Crank Height Adjustable Desks: Functions And Uses

What is a crank height adjustable desk?

This is a type of moving desk operated by a right-angled lever turned in one direction to raise the work surface and in the opposite direction to lower it. The handles can be mounted in various positions. They might be on the top at the rear of the desk, on the side of the desk or on the underside of the front edge. Quite often they are removable, fold or retract when not in use.Why should you choose a crank height adjustable desk and where would you use it?
They are ideal for most uses in the office and are very robust and reliable. Extremely simple to use, all it takes is a turn of a handle to get them moving. The choice of worktop shapes and sizes is broad and it should be possible to find a top shape and size to suit your needs.

How does a crank height adjustable desk work?

The handle connects to the mechanism which is concealed within the frame of the desk. It works rather like a corkscrew, as you turn the handle it moves a threaded rod arrangement and moves the top up or down accordingly.

crank handle adjuster
Removable Crank Handle

Although these gearing mechanisms all work on similar principals, some will move quicker than others. As a rule they are fairly slow to adjust typically taking 6 turns of the crank to move 1 inch. So if you are going to be altering your work surface level many times a day an electrically operated desk might be a better choice.

What are the different choices of crank height adjustable desk?

There are a wide variety of top styles, including rectangular, square, corner and L shaped as well as other geometric profiles.

Apart from the commonly used single worktop, it’s also possible to get these desks with split-level surfaces. The more popular ones have a section at the front where your keyboard and mouse usually sit. This front section is adjusted by hand and connected to the rear top with the kind of mechanism used on adjustable keyboard trays. The idea being that you can work with your keyboard set lower than your monitor. Other split-level desks make the front section larger with the back acting as more of a narrower raised storage shelf.

Advantages of crank desks

  • Simple to use, all you need to do is turn a handle
  • Robust and reliable, no complicated parts to worry about
  • Wide variety of top shapes and sizes
  • Available in split level if preferred
  • Less expensive than most electrically operated height adjustable desks

Disadvantages of crank desks

  • Can be heavy and cumbersome to move
  • Speed of adjustment tends to be slow, so not the best choice for frequent height changes
  • Heavily loaded tops can make adjustment more difficult
  • Side mounted handle adjusters can be unsuitable where space is tight


Crank height adjustable desks are a long established form of sit stand desk. Reliable and robust they will perform well in use giving many years of service.
However, they lack the easy convenience that an electric moving desk offers, although in most instances they will be more cost effective.

The next category to look at is a combination of different methods including counterbalanced, spring and pneumatic height adjustable desks, which you can find more details on here.

Related Pages

MultiTable Crank Operated Desk