There are more than a handful of options when it comes to selling standing desks, each type with their own set of advantages and limitations.  What you should recommend will come down to customer preference, the practicality of their workspace and any specific requirements the business has.

At OLG, we’ve spent more than a decade sourcing and supplying office furniture for Australian resellers and project furniture businesses.  In that time, we’ve developed a line of standing desks that represents the best in functionality, durability, and versatility.

To help you become a standing desk expert, in this article, we’ll break down all the different configurations that standing desks come in. We’ll also explore the advantages and disadvantages of each type along with some best practices and unique selling points. By the end of the article, you’ll be armed with the answer to every customer question possible

Three Types of Standing Desks

While you could make a grocery list of individually different standing desks, we’ve found it makes more sense to categorize them by function and type. In offices around the world, you’re likely to find three different types of standing desk. These include height adjustable standing desks, standing desk converters or desktop risers, and non-adjustable standing desks.

1.    Height-Adjustable Standing Desks

The most popular type of standing desk, by far, is the freestanding height adjustable desk, and there’s good reason for that.

People come in all shapes and sizes, and while a standard desk height might be OK for one person, for everyone else, its an ergonomic nightmare. It’s not just about being able to convert from a seated position to a standing one either – having a user-customized desk height means greater comfort and a reduced likelihood of back pain, neck stiffness and eye strain.

standing posture
Proper sitting posture

Height-adjustable standing desks use one of four mechanisms to raise or lower the tabletop based on your height, preference, or the space available.

These mechanisms include:

  • Electric Motor (Single or Dual)
  • Pneumatic / Gas Lift
  • Mechanical / Winder
  • Tech-Adjustable
Electric Standing dEsk

Electric Standing Desks

Electric standing desks consist of a desktop, single or dual motor and telescopic legs that raise or lower at the press of a button.  The control panel typically comes with customizable height presets for one-touch operation.  Electric standing desks aren’t without their drawbacks though. Not only are they expensive, but they’re also susceptible to motor burnout after repeated adjustments.

On the plus side, out of all the adjustable standing desks, electric desks have the fastest operation speed and the least amount of effort required to use them.  Examples include OLG’s Agile Double Motor Electric Desk.

Pneumatic / Gas Lift Standing Desks


Pneumatic or gas lift standing desks operate in a similar way to your office chair.  An internal cylinder filled with gas compresses as the desk lowers and expands when the desk is raised.  When combined with a tightly coiled internal spring, fully loaded desktops can be adjusted with minimal effort.

While pneumatic or gas-lift operated desks enjoy whisper-quiet operation, they do tend to run into expensive maintenance issues down the track.  Over time, the pressurized gas cylinder will leak leading to a reduced range of movement and slower operation times.


Mechanical / Winder-Operated Standing Desks

Mechanical, or winder-operated standing desks use a hand-operated crank to manually adjust the height of the desktop.  They’re tediously slow and will give your forearms the workout you never knew you needed. Despite the setbacks, mechanical standing desks like OLG’s Agile Winder are the cheapest option for height-adjustable office furniture.

Tech-Adjustable Standing Desks

Tech Adjustable

Tech-Adjustable standing desks are a cross between a fixed-height and an adjustable-height desk.  While they are technically adjustable, changing the height is a challenging process. It requires the whole table to be turned on its side before the legs can be manually extended. It isn’t practical to switch heights on a daily basis, especially if you don’t have able-bodied helpers in the office.

2.    Standing Desk Converters / Desktop Risers

For users who already have a seated desk and can’t justify the cost of replacement, desktop risers are a great compromise. They’re able to convert an existing desk into a standing one instantly. Desktop risers sit on your existing tabletop, providing a secondary, higher working surface. They can be fixed height, or adjustable, and due to their much smaller size, they’re considered a portable standing desk option.

The smaller footprint of a standing desk converter does lead to some limitations though.  Each desktop riser will have a weight limit, one that’s much less than other standing desk options.  Unless they’ve got a particularly lightweight setup, users may struggle to mount a second monitor

3.    Fixed-Height Standing Desk (Bar Table)

Also known as a “Bar Table”, fixed height standing desks have been used by famous professionals for centuries.  In fact, one of its biggest fans was legendary Italian polymath, Leonardo Da Vinci. Just like his original workspace, the modern fixed-height standing desk had no bells, no whistles, and no moving parts.  It consists of a raised flat surface that cannot be adjusted once installed in place. 

Not only are they not as expensive as adjustable standing desks, the lack of moving parts means that fixed height standing desks last longer on average

Examples of a fixed-height standing desk include OLG’s Bar Leaners.

Which Type of Desk Should I Recommend to my Customers?

Standing desks aren’t for everyone. In fact, they’re really only useful for people good at thinking on their feet! 

All jokes aside, it’s never been easier to sell the idea of a standing desk to your customer.  Not only do they come with some well documented health benefits, but in many Australian workplaces, businesses are required to have a certain percentage of height adjustable workstations to satisfy OH&S standards.

Price will obviously be one of the main selling points, but in the case of electric desks, access to power will also need to be taken into consideration. You’re going to have to come up with a creative solution that strikes a balance between what your customer likes and what will practically work in the space they have available.

  • If your customer needs to install a couple of hot desks where different staff will be using them on different days, an electric standing desk might be an attractive recommendation
  • If your customer has common work areas where a specific task is performed by many people, a fixed-height standing desk could be a great solution for them.
  • If your customer wants a quick, portable, standing desk solution that’s low on price, standing desk converters could be the perfect fit.

If you want to add a range of fixed height or motorized standing desks to your business’ catalogue and need more information, our sales team is here to help. Get in touch here or give us a call on 02 8188 2732 and we’ll get to work. 

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