Our bodies are meant to move frequently, but our lifestyle doesn’t always allow that. Even if we’re not always aware of it, we put our bodies under a lot of stress by sitting at our desks all day, every day. The stress of working is enough to cause you some problems with your back or spine, and the added strain of continuous sitting just makes things even worse.
You’re not alone if you can relate to what we’re saying. Posture problems and chronic back pain are all very common issues many people experience due to prolonged immobility, but luckily, there’s a solution.
Standing desks offer a good middle ground since they allow you to work and keep your muscles and joints active at the same time. This is why in today’s post, we’ll give you the rundown on standing desks and answer the question, “how high should a standing desk be?”.
First, let’s kick things off by taking a look at some of the benefits of standing desks.
Are Standing Desks Good For You?
Whether you should get a standing desk is entirely up to you. If you’re worried about your posture getting worse due to sitting all day or if you’re experiencing back pain, however, we can say that you will benefit from using a standing desk.
Probably the most obvious benefit of using a standing desk is that it simply keeps you moving and forces you to engage a wide variety of muscles. It’s very easy to slouch down when you’re sitting, but standing up forces you to actively work your muscles and joints, which can prevent chronic back pain.
Additionally, as your body adapts to this new style, the muscles around your spine will develop and strengthen to accommodate your weights. This will help prevent future posture problems and other problems related to your skeletal system.
Moreover, being active all day also helps with the prevention of some common serious conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Studies suggest that standing up has a positive correlation with insulin sensitivity and that it can prevent chronic diseases in the long run. Standing up also helps with weight loss, which helps prevent heart problems and diabetes as well.
If you want to learn more about the overall benefits of using a standing desk, you can check out our recent post, 10 Benefits of Standing Desks, where we explore all physical and mental benefits, as well as a few potential -but minor- cons.
Now that we have an overall idea of what standing desks are good for, let’s now try to answer the question, “what height should a standing desk be?”
How Tall Should My Standing Desk Be?
Unlike regular desks, standing desks don’t have a common height. Since most of them are height adjustable, there’s really no way of coming up with a one-size-fits-all approach here. It’s up to you to decide what height for a standing desk is the best.
Most adjustable standing desks can go as high as 110-115 cm (43-45 inches), which is ideal for people who are 180 cm (5 ft. 10 in) tall, but some models go much higher. If you’re taller, you might want to take a look at our guide on the best standing desks for tall people after this.
Factors such as your monitor placement, your elbow level, and your body height to arm/leg length ratio might all affect what the ideal height for your standing desk is, but don’t worry. We have some general guidelines that can help you easily decide what the best height is for your standing desk.
Finding the Correct Standing Desk Height
So, what is the best standing desk height, you ask? As we mentioned, it all depends on varying factors like your height and your monitor placement, but you can follow these steps to easily decide.
- Stand next to your desk with your spine in a neutral and comfortable position, with your chin tucked and your shoulders high,
- Bend your arms at a right angle (90 degrees),
- Adjust your distance from the table by extending your arms and resting them on your keyboard or anywhere comfortable on your desk,
- Adjust the height of your desk to make your hands touch the keyboard/desk surface barely.
Additionally, if your computer screen is sitting higher than your desk, you may want to adjust it accordingly as well to avoid neck pain. For the most comfortable position, adjust your screen height so that your eyes meet the upper half of your screen when you look at it.
What to Look For in a Standing Desk
In addition to the height of your desk, here are some other things you can look for when picking a standing desk.
The most important factor in deciding on a standing desk is its height adjustment range. There’s not much to explain about this other than reminding you to look for a desk with a wide height range if you’re significantly tall.
Motor Speed and Noise
Another thing to look out for is the motor speed and the noise. Height-adjustable desks feature motors to raise them up or lower them down. If a desk seems too affordable, chances are they didn’t use good quality motors, which may cause headaches down the road.
If you have the option to see the product in real life, make sure to see it in action and see if the motor is too noisy or slow. A slow motor can quickly get frustrating if you intend to adjust the height regularly.
Look for a height-adjustable desk with a digital display. Digital displays can show you the current height of your desk and let you create presets for different height settings, so you can easily switch between your favorite positions.
If you’re looking for a good-quality standing desk with a digital display, you can check out our review of the Jarvis standing desk. Jarvis can save height-presets, and it’s a high-quality standing desk that also offers a 7-year warranty period.
Choosing the Right Standing Desk Chair
Using a standing desk doesn’t have to mean standing all day. Like sitting, constantly standing up puts excessive stress on your body. If you’re intending on switching to a standing desk, you might also benefit from using a standing desk chair for when you want to switch things up and give your legs a rest.
The first thing you need to look for in any chair is ergonomics. The standing chair should accommodate your body well, and the seat should be comfortable. Additionally, you can look for a chair that can also be used as a leaning post, which should be helpful for the standing-up portions of your day.
Another thing to look out for is height adjustability. While most standing chairs already offer this option, you need to pay attention to the height range. Getting a standing chair with a wide range of height settings can make it versatile enough to use with a regular desk.
If you’re looking for a good standing desk chair, we’ve selected 6 of the best and reviewed them in our recent post.
As we have explained, using a standing desk has many health benefits, and it’s a great excuse to move your muscles and joints more regularly.
While regular standing desks usually reach about 110 cm, some models go higher. Check out higher desks if you’re a taller person.
The answer to our title question, “how tall should standing desks be?” depends on your height and arm length, but the ideal position is around your elbow height when you stand up and bend your arms at a right angle.
Lastly, we also covered things to look for when buying a standing desk, such as height range, motor speed, noise, and digital displays. However, if you want to try standing desks but don’t want to immediately splurge, you can take a look at some of our tips on how to DIY a standing table yourself.