Electric Vs. Manual Standing Desk: Which One Is Better?

Many organizations are replacing the traditional desk withstanding due to all the advantages it carries. Nonetheless, there remains confusion about which standing desk will be better among an Electric Standing Desk and a Manual Standing Desk. 

What is the main difference between Electric and Manual Standing desks? The main difference between electric and manual standing desks is that an electric standing desk has a motor or two that adjusts the height with a press of a button. On the other hand, a manual standing desk can be adjusted using a hand crank.

This article will focus on two different types of Standing desks, Electric Standing Desk and Manual Standing Desk. I will share all my finds related to both types of Standing desks.

By comparing the pros and cons of Electric and Manual Standing Desk, you will be able to identify the appropriate one for your workstation. So, Keep Reading!

What Is An Electric Standing Desk?

An Electric Standing Desk is a desk whose height can be adjusted just by a push of a button. They are highly reliable on electricity which is why they work faster and efficiently.

Moreover, in order to change the height of the standing desk, no physical labor is required.

Although Electric Standing Desks are expensive, these technologically advanced desks can be connected to an app that helps you keep track of your productivity. 

Some of the Electric Standing Desks come with some pre-functional mode, which helps to set your standing desk height in your comfortable position.

As a result, you don’t have to set it every time; you will need a simple click for the preset height level. 

Nonetheless, when you buy a low-quality Electric Standing Desk, you are more likely to face technical difficulties within a few months of working.

Moreover, Electric Standing Desks are comparatively heavy, and the motor can make disturbing noises. 

Pros Of Electric Standing Desks

Electric Standing Desks carry various benefits which can make your life easy. Check out this list of all the benefits Electric Standing Desks offer:

1. Easier To Use

Being automatic, the Electric Standing Desks have a few buttons through which you can easily change the height.

Whereas the manual standing desk requires a lot of physical pressure, the Electric Standing Desks just need a simple click. 

2. Have Quick Height Adjustments

The Electric Standing Desks have preset settings, which help you to set your standing desk height in your preferred height. These preset settings reduce the struggle to adjust the standing desk every time. 

3. Effective For Old And Disabled People

As adjusting the manual standing desks needs a physical push, it can be difficult for old and disabled people, so Electric Standing Desks are more preferable for them.

They just need a button with an electrical connection to adjust the standing desk height. 

4. Have Preset Height Levels Setting

Most of the Electric Standing Desks come with preset settings. You will find three to four presets; you just need to add them by applying the memory button.

Once your Electric Standing Desk memorizes the height, you just need to push the button.

The preset settings help you to adjust the standing desk height according to your height with just a simple click.

It also works great when more than one person alternatively works on a single desk. Each of them can set their own presets with different labels and use them accordingly. 

5. Extended Weight Capacity

Electric Standing Desks have more weight capacity compared to manual ones. Whereas many Electric Standing Desks have 200 lbs. weight capacity, some of them can hold up to 350 lbs. You can place your books, laptop, and other necessary items comfortably. 

6. Provides Phone And Laptop Charging Facilities

What I love about Electric Standing Desks is the USB chargers and laptop charging port. They will surely make your life easier. Some of the Electric Standing Desks even come with lighting facilities. 

Cons Of Electric Standing Desks

Well, like every good thing, Electric Standing Desks also come with a few drawbacks. Check out these three disadvantages of an Electric Standing Desk;

1. Comparatively Expensive

All the facilities that an Electric Standing Desk offers are technologically advanced features, which require much costing resulting in a higher price.

If you have a constrained budget, then buying an Electric Standing Desk can be problematic. 

Moreover, they consume a massive level of electricity 24/7, which can increase the utility bill. Therefore, if you are concerned about reducing the overall spending, you might want to skip using an Electric Standing Desk.

Check out the table containing prices of some of the popular models of electric and manual hand crank standing desks below. It will give you a better idea about the pricing in the market right now.

Electric Standing DesksPriceManual Standing DesksPrice
Flexispot EC1 Standing Desk$240FAMISKY Crank Standing Desk$169
FEZIBO Electric Standing Desk$279Win Up Time Standing Desk$186
Vari Electric Standing Desk – Dual Motor$795Armocity Manual Standing Desk$79

On average electric standing desks are 30-60% more expensive than manual standing desks. Besides, you must also consider the electric consumption as well.

Electric standing desks can consume up to 200 watts when changing height. On stand by they usually use 0.2 – 0.3 watts of power.

They are not super power-hungry but in the long run they can give your electricity bill a little pump.

2. Cannot Function Without Electricity

Electric Standing Desks highly rely on electricity. If you face any electrical problem, you will not be able to adjust the height. 

3. The Machine Sound

Electric Standing Desks illuminate some level of motor noise, which can be disturbing. Most electric desks make noise from 45 – 60 decibels.

However, with time some users have noticed up to 75 DB of noise which is a lot of noise for a quiet workspace, isn’t it?. However, it’s not a typical case.

Therefore, if you prefer a super silent working zone, you might skip buying an Electric Standing Desk. 

4. May Cause Electrical Malfunction 

If you accidentally drop water or other liquid substance in the wire, it can initiate electrical fire. Additionally, voltage issues and wire breakdown can cause serious problems.

What Is A Manual Standing Desk?

Manual Standing Desks are the Desks that can be adjusted using the hand crank for a standing working position. It does not require electricity but needs little physical effort to adjust the height.

Since they don’t require electricity, and you need to adjust the height manually. There is no chance of electrical or technical difficulties. Manual Standing Desks are much cheaper than Electric Standing Desk.

Moreover, since the height adjustment is made manually, it requires much time, which can hamper productivity.

The bottom line is that there are no mechanical parts, so there is no need for maintenance.

If you are not a tech-savvy person, a manual standing desk is the best option for you. 

Pros of Manual Standing Desks

Now check out the list of benefits a Manual Standing Desk has to offer:

1. No Electricity Required

The Manual Standing Desks do not require electricity, which is why you can adjust it anytime you want. This also saves a huge utility bill. 

Moreover, there is less chance of electrical issues or other technical breakdowns. 

2. Manual Standing Desks are Cheaper

The Manual Standing Desks are comparatively cheaper than Electric Standing Desks. When the budget is minimum, you can simply buy the standing desk with a manual setting.

3. No Unwanted Noise

Although the Electric Standing Desks sometimes make unwanted noise, the Manual Standing Desks don’t have such problems. You can use a Manual Standing Desk if you want to avoid this sound.

3. Adjusting The Desk Can Be Considered A Good Exercise

To adjust the Manual Standing Desk, you need to manually handle the hand crank, which can be considered a workout. On the other hand, it can be cumbersome for weak people. 

Cons Of Manual Standing Desks

Let us discuss all the drawbacks of using Manual Standing Desks. Check out the list;

1. Can Be Troublesome To Lift

Adjusting the standing desk height can be difficult, and you need to pull the hand crank and then twist it accordingly, using actual force to raise it. Some people find it very confusing and feel it is a lot of tasks to do. 

Many people do not want to take such a hassle. Imagine lifting the desk 10 to 20 times a day.  If you are one of them, then I am afraid Manual Standing Desks are not for you. 

2. Less Weight Capacity

Manual Standing Desks can hold less weight. Mostly the Manual Standing Desks weight capacity falls in between 100 – 150 lbs. and very few manual standing desks hold up to 200 lbs.

3. No Preset Arrangements

Since the Manual Standing Desks are adjusted using actual force, you won’t have the option to set the preferred height beforehand.

The sad part is that you need to manually adjust it and check if it is at the right height each and every time.  

Sometimes you might feel lazy and skip adjusting the height, and then end up inviting physical problems. This might also hamper your sitting and standing posture.

4. The Hand Crank Can Cause Trouble

The hand crank can be problematic. Since it is manually handled, it might end up getting stuck, and you might seek help from others.

The position of the hand crank can also be in an awkward position and can get stuck while you move. 

5. Can Be Physically Challenging For Some People

Sometimes the hand crank can be difficult to move for both men & women, which will require much strength.

Then again, people with physical disorders also find it difficult to adjust the manual standing desk. 

6. Adjusting The Height Can Conflict With Productivity

Since the Manual Standing Desks are adjusted using physical force, it requires much more time than the electric ones. This can kill some of your working time.

In case of manufacturing default, the hand crank might get stuck, and adjusting the desk will be difficult.

Similarities Between Electric Standing Desks And Manual Standing Desks

Now that you are familiar with both types of standing desks, let us discuss the common features they offer.

1. Used As Both Standing Desk And Sitting Desk

These adjustable standing desks can be used for both standing and sitting workstations. Not only the electric standing desk but also the manual standing can be adjusted to a height that helps you to work while sitting. 

Then again, at the electric standing desk, you can simply click the button to raise it for a standing working position. In the case of a Manual Standing Desk, you just need to twist the hand crank. 

2. You Can Adjust The Height As Per Your Preferences

In both the Standing Desk, you will have the option to increase the Standing Desk’s height as per your height. You can adjust them in various heights so that more than one person can work on the same Standing Desk.

You can preset those height adjustments in the electric standing desk, whereas, in the manual one, you can lock them each time you use them. 

3. Carry Ergonomic Features

Standing Desks are beneficial when it comes to developing your overall posture. It is great that both electric and manual standing desks carry ergonomic features. They help to increase productivity. As a result, if your only concern is ergonomic features, you can choose from any of them. 

To know more about the benefits of standing desks, read these articles:

  1. The Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Standing Desks
  2. Do Standing Desks Increase Productivity?

Comparison Between Electric And Manual Standing Desk

Since you know all about both types of standing desks and what they have in common, you should check out this comparison list for a better understanding. 

Electric Standing DeskManual Standing Desk
Require electricity for the functionalities. Functionalities do not require electricity. 
You can preset the preferred height adjustments Every time you need to adjust the height manually.
You simply press the button for the height adjustments.You need to push and twist the hand crank for the height adjustment.
Comparatively expensiveThey are much cheaper
Weight capacity falls in between 200 – 350 lbs. Weight capacity falls in between 100 – 200 lbs. 
The electrical problem might hamper your workProblems related to the hand crank can cause problems
Take less time to adjust the Electric Standing Desk.Adjusting the Manual Standing Desk can be time-consuming.
Comfortable for physically challenged people.Physically challenged people might find it difficult to adjust their height. 
The machine of the electric standing desk might create noise. The motor sound is missing in the Manual standing desk. 
The Electric Standing Desk can have a USB charging portal.The USB Charging portal is missing in Manual Standing Desk. 
While adjusting the Electric Standing Desk, no physical activity is required.Adjusting the Manual Standing Desk can be a good exercise. 

From the table, you can understand that electricity is one of the main factors for adjusting an Electric Standing Desk, whereas the hand crank is twisted for the adjustments of the Manual Standing Desk. 

The preset setting helps the Electric Standing desk to set 3 to 4 different height adjustments so that more than one person can use it just by clicking a button. 

You don’t have to check the height every time you work, and the desk will increase the height of the Electric Standing Desk as per the recorded height. 

Along with preset height level facilities, the Electric Standing Desks can hold more weight than Manual Standing Desks. However, the Manual Standing Desks are much cheaper than the electronic ones. 

The USB charging portal is missing in the Manual Standing Desk, and adjusting them can be troublesome for many people. On the other hand, Electric Standing Desks require less time to adjust, and anyone can change the height just by pressing a few buttons. 

Is An Electric Or Manual Standing Desk Better? 

Undoubtedly, the Electric Standing Desks are more advanced and have better functionalities than the Manual Standing Desks. Although the Manual Standing Desk is cheaper, they require physical force, which is troublesome for some people. Therefore, Electric Standing Desk is way better than Manual Ones. 

Standing Desks are meant to make your life easier, but when it comes to manual standing desks, they can cause barriers to efficiency.

The Electric Standing Desks can be problematic only when you have a budget constraint and frequently face electrical problems. 

Although both serve the same purpose, the Electric Standing Desks surely beat the Manual Standing Desks with advanced features. 

If you are worried about a few extra bucks, let me tell you, this little extra cash will be worth it because Electric Standing Desks will make your life easier and productive. 

Related Questions

Electric Vs. Manual Vs. Standing Desk Converter – Which One Is Better?

Standing Desk comes in two different types, Electric Standing Desks and Manual Standing Desks. Then again, you can use a Standing Desks Converter to make your existing sitting desk work as a standing desk. But, which one to choose?

Electric Standing Desks are the best one among all other standing desk options. Although it is more expensive than a Manual Standing Desk and a Standing Desk Converter, it is more convenient and has more weight capacity.

Moreover, setting the Manual Standing Desk into your preferred height or placing the Standing Desk Converter into the sitting desk can be troublesome and require physical ability.

The working space in both Manual and Electric Standing Desks is more expansive than Standing Desk Converters. The weight capacity is much higher in the Electric Standing desk than in the rest of the two.

If you prefer to buy a converter, you can still keep your existing sitting desk, or else you have to get rid of it or need more space for the standing desks. 

Check out this table to get a clear idea:

Electric Standing DeskManual Standing DeskStanding Desk Converter
Require electricity for the functionalities. Functionalities do not require electricity. Electricity is not required; you need to place it by yourself.
Requires to get rid of the existing sitting desk.Requires to get rid of the existing sitting desk.Can place the converter on top of the existing sitting desk. 
Most expensive and the price falls between $500 – $2000They are much cheaperCheaper and the price falls in between $100 – $300
Weight capacity falls in between 200 – 350 lbs. Weight capacity falls in between 100 – 200 lbs. It cannot hold too many things. 
The electrical problem might hamper your workProblems related to the hand crank can cause problemsSince the converter is heavy, replacing each time can be troublesome
Take less time to adjust the Electric Standing Desk.Adjusting the Manual Standing Desk can be time-consuming.You can simply place it on the exiting desk. 
Comfortable for physically challenged people.Physically challenged people might find it difficult to adjust their height. It can create problems for any kind of people.
More working spaceMore working spaceLimited working space
While adjusting the Electric Standing Desk, no physical activity is required.Adjusting the Manual Standing Desk can be a good exercise. You have to carry the converted every time you want to use it. 

Electric Vs. Manual Standing Desk Converters:

Electric Vs. Manual Standing Desk Converters

Both electric and manual standing desks provide the same facility of converting a sitting desk into a standing one.

The main difference between electric and manual standing desk converters is that electric ones have automated or motorized height adjustable features, whereas manual converters height adjustment is made manually using a manual height raiser. Also, electric standing desks are usually $40 – $50 on average.

All the differences between electric and manual standing desks are as follows:

Electric Standing Desk ConverterManual Standing Desk Converter
Electric standing Desks are More availableThey are less available
More convenient to useLess convenient to use
More ExpensiveLess Expensive
Have average weight capacityHave more weight capacity
Less durableMore durable

How Does Electric Sit To Stand Desks Work? 

Electric Sit to Stand Desks are motorized with two types of motors; brushed motor or brushless motor. When you press buttons on the controller, the direct current helps the desk to go up & down and eventually lock in your preferred height. 

Brushed Vs. Brushless Motor: Brushed motors are a little loud and require much time to adjust, and are .also cheaper than Brushless motors. The Brushless motors are more responsive, efficient, and durable. 

When you connect the Electric Standing Desk to electricity, the motor initiates the system and works according to your command. 

You will find a few Electric Standing Desk that functions using the power stored in the battery. These Electric Standing Desks have two batteries, which are rechargeable. This might seem convenient, but it has limited weight capacity and needs to be charged more often. 

Meraj Jahan

Hey, I am a co-author at Office Chair Trends. Not only have I experience working for extended hours behind the desks at my workstation, but I also have seen people in my surroundings suffer from body aches. Being a reader by day and writer by night, I have researched this matter and gathered knowledge along the way. I am sharing all my experiences on this site.