Ergonomic Standing Desks and Chairs

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Electric Standing Desks vs. Manual: What's the Difference?

03 July 2023

The standing desk has become a popular phenomenon in the workplace, as it can help to improve productivity and reduce joint pain. But with two main types of standing desks - electric and manual - which is right for you? To help you decide, let's take a look at some of the differences between electric and manual adjustable standing desks.

What Are The Similarities Between The Two

Before we get into the specific pros and cons of each desk type, here is a quick rundown of their similarities:

1. Both electric and manual standing desks offer the same core benefits: improved posture, reduced fatigue and back pain, as well as an overall healthier work environment. A standing desk encourages increased blood flow throughout the body, reducing physical strain on both the lower and upper body. Furthermore, using a standing desk also reduces sedentary behavior, which has been linked to higher risks of obesity, hypertension, and even some forms of cancer.

2. Both electric and manual standing desks provide adjustable heights, allowing the user to switch between sitting and standing during their workday. Depending on the model, some desks allow for more adjustments than others, providing a range of different heights for more comfort.

3. Both types of desks can help with productivity; studies have shown that standing while working can increase focus and energy levels.

4. Both electric and manual standing desks can offer users considerable benefits in terms of productivity. Numerous studies have demonstrated that standing while working can increase focus and energy levels, with most users noticing a distinct difference in how they feel physically and mentally.

5. Both electric and manual standing desks are available in a range of sizes and colors, making it easy to find the perfect one for your workspace.


Adjustable standing desks are becoming increasingly popular in the workplace, with electric and manual options being widely available today. The first factor to consider when making a decision is adjustability: how easily can you switch between sitting and standing positions?

With an electric standing desk, you can make adjustments at the touch of a button through a motorized base system. The electronic height adjustment system can be programmed to switch between sitting and standing heights at the press of a button. This allows for quick and easy transitions between sitting and standing without manually adjusting your desk.

In comparison, manual adjustable standing desks require more effort as they need to be adjusted using levers or hand cranks. These levers or hand cranks sit either under the desktop or along its side, allowing you to raise or lower your desk by turning them. Manual adjustments may take longer than those made with electric desks, but they also provide greater control over how much you raise or lower your desk.

Durability Considerations

Both electric and manual standing desks are extremely durable and can last for many years with proper use, but there are some differences in terms of longevity between the two.

Electric standing desks are more expensive than their manual counterparts, but they also last longer as they are equipped with a motorized base system, allowing them to stand up to wear and tear better. The electronic height adjustment system is less likely to get stuck or break down over time than a manual crank or lever mechanism.

Manual adjustable standing desks, while cheaper than their electric counterparts, may not be able to withstand the test of time quite as well unless regularly maintained. While the hand cranks don't require any power source, they need periodic lubrication if you use your desk frequently. Without regular maintenance, the levers may become stiff or even jam up over time, making it more difficult for you to move your desk from sitting to standing positions.

Also, keep in mind that both types of stands should ideally be placed on flat surfaces like concrete floors rather than carpets or rugs to ensure stability and prevent wobbling during usage.

Cost Comparison

The cost difference between electric and manual standing desks varies depending on features like brand name and materials used in construction.

Generally speaking, manual models tend to be much cheaper than their electric counterparts – sometimes up to hundreds of dollars less expensive. This is because electric standing desks require elements such as electronic control boxes and motors, which add to the overall cost of the product.

On the other hand, manual models are simpler in design and do not need these additional components, allowing them to cost significantly less. Additionally, even when considering time-limited warranties for electric models, manual desks can still offer tremendous value since they are much more durable and require much less maintenance over time.

So, if you are working with a tight budget, manual standing desks may be the way to go. However, it is important to consider that electric models will require less effort on your part and can often offer more features like memory settings and programmable height adjustments, which may be worth the additional cost in the long run.

Ergonomic Considerations

When shopping for adjustable desks, it's important to consider ergonomics (the science behind how humans interact with their environment). Both electric and manual stands can help improve posture and reduce back pain and fatigue, but there are a few key differences between the two.

When it comes to standing desks specifically, ergonomists recommend adjusting the desk so that there is enough space between your eyesight level and where your elbows rest when typing (this should be around elbow level). That said, what works best for one person may not work for another – so experiment with different heights until you find an optimal position that works for you!

For example, electric models tend to be more adjustable, which makes them better suited for taller users as they can easily be raised or lowered to fit their exact height requirements. Manual models, on the other hand, may not be able to adjust as much, making it more difficult for tall individuals to find the optimal ergonomic setup.

Installation Process

Depending on your chosen model, setting up a standing desk can be time-consuming and difficult.

Electric models usually require professional installation due to the complexity of the motor and wiring, while manual desks require only basic assembly that can be done in under an hour. Professional installation of electric models may take several hours, as technicians must assemble the motor, attach it to the frame, connect it to a power source, and set up all the necessary components before they can be used. The process is also more expensive since professionals must ensure everything is properly installed.

On the other hand, manual desks typically require less time for setup as you only need to attach the legs and desktop together. Most manual models come with easy-to-follow instructions, and all required accessories, such as screws or bolts, are usually included. However, if you don't feel comfortable assembling it yourself, many companies offer assembly services for a fee.

Our Recommendation: Motorized AlcoveRiser EM7 - 36'' from FlexiSpot

Electric standing desks offer the most versatility and convenience, making them ideal for those who want to take their ergonomic setup to the next level. The FlexiSpot Motorized AlcoveRiser EM7 - 36'' is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a height-adjustable desk that's both durable and easy to use.

The motorized frame can adjust from 5.7" to 19.7" in just a few seconds, allowing you to quickly switch between sitting and standing positions throughout your workday. It also features programmable memory settings so you can save your preferred heights with the press of a button – perfect if multiple people are sharing the same workspace.

Combined with its patented X-lift structure, the AlcoveRiser EM7 provides a stable, sturdy base that easily supports up to 44 lbs of weight. Its sleek design also adds a modern aesthetic to your home office or workspace.

Overall, if you're looking for an electric standing desk that offers convenience, ergonomic benefits, and a stylish look – the AlcoveRiser EM7 from FlexiSpot is an excellent choice.

Closing Thoughts

Whichever type of desk you choose ultimately comes down to your individual needs – whether you're looking for features like memory presets or prefer a manual option that's portable and flexible in terms of placement. Either way, both electric adjustable standing desks and manually adjustable models provide numerous health benefits that can help improve productivity in any workspace!