Things You Should Know About Adjustable Standing Desks: Lift Mechanism

Today is a good day to consider the switch from regular sitting desk to a standing desk. The rise to popularity and demand for ergonomic standing computer workstations and the call for change from sedentary lifestyle to active and healthy lifestyle certainly pushed the competition between manufacturers to come up with the most comfortable, ergonomic, and efficient workspace solutions. Here at Dual Monitors Guide for example, we feature ton products of different styles and functions to cater every computer user’s ergonomic needs. If you’re looking for a new sit-stand desk to revamp your workspace, the one of the first things you need to decide is the kind of mechanism to help you transition from sitting to standing and versa.

 Though we always encourage shoppers to look at a certain product, search for detailed reviews and see how it will change their workspace and how they can benefit from it in terms of ergonomics, comfort, productivity, and of course, cost, we also know many undecided shoppers would love to start their search with Cliff notes. This entry will break down the different sit-stand desk choices by lift mechanism, as they will usually be the first decision one would make. Here are the popular lift mechanisms for adjustable height desks.


Crank Type or Manual Adjustment Type Desk

(image from Amazon)

Manual Adjustment Desk, or better known as Crank Type Desk, depends on user-operated crank mechanism, which is usually at either the top or at the corner of the tabletop. Most crank-type adjustable desks adjusts from sitting to standing position at a rate of 1inch to 2inch per turn, some are even designed with more versatility that you can use them with a treadmill.

Manual ModTable is an exemption from this rule, as its patented crank type mechanism allows it to move as fast as the electric desk (even faster than some), letting users switch position in seconds, easily.

While crank-type desk compromise convenience, they are way less expensive compared to their electric counterparts. Because of which, it is the most common adjustable height desk in the market today. Its low price and tested-and-proven reliability allows some users pair it with walking treadmill as well.

A good example of this type is the MultiTable’s Manual ModTable. You can check out our in-depth review of this desk here.


One-Time Adjustable Desk

Sometimes incorrectly referred as manual desk, one-time adjustable desk usually depends on telescoping perforated legs with setting pin for height adjustment. This type of desk is probably the cheapest on this list, and relatively easy to move on its first setup. However, once set, changing the height can be a hassle, and will usually need a minimum of two people to set for a new height.

(image from Amazon)

This option is great for people who are on a tight budget but really love to explore the benefits of standing. It is however, not a good option for people who want to switch from sitting to standing position very often.

Some good example of this type are the Lifespan DTS and TrekDesk, both are budget-friendly options. The latter is way cheaper than the former.


Electric Standing Desk

(image from Amazon)

Electric standing desk by far, is the competitive category today. More and more standing desks from this product line are popping out like mushrooms, which should be good news for all prospective buyers. Adjustment and setting to different height level is pretty easy, usually as easy as pressing a button. Some desks adjust swiftly, while some are a little slower, but all of them are very easy to use. However, you should note that the faster the desk move, the more noise it makes. This is the rule of thumb in electric desks.

Some models includes presets with “memorized” height feature that sets the desks to your favorite/preferred height position, saving you the hassle of precision setting when you switch working positions. This desk is perfect for people who like to switch between sitting and standing positions often throughout the day.

Some great products under this category includes Anthro, ThermoDesk Elite, MultiTable Mod-E, , NewHeights Elegante XT, NextDesk, Conset, GeekDesk, , VersaTable.


Counterbalance, Spring-Loaded and Gas Strut-Type Desk

(image from Amazon)

With all the buzz and growing demands for the most ergonomic and cutting-edge standing desks, companies are developing new systems and mechanisms to provide us the best work experience. High-end manufacturers for example, introduced the ‘counterbalance’ system that works against added weight. This type of desk slides up and down with nothing more than a squeeze of the brake and a little help from the user. Some work as advertised, while some need a little extra muscle to be set at different height levels.

This type of mechanism is by far, the most impressive we have today – sleek and quick to adjust. Though many still lack the presets that we find in electric desks, nobody seems to bat an eye, as the desk can be set to any height as quick as two seconds. If you have the extra budget and you’re looking for a high-end option with fast-moving adjustment, then you should check-out counterbalance standing desk.

The most popular product under this category is the Humanscale Float Table.


Bottom Line 

(image from Amazon)

Searching for the best standing desk that will fit all your needs can be difficult, as there are many factors you need to consider and things to look for. There are countless of products out there, and new styles and versions are introduced to the market month after month. However, by narrowing your search to the basic functionalities and operation, such as lift mechanism, you will better understand the desk that you truly need and then start your search from there.

 As you may have noticed from this list, electric desk has more choices than most of the options. This is because more manufacturers are leaning to developing this type than the other three, as it is reasonably affordable, and provides the best convenience in almost all types of work settings. Also, anyone looking for a budget desk will likely take home the ThermoDesk Elemental. Humanscale on the other hand, really made a great job in its counterbalance desk. If you don’t feel like ditching your existing desk for an entirely new standing desk, then you can always opt for desktop risers or desk mounted or wall mounted LCD arm, they are more compact and definitely cheaper options that will let you enjoy the best of both worlds – sit and stand anytime you want.

At the end of the day, all you have to do is understand what you really need in your workspace. For more information about these various options, check out Dual Monitors Guide’s in-depth reviews.

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