4 Types of Standing Desks and How They Work


A woman working on a laptop while standing

For a huge chunk of our lives, we have been sitting down while studying, working, or even playing video games. And if you are a business owner, you are going to be spending a lot of time at your desk. Besides normal aches and pains due to bad posture from sitting, prolonged sitting has been known to be detrimental to our health. Some scientists have even publicly stated that sitting is the new smoking in terms of how much damage it does to our health.

The public urgency in getting people out of their seats more has resulted in strong growth in standing desks. But not all standing desks are the same. Below, we go over the 4 different types of standing desks. Peep it.

The 4 Basic Types of Standing Desks

  1. Non-adjustable standing desks
  2. Electric standing desks that use motors
  3. Mechanical crank standing desks
  4. Gas spring standing desks (that use pneumatic energy to adjust).

While their names should reveal most of what you need to know, but then again, there is always that the name doesn’t cover every feature. So, why don’t you scroll on further to determine which types of standing desks are perfect for you?

1. Non-Adjustable Standing Desks

These types of standing desks, as you may have already guessed, have a fixed height. The height of the desk you bought stays the same. These desks will allow you to set up the legs to be the desired height upon putting it together. However, after it is set, it is not adjustable unless you want to take out the legs again and adjust them. Hence, these desks don’t offer anything except the chance to burn calories while standing and working.

The above picture is the Ikea Bekant, which you can get for under $200.

  • Most Cost-Efficient
  • Because it does not need to adjust, you are simply just buying a very tall desk. Thus, without and adjustable mechanism, you don’t have to pay the premium.
  • Forces You To Stand Up
  • The good thing about a non-adjustable standing desk is that it forces you to stand. You don’t have the option to sit down if you don’t feel like standing. Studies have shown that prolong sitting can lead to a plethora of health issues. So being forced to stand all day can be a blessing in disguise.
  • You Can’t Take a Break and Sit Down
  • But what if you’re really tired of standing? Naturally, since this product is non-adjustable, you won’t have an option to sit down and continue working whenever you’ve burned quite a lot of calories.

2. Electric Standing Desks That Use Motors

This category of standing desks is thought to be the real deal because they are the very first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions ‘standing desks.’ Usually, these products will have a similar desktop surface as the previous category, but with a simple touch, you will see your standing desks move up or down whenever you wish to sit or stand.

The electric standing desk pictured above is the Flexispot 48” x 30”.

  • Gears and Internals
  • Now to understand this advantage of buying electric standing desks, you should know that trouble of the very next kind of standing desks. This category uses electric motors to move your standing desk to a seated position or vice versa, so you don’t have to do it manually.
  • Variety of Extra Features                      Because these are already powered by electricity, high-end electric standing desks will have extra features such as USB charging or cord organization. Some desks will also allow you to save previous height settings. That is the cool thing about having the option to power the desk via electricity—it opens up the door to other features that can be done electronically.
  • The Price
  • Due to the huge list of features of these kinds of products, they usually are much more expensive than the other types of standing desks in the market. Now, this is a disadvantage because most people already believe standing desks make you look like a robot at work, so they would think it was redundant to spend so much money.

3. Mechanical Crank Standing Desks

This category of standing desks is everything the previous category is without the bonus features and electronic maneuverability. This means every height adjustability feature will have to be operated by hand.

The above pictured desk is from Stand Steady.

  • They Are Much Less Expensive
  • While electric standing desks are easily the most expensive types of standing desks, the mechanical crank category is the least expensive. It is important to note here that even the most basic type of electric standing desk will have a higher price than a basic mechanical crank standing desk.
  • They Are More Reliable
  • When you remove power from the equation, you are left with very few things that could go wrong. Experts have come across very minimal issues when it comes to these types of standing desks.
  • They Adjust Very Slowly
  • These adjust much slower than electric or pneumatic standing desk. Because it uses a crank you are winding the crank in order to adjust the height. So every rotation will move the desk. In addition, some of the cranks can get pretty noisy.

4.  (Pressurized) Pneumatic Standing Desks

These types of desks are often the most convenient but also the most costly. Instead of using a crank or electricity, these desks use pressurized air to lift and lower. These products work with the help of a lever that quickly and effortlessly increase or decrease the height of your desk.

The above pictured pneumatic sit-stand desk is from S Stand Up Desk Store and has a width of 48 inches.

Note: Do not confuse fully adjustable pneumatic standing desks with the pneumatic desk add-ons that you put on your existing desk. In this review, we are only talking about fully adjustable desks, not add-ons to existing desks.

  • Most convenient
  • These desks do not need to be plugged into an outlet to work. You also don’t have to wind up or down a crank to adjust the height. Both electric and crank adjustable standing desks also have varying levels of noise that can be bothersome to others if you adjust your desk often.
  • Less or No Assembly Required
  • Most pneumatic standing desks will involve very little assembly. Once you assemble the desk, you are pretty much ready to go.
  • Costly
  • Pneumatic working desks are often the most costly to buy when compared to other desks.

Now that you’re familiar with the four different types of standing desks and each of their pros and cons, which is it going to be? Choose wisely!

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