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Comparing Standing Desks vs Electric Desks – Pros and Cons

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Learn the pros and cons of a manual crank standing desk versus an electric standing desk. I have had both and just wanted to share the pros and cons as you to personalize your space for your working environment.

I have officially transitioned to working full-time remotely and have been on the hunt to make my space more efficient and customized to how I can be my most productive self in the space. Having a standing desk was really important to me. However, I’ve gone through two types of standing desks within the last year: manual crank and electric height adjustable desks.

I wanted to share with you my journey in using a manual crank height adjusted desk first and my upgrade to an electronic adjusted desk a few months later. The desks that I am reviewing in this post were purchased with my own money, and I wanted to share my honest review of them.

Table of Contents

Honest Review of Hand Crank Desk: Ikea Skarsta Desk

I created a video on my review of my Ikea Skarsta desk so you can figure out the pros and cons of this desk.

Manual and Hand Crank Adjustable Desk Considerations

Pros of Having a Hand Crank Adjustable Standing Desk without Motor

If you are ever out of electricity, your desk won’t be stuck in a standing or sitting mode. With a hand crank adjustable desk, there also isn’t a motorized sound that you’ll have to deal with. With my Ikea Skarsta crank desk, there was still a bit of noice that I had to deal with when moving the desk up and down.

Because crank adjustable standing desks have a simple design, it makes it easier to repair and less prone to failure than electric component and hardware. Longevity and maintenance might be an important factor for you.

Cons of Having a Hand Crank Adjustable Standing Desk

Having had the crank adjustable desk for about a year now, it takes about half a minute for me to turn the crank in order to adjust the desk to the height I want it. That half a minute is just enough for me to not want to do it multiple times a day like I would have liked to. There are pneumatic versions which allow you to have a lever instead of a crank, but those are more pricey (and you could just buy an electronic desk for that price). The pain of having to crank the desk up and down has made me use my manual crank desk less.

With a manual crank desk, you can place the desk wherever you want inside your space (as long as your other office setup doesn’t require an outlet).

Hand and Manual Crank Desk Options from Ikea, Amazon, and Online Retailers

Electric Standing Desk Considerations

Pros of Having a Electric Standing Desk

Electric desks have infinite positions where it can stop between the various heights. Having buttons will allow you to utilize these quick adjustments, potentially making it easier for you to sit or stand more often during the day.

Cons of Having a Electric Standing Desk

Two main cons for having an electric standing desk is ensuring you have an outlet that you can use to plug in the motorized component. In addition, if your electricity is out, your desk will be stuck in a position (which means you may also have to reset the motor and reposition your desk in some models).

Features to Look for in Electric Standing Desk and the Motor

If you look on YouTube, you’ll see plenty of top tech YouTubers reviewing different brands of standing desks including Autonomous, Jarvis, and Uplift. You should also take note in which of these videos the influencers got the desks for free or if they are sponsored posts to give you an unbiased review.

The most popular brands for electric standing desks are: Autonomous, Jarvis, and Uplift. As you start shopping for standing desks with motors, here are the manufacturers that make the actual motors (which is super important). In parenthesis is the name of the popular brands that use the motors:

  • Jiechang (AIS, Jarvis, Uplift)
  • Timotion (Trendway, Symmetry)

Here are the things you’ll want to look for as you shop between brands:

  • Programmable Height Controller and Memory Options
  • One Touch Button (versus having to hold the button down for it to activate the adjustment)
  • Replacement parts and where to get them (as frequently as you would use the desk)
  • Timer for when to sit and stand
  • Supports the table width and length that you need
  • Quietness of the motor (UpDesk Elements is really good for quietness)
  • Stability and Wobble

Electric Desk Options from Amazon and Other Online Retailers

Electric Standing Desk Single Motor

Electric Standing Desk Dual Monitor

Frequently Asked Questions Standing Desk

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions that are asked about having a standing desk.

Is it healthier to have standing desks?

Studies do show that standing burns an extra 50 calories per day for someone who weighed 140 pounds that substitutes standing for 6 hours of the day.

What are pneumatic standing desks?

Pneumatic desks that are heigh adjustable use a counterbalance mechanism that allows you to just use a simple lever instead of a crank to raise and lower a desk. This might be an option if you want the best of both worlds.

How long should you stand at a standing desk?

Your eyes should be at screen eye-level, and allow your wrists to be straight and elbows parallel to the desk.

Is an Ikea standing desk good?

I would not recommend my Ikea Skarsta desk if you can get an electronic standing desk.

What is the correlation of a standing desk and weight loss?

Here’s a forum that also has information on details on whether to get a standing desk that is manual versus electric.


I absolutely love having a standing desk. Being a remote worker, I have the luxury of setting up my space exactly how I want it. If I had to choose between a manual crank versus a electric standing desk, I would hands down choose an electric desk so that I don’t have to remember where it needs to move up and down from.

Whether you choose a manual adjusted desk or an electronic standing desk, either will be a great improvement from having a fixed height desk.

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