geekdesk.jpeg The GeekDesk is the best and most versatile desk I have found for my home office. It uses an electric motor to switch from sitting to standing position, and after nearly a year of using other standing desks I can say that it is one of the best investments anyone can make if they are interested in an adjustable desk. My foray into standing desks began when I started working from home more often. I found that when I was sitting at work I would easily become distracted and more often than not lethargic. After reading several articles about the perils of sitting around all day I decided it was probably in my best interest to get a standing desk. My first standing desk was a lectern I found on craigslist for $10. It was not adjustable, had an angled surface, and wasn't the best solution. But for the cost, it served me well. I learned how to stand all day, and the small footprint of the podium meant that I could keep my regular desk without sacrificing too much space. The difference between sitting and standing was immediately noticeable. I was much more likely to walk away from my desk and do something that needed to get done, I found that I didn't tire as much, and that my back no longer hurt from long days in a soft cushy chair. I was a standing desk convert.

Given the limitations of the lectern I then decided to replace it with a used AnthroCart desk: a solid American-made adjustable desk with an amazing life-time warranty. Seeing how it was adjustable I was able to fine-tune the height so that it made for easy typing. The desk was composed of three aluminum poles that have slots that range from 24" to 30" (and up to 48" with extensions) in height where you could screw the work surface in. It had a large 3'x3' flat surface that allowed me to add an external monitor and a printer to my setup. However, it also meant that I had to say goodbye to my chair and sitting desk. My conversion to full-time standing desk was pleasant, but there were times when I wished I could sit down to write longer pieces. All of this explains why I am so happy to have discovered the GeekDesk. Simply put, it is a traditional two-legged desk frame that uses an electric motor to raise or lower the working surface from 26" to 46.5" and anywhere in-between. It can lift up to 175 pounds, and it rises and falls at 1" per second. The desk itself is made up of two steel legs connected by a cross bar that contains the electric motor and rack-and-pinion lift mechanism. The top of the desk is screwed on to the legs. GeekDesk sells the legs separately for those interested in attaching their own surface. I have the slightly smaller GeekDesk Mini. It is identical to the GeekDesk except that it comes with a shorter crossbar that is 37.75" wide compared to the standard 61.42" model. It is more than enough space for me as I have a fairly compact setup including a 15" laptop, and a 24" external monitor. To raise or lower the desk there are controls attached to the underside of the working surface. They remain out of the way, and are very easy to use. Simply push the button to activate, and click up or down on the toggle. It is a smooth movement and you can do it with everything on your desk without a fear of spills, or toppling monitors. While my AnthroCart desk served me well, I realized that having the versatility of being able to sit and stand at the same workspace was really valuable to me. The biggest downside of this flexibility is that the temptation to sit is ever present. Since adopting the GeekDesk I do find myself sitting down more often than I would if I didn't have the option. I am undecided about whether this is a good or bad thing, but if you find that you have low self control then it is possible this desk isn't for you. I love being able to sit and stand at my workspace, and I believe it has improved my general well being and happiness while working from home. A word of warning: anybody interested in switching to standing all day should, as with anything bio-mechanical, take it slow and make sure not to cause too much strain. I have had friends who have made the switch too quickly complain about back strain, foot pain, and tired legs. This goes away, but can easily be avoided by slowly easing into standing all day. And I strongly believe the GeekDesk represents one of the absolute best ways to do so. -- Oliver Hulland GeekDesk Mini $525 for the frame (plus $85-$180 for shipping) $749 for the frame and top (plus $110-$310 for shipping) GeekDesk Original $799 for the frame and top (plus $110-$310 for shipping) Comment on this at Cool Tools. Or, submit a tool!


  1. Gotta be honest, I think you solved the wrong problem. I just got a non-adjustable standing height work surface and a comfortable draftsman’s chair. Much cheaper and easier to switch from sitting to standing over the course of the day.

  2. How do you deal with your feet going to sleep when using this desk? I can see the health benefits of a standing desk, but it doesn’t seem comfortable to use for extended periods of time.

  3. Lenny,

    One of the things that quickly occurs is that you find yourself shifting. It’s not a static stand. Instead, you shift weight from one leg to the next, you lean, you move you walk around, bend your knees. So nothing ever goes to sleep.

    The first two weeks or so aren’t easy. By that I mean you can feel yourself adapting to it. A few aches. A few pains. But after that initial period it feels just as normal as sitting down, but with the added benefit of feeling more awake.

    — oliver h

  4. Has anyone out there seen anything cheaper, or a DIY solution?

    I spent some time a couple years ago looking to buy an adjustable workspace, including the GeekDesk (which is the bee’s knees). But I’m kind of a cheapskate and couldn’t get myself to drop $500+ on an electric one, which is all I could find.

    I figure there’s gotta be a cheaper manual one (using a screw crank or ratcheting lift) but I never saw anything like that.

  5. I went this way a decade ago. I bought an electric draughting table at auction for $300. The adjustment range goes from just above normal desk height to just under armpit height, and the top tilts as you would expect a draughting table to. I don’t use the tilt function, but being able to shift from sitting to standing just by hitting a foot control is totally worth it. I put a couple of foam pads under my chair to raise it to match the desk height.

    After 10 years the table has sprouted accessories the way a hull sprouts barnacles: I’ve got speakers bolted on stands attached to the table to raise them above my monitors, so they’re always at the same height relative to my ears. My cat hated me when I replaced my old monitors with flatscreens, so I built a cat platform that places the cat just above the monitors so he can still absorb heat. I’ve got power bars bolted to the underside of the table, and on and on.

    I wouldn’t go back to working at just one level if I had a choice.

    1. I keep envisioning that drafting tables will be the future of computing, now that multi-touch is the buzzworld.

      Basically, take the concept of a computing tablet but scale up to cover surface of a drafting table.

  6. Ikea sold nearly an identical desk a few years ago then STOPPED! I missed it.
    Somehow, we need to get Ikea back in this standing motorized desk game… it is the only way I could afford one.

  7. if anyone’s in SF, our company is going to be selling off several of our Workrite Electralift cockpit style desks (black, all electric, 2 memory positions)in the next few months.
    I know it doesn’t help everyone but drop me a line if you’re in the area. I think we’re just selling them for $300.

  8. Three jobs ago I worked in an office where the desk/work stations could go as high as letting a 6′ 4″ person such as myself work standing up. It also would depress far enough that one could drop one’s chair down to floor level and work. It was great.

    I would work sitting down for a while and then raise the entire keyboard tray and monitor stand to a level where I could work standing upright. It was great to be able to go back and forth and really did help my productivity.

    The best programmer in our group worked with her workstation on the floor basically. She really loved to sit at ground level and grind out elegant perl scripts. I miss her. I really learned a ton from her.

  9. A cheaper alternative would be to buy a bar like this:

    Not adjustable, but you can get a drafting stool for when you want to sit down. And it’s under $100.

    Might not go over well in the office. Your boss might not like an employee who appears to be Isaac, ship’s bartender.

    But it’d be a cheap way to try out an elevated working height.

  10. re: Post #1, the main thing that misses is how easy (and quick) the GeekDesk is to change position — takes less than 20 seconds and just pushing two buttons to go from one position to another, w/all your stuff (papers, computer, etc) coming along for the ride. I started out doing exactly what your propose, but have had one of these almost three years now (the exact same Mini model tested), and will probably never go back.

    I DO use a drafting stool though — rotating it easily into the mix of positions throughout the day. :) FWIW, highly recommended.

  11. I currently live in the UK where apparently no one has heard of desks like this. We started getting them in workplaces in Denmark over 10 years ago. It really is nice to be able to shift from sitting to standing and it is useful if you have to show things on your screen to other people. There is room for more if you are all standing.

  12. Great article. I’ve been doing the same for a few years with a used Ergomation Workstation (aero-motive company).

    I started standing when recovering from a bad back.. Sitting wasn’t an option, I found standing was the only way I could be comfortable. I enjoyed it and have been standing while working for about 4 years.

    My physiotherapist at the time suggested that sitting all day is terrible for core strength.. and makes you prone to bad back issues. So he recommends standing if possible…

    To make it easier on my feet and legs I used a workstation pad to stand on.. this made a huge difference.

    A couple of years ago I brought in an exercise wobble/balance-board to stand on. Don’t do it all day.. but its great when I’m on a call.

    I did add a drafting stool a few months ago.. and prefer that now to changing the work height when I want to sit.

    Also an added benefit.. A standing desk is a great informal meeting venue in the office. It seems to be easier to share a PC screen with a group of standing people.

  13. Good stuff, and long overdue. Though standing all day has its problems too. Just ask factory workers.

  14. I’ve had a geekdesk for about a year now. I tend to sit in the morning and then stand in the afternoon. When i stand, i wear no shoes and stand on a thin foam mat. Also, when I sit I tend to adjust the height of the desk by an inch or so every hour to adjust my posture slightly. This desk has completely solved all of the aches and pains I had in my arms, back, neck and butt from sitting at a traditional desk for 20 years.

  15. Late to the comments, but I’ve been using a sit-stand monitor/keyboard station for a few weeks and like it quite a bit. I’d like to try a desk at some point but the different monitor stands made by are generally cheaper than any lift desks I could find ($400 range, so not cheap, but not $1K+ either). I’ve been using the laptop/monitor combo stand and have been pretty happy with it. Even if I did not want to stand up, having a dual monitor setup that includes my laptop is much nicer than the stacks of books and jack I was using before.

  16. Can someone please tell/show me how loud the motor is? Maybe record it and post on Youtube.

    The only reason I never got one of these, is because I’m scared the motor will be noisy and I will drive my cube-mates insane (we have a relatively quiet office). I could see someone complaining about me if this thing makes more noise than keyboard typing.

    I’ve wanted to get something like this for years. My body refuses to sit straight for 10 minutes, and I find myself fidgeting a lot and getting up and stretching/walking a bit every hour or so anyway. I would love to be able to simply adjust my desk once an hour or more.

  17. Anon,

    There is a new product out called The Kangaroo Desk. It sits on your existing desk, and allows you to alternate between standing and sitting while you work. Priced as low as $359.00 and up to $599.00 for units that hold two monitors and shipping is FREE.

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