The working world is becoming more aware that sitting all day might not be so great for your health. We’ve known for a while that desk work weakens your posture, causes tight hip flexors and hunched shoulders, and a craned neck, but now we’re talking heart disease and bowel cancer.
“The best posture probably is the next posture” (Galen Kranz)
The general conclusion, as far as I can tell, is that our bodies are not designed to be in any one static position for stretches of 8-10 hours a day. So the logical step for anybody who is working a desk job is to find an adjustable-height desk. Easy enough, right?
It turns out that a slab of wood that can be raised and lowered on demand is not so cheap to acquire. There are many different models by various “ergonomic solution” companies available, but they tend to clock in between $1000 and $1800. If your work is paying for your desk, or you’ve got $2000 to drop, you can stop reading and go buy yourself a new rig. But I’m looking for a more economical solution; is it really true that a table-top (~$100), a set of legs, and a lifting mechanism costs $1000 to put together? What’s the markup on these kinds of things?
- Lowered desk height must be maximum of 71cm (28”).
- Raised desk height must be minimum of 110cm (43”) – I wish I were a little shorter.
- It must be strong enough to hold a monitor, laptop and keyboard, plus miscellaneous desk items. Given that a 24” monitor weighs about 22lb, and a laptop another 5-6lbs, I figure it should hold 40lbs minimum to be safe.
- It must be able to be readjusted without taking everything off. No screws, bolts, etc.
- I’d prefer hand cranking to electrical because the less things there are to plug in, the better.
- Preference given to desks that are easy to disassemble and pack
- Preference given to desks with wheels
If you’re a little shorter, you might be in luck. There are several models similar to this
that I’ve seen on different sites. They look a tad flimsy, and their maximum height is only 36”, but they’ll probably do the trick for some people.
Ergotron has a lot of sit/stand solutions, and one in the right price range is this
, which isn’t a desk exactly, but more of a keyboard/monitor mount with a neat little adjustable height arm. Unfortunately, it can only hold 31 lbs.
I don’t have the time to go full DIY on this, but I thought some kind of adjustable work bench
might work, especially if you slapped a small Ikea table surface on top. But I don’t feel too good about having to adjust that on the fly. I think I might end up with a pile of electronics in my lap (if I’m lucky).
Damage: $50 + table top
If you do have time and energy to go DIY, you can go for things like this crank mechanism at Lee Valley
, or build something crazy using an automotive jack
, as somebody at Metafilter
Damage: I’m guessing about $300 – $500
Another option is to use a musical keyboard stand like this Freedom X-Stand
from SolidStand. I’m still looking into the weight rating but if it’ll hold some of the beefier keyboards, it will hold 40lbs of computer gear. The only thing about it is I don’t like having that X right in front of me, I like to put my legs under the desk without bumping into things.
: this is getting back into the pricier range but it looks sturdy as hell, has wheels, and is nice looking to boot. A good look at it with pictures here
SolidStand Freedom Breakdown
: Also on the pricier side, but this thing looks solid as a rock. If it can handle two keyboards being pounded on by a keyboard player, you don’t have to worry about anything coming off. It would need some kind of table-top to set the monitor on, but that wouldn’t be too much work. It also disassembles for easy transport by gigging musicians.
Damage: $700 + table top
Update: the Freedom X-Stand will hold 150lbs.