There’s been a recent spate of articles on treadmill desks recently, including videos featured on Business Insider and Wired.
The general consensus? Mixed reviews. Seems like most people like it, but that walking on a treadmill desk is a bit much if you’re trying to concentrate on something at the same time. Just checking e-mail or surfing the web? A treadmill desk may be right up your alley. (One guy at Business Insider seems to really hate it, but I think that’s pretty extreme–although the maker of the product does recommend a break-in period of about two weeks to get used to it.)
I think that what these videos illustrate is that you shouldn’t rely solely on a treadmill desk though–there should be an alternative nearby for when you get tired or need to concentrate on something without the distraction of having to constantly move your feet. A potentially expensive proposition at around $2000 a pop for an alternative desk, but if you’ve got the money…
Multitable.com is a standing desk company based in Phoenix, AZ that specializes in their own brand of height-adjustable work surfaces, the ModTable. Offering both hand-crank and electric varieties, MultiTable.com offers the choice to buy only the steel frame and use your own work surface on top of it for a reduced cost.
Their offerings come in at a bit below average, with the Mod-E line of electrically-adjustable height desks coming in as low as $849 (frame + work surface), and their hand-crank variety of desks selling for just $549 (frame + work surface). Opting to use your own work surface will save you about $70. They also offer a treadmill setup
The ModTable’s minimum height is 27” and the maximum height is 46”, and both the frames and the desk tops are offered in a choice of four different colors/finishes. A 30 Day Money-Back Guarantee is included with all products sold, and the company offers a 2 Year Warranty against defects. Shipping will run you between $68-78, depending on the product you buy.
Lifehacker is a well-known proponent of standing desks (or at least a well-known clearing house for articles about standing desks), and they’ve recently come out with their newest article on the matter, entitled “Standing on Weekdays Burns Calories Like Running 10 Marathons a Year“.
As the name of the article implies, it seems that standing instead of sitting burns as many calories per year as running ten marathons.
Standing caused the volunteers to have a much higher heart rate (around 10 beats per minute higher), which adds up to burning about 50 calories more per hour versus sitting. Over a year, that adds up to about 30,000 more calories or 8 pounds of fat.
“If you want to put that into activity levels,” Dr Buckley says, “then that would be the equivalent of running about 10 marathons a year. Just by standing up three or four hours in your day at work.”
As I’ve been on the road quite a bit since the start of the year, I find that I’m at home less and less. This means that I’m often resigned to using whatever desks are in my hotel room–if I’m lucky! Just take a look at my latest imaginative setup during an extended stay in Bangkok last month (right).
That’s why I was delightfully surprised to hear about the Ninja Standing Desk, created via a Kickstarter campaign by the creator, Dan McDonley. This particular standing desk is small enough to carry with you wherever you go, and is also infinitely adjustable as far as the height goes.
Able to be mounted to any door (or a bit more permanently, to a wall) with the included hardware, the Ninja is a mobile, minimalist solution to those who wish to set up shop anywhere they go.
The product web site totes the Ninja Standing Desk as a total replacement for traditional standing desks, able to accommodate full size monitors and work side-by-side with tower computer setups. I don’t think I’ll be heading in that direction anytime soon, seeing as the work space offered is a bit limited (and the fact that I enjoy my current setup), but I suppose it could get you by in a pinch. (The ability to buy a version with three shelves is definitely a plus should you buy it as a desk-replacement.)
At $147 base cost (plus shipping), it’s not cheap (for what you’re getting, which is a few pieces of aluminum, some door hangers, and the strap that goes between the surfaces). But, if you’re like me and are always missing your standing desk whenever you’re on the road, the cost is more than worth it.
Finally, I can have the benefits of a standing desk with me wherever I go. Find out more here.
Don’t you just hate how you have to manually (either through a lever or button) adjust the level of your height-adjustable standing desk? Well, that will soon be a thing of the past thanks to the Stir Kinetic Desk!
The Stir Desk has an embedded touch-sensitive control panel and IR sensors that know when you stand, and take appropriate action–raising to meet you. “Manually” switching the height is as easy as tapping on the control panel (embedded into the corner of the desk), and appears to be a very quick procedure (see video to the right). There’s even a feature where you can set the table to vibrate after a set period of time to remind you to stand up a bit after sitting too long! Amazing.
Be prepared to shell out a pretty penny though–the desk starts at $3,890, and can run quite a bit higher depending on selected options. The desk is not yet available for purchase, but you can be one of the first to know when it goes on sale if you sign up to Stir’s mailing list through their web site.
Definitely the smartest standing desk I’ve ever seen.
UPDATE: Wired Magazine recently profiled the desk on their website–check it out here.
Stewart Alsop on Quora has a first-hand account of switching over to a standing desk at his Silicon Valley tech startup.
His company’s solution is a low-budget approach of a dual-height wall-mounted shelving system. Seems to do the trick, but I’d be concerned about the lack of counter space and the inability to sit at your work space after extended periods of time standing.
Be sure you catch the biggest disadvantage of standing desks (listed at the end of the article). It’s one we really haven’t brought up before, but definitely deserves some consideration… 😉
Doug and Paul are roommates living in San Diego that have come up with a hack for a store-available IKEA adjustable desk. On DIYstandingDESKkit.com they detail how to go about purchasing the required materials from your local IKEA store, which you can combine along with their “hack” (basically an extended version of what IKEA already gives you), which you can purchase off of their site for $79 + shipping. This allows for more vertical lift between the two risers and the work surface, allowing a range between 39.25 inches (99.70cm) to 48 inches (121.92cm) from the floor.
It seems a bit expensive for four wooden pieces, but unless you have access to a wood-working shop and some experience in the field you won’t find a better deal. At a cost of $180 or so all-in, it’s still one of the least costly standing desk solutions that doesn’t involve taping together USPS boxes or using an old door as a work surface.
Know of any other cool standing desk hacks using a combination of store-bought supplies with a bit of ingenuity? Let me know.
I recently found out about another low-cost standing desk alternative that converts any normal desk into a standing desk: the Stand Steady Desk.
The Stand Steady Desk comes in two finishes (Black and Maple), is low-priced (currently $140 on Amazon), and very easy to set up (only three pieces plus screws). Sure it’s simple, but it’s also a bit more elegant than just piling phone books on top of your existing work space. 🙂
Recently I was notified of a small company selling table-top add-on desks, Anderlyn Desk, that are meant to turn any surface into a standing desk. For those looking to alter their existing desk at a low price point this could be just the thing you’re looking for.
Standing desks can be expensive, with many pre-built options starting at $600 or so (of course, you could always build your own). At only $200 (plus $60 shipping outside of California), you can just put this on top of your desk and be ready to go relatively easily. It is adjustable, and has four height levels to accommodate users ranging from 4’11” to 6’7″+.
For more information head over to Anderlyn Desk.
UPDATE, December 2017: Anderlyn’s website is down until further notice. Not sure if they went out of business or not, but will update this when I receive more information…
Along the lines of the last post ($22 IKEA Standing Desk), here we have an even cheaper solution that is quite portable. Again, this particular construct is based on IKEA parts, but comes to a grand total of only $17. The one caveat is that this is more of an add-on to an existing desk/platform, so you’ll need that set up first.
Doesn’t look particularly aesthetically pleasing, but it does the trick for a low, low price! Great way to try standing up for a while without breaking the bank. If you don’t like it then you can always re-purpose the add-on and make it into a side table or something.