How Do Standing Desks Work? (Beginner’s Guide)

How Do Standing Desks Work? (Beginner’s Guide)

Touch the desk and it will adjust itself to a different height. How cool is that? But ever wondered how standing desks actually work? What are the crucial parts and will it be easy for you to operate? 

Electric standing desks depend on a power supply, an electric motor, and a control box to fulfill each cycle. On the other hand, pneumatic ones work on a gas cylinder and hand crank. It uses pneumatic pressure instead of electric power.

If you are planning to buy a standing desk or are just purely curious, it’s important to know all the types first. Because each type has its own mechanism. Don’t worry though. We will guide you through the entire thing in this one article. So, buckle up tight.

What’s The Need For A Standing Desk?

The basic need for a standing desk comes from a very desperate place. It seems we are too comfortable in our sedentary lifestyles to acknowledge the damage it’s causing us. According to a recent study, around 80 million workers in America only have reported signs of lower back pain. And, we have no trouble identifying the core reasons. It’s because most jobs require you to sit in front of a screen all day long. 

Such unhealthy work conditions and their consequences have made employees realize the importance of a standing desk. 

Check out why people are loving it so much.

1. Improve Posture

Standing desks allow you to stand up and work when you have been sitting for a long time. Most people tend to slouch or bend their backs slightly to reduce fatigue. It eventually ruins the lumbar posture doctors find ideal for you.

However, with the help of a standing desk, you can just force yourself to increase the desk height and get up. Your work won’t be hampered. But you can easily resist the urge the slouch a little.

2. More Adjustable

Standing desks can be converted into sitting and standing positions. That’s different from any other traditional wooden desk you have used so far. 

One major reason behind workplace boredom is the lack of physical flexibility. You have to stick to one chair for hours. No matter how enjoyable the work is, nobody like getting stuck.

Standing desks, allow you to move or change your position with the touch of a finger. 

3. Better Overall Health

Did you know only two hours of standing per day can reduce blood sugar levels by two percent? It also affects your body fat, cholesterol, heart health, and so on. 

We can go on and on when it comes to the health benefits of standing. The best thing is that you don’t have to make time separately for that. A standing desk allows people to stand while carrying out their job responsibilities. It’s like two-in-one both a desk and a workout tool.

Not to mention, if you are on a weight loss journey, you can burn more calories using a standing desk.

How Do Standing Desks Work? (Beginner’s Guide)

4. Higher Office Productivity

Since we are talking about desks, productivity is the biggest concern, right? It would be of no use if the desk doesn’t positively impact your performance. Luckily, a standing desk doesn’t shy away from that.

A recent study with two marketing groups of the same company reveals this fact. One team that used standing desks, reported more success rates (almost 23%) than the colleagues. Not having a backrest or neck rest, causes the workers to be more attentive and responsive.

Even though the productivity increase rate differs among professions, you should definitely try out working at a standing desk. 

How Do Electric Standing Desks Work?

Electric standing desks are the easiest to operate. You just lift your finger and nothing else. Electric desks come with a control box, desk frame, motor, columns, desktop, etc.

After you install everything, it’s time to activate it. For that, touch the arrows on the keypad. Keep your finger on the up or down button until it reaches the ideal height.

But how does the desk do it? Well, when you push the button, you are actually communicating with the control box. Yes, it’s the long black box you see under the desk. It accepts your commands and codes them to make the machine understand as well. Then, it signals the motor to activate and also controls the desk’s movement according to what you asked for. 

Another important part of this whole process is the columns. These are the most crucial body part of the whole frame. Usually, columns are made of durable steel or aluminum to make them last longer. You have to stack them together during installation. The inside portion is empty so there are plenty of scopes to expand. When the motor signals, these columns either move out or go further into the shell. That’s how you see a change in desk height.

That’s a very generic mechanism. But if your desk comes with a single or dual motor, the mechanism will be slightly different for both of them. Let’s check out.

1. Single Motor Standing Desk

As the name suggests, single-motor standing desks only have one motor to control the full process. The bulky motor is visible under the desk frame. As you touch the “up” or “down” button, the motor activates. But it’s only attached to one leg. To connect both legs, a hex rod is used. 

Single motors aren’t bad. But there are certain downsides to it. For example, the weight capacity and lifting speed are typically lower than a dual one. On the good side, single-motor desks are more affordable. 

We would suggest you get a single-motor desk if your work doesn’t require putting extremely heavy items on top. You see, single motors are not ideal if your plan is to use the desk at its maximum height with lots of heavy stuff on it. 

2. Dual Motor Standing Desk

Electric standing desks do come in dual-motor options. In fact, dual-motor is considered a must-have if you are paying a premium price for a standing desk.

Unlike a single motor, the frame contains two hidden motors inside the columns. It surely looks more aesthetic or eye-pleasing. Since each leg has one motor, there is no hex rod needed. Apparently, the balance and stability of a dual-motor desk are superior to the previous one. 

Each motor reacts to the control box signals and moves in any direction fully synchronized. 

Remember we warned you about putting heavy stuff on a single-motor desk? Well, you don’t have to worry about that with a dual-motor desk. Such desks offer higher weight capacity (up to 300 pounds) even at a standing position. You won’t notice any wobble (if the quality is good).

How Do Standing Desks Work? (Beginner’s Guide)

Amazing Electric Standing Desk Features You Must Know About

Electric desks already look fascinating enough. But some amazing features make it even more comfortable and safe to use. But please remember that these features are not available on every standing desk in the market. You have to especially look for these features while buying. Check out some of them below. 

1. Programmable Height Memory

Using the keypads, you can let the desk’s software memorize 3 specific positions for you. That way, you don’t have to adjust it every time you sit or stand.

For that, just simply press the “up or down” button. Let it reach your desired height. Remove your finger from the “arrow” and push the “M” button. M stands for memory. Then, press 1,2, or 3. This particular height will be saved. Next time, you can just press “1” and the desk will do its job. 

2. Anti-Collision Scanner

Anti-collision scanner is a defensive mechanism programmed into standing desks by the manufacturers. It halts the desk in its position after scanning any form of danger. By danger, we mean objects that might have come in the way of the desk. 

For example, you might have kept something under the desk and pressed the down arrow without realizing it. If the anti-collision feature didn’t exist, your desk might collide with the object. Let’s not think about the damage possibilities from such incidents. So, an anti-collision feature is definitely worth the money.

3. Three-Stage Lifting 

We have already talked about columns and how they work. But, did you know columns can work in both two-stages or three-stages? Yes, in a two-stage strategy, the columns have two parts that expand or construct in response to the control box. That should explain what the three-stage columns look like.

But why does it matter? You see, more parts mean more support for columns. These parts are stacked upon one another. When there are more parts, each part is responsible for only a small portion of the lifting process. 

That means, increasing the stages lead to reduced stress on each part. Hence, the outcome is more stable than a two-stage lifting column. But this feature is not available in the average quality standing desks. You have to research the desks more carefully to find an ideal match.

On the downside, we would say, electric standing desks depend on the power supply. So, if there’s a power outage, you won’t be able to adjust the desk like you want. That’s terrible.

How Do Pneumatic/Manual Standing Desks Work?

Ever seen a manual desk? Yes, we are talking about the ones with hand cranks. You move the hand crank in any direction and the desk responds. Well, it was not because of your arm strength. In fact, pneumatic energy does the deed.

You see, pneumatic desks have hidden gas chambers inside the columns. Instead of a power plug, the desk is fully controlled by dry and compressed gas. 

Suppose you pull the handle attached to the desk. That’s it. Inside the cylinder, a piston will move in response to you pulling the handle. If the piston goes down, the gas tries to adjust within the compressed chamber. But once, the piston moves even further, the gas quickly moves into the adjacent empty chamber. The only difference is that this second chamber is expandable. As the gas enters the new chamber, it expands in order to give sufficient room.

From the outside, those expandable chambers work like the flexible columns we have seen in the electric desks.

How Do Standing Desks Work? (Beginner’s Guide)

What Are Desk Converters & How Do They Work?

Desk risers are portable and super convenient to use. They also go by the name desk converters.

Even though they are not full-fledged desks, you get the same benefits. First of all, the converters are highly flexible and come with enough space to carry a laptop, keyboard, mouse, and even a coffee cup.

All you have to do is, put it on a regular desk and expand it by hand. You can’t expect the weight-lifting capacity to be too much. You usually get a weight capacity of 8 to 10 kg. That’s enough to hold a laptop without getting stressed, right?

Which Type Of Standing Desk Is For You?

If you are looking for comfort and concern for your money as well, we would say go with a desk riser or converter. These are not really standing desks but will provide a closer experience as you work. 

Next, if you are creating a modern workspace and value comfort, electric standing desks would be better. Electric desks are also faster than pneumatic desks.

Finally, if your top concern is durability and stability, stick with a manual desk. You see, electric desks like any other electric gadget are susceptible to damage. You might need to fix it from time to time. If that’s not your forte, go traditional. 

Before You Go!

We have had enough fun with the standing desk mechanism. But no matter how impressed you are, you should not use it all day. By that, we mean, standing in front of the desk during the whole shift. It has some adverse side effects on your body and posture. To know more on this topic, check out this discussion on how long is too long in front of a standing desk.

Article name: can you use a standing desk all day long

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