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Standing desk converters have been introduced into many homes and offices as a convenient means of promoting healthier work habits through a more active work style. Their versatile, affordable, and easy-to-assemble designs allow any pre-existing desks the capability of enjoying similar benefits found in the highly popular height adjustable standing desks.

This page is dedicated to understanding what standing desk converters are, how they work, the benefits they offer, and how you can pick the best type to match your needs.

What is a Height Adjustable Standing Desk Converter?

The standing desk converter is a workspace solution that gets placed on top of a pre-existing desk to grant users a separate working surface area that has height adjustable capability. These adjustable desk risers can come in many different shapes, sizes, and types; however, they all include some type of lifting mechanism together with their platform. Depending on which model you choose, our sit to stand desk risers can be adjusted to the desired heights either through a gas-assisted spring or an electric motor with motorized control. This allows you to convert a desk to standing positions based on your home or office needs while also being able to adapt to the varying heights of different users.

How do Sit Stand Desk Converters Work?

Similar to how our regular standing desks use steel framing and optional MDF tabletops, our sit to stand desk converters also share high durability with their steel frame construction and an MDF platform. Certain models have removable MDF keyboard trays for the option to add extra space when using a full-size keyboard and mouse. These keyboard trays have arms that hang onto the desk converter mounts and are then tightened into place with levers.

How do Sit Stand Desk Converters Work

All our standing desk extensions have an X-lift design similar in appearance to single-stage scissor lifts. This design enables a drive system the ability to move objects a longer distance using mechanical leveraging. The two different methods we offer for driving the lift system are:

  • Gas-assisted springs
  • Electric motors

Gas-assisted Springs

Gas-assisted Springs

Our gas-assisted springs have compressed nitrogen gas flowing from one end of the piston to the other through the valve openings. The completely sealed unit has the same pressure on both sides, however, the pressure acts over a greater surface area from behind the shaft when compared to the front of the shaft’s base. This is because the shaft’s center takes up some surface area from the front side, resulting in a greater amount of force experienced from behind to push the rod out during extensions.

Applying enough weight or force against the shaft will cause the shaft to move further inwards and retract. Nitrogen gas then goes through the valve opening and will keep getting more compressed until the shaft has fully retracted, or the applied weight is equal to the force exerted by our gas-assisted spring. This compression is happening because the shaft is now occupying space that was previously taken up by nitrogen gas. If the weight applied against the shaft becomes less than the force exerted by our gas-assisted spring, the shaft will begin extending once more.

Gas-assisted Springs

The gas-assisted springs assist the user by lifting the loaded platform to the desired position. Once the user has chosen their preferred height, they would lock it into position through a lever mechanism or safety locks which latch on to notches located on the frame’s front interior.

Electric Motors

Our electric desk riser for standing has a power adapter unit that can accept 100-240 VAC through our power cable. After receiving AC power from the input side, the power adapter converts it to DC for compatibility with the rest of our system.

Electric Motors

Similar to how rocker switches control the directions of travel for actuators, activating our hand switch changes the input voltage polarity that was being supplied to the electric motor. The type of electric motor we primarily use for our products such as adjustable desk risers is brushed DC motors. The power being supplied after pressing the UP button of the hand switch will be used to drive our brushed DC motor located underneath the electric desk riser for standing up. Lowering occurs when the brushed DC motor rotates in the opposite direction as the user presses the DOWN button. The lift mechanism stays locked in its last position if:

  • The buttons of the hand switch were released
  • There is a power outage or cable disconnection

Gears are used in conjunction with the motor to allow for greater torque and speed reduction during the positioning of the MDF working surface. Our brushed DC motor consists of a few main components which in conjunction with a DC power source create a rotating motor. The armature, commutator, brushes, and field magnet configuration can be seen below.

Permanent magnet

Our drawing shows a simplified armature for an easier view of the current flowing through; however, brushed DC motors will have multiple coil windings with their armature. The brushes charge the commutator which delivers current through the armature in the opposite polarity of the permanent magnet. This causes the armature to rotate from the attraction of the magnets.

Benefits of Standing Desk Risers

Benefits of Standing Desk Risers

A computer riser for desks gives you extra flexibility when using your workspace by allowing you to keep your current setup while adding the great sit-to-stand feature. Any elevating desk work surface will help promote healthier practices and offer the major benefits found in a more active work style. Standing desk extensions in particular will offer benefits such as:

  1. Affordable price points
  2. Fast adjustment speeds
  3. Keeping pre-existing desks unmodified
  4. Minimal assembly
  5. Portability
  6. Compatibility for international traveling
  7. Minimal maintenance
  8. High durability
  9. Proper posture
  10. Improved productivity

1. Affordable Price Points

When compared to standing desks, sit to stand desk risers are available at much more affordable price points. Our sit to stand desk converters have a starting price of $124 and cost $252 USD at most, however, our most affordable standing desk frame without any tabletop included is $350 USD. Having an affordable cost when possible is always a nice benefit to have, especially for students and anyone who wants to save up.

2. Fast Adjustment Speeds

The stand up desk converters with gas-assisted springs have faster adjustment speeds than any of our standing desks since they are driven by the compressed nitrogen gas inside their pistons. Electric standing desks have slower speeds because the brushed DC motors need to rotate many revolutions to travel the same amount of distance. Our electric desk converter may not have the same fast speed as the versions with gas-assisted springs, however, it will still travel its full stroke in about 20 seconds while it is loaded.

3. Keeping Pre-Existing Desks Unmodified

The standing desk converter is a perfect solution for those who must keep their pre-existing desk unmodified. For workplaces that do not allow you to modify or discard the current desk, placing an adjustable desk riser on top will help you experience similar benefits to standing desks without violating any work rules. If you value your current desk because it was a special gift or had sentimental value, leaving it unmodified may also be the best option. A regular standing desk will typically require users to completely replace their pre-existing desks or modify the legs to accommodate the lifting mechanism.

4. Minimal Assembly

Our sit stand desk adapters will come with minimal to no assembly required. This makes it convenient for users who don’t want to assemble a standing desk or physically cannot assemble any heavy equipment. For businesses who place large volume orders, they may not want their entire office to deal with an installation company for assembling standing desks and may find sit to stand desk converters easier to implement.

5. Portability

Our compact standing desk converters offer greater portability than regular standing desks due to their lighter weight and smaller size. Standing desk extensions with gas-assisted springs use compressed nitrogen gas to be more compact than metal springs while still exerting similar amounts of force. The smallest tabletop size we offer for standing desks has a working surface area of 42.0" x 30.0". Our largest standing desk converter is still smaller with a working surface area of 37.4 x 24.2". The lightest tabletop and standing desk combination we have is approximately 83.25 lbs, however, our heaviest standing desk converter is lighter at 46.8 lbs. If you are traveling or constantly moving to different buildings, a portable workspace solution allows for greater convenience.

6. Compatibility for International Traveling

The standing desk converters with gas-assisted springs require no electricity to operate and can be used even when there is an electrical power outage. Our electric desk converters can accommodate various international voltage standards from 100 VAC to 240 VAC in case you need them to function outside North America. Aside from Economy Ryzers, a custom order for separate pieces of 230 VAC compatible control boxes is required for our standing desks to achieve similar levels of versatility. This means one standing desk will usually need two control boxes when traveling to different countries.

7. Minimal Maintenance

The compressed nitrogen gas in our gas-assisted springs allows for smoother operation at a more constant speed compared to metal springs with different compression and expansion characteristics. The electric versions of our desk converters have gears that are lubricated internally for the life of the unit, similar to our electric actuators. Because of these factors, all our stand up desk converters requires very little to no maintenance or replacements throughout their service life. Simple cleaning of the working surface is all that was needed if there is a collection of dirt, dust, or spills

8. High Durability

The sit stand desk adapters with gas-assisted springs have a long lifespan since they do not experience the same fatigue metal springs will encounter after constantly expanding and compressing. With few moving parts and a simple design, gas-assisted springs offer high levels of reliability to last you many years without issues.

Although the brushes in our DC motors generate friction from the physical contact they make with the commutator, the heat will not be an issue under the normal use of our standing desk converters. This is because the motor has to run continuously for 2 whole minutes before overheating while it only takes about 20 seconds to travel from the lowest seated position to the highest standing position. These brushed DC motors will also expect great longevity similar to the actuators with brushed DC motors manufactured by our sister company Progressive Automations.

No matter which model you choose, we guarantee quality and durability for all our stand up desk converters with our 8-year warranty and unwavering support from our engineering support team!

9. Proper Posture

Ergonomically, standing is likely going to cause less physical damage over time. With desks and monitors adjusted to the correct height, neck strain and back slumping can be eliminated from daily cell memory. Most office and desk workers know the struggle of back, neck, and shoulder pain when working in uncomfortable positions for prolonged periods as seen below.

A Stanford University study found that workers who used sit-stand/stand stations reported reduced back pain after 3 months of using the equipment. Overall, they thought less about pain throughout the day. The height-adjustable desks stretched out the compiled weight towering over their lower backs until they no longer experienced chronic spinal pain or pressure. Similar levels of comfort and ergonomics can be experienced through a computer riser for desks as seen below.

10. Improved Productivity

According to a new study published by the British Medical Journal, office workers who replaced their seating with vertical desks reported better overall work performance. Additionally, a call center study found significant and gradual improvement of over 50% increase in productivity in 6 months after implementation of standing desks.

The option to stand up can help increase overall work performance and concentration by helping users feel more awake compared to when seated down. Productivity also improves from having better morale and proper posture when adjusting a workspace to the ideal height position of each individual. This is because a comfortable working position reduces the rate of workplace injuries that happen from improper posture.

Things To Consider for Standing Desk Converters

Like most things, having a broad range of benefits will usually result in a few trade-offs. A few things to consider when deciding on a stand up desk converter includes their:

  • Lower weight capacity
  • Smaller working area
  • Higher seated positions

Lower Weight Capacity

Sit stand desk adapters will typically have a lower weight capacity compared to standing desks. Due to the laws of physics, a standing desk with larger drive systems and more material in its steel frame can handle heavier weights. While this is true, using our adjustable desk risers within their ratings will prevent any issues of overload from happening. Modern laptops usually range between 2 and 8 lbs while the average computer monitor weight is 5 lbs. Our standing desk extension with the lowest weight capacity rating can handle 19.8 lbs, making all models capable of handling most of the basic computer setups found in an office.

Smaller Working Area

The benefit of greater portability previously mentioned does result in a smaller usable working area. Standing desks allow users to place practically anything they want on top of their workspace. Stand up desk converters will be perfectly fine if your workspace will primarily be used for computer work without being loaded with printers, garage tools, or heavy books.

Higher seated positions

The seating position when using sit to stand desk converters will be higher than the seated position of the original pre-existing desk. Shorter users who find their current desk just the right seated height or a little too high may not find the seated position of the sit to stand desk converters comfortable. This issue can be resolved by having a shorter desk for placing the sit to stand desk converter or by using chairs and footrests that can raise the user to a comfortable seated position.

Choosing the Correct Stand Up Desk Converter

Choosing the Correct Stand Up Desk Converter

Sit stand desk adapters can come in many different shapes, sizes, and designs to ensure everyone can find their perfect match according to their requirements and budgetary needs. Our sit to stand desk converters come in three different models to choose from:

  • Compact Desk Converter
  • Mechanical Desk Converter
  • Electric Desk Converter

Compact Desk Converter

Compact Desk Converter

The PA-TW-3-M is our Compact Desk Converter that comes fully assembled out of the box for added convenience. This model has a lightweight of 20.6 lbs and can be retracted to a small footprint of 30.7" x 22" x 1.6", making it a perfect standing desk converter for laptops. The gas-assisted spring allows for the height to be raised with ease, even when loaded to its maximum rated capacity of 19.8 lbs. The safety lock located on the front interior of the frame secures the desk converter in any of the 6 height positions. Starting at $124 USD, it is also our most affordable model!

This is our best minimalist option if you were thinking of getting a cheap standing desk converter for light-duty applications! As our lightest and most compact standing desk converter, those who travel or move to new places regularly will find this model easiest to use since it is portable and does not require any assembly or electricity.

Mechanical Desk Converter

Mechanical Desk Converter

The PA-TW-7-M is our Mechanical Desk Converter which has an optional keyboard tray that can be easily assembled. This model weighs 40.5 lbs and has weight capacity ratings of 33 lbs for the working surface and 4 lbs for the keyboard tray. Both the Mechanical Desk Converter and Electric Desk Converter have the same surface area for their working surface and keyboard trays seen below.

Mechanical Desk Converter

The height of our Mechanical Desk Converter can be adjusted to any position in its 15.0" stroke range using the gas-assisted spring for driving the platform and our lever mechanism for locking it into position. Starting at $168 USD, the Mechanical Desk Converter is a solid model with lots of features!

This is our best computer riser for desks that will be loaded with a moderate amount of weight but still need the most surface area to work on. It also does not require any electricity, making this model quite easy to use anywhere you go while still being heavy-duty enough for many long-term workspaces.

Electric Desk Converter

Electric Desk Converter

Our PA-TW-E7-M electric standing desk converter for dual monitors can turn any workspace virtually into a compact electric standing desk. Just like the surfaces of our Mechanical Desk Converter, our Electric Desk Converter will have a removable keyboard tray and the same large platform for computer monitors and laptops. This electric desk riser for standing weighs 46.8 lbs and has a weight capacity rating of 55 lbs for the working surface and 6 lbs for the keyboard tray. Controlled with the hand switch and driven by a brushed DC motor, users can adjust to any height in its 15.0" stroke with the simple press of a button. Starting at $252 USD, the Electric Desk Converter is our top-tier adjustable desk riser!

Although this model needs electricity to operate, it comes with the highest weight capacity rating of all our models. This makes the Electric Desk Converter our best option for users who were looking for longer-term usage with the highest possible weight capacity and a large surface area. This will also be the best option for users who want the most similar experience to using an electric standing desk with its hand switch and electric motor.

DIY Adjustable Standing Desk Converter

DIY Adjustable Standing Desk Converter

In certain situations, you may need a temporary workspace solution until your permanent workspace setup becomes available. If there was no time to place an order or wait for the shipping of a new computer riser for desks, having a DIY adjustable standing desk converter may be better for your posture than having nothing at all. While waiting for the delivery of your sit stand desk adapter, an elevating desk work surface can be constructed out of readily available materials such as cardboard boxes or wooden boards.

If you immediately need a cheap standing desk converter, this option does not get any cheaper! Although the capabilities of DIY adjustable standing desk converters are usually quite limited, they become decent backups if you experience shipping delays due to moving, construction, or renovation.

In Summary

Having access to proper ergonomics and comfort during prolonged work periods will lead to a long-term positive impact on our mood, productivity, posture, and mental health. By choosing the best standing desk converters on the market, you too can experience all these positive benefits through their sit-to-stand feature. Sit to stand desk risers are simple and convenient solutions that give your existing desk the same functionality as a standing desk! If you are constantly moving to new places, don’t have sufficient space for standing desks, or require affordable workspace solutions, standing desk extensions are the next best thing for you!

We hope you found this as informative and interesting as we did, especially if you were looking for ideas and recommendations before getting your next compact standing desk converter. If you have any queries about our products or have trouble picking out the right stand up desk converter to suit your needs, feel free to reach out to us! Our team of representatives is experts in what we do and will be happy to help with any questions you may have!

sales@progressivedesk.com | 1-800-828-9414

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