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A Buyer’s Guide to Understanding Standing Desk Price Points
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A Buyer’s Guide to Understanding Standing Desk Price Points

|Jan 24, 2024
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Having an adjustable desk in your office is a game-changer. More people are making the switch to sit-stand desks, and the variety of designs available is impressive.

With so much variation, the price range has also become pretty stretched, which begs the question: how is a standing desk price decided? There are many pricing considerations to think about when shopping for your ideal desk, and knowing which features make the biggest difference can help you get the best buy for your budget.

This helpful guide covers standing desk costs and the things that impact it. It also looks at ways to find standing desk best value deals and save on costs without compromising the quality. 

What Features Are the Primary Pricing Considerations for Standing Desks?

Let’s get straight into it - what are the key things that influence the price of a standing desk? There is a lot to think about, but the following eight features are the ones that make the biggest differences according to our extensive price comparison research.

Desk Frame Design and Materials

The first thing on our list is the desk frame - a.k.a. the legs, base, and support for the desktop itself. Both the shape of the design and what it is made of influence the sit-stand desk price significantly.

Steel or aluminum frames are generally most desirable since they are sturdy, durable, and strong. Aluminum is the more expensive of the two materials overall, but either metal will cost more than plastic and most wooden frames. 

Design is also a factor - specifically how much material is used. A 4-leg standing desk may cost more than a two-leg design simply because the manufacturer has to buy more materials to build it. If the desk has wheels and casters, the design and materials used in this section will also come into play.

Desk Frame Design and Materials

Desk Surface Materials

It is not only what the frame is made of that matters. The desk surface is a major selling point, so It makes sense that the materials used can change the price tag significantly.

There are a few popular material choices for desk surfaces - including various types of wood, other natural materials, glass, laminate, and more. Generally speaking, solid wood surfaces are on the pricier side, with MDF on the other end of the scale.

Color and design also cost. White desks are very popular these days, so manufacturers spend more to have surfaces coated or created in white versions of the chosen material. Usually, this will add something to the price tag.

Desk Surface Materials - standing desk price

Height Adjustment Mechanism Used

This is a big one - arguably one of the most significant influences on how much a sit-stand desk will cost. The mechanism or system used to control and adjust the height setting on the best can completely change the value of a desk.

The first division is between manual and electric standing desks. There are three main types of mechanisms: manual, electric, and pneumatic.

Manual standing desks are usually controlled using a crank or lever below or behind the desk surface. Electric sit-stand desks have a button or remote control that moves the desk up or down. Pneumatic desks are a bit more complicated - using air cylinders tuned to the weight of the desk.

As you might expect, electric desks are the most expensive (more on that later), and manual desks are the cheapest. That said, you still find a vast range of prices in the manual category. Designs that include assisted manual movement or some other smart feature that makes it easier and more convenient usually cost more than your standard crank mechanisms.

Stability Features

Stability is one of the most important things people need from their office desks, and it is one of the things that sometimes puts people off buying standing desks. However, many modern designs have additional stability features and are purpose-built to be sturdy. 

Some of the features to look out for include: 

  • Anti-wobble mechanisms
  • Cross support systems
  • Glides on the top and bottom
  • Solid foot design
  • Permanent frame connections (pre-assembled that don’t come apart) 

Cheap desks don’t usually have the best stability, but it mostly depends on the frame design. You can find a stable desk at a decent price, but you might need to forgo other features if you want to stay within budget.

Stability Features - standing desk price

Desk Weight Capacity

Stability and strength go hand in hand. Weight capacity is something that sets sit-stand desks apart significantly as far as pricing goes. It is also one of the essential features to check before you buy, as it could completely rule out some models.

Some adjustable standing desks are meant to be used as laptop trays or easily portable workstations, while others are designed as full-time professional office desks. If you plan to put a computer monitor, organizational accessories, stationery, paperwork, etc. on top of the desk, you need one capable of supporting the weight safely.

In general, higher capacity desks cost more - mainly because of the structural framework and materials used to achieve the increased strength. 

Desktop Area

Let us start by pointing out that smaller doesn’t always mean cheaper - some small desks are pretty pricey because of all the features they come with. That said, the larger of two desks that are otherwise the same will cost more. 

There are a few standard standing desk sizes to choose from. The most common dimensions fall between 48 and 60 inches wide and 24 to 36 inches deep. Anything larger than that will usually cost a little more. 

An L-shaped standing desk is a popular choice for people looking for a lot of desk space without paying over the odds. As expected, these large corner desks are generally more expensive than their standard counterparts but cheaper than buying two desks to make up the same desk space.

Desktop Area

Additional Features

Desks sometimes come with built-in accessories and other convenient features, including keyboard trays, cable trays, cup holders, tablet holders, bag hooks, drawers, and much more.

The more bells and whistles it has, the higher the standing desk price will be. Some models can be upgraded to include extras for an additional charge. Others come with them as a standard part of the design.

Additional Features

Brand Name

Last but certainly not least, the brand or company you buy the desk from has a major impact on the cost. A desk of the same design and quality can cost significantly more because it is produced by a popular or expensive brand. 

Of course, big brands that are known for exceptionally high quality may charge more not just for the name but for the superiority of the desk. The trouble is it can be tricky to tell.

If you are interested in a desk but can’t afford the big name, take note of the key specs, materials, and designs and compare them to models from lesser-known brands. It may surprise you how similar some are.

Additional Considerations for Electric or Motorized Standing Desks

Electric standing desk price is also affected by all the things mentioned above, but there are a few extras to consider as well.

To clarify - an electric desk has a motorized or otherwise automatic control system that moves the desk up and down rather than something you do by hand. They are understandably the more expensive type of standing desk. 

Here are a few pricing considerations that only apply to electric standing desks.

  • Control function: Some desks have a button on the front of the desk, others have a hidden control, and you also get desks with remote controls (some can even be controlled using a phone!). Remote control automatic sit-stand desks are often more expensive. 
  • Programmable settings: One advanced feature that some electric standing desks offer is a range of programmable settings. You can pre-set your perfect height, put a timer on, and add specific settings to the desk’s memory bank for future convenience.
  • Power source: You get some rechargeable battery-operated standing desks that work without being plugged in. These are usually quite expensive but are not generally considered preferable - all things considered. Most desks plug into the wall but only need to be connected when you want to adjust the height. 
  • Motor power: The speed and control with which your desk adjusts depends on the power of the motor. It also affects how much weight the desk can lift. Higher-powered motors cost more to buy and install for manufacturers - something that is reflected in the price of standing desk designs.

Additional Considerations for Electric or Motorized Standing Desks

How to Find the Best Desk for Your Budget?

Now that we know the primary factors that make a standing desk cost more or less - let’s look at ways to get your ideal desk without busting the bank. Here are five top tips on how to spend less without compromising on quality. 

Know Your Priorities

Some things that increase a standing desk price may not really be that important to you. Figure out the things that matter most to you and focus on those things first.

There is no point paying for cup holders and fancy remote control settings if all you want is a sturdy, reliable, minimalist desk. If all you care about is having a black office desk that has the space and weight capacity for two monitors, then you don’t need to look for a fancy brand name or expensive oak desk surface.

Desk ergonomics are something always worth prioritizing. Make sure the desk’s height range suits your needs and that it feels comfortable to work with.

Shop the Sales

You can often find a high-quality office desk for sale at a reduced price - either during seasonal sales or stock clearances. It may be an older model that has been updated or a current design on special promotion - either way, shopping in the sale section can save you a lot of money! 

Brands often bring out new desk models that are very similar to the old ones, with a few updates and changes. A lot of the time, the older model is just as good - especially if you are not overly concerned about fancy new features. Look out for price markdowns on previous models from all your favorite brands.

Shop the Sales

Look at Second-Hand Desks

There are several excellent websites selling used office equipment - including standing desks. They come from private sellers, closed offices, and other sources that need to clear stock.

In most cases, the desks are in excellent condition - these sites only accept a certain quality. It is a smart way to save a little money.

Skip the Big Brand Names

Brand names cost more, but they are not always worth it. There are plenty of excellent places to buy a reliable, modern sit-stand desk without paying over the odds. Choose a desk on its merit, not the logo on the box!

Consider Bulk-Buy Savings

Kitting out a shared office and need to buy more than one desk? You can save money on bulk orders by taking advantage of special deals. Autonomous, for example, has a bulk-buy program that can help members save up to 20% on exceptional quality ergonomic sit-stand desks.

Autonomous bulk order

DIY Solutions to Help Cut the Standing Desk Cost

  • Make your own simple standing desk using a large floating shelf. 
  • Buy a second-hand, high-quality desk frame and fit it with a new desk surface.
  • Attach your own DIY cable tray or stationery storage rather than paying extra for a desk that already has them.
  • Repurpose a bookshelf as a multi-level standing desk. 
  • Buy a table-top laptop stand instead.

DIY Solutions to Help Cut the Standing Desk Cost

Final Thoughts

Many things influence the pricing of standing desks. The best way to get the most for your budget is to focus on the things that are most important to you. Extra features are great if you have the budget, but the core must-haves can be found at a reasonable price from many manufacturers.

Always shop around and compare options before picking the best desk for you!

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