What Is a Desk that Moves Up and Down Called, and Why Do You Need One?
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What Is a Desk that Moves Up and Down Called, and Why Do You Need One?

|Apr 2, 2024
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If you have been on the hunt for a new office desk, you have probably heard or seen a lot about desks that move up and down - but what are they called, how do they work, and what is all the fuss about?

These desks are increasingly popular in modern offices and are considered the must-have additions to trendy workspaces. Anyone considering buying a desk that rises up and down can learn everything they need to know right here.

The following guide explains what desks that move up and down are all about, the varieties on offer, and some of the best options you can buy in 2024. It is for anyone looking to learn more about this growing desk trend and how it is changing how people work.

What Do You Call Desks that Go Up and Down?

A few terms are used to describe a desk that goes up and down, including stand-up desk, sit/stand desks, and height-adjustable desks. Adjustable height standing desk is an accurate description since the core feature of the design is that you can change the height setting to work from a seated or standing position.

It is important to be clear on the difference between standing desks and adjustable sit/stand desks. You get desks with a set height designed for use while standing, but others allow you to adjust the standing desk height so you can also use it while sitting down.

What Do You Call Desks that Go Up and Down?

The Different Types of Sit-Stand Desks

Sit-stand desks come in many shapes and sizes. The range of designs available nowadays is impressive - there really is something for everyone and every office. 

That said, there are a few important features to know to help divide the desks into categories. Doing so will make it easier to narrow the search and filter out the desk that best suits your needs and preferences.

Manual, Electric, or Motorized Adjustable Desks

The first - and arguably most important - differentiating detail to consider with a desk that can move up and down is how the mechanism that controls the movement operates. You get manual cranks, pneumatic motors, and electrically operated models.

There are pros and cons to all the variations. Manual cranks are the most popular choice because they tend to be the least expensive - and there are more models available. They look more or less the same as electric designs but with the addition of a small handle or lever to adjust the height. As long as you are physically capable of using it, they are perfectly practical.

Electric adjustable desks are, however, far more convenient. They are easier to move up and down for a start - but they also have a few other useful features. Some notable examples include programmable height settings, automatic timers, and mobile control apps. As you may expect, they generally cost more than manual designs.

Manual, Electric, or Motorized Adjustable Desks

Standing Corner Desks

An L-shaped desk that moves up and down is known as a standing corner desk. While they don’t need to be placed in the corner of a room, they very often are because of their shape. This design is an excellent choice for someone who needs more desk surface space and has a larger area to work with.

A corner standing desk is particularly popular amongst gamers or anyone who uses two monitors for their work. Other benefits include ample storage space, increased lifting weight capacity, and space to work collaboratively.

Standing Corner Desks

Two or Four-Leg Sit-Stand Desks

One of the main design differences between standing desks is the number of legs. Some have two legs with a wide base on each. Others have four legs like a normal classic office desk.

This might not seem like a major detail, but it is an important consideration - for more than just aesthetic reasons. Two legs is the more common option because it works well with the adjustable mechanism, but some designs lack a little stability compared to higher-end models.

Four-leg standing desks are usually electric - offering better stability and balance, but often at a higher price. They may also be larger - so space is a factor as well.

Two or Four-Leg Sit-Stand Desks

Standing Desks with Storage

A concern some people have about adjustable standing drawers is the lack of storage - or the difficulty of integrating separate storage accessories. Luckily, this is not as much of an issue as people believe. In fact, you can even find a standing desk with drawers built-in to the design.

Most standing desks with storage have a shallow drawer below the desk surface. Others have an extension on top of the desk with storage for small items. You just need to double-check the weight capacity to ensure you don’t overload the desk.

Standing Desks with Storage

What Are the Benefits of Having a Computer Desk that Goes Up and Down?

Having a desk that can move up and down is beneficial in many ways. The advantages of adjustable standing desks are well documented, and the full extent of how they can improve people’s working lives is still being explored.

Here are some of the most notable benefits of having a desk that moves up and down.

Boost Your Energy Levels

Sitting around all day has a way of draining your energy and making you feel lethargic by lunchtime! Several studies have shown that a high percentage of people who switched to standing for part of their working day felt more energized, positive, and motivated.

An increase in energy also leads to a better mood and mindset - both things that come in very handy during a long day at work.

Boost Your Energy Levels

Encourage Better Circulation

One of the health risks associated with sitting down for too long is poor blood flow. Bad circulation can lead to swollen, painful legs and ankles - and even blood clots. Staying still is simply not good for your body, and having a standing desk can help keep you moving.

By switching positions and spending some time standing, you can improve your circulation and reduce your risk of related health problems.

Improve Your Posture

Classic desk setups often fail to account for proper ergonomics. This impacts how people sit and the lasting impact it has on their posture. Slumping, slouching, leaning, and straining are all common among people who spend a lot of time at the desk. People often underestimate just how dangerous this is for their long-term well-being.

One of the best things about standing desks is the fact you can change the height to perfectly suit your requirements. Rather than changing your body position to work with a desk that is too high or too low, you can move the desk to align with your ideal ergonomic desk setup.

Another way standing desks help your posture is by stopping you from staying in one position for too long therefore limiting the repetitive strain on your muscles.

Improve Your Posture

Burn Calories and Strengthen Core Muscles

Speaking of muscles, using a standing desk can actually help keep you fit. You burn more calories standing than you do sitting down, and if you use the right techniques, you can engage and strengthen your core while you do it.

Just by standing, you are subtly working your muscles, which does make a difference with time.

General Health Benefits

The full extent of how standing at your desk can improve your health is not clear, but we do know that it can make a difference to your physical and mental well-being in many ways.

Increase Productivity at Work

People who use adjustable sit/stand desks at work tend to need fewer breaks. It is common for people to leave their desks regularly to stretch out and move around, which has a negative impact on their productivity.

Instead of interrupting workflow to step away, you can change the height setting and get the stretch you need while staying focused on the task.

Increase Productivity at Work

What to Look for in an Adjustable Sit-Stand Desk

  • Focus on desk ergonomics. How comfortable is it, and does the height range work well for you?
  • Consider the materials. Look for durable, sturdy designs that will stand the test of time (no pun intended!).
  • Decide what features are most important - a.k.a. electrical operations, built-in drawers, desk surface area, etc.
  • Pick one that fits well in your space and with your preferred aesthetic.
  • Always find out how much weight the desk can lift - especially if you use one or more monitors.

What to Look for in an Adjustable Sit-Stand Desk

Find the Best Standing Desks at Autonomous

As we mentioned, there are a lot of standing desks out there to choose from. We have tried a lot of them, and the Autonomous Desk Collection at Autonomous is one of the best. The four designs we are about to talk about are excellent examples of modern office technology at its best.

In our review, we cover the core features of each one, who they may be best suited to, and a few other details worth knowing as a potential buyer. If you are looking for a great adjustable desk at an even better price, then this review is for you.

The Autonomous Desk Eureka (Standard)

Our first review is for the Autonomous Desk Eureka (Standard)  - a dinky white standing desk that packs a lot into a small package. It requires some assembly, but it didn’t take long and the controls were easy to work once we had it set up.

The classic two-leg design is minimalistic and professional - but modern and quirky enough to look great in any trend workspace. It adjusts smoothly and quickly, and the whole thing feels incredibly sturdy. We felt comfortable sitting and standing and appreciated the desk’s versatility.

Features and Specifications

  • Four programmable height settings
  • Compact size
  • Available in black or white
  • Quiet, smooth dual motor operation
  • Built-in cable management
  • Anti-collision technology
  • Five-year warranty
  • 250 lbs. lifting capacity
  • Height range 29.3” to 48.5” 

Who Is It Best For?

The Autonomous Desk Eureka (Standard) is the perfect home standing desk. It has a smaller size option that fits perfectly into a small office space, study corner, or shared working space for multiple employees.

At less than $300, it is also the best choice for anyone on a budget who doesn’t want to miss out on great features and high-quality materials.

The Autonomous Desk Eureka

We love this smart desk in just about every way possible. It is a very similar design to the core - but with more space and a few technical upgrades. Like the previous entry, it was fairly easy to assemble and configure - and the convenience of the height control system can’t be faulted.

Features and Specifications 

  • Four programmable height settings
  • Larger size (three options)
  • Available in black, white, bamboo, and various wood finishes
  • Ultra quiet motor
  • Built-in cable management
  • Anti-collision technology
  • 20-year warranty
  • 310 lbs. lifting capacity
  • Height range 26.2” to 52” 

Who Is It Best For?

The Autonomous Desk Eureka is designed for people who use their desks a lot and need generous surface space and even more convenience from their workstations. It is a better choice than the Core if you use a large monitor or have a lot of heavy paperwork.

This is a more expensive desk than the first one on the list, but it is still an excellent price compared to similar models on the market.

The Autonomous Desk L-Shaped

If you are interested in an L-shaped standing desk, this is the one for you. You get more space, more versatility, and more lifting power - all with the same minimalistic design seen in the previous two models.

The height range is smaller, but not by much.

Features and Specifications

  • Four programmable height settings
  • Available in black or white
  • Quiet, smooth dual motor operation
  • Anti-collision technology
  • Five-year warranty
  • 400 lbs. lifting capacity
  • Height range 29.4” to 48”

Who Is It Best For?

Gamers love this desk. It is perfect for a two-monitor setup or anyone who likes to move around at their desk.

The Autonomous Desk Levitate

The newest addition to the collection is the Autonomous Desk Levitate - the first four-leg smart desk at Autonomous. It is also a cut above the rest in terms of technology - with motion sensor activation and mobile keyboard controls.

Design-wise, it is very different. It is classic, simple, and versatile - and we love the beautiful material used on the surface.

Features and Specifications

  • Four programmable height settings
  • Generous work surface
  • Four motor frame
  • Built-in cable management
  • High-quality materials
  • 15-year warranty
  • 380 lbs. lifting capacity
  • Height range 26.3” to 43.1”

Who Is It Best For?

Four-leg designs are great in larger offices. This particular model is best for someone who prefers the large, simple desk shape and enjoys the convenience of the latest technology.

Final Thoughts

In summary, a desk that goes up and down is known as a height-adjustable desk or adjustable standing desk. They are incredibly beneficial for modern office workers, and there are many excellent designs to choose from nowadays.

Autonomous is the go-to hub for high-quality, great-value adjustable standing desks. After testing the four models on this list, we were more excited than ever to get to work. Whatever you are hoping to achieve from your new sit/stand desk, Autonomous has got you covered.

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