How Tall Is a Desk?

The height of the desk is as important as your desk chair for maintaining a good posture. Sure, you may be sitting in the most ergonomic chair ever created, but if your desk is not at a height that can accommodate your posture, you’ll still suffer.

In our post today, we’ll tell exactly how tall is your average desk and how tall it should be depending on your height. We’ll also cover some additional tips on ideal desk height and height-adjustable desks.

How Tall Is Your Average Desk?

You may have realized that almost all the desks you sat at until now are all around the same height. The general standard for how tall a desk should be is between 73 to 80 cm (around 29 inches), and most desks you’ll come across are closer to the lower end of this range.

However, this height is actually not the most fitting for people below 182 cm (6 Feet). It’s set to accommodate taller people, but it may not be the best for you. Therefore, the answer to “how high should your desk be?” depends on a variety of factors which we’ll now take a look at.

How Tall Is an Ergonomic Desk?

There are a number of things to consider when estimating the ergonomically correct height for your desk. First of all, if you have to sit up in an uncomfortable position that’s causing tension in your spine, your desk might be too high for you.

You may think that having your desk a little too high is a good way to motivate yourself to keep a good posture, as you’ll be stretching your upper body constantly to match the height. However, this is actually counterintuitive as your back will probably feel strained from all the stress, and you’ll end up worsening your posture in the process.

We already have a support system to keep our spines aligned as we sit down at our desks: our elbows! The height at which your arms and elbows are positioned when you sit down affects your spinal positioning directly. That’s why having a desk at the right height where you can rest your elbows directly at a 90-degree angle without putting stress on your shoulders is beneficial for your posture. You won’t feel the need to slouch down as much when your spine is supported through your resting elbows.

Another factor to mention is the height of your computer monitor. A good spinal alignment requires a tucked chin, which can’t be achieved if you’re looking up at your monitor. You also don’t want to look down and instinctively hunch over as you’re focusing on your work on your screen.

Ideally, the top half of your monitor should be positioned around your eye level when you sit down. If this is not the case, you may have a stiff neck that gets all tensed up from constantly looking up or down.

How to Know Your Ideal Desk Height

You can tell how tall your desk should be depending on your height. There are many formulas that seem to work, but here’s a practical one that uses both the metric and the imperial system measurements.

Basically, the logic is as follows: since we know that the 73 cm tall desks are ideal for people who are 6 ft (182 cm) tall, you can add one cm to the ideal desk height (73 cm) for every inch that goes over 6 ft to find out the desk height that’s best for you. The same logic applies to people who are shorter than 6 ft (182 cm): simply subtract one cm for every inch.

If it sounds too complex, or if you simply don’t want to deal with calculations, here’s a simple chart we’ve set up that can guide you:

Your height in inches Your height in cm Your ideal desk height (cm)
5’7’’ 175 70
5’8’’ 177.5 71
5’9’’ 180 72
6’ 182.5 73
6’1’’ 185 74
6’2’’ 187.5 75

 

How Tall Should My Chair Be?

Another factor that affects your ideal desk height is the height of your desk chair itself. You see, if your chair is not sitting at a comfortable height that’s suitable to your body, you’ll still have problems no matter how much you try to optimize your desk height.

You can find out the ideal height for your chair by sitting in it and adjusting the height to where the bottom of your feet touches the ground when both of your ankles and knees are bent at a 90-degree angle.

If your chair can’t accommodate this setting for some reason, and you’re suffering from back pain because of this, you can check out our selections for the best office chairs for back pain.

After setting up your chair to your height, you can decide on the right height for your desk. Sure, if your desk isn’t at a satisfactory height, replacing it seems like the obvious move here, but is there anything else you can do?

How to Adjust Your Desk to Your Ideal Height

Finally, if your desk is not tall enough and you can’t replace it, there are still a few things you can do to adjust the height to your liking. We’ve talked about all of these options in our recent post on how to raise a desk, and here are a few tips from our post that you can try:

  • Using a desktop riser: You can set up a desk riser on top of your desk. It is a platform that raises the surface of your desk and some have a separate platform to house your monitor and adjust its height as well.
  • Using wood pieces: You can place pieces of wood under each leg of your desk by drilling a hole in the bottom of the legs and installing a t-nut, which will hold the pieces of wood in place.
  • Using Bun Feet: Similar to the wood pieces, they come with their own screwable tops and can be found at any convenience store.

Finally, as last-resort options, you can also replace the legs of your desk with new ones. This solution works well if you want to shorten the legs instead of extending them. Another well-rounded solution is to get a standing desk that’s height-adjustable as well. We have talked about some of the benefits of standing desks in one of our blog posts, and you can take a look to see if it’s the right choice for you.

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