Choosing the Right Standing Desk

I recently purchased my first standing desk, and I have to admit that it has made working very interesting for the last few days that I have had it. For nearly 8 years, I was using the same sit desk that was purchased from IKEA.

Investing in a standing desk can be stressful, and it can be even more stressful when choosing one that doesn’t fit our needs. Many of us hope that when we choose a desk that we intend every time that we work, that it will be of good quality, aesthetically pleasing, and affordable. 

The purpose of this blog is to help inform you of your first or next standing desk purchase. So far, I can say that I am incredibly happy with what I have purchased, but it took hours of research to find the right one.  Here are 5 key things to watch for when choosing the right height-adjustable desk:

1) The Sturdiness

One of the main things that I was concerned about was the sturdiness of the desk. We have all worked on a desk that tends to wobble quite a bit when you lean on it.

After hours of research, I found out that the sturdiest standing desks have a solid frame. When considering a frame, here are the key things to ask:

a) Does it have a telescopic mechanism?

 A built-in telescopic mechanism allows you to easily change the width of the frame, and the right width will allow for more stability. When researching your product, make sure that the store indicates how far the frame can be extended in width.

b) Are the feet wide and long enough?

Try to find information on how wide and long the feet are. The shorter and skinnier the feet are, the higher likeliness that it will wobble. 

c) What is the shape of the legs?

Most standing desks will have 2 or 3 columns per leg. The shorter and closer to a square shape that the column becomes, the sturdier the overall leg becomes. Therefore if you want a sturdy desk, it would be wise to pick a leg that comes with 3 columns because a square shape has more surface area. See the photo below as an example!

d) Is the frame made of a steel frame?

High-quality metals like steel are substantially more durable and sturdier.

 2) The Weight Capacity

If you like to lean on your desk quite a bit or if you carry plenty of items like a printer, a heavy monitor, or plenty of accessories on your desk, I recommend going with a desk that has a higher weight capacity.

Standing desks range in weight capacity from 150lb up to about 330lb. I do like having the peace of mind of knowing that my desk won’t fail from underneath me, so I chose a standing desk with a 220lb weight capacity.

Note that normally desks with a higher weight capacity will price higher: this is because they are usually made of higher quality and have 2 motors versus just 1. I will talk about other benefits of 2 motors in this blog.

3) The Lifting Mechanism

When choosing a standing desk, you will have to choose if you want a manual standing desk or an electric standing desk

a) Manual Standing Desks

When we mention manual desks, we mean any desk that does not have an electric motor. A manual standing desk normally comes with either a crank or locking pins. On average, these desks are lower in cost but require more effort when raising or lowering the frame. If you carry multiple items on your desk, I suggest against purchasing a desk that has locking pins, as you will have to remove every single item before changing the desk height.

b) Electric Standing Desks 

I wanted to easily raise or lower the desk with minimal effort, so I purchased an electric standing desk for this reason. An electric standing desk will usually come with either a single motor or a dual motor.

One of the most common myths is that a dual motor frame will always be better than a single motor frame. Although on average a dual-motor will be more powerful than a single motor, you can still purchase a dual-frame that simply has 2 low-quality motors. The quality of the motor depends on many factors, but a good motor will typically be able to raise at a good speed while still carrying a fair bit of weight. Therefore we recommend looking at reviews of the speed capacity when searching for a standing desk. If the desk has problems like slowing significantly, making a loud noise, or wobbling when raising when adding weight on top, the motor is not as high of quality. Look for these details in reviews.

In theory, a dual-motor electric standing desk will typically be more reliable than a single motor electric standing desk. This is because by having 2 motors, there is less stress on each motor when the height is adjusted. Further, on average a dual motor standing desk will have a better speed and load capacity, creating peace of mind when adjusting the height. We always recommend looking at if the standing desk has a warranty. A manufacturer will not want to reship a product multiple times within 8 years if it fails, so look for a good term warranty.

Finally, one of my favourite aspects of an electric standing desk is that it can preset certain heights. Here is an example of the controller where you can adjust the height:

4) The Tabletop

The tabletop that goes on the frame will come separately. Many customers would prefer to just buy the frame and install their tabletop.

I purchased the tabletop with the frame. The tabletop came in with pre-drilled holes, which made it much easier to attach to the frame. If you already own a tabletop, it can be less expensive to just use your own.

The key questions to ask when looking at a tabletop are:

a) What are the dimensions?

If you carry many items on your desk, you want to consider a tabletop that can accommodate more space. Somebody who needs a lot of room may also want to consider an L Shaped standing desk, which will come with 3 legs and 2 tabletops.

I purchased a tabletop that is a 24x48 tabletop. I do not recommend this size if you intend on putting larger items like printers, shredders, or larger shelves on top of the desk. I have a laptop, mouse, glass board, and a JBL speaker on my desk and that is sufficient for me.

b) What is the tabletop made of?

Tabletops can vary from many different materials. Most standing desk manufacturers will include a tabletop that is either made of laminate, wood veneer, or solid wood.

If you are looking for an affordable option, laminate is typically the lowest cost option and can come with great value. I purchased a thermally fused laminate tabletop by Egocentric because laminate tabletops are generally easier to clean, are scratch and stain-resistant, and are priced more affordably. The cons of a laminate tabletop are that they are not deemed as stylish nor as strong as wood products.

I do not personally own wood veneer or solid wood tabletops, but wood tabletops, in general, are more durable, stronger, and more stylish. I have touched real tabletop surfaces, and with certainty, I can say that you can feel the difference in how hollow it feels. A real wood tabletop feels like it has more substance and it generally makes a room look more vibrant.

5) Don’t Only Trust Reviews on the Website

When looking for a standing desk, we highly recommend doing deep research into the company that is taking your order. It is great that a company will post reviews on their website, but this may not paint the entire story.

Because a standing desk is a sophisticated purchase, you want to deal with a company that will have a seamless buying experience. This includes the purchase to the shipping to the assembly. If you want to get valuable information on a company, ensure that you are also looking at interactions on the social media pages. If most of the comments are complaints about the service and not information about the product itself, you might have a headache on your hands if you purchase through that company.

I have purchased products with companies that have a slow response time, do not take customer service seriously, and are more invested in only bringing new customers versus servicing the customer. Imagine getting your product shipped to you damaged or without all of the right parts, trying to call the company, and receiving a slow response time! We have all been there, and you certainly want to make sure that the company that you are dealing with is quick to respond post-sale!

In summary, a standing desk can be an amazing purchase as long as the right research goes into it. It is very important to get into the specifics of the frame and the tabletop if you want to have a great buying experience. If you want to look at the specific standing desk that I purchased, click here. The Upcentric 2LV Standing Desk is what I own and I can say that it checks all of the boxes in terms of a great standing desk!