The idea behind standing desks is one where medical insights have suggested that sitting for too long causes a permanent health issue. The need to get up regularly and move around, in addition to any exercise undertaken outside of the work environment, is necessary to ward off the unwanted effects of a sedentary work life.

Partly developed for people who’ve had bad backs either from birth or through a vehicle accident, the pressure on the spine from excessive time sitting down took its toll. The idea of creating a standing desk to elevate the back pressure was found to be helpful. A new category of work desk came into being and is catching on in much the same way that small peddle cycles positioned on the floor that workers can peddle while working has done.

Standing desks have developed into some different formats:

  1. A mini standing desk placed on top of a regular desk.
  2. A standing desk using a single platform.
  3. A workstation standing desk built on multiple platforms.

The mini standing desk is typically made of durable wood, comes delivered in a flat-packed box and is slotted together by the buyer once the various pieces of the product are unpacked. Sometimes it is designed as two mini-levels with enough space to position a flat panel LCD monitor and a keyboard below it; other times everything is designed for a single level. The mini desk sits on top of a standard level work desk.

While the wooden construction is often pretty light overall, with the added weight of a computer monitor and other work equipment, the desk doesn’t move around too much. Typically, there is a thick base to the product which keeps it steady.

The standalone standing desk using a single platform is essentially a raised work desk. It is wider and deeper with enough space to put work documents, a computer monitor, a laptop, and other items. Depending on the model, sometimes there are one or more cutouts to tuck away power cables neatly to avoid them snaking all over the desk.

With the workstation standing desk on multiple levels, this is often used to place a monitor at the higher level to suit where the eyes naturally look and a lower level platform for where the hands are positioned horizontally. The dual level setup set up as more of an active workstation that leaves plenty of space to spread out work papers, while keeping IT equipment easily within reach.

Especially in the case of either type of standing desk, many are height adjustable. The height adjustment is made manually or in some cases; presets are set up for different usable heights and with the press of the right button, the internal motorized mechanism will adjust the height for the user.

The ability to adjust the height using presets is valuable for people who find they need more than one setup depending on the type of work they are completing (drafting plans on paper vs. computer use).

For women who don’t feel that they would be comfortable adjusting the desk height manually, the motorized height adjustment is going to be more appealing. With that said, any motorized solution is at risk from breakdown more so than when using a simple manual height adjustment system.

What’s Included with The Best Standing Desk

Standing desks are either small wooden slats that the buyer needs to assemble from a boxed pack or a standing desk usually with a wooden or aluminum frame, castor wheels for more efficiently moving the desk across the floor, and with one or two platform levels.

The amount of assembly required for a standing desk depends on whether it is a smaller standing model placed atop another regular sized desk or a free standing model with many more parts to assemble. The instructions provided help buyers run through the steps necessary to complete the assembly in a reasonable time.

What to Know Before Making a Purchase

The paint finish on legs supporting free standing desks is treated to avoid rusting or deteriorating over time.

Check whether the desk can be elevated sufficiently high enough for anyone over 6 feet tall.

When unsure whether a standing desk is really for you, the smaller versions that sit on an existing desk may be a better option because one can switch back and forth between standing and sitting when needed.

Other Considerations

Some degree of assembly is typically required. However, it shouldn’t be a problem for most people.

Best Brands

Well Desk uses only US materials and workers to manufacture their range of standing desks. The company offers an innovative approach to providing ergonomic workplace solutions, as well as free delivery.

Stand Up Desk Store makes standing desks, multilevel standing workstations, dry erase boards, and other accessories for the home office and work environment.

Tabletote from PCTables focuses on producing portable plastic standing tables that are light enough to move into any place in the room quickly and are ideal for holding a laptop.

Day Martin founded StandSteady following a car accident that left her experiencing back pain when sitting at her work desk. Soon after, Ms. Martin decided to create a standing desk business when she was unable to find the same product available locally.

What Consumers Say

Taking a look at consumers’ reviews, these are a few of the opinions most often voiced by buyers:

Assembly time: Small standing desks that sit on existing desks take only 5-10 minutes to assemble. Larger free standing desks shouldn’t take any longer.

Better mobility: Anyone who likes to hop between computer tasks and other things to do like checking whether lunch has finished cooking yet, will find a standing desk easier for faster coming and going.

Removing items: Some standing desks with an adjustable height don’t move up and down smoothly. For this reason, it is best to remove all work items from the standing desk before adjusting its elevation, to avoid any sudden drop in height that could damage the computer and other items.