The Different Types of Standing Desks: A Buyer’s Guide

An adjustable standing desk with a black base

In recent years, stand-up desks have gained immense popularity as more people recognize the benefits of alternating between sitting and standing throughout the workday. Studies have shown that prolonged sitting can lead to various health issues, such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, and back pain. As a result, many individuals and businesses are turning to standing desks as a solution to promote better posture, increase productivity, and support overall well-being.

However, with the growing demand for standing desks, the market has become flooded with various types and designs, each offering unique features and benefits. From electric height-adjustable desks to portable standing desk converters, the options can be overwhelming for those new to the world of sit-stand workstations.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the different types of standing desks available, discussing their pros and cons, and helping you determine which option best suits your needs. 

Electric Height-Adjustable Standing Desks

A sit-stand desk with additional accessories

Electric height-adjustable standing desks are the most popular and versatile type of sit-stand workstation. These desks feature a motorized mechanism that allows users to easily adjust the desk height with the press of a button, making it simple to switch between sitting and standing positions throughout the day.

Single vs. Dual Motor Designs

Electric standing desks come in two main configurations: single-motor and dual-motor designs. Single-motor desks use one motor to power the height adjustment, while dual-motor desks employ two motors for enhanced stability and weight capacity. Dual-motor desks are generally more expensive but offer superior performance and durability, making them ideal for heavy-duty use.

Programmable Memory Settings

Memory settings on an electric standing desk

Many electric standing desks come equipped with programmable memory settings, allowing users to save their individual sitting and standing heights. This feature is particularly useful for those who find it annoying to frequently have to manually fine-tune their desk’s height.


The primary advantages of electric height-adjustable standing desks include:

  • Effortless height adjustment with the press of a button
  • Programmable memory settings that allow you to save different heights
  • Modern appearance


Despite their numerous benefits, electric standing desks do have some drawbacks:

  • Usually higher cost compared to other types of standing desks
  • require a power source, which may limit placement options
  • Potential for motor burnout with excessive use or heavy loads

Best for

Electric height-adjustable standing desks are an excellent choice for:

  • Individuals who prefer the ease and convenience of push-button height adjustment
  • Those who prefer modern looks

Manual Height-Adjustable Standing Desks

Hand-crank standing desk

Manual height-adjustable standing desks offer a more affordable alternative to their electric counterparts while still providing the benefits of sit-stand functionality. These desks rely on manual mechanisms, such as cranks or counterbalance systems, to adjust the desk height.

Most manual standing desks feature a manual crank that the user turns to raise or lower the desk surface. While this method requires more effort compared to electric desks, it eliminates the need for a power source and can be a reliable, long-lasting option.


Manual height-adjustable standing desks offer several advantages:

  • Usually lower cost compared to electric standing desks
  • No power source required, allowing for greater flexibility in desk placement
  • Durable and long-lasting, with fewer components that can malfunction


However, manual standing desks also have some limitations:

  • Adjusting the desk height requires more physical effort compared to electric desks
  • May not be suitable for users with limited mobility or strength

Best for

Manual height-adjustable standing desks are an excellent choice for:

  • Those working with a limited budget who still want the benefits of a sit-stand desk
  • Users who prefer a more straightforward, low-maintenance desk option

Standing Desk Converters

Person using a standing desk converter

Even though standing desk converters aren’t actually standing desks, we thought it would be a good idea to include them in this article anyway, as they would be a great choice for many people.

For those who already have a traditional sitting desk and are looking for a more affordable entry point into the world of standing desks, standing desk converters offer a convenient solution. These height-adjustable devices sit on top of an existing desk, allowing users to easily transform their workspace into a standing desk without the need to replace their entire desk.

A standing desk converter should be able to hold your monitor, keyboard, and mouse. For that, it should feature a two-tier design with a separate keyboard tray and monitor stand, allowing for proper ergonomic positioning.


For the following reasons, a standing desk converter might be worth it:

  • More affordable than purchasing a complete standing desk
  • Easy to set up and install on an existing desk
  • Allows users to keep their current desk and maintain their existing workspace layout


However, these solutions also have some drawbacks:

  • Limited space compared to full standing desks. You may not be able to properly rest your forearms on the keyboard tray while standing. There may also not be enough space for items to be placed next to your monitor, keyboard, and mouse.
  • May not be as stable as a complete standing desk, particularly when typing or using a mouse
  • Can be less aesthetically pleasing and may appear bulky on top of an existing desk

Best for

Standing desk converters are an excellent choice for:

  • Individuals who want to experience the benefits of a standing desk without having to buy an actual standing desk
  • Users who want a more affordable and flexible option for incorporating standing into their workday
  • People who prefer easy setups. If you order a standing desk converter, you won’t have to go through a complicated assembly process. You’ll just have to place it on top of your desk. After that, you’ll be able to use it right away.

Fixed-Height Standing Desks

Close-up image of a fixed-height standing desk
Designed by Freepik

Fixed-height standing desks, also known as non-adjustable standing desks, are designed to be used at a specific, predetermined height. When you have a fixed-height standing desk, you aren’t able to switch between sitting and standing if you don’t have a drafting chair.


Fixed-height standing desks offer several advantages:

  • Simple, sturdy design with no moving parts, making them highly durable
  • Often more affordable than adjustable standing desks
  • Can blend more naturally with existing furniture and office decor


However, fixed-height standing desks also have a major limitation:

  • Lack of adjustability means users cannot alternate between sitting and standing unless they own a drafting chair. Many people find drafting chairs uncomfortable because they only offer very limited space for your feet to be placed on, which is not the case if you have a normal chair that allows your feet to be comfortably placed on the floor. That’s why a fixed-height standing desk is probably a bad choice for you if you are one of those people.

Best for

Fixed-height standing desks are an excellent choice for:

  • People who prefer simple designs
  • People who own a drafting chair or are willing to buy one and feel comfortable using one

Specialty Standing Desks

In addition to the standard rectangular standing desks, there are several specialty designs that cater to specific needs and preferences. These unique configurations offer enhanced functionality, space-saving solutions, and ergonomic benefits for various work environments.

Wheeled Standing Desks

Wheeled standing desk

Wheeled standing desks feature casters or wheels at the base, allowing users to easily move the desk from one location to another. These desks are ideal for shared workspaces, classrooms, or other environments where flexibility might be essential.

Treadmill Combinations

Person using a treadmill with a standing desk

For those seeking to incorporate more physical activity into their workday, treadmill combinations offer a unique solution. These setups allow users to walk at a slow pace while working, promoting increased movement and calorie burn throughout the day.

L-Shaped and Corner Standing Desks

L-shaped and corner-standing desks are designed to maximize space utilization in corner areas or larger workspaces. These desks provide an extended work surface, allowing users to spread out their materials and equipment while maintaining a comfortable and ergonomic setup.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Standing Desk

When selecting the perfect standing desk for your needs, there are several key factors to consider beyond just the type of desk. These considerations will help ensure that you invest in a standing desk that not only meets your functional requirements but also complements your workspace and personal preferences.

Adjustability Range and Mechanism

One of the most crucial aspects to consider when choosing a standing desk is the adjustability range and mechanism. Look for a desk that offers a wide range of height adjustments to accommodate your specific height needs. Consider whether you prefer an electric or manual adjustment mechanism, taking into account factors such as ease of use and your budget.

Desktop Size and Shape

The size and shape of the desktop are essential considerations, as they directly impact your workspace layout and comfort. Ensure that the desk offers enough space for your computer, peripherals, and any other essential items you need within reach. Consider whether a rectangular or L-shaped desk best suits your space and working style.

Weight Capacity

Pay attention to the weight capacity of the standing desk, particularly if you have multiple monitors or heavy equipment or plan to use the desk for tasks that require substantial weight support. Ensure that the desk can safely and stably accommodate your setup without compromising its functionality or durability. Information on the weight capacity, if mentioned, can be found in the product description. If you can’t find that information, you should probably contact the support team.

Price and Warranty

Standing desks come in a wide range of prices, depending on the type, features, and quality. Determine your budget and use this guide to look for a desk that offers the best value for your money. Don’t forget to consider the warranty coverage, as a longer warranty period can provide peace of mind and protection for your investment.

Aesthetics and Customization Options

While functionality is paramount, the aesthetics of your standing desk can greatly impact your overall workspace satisfaction. Consider the desk’s design, color options, and finish to ensure it complements your existing decor and personal taste. Some standing desks offer customization options, such as different desktop materials or frame colors, allowing you to tailor the desk to your preferences.


What is the best standing desk for a home office? 

The best standing desk for a home office depends on your specific needs and preferences. Consider factors such as adjustability, desktop size, and price. Most people choose classical electric standing desks for their home offices.

Are standing desks suitable for people of all heights?

Most height-adjustable standing desks offer a wide range of adjustments, making them suitable for people of various heights. Look for a desk with a height range that accommodates your specific needs, ensuring that you can comfortably sit and stand while maintaining proper ergonomics.

Are standing desk converters a good alternative to full standing desks?

Standing desk converters can be a good alternative if you already have a standard desk and want to add a sit-stand option. They are generally more affordable and easier to set up than full standing desks. 

Should I get myself a manual or an electric standing desk?

Whether you should get yourself a manual or an electric standing desk depends on your personal preferences and needs. While an electric standing desk offers much convenience, a manual standing desk is more reliable and usually more affordable.