How We Tested
I’m Courtney Campbell, an e-commerce writer here at Reviewed, and I spend most days sitting at my desk and sifting through the best deals on the Internet for the best products out there. As someone who frequently walks circles around the office to meet the hourly step goal on their fitness tracker, standing desks were a natural way to add more movement in my life. More importantly, I wanted to know if a standing desk would help me focus and move more—or just make me want to sit.
As an average person and not-so-handyman, I screwed and put together each desk by myself (stan flipping the desk over) to see how complicated it would be for someone to build alone. I also took note of how long it took and how clear the directions were.
For the majority of testing, I used each desk for two to three days while using a control standing desk mat. At 5’ 9”, I adjusted each desk to my preferred height and swapped between sitting and standing every few hours or so. I took note of how smooth the transition was and if I had to make any major changes to my workstation after the switch. Overall, I felt more focused (and somehow less hungry) while using the standing desks.
Aesthetics were also taken into consideration because if you have a standing desk that’s going to last a while, it better look good too. I also noted how sturdy the build was and how much room I had to work on the desk, which was especially important to consider with smaller standing desk converters.
What’s the Difference Between a Standing Desk and a Standing Desk Converter?
With a full-sized standing desk, you’re able to raise and lower the entire desk to a sitting or standing position with electric legs and a lever. Standing desk converters, on the other hand, sit on top of a desk, converting it to standing desk. They’re cheaper than full-sized standing desks, but take up a bit of space on top of the desk and require more space behind the desk as they come forward when they rise. Standing desk converters also won’t completely flatten onto the desk, so you’ll have to adjust your space when in the sitting position.
What Height Should You Set a Standing Desk?
According to Jack Dennerlein, a professor who studies ergonomics at Bouvé College of Health Sciences at Northeastern, there’s no proper posture but rather what is comfortable for you. He recommends starting with the desk at elbow height and working from there to find what’s most comfortable. “That’s why I like standing desks because they give people so much adjustability,” he said.
How Long Should I Use a Standing Desk?
Standing desks do offer more control and variability, but Dennerlein doesn’t recommend standing all day. “I have a phrase, ‘If sitting is the new smoking, then we have to remember that standing is the old smoking,’” he said. “Professions where you stand all day have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease than people who have a job where you sit.” Instead, he recommends switching from standing to sitting as often as is comfortable—the amount of time doesn’t matter as long as you’re moving throughout the day.