So you want to take on the sit-stand lifestyle. And you’re comparing the top two height-adjustable solutions: standing desk converters and height-adjustable desks. How do you choose between the two? Converters seem to be an easy fix — most models look quick to install, and they sit right on top of your desk, so you don’t have to switch the entire thing out, for one.
But there are 3 reasons you may want to reconsider.
- Yes, converters are easy to install, but they’re a pain to use
Converters aren’t conducive to flow. Here’s why.
→ Multiple levels and weird dimensions make it difficult to set up your tech on a converter
Many standing desk converters wrap the upper monitor level around the lower keyboard level. With this design, you may not have enough room to move the mouse without bumping into side supports. If you use a wide keyboard, the keyboard level may not be big enough to hold both keyboard and mouse. Best-case scenario, your mousing movement will be restricted. Worst-case scenario, you won’t even be able to fit your mouse on the lower level.
At the same time, the upper monitor level is usually too small for both tech and papers. If you alternate between typing and writing, you may find the multi-level design of a converter irritating because, when you want to write, you’ll have to bend over and use your original desktop. The small size of this upper monitor level also means there sometimes isn’t enough room for a second monitor mount. And the supporting beams on many converter designs prevent you from clipping a monitor arm to the level’s back edge. So in some cases, you won’t be able to get that dual-screen function.
To add to the difficulty: most converters have the keyboard level sitting a fixed distance below the monitor level. The monitor level is adjustable, but you can’t independently adjust the keyboard level. This design makes it unlikely that you’ll achieve ergonomic heights for both your keyboard and monitor.
→ Many converters are unstable and difficult to adjust
If you are someone who needs stability, a poorly designed, wobbly converter is liable to drive you up the wall. Relatedly, adjusting a standing desk converter can be awkward. You grab hold of both the right edge and lever with your right hand and the left edge with your left hand as you raise or lower the converter. The adjustment is difficult with a wide converter.
Standing desk converters also have multiple pinch points, putting both your fingers and wires at risk of getting pinched every time you adjust the product.
→ When using a standing desk converter, you have to leave behind half your tech and 70% of your work surface every time you stand
Consider how this limitation will repeatedly interrupt your workflow.
- Perfect ergonomics actually isn’t possible with a standing desk converter
→ You can’t achieve the optimal distance between your eyes and the screen
Because many converters arc into your workspace, closing this distance. And it can’t be made up by moving the monitor backward in most cases because a converter’s upper level is typically narrow.
→ Ideal ergonomics while sitting isn’t likely
A converter doesn’t lay flat when closed, so it elevates your tech by a few inches. The ‘lift’ messes up the ergonomics of your setup when you work in a sitting position.
→ You might not find a ‘height’ sweet spot
With any ergonomic tech, adjustability is critical for comfort. Unfortunately, you can only set many standing desk converters at 1 of 10 points on their range. Because you can’t fix them at any height, you may not actually be able to find your sweet spot with it.
- Yes, standing desk converters are portable, but they’re also ugly
Converters weigh about 30 lbs, so they qualify as a portable solution. Unfortunately, most manufacturers aren’t design-minded, so there aren’t many on the market that look good.
Height-adjustable pneumatic desks offer more benefits than converters at about the same price
One of the main reasons people pick the converter is that they assume a full desk will be more expensive. But the Lüften and Ändern challenge this assumption. Both desks are high-quality, height-adjustable pneumatics priced comparably to many of the industry’s top-rated converters.
A pneumatic desk allows you to flow ergonomically between typing and writing, sit to stand
When you use a pneumatic desk, your entire workspace comes with you when you change positions. You don’t have to divide your tech between levels or hunch over every time you need to jot down notes. To adjust it, you simply hold down its handle and lift the desk up or down; unlike a converter, a pneumatic can be set at any point on its range, allowing you to find your most comfortable work posture. Why not pay the same price to get a full desk that offers more benefits?
A well-designed pneumatic desk also looks dang good — minimal, compact, and customizable.
The Lüften and Ändern single and dual-column designs are model pneumatic desks. Both desks were designed in Germany, where European furniture makers have been perfecting the craft for hundreds of years. Their commercial-grade Swiss steel legs guarantee a 30+ year lifetime. In some cases, you can even keep your current desktop and just install those Swiss steel pneumatic legs onto it.
To learn more about the Michigan-made Lüften and Ändern desks, check out thestandingdesk.com, Kesseböhmer’s new E-commerce, b2c site. A proud Grand Rapids business, we are giving all GR Chamber of Commerce members a free cable management kit ($30 value). Just add the kit of your choice to your cart and apply the coupon code “GRChamber” when checking out.