Guide to Ergonomics: Why Use Desktop Risers

We call it sit-stand workstation, desktop workstation, or desktop riser, but whatever their name is, they all work for the same idea – to provide you better working position alternative with your current desktop. Here at Dual Monitors Guide, we always emphasize on the importance of ergonomics. Thus, we strive to cover all areas that concerns workstation ergonomics.

(image from Amazon)

Over the past couple of years, we have witnessed quite a surge in the fitness industry’s concern about sedentary lifestyle. Ergonomic solution manufacturers have made their contributions to the market in so many different ways. One of the most improved products we have today is the desktop risers.

For those who are not familiar with this product, it is simply a desktop accessory that improves working condition by providing a middle stop between sitting and standing. It’s a great alternative for people who want to counter the health risks associated with prolonged regular sitting, but doesn’t want to get rid of their existing office desk, or invest in full height-adjustable sit-stand desks. Desktop risers simply rest on top of your desktop. They usually come with solid base to secure your laptop or computer monitor in place. Some locks with clamp or grommet fitting, with adjustable-height worksurface that accommodates both sitting and standing position. 

(image from Amazon)

Practical Solution that Offers Great Quick Convenience

Desktop risers provide practical ergonomic solution. Its most obvious benefit is that, you don’t have to replace your old desk drawers just to get the same sit-stand benefit. They usually come with affordable, if not really cheap price tags. However, like in any products, the price difference gets smaller when you get to the higher end and top-rated desktop risers that are hitting the market right now.

Also, because most of them come pre-assembled, or almost fully assembled, you can save yourself from the hassles of setups and installations, which is usually what you need when getting full-grown adjustable-height desks. All you to do is place and place the riser on top of your desk, put your laptop and/or computer monitors on it, and voila! You’re ready to reap the benefits of sit-stand workstation.

Most desktop risers are compact, particularly those designed for single laptop use, are compact and lightweight, making them convenient to carry around and use with your laptop on-the-road. There are also desktop risers that can complete your workstations with its spacious worksurface that can even accommodate dual monitor setup, either with a laptop and a computer monitor, or two monitors sitting side-by-side.

Finding the Right Ones

But like in any other ergonomic products, not all desktop risers are made the same. Most small desktop risers trade off portability with light and small footprint. As a result, they easily jiggle and can shake when you bump your desk. Despite the limitations in some products, the benefit of risers is still pretty hard to ignore: they are extremely convenient and cost-effective solutions for people who don’t want to get rid of the existing office desk.


Narrowing Your Options

With more and more models being released in the market right now, it can be easy for anyone to get confused which desktop riser to get. They all seemed to scream “stand up!” and claim to offer the best sit-stand solutions. But we all know they are not all the same, and we all have different body types requiring different comfort and ergonomic needs. Thus, we have sorted the six categories to help you narrow your search and get the right desktop riser that fits your personal preference.


Six Types of Desktop Risers


Fixed-Height Desktop Risers

(images from Amazon)

This is the most basic type of desktop riser we have in the market today, and are generally affordable. They are good used for both monitor and laptop use. Some offer wider and more spacious worksurface, making it capable of supporting dual monitor setup. Most of them however, are specially made for laptop use, providing comfortable computing by raising the laptop off the desk, and putting your body in better posture. Good examples of this category are the Standee Classic Bamboo Stand Up Desk and the Victor DC100.


Adjustable-Height Desktop Riser without monitor arms

(images from Amazon)

This type provides more room for your laptop along with a pedestal mounted monitor. It raises and lowers its worksurface to let you switch from sitting to standing position. However, they usually don’t come with a monitor mount, which means you simply have to place your monitor on its surface. It has more spacious worksurface, allowing dual monitor setup with either two monitor displays sitting side-by-side or a combination of laptop and monitor. Some good examples of this are the new Ergotron WorkFit-T, Ergo Desktop Wallaby, Varidesk Pro and VariDesk Pro Plus and the Victor DC200.


Adjustable-Height Desktop Riser with fixed-height monitor arms

(images from Amazon)

This is where the serious competition begins – desktop risers in this category are more sophisticated and made up with more robust components to make up a complete workstation that lets you work for hours comfortably. Meaning, it can save you from a lot of neck, shoulder and back aches. Some examples of this are the Ergo Desktop Kangaroo, Innovative Product Winston and HealthPosture Taskmate Go.


Adjustable-Height Desktop Riser with adjustable-height monitor arms

(images from Amazon)

Many computer users feel that the ideal vertical distance between their computer display and keyboard is differs when they sit and stand. If you’re one of these people, then you need a desktop riser that lets you adjust both the height of your monitor platform and keyboard platform independently as your body requires. This type of desktop riser is the biggest and the fastest-growing type right now, and for good reason.

Some great products under this category include the Ergotron WorkFit-A and WorkFit-S, the latter is quite popular among healthcare environment, such as doctor’s office. The Ergotron WorkFit-T also works great for this purpose, as well as ErgoDesktop Kangaroo risers. Some recent entries in the market like Humanscale QuickStand and the up and coming alternatives like Victor DC300 and Symmetry Tide also offer great options as well.


Electric Adjustable-Height Desktop Riser without monitor arms

(image from Amazon)

The name of this category speaks for itself – it’s an electrically powered desktop riser, which raises and lowers its worksurface with a simple push of a button. A good example of this is the Taskmate Executive. This can be expensive, but if you’re going to invest on it, might as well look for something that can hold your display to a comfortable height as well, which would be the next category on this list.


Electric Adjustable-Height Desktop Riser with Adjustable-Height Monitor Arms

(image from Amazon)

This category is almost the same as the previous one, except for the improved comfort and ergonomics of adjustable-height monitors. ErgoTech OneTouch series and the new Kangaroo Electric are the two best examples of this category. This type provides very stable platform for your computer, and keeps everything in the right place. They have the biggest weight capacity and most of them can support dual monitor setup, or even more.

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