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How to Select the Best Height Adjustable Desk

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Factors to consider when selecting a height adjustable desk
Standing Desks Height adjustment range comparison chart for electric desks
Height adjustment range comparison chart for gas or spring desks
Height adjustment range comparison chart for crank adjustable desks
Height adjustment range comparison chart for pin adjustable desks

Why consider a height adjustable desk?

Let's start off by discussing why someone would want a height adjustable desk. There are two primary reasons to consider a height adjustable desk.

1. To set the desk height to the correct height for the user. This is particularly helpful for shorter and taller users. People in wheelchairs also often benefit from a custom desk height. How tall the desk should be depends on the user and whether or not they are using a keyboard tray. Users without a keyboard tray will need the desk to go lower than those with a height adjustable tray. Consider a height adjustable desk for your children. It will grow as they do.

2. So the user can stand part of the day. Why stand? Research has shown for more than 30 years that sitting all day is unhealthy. In addition to adding to the obesity crisis, sitting is hard on the back. Additional concerns are poor circulation and after four hours, sitting can change the way blood sugar is handled by the body. Standing for an hour or two improves alertness and productivity. Dr. Mark Benden of Texas A&M University has done research showing that standing just two hours a day can help a person lose up to 20 lbs in just one year.

Factors to consider when choosing a desk

  • How high does the work surface need to be?
    • For sitting - sit in your chair with your feet flat on the floor, your knees approximately even with your hips (this is proper seated height). Your keyboard should be positioned low, in your lap so your forearms are approximately level with the floor when typing. If your keyboard tray doesn't let you do this, your desk may be too high. If your knees don't have enough room to move comfortably, a taller desk will be more comfortable.
    • For standing - we recommend the use of an anti-fatigue floor mat to reduce the stress of standing. Stand on the floor or the mat you will use. Your keyboard should be at the height that allows your forearms to be parallel to the floor.
    • Will the user only stand or sit and stand? We strongly reccomend that you trade off between sitting and standing. As we've all learned over the years sitting all day at your desk can be very harmful, but standing all day can cause lower extremity issues.
    • Which desk best meets my sitting and standing height? Please make sure that the height adjustment meets your needs or look at adding a keyboard tray. A seated person who is 5'0" will need type at 21.4" to 21.9" (depending on chair height) off the floor and 36.4" to 36.9" off the floor when standing. On the other hand a 6'1" person will type at 29.5" - 30" while seated and 45.4" to 45.9" Standing.   
    • See Height Ranges Below:
    Choosing the best Sit Stand Desk Range
    • Pin-set height adjustable desks are meant to be set and left and are not well-suited for frequent height changes.
    • Crank desks use a crank (usually removable) to set or reset the height of the desk. Crank height adjustable desks usually do not have the height range to accommodate standing, and frequent height changes would be inconvenient. Crank desks are great for multi-user situations.
    • Gas cylinder or spring-assisted lift desks are a newer design and can allow for fast and easy height adjustments without requiring any electricity. This type of desk is an earth-friendly option.
    • Electric height adjustable desks offer maximum adjustment range and are easy to change from sitting to standing height in a matter of seconds. Some models offer memory settings and/or digital displays for height.
    • Will the user be installing a keyboard tray? We recommend using a height and angle adjustable keyboard tray for maximum positioning flexibility for the keyboard and mouse. However, pedestal desks may not always have enough clearance to handle a full length track (usually 22"). Shorter tracks are available for many brands but using one will prevent the tray from storing completely under the desk. Whether or not this is a problem depends on the user.

Single surface or dual? Most users will benefit from a single desk surface. Bi-level surfaces offer a built-in keyboard platform that is height adjustable and sometimes angle adjustable (depends on the model). However we don't recommend these for most purposes as tilting the keyboard platform can cause everything to slide off the desk, and the front platform will not push underneath the rear part of the desk. This makes the main surface hard to reach for phone access or writing.

Check out our section of height adjustable desks.

Choose the best sit stand height for you

Standing Desk Height Adjustment Range on Electric Desks

Brand Height Range Legs or Pedestal? Memory
Uprise Desk 24" - 50.5" 2 or 3 legs Yes
 S2S Desk 24" - 49" 2 or 3 legs Yes. Standard
Conset 501-27 22" - 48" 2 or 3 legs No
Conset 501-29 24" - 51" 2 or 3 legs No
Conset 501-19 25" - 46" pedestal No
ESI Rectangle Desk 24" - 50.5" 2 or 3 legs Yes
Ergoprise 2 Stage 27" - 47" 2 or 3 legs Yes
Ergoprise 3 Stage 24.5" - 51" 2 or 3 legs Yes.  
Sis Move 24" - 48" pedestal No
Sis Xtreme 24.5" - 51.5" 2 legs No
Sis Surf 2 22.1" - 48.6" 2 or 3 legs Optional
SpaceCo ILS 24" - 50" 2 or 3 legs Optional
Workrite Sierra 22" - 48" 2 or 3 legs Yes
Workrite Sierra HX 22" - 48" 2 or 3 legs Yes



Standing Desk Height Adjustment Range on Spring and Gas-Activated Desks

Brand Height Range Pedestal or Legs
Sis Move 26" - 45" Pedestal
Humanscale Float 27" - 47" Legs



Height Adjustment Range on Crank Desks

Brand Height Range Legs or Pedestal?
ESI Ergo 26" - 42" 2 or 3 legs
Idea at Work Proliftix 27.25" - 43.25" 2 legs
Mayline Basic 22" - 33" 2 legs
Right Angle NewHeights NC 27" - 47" 2 or 3 legs
Sis Move 24" - 48" pedestal
Sis Basix 24.25" - 52.25" 2 legs
Sis Xtreme 24" - 50" 2 or 3 legs
Workrite Sierra 22" - 34" 2 or 3 legs
Workrite Sierra HX 22" - 34" 2 or 3 legs



Height Adjustment Range on Pin Set Desks

Brand Height Range Legs or Pedestal?
ESI Ergo 26" - 42" 2 or 3 legs
Idea at Work Proliftix 27.25" - 43.25" 2 legs
Sis Basix 25" - 34" 2 legs
Workrite Sierra 22" - 34" 2 or 3 legs
Workrite Sierra HX 22" - 34" 2 or 3 legs

 

     
     
     
     
     
     

How to pick the best retrofit sit-stand workstation solution for your specific needs:

Finding the Best Sit Stand Workstations

You’ve read the headlines – Sitting Is the New Smoking!  However, Standing All Day can be Detrimental so, what are we to do?  Answer, a series of transitions of both throughout the day.

Sitting and Standing throughout the work day will have tremendous health benefits.  But confusion always occurs when there are too many of any solution to choose amongst. Our goal at Ergoprise.com is to assist you in finding the best justification for a Sit to Stand Workstation that meet your needs.  This guide this is to provide the most comprehensive and balanced overview.  It is our sincerest intent to show an extensive summary of the product (including the ideal height range for each solution).

One of the most important factors when choosing a retrofit for the workstation is that you can sit and stand in the most ergonomic and comfortable posture as possible. On the following page, I’ve enclosed two images from Dr. Hedge of the Cornell School of Ergonomics that will provide a helpful visual & convey information to understanding the importance of a proper set-up.

One of our greatest concerns which rarely is addressed with any desk-on-desk riser, is that they truly limit the users if the keyboard tray does not adjust below the work surface.  We’ve enclosed two graphics from the Cornell University School of Ergonomics of the ideal typing posture. We married Cornell’s ergonomic workstation guideline with the average female and male anthropocentric dimensions while seated and standing. This will give you an idea of what workstations will work for your height.  Knowledge is power; we truly believe that when one understands the correct seated, standing & eye height parameters, you will be amazed how important the technical specifications will determine which Sit to Stand Workstation is best for EVERYONE.

Finding the Best Sit Stand Workstations

 Best Sit Stand Workstation Position By Height

 In-depth Spreadsheet Comparison: Side-by-side Sit Stand Workstation Comparison 3-2-16

  

S2S Sit Stand Workstation:

 Sit Stand Workstation

Cost: Single Monitor $489.99/Dual Monitor $589.99

Ergonomically ideal for people that range from: 5’ to 6’7” tall

The S2S Sit Stand Workstation is the newest desk riser to hit the market. They did their homework
to be the leader in the sit stand 2.0 era. It’s the only desk riser that meets ANSI/HFES 100-2007 health standards (the keyboard tray adjusts 7.31” below the work surface which) as well as it meets BIFMA GI-2013.

15a.jpg

Our focus for the consumer is how ergonomic is the product, because it’s imperative that you work as pain-free as possible because it increases productivity which is ideal for the end-user and organization. That being said we love the fact that the S2S offers 19” of keyboard tray tilt (-15/+4 degrees).

Additional Positives of the S2S Sit Stand Workstation:

  • Meets HFES 100-2007: That means this is one of the only desk risers that works ideally for people at each height spectrum (5’ to 5’6” or 6’1 to 6’7”). This makes it easy for corporations because you meet virtually 95% of all users where others cannot come close.
  • 22” Arm Adjustment, with an additional 3.25” of independent keyboard tray adjustment which gives you 25.25” of total adjustment. On 29” tall work surface, the S2S Workstation can adjust from a 21.69” seated typing height to a 50.31” standing surface height.
  • Keyboard tray tilts 19” (-15/+4 degrees) this is very important to at a small negative position. It puts you in a comfortable typing position.
  • The monitor independently adjusts 9.5” which makes setting the ideal monitor height easy for every user.
  • Weight capacity 5 lbs. to 25 lbs.
  • Keyboard tray and shelf made of ultra-thin and sleek metal, not plastic.
  • Single Monitor LCD Independently pans and swivels from the keyboard tray. This makes it very easy to collaborate with others.
  • Excellent cable management
  • Available in 3 colors – Black, Silver, White
  • Cycles tested: 20,000 which is 10,000 more than others
  • 5 Year Warranty

Potential Issues of the S2S sit Stand Workstation:

  • It’s priced a bit on the higher side $469.99 for single monitor & $549.99 for a dual monitor solution.
  • In the standing position, you get a slight movement if you type hard. Not bad at all, but an ever so slight movement.

 

Varidesk Pro Plus:

Varidesk Pro Plus Sit Stand Workstation

Cost: Pro Plus 36 $395.00/Pro Plus 48 $495.00

Ergonomically ideal for people that range from: 6’ and 6’1” tall

The Varidesk Pro Plus series has become one of the most popular desk riser solution in the market.  Being one of the first desk risers to the market as well as they have done an amazing job marketing puts them in the top tier of desk risers.

We would like to start off on a positive note with our comparison of the Varidesk.  It’s incredibly easy to set up, all you need to do is pull it out of the box and lay it on your desk (we suggest you use a partner when lifting out of the box, it’s a bit on the heavy side).

The Varidesk offers 11 height positions to choose from.

Additional Positives of the Varidesk:

  • The Varidesk is competitively priced
  • Offers the best total weight capacity from 0-35 lbs
  • Good size keyboard tray 14.25” x 36” or 14.25” x 48”
  • Fairly sturdy

Potential Issues with the Varidesk:

  • The Varidesk Pro adds 0.75” to the top of your work surface. The average height of contract furniture is 29” tall, thus the typing surface of the Varidesk Pro Plus on a 29” tall table is 29.75. Add your keyboard and you are looking at typing over 30” off the floor while seated 43.5” standing. This makes the Pro Plus Ergonomically Ideal for sitting and standing if you average between 6’ and 6’1” tall. That is a very small population. Our suggestion is that if you are 6’ or taller and you have an average size monitor, that you buy their monitor arm to get the monitor in the proper eye level position.
  • Sets on the Desk which takes up a tremendous amount of valuable real estate on your desk.
  • Keyboard surface does not offer a negative tilt (see above image) which offers a more neutral typing position.
  • Can damage mice and keyboard USB cords if closed on. We recommend that you use wireless keyboards and mice
  • 1 Year warranty which is the least of any of our reviewed desk risers.

StandTall Sit Stand Workstation:

StandTall Sit Stand Workstation

Cost:  $349.00

Ergonomically ideal for people that range from: 6’ and 6’3” tall

The StandTall is like the Varidesk and Ergotron Workfit-T which all three are incredibly easy to set up, all you need to do is pull it out of the box and lay it on your desk (we suggest you use a partner when lifting out of the box, it’s a bit on the heavy side).

It does offer a few features that Varidesk does not. First it’s a gas cylinder, thus you can raise it and lower it where ever you wish, there are no set positions like the Varidesk.

Our favorite feature is that it offers it offers the end-user a much more ergonomic work-surface by giving you the capability to type in a much more comfortable negative tilt. The keyboard tray surface offers a -10/+10-degree tilt.   

 StandTall Sit Stand Workstation

Additional Positives of the StandTall:

  • The StandTall is the most competitively priced out of the VariDesk and Workfit-T.
  • Offers the best total weight capacity from 0-35 lbs.
  • Good size keyboard tray 14.25” x 36” or 14.25” x 48”
  • Fairly sturdy

Potential Issues with the StandTall:

  • The StandTall adds 0.75” to the top of your work surface. The average height of contract furniture is 29” tall, thus the typing surface of the StandTall on a 29” tall table is 29.75. Add your keyboard and you are looking at typing over 30” off the floor while seated 43.5” standing. This makes the Pro Plus Ergonomically Ideal for sitting and standing if you average between 6’ and 6’3” tall. That is a very small population, but larger than Varidesk.
  • Our suggestion is that if you are 6’ or taller and you have an average size monitor, that you buy their monitor arm to get the monitor in the proper eye level position.
  • Sets on the Desk which takes up valuable real estate on your desk.

 

Ergotron Workfit-A (LD) Suspended Keyboard Tray System:

Ergotron Workfit-A Sit Stand Workstation 

Cost: Single Monitor $567.00 or $655.00 for a dual monitor.

Ergonomically ideal for people that range from: 5’7” to 6’ tall

The Ergotron Workfit-A was the first rear mounted desk riser in the marketplace. It was absolutely the rage with early adopters.  We like the Workfit-A model over the Workfit-S because it can be easily pushed out of your way to utilize your work surface.

We chose the Workfit-A with suspended keyboard tray because it suspends the keyboard tray 4” under the work surface, which is 25” above the floor which is the ideal height for someone ranging around 5’7” tall.

Additional Positives of the Workfit-A Suspended Keyboard Tray:

  • Rear Mount that allows for you to swing the arm away and utilize your work surface.
  • Easy to move from seated to standing position with the touch of a finger.
  • Keyboard Tray suspends 4” below the work surface.
  • You can rotate your monitor 360 degrees while others usually rotate degrees.
  • Nice cable management
  • 5 Year Warranty

Ergotron Workfit-A

Potential Issues of the Workfit-A Suspended Keyboard Tray:

  • Keyboard tray is plastic and the arm shakes if you are a hard typist.
  • Weight capacity is between 10-20 lbs. This may become an issue if you buy one of these new incredibly light monitors. Make sure to look up your monitor model number and then check the tech specs for the weight of the monitor without the stand. Most keyboards and mice combos weigh less than 1.5lbs.
  • You cannot adjust your keyboard tray into an ergonomic negative tilt.

 

Lift Sit Stand Workstation:

Lift Sit Stand Workstation

Cost: $299.40

Ergonomically ideal for people that range from: 5’7 to 5’11” tall

The Lift Sit Stand Workstation is one of the most economical desk risers available. Surprisingly for the price it’s very sturdy, and offers a below the work surface keyboard tray. The tray does not offer a negative tilt.

All-in-all a middle of the road solution that is sturdy enough to place a monitor with stand on without worrying about it falling off. You can mount a monitor arm as well.

The Lift offers 16” of height adjustment and can adhere to the front or rear of the desk.

On a standard 29” tall workstation the end-user can type as low as 25” off the floor to 42” high standing. This makes the Lift ideal for anyone between 5’7” to 5’11” tall.

Additional Positives of the Lift Sit Stand Workstation:

  • Cost Effective. $299.40.
  • Able to type comfortably 4” below your work surface.
  • Able to adhere to the front or back of your work surface.
  • User can use either monitor arm or standard monitor with stand.

Potential Issues of the Lift Sit Stand Workstation:

  • Ideal for a somewhat narrow population of users: users from 5’7” to 5’ 11” tall.

You cannot adjust your keyboard tray into an ergonomic negative tilt.

 

Humanscale Quick Stand – Large Tray:

Humanscale Quick Stand

Cost: $848.00

Ergonomically ideal for people that range from: See Below

Humanscale is one of the most popular ergonomic furniture brands, and known for their quality and aesthetic sleekness of their product offerings. The Quick Stand is a well-made sit stand solution that is sleek and well built.

Per our guideline of pain free, ergonomic correct computing it misses all potential users by not offering a suspended keyboard tray the solution works for someone over 6” seated. Here is where it gets interesting; the VESA mount raises 33” above the work surface which is 62” a 24” monitor will put your ideal eye level at 65” which is between 5’10” and 5’11” tall. We love Humanscale and their line, but they missed on this and needs to go back to their designers.

Additional Positives of the Quick Stand – Large Tray System Pros:

  • Constant Force Spring makes it glide easily from seated to standing position
  • Sleek and well crafted
  • Very Large Keyboard Tray 30” Deep x 36” Wide.
  • Sturdy
  • 5 Year Warranty

Potential Issues of the Quick Stand Large Tray System: 

  • Beautiful, but not ergonomic for most users. If you are tall enough to type ergonomically then you are too tall to stand ergonomically.
  • Sorry that we sound like a skipping record, but any desk riser that’s keyboard tray does not suspend below the work surface, eliminates a huge population of users, or puts them in a very bad typing position that can cause more problems than the unit assists with.
  • If you are less than 6” tall and want to add a keyboard tray system, you are now looking at over $1,000.00

 

Ergotron Workfit-T:

Ergotron Workfit-T

Cost: $439.99

Ergonomically ideal for people that range from: 6’ to 6’3” tall
The Workfit-T is Ergotron’s answer to the popular Varidesk line. This unit fits on the desk top and offers more monitor options than the Varidesk, which include Single Monitor Kit, Single Heavy Duty Monitor Kit, Dual Monitor Kit and an LCD & Laptop Kit.

The Ergotron Workfit offers a stable workstation that adjusts 15” from seated to standing height (29.75” to 45.75” tall which is ideal for 6’ to 6’3” tall.

Additional Positives of the Workfit-T Pros:

  • Ergotron Brand
  • Fairly sturdy
  • 5 Year Warranty, which is 4 more years than the Varidesk.
  • Ships fully assembled – no tool adjustments needed, which makes it easy to retrofit your desk quickly. We suggest you have two people to install. The shipping weight is over 58 lbs.

 Potential Issues of the Workfit-T:

  • The Workfit-T adds 0.75” to the top of your work surface.
  • Keyboard surface does not offer a negative tilt (see above image) which offers a more neutral typing position.

 

Sit Stand Converter Pro:

Sit Stand Converter Pro

Cost: $399.00 Single Monitor/$499.00 Dual Monitor (iPad & Laptop Accessories Available)

Ergonomically ideal for people that range from: 5’ to 5’11” tall

The Sit Stand Converter Pro is the only solution with a separate keyboard tray and monitor arm, which makes it the most stable of the reviewed solutions.

The keyboard tray adjusts 19” (7” below and 12” above the work surface) which is ideal for users ranging from 5’ to 5’11” tall. The keyboard tray offers 15” of negative tilt which is a very important feature for typing in a neutral position.

The Sit Stand Converter Pro comes with a single arm. You can upgrade to a dual arm right away or add an arm in the future. They also offer an iPad and Laptop accessory.

The maximum weight per arm is 0-14 lbs; make sure your monitor weighs less than 14 lbs.

Additional Positives of the Sit Stand Converter Pro:

  • Perfect solution for users that are vertically challenged.
  • Keyboard Tray offers a 15-degree negative tilt.

Potential Issues of the Sit Stand Converter Pro: 

  • Keyboard Tray does not stow under the desk.
  • Maxes out for users 6’ and taller
  • Aesthetically not as attractive as some of the other solutions

 IOP Winston Workstation:

Winston Workstation

Cost: $529.99 Single Monitor/$559.99 Dual Monitor/$739.99 Triple Monitor/$1,157.99 Quad Monitor

Ergonomically ideal for people that range from: 6’ to 6’4” tall

Innovative Office Products offers the Winston as their answer to the sit stand workstation market demand.

The Winston is offered in both free standing and clamp mount. The Winston is a bit more stable than some of the other solutions, you still get a little movement when typing.  It closely resembles the Kangaroo Workstation without having the eyesore stabilization leg.

The Winston offers many options, from 1 to 4 monitors, standard LCD or Apple version. It comes in white, silver and black.

The Winston offers 17” of height adjustment which means that your seated typing surface height will be at 30.25” off the floor when seated (ideal for 6’ user) and max out at 47.25” (ideal for someone 6’4”).

The total weight capacity runs from 9 to 20 lbs.

Additional Positives of the Winston Workstation:

  • Offers multiple monitor options: single, dual, triple and quad monitor options available
  • Standard LCD or Apple Version
  • Nice size Keyboard Tray 24.5” x 30”
  • Fairly sturdier than other models.
  • Comes in either C-clamp or Free Standing models
  • Cable locking Gas Cylinder
  • 5 Year Warranty

Potential Issues of the Winston:

  • The Winston adds 1.25” to the top of your work surface, which is the highest of any of the reviewed desk risers.
  • Keyboard surface does not offer a negative tilt (see above image) which offers a more neutral typing position.
  • Exposed Cable Management

 Ergotron Workfit-S:

Ergotron Workfit-S

Cost: $553.99

Ergonomically ideal for people that range from: 5’7” to 6’ tall

The Ergotron Workfit-S was one the first front mounted desk riser in the marketplace. It too was absolutely the rage with both corporate and home office end-users.

The one feature we like about the Workfit-S with suspended keyboard tray, is that suspends the keyboard tray 4” under the work surface, which is 25” above the floor which is the ideal height for someone ranging around 5’7” tall.

The total weight capacity of the Workfit-S is 18 lbs which should work for most modern LCD’s. We suggest you check your monitor model weight, especially if you plan to dock a notebook on the shelf.

Additional Positives of the Workfit-S Suspended Keyboard Tray:

  • Easy to move from seated to standing position with the touch of a finger.
  • Keyboard Tray suspends 4” below the work surface.
  • Able to adjust the keyboard tray at a 7.5-degree negative tilt.
  • 5 Year Warranty

Potential Issues of the Workfit-S Suspended Keyboard Tray:

  • Keyboard tray is plastic and the arm shakes if you are a hard typist.
  • Clamps onto the front of your desk thus makes it hard if you want to use your desks work surface when not computing.
  • The monitor is a bit too close for our liking. The rule of thumb is to reach for your monitor and barely be able to touch it.
  • Cable Management could be a bit better, but not a show stopper

In-depth Spreadsheet Comparison: Side-by-side Sit Stand Workstation Comparison 3-2-16

We are happy to help you find the most appropriate Sit to Stand Workstation. Please do not hesitate to contact us at 512-275-6300, info@ergoprise.com or via live chat.

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