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5 Important Things to Consider in an Ideal Standing Desk

1. ) Know ALL of the Dimensions

Knowing the exact measurements of your existing desk is crucial to knowing what standing desk is right for you. This seems obvious right? Well, there are a lot of standing desks that take up a much larger footprint than you would imagine. Consider the stand up desk below:

Dimensions Listed: 36in W x 22in D x 6.5in to 16in H

Seems pretty straightforward right? Not quite. What isn’t mentioned and what is hard to see in the picture above is that this standing desk actually comes toward you almost a full foot as it elevates, making the total depth about 32-34in at the highest height. What’s the big deal? Well, if you or your co-workers that you’re purchasing for have a standard office / cubicle with limited amount of space then there is only so much room to push your chair back out of the way when you rise from sit to stand up. Another downside to these desks is sturdiness, as discussed more in #4 below.

2.)Does the keyboard tray touch the desk surface?

When it is at its lowest position, the keyboard tray should presumably rest right on the desk surface. The reason being, it will become VERY uncomfortable (and “un”ergonomical) over time if you have to type with your hands slightly above your elbows. Again, look at the picture above: You will notice some space below the keyboard tray when it is at the lowest height. This doesn’t seem like a big deal but imagine typing with your hands elevated a couple of inches above your elbows for an entire day. This is a little trickier to notice if the images don’t clearly show it. The seller or manufacturer of the product should be able to answer this question for you if you ask them:

“Does the keyboard tray on your standing desk touch the desk surface underneath it when it is at its lowest height?” If they can’t answer the question or if the answer is “No” then we would recommend another desk.

3.)Is the Keyboard Tray retractable?

An ergonomic, adjustable height sit to stand desk should ideally have a keyboard tray that slides in and out. If it is not retractable, then at the very least there should be enough distance between the front edge of the desktop surface and the front edge of the keyboard tray so that your face isn’t stuck right in front of your monitor. A sliding keyboard tray will allow you to sit or stand at a distance that is far enough away from your monitor to avoid straining your eyes.

Does it rise straight up and down?
The angle at which the standing desk rises is important for a variety of reasons. First, as was mentioned above, if you have a smaller or even standard workspace, a desk that rises up and toward you any more than a few inches could cause a problem. Second, after having tested over 50 different models of stand up desks before designing our own models, the stand up desks that come too far forward have a higher tendency to become unstable when elevated. During our testing we have had several standing desks tip over toward us when we either set up our dual monitors on the top shelf or when we laid our elbow on it for a break. Take a look at this one for example:

Any desk that comes up and out toward you more than 6 inches like the ones shown above really are at an increased likelihood of tipping over and will cause smaller workspaces to get cluttered quickly. Think about these factors if you’re ordering your desks for your office. Not everyone’s office space works for these types of desks. While there are plenty of nice desks that have these features, the downsides to these features are something to consider.

What size is the desktop work surface?

Everyone’s work space needs are different. Some people might only have enough room for a smaller standing desk. Some people might like the large 41” wide desks. Whatever your needs are, know the desktop work surface dimensions. Measure them out on your desk and visualize what it will look like with monitors on top of them, a notepad, a pen, sticky notes, or whatever accessories you would like to have. Grab a ruler and measure it out. How wide are your two monitors if you’re using a dual monitor setup? How deep is it at the point where you would put a notepad?


Ideally, you will want to find a desk that rises straight up/down or slightly toward you. If you have a larger space then try to find one that is at least 30” wide, that has a retractable keyboard tray, and that is compatible with monitor arms if you use them. With those features in mind, feel free to shop our list of manual standing desks. We also have electric standing desks if you have a bad back or have difficulty lifting heavier weights.