Are Standing Desks Overrated or Actually Worth It?

Standing desks have gained a ton of popularity since they were introduced as a healthier alternative to sitting at your desk all day.

But are standing desks actually good for you? Are they worth buying? There is a lot to consider to decide if buying a standing desk is right for you.

In this article, we’re going to talk about everything you need to consider before moving forward with a standing desk. 

So, Are Standing Desks Worth It?

The definitive answer is that it depends, but it can help more than hurt

To be brief, there are many different types of standing desks, and not all are built with the same functionality and convenience. Some are eyesores that are super affordable. Others are beautiful and convenient but cost a fortune. 

Overall, standing desks can help those who sit at their desks for long hours every day. Let’s dig into these topics deeper to find out if a standing desk would be worth it for you. 

The Main Benefits of Standing Desks

Health Benefits

The most talked about benefit of standing desks by far are the health benefits. Some of these benefits are hard to ignore and can be a huge game-changer. 

Burns Calories

First and foremost, standing burns more calories than sitting. If you use a standing desk, you would burn more calories than if you were sitting down. This can reduce weight gain, which is a huge incentive for standing desks. 

How many calories can you burn?

Based on two different studies, there is quite a range of calories you can expect to burn. One study showed that those who were standing burned 7.5 more calories for every hour. 

Another study showed that in four hours those who were standing burned about 44 calories per hour (174 calories in four hours).  The full study shows that the additional calories burned had a variance of around 38%. 

That’s a pretty big variance as far as data goes. That just shows that you can expect the range to be anywhere from 8 calories per hour to 60 calories per hour. 

All you have to know is that standing desks can burn a significant amount of calories over time. 

Reduced Risk Of Heart Disease

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States. Sedentary lifestyles are a well-known contributor to heart disease. 

Sedentary lifestyles lead to being overweight and obese which is a serious issue. 

As far as desks are concerned, the longer you spend sitting, the more sedentary you are. The more sedentary you are, the higher your risk of heart disease. 

Standing desks reduce the time you are sedentary. Even if you are not standing the entire day, standing desks still have a significant benefit in terms of sedentary behavior. 

Alternating between standing and sitting is a common way to use a standing desk. This alone reduces the time spent in sedentary positions. 

Reduce Back Pain

Studies have been done on the effect standing desks have on back pain. Turns out that standing desks can reduce a significant amount of back pain. 

This can be due to a number of reasons. First, when you’re standing you are activating more of your muscles. Second, it is much easier to have poor posture when sitting compared to standing. 

Sitting down can lead to some aggressive slouching, many people use poorly designed chairs and more. Sitting desk ergonomics are very important to your health and can cause back pain if set up incorrectly. 

Side note if you haven’t done a quick ergonomics check of yourself when sitting at your desk, definitely check out this article on proper working ergonomics and dial in your setup. 

Also, check out this informative article from Healthline where they compile a ton of published studies regarding the benefits of standing desks.


Because you are in a more active position, you may experience a boost in productivity as well. Standing is a more commanding position when compared to sitting, so this can have a mindset shift for some people. 

This isn’t a game-changing benefit, because studies have shown that productivity was not affected much when using a standing desk instead of a normal sitting desk. 

I have both a standing desk at work and at home. Personally, when I use my standing desk in the standing position, I feel a bit more engaged with my work which makes me more productive.

Ideal Seated Desk Height

Standing desks are height adjustable. That is a feature that your sitting desk likely does not have.

Not only can you dial in the perfect standing desk height. You can also set the perfect sitting desk height (as long as your desk height range matches your ideal desk height).

This results in improved sitting ergonomics in addition to standing ergonomics! 

The ideal seated height is an underrated benefit of standing desks. That adjustable height comes in very handy. This is why we strongly recommend standing desks in our article on desks for tall people.

The Major Drawbacks of Standing Desks

So there are a ton of benefits, why aren’t we all buying standing desks left and right?! Well, as with anything, it’s not all good. Here are some of the major drawbacks of standing desks.

Nice Standing Desks Are Not Cheap

As the price goes down, the quality of standing desks goes down faster. You have to spend at least $300 for a decent-quality desk that is sturdy and has the right features.

I highly recommend Flexispot desks if you want the best balance of price and functionality. Their E5 and E7 models have a great price-to-quality ratio. I personally own the Flexispot E7.

The most affordable models on the market are the standing desk converters that sit on your current desk and have a two-position adjustment. Those effectively make the height-adjustable area of your desk a very small fraction of your actual desk’s surface area. 

Converters can still hold multiple monitor setups as we discuss here.

32" Standing Desk Converter with Drawer
  • Looks better than all black models
  • Can add between 4 and 16 inches in height
  • Holds up to 60 lbs
  • Comes with integrated drawer
  • Handles take up some of the available desk space
Check Price On Amazon

Also, standing desk converters add an inch or so to your sitting desk height. This is great if your desk is too short for you in the seated position. But this is bad news if your desk is already too tall.

Some of the proper standing desks out there can cost over $1,000 USD for a fully loaded model! Once you see how standing desks work, you’ll understand why some of them can get so expensive.

Affordable Models Can Be Inconvenient

Affordable full-size standing desks are typically hand-crank adjustable. This is a huge drawback for a standing desk. 

Depending on the gear ratio, some of these desks will require you to turn that crank 40 – 60 times to get to your desired standing desk height The taller you are, the more hand-cranking you should expect. 

This is a huge drawback because it reduces your willingness to actually use the standing position of the desk. Every time you want to use your desk standing up, it will be easy to get turned off by all the cranking you would have to do.

On the flip side, this can increase your calorie burn even more. But as far as standing desks go, this is way more active of a calorie burn than passively standing at your desk.  

A more realistic take on cranking desks is that they will make you less likely to use the standing desk at all. 

Desk Wobble

Standing desks can get much taller than normal desks. The higher you adjust your standing desk, the more unstable it will inherently be.

There is no real way to avoid standing desk wobble unless you go for one of the beastly four-leg desks like the Flexispot Odin. Four-legged standing desks cost a fortune by the way.

Most standing desk users have a hard time stabilizing their standing desks. This is especially true on carpet where the floor has some give to it. We have a guide on how to stabilize wobbly desks here.

It’s not a fun time trying to get a ton of work done on a wobbly and unstable standing desk. The productivity could actually go down and turn into frustration instead. 

Monitor Wobble

On a related note, we love monitor mounting arms, and here’s why. However, monitor arms can suffer if you have a wobbly standing desk.

gas spring monitor arm

If you have a longer monitor arm, this can propagate the vibration to your monitor as well.

Most tasks at a desk don’t result in much wobble, so this could be minor. But you should be prepared for your monitor arm setup to wobble a bit more than you’d like.

I have the Flexispot E7 standing desk with the monitor mount in the image above. (I added the frame to my current desktop, here’s what the E7 build looked like). I get some slight monitor wobble when I am typing a little too hard. While it’s a little annoying, it’s no deal breaker.

Cable Management Is Required

Standing desks move everything on your desk up and down every time you adjust from sitting to standing height positions. 

In today’s world where everything is powered or needs to be charged, you probably have a decent amount of cables on your desk. 

All of those power cables and connections have to be carefully routed and managed so nothing gets snagged, pulled, or crushed when changing table heights. 

This means cable management is pretty much required with standing desks. I recommend people mount their power strips underneath their desks. Here’s a guide on how to mount power strips.

Mounting your power strip means all your power cables can stay snug and organized right under your desk. You only need the power strip’s cable to go down into an outlet.

Are Standing Desks Worth It?

So with all that being said, are standing desks worth it? Are they worth the health benefits and the potentially high cost? 

These questions helped me decide if a standing desk was right for me:

What Is Your Health Situation?

Think about your current lifestyle. Do you spend most of the day sitting down? How sedentary would you say your lifestyle is?

Do you sit down at work most of the day as well as at home? Do you or your family have any history of heart disease or obesity? How often do you exercise?

If the answer to any of those health risk-related questions points towards risk, a standing desk can make a difference for you in the long run. 

How Active Is Your Occupation?

If you already have a job where you are constantly moving and are on your feet, a standing desk may not make a significant dent in your daily activity. You actually might need to give your legs a rest at the end of the day!

If you are an athlete or just a highly active person, staying seated while working won’t be as detrimental. The health benefits will be small compared if you already have a very active lifestyle. 

What Is Your Budget?

If you have a small budget here, keep in mind that standing desks have inherent drawbacks at the affordable end. They can offer less space, are less sturdy, and can have inconvenient height-changing mechanisms. 

A high-end desk can give you more space and a ton of flexibility with less effort.

Modern standing desks have dual motor electronic controls and programmable positions. Some even have collision detection so you don’t damage anything that gets in the way. 


Once you go the standing desk route, check out our related articles on standing desk storage ideas and standing desk cable management ideas.

If you are concerned at all about how much weight those height-adjustable standing desk legs can hold, we dive into the weight capacity here.

Lastly, if you’re worried about the cost of standing desks, we discuss that in our article: how much you should spend on a desk.

Photo of author


I'm a big time workspace enthusiast who is constantly experimenting with my setup. Sharing along the way to help people make their own desk setups more functional and inviting, whether it be for productivity or play!

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