the most common varieties you’ll find on the market today to help you decide which one will work for you.
Standing desk converter
A standing desk converter, also known as a sit-or-stand desk converter, is designed to stand atop an existing office desk or table and requires no permanent mounting.
Most converters usually feature a two-tier design. The upper tier is intended to hold your monitor, and the lower deck accommodates the keyboard. Both shelves move up and down in concert. You can also get single-shelf models for use with laptops.
These converters are ideal for people with limited space as they install on an existing office desk. They’re also relatively inexpensive compared to the full sit-stand desks.
Unfortunately, these models offer limited space and will only hold your computer monitor, keyboard, and mouse. If you have plenty of office equipment, these converters might not be a good choice for you.
The extra height they add to your existing desk can also mess up your ergonomic sitting position, especially if you’re short. You may be left with no choice but to get it off your desk when you want to sit, which can be a lot of work.
Fixed standing desk
This is a type of stand-up desk with a fixed (non-adjustable) frame design. It is, therefore, a stand-only desk and doesn’t allow you to adjust it to the sitting position.
Nonetheless, it can save you from too much sitting and the health risks tied to it.
The good thing about fixed-height desks is that they’re more affordable than stand-up desks. You can buy a separate sitting and standing desk at the price of one stand-up desk.
Also, the desk is always at the right height, so you won’t need to spend time lowering or lifting it to a perfect height. This means changing working postures is effortless, unlike in the desk converters and stand-up desks where some work is involved.
You also don’t have to worry about adjusting your table to the highest height setting and making it unstable.
The lack of moving parts is another reason to like these desks. No dealing with power cables, electrical or mechanical issues. You won’t have to configure your office’s surrounding gear and or furniture to accommodate a movable workspace.
Unfortunately, fixed standing desks may not be ergonomic since there’s no option of customizing the desk according to your body height for a comfortable standing posture. The standard height fixed standing desk options may not work for tool tall or short users.
Every time you want to switch positions, you will also be forced to move your entire table. This can be a lot of work, especially when dealing with bulky and heavy gear and equipment.
Overall fixed-height desks are a good option if you’re looking for sit-to-stand desks for occasional use. If you go with this desk, make sure you also have a sitting desk to enable you to alternate between the two positions.
Adjustable height standing desk
This is also a standalone standing desk whose entire desktop surface moves up and down. These units usually come with an extended height range and allow you to seamlessly switch between sitting and standing positions.
The adjustment process for these desks can either be manual or electronic.
The manual models come equipped with a crank mechanism, which means you need to crank it to move it up and down. On the other hand, the electric models are equipped with electric motors, so you just need to press up and down buttons on its control panel to move it up or down.
If you plan to do a lot of office work from home and want a dedicated workstation to hold your office gear and equipment, a dedicated stand-up desk is an ideal choice for you.
These desks have room for everything, including multiple monitor setups, keyboard, mouse, paperwork, and other stuff you want to have in your workspace. Other desks also come with room for holding your headset, a cup of coffee, and so on.
Unlike the converters, however, these units come at higher price points. They also tend to take a lot of space in your home office environment and might not be a practical investment if you have limited space.
Some models may also become unstable at the maximum height setting.
And the budget models may not offer sufficient height range for various users.
Swing arm adaptors
This adapter works as a stand-up desk converter in that it turns your existing desk into a standing desk.
But its working mechanism is completely different from the sit-stand desk converters.
The adapter is designed to clamp at the back of your office desk. It helps elevate your laptop or monitor to a standing working position. You can also easily push them away when not in use.
The swing arm adaptors are quite affordable and super-easy to install. They make for an easy conversion option if you have limited space in your home office.
They’re also a good option for those who do a lot of teleconferencing. They will bring your laptop webcam up to eye level while you’re sitting or standing. And you can easily adjust it mid-meeting.
This is a good way to avoid those unflattering angles you usually experience when video conferencing with the laptop on your lap.
However, maintaining proper ergonomics with this adapter may be a challenge unless you’ve got a separate keyboard (and some kind of keyboard stand to boost its height to a comfortable position for use while standing).
Standing desks with treadmill
Ever heard of treadmill desks? They do exist! Manufacturers are now designing combined workstations featuring a stand-up desk plus an office-friendly treadmill or bike.
Such workstations are a great way to incorporate movement throughout your workday, ensuring you lead an active office life.
However, these combo workstations may not offer you the option to adjust between sitting and standing positions. Some models, however, incorporate a space next to the treadmill where you can slide a chair.
If you plan to introduce a separate treadmill or under desk biker under your new standing desk, ensure you choose a desk that accommodates this particular need.
Since adding exercise equipment will also increase your desk height by a few inches, you must make sure your desk is well made and highly stable.
You don’t want it to get shaky due to your movement on the exercise equipment. This can risk knocking down your computer and other valuable office equipment.
Height adjustment range
A standing desk’s minimum and maximum height settings are other important factors to consider when shopping for the best standing desk.
The ideal standing height should always depend on your size. Get an adjustable desk that allows you to use it with an ergonomic height setting.
Your elbows should be bent at 90 degrees, and your shoulders should be relaxed. You shouldn’t strain to reach the keyboard at the perfect height.
Most of the popular stand-up desks available today have a height range running from 21 to 56 inches and will easily accommodate varying users, including short and tall users.
For short users, you want to ensure the desk frame is designed to accommodate people under 5′4. And for the taller users, go for units that accommodate people over 5′4″ tall.
If the new desk is intended for many users, you should account for the body heights of all the people. Generally, the more extended the right range, the more users the desk can accommodate.
An even easier option would be to get an electric standing desk that’s programmable to allow you to save the standing heights for various users.
There are two ways to look at the size of a standing desk: the amount of space available and how much space it offers for holding all your items.
We advise you to consider how much you have for a new standing desk in your home office for the space requirements. A stand-up desk is unlike your regular office desk in that it’s taller and broader and will take more space.
Take precise measurements of the height and width of the available space for standing as well as seated position. This is the surest way to choose a desk that will fit in the available space in your work area.
As for the tabletop, make sure it’s spacious enough to hold all the items you want to keep on your desktop. If you’re used to having lots of stuff on your desktop, you should get a bigger tabletop model.
If you have a multi-monitor setup, you should get a desk that will accommodate all your monitors, whether dual or triple monitors.
Still, at it, the desktop thickness is also an important factor to consider. Get a table with a thickness of around 1-2 inches toward the seating area. If you go thicker than this, you may not be able to stay in a relaxed position with your elbows and wrists.
Most beginners don’t know this, but standing desks come rated at different weight limits.
Some models can only handle a few items. In contrast, other desks will comfortably accommodate multi-monitor setups and your laptop.
Unfortunately, loading a desk with more weight than it can handle can lead to sagging and even breaking. Overwhelming your desk with more weight will make it unstable and unsafe for you.
That said, it’s always a good idea to know how much stuff you want to place on your stand-up desk and their combined weight. You can even weigh all the items to ensure you buy the best standing desk for your needs. Remember that the tabletop weight is also included in the desk’s total lift capacity.
Traditional standing desks have an average weight capacity of around 150lbs.
Electric desks, on the other hand, average from 150 to 500lbs. The models with higher weight limits have multiple motors to support their legs—hence the ability to support even more desktop items.
As for the pneumatic models, they will support the lowest weight range. They usually have a weight limit of around 30 to 50lbs.
It’s worth noting that pneumatic units usually come with both ideal user weight and standard weight capacity. The former is generally lower than the latter.
Stability is a crucial consideration when looking for a reliable sit-stand desk. You want to ensure you get a wobble-free desk  that gives you a good working while standing experience.
One way to find a wobble-free standing desk is checking the base construction quality.
The most stable models are made from steel. Steel feet that are heavier and longer and offer better longitudinal stability.
Mind you, lighter desks tend to get shakier than heavier ones.
Another thing to check is the desk surface. Most tabletops are usually made from wood and have specific flex limitations. But these limitations may not have much effect on stability if your desk is on the narrower side (about 40 to 48 inches).
Bigger desks, say from 60 to 72 inches, should feature a thicker desktop since the thinner worktops may compromise stability. The bigger desks should have thicker tops of 1 to 1.8 inches.
A smaller desk with a depth of around 24 inches will feel more stable.
PRO TIP: If you get a strong and stable standing desk, and it still shows signs of wobbling and shaking, you may want to look at possible causes of wobbling.
These include uneven flooring, loose parts and hardware, improper height adjustments, and exceeding the weight limit by placing more items on the desktop than it can handle. If you have combined your desk with an office treadmill or other moving items, they might also make it unstable.
When it comes to a standing desk adjustment mechanism, you usually have two options—a manual or an electric model. Besides varying costs, there are other things to consider regarding these two mechanisms.
Electric models will definitely adjust with a higher speed than manual models. They are also easily programmable to let you set the perfect heights with a press of a button.
On the other hand, manual models may be a bit slower than electric units. But the good thing is that they require no power source, and you can use them even in remote areas. You also don’t have to worry about electronics failure.
The adjustment speed may not be a big issue for the top companies that manufacture top-of-the-line best stand-up desk units. But when dealing with budget models, you need to be more careful.
Noise level should also be a major consideration for the adjustment process, especially in electric desks. The smoother your desk adjusts up/down, the quieter its mechanism is.
Look for the best standing desk with a noise level of not more than 60dB. A motor rated 40dB is considered quiet.
How much are you willing to spend on a brand new adjustable desk? This is another important consideration to help you easily choose the right unit that fits your budget.
Like any other office equipment, the prices for standing desks vary as you move from one product to another. Different types of desks are also priced differently.
For instance, the standing desk converters on the lowest end of the standing desk price spectrum will cost you anything from $100 to $450. They’re a good option if you’re on a taught budget and don’t have space to accommodate a full standing desk.
An adjustable standing desk (crank-operated model) will cost you $180 to $400 plus. This shows that they’re not that different from stand-up converters. But at the same time, their design is similar to that of electric desks. Simply put, they’re an intermediary between converters and standing desks.
If you want the convenience of an electric standing desk, you must be willing to dig deeper into your pockets. The most popular units available today cost anything from $480 to $2500, depending on the build quality, engineering, and features.
The exact cost of a given desk in any of the above categories will vary depending on the quality, size, set of features, manufacturer, and other factors.
Don’t go for the cheapest model. While it may help you save money, it might not meet your needs. Just shop around and decide what you want on a standing desk.
As you have seen above, standing desks can be costly. And you want such an investment to serve you for many years to come.
But the truth is, these are mechanical and electrical units and can fail or break down anytime!
You need to ensure you get a desk with a good manufacturer guarantee. This way, you’ll always have an option if your desk malfunctions or gets damaged.
Warranty terms vary between different manufacturers. It’s best to compare different brands to determine which one gives you the best guarantee for your investment.
For instance, Uplift, one of the respected standing desk manufacturers, backs their V2 electric standing desk with a whopping 15-year warranty!
This is enough to guarantee that they have total confidence in their product quality and engineering, and it’s guaranteed to serve you smoothly for years to come.
Fully has a 10-year warranty. And Vari has a shorter warranty than the three companies, i.e., a 5-year warranty.
Some warranties may cover specific aspects of the desk, e.g., hardware and manufacturer defects. Warranty for electric sit-to-stand desks may have different periods for the motor, desktop, and frame.
Generally, a manufacturer offering you a warranty of around 3-5 years is enough to guarantee that the product will serve you well.
A 30 or 90-day money-back guarantee is also a good term of purchase in case you find out you budget the wrong desk ad it’s not serving you well.
Above all, a good warranty can only be good if the manufacturer has smooth communication with its customers. Check how reliable customer support a company has to see if you’ll have problems reaching out to them.
Special sit-stand desk features to consider:
The following additional great features are good to have on your standing desk. These extra features will make your standing desk easier and more convenient to use.
- Built-in speakers: If you want to listen to your favorite tunes while working in your home office, a desk with built-in speakers will be a good option.
- Programmability: Electric standing desks usually have up and down buttons to let you easily lift or lower them. But some models also come with an additional memory function setting. This allows you to program height pre-sets—say the perfect sitting and standing heights—so you just need to press a button to switch between sitting and standing. This means you’ll get the perfect height every time, which is key for achieving the ideal posture.
- Cable management: If you always have multiple cables running across your and under your desk, you already know what a headache it can be to manage them. If you let the wires be, they can also become a risky affair as you can easily trip on them and knock down your devices or even get injured. Luckily, some desks have built-in cable management that helps you manage all your cables neatly for a tidier standing setup.
- Ergonomic keyboard tray: You’ll find that some adjustable stand-up desks come with a separate keyboard tray. This lets you place your keyboard slightly lower than the main desktop, giving you a more ergonomic typing position. The tray can be easily tucked away in most units if you don’t need it.
- Connectivity: Some desks sync with your smartphone to give you helpful info such as how long you’ve sitting or standing and how many calories you’ve burned. This connectivity may also give your desk the command to go up or down.
- Integrated power strip: Manufacturers are now incorporating power strips in their electric desks for added user convenience. Flexispot, for instance, has some of their electric standing desks with up to 3 integrated USB charging ports to help you conveniently charge up to 3 devices at the same time.
Choosing the best standing desk for the first time can be overwhelming and time-consuming when you’re met with hundreds of options. As you have just seen from our guide, many considerations go into choosing the perfect unit for your home office.
You first want to consider which type of standing desk works for you. Then, you can focus on other important features such as height adjustment range, space requirements, weight capacity, stability, adjustment mechanism, cost, and warranty.
Additional features to consider in adjustable desks include memory function for pre-set heights, ergonomic keyboard tray, connectivity, built-in speakers, power strip, integrated power strip, and cable management tray.
Follow our complete guide above when shopping for the best standing desk. And you should have no problems finding the right unit that fits all your unique needs and preferences.