Standing Desk Manual vs Electric

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Updated August 30, 2022

If you are trying to change up your home office setup or you are an office worker, you may be looking to compare standing desks manual vs electric. Some of the best standing desks, like Ikea standing desk vs others, are powered manually or via electricity. So which adjustable desk is better and why? Keep reading to find out.


  • Manual standing desks are often cheaper than electric standing desks, due to the increased cost of electrical components.
  • Manual desks are easier to repair and maintain, but electric desks are easier to maintain the desired height.
  • Both an electric desk and a manual desk offer similar functionalities and a similar weight capacity, and some users may perform the simple hand-crank motion of crank desks.

Differences Between Manual Standing Desks and Electric Standing Desks

The main difference between these two pieces of office furniture is how they are adjusted. As the names suggest, manual standing desks (including sit-stand desks) are adjusted manually, usually via a crank or lever of some kind, while electric standing desks (AKA: Autonomous standing desks) typically adjust via the push of a button. Otherwise, the differences are fairly subtle, such as when comparing a standing desk with a single motor vs one with a dual motor or Zero-G vs a standing desk.

Insider Tip

Consider a desk converter if you aren’t sure, as these are often cheap to purchase and easy to install.


Electrical components are more expensive than manual components. There is no doubt about that. So, yeah, you’ll pay more for an electric standing desk than you will for a manual standing desk in nearly every case, unless the manual desk is built with extremely high-grade parts. If you are on a strict budget, go for a manually powered desk or be ready to spend some serious time shopping for deals.


Electric standing desks may be slightly easier to operate, especially if you are unfamiliar with a hand crank. Still, this depends on your actual desk and your personal preference, such as when comparing a chair and a stool for a standing desk.


In most cases, you’ll find little difference when it comes to standing comfort when using either of these desk types. There is one relevant criterion where electric desks shine, however, and that is maintaining a more exact range of heights. You control electric desks with a button and this button can often be stopped at nearly any desk height imaginable, whereas a manual desk may only be able to stop at a set number of heights. No matter which type suits you, try it out first.

Repairs and Maintenance

Electrical components are fussy, prone to breaking, and misunderstood by laymen. Manual components, such as a hand-crank, rarely falter and, if they do, are relatively easy to fix by pros and amateurs alike. In other words, you’ll find fewer repair and maintenance headaches by opting for a manual standing desk over an electric-powered model.


Electric, manual, or converter: which to pick:

You may like a desk converter instead, though they typically offer a lower weight capacity than electric or manual desks.

Is a crank standing desk right for you?

Crank desks are great for a number of reasons, but your choice of adjustable standing desk really depends on personal preference. Some electric models may be the right fit for you.

How long should you stand at a standing desk?

Start slowly, just a half-hour a day or so, and ramp up to two or three hours after a week or two. Electric sit-stand desks and hand-crank standing desks need to be adjusted by the sitter.

STAT: Any benefit associated with a standing desk applies to both archetypes. As they are standing desks at their core, their user can easily choose to sit on a chair or stand while using it thanks to its adjustable height. (source)

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