Last updated October, 2019
Standing desks have recently gained a lot of publicity because more and more people these days are moving away from typical ‘blue collar’ jobs into ‘white collar’ jobs at offices and in cities. Along with this trend is also a trend of obesity and general unhealthiness in developed countries.
While days could be dedicated to discussing whether or not these things are actually linked, there are no studies that I’ve found that conclude that being sedentary is healthier than moving around. Stand up desks are a great way to encourage movement, even if it’s simply transferring weight from one foot to another.
If you’re looking for an adjustable desk that goes on top of your existing desk, click here
Do I Need a Sit-Stand Desk?
Standing desks are made in many styles and variations, and were popular in the homes of the rich back in the 18th and 19th century. Because of the medical reports that have come out recently citing sedentary lifestyles as increasing the risk of heart and other disease, sit and stand desks are regaining popularity. However, although there is studies to suggest standing desks are better, there are also studies that show that merely standing all day (rather than sitting all day) can still cause problems like vericose veins.
Either way you slice it, our bodies were not made to be immobile. That’s why there is a new breed of standing desks that are called sit-stand desks, or height adjustable desks, and can be moved up and down throughout the day to give you a mix of movement and work positions.
In fact, because of the need for mobility, you have all sorts of crazy inventions like the treadmill desk, the weight bench desk, hamster wheel standing desk, and even all sorts of interesting inventions that you can stand on while working to help your joints wiggle and jiggle the hours away.
How to Choose the Right Stand-Up Desk
When considering a stand up desk, think about all of the different tasks you’ll want to perform at your workstation. If you always work on a computer or laptop, then you may not need much space. However, if you use a computer, and often write or draw on paper, and need a reading platform, you’ll need a larger space. In this case, an addition to your existing desk may not be large enough.
Another consideration is, if you work on multiple tasks (such as writing and computer work), you could split the 2 types of work over different work surfaces. Instead of requiring an adjustable height desk, it may be cheaper, and make for a more efficient work space if one type of work is done while sitting and the other is done while standing.
Things to keep in mind
- The Type of Work You’re Doing and Where You’re Doing It
Are you doing something that requires a very stable desk? A compact desk so that it fits in the corner of a living room?
- The Frequency of Which You’ll Want to Change Position from Sitting to Standing
Will you want to sit for the first half of the day, and then stand all afternoon? Or will you be just standing all day? Perhaps you want to be able to sit or stand at will throughout the day. Remember – this isn’t what you think you can handle now (going from sitting all day straight to standing all day won’t be easy), it’s what you hope to be doing in a few weeks, or a months time.
- How Big of a Workspace Do You Need
Do you have multiple monitors or just a laptop? Will you also need space for a telephone, books, writing space? I use a laptop, 2 additional monitors, and a fullsize keyboard and mouse – plus I’d like space for writing some notes, to-do lists etc – so I need lots desktop space! That ruled out any of the smaller options and set me towards sit stand desk legs so that I could use them as a sit to stand desk converter on my current desk top.
- How much weight does your desk need to be able to support?
If you just have a laptop, not very much. If you have all of my gear, about 100 lbs. If you sculpt rocks at your desk, you might need more weight capacity at your standing desk.
Best Adjustable Standing Desk
Flexispot Electric Standing Desk
The Flexispot is the brand name desk in the adjustable desk category, and because of that, it costs a little bit more. With the price, you also get the highest quoted weight capacity in the category, as well as reliability from a known brand.
When examining Flexispot desk reviews we noticed that this desk is the best standing desk for tall people as it goes the highest out of all of the electric sit stand desk options – 47.6″ is the maximum height.
Unicoo Crank Adjustable Standing Desk
Budget Choice: Mr IRONSTONE Height Adjustable Desk
This adjustable desk is definitely the budget choice – while it does have adjustable height, it isn’t automatic, and it doesn’t have a motor. Instead, you can twist out the operating screws and lower or raise the desk as needed.
The Mr IRONSTONE desk is a good cheap standing desk, but is best suited for someone who would work at one height for hours at a time or longer. If you need to change the height of your work surface more often, or with your work items still on the desktop than you’ll want an electric standing desk.
Best Choice: SHW Electric Adjustable Height Desk
With electronic motor adjustment and adjustable preset heights, you can program standing position for different people, or maybe the desk is just for you. Then you can program a height for your chair, a different height for your exercise ball, and a different height for when you are standing.
Weight capacity isn’t rated, but reviews show people loading it up with all the typical computer and work station needs. We would guess the motor and design is the same as other commercial name brand options, so a weight limit of 100 lbs has not been tested, but that’s our estimate of a safe capacity for this electric sit-stand desk.
Cheap Sit Stand Desk
One of the most popular searches related to sit and stand desks is “cheap sit stand desk”. There are plenty of examples online of people who have created or hacked their own standing desks and there is plenty of versions of Ikea sit stand desks hacked and cobbled together from different Ikea products.
I had a DIY sit stand desk, and used it for almost 6 weeks (2 different times actually, but that’s a different story). We had just moved into our new house, and I was still working on installing the hardwood in the bedrooms – one of which was to be my office. So, I never really set up my workstation. Instead, I put my desktop on a stack of boxes and added some wood blocks until it was the right height. That’s how I worked. For 6 weeks (yes, that’s how long it took me to getting around to finishing the floor because I had to wait for a break in my workload and a time when we didn’t have anything else planned for our lives).
However, during that time, I felt that my productivity was affected after a few hours as I started to hunch over and try and lean on the desk for a break. Then when I returned to a sitting desk my productivity and focus went up. But it was only a few months later I started having back pain again and I realized I was slouching in my chair, just like I had slouched while standing – except I was sitting of course. I got rid of the chair and started sitting on an exercise ball. It’s great for my posture, but I still want to change positions which is when I decided to take the plunge and spend some money on a sit stand desk electric that I can lower and rise at a moments notice.
The motorized sit stand desk wasn’t cheap, but to me it’s worth it. After all, I spend almost 8 hours a day, 5 days a week working. If I split the cost of a seemingly expensive $500 desk over the course of even a year, it’s $1.25 per day. Over 3,4, or maybe even 5 years, it’s only pennies a day to increase productivity, and avoid back and neck pain. Doesn’t that sound like a bargain?
Famous People who use (or used) Stand-up Desks
Many famous people used standing desks – but there are also lots of famous people who didn’t. Please keep in mind that if you decide to use a standing desk it isn’t a guarantee your creativity and fame will increase to the same caliber as these people 🙂
- Leonardo da Vinci
- U.S. founding father Benjamin Franklin
- U.S. founding father Thomas Jefferson
- Author Virginia Woolf
- Author Ernest Hemingway