How a Standing Desk Works?

A standing desk is a revolution in office furniture as whosoever thought to build an adjustable standing desk deserves a standing ovation for such an innovation.

This type of desk allows people to either stand or sit while they work, which has several benefits that overcome many of the inherent problems which come with prolonged sitting, such as poor posture and blood circulation issues.

Before opting for a standing desk, most people are interested in knowing how a standing desk works and what are the different types of desks available in the market today. If you are one of them, then this guide is perfect for you! You’ll not only discover the basics of an adjustable height desk but also find out how to choose the right one for your needs.

Stand up desks are becoming increasingly popular due to growing research on the adverse effects of sitting for long periods. So whether you’re looking to improve your productivity or health, standing adjustable height desks may help – keep on reading to find the magic of adjustable standing desks.

How a Standing Desk Works?

A standing desk is a desk that is designed to be used while standing up as it can be adjusted to different heights to find the perfect position for your needs. But before we go deeper into how a standing desk works, it’s important to tell you that there are actually following three major types of standing desks based on working mechanism:-

  1. Manual Standing Desks
  2. Electric Standing Desks
  3. Standing Desk Converters

How do Electric Standing Desks Work?

Electric Standing Desk

The electric standing desk is the most popular type because it is easy to use and adjustable. It also comes in a wide range of styles and price points. The motor adjusts the desk’s height for you, so you can easily switch from sitting to standing (or vice versa) at the push of a button.

The height of motorized standing desks can be adjusted to suit different users. For example, if you’re taller or shorter than average, you can adjust the desk to suit your height.

Electric desks are also available in a range of styles. For example, you can get desks with different-shaped tops (e.g., L-shaped or U-shaped), different materials (e.g., wood or glass), and different finishes (e.g., white or black).

But even electric standing desks are divided into further subtypes. Now let’s discover the different following types of electric height adjustable desks:-

Mechanism of Single Motor Electric Sit Stand Desk 

Single Motor Electric Standing Desk

In an electric standing desk with a single motor configuration, two sensors detect the number of rotations and direction of the motor. That information is sent to a control box that keeps track of desk height and adjustment speed.

By pressing a button, you can make the desk automatically adjust to your desired height. You can also program different heights into the control box to have multiple options for sitting or standing at work with just one button push.

The weight capacity of some single-motor height adjustable desks can reach up to 80 kg, making them ideal for home offices and small businesses.

Mechanism of Dual Motor Electric Standing Desk

Dual Motor Electric Standing Desk

 A dual motor electric standing desk has two motors, one on each side of the desk. This type of desk is more expensive than a single-motor desk, but it has more advantages.

For example, the desk with dual motors can be more stable when raising or lowering the height because there are two motors. This is especially important if you plan on using a large monitor or laptop on your desk.

Another advantage of dual motor electric sit stand desks is that they usually have a higher weight capacity. This means that they can support more heavy items, such as printers or multiple monitors.

Mechanism of Smart Height Programmable Standing Desk

Smart Height Programmable Standing Desk

Smart height standing desks come with the ability to store two or more different heights. Then, with just one push of a button, you can easily program the desk to raise or lower depending on your needs. All you need to do is press a button on this type of desk to set the perfect height you last set for yourself, making things simpler for people who often switch between sitting and standing throughout the day. Actually it has the capability to keep different presets defined as per the user desire.

Not only are smart desks easy to adjust, but they also don’t require you to keep track of changing heights; the desk does it for you. As a result, they’re perfect for offices where employees share desks. A smart height-adjustable desk can have either a single or dual motor.

How do Manual Standing Desks Work?

Manual adjustable desks are the most common and budget-friendly type of standing desk. They don’t have any electronic components or motors – instead, it has a manual mechanism to adjust the desk’s height. Different manual standing desks come with different mechanisms for adjusting the desk, which range from adjusting the crank, knob, or gas cylinder with your hand. So the adjustability process will vary depending on your manual desk type.

The three most common types of manual adjustable desks are as follows:-

  1. Hand Crank
  2. Pneumatic
  3. Spring Counterbalance Desks

Let’s take a look at each one in turn:-

Mechanism of Hand Crank Standing Desk

Manual Hand Crank Standing Desk

Hand-crank standing desks are by far the most common type of manual adjustable desk. As the name suggests, you use a hand crank to adjust the height of the desk. This type of desk is very easy to use; you only need to turn the crank in either direction to raise or lower the table surface. 

There are some desk models with knobs instead of hand cranks, but they all work the same: the knob adjusts the desk’s legs and allows it to be modified in height.

The only downside of the hand-crank sitting desk is that they can be slightly slow to adjust, as you need to turn the crank a few times to move the desk up or down. But overall, they’re a great option if you’re looking for a budget-friendly manual standing desk.

Mechanism of Pneumatic Standing Desk

Manual Pneumatic Standing Desk

The mechanism of a counterbalance standing desk is either pneumatic or spring-loaded. Pneumatic uses gas cylinders, while springs are used in the latter. The working principle for both types of desks is similar, but there are slight differences between them.

A pneumatic standing desk is a type of counterbalance desk that uses gas cylinders to adjust the height of the desk. The gas cylinders are located at the base of the desk, allowing you to adjust the desk with just a few pumps easily.

To adjust the desk’s height, you need to engage the cylinder; by doing so, the pneumatic fluid or gas flows around or through the piston. This action then either pushes or pulls the piston, which in turn moves the desk up or down.

Now let me surprise you with the Pneumatic types, which are:

  1. Single-leg pneumatic counterbalance desks
  2. Two-leg pneumatic counterbalance desks

How Does Single-leg Pneumatic Counterbalance Desk Works?

Single-leg pneumatic counterbalance desks have one gas cylinder, and they’re the most common type of pneumatic desk. The way a single-leg pneumatic desk works is that the gas cylinder produces adequate height adjustments, which are essential when you want to adjust your desk from sitting to standing. The reason is when you engage the gas cylinders, they inflate with air and push the desk up.

How Does Two-leg Pneumatic Counterbalance Desk Works?

Two-leg pneumatic counterbalance desks have two gas cylinders, one for each leg of the desk. Unlike single-leg pneumatic desks, this type of desk uses a connecting rod or cable between the two legs so that both gas cylinders can inflate simultaneously. This design is necessary to achieve a more balanced desk height adjustment.

The advantage of two-leg pneumatic desks is that they’re typically faster to adjust than single-leg pneumatic desks. That’s because you only need to engage one gas cylinder to adjust the height of both legs. However, they’re also more expensive than their single-leg counterparts.

Mechanism of Spring Counterbalance Desk

Similar to pneumatic desks, the spring counterbalance desk mechanism is almost the same. Still, the main difference is that spring counterbalance desks use springs instead of gas cylinders or pneumatic fluid to adjust the desk’s height.

The working principle is simple as you engage the springs, they inflate and push the desk up. The amount of spring tension can be adjusted, so you can make the desk as easy or as challenging to change as you want.

One of the downsides of spring counterbalance desks is that they can be a bit noisy. That’s because the springs make a metal-on-metal noise as they inflate and deflate. But overall, they’re a great option if you can sacrifice the noise for a faster and easier height adjustment.

How do standing desk converters work?

Standing Desk Converter

Standing desk converters are a great option if you want to convert your existing desk into a standing desk. They’re usually much cheaper than buying a new standing desk, and they’re relatively easy to set up.

Most converters work by sitting on top of your existing desk. They typically have a platform for your computer desk essentials which get raised to your eye level. Some converters also have additional features like storage shelves or drawers.

To use a standing desk converter, you simply place it on top of your existing desk and adjust the height to your comfort. Some converters have electric motors that allow you to adjust the height with a button, while others require you to adjust the height manually.

Standing Desks Converter is a cheap alternative to the Electric Standing Desks as it is quite expensive compared to others.

Most Reliable Type of Standing Desk.

Electric standing desks, which I personally use, take away all the hassle of manually adjusting the height of your desk. In addition, they’re typically much more stable than their manual counterparts and tend to be much quieter, so you won’t have to worry about disturbing your coworkers. Standing desk converters are also a great option if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly solution.

If you want to check more, then click here.

Video Recommendations: How a Standing Desk Works


I hope this article helped you understand the different types of standing desks and how a standing desk work.

All of the different types we’ve discussed are great options, and it really comes down to personal preference.

  • If you want the easiest and most reliable option, go for an electric standing desk.
  • A standing desk converter is an excellent option if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly solution.
  • And if you don’t mind a little noise, a spring counterbalance desk might be the right choice. Whichever option you choose, you can’t go wrong – all of them will help you stay healthy and productive at work.

Read also: How wide should a desk be for different purposes


Are Standing Desks Good For Posture?

It’s been shown in recent studies that standing desks can improve your posture and reduce back pain. In one study, those who used a standing desk for several weeks reported an improvement of up to 32% in their neck and lower back pain. So it’s safe to say that using a standing desk is a good idea if you’re looking to improve your bad posture. But still, if you want to check out the detailed advantages of Standing desks, then visit our detailed guide here.

How many hours a day you should stand at a standing desk?

The answer to this question varies depending on the person. However, most experts agree that 1-2 hours is a good goal for beginners. On the other hand, if you’re new to sit stand desk, it’s essential to take things slowly and gradually increase the amount of time you spend standing. Plus, I recommend alternating between sitting and standing every 30 to 60 minutes.

Do standing desks need to be plugged in?

Most electric motorized standing desks will need to be plugged into an outlet because they use electric motors to adjust the height of the desk. So if you’re looking for a standing desk that doesn’t need to be plugged in, you’ll likely need to go with a manual or pneumatic desk.

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About Mike Irving

Enthusiast Computer Geek, with vast experience in Office Ergonomics. Mike Irving is known as Master of Office and Computer Desk setups including gaming workstations.

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