You’ve probably read one of the many articles by now describing the risks of sitting down too much. At my day job, I’m fortunate to have gotten a hand-me-down adjustable height desk that works okay.
But at home I sit down a lot as well, so I’ve been looking for a high-quality adjustable height standup desk I can afford. As I was doing research, I came across the definitive blog post on adjustable height standup desks— highly recommended reading! Mark Lukach, the author, did a simply outstanding job of reviewing desks and covering the issues. So in this post, I wanted to focus just on my two favorite designs as well as mention a few things I’ve learned about using a standup desk daily.
Nextdesk (Xdesk) Terra
1/2018: NOTE: Nextdesk is now Xdesk.
The Nextdesk (now Xdesk) Terra looks outstanding. It has a beautiful solid aluminum frame, a power adjustable height control with an elegant motor design, a natural bamboo top and it comes with cable management (a way to neatly bunch your cables together so you don’t have a mess). It also includes a three-year warranty. The only downside I can see is of course, price– they start at $1497 as of today, and that’s simply too much for me right now. But, I love this desk! So I may have to save up for it anyway.
The other desk I really like is the GeekDesk v3. It has a large work surface, a steel frame, and hidden drive internal motors. Some of the materials (such as the veneer or laminate desktop) are less expensive than the Nextdesk’s and moving parts have a two-year rather than a three-year warranty. But, all of this brings the starting price down to $799, a significant savings over the Nextdesk. It does not include cable management so you’ll have to come up with something yourself. Though it’s not quite as unctuous as the Nextdesk, this is a high quality desk and it’s probably the one I’ll end up with.
UPDATE 5/2014: I bought a GeekDesk V3, and the summary is that overall, I’m happy with it. It has a cheap worktop surface, it arrived with some damaged parts and it was a real pain to put together (the instructions were terrible). However tech support was great and they helped me through the issues. If you buy one of these, make sure to mount the control switch assembly as far forward as possible on the underside of the worktop surface. Otherwise you won’t be able to see the switch assembly and will have to guess where the buttons are by feel! Most importantly, so far it has worked well and is reliable.
Living With a Standup Desk– Important Details
In using a standup desk at my day job, I’ve learned a few things. First, it’s important to change positions between sitting and standing several times a day. If you don’t change positions, you’ll get less of the health benefits. Anything that makes it even a little less convenient to adjust the height means that you’ll change positions less often. That’s why I agree with Mark that having a quality motor drive is so important.
I’ve also learned that if you stand on a hard surface all day, you’re going be aching at the end. Don’t underestimate the importance of a good anti-fatigue mat as they make a huge difference! They are not a gimmick. Get a mat that makes it easy to roll your chair onto, and is large enough to fully support the casters. My work area does not have enough floor space for a large mat (yes, really!) and the chair casters won’t fit entirely on the mat. So I have to pick up and stow away the mat every time I roll the chair over to sit down. I can’t emphasize enough that details like this make the difference between changing positions often, or not.
The same goes for cable management. Mark covers this expertly in his article, but the gist of it is you want to keep power, phone, network and other cables neatly packaged and free from binding as the table top moves up and down. And, cables need to be long enough to reach their ports when the desk is at full height.
Finally, some of the cheaper desks (and even the expensive hand-me-down desk I have at my day job) cut costs by providing only a minuscule work surface. Unless you like your desk pristine (some people do), you’ll need space for a phone, speakers, notebook, your drink and lots of other stuff. I was surprised how claustrophobic it can feel not to be able to spread out. You probably need more work surface area than you think!
If you’ve tried out either the Nextdesk or the GeekDesk, I’d love to hear your thoughts!