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What to look for when buying a standing desk

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Whether you work from home or at an office, chances are you sit a fair amount of the day. Well, sitting for too long is not good for you, studies show. That’s where a standing desk comes into play, as it offers you the ability to convert your entire workspace from sitting to standing with a few simple cranks or the press of a button. But, there are so many standing desks out there, how do you know what to shop for? Keep reading to learn what to look for when shopping for a standing desk.

It all starts with the legs – check your weight limit

Every standing desk has one thing in common: legs. But, not all legs are created equal. When shopping for a standing desk, be sure to know what you want it to do. Not all legs can lift the same amount of weight. Even from the same company, desks have different weight capacities. Take UpDesk, for example. The UpDesk Pro has a maximum weight capacity of 375 pounds, while the UpDesk Lite can only lift 175 pounds. This comes from the design of the motors. The Pro has dual motors and stronger legs, while the Lite has a single motor that drives both legs with a lighter-weight design.

If you want to use a massive piece of wood as a desktop, then make sure your standing desk’s legs can support the weight of the tabletop and your peripherals. This means that you have to consider the weight of your computer, monitor, and the like. If you have a custom, water-cooled gaming PC, for example, that alone weighs quite a bit. So, keep in mind what your desk itself will be made from and the things that go on top.

The controller matters quite a bit

All standing desks have some controller. If you have a manual crank desk, you are the controller. Whereas something like the UpDesk Pro has a Bluetooth-enabled automated system that offers four built-in presets, reminders, and more. The Autonomous SmartDesk 3 has a built-in touchscreen as its controller. When shopping for a standing desk, be sure to find the right system for your needs. I prefer systems that offer multiple presets, as my wife and I are different heights. I can use two presets for me, one sitting, and one standing. She has her own two presets, one for her sitting height, and one for her when she’s standing.

Controllers with built-in Bluetooth are another option when shopping for a standing desk. My UpDesk Pro has that, and I love it. It offers precise control through an app and even gives you reminders when it’s time to stand, helping you remember to close your activity rings.

However, the lowest-cost controller is yourself. That’s right; some desks have a hand crank that you use to make it go up and down. This is the lowest cost option of all controllers, of course.

Convert your current workspace

This is an option that many might go with, as it’s generally lower-cost and easier-to-use. With converting an existing workspace, you’ll get a sit/stand desk that goes on top of your current desktop. This gives you the ability to put a laptop or monitor on a height-adjustable stand, making it super simple to switch between sitting and standing. Just know that these systems are usually clunky, take up more space than they give you access to, and don’t have near the weight ratings of other offerings on this list.

The final choice – legs only, all-in-one, or converter

It’s time to make a decision. If you go the route I did, and choose an all-in-one system like UpDesk; then it’s quite simple. Just shop the available options on Amazon, UpDesk, StandDesk, or at your local Ikea (there are many other places to buy standing desks, but these are our favorite). With these all-in-one systems, you’ll get the tabletop, legs, and controller in the same box, all compatible with each other and ready to go. Once you find a system you like, buy it, wait for it to arrive, and assemble it. Voilà, you now have a standing desk.

However, if you want something more customizable, then shopping for legs only is your best bet. Numerous companies offer legs only as an option, with Jarvis being the one such company that we’ve used here at 9to5 in the past.

For those who are just trying to get healthier without shelling out a few hundred dollars, that’s where converters come in. They’re simple to use, easy to set up, and work.

Our recommendations on what to look for in a standing desk

When it comes right down to it, here are our recommendations. For the best all-in-one experience you can get, we’d recommend the UpDesk Pro. It offers a 375-pound lifting capacity, Bluetooth controller, and comes in a few different sizes and colors. Step down a bit and grab the UpDesk Lite if you don’t need something quite as robust, but want to keep the all-in-one design.

Are you looking to build your own? Jarvis is your go-to for that. It offers a 350-pound lifting capacity and comes with a bundled 4-preset digital controller to make your life easy. Or, opt for this model from VIVO if you want to save as much as possible, while still get the full standing desk benefits. Just know that with VIVO, you’ll have to hand-crank the desk up and down when you’re ready to transfer working styles.

Wanting to save as much as possible, without converting your entire workspace? Well, VIVO has you covered there with a great budget-friendly option. Just keep in mind that it doesn’t have near the weight capacity nor working space of going with a full-fledged standing desk.

9to5Toys take on what to look for when shopping for a standing desk

Overall, the best bang-for-your-buck option here is to go with the UpDesk Lite. It’s my personal favorite and my wife’s current desk of choice. It offers an ample workspace, a moderate weight limit, and a sleek design. Plus, it comes with a controller that provides fine-tuned height adjustments or four programmable settings, making it an excellent option for those who work in different positions. At $595 shipped (or $400 for local pickup in Nashville, TN, or even as low as $350 shipped for the legs only), this all-in-one kit is a great starting point for most people who are just beginning their venture into standing desks.

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