Height adjustable desks fall into 5 broad categories and this article takes a look at each of them. It looks at how they work and examines the advantages and disadvantages of each type.
Set up height adjustable desks
Although marketed by some organizations as height adjustable desks, their true description is really set up height adjustable desks. Yes, it’s true that they can be adjusted in height, in reality you would only ever do this once when initially building the desk.
- Low cost outlay, typically prices are similar to fixed height desks
- Ease of assembly, in the main they are quick and straightforward to build
- Not readily adjustable in height once assembled without considerable disruption
- Not height adjustable in everyday use
For a more detailed explanation see this article Set Up Height Adjustable Desks: And How They Work to understand them better.
Crank height adjustable desks
Crank height adjustable desks are quite popular and adjust by means of a cranked handle which raises and lowers the desk work surface.
- Reasonably cost effective form of height adjustability
- Simple and straightforward to adjust
- It can take time to move the work surface from a sitting to a standing position, particularly where there is a lot of heavy equipment on the desk top.
This article on crank height adjustable desks explains how they work in everyday use.
Counterbalanced, Spring loaded or pneumatic adjustable desks
These workstations adjust by releasing and locking a lever to alter the top height. Counterbalance mechanisms usually rely on weights to move the top. Spring loaded and pneumatic desks work in a similar fashion to an office seat height adjuster.
- Rapid movement of the desktop to the desired position
- Generally can only handle relatively low weights, typically up to 100 lbs
As this form of sit stand desk relies on a spring type principal it needs to be strong enough to move a fully loaded desk. Consequently the top can be difficult to control requiring some degree of physical strength with larger desks.
For further details on this form of desk see this article.
Electric height adjustable desk
Electrically operated height adjustable desks are the easiest and most flexible form of moving desk to use. All that is needed is the press of some buttons to raise and lower them to the required height.
- Complete simplicity of use. All it takes to raise and lower the top is pressing a couple of buttons
- Quick changes of working height are convenient and straightforward.
- The main drawback is their cost as they tend to be more expensive compared to other types of sit stand desks
For more about the workings of electric height adjustable desks read this article.
Treadmill height adjustable desks
A relatively recent addition to adjustable height desk working is the treadmill desk. Whereas sit stand working allows a wide variation in working posture a treadmill desk takes things to the next level. Here you actually walk as you work. Although it sounds strange people who make the move to this way of working really like it once they adjust to it.
What are the advantages?
- Work much more actively keeping your body healthy
- Ability to log the distance walked per session
- Calories burned during use
What are the disadvantages?
- Can take up a lot of office space
- May need to retain your desk and chair where unit is only for walking
- Initial cost is quite high
Here's where you can find out more about Treadmill height adjustable desks and how they work.
Miscellaneous height adjustable desks
These include ideas for retaining fixed desks and adding on a separate adjustable work surface which allows the user to make the working height change completely independently from their existing desk.
With the popularity of laptops these days some manufacturers offer specialist height adjustable stands. Some of these adjust by means of a threaded knob which you loosen to make height changes.
Whilst others use pneumatic adjusters similar to office chair gas lifts.
With the popularity of laptops these days some manufacturers offer specialist height adjustable stands. Some of these adjust in height by means of a threaded knob which you loosen to make height changes.
Whilst others use pneumatic adjusters similar to office chair type gas lifts.
- Cost is a major benefit of this type of adjustable work surface as they work out at much lower prices than high end sit stand desks.
- The work surface on most of these sorts of laptop stands is small and limited, leaving little room for other things.
- Weight carrying capacity is fairly low. Nonetheless, if it is only for laptop use then it isn't so critical.
Hopefully this has given you a good idea of the various types of height adjustable desk. Please feel free to explore the more detailed content which starts with the most basic set up height adjustable desk and then continues with crank height adjustable desk. Next comescounterbalanced, spring loaded or pneumatic height adjustable desk, before looking at electric height adjustable desks which are the most flexible way of working at different heights.
And if you fancy being more mobile and energetic when working in the office a treadmill desk is definitely something to consider.
Lastly there are miscellaneous height adjustable desks which don’t fall into a distinct category and which can be useful for laptop users.