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Standing Computer Desk Buyer's Guide: Explaining the Different Types of Sit Stand Desks and Standing Desk Converters

Standing Computer Desk Buyer's Guide: Explaining the Different Types of Sit Stand Desks and Standing Desk Converters

Posted by Uncaged Ergonomics on 7th Nov 2018

It's well documented that sitting for long periods of time leads to a number of negative health risks.

So many jobs--whether in a corporate office or the comfort of home--require a majority of the work to be done while sitting. Rightfully so, this has led many people to look into ways around this sedentary lifestyle.

Perhaps you've heard about so-called standing desk converters but aren't sure what they are or how they'll help.

Today, we have a helpful guide for you on all aspects of a standing desk conversion.

Why You Should Consider Standing Desk Converters

It's no secret that a sedentary lifestyle leads to many risks including:

  • Obesity
  • High cholesterol levels
  • High blood sugar
  • High blood pressure
  • etc.

A recent study by the Annals of Internal Medicine went a step even further to show that sitting for too long increases the risk of early death.

Sure, you can certainly choose to get up from your desk once in a while.

Go take a lap around the office, grab a quick water break, or even stroll around the block for a few minutes. Every little thing counts.

But having the ability to use a standing computer desk while working will protect your health even more.

The key is to not be sitting in one position for too long, and the ability to change from a sitting to standing position on the fly while working is a beautiful solution.

Differences in Standing Desks

In the world of standing desk converters, there are still a number of options and variables to consider.

Standing Desk vs. Converter

With all this talk of standing desks, rising desks, converters, etc., you may be wondering what the point of it all is.

The first question you need to ask yourself is, "Do I need a standing desk or a standing desk converter?"

This is important because there is a difference, even if they sound interchangeable.

One is a brand new desk designed entirely for standing with height adjustment. The other is a convenient mechanism that gives an existing sitting desk a rising feature.

If you're starting fresh and looking for a whole new desk that prioritizes standing, you may want to consider something like a standing desk riser, such as Rise Up.

On the other hand, you may already have a desk that you're happy with. Maybe your employer has given you a budget to find your own standing desk conversion but it doesn't allow you a whole new desk.

This is where converters come into play.

This is great for people who still want the ability to alternate sitting and standing.

Even though an active life of standing is encouraged, there still might be a place and time for sitting in the office. Converters are your answer.

Single-Level vs. Dual-Level

While standing desk converters are certainly a healthy alternative for the office, you need to take into account the amount of space you need.

For example, do you use a laptop or a desktop?

If you use a laptop, do you use an external monitor or external mouse?

Do you need added ergonomics to fine-tune the height of your keyboard with a separate level?

Long story short: if you have a small laptop with not many (or any) external components, you may only need a single-level converter. Good news is they can be easier to adjust.

On the other hand, if you need room for a desktop tower, mouse, keyboard, or anything other than your computer itself, you may want to consider dual levels.

A good rule of thumb is that the more things you need space for, the more levels you'll require.

A dual-level or two-piece standing desk conversion may not be as inexpensive or as entry level as other choices, but it's good to have your bases covered. The alternative is saving a few bucks on a cheaper option only to need an upgrade right away.

This convenient flowchart may help you visualize your choices.

A Look at Adjustment Methods

All right. You've decided a standing desk converter is in your future and you've even determined which type you'll need.

There's still another option to consider: adjustment method.

Your converter or rising desk will need to use some kind of mechanism to change its height.

There are three main types:

  • Electrical adjustment
  • Gas-spring adjustment
  • Crank adjustment

These are listed in order of most expensive to least expensive, most lifting capacity to least lifting capacity, and least labor-intensive to most labor-intensive.

Essentially, if you want the fastest, smoothest, and easiest adjustment method, choose electrical.

Gas-spring adjustments use pressure for relatively quick adjustment, although it requires some effort on your part. This usually involves holding down a clamp to relieve pressure in a gas spring and sort of guide the desk up or down.

Crank adjustments require the most effort on your part and also have the least lifting capacity.

In case you don't know, lifting capacity is basically the amount of weight you need to lift on the desk (computers, textbooks, documents, towers, etc.)

The more you need to lift, the more lifting capacity you'll need and the more you should consider electrical and gas-spring adjustments.

A Quick Note on Posture

The whole point of all of this is to improve your health.

Simply standing isn't going to be a cure-all.

It's important to maintain good posture while using a standing computer desk. Your shoulders and hips should be aligned and you should be putting even weight and pressure on your feet.

Be sure to wear comfortable shoes, stretch often, and move in place while you stand. Consider things like marching in place or doing squats while you work.

It may seem silly at first, but it's important to be active and moving, even in the smallest ways.

Final Considerations for Standing Desk Converters

It may just be the nature of the beast when it comes to your office job or your work-from-home gig, but a sedentary life is harmful to your health.

If you're seeking options in standing desk converters, hopefully, you've learned a bit about the different types and which ones are right for you.

If you have questions or need more help, feel free to contact Uncaged Ergonomics right away!