Does a Fixed Height Desk Last Longer Than a Standing Desk?

When presenting both a fixed height desk and a standing desk to your customers, one question eventually gets asked.

Which one will last longer?

As one of Australia’s leading office furniture wholesalers, OLG has been supplying both fixed height and motorised standing desks to resellers and drop shippers for over 15 years.  In this time, we’ve learned a thing or two about how durable these products are.

To help you become an office furniture expert, in this article, we’ll discuss the build quality of both fixed-height desks and standing desks. We’ll explore standard manufacturer testing, product warranties and answer the ultimate question, which desk lasts longer, a fixed height desk or a standing desk?   

Different Types of Standing Desks

While the most common type of sit-to-stand desk comes fitted with an electric motor, there are several other types of standing desks including pneumatic gas lifts and manual winch. For this article though, we’ll be referring to standing desks fitted with an electric motor.

Are Fixed Height Desks More Durable than Standing Desks?

When it comes to mechanics, there’s a general rule that applies to almost every invention in existence. The more moving parts a machine has the more maintenance it will require over its life to keep it running. It’s the reason Teslas require less servicing than your run-of-the-mill combustion engine vehicle.

So, when you consider every part involved in a motorized standing desk, it would be safe to assume that they wouldn’t last as long as their fixed-height equivalent, right?

Well, not exactly.

How Long Do Standing Desks Last?

On average, the motors on standing desks will last anywhere between 5-15 years depending on their build quality, how much load they’re subject to and how often they’re used.  To get an idea of how durable their products are, manufacturers cycle-test their motors to the point of failure.  This involves repeatedly raising and lowering the desk until the motor burns out.

A cheap motor will burn out before 5,000 cycles whereas a high-end motor will still be running strong after 20,000 cycles. But adjusting your standing desk up and down repeatedly all day is hardly typical use.  Manufacturers of standing desk motors maintain that typical use involves a rest period between each full cycle.  The total amount of time taken for each cycle added to the rest period is known as the duty cycle. Manufacturers recommend that for every 2 minutes of operation, 18 minutes of rest is to be expected- making standing motors a 10% duty cycle.

To work out just how long that would last in a real-world situation, we must first understand how standing desks are used.  A standing desk locked in one position all day will endure far less stress on the motor than a desk that is constantly being adjusted.

If one cycle includes raising a desk completely up and then completely down, and we assume that a person will adjust their desk twice – or through two cycles per day – a typical motorised standing desk is subjected to 504 cycles per year. 

Now consider that at the lower end, motors will last around 5,000 cycles. That equals just under 10 years of typical usage conditions. Theoretically, higher-end motors could achieve a life of up to 40 years if used twice a day under the same conditions.

In saying all this, the life of a standing desk is also going to depend on how much weight the desk carries, the environment in which the office exists and how protected the components are from external damage.

How Long Do Fixed-Height Desks Last?

Even without understanding the cycle rating of standing desk motors, most people would assume that fixed-height desks last longer on average.  And for the most part, you’d be correct – but the average lifespan of fixed office furniture is probably a lot lower than you might think.

Hardwood desks generally have a life of around 15 years, but not because of issues with the tabletop or frame.  Often, it’s stuck drawers or wobbly legs that create a need for a replacement. 

Despite their comparatively longer life, fixed-height desks are generally swapped out once every 5-10 years as a part of office refurbishments.

How Long Do OLG’s Standing Desks Last?

We understand that everyone uses their standing desk differently, and for that reason, we extend a blanket 5-year warranty for all standing desk motors, wiring and electrical components.  The only conditions that apply to this warranty are that supported weight guidelines are followed and the desk is set up in an indoor environment.

All OLG’s standing desk motors are cycle tested and rated up to 15,000 cycles without failure. Even when loaded with extreme weights of over 80 kgs, both single and dual motor models can complete more than 10,000 cycles with no issues. In an ideal situation, at two cycles per day, this equals 19.84 years of fault-free operation! 

In almost all cases, this is longer than both the warranty period and the average amount of time between office refurbishments.

The Results Are In!

On paper, a fixed-height desk will always last longer than a motorized standing desk.  This is due to it containing fewer moving parts and thus, fewer points of failure.  Despite this, both fixed height desks and standing desks that are made from quality components should have no problems surviving the average five-to-ten-year refurbishment period.

If you want to add a range of fixed height or motorized standing desks to your business’ catalogue and need more information, feel free to reach out to our friendly sales team on 02 8188 2732 or email us at info@olgoffice.com

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