Adjustable standing desks have undoubtedly revolutionized the field of ergonomics. These desks have a range of benefits such as improved productivity, good posture, and better blood circulation in the body.
This is the reason that more and more people are now inclined towards buying adjustable standing desks for themselves. So, they are interested in knowing how does a standing desk work, its types and benefits, and what should be kept in mind while choosing one.
Therefore, in this article, we are covering everything regarding a height adjustable desk from its working mechanism to its types, and health benefits, and a detailed guide towards getting the right standing desk for you.
What is an Adjustable Standing Desk?
As the name suggests, a standing desk is a desk that doesn’t need a chair to sit and work on it. An adjustable standing desk is a workstation setup that can be adjusted at different heights allowing you to switch between sitting and standing modes. In this way, it makes the working experience more comfortable and ergonomic.
Different types of height-adjustable desks use different mechanisms for raising or lowering the heights. Some desks use electric motors to change the height while others have manual mechanisms such as knobs, hand cranks, levers, and gas lifts, etc to do so.
Types of Adjustable Standing Desks
Before going into details of the working mechanism of sit-stand desks, it’s important to know that these desks come in three basic types:
- Manually Adjustable Standing Desk
- Adjustable Desk Converters
- Motorized Standing Desk
How does a Standing Desk Work?
The working mechanism of all these types are briefly explained below:
How do Manually Adjustable Desks Work?
A manual adjustable sit-stand desk allows the user to manually adjust the height of the workstation to a sitting or standing mode. This is generally done by using a lever or hand crank mechanism. These desks require a considerable amount of physical effort to adjust the height.
In this way, it provides physical exercise and allows users to be more active at work. Manual adjustable desks are the most budget-friendly option for those who want to alternate between sitting and standing. There are three types of manually adjustable desks:
- Hand Crank Standing Desk
- Pneumatic Standing Desk
- Spring Counterbalance Desk
Hand Crank Desk
As the name suggests, these desks use a hand-crank mechanism for raising or lowering the height. These are the most common adjustable height desks that are easy to use as well. The user just has to turn the crank in either direction to adjust the desk’s legs which in turn adjust the height. However, one drawback of these standing desks is that it takes a considerable amount of energy as well as time to crank their height adjustment mechanism.
Pneumatic Standing Desk
A pneumatic standing desk uses a gas lift cylinder for raising or lowering the desk’s height. When the cylinder is engaged, the gas or fluid filled in it flows through the piston that generates pressure for lifting the desk. Pneumatic standing desks have two subtypes:
- Single-leg pneumatic counterbalance desks
- Two-leg pneumatic counterbalance desks
Single-leg pneumatic counterbalance desks
Single-leg pneumatic counterbalance desk uses one cylinder per leg that works together for adjusting the height.
Two-leg pneumatic counterbalance desks
Two legs pneumatic counterbalance desk has one cylinder for adjusting both legs of the desk. A connecting wire or rod is present between two legs. The gas cylinder is attached to one leg but when it is moved the rod forces the other leg to move as well. In this way, both legs move to produce the desired height adjustment.
Spring Counterbalance Desk
The spring counterbalance desk uses the same mechanism as the pneumatic desk. However, they have a spring tension for raising the height instead of pneumatic fluid. A major drawback of spring counterbalance desks is that they are much noisier than other height-adjustable standing desks.
How do Adjustable Desk Converters Work?
Adjustable desk converters are handy for those who have a nice and comfortable desk but they don’t want to replace it. Desk converters are in the form of platforms that are placed on the top of an existing desk and adjusted to the desired height.
The height of these converters can be adjusted either manually or by pressing the button powered by a motor. Some desk converters also contain drawers for putting in extra things.
These converters are relatively cheaper and easy to set up. You just have to put these converters on your existing desk to get an essential rise. However, you can raise only a few necessities with these converters_not the whole desk. In this way, desk converters are not ideal for making an efficient and smart workspace environment.
How do Motorized Standing Desks Work?
Motorized desks are the premier quality desks that can be lifted and lowered in seconds by just pressing a button. These desks contain an electric motor that is responsible for raising or lowering the height.
The motor is controlled by a button or switch that is either present on the desk or can be accessed using a remote control. Users just have to touch the button to adjust the height to the desired level. In this way, it makes the transition between sitting and standing much easier, faster, and more comfortable.
Electric motorized standing desks are much more expensive than manual standing desks and adjustable desk converters. These desks are divided into three subtypes_ all of which are operated by motor with a slight difference in the working mechanism. These three types are:
- Electric Standing Desk with Single Motor Configuration
- Electric Standing Desk with Dual Motor Configuration
- Smart Height Adjustable Standing Desk
Working Mechanism of Electric Standing Desk with Single Motor Configuration
This type of desk uses one electric motor for raising or lowering the height of the desk. However, this motor must be powerful enough to evenly raise both legs of the desk along with the additional weight of items on its surface. Such electric height adjustable desks are generally simpler and relatively affordable as compared to the other two types of motorized standing desks.
Working Mechanism of Electric Standing Desk with Dual Motor Configuration
Electric standing desks with dual motor configuration use two motors (one per leg) for adjusting the height. An electric sit-stand desk has a higher efficiency and can even lift the weight of both legs of the desk. The use of dual motors makes the process of raising or lowering the height much quieter and smoother.
Working Mechanism of Smart Height Adjustable Standing Desk
These are premium quality desks that have preset height options that allow the user to select the height range that suits him/her. Users can store two or more preset height options in their memory and can activate them by just pressing a button. Even some of these have a built-in technology that dictates to users when to sit or stand. Among all the motorized standing desks, smart desks are the most expensive.
How Long Should You Stand at a Sit-Stand Desk?
Keep the following points in mind to know how long should you stand at an adjustable-height desk:
- If you are new to using a standing desk, never spend the whole day standing as it would bring health hazards rather than benefits for you. Instead, stand only 2-3 hours per day during the initial one or two weeks. Afterward, increase the standing time in small increments.
- Remember, productivity must be your top priority when it comes to using a standing desk. If you feel like your productivity is being compromised by standing for long hours and you need to sit, then sit.
- It is important to take regular breaks from work and walk around or perform some simple stretches. It would help in avoiding discomfort and loss of productivity
- In addition, the use of an anti-fatigue mat might help you get used to a standing desk. It is a simple piece of mat that makes you comfortable while standing in addition to protecting your carpet from any wear and tear caused by standing.
Benefits of Using a Standing Desk
There is nothing wrong with sitting while working. Some tasks that require a higher level of focus and concentration are best performed sitting comfortably in a correct posture. The problem arises when you sit all day long on the office chair without doing any movement.
Prolonged sitting brings myriad physical and mental health issues in addition to the loss in productivity levels. This is where you need an adjustable standing desk as it has solutions for many of these problems. The key benefits of adjustable standing desks are given below:
- A standing desk allows you to stand while working rather than sitting all the time. In this way, it promotes good posture and in turn relieves shoulder, knee, and back pain.
- Switching between sitting and standing would make you more active and focused. While sitting, the human body becomes sluggish and fatigued, making it difficult to stay alert and active. Standing on the other hand engages the entire body’s muscles which improves concentration and focus.
- Using a standing desk helps in burning a large number of calories. The human body requires more energy while standing to support weight and maintain balance. In this way, more and more calories are burned which helps in improving the metabolism and promoting weight loss.
- An adjustable standing desk allows you to keep the monitor screen at your eye level whether you are sitting or standing. In this way, it helps in avoiding neck pain that is developed when you have to raise your neck up or down to look at the screen.
These are just a few benefits of a standard standing desk. A good quality adjustable standing desk offers a range of other features as well that can change your overall sitting experience.
However, there are little few disadvantages of standing desks as well, for instance, if you spend too much time in a standing position your feet will most probably swell and cause a lot of discomforts.
Getting the Right Adjustable Standing Desk for your Needs
To select the best standing desk for you, keep the following factors in mind:
- Depending on the motors used for the height adjustment mechanism, there are two types of desks available in the market, which are single-motor and dual-motor standing desks.
- Choose a desk that has sufficient weight capacity for supporting the monitor, keyboard, and other accessories in addition to holding your weight.
- Make sure that desk has a smooth and simple adjustment mechanism for changing the height. For instance, if you find it troublesome to hand crank the desk for adjusting height, you should go for a motorized standing desk.
- Look for a standing desk that is made of high-quality materials so that it can last for years. Although this feature will make it a little costly, as already described, it would be a lifetime investment for you.
In a nutshell, adjustable standing desks come in three types that have distinct working mechanisms. Some desks have a manual adjusting mechanism while some use electric motors to raise or lower the height.
Weight capacity, adjustment mechanism, durability, and affordability are the key factors that must be kept in consideration before purchasing a standing desk. A standing desk adjusted to a suitable height brings immense benefits to the health and productivity of users. However, the transition from a sitting desk to a standing workstation should be gradual.