Sitting all day is the new smoking when it comes to health risks. Yet with office jobs, long commutes, and lifestyles filled with screen time, prolonged sitting seems unavoidable for many of us. Luckily, there is a solution – sit-stand desks.
These height adjustable desks allow you to convert any workspace from sit to stand with the push of a button or turn of a lever. That small change can make a huge difference in reducing sitting time, improving comfort, boosting mental focus and protecting your health in the long run.
With growing interest in standing desks for the home office and workplace, more high quality options are available across a range of budgets. This guide will explore everything you need to know about choosing and using a sit-stand desk.
What Are Sit-Stand Desks and Why Use One?
Sit-stand desks are adjustable height desks that allow you to alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day. Most offer an electric push button control to smoothly raise and lower the desk. Others use a manual crank or pneumatic lever to change heights.
These desks provide the flexibility to vary your working position from sitting in a chair to standing upright. This engages more muscles, gets your blood pumping and avoids the health risks associated with sitting for prolonged periods.
Let’s look at some of the top benefits of using a sit-stand desk:
- Reduces sitting time – Excessive sitting slows metabolism, weakens muscles and is linked to increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and early mortality. Breaking it up with even light activity is beneficial.
- Improves comfort and wellbeing – Alternating positions reduces aches and pains from sitting still for too long. Changing postures keeps you energized and engaged.
- Better posture – Standing tall engages the core muscles and prevents the shoulder, neck and back pain that can come from hunching over a desk.
- Increased productivity – Studies show standing desk users report improved mood, focus and motivation compared to sitting all day.
- Weight loss aid – Standing burns up to 170 more calories per hour than sitting. Over time, this extra energy expenditure can contribute to weight loss.
With more of us working from home, sit-stand desks are an easy way to build healthy habits right in your home office. The flexibility to sit or stand reduces fatigue from any single position. No wonder standing desks are growing exponentially in popularity!
How Do Sit-Stand Desks Work?
Sit-stand desks incorporate an adjustable height base and worksurface that can be lowered and raised as needed. This allows you to use the workstation from either a seated or standing position.
Most models offer electric height adjustment at the touch of a button. Dual lift motors smoothly raise and lower the desktop through the full range of motion. This allows quick and easy transitions from sitting to standing.
Basic mechanisms allow for height adjustment ranging from about 25-50 inches. This accommodates the ergonomic requirements for both sitting and standing. Premium desks may offer an even greater height range.
Key factors in “sit-stand” capabilities include stability, lift capacity, height adjustment speed and noise level. Quality desks stay sturdy even at maximum heights. Their motors lift your computer equipment and accessories smoothly and quietly.
Many choices are available for desktop sizes and materials like laminate, bamboo or wood. This allows you to select a worksurface suited to your space and style needs.
Now that we’ve covered the basics of how they work, let’s delve into the many benefits of using a sit-stand desk.
The Benefits of Alternating Sitting and Standing
The average office worker may spend 5-7 hours sitting each day. In the age of screen time, kids and teens rack up long hours parked behind desks too. This excessive sitting wreaks havoc on our bodies in multiple ways.
Here are some of the top reasons to reduce sitting time by incorporating a sit-stand desk:
- Excess sitting is linked to increased risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and early death. Taking regular standing breaks can help mitigate these risks.
- Sitting for long periods slows metabolism and weakens muscles. Moving between sitting and standing keeps your muscles activated and burns more calories.
- Hunching over a desk can strain the neck, shoulders and back leading to acute and chronic pain. Standing improves posture and engages the core to reduce pain.
- Focus and mood tend to decline when stuck in one position for too long. Changing postures boosts energy levels, engagement and workplace satisfaction.
- One study found standing desks reduced feelings of fatigue by 65% among office workers while improving productivity.
The key is to alternate fluidly between sitting and standing throughout the day. No single position is ideal for prolonged periods. Listen to what your body needs and vary positions frequently.
Ready to experience these benefits yourself? First, let’s cover how to select the ideal sit-stand desk for your needs and workspace.
Key Criteria for Choosing a Quality Sit-Stand Desk
With a wide range of brands and models available, it can be tricky deciding the best sit-stand desk for your needs. Here are the most important factors to consider:
- Height range – Look for an adjustment range suitable for your height and ergonomic needs. Most offer 25-50 inches but the ideal minimum and maximum heights vary by user.
- Adjustment mechanism – Smooth, steady electric motors offer the most convenient transition between sitting and standing. Some manual crank or lever desks compromise on adjustability.
- Stability – At all heights, your desk should stay sturdy and steady. Avoid “bouncy” desks. Look for solid construction with a stable base and crossbar.
- Desktop size – Consider your space needs, number of monitors and overall workflow. L-shaped and u-shaped desks provide an extended worksurface.
- Keypad – Intuitive, clearly labeled height controls make it easy to find your preferred height settings. Look for memory presets on electric desks.
- Lift capacity – Your desk frame should easily support your computer, accessories, paperwork, etc without sagging or becoming unstable at height.
- Frame/base – Sturdy solid steel or die-cast aluminum bases provide superior stability and longevity. Avoid plastic components.
- Desktop material – Laminate and powder coated surfaces offer durability and scratch resistance. Or pick Bamboo or real wood for style.
- Weight – Heavier desks tend to provide a more solid feel. But beware overly bulky bases that are tough to move.
- Noise level – Quieter desks allow height changes without disrupting your focus or those around you. Listen for motor and mechanical noise.
- Warranty – Look for at least 1 year on electronics and 5 years for frame/mechanical components as an assurance of quality.
- Certifications – Look for brands that adhere to ANSI/BIFMA standards for performance and safety.
- Brand reputation – Buy from established brands with a track record of quality products and service. Check reviews and complaints.
- Budget – Prices range from around $200 for simple manual desks to over $1000+ for premium electric models with all the bells and whistles. Set realistic expectations for the price point.
Keep all these factors in mind while comparing specific products. Next, let’s look at 5 of the best sit-stand desks to suit a range of needs and budgets.
Top 5 Sit-Stand Desks
Here are our top picks for quality electric and manual adjustable height desks to consider:
1. Fully Jarvis Standing Desk
Fully’s Jarvis Standing Desk is a popular choice for its wide range of customization options delivered with quality craftsmanship. This high-end electric desk offers:
- Height range from 25.5″ up to 51″, accommodating up to 350 lbs
- Choose from multiple desktop materials including Bamboo, laminate and hardwood
- ** Sturdy frame** made from high-quality steel for rock solid stability
- Smooth, quiet adjustment thanks to the dual-motor lift system
- Memory handset stores 4 preset heights for personalized ergonomics
- Range of shapes/sizes – rectangle, contoured, l-shaped, u-shaped etc.
- Starting price around $559 for simple rectangle desks. More for larger or more complex configurations.
- Rave reviews praise the stability, quality of construction and ease of use
With unlimited custom configurations available, the Jarvis lets you design a standing desk that perfectly fits your work style and space.
2. Varidesk ProDesk Electric
Varidesk are pioneers in standing desk converters but they also make excellent full sit-stand desks. The ProDesk Electric is feature-packed with:
- Electric height adjustment from 25.5″ to 50.5″ with push button ease
- High-quality construction – sturdy and stable even at standing height
- Space saving design – legs fit entirely under the desktop surface
- Comes fully assembled – just roll it in and start using!
- Optional accessories like monitor arms, keyboard trays, CPU holders and more
- Pricing from $550-$700+ depending on size and features selected
- Reviews mention vibration/noise at max height but praise stability and performance
Varidesk ProDesk brings excellent quality, performance and a streamlined design suited to professional workspaces.
3. Flexispot EC1 Electric Sit Stand Desk
For an affordable electric option packed with features, Flexispot’s EC1 is a great choice. Highlights include:
- Dual motor lift system for fast, smooth height adjustment
- Height range from 28 – 47.6 inches
- Memory keypad stores 4 presets for your sitting and standing heights
- 1-inch thick desktop available in multiple sizes
- 2-stage frame lifts up to 265 lbs with stability
- Pricing starting at $399 for basic setup, up to $469 expanded
- Reviews mention great value for budget-friendly price point
The EC1 desk proves you don’t need to sacrifice performance or stability even at entry-level pricing.
4. SHW Electric Height Adjustable Desk
Here’s an even more wallet-friendly electric sit-stand desk that still delivers on quality:
- Scratch resistant desktop with durable powder coated finish
- Steel frame construction with high grade industrial strength stability
- Soft start/stop height adjustment from 28″- 46″
- Memory preset control features 3 custom height settings
- Ships 80% factory assembled – Easy final setup in under 20 minutes
- Cost effective pricing starting around just $200-$250
- Reviews mention surprisingly sturdy for the low price but note motor sound
For general home office use, the SHW Electric desk offers excellent value without breaking the bank.
5. Vari Electric Standing Desk
Vari offers a balance of quality and affordability in their baseline Electric Standing Desk model. Notable features include:
- Dual motor lift system for fast and smooth height changes
- Spacious 60″ desktop with 0.78″ thickness
- Aircraft-grade laminated tabletop resists scratches, stains and wear
- Height adjustment from 25.5″ to 50.5″
- Strong steel frame lifts up to 240 lbs with stability
- Memory keypad stores 4 custom presets
- Ships fast with expert assembly in just 1-3 days
- Cost effective pricing starting at $650
- Reviews consistently praise stability and quality for the price
Vari’s entry-level electric standing desk doesn’t compromise on key features or performance.
This covers a diverse selection of top-rated electric and manual sit-stand desks at different price points. But before purchase, consider your needs and workspace constraints.
Sit-Stand Desk Buying Guide
Here are some tips for choosing the ideal standing desk for your home or office:
- Carefully consider your motivations – is it for better health? Increased productivity? A mix of both goals?
- Set your budget and temper expectations accordingly. Quality desks range from $200 up to $1000+. Go high or low end based on your needs.
- Measure your workspace length, width and ceiling height to find ideal dimensions for your space.
- Determine desktop material based on aesthetics, durability and pricing. Laminate is affordable but bamboo and real wood add style.
- Consider fixed height vs adjustable for sit-stand benefits. The latter allows you to benefit from both sitting and standing postures.
- For adjustable desks, decide on electric for push button ease-of-use or manual crank/lever mechanisms to save cost.
- Factor any special features like keyboard trays, monitor mounts, casters etc. into your budget.
- Do a full assembly, check for defects and test raise/lower function before putting the desk to use.
- Start slow when first using your new standing desk. Set a timer and gradually build up your standing duration.
- To maximize comfort, use supportive footwear and an anti-fatigue mat when standing.
- Modify your workspace with factors like raising your monitors to eye level and using a shorter keyboard.
- Take regular seated breaks to give your legs a rest. Listen to your body’s signals.
- Stay hydrated and keep quick snacks handy to maintain energy levels when standing for long stretches.
Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying the many benefits of converting your workspace from sit to stand!
Frequently Asked Questions about Sit-Stand Desks
Still have some questions about using an adjustable height desk? Here are answers to some of the most common FAQs:
Q: Are sit-stand desks really worth buying?
A: Yes, studies consistently show switching to a sit-stand desk can provide significant health benefits like lower blood sugar, improved mood, reduced back pain and increased engagement and productivity. Being able to easily alternate between sitting and standing is ideal in terms of comfort, focus and avoiding the risks of prolonged static postures.
Q: Can standing desks be bad for your health in any way?
A: Not inherently, when used correctly. The risks come from static standing for too long without breaks, which can lead to foot swelling or varicose veins. The key is to alternate fluidly between sitting and standing, taking frequent breaks from any single posture. Listen to your body’s signals and use proper ergonomic equipment like anti-fatigue mats.
Q: What is the ideal standing desk height for proper ergonomics?
A: A general guideline is to adjust the desk height so your elbows form a 90-110 degree angle while typing. This keeps wrists straight and avoids reaching up or hunching over to prevent neck and shoulder strain. You may need to raise your monitors and use a shorter keyboard.
Q: How long should you stand at a time when using a standing desk?
A: Build up your standing duration slowly, starting with 30-60 minutes per day. Take seated breaks anytime you start feeling fatigued. Work your way up to whatever split feels comfortable for you – many users stand for 50/50 or 75/25 portions of the workday. Pay attention to your body.
Q: Do you really burn more calories using a standing desk versus sitting?
A: Yes! Studies estimate standing burns up to 170 additional calories per hour compared to sitting thanks to activating more large muscle groups. Over time, this extra energy expenditure from a stand-up workstation can contribute to weight loss for some users.
Q: Can you use a standing desk for gaming or other recreation?
A: Absolutely! Height adjustable desks let you easily raise monitors and peripherals into an ergonomic position for standing use. Standing while gaming engages your core muscles, burns extra calories, and allows you to shift positions as needed.
Q: Is it possible to take a nap at a standing desk?
A: While you can’t fully lie down, some standing desks offer the ability to partially recline or tilt the worksurface for an inclined sleeping position. This allows you to grab some rest at your desk. You can also simply take a nap break in a nearby comfy seat.
Q: Are anti-fatigue mats a must-have for standing desks?
A: Quality anti-fatigue mats provide important ergonomic support and can drastically increase comfort. They cushion your heels and legs, reduce pressure on the lower back, and encourage subtle movement while standing. So yes, they are highly recommended for any standing workstation.
Q: What kind of exercise can you do while using a standing desk?
A: Avoid static standing for too long. Take walk breaks, do stretches and strength exercises like squats. Some desks allow the use of balance boards or stability discs to engage leg muscles while working. Simple chair yoga flows can provide release as well.
Converting Your Workspace From Sit to Stand
Using a sit-stand desk provides amazing benefits in terms of health, comfort, productivity and wellbeing. With so many high quality electric and manual options now available, it’s easy to convert any workspace from sit to stand.
While no single posture is ideal for prolonged periods, the flexibility to alternate fluidly between sitting and standing reduces fatigue and risk of injury. Listen to your body’s needs and vary positions frequently for ideal comfort and energy levels.
Be sure to assemble and fully test your new standing desk before intensive use. Gradually build up your standing duration and modify your workspace for proper ergonomics. Take regular walking and stretching breaks. Stay hydrated and fueled with healthy snacks.
Investing in a quality height adjustable desk along with supportive accessories like an anti-fatigue mat can be a life changing upgrade for your home or office environment. Experience for yourself how converting from sit to stand can sculpt a healthier, more energized and motivated you!