Standing Desks: The Complete Overview and Beginner’s Guide

Health has been a big factor in our current generation, social media has been a big impact on how people feel and look. If you work, then most of your time you’re going to be in the office, typically eight hours a day, sometimes more!

How do we accomplish staying healthy while we’re sitting all day in front of a computer?

This is why the standing desk was invented. The purpose of a standing desk is to help people constantly stay active while working long hours at their desk.

Studies show that your body benefits from standing up, contracting muscles, and moving. To avoid any long-term health issues related to sedentary, we suggest that a standing desk can be used to counteract those negative issues.

How beneficial is a standing desk?

You may question whether its worth to actually get a standing desk when all it does is force you to stand up while working. Can this actually help?

Based on a few studies that we’ve gathered, standing while working can help with:

  • improved energy and focus
  • gets you motivated to move more
  • helps with posture
  • reduce chronic pain
  • decreases the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes
  • lower risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer
  • and much more!

These health benefits of using a standing desk can be objective and can only be determined by each individuals lifestyle, but for the most part, you’ll definitely see an increase in health benefits when you’re constantly on the move.

Are there any cons to using a standing desk?

We’re not just going to praise about the benefits of using a standing desk, we’ll also be going through some of the negative implications of using one.

If you’re new to standing desks, we suggest that you don’t go full on standing. If you’ve been standing for years, its best to start slow and then ease your way into using a standing desk.

The reason why is because you may actually feel some physical discomfort not being used to doing work while standing. If this happens, your productivity will likely decrease, and thus make you jaded in actually using a standing desk.

Reasons to start using a standing desk

There are tons of benefits when it comes to using a standing desk. But we’ve listed a few that we think you’ll relate to when it comes to a sedentary lifestyle:

Helps improve mood and energy levels – when you’re standing you’re helping blood flow freely to help deliver more oxygen to your muscles, thus giving you a boost of energy and making you feel better. With improved mood and increased energy levels, it creates a domino effect into helping you focus more and becoming more productive.

Boosts with productivity – people who stand get more of their tasks done and are more focused. A study conducted by the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health confirms that users who stand are approximately 45% more productive than their seated counterparts.

Helps with posture and prevents strains on neck, shoulders, and back – When you’re sitting down, there’s a high chance that you get caught up in work that you’re slouching, and long-term slouching can cause neck strains, shoulder aches, and other back issues. Standing helps correct these issues while elongating and resetting your spine.

If you want to learn more, check out our other article that lists the many benefits of using a standing desk.

How to get started with standing and working

So now if you’re wondering, okay, the benefits sound great, but how to do I get started?

If you want to get started in standing and working, you’ll need to ease yourself into it. Especially for those that have been sitting all their lives. If you go straight into standing, you may feel some discomfort because your body might not be used to it.

Ease yourself into standing

One of the biggest mistake people make is that they think they can make the switch and start standing. But there’s a lot of getting used to, like what I mentioned earlier. It’s like learning how to walk, you’ll need to crawl before making the first step. This applies to stand up, which brings us to the Golden 20 Rule.

The Golden 20-minutes: Focus on movement

The best way to effectively use a standing desk is to stand up every 20 minutes. This is referred to as the golden 20. Based on Cornell University, you should stand for about eight minutes and move for two minutes, every 20 minutes.

Even if standing for one minute or two can already reduce the risk of developing diabetes and heart disease. A study from Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Australia shows that interruption from sitting about every 20 minutes can help lower postprandial glucose and insulin responses.


When you’re standing, it causes big muscles in the legs and back to contract, increasing enzymes to break up fat in the bloodstream. These enzymes help you from gaining weight.

Simply standing is insufficient. We suggest you to constantly move as well. The movement is important because it helps to get the blood to your muscles. A good way to help increase blood flow without leaving your desk is getting a standing mat.

Get a standing mat

A non-flat anti-fatigue mat can help with the circulation of the blood because it forces you to constantly move your feet subconsciously.

Nowadays, there are a lot of different types of anti-fatigue mats that are extremely beneficial for standing desks. It has grown in popularity because of some of these benefits that come with it, such as reduced foot pressure and prevention of joint stiffness.

Take a look at our list of best anti-fatigue mats to help filter through all the different types of mats on the market.

Wear comfortable shoes

When you’re ready to stand, you might want to look into comfortable shoes too. By now you’re probably wondering, this is a lot of trouble to get standing. Just bear with us, we believe that these bits of changes in your life can dramatically improve your overall health.

Make sure that your shoes are comfortable to stand throughout the day, even if you’re standing for a minute or so every 20 minutes. Finding the right shoe not only benefits in joint stress reduction, but it’ll definitely be more comfortable when you’re walking around – a win-win situation.

The different types of standing desks, converters vs full

Not all standing desks are created equal. In fact, there are so many different types of standing desks on the market that it’s hard to figure out what works best for you. There are ones that are just converters that you can place on your current desk and it’ll “convert” from a sit to stand position, then there are full standing desks that can either be cranked (manual) or electric.

Standing Desk Converters

These types of standing desks are perfect for those that don’t want to change out their current desk. But even with just a desk converter, there are still a lot of different types within this category:

  • Double X Design
  • Single X Design
  • Double Z Design
  • Post and Base
  • Floating or Free Arm
  • Simple Riser
  • Electrical Standing Desk Converter

For the most part, standing desk converters are manual, but there are also electrical ones where you’ll be able to adjust your desk height based on a single push of a button.

We’ve created a search filter of desk converter reviews that may help you with your research.

Full Standing Desk

These full desks can be customizable to fit the styling of your office. Usually, these desks are “standing desks” because of its legs and frame. This gives you the freedom of choosing your preferred table top.

Why you may prefer a full standing desk over a converter:

  • more tabletop space – full standing desks usually has more tabletop space than sit to stand converters. Converters can be an issue for people if they require a lot of space for their equipment.
  • more customization – like mentioned earlier, you’ll be able to customize your desk
  • aesthetics – because you’re able to customize your desk, full standing desks can be aesthetically pleasing and can match your decor, but this is subjective.
  • lift capacity – most converters can lift no more than 40-50 lbs, however, full standing desks can lift a lot more because of its motor capabilities. Converters can be an issue for people who have heavier equipment.

One thing to note about standing desks is that it can be a little pricier than a converter. If you’re tight on money, we’ll go over some options that you can look into that may fit into your budget. However, if you can afford a standing desk, we believe an electric one would be the best one to optimize your productivity and the health benefits that come with it.

What’s my standing desk budget?

Furniture, in general, can be a little pricey, and finding a type of desk that fits your lifestyle will be hard. In the world of standing desks, there’s a wide range of prices as well as the different types.

When you’re searching the term “standing desks” on any of your favorite sites, you’ll see a slew of different matching terms that’ll pop up, “sit to stand desks,” “standing desk converter,” “adjustable standing desk,” or “electric standing desk.”

But which ones can fit your preferred budget? We’ve listed some categories that can help you decide, listed from lowest to highest priced.

Under $100: Laptop Stands

These are the most affordable that can get you started into standing. These are very simple and its used for only laptops. You won’t be able to use these types of desk converters for anything heavier than that.

This desk converter is lightweight, so it’s very portable. You don’t have to use this kind of converter for only the desk, but can be used anywhere you feel like you need to prop your laptop up: when sitting on the floor or doing work on your bed. Because of its portability, this may be a preferred option as a standing desk converter.

Here’s a great list of the best laptop stands that can get you started in looking into one for yourself.

Between $100 – $200: Standing Workstations and Mobile Carts

These are a little more interesting when it comes to aesthetics. These types of standing desks are not your typical full stand up desks. In fact, these are smaller, in size, usually enough for one monitor, and potentially a laptop. These standing workstations can also be mobile, where they have casters that can be freely moved from one location to another, perfect for those that need to move offices often.

In addition, these kinds of standing stations are not adjustable. You can not convert this into a sitting desk. These are usually used for medical professionals that are constantly on their feet. If you’re looking for a desk that can be made into sitting, then we wouldn’t recommend getting this type of workstation.

Between $100 – $400: Standing Desk Converters

These are the more popular sit to stand desks that you’ll probably see when searching on the web. These are typically placed on top of your existing desk so you don’t need to get a new table. The standing desk converter is typically heavy and sometimes require two people to carry.

Standing desk converters are heavy because they need to be stable and sturdy enough to hold your expensive computer equipment.

You’ll usually see these types of desks ranging from $100 up to $400, rarely see up to $500, depending on the style of converters you want, and the brand.

To see a list of these standing desk converters, head over to our buyer’s guide.

Between $200 – $400: Manual Standing Desks

Manual standing desks are also known as cranking desks. They are full desks where you’ll need to “crank” in order for the desk to rise or adjusted. These definitely require more work than electric ones or the standing desk converters that are gas/piston sprung.

You’ll definitely get more of a workout with this manual stand up desk.

$400+: Electric Standing Desks

These are the more expensive standing desks where the table can be adjusted by a push of a button. Some of the higher end desks have different preset settings where you can input your preferred height and it’ll automatically remember the height you want your desk to be.

We would recommend an electric full standing desk because of its simplicity and aesthetics that comes with it. We believe that the benefits of this type of desk outweigh the price.

Head over to the best electric stand up desk article that we reviewed.

Top standing desk companies

We mentioned earlier that there are a lot of different types of stand up desks on the market, so we’ve also compiled a list of the top companies that make durable sit to stand desks:

  • Varidesk
  • Autonomous
  • Human Solution
  • FlexiSpot
  • VersaDesk

Why are these stand up desk companies better than others?

There are a few things that we looked into that we thought made it on to our top standing desk companies list

  • Warranty – these companies provide some sort of warranty to your product in case if there’s any manufacturer defect.
  • Customer Support – when you have an issue with your product, you want to make sure that you’re speaking to a real person and that you’ll actually get your issues resolved.
  • Return Policy – if you’re not happy with your standing desk, you’ll want to make sure that you can return it for a full refund.


Even with our standing desk guide, we still get a good amount of frequently asked questions, and we wanted to share it with you, just in case if you still have the same questions.

Do I need to stand all day?

No, you do not need to stand all day, to have the full health benefit, stand every 20 minutes.

How many calories can I burn while using a standing desk?

When you’re standing, you’re burning 50 calories an hour. However, we don’t suggest you stand for hours a day, but if you stand for three hours a day for five days, that’s around 750 calories that you can burn a week while just working at your desk.

In a year, that’ll up to approximately 30,000 extra calories or 8lbs of fat.

Learn more about burning calories when standing vs sitting.

Should I use a standing desk converter or a full stand up desk

This depends on your current setup. Do you love the desk you have now if so, you might want to just get a converter so you can still have your current desk but have the ability to go from a sitting position to a standing one. Or, if you require more room when you’re standing or need a heavier lift capacity, then you may want to consider using a full stand up desk.

Will using a stand-up desk help with back pain?

When you’re in a seated position, your back is compressed, putting more pressure on your lower back. But long-term standing can also hurt your back. This is why we suggest you combine using a standing desk with moving around and doing stretches or using an inversion table.

If you’re still having back pain problems after converting to using a standing desk, then there may be other variables that are causing it.

Using a standing desk isn’t the holy grail solution to your back problems, however, it can be a piece of the puzzle to getting you to relieve some of the stress from sedentary.

What are the health benefits of using a standing desk?

There are plenty of health benefits when using a standing desk, some of these include:

  • pain reduction due to better ergonomics
  • fitness benefits
  • benefits to your brain and mental functions
  • increased energy, mood and productivity

Check out the 40 health benefits of using a standing desk for a complete list of what you can get out of from using a stand-up desk.

How do I find the right height for my standing desk?

Check out our best practices when using a standing desk. This guide will help you decide what the right height you need for using a standing desk. Getting the correct height will enhance your ergonomics providing more comfort when you’re working.

All done!

There you have it! Now you have a basic understanding of what a standing desk is and how it can benefit you in the long term.

Take a look at our new standing desk search and filtering tool to see some of the converters we reviewed. This can help with deciding which standing desk you may need to get a better ergonomic setup.

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Desk Advisor

Desk Advisor

Our team covers many categories to help you hustle better, from ergonomics to productivity, and technology. We are willing to ask questions (lots of them), seek experts, and dig deep into conventional wisdom to see if maybe there might be a better path towards the healthy workspace. We apply what we learn not only to our company culture but also how we deliver information to our readers. Ergonomic and productivity research is changing all the time, and we are 100% dedicated to keeping up with breakthroughs and innovations. You live better if you work better. Whatever has brought you here, we wish you luck on your journey towards better hustle.

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