How to Choose the Right Standing Desk

An adjustable standing desk with a black base

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Have you been considering the shift to a standing desk but are unsure how to choose the right one? With numerous health benefits like reduced back and neck pain, it’s no wonder they’re gaining popularity.

This guide will highlight key indicators to determine if a standing desk is high-quality and right for you, from height adjustability and workspace size to budget constraints.

Key Takeaways

  • Standing desks need to be adjustable, stable, and durable.
  • Look for desks that are easy to set up and consider built-in features like monitor arms and keyboard trays.
  • The size of the desk should fit your workspace. Check if the desk type (electric or manual) works for you.
  • Consider your budget before purchasing a standing desk. Prices can vary greatly depending on its features and the type.

What to Look for in a Standing Desk

A modern sit-stand desk

When shopping for a standing desk, it is important to consider height adjustability, durability, and stability. Also, assess the built-in accessories that come with your chosen desk. Lastly, ensure the desk’s assembly process is straightforward and user-friendly.

Height Adjustability

Height adjustability is a key feature to look for in a standing desk. It allows you to comfortably switch between sitting and standing positions during your workday, promoting better posture and reducing discomfort.

Ensuring the desk height can be fine-tuned helps cater to individual needs which is particularly beneficial for people who want to try out different heights (to make sure they choose the right one) and for people who want to share the desk with other people of different heights. 

Durability and Stability

Durability is a key consideration when choosing a standing desk. You need to be sure it can handle the weight of your computer, monitor, keyboard, and other work items without wobbling or collapsing over time.

That’s why checking the weight capacity and material quality of the desktop is crucial. Ensure the frame is made of high-quality metal like steel. The top can be crafted from MDF, solid hardwoods like maple, oak, walnut, or ash, or bamboo. All of these materials are suitable for withstanding daily use. Due to their inherent properties, solid hardwoods and bamboo are particularly durable, with bamboo also offering the advantage of sustainability. As a result, both hardwoods and bamboo resist wear and tear more effectively than MDF. MDF provides a cost-effective solution with respectable durability, but you might anticipate more rapid signs of wear.

Stability matters just as much, especially if you’ll be transitioning between sitting and standing positions throughout the day. The last thing you want in your workspace is a shaky workstation! Look for desks with wide feet and a robust base (made of stable and durable metal like steel) that prevent any wobble during height adjustments and use.

Built-In Accessories

Standing desk accessories

Standing desks often come with built-in accessories that enhance their functionality and convenience. Features such as adjustable monitor armsergonomic keyboard trays, and even built-in outlets can make your work experience much more enjoyable and efficient.

A desk with an integrated cable management system is a practical option for keeping those annoying cords organized and out of sight. Other worthy additions may include under-desk storage drawers or slide-out surfaces to extend the workspace if needed. If you choose a standing desk with a cable management system, such as a cable tray, ensure it can accommodate the length, number, and thickness of the cables you intend to manage. 

These accessories can also be bought separately. Therefore, you don’t necessarily have to buy a desk that already has them.

Is the Desk Easy to Set Up?

Ease of setup is a critical factor in choosing the right standing desk. A complex assembly process could lead to too much mental effort and improper setup.

The best standing desks come with clear instructions and require minimal tools to assemble. You also want to consider whether adjustments are straightforward once you start using the desk.

It ensures that changing from sitting to standing positions throughout the day won’t be a struggle and that maintaining an ergonomic workspace won’t be complicated by constant fiddling with controls or mechanisms.

Main Factors to Consider When Choosing a Standing Desk

Selecting the perfect standing desk involves careful consideration of your workspace size, the type of standing desk preferred, and most importantly – your budget. Each factor plays a crucial role in finding a sit-stand desk that satisfies all your needs without breaking the bank.

Workspace Size and Shape

Space constraints can play a pivotal role in choosing the right standing desk. The size of your office and how you plan to use it will dictate the shape and style of your desk. If you work in a small space, a compact sit-stand desk will be your best option.

On the other hand, if you have ample room in your office environment, bigger might be better. A height-adjustable standing desk with a larger tabletop allows for more flexibility while creating an optimal workstation.

Make sure that even with a sizable desk, there is enough room left over for an ergonomic chair or any additional accessories you want to fit into your workplace.

Type of Standing Desk

Types of standing desks

Standing desks can be classified into different types based on their adjustability and the mechanism used to alter the height. To make your workspace more ergonomic, you should either choose a manual or electric standing desk


Type of Standing DeskDescription
Electric Standing DesksThese desks come with switches or dials that activate an electric motor to adjust the height of the desk surface. They are easy to use and offer precise height adjustments.
Manual Standing DesksThese require physical adjustments from the user to change the height. They are often less expensive than electric desks but may require more effort to adjust.
Fixed Height Standing DesksAs the name suggests, these desks have a fixed height and cannot be adjusted. You would not be able to fine-tune the desk’s height and use a good ergonomic chair with such a desk. Therefore, a completely ergonomic sit-stand routine would not be possible.

Consider Your Budget

When shopping for the ideal standing desk, your budget plays an important role as well. Prices can vary widely, influenced by several factors, including materials and features. For instance, desks made from solid woods like maple, oak, walnut, or ash are known for their durability and aesthetic appeal, but they often come with a higher price tag. Solid hardwood is typically the most durable choice for wooden tabletops and, while it also offers a premium appearance, it’s also the most expensive option. Standard MDF is cost-effective and suitable for general use, offering a balance between durability and affordability. 

The choice between manual and electric standing desks also impacts the cost and should be considered based on your budgetary constraints. Manual desks, which require physical effort to adjust the height, are generally more affordable than their electric counterparts. If you’re looking to maximize value without a significant financial outlay, a manual desk might be the way to go. On the other hand, electric desks, with their motorized lift mechanisms, offer convenience and ease of use but tend to push the price higher. If your budget allows, and you prioritize effortless height adjustments, investing in an electric model could be beneficial.


Choosing the right standing desk ensures you enjoy all its health benefits while enhancing your productivity. Pay attention to factors like adjustabilitydurability, and ease of setup when picking one out.

Don’t forget to check the warranty policies as well. Ultimately, finding the perfect standing desk involves balancing your personal comfort needs with the specific requirements of your workspace and your financial constraints.


1. What is an ergonomic standing desk?

An ergonomic standing desk, often described as a sit-to-stand desk, is an adjustable work surface that allows you to alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day

2. How can I stay comfortable while using my standing desk all day?

Changing postures every few hours and having an anti-fatigue mat underfoot help avoid discomfort from standing for long periods.

3. Why are sit-stand desks gaining popularity?

Sit-to-stand desks are designed with well-being in mind. Alternating between sitting and standing can reduce issues related to prolonged sitting, which is a big problem nowadays and often referred to as ‘the new smoking’.

4. What is the benefit of a sit-stand desk?

A sit-stand desk offers the advantage of adjustability. It allows you to alternate between sitting and standing, promoting better posture and reducing the risks of sedentary behavior. It also encourages more movement and can improve your overall well-being.

5. What is a standing desk converter?

A standing desk converter is a device that sits on top of a traditional desk, allowing you to switch between sitting and standing by raising or lowering it. It’s designed to offer the ergonomic benefits of a standing desk without the need to replace your existing desk. We have created an article for those who are interested whether standing desk converters are worth it or not.