I’m very interested in acquiring a height-adjustable desk which allows one to go from sitting to standing and vice versa. There has been quite the buzz of late about the health benefits of standing while working as opposed to sitting…and I already find myself regularly shifting from location to location when I am able – from standing to sitting to lying and so on. In this article I’m going to provide an overview of the options available for height adjustable desks. Please let me know if you are aware of additional options I should include in this article and I’d also love to hear any feedback folks have on the desks they are using.
One site you’ll definitely want to visit during your purchasing process is Comfortable Computing. Be sure to check out their interactive tool “Workspace Planner” – it will help you decide what height you need your adjustable desk to be able to rise to. You might also want to visit JustStand which has a nifty calculator for determining how many calories per day you would burn from standing rather than sitting.
- Features: 30 day return guarantee, 1 year warranty against defects, 5 years on steel.
- ModTable – 27.5″ – 47″ height – $599 – Available in various sizes, uses crank.
- Mini Mod – 27.5″ – 47″ height – $599 – A smaller version of the ModTable, but since pricing is the same, not sure why you would ever buy one…unless you had a very small workspace.
- Features: electric lift mechanism, 26.5″ to 42.5″, 1.25″ high pressure laminate desktop, 300 lb. weight capacity, each leg has own motor, 20 min. setup, 5 yr. warranty.
- PowerUp Small – 48″ x 30″ – $899
- PowerUp Medium – 60″ x 30″ – $949
- PowerUp Large – 72″ x 30″ – $999
- Features: manual lift mechanism, 26.5″ to 42.5″, 1.25″ high pressure laminate desktop, 225 lb. weight capacity, 5 turns per inch (precision), 20 min. setup, 5 yr. warranty.
- CrankUp Small – 48″ x 30″ – $649
- CrankUp Medium – 60″ x 30″ – $699
- Offers a number of nice accessories as well.
- Features: 335 lb. weight capacity, 4 programmable presets, each leg has own motor, 1.1″/sec. lift speed, 23″ to 48.75″, 2 yr (motor) / 5 yr (frame) warranty.
- Max Large – 78.75″ x 31.5″ or 63″ x 31.5″ – $985
- Max Small – 47.25″ x 31.5″ – $949
- Features: 28-35mm/sec. lift speed, 275 lb. weight capacity, 23″ to 48.75″, 2 yr (motor) / 5 yr (frame) warranty, each leg has own motor.
- GeekDesk v3 Large – 78.75″ x 31.5″ or 63″ x 31.5″ – $799
- GeekDesk v3 Small – 47.25″ x 31.5″ – $749
- Notes: These guys are expensive. I think they are going for the “Apple” of height adjustable tables.
- Terra – 63″ x 31.5″ – $1497
- Air – 63″ x 31.5″ – $2178
- Solo – 30″ x 24″ – $897
- Features: 22″-48″, 275 lb. weight capacity, 1.1″/sec. lift speed.
- 24″x48″ – $875.
- 24″x60″ – $925.
- 24″x72″ – $975.
- Features: Lifetime warranty (on material defects), 30 day full refund return period, free shipping.
- Height Adjustable Crank Table – $600 – 27″ – 40.5″
- Deluxe Height Adjustable Computer Table – $310 – Height begins at 24″, a number of variations available. Appears to be a little difficult to adjust – not crank or electronic.
- Edison Electric Table – $830 – Electric height adjustment, up to 50″ tall, available in 36″, 48″, 60″, and 72″ widths.
- Split Level Adjustable Computer Table – $400 – Available in various sizes, uses grommets for adjusting height.
- Versa Center – $300 – Available in various sizes, doesn’t appear to use crank or electronic adjustment for height.
- Adjustable Wall Mount Computer Station – $280 – This looks very interesting, but it concerns me that it appears to support only one monitor.
- Deluxe Electric Life Wall Mount Computer – $700 – The name is a bit of a misnomer – it is a station, not the computer itself. Again, appears to only support one monitor.
- Offers a number of models, many are standing desks of fixed height. I like lots of leg room and these don’t have it, but some might like them – they have extra shelving.
- Muv 28″ Adjustable Height Workstation – $448 – 29″ – 34″ height.
- Muv 35″ Adjustable Height Workstation – $479 – 29″ – 34″ height.
- Muv Stand-up Adjustable Height Workstation – $505 – 35″ – 49″ height.
- Starts around $1400 for a complete table, though you can also purchase just the bases for around $700. Has a decent variety of options including some wall-mount options.
- Creates the Proliftix line, the electric version starts at $924 and the crank version at $760. They can be purchased from The Human Solution.
- Elevate II – 28″ – 47″, electric, $1300.
- Elevate Adjusta – 27″ – 53″, electric, $2850.
- Elevate Corner – 27″ – 53″, electric, $4930.
- Elevate Wrap – 27″ – 53″, electric, $3100.
- Elevate Single – 27″ – 53″, electric, $2380.
- Fit Adjusta – Pricing starts at $829, only goes up to 31.25″.
- Fit Console – Pricing starts at $1179, only goes up to 31.25″.
- Humanscale – Starts at around $1800 for their “Float” desk.
- AFC Industries Inc. – Offers what looks like professional office furniture that is height adjustable.
- Haworth – Available through Crate and Barrel for $299. Very inexpensive, but see reviews on Crate and Barrel site for downsides. Also sells an electric table for $1390 available from Sit4Less.
- Steelcase – Sells the Airtouch, which is priced around $1500.
- Biomorph – Sells several different models beginning at $995.
- Workrite Ergonomics – Makes the Sierra HX Electric which starts at $1300, also sells the Proliftix Electric and hand crank in both Sierra and Proliftix. You can purchase from The Human Solution.
- UpLift – Available via The Human Solution. Numerous different models available, the Uplift 445 starting at $749.
- Right Angle Products – A variety of options, not clear on pricing.
- Relax the Back – Offers the Sit to Stand Desk starting at $1600+.
- Soma Ergonomics – Start at $1000+ and go up from there.
- Gilbraltar – Sells bases for adjustable height desks. Pricing appears reasonable ($400+/-) but only go up to 39.5″. Can be purchased through Kitchensource.
- SiS – Sells several adjustable height desks, unfortunately they are pretty expensive ($1500+).
- Cotytech – Sells several adjustable height desks, including a laptop desk that can go up to 41.9″ and costs $264.
- Alvin Professional Table – Looks to be a drafting table, available via Walmart, it ranges from 29″ – 45″. May be a bit of a pain to adjust, but the price starts at $199.
- Mayline – Starts at $3000 for most height adjustable desks. The Soho Adjustable Mobile Computer Table is available from Walmart for $350 and goes from 14″ – 48″.
- Reo-Smart – Makes several height adjustable workstations, unfortunately they only go up to 37.8″ but the prices start aroudn $570.
- Jesper Office – Their “value” desk starts at $1450.
- Dania Furniture – Offers a desk for $1100, adjusts up to 52″.
- Wood Craft of Michigan.
Modify Existing Desk
- Desktop Elevator – Fits onto existing desk, starts at $829.
- AdjustDesk – These fit on an existing desk, starting at $499. Known as the “Kangaroo.”
- Health Postures – Offers units that are placed on top of existing desk.
- Is electric better than crank? In my opinion, it may be better to get a crank unit (which is cheaper) as mechanical parts tend to last longer than electronic components. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a dead electronic table five years down the road, but I’d hope the manufacturing quality would allow a crank table to be usable twenty years later.
- How high and how low does my desk need to go?Comfortable Computing has a great calculator that uses your height to determine how high your desk should be when sitting and when standing.
- ModTable – There are cheaper options available, but this appears to be the lowest priced high-end height adjustable desk I could find. I’m interested in their $599 crank unit. Currently they have some tops on clearance (snow white) for which there isn’t an extra charge…I’d go with that if I buy one. The one downside I see to these units is their minimum height of 27.5″. According to Comfortable Computing when sitting I should be using a keyboard at 25.5″ – so in sitting, I won’t be ergonomically correct. I could fix this by affixing a keyboard try underneath the desk which would probably bring the level down 1-2″.
- UpDesk – Another attractive option which offers a lower minimum height (26.5″, but still too high for me) and on the negative a lower maximum height (42.5″, which is enough for me). The unit is around $100 more expensive than the ModTable.
- GeekDesk – I must admit a certain attraction to GeekDesk due to their popularity and their cool name…but the product is also solid. The cost is around $800, but the unit is electrically powered and it goes as low as 23 in. and as high as 49 in. – that seems about perfect to me for height minimum and maximum. On the downside, expect to pay $125 for S&H!
- VersaTables – The VersaTables are attractive b/c of price ($599), but both their minimum height (27″) and maximum height (40.5″) is disappointing.
At this juncture I’m divided. I’d really like a hand-crank table (more reliability) but also think the min. and max. heights on the GeekDesk are the best. I’m leaning slightly towards ModTable b/c of the lower price and the hand-crank, but I’m still up in the air. What do you think? Are there other options I should be consulting? Other factors I should be considering?
Appendix A. Sore Feet/Legs
I’ve transitioned into the full-time pastorate and stand at my desk as often as possible (I have a no-name drafting table right now) and sometimes my feet hurt from doing so. Here are a few articles I found that address this issue that others may find helpful as well.
- Dr. Steve Rosenberg. When Your Feet Hurt, Everything Hurts. Ouch! Huffington Post, 4/15/09.
- Rona Aquino. How to Keep Your Feet From Hurting After Standing. eHow.
- Apparently there are “anti-fatigue” mats specifically to relieve this issue. I’ve purchased a Genuine Joe Anti-Fatigue Mat 2’x3′ for around $20, it seems to help but doesn’t remove the issue.
- A good Q&A is over at paleohacks on the leg issues caused by standing for extended periods of time. Another helpful Q&A can be found on Quora.
- Stephen Searer. “7 Height-Adjustable Desks That Won’t Murder You.” Office Snapshots. 8/24/12.
- “How Do I Make My Own Height Adjustable Desk?” Lifehacker. 1/26/12.
- Thorin Klosowski. “How Sitting All Day is Damaging Your Body and How You Can Counteract It.” Lifehacker. 1/26/12.
- John Biggs. “Gift Guide: The UpDesk Standing Desk Video Review.” TechCrunch. 11/13/12.
- Rain Noe. “‘Living With’ Product Review: The GeekDesk Truly Transforms the Way You Work.” Core77. 6/21/11.
- Michael Desmond. “Five Questions with GeekDesk Founder Donovan McNutt on Standing Desks.” About.com.
- Matt Linderman. “Bootstrapped, Profitable, & Proud: GeekDesk.” 37Signals. 6/15/11.
- “GeekDesk Max Review.” Gear Live. 8/31/12.
- Adam Dachis. “Build a DIY Wide, Adjustable Height IKEA Standing Desk on the Cheap.” Lifehacker. 1/21/11.
- “How Do I Make a Height Adjustable Desk?” DIY.StackExchange.
- “How to Build an Adjustable Height Computer Desk for Under $100.” Tutorial Save. 11/21/10.
- Matthias Wandel. “Height Adjustable Computer Desk (my wheely desk).”
- “Build an Adjustable Desk with Pipe and Klee Klamp.” Simplified Building Concepts.
- Chris Gardner. “How to Make a DIY Adjustable Drafting Table from Any Desktop.” Curbly. 1/18/11.
- “How Can I Build a Wall Mounted Adjustable Height Desk?” DIY.StackExchange.
- Gina Trapini. “Why and How I Switched to a Standing Desk.” Smarterware. 1/16/11.
- Todd Wasserman. “Are You Sitting Down? Why a Stand-Up Desk Might Save Your Life.” Mashable. 4/22/11.
- Jim Carlton. “Standing Desks Are on the Rise.” WSJ. 8/31/11.
- Mark Lukach. “Besting Standing Desks.” The Wirecutter. 5/29/12. (The article from Wired found here is a copy of this article.)
- Kevin Michaluk. “Standing Desks – Why I Use One; Why You Should Too.” Crackberry. 2/28/12.
- Brett & Kate McKay. “Becoming a Stand-Up Guy: The History, Benefits, and Use of Standing Desks.” The Art of Manliness. 7/5/11.
- “Standing Desk.” Lowes Creative Ideas for Home and Garden.
- Lloyd Alter. “Are Standing Desks Healthier Than Sitting?” Treehugger. 2/25/10.
- Ray Hu. “Standing Desk Shootout: Steelcase Airtouch Height-Adjustable Table.” Core77. 8/30/11.
- Josh Smith. “Standing Desk Guide: Measurements, Examples, and Benefits.” Notebooks.com. 5/3/11.
- Kate Taylor. “Get Up, Stand Up, For Your Life: Can Standing Desks Fight Sitting Disease?” Forbes. 8/2/12.
- Phaedra Riley. “Standing Desk Shootout: Haworth Planes Height-Adjustable Table.” Core77. 8/16/11.
- Core Jr. “Standing Desk Shootout: Humanscale Float Table.” Core77. 8/24/11.
- Drake Bennett. “Kill Your Desk Chair – and Start Standing.” BusinessWeek. 6/28/12.
- Stephanie M. Lee. “Companies Take a Stand Against Sitting.” SFGate. 8/8/12.
- Kathleen Pierce. “Many Employees Abandon Sitting While Working.” Boston Globe. 3/26/12.
- “A Week with a Sit-Stand Desk.” Pandawhale. 1/28/12.