Set Up Height Adjustable Desks: And How They Work

The most basic form of height adjustable desk is not truly fully height adjustable and is really only intended to be adjusted when first assembling the desk.

What is a set up height adjustable desk?
It’s probably more like a fixed desk than a proper adjustable workstation. In simple terms it is a workstation allowing the user to decide what height they would like the desk to be. With a fixed desk the height will always be the same, typically 29 to 30 inches from floor to desktop.  A set up height adjustable desk isn’t so very different, it just has that little bit more flexibility as it allows you to decide the height at which you assemble the desk.

How does a set up height adjustable desk work?
Generally speaking most of these types of desk rely on some form of telescopic leg arrangement. Usually the upper part of the leg is wider than the lower part and commonly made from round tubular steel.

set up leg detail
Set Up Height Leg Adjuster

When building up the desk you decide on the height you would like it to be and slide the inner and outer leg members up or down until they are at the desired height. Then the leg sections need to be locked together. This is usually achieved by turning the lower and upper sections in opposite directions which locks the two components together.

The other method used is where the upper leg has a threaded screw on the side and this is usually tightened of loosened with an allen key when making changes to the leg length.

When would you use a set up height adjustable desk?
There are instances where a set up height adjustable desk can be useful. For example if you want to always work at a raised worktop level which is higher than a conventional desk then this type of adjustable frame is ideal.

They can also be useful if you are likely to want to move or reconfigure your desk arrangement. So, if you are moving offices or changing layouts, they can be quickly dismantled and rebuilt. This makes them a lot more portable than a welded or fixed desk.

Where you have a fixed desk and would like to add an additional desk that you could stand at to work this sort of desk would be a great choice.

One worth checking out is Safco’s Muv adjustable height workstation which can be set as high as 49 inches. It only takes up a small footprint, so if you have the space it can be used alongside a standard fixed desk and chair arrangement.

Other ways you might use one is as a layout table for examining drawings or parts where you prefer to stand.

Why is a set up height adjustable desk not so good?
Clearly, from the way in which they work these forms of workstation are not true sit stand desks. As their name suggests they are really only intended to be adjusted at the time of assembly or re-assembly in the future.

With that said it is possible to adjust the height, however it creates a lot of inconvenience to do so. First, you would need to empty the desktop and more likely than not, turn the desk upside down to adjust it. Once adjusted you would need to put everything back on the desk.

Is there a place for set up height adjustable desks?
Set up height adjustable desks are definitely worth considering where you need an alternative height of work surface which you don’t need to alter.

They are also very portable if you need to move them in the future, because the frame dismantles easily unlike a fixed height desk. They offer a little more flexibility if you work at the same height throughout the day because you can alter them in future if necessary.

All in all they aren’t proper height adjustable desks. Although you will often see them sold as being height adjustable, this is really stretching a point. If you need to be able to change your work surface height regularly and easily then they aren’t the right answer for you.

When you need true adjustability you need to look at alternatives, these start with crank height adjustable desks and you can find out all about them here.