Height-Adjustable Desks (aka Site/Stand Desks) – 2014 Update.
In November 2012 – two years ago – I wrote an article on height adjustable desks. It consisted of my research on the subject – what options were available, useful articles on the topic, etc. For the last two years I have used a standing desk – essentially a drafting table – for work. It is adjustable, but it requires loosening bolts and is fairly involved – so I rarely change its height. I’m still looking at height adjustable tables (of the crank or electric variety) and decided to update my original article.
I know from personal experience and from reading various articles (cited in the bibliography at the end of this page) that standing all the time isn’t an option for most people (including myself). A standing desk may be better for my health, but it certainly doesn’t feel better for my knees.
If you are aware of additional adjustable height desks I have not included in this article, please let me know. I’m also always interested in reading any articles of real substance on the subject.
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: hand crank, 27.5″ to 47″ height adjustment, 30 day return guarantee, 1 year warranty against defects, 5 years on steel.
- ModTable – $599 – Available in various sizes, uses crank.
- Mini Mod – $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.
- Mod-E – $649 – An electric model instead of hand crank.
- Also offers treadmill desks.
- 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″ – $949
- PowerUp Medium – 60″ x 30″ – $999
- PowerUp Large – 72″ x 30″ – $1049
- 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″ – $699
- CrankUp Medium – 60″ x 30″ – $799
- Also offers the SquaredUp line of desks (corner), UpWrite (surface can be written on with dry erase markers).
- Offers a number of nice accessories as well.
- S&H is $129 on electric, $99 on crank.
- 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
- These guys are expensive. I think they are going for the “Apple” of height adjustable tables.
- Features: 30 Day Satisfaction Guarantee, 3 Year Warranty (depends on model, some come with 2 Year and the Fit with a limited lifetime).
- Terra – 63″ x 31.5″ – $1497
- Air – 63″ x 31.5″ – $2178
- Solo – 30″ x 24″ – $897
- Offers a number of other options including the Terra Pro, Air Pro, L Series (l-shaped desks), U Series (u shaped desks), solo (and plus), Up, Fit (w/treadmill), custom, and conference.
- Suggests Bill Me Later, which allows for financing, brings costs down to around $50/mo. for the Terra.
- Features: 22″-48″, 275 lb. weight capacity, 1.1″/sec. lift speed.
- Two-Leg Short Base – $1450.
- One-Leg Electric Base – $988+.
- Three-Leg Electric Frame – $2890.
- A number of options, prices appear to have increased significantly since last time I updated this article, but so has the variety of options available.
- Features: Lifetime warranty (on material defects), 30 day full refund return period, free shipping.
- Deluxe Height Adjustable Computer Table – $359 – Height begins at 24″, a number of variations available. Appears to be a little difficult to adjust – not crank or electronic.
- Edison Electric Table – $1199 – Electric height adjustment, up to 50″ tall, available in 36″, 48″, 60″, and 72″ widths.
- Split Level Adjustable Computer Table – $499 – 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.
- Prices have increased significantly on a number of models (Edison from $899 to the present $1199). Not all prices have been updated (here); their hand adjustable crank model has been discontinued.
- 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. Site could use some improvement in navigability.
- This used to be listed under Idea at Work and linked to The Human Solution. I’ve updated to point directly to the Workrite site and have eliminated the previous entry due to Workrite discontinuing the Proliftix line.
- 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″.
- They’s also added a new line “Steve’s Station” with prices starting at $3249.
- Features: has an expandable frame (can become wider as needed), can have a programmable controller (save height settings), electronic up/down.
- Starts at $599 with a number of accessories available to customize the unit.
- Offers units which fit on top of one’s existing desk. The Single (supports one monitor) starts at $275, at the higher end is the Pro Plus at $350 which supports dual monitors and has a keyboard lift.
- Hand crank models for $599.
- ThermoDesk Elemental – $549 – hand crank.
- ThermoDesk Ellure – $619 – hand crank.
- ThermoDesk Electra – $829 – electronic.
- Thermodesk Elite – $1099.
- Features: 28″ to 45″ adjustable height; supports up to 225 lbs; top size is between 23.5″-40″ width and 49.5″-70″ length; choose between standard and deluxe memory control.
- They have one base model, which costs $399 for the frame. Then one adds the top, laminate 30″x60″x1″ runs $110 while bamboo runs $180 for the same size, thus price for minimum configuration including top is $509.
This is an apples-to-oranges comparison table, it demonstrates price ranges of the products and min/max heights, but doesn’t account for most other features.
(This is not an exhaustive comparison table)
|Safco Height-Adjustable Split Level||$448||26″||37.25″||Bolts|
|iMovr ThermoDesk Elemental||$549||27.5″||47″||Crank|
|Edison Electric Table||$1199||24″||50″||Electric|
- AFC Industries Inc. – Offers what looks like professional office furniture that is height adjustable.
- 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.
- Biomorph – Sells several different models beginning at $995.
- Cotytech – Sells several adjustable height desks, including a laptop desk that can go up to 41.9″ and costs $264.
- Dania Furniture – Offers a desk for $1100, adjusts up to 52″.
- ergodepot – $695 is the current sale price, offers free S&H.
- ErgoTron – Offers desk mounts, full desks, and mobile carts. The full desks start at $737.
- Focal Upright.
- Gilbraltar – Sells bases for adjustable height desks. Pricing appears reasonable ($400+/-) but only go up to 39.5″. Can be purchased through Kitchensource.
- 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.
- Humanscale – Starts at around $1800 for their “Float” desk.
- idealworkspace – Based out of Singapore.
- ISE Group – Sells several different height adjustable tables, both crank and electric, but one has to order through VARs, thus no pricing.
- Jesper Office – Their “value” desk starts at $1450.
- Maverick – Sells through VARs.
- 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″.
- Pressfit Furniture – These are fixed height, cost around $399.
- Right Angle Products – A variety of options, not clear on pricing.
- Relax the Back – Offers the Sit to Stand Desk starting at $1600+.
- Reo-Smart – Makes several height adjustable workstations, unfortunately they only go up to 37.8″ but the prices start around $570.
- RightAngle – Has height adjustable desks, but fairly expensive.
- SiS – Sells several adjustable height desks, unfortunately they are pretty expensive ($1500+).
- Soma Ergonomics – Start at $1000+ and go up from there.
- Steelcase – Sells the Airtouch, which is priced around $1500.
- UpLift – Available via The Human Solution. Numerous different models available, the Uplift 445 starting at $749.
- Beyond the Office Door – Seels the VertDesk, base is $549, once a top is added the price jumps to $689.
- 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.
- iSkelter – Upgrades for existing desks to become standing desks.
- StorkStand – Mounts onto chair, single monitor, $199.
- Upstanding – Mounts on a normal desk, is height adjustable, costs $200 for standard (one monitor) or $250 for double-wide (two monitor).
- 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 $549 crank unit. 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″ – 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!
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.
Appendix B. Random
- Reddit has a subreddit dedicated to Standing Desks.
- Those interested in building their own desk may want to check out OpenDesk.
- Quora has a topic dedicated to Standing Desks.
Appendix C. My Setup Notes
- For standing I currently use a height adjustable drafting table I picked up at a garage sale. It goes up to approximately 39″ in height (3.25′). It is 36″ wide (3′) and 24″ (2′) deep. It allows for adjusting the angle of the desk up or down, something most height adjustable desks do not.
- On my standing desks I have two Fellows monitor mounts which add another 4″ to the height.
- For sitting I currently use a small desk, it is approximately 29″ tall (2.4′). It is 45″ wide (3.75′) and 20″ deep (1.7′).
- I’m apparently shrinking, I’m pretty sure I was once 5’8″, but remeasuring, I’m clocking in at 5’6″.
- According to Computing Comfort’s calculations I should have my standing keyboard at a height of 40.5″ and the top of my screens at a height of 61.5″ – in other words, my keyboard is 1.5″ too low and my monitors are 2.5″ too low (after calculating in the height of my monitors at 17″).
- According to Computing Comfort’s calculations I should have my sitting keyboard at a height of 25″ and the screens at a height of 46″ – in other words, my keyboard is 4″ too high and the monitors are exactly right.
- Below I’ve compared my three finalists – the first two are crank, the third electric. Only the third goes low enough for me, but I can mount a keyboard under the first two to correct this issue. The prices below include S&H.
|MultiTable||ModTable Manual||27.5″||47″||48″||24″||$539||1 yr. (2)|
|UpDesk||CrankUp Small||26.5″||42.5″||48″||30″||$798||5 yr.|
|GeekDesk||v3||23″||48.75″||47.25″||31.5″||$874||2 yr. (5)|
- The number in parentheses includes the longer warranty which covers only part of the desk (e.g. in GeekDesk, it does not cover the motor past two years).
- It looks like a 3M Knob Adjustable Keyboard Tray would be ideal, it has high reviews on Amazon and clocks in at around $100.
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