Standing Desk Buying Guide

Standing Desk Buying Guide

So you’re considering purchasing a standing desk. That’s a great choice: standing desks can help you be more active during the day. Recent research suggests that inactivity can lead to a variety of health problems including obesity, and could be as dangerous as smoking. The experts are saying that even a daily trip to the gym won’t undo the damage of sitting for most of the day. We all need to move around more, and a standing desk can help you do just that.

But there are many standing desks available on the market these days, and it can be daunting to sort through all the options. Here are some things to consider before you buy.

Electric Height Adjustment

This option is pretty much a no-brainer. One of the reasons people buy ergonomic products is to help prevent injuries. Standing desks can be fairly heavy, so you don’t want to have to lift or turn a crank to make height adjustments. Manual adjustments can also take some time, so if you’re planning to adjust your desk height often, you’ll want to keep this effort in mind.

Electric height adjustable standing desks are ideal because the height quickly changes so you can sit or stand during the workday. They are also a good choice if more than one person will use the desk—even people of similar heights may need to adjust the height.

All electric height adjustable standing desks have one or more buttons that raise and lower the desk surface. But some have fancier controls, with the option to enter preset heights into the memory. This is a feature that can be very useful—you can switch from sitting to standing with a single button, or another user can select the height that’s right for him or her.

Get out your measuring tape and find out where you need your keyboard and mouse to be as well as the optimal height for your monitor. Then look at the specifications of the desks you’re considering, and do the math to determine whether the desk will adjust to the height you need. This is a particularly important consideration for people who are very short or very tall!

Desk Footprint

Some standing desks can be fairly large. You’ll want to do some measuring to be sure the desk will fit in the space you have planned for it. Many manufacturers have multiple desktop sizes, so choose the one that works best in your space.

You’ll also want to consider the maximum height of the desk in your measurements. If you have shelving or wall hangings, you may need to remove them or find another place for your desk. Take a look at the specifications of the desks you research and think about your desk’s space in all three dimensions.

Desk Surface

No matter what you’ll have on the surface of your desk, you want a sturdy surface. Look for a sturdy and stable work surface that will hold everything you need on your desktop. Most manufacturers have a variety of desktop options that may include laminate, veneer, solid bamboo, and even reclaimed and exotic woods. Of course the price for a height adjustable standing desk with a laminate top will be lower than one with reclaimed teak; however, this depends on your preference for budget versus luxury looks.

Additionally, most manufacturers have a frame-only option available if you prefer to attach your own desktop. Buying just the frame costs less than buying the whole desk; the final cost would be dependent on the custom work surface you select and install.

Motor Noise

Ergonomic office products are designed to keep you comfortable during the workday. Some people—including others who work near you—may be distracted by motor noise from an electric height adjustable standing desk. Look for options with sound levels in the 65 dB range (or less), which is about the same level as a normal conversation.


Most electric height adjustable standing desks are shipped disassembled. Once you receive your desk, you’ll have to put it together yourself, or hire someone to assemble it. Usually assembly is straightforward, and may only take a few minutes to do. Many manufacturers have their assembly manuals or assembly videos available online, so be sure to check them out before you buy. You’ll want to know beforehand whether you can complete the assembly yourself.


Just about anything—especially items with moving parts—should come with a warranty. Sometimes the different components of an electrical height adjustable standing desk can have separate warranties: there may be different terms for the desk surface, the desk frame, the motor(s), or the control panel. Be sure to compare the warranty options while you’re doing your research.

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