Do Standing Desks Use a Lot of Electricity?

Compared to a normal desk, a sit-stand desk does require power. However, this isn’t as much power as many might assume and are comparable to the power a computer needs. However, if you are on a budget then you don’t really need to worry about increased costs on your power bill.

Read on to find how much electricity a premium standing desk will take.

Key Takeaways

  • Electric sit-stand desks use an average of 200 Watts when their height is adjusted.
  • A good electric standing desk should not require more power than a computer.
  • Idle power consumption sits at 0.2 Watts for most standing desks.

How Much Power Do Stand-Up Desks Really Use?

An electric height adjustable desk comes with variable power consumption between 150 (very power efficient) and 250W (less power efficient) when in use. The best standing desks only need 0.2 Watts per hour when not in use. An electric height adjustable desk only uses $78 worth of energy per year if you adjust it up and down all the time.

Common misconceptions about the power usage of standing desks

Those looking to move to electric standing desks are worried about the health risks of prolonged sitting periods such as back pain, neck pain, and even weight gain. Energy expenditure is high in Australia and adding another appliance can seem expensive compared to conventional desks. Here are some of the misconceptions about the power usage of standing desks.

Standing desks need a lot of power to adjust the height

Standing desks may be assumed to be power-hungry. Near-infinite stop positions and added digital controllers might require a lot of power. In reality, these desks only use power when you raise or lower the desktop. Even then, standing height adjustments only take a few seconds. For a quick guide on how to program the standing desk heights, click here next.

You calculate electricity needs per hour

Electricity needs are often calculated in Watts per hour. A typical appliance or a computer may draw the same amount of power for hours and even a full day. An electric desk only uses power for brief intervals, unlike other electrical devices. They only use power when you adjust them up and down and not for a full hour or multiple hours.

It takes a lot of time to find the right height

Standing desk height adjustments might only take a couple of minutes each day as you go from sitting time to standing time. Even the more complex electric desks such as treadmill desks are only used at full capacity for a limited time each day, which means you save energy most hours.

Electricity usage compared: standing desks vs common appliances

Australian standing desks have similar power requirements to small electric devices. Even long periods at the desk come with just a few height adjustments per hour, which means this type of electric office furniture is not power-hungry. Here are examples of the power needs of some of the most common Australian-made standing desks compared to a TV, a large refrigerator, or a laptop.

Standing Desk/ApplianceWattage
Updown Pro Series200W (0.2W on standby)
Desky Standing Desk200W (0.2W on standby)
LG The One 88” TV308W (0.5W on standby)
Samsung Family Hub Side-by-Side Refrigerator500W – <1W
MacBook Pro Laptop99W – 1.2W

Average daily cost to run a standing desk – you’d use $0.3 worth of electricity per day if you’d adjust the standing desk up and down all the time (200W X 8 hours at a standard rate of $0.22 per kWh for an Australian household)

Average daily cost to run a standing desk – you’d use $0.037 worth of power per hour ($0.3 ÷ 8)

Average cost per year to use a standing desk in Australia with frequent/hourly height adjustments – you’d use $78 worth of energy per year ($0.3 or 260 working days of an average calendar year )

What are the best Australian standing desks in terms of electricity cost?

The best Australian standing desks come with 200W power consumption. These include the UpDown Pro Series and Desky Standing Desk. Running any of these desks up and down all the time doesn’t require more than $78 worth of energy per year. Lower power use may only be possible with conventional desks or with pneumatic desks. A pneumatic desk is a desk that goes up and down without electricity.

Do electric standing desks in Australia come with features to reduce power consumption?

Australian standing desks come with efficient electric motors, responsible for adjusting the height of a standing desk. Apart from having high life expectancy, these motors are also more energy efficient as they get certified.

Do dual-motor electric standing desks use more power than single-motor desks?

Dual-motor electric standing desks use 2 motors to adjust the height of the working surface up and down. They are more efficient at lifting the standing desk but they require more power than single-motor standing desks. The standard high-quality standing deks made in Australia now have 2 motors to evenly elevate the frame legs and desktop.

Tips for Reducing Electricity Use with Stand-Up Desks

You can further reduce your energy bills by adopting energy-saving practices while still being produced and seeing all the health benefits of using a standing desk. Saving your height presets will lower the time it takes to adjust your desk’s elevation and therefore less energy. Integrated height presets allow you to quickly elevate and lower the desk according to your preferences. Using a desk that doesn’t offer height memory presets means you need to spend more time looking for that ideal sitting or standing posture, always relying on the desk’s maximum 200W power consumption.

1. Get a desk without a digital display

Digital displays that show current elevation levels need power. While they are energy-efficient, these displays still add up to the yearly energy bill. The downside is that you can save height presets.

2. Unplug the desk to eliminate standby power use

Standby power use is around 0.2 watts with Australian standing desks. Unplugging the desk when not in use reduces this cost to zero without any particular risk. You may even unplug the desk when you take a break from your work. Going out for lunch or for a walk means your desk doesn’t need to be plugged in. You may even be more productive if you take frequent work breaks as standing at your desk all day can seem like the stress you can lower when getting out of the office for fresh air.

3. smartphone synchronization

Some standing desks come with all types of health-tracking features. They can track the time you spend standing and the time you spend sitting. All of this data is synchronized with smartphones which require extra energy. Monitoring sedentary time you’re stuck sitting at the desk all day requires data synchronization which adds up to your energy bills.

Alternatives include tracking your health with your smartphone or smartwatch in activities such as walking. Some of the benefits of walking include a lower risk of heart disease, a lower risk of varicose veins, more calories burned or even weight loss, and improved mood. Spending time on your feet at the desk doesn’t burn as many calories as walking. Energy levels can improve by being more active while a standing desk can help with bad posture.

Should You unplug your standing desk?

Unplugging the standing desk isn’t necessarily something recommended by their manufacturers but it doesn’t hurt the desk either. Unplugging the desk means the standby power consumption is eliminated but the benefits in terms of saving electricity are minimal. One of the drawbacks of this idea is that you can’t adjust the desk up and down when unplugged. Furthermore, all of the weeks the desk is unplugged might not count for more than $10-20 in savings per year. Standing desk users benefit from saving their preset height more than by unplugging the desk when it comes to energy bills.


Electric desks don’t use a lot of power to adjust. Similar to computers in yearly kWh consumption, electric height-adjustable desks offer a viable solution for improving health and posture at a low cost. An electric height adjustable desk only uses $78 worth of energy per year if you adjust it up and down all the time. In reality, office workers only adjust their standing desks a few times per day, making the actual running cost lower, and highly depending on how you use your own electric height adjustable desk. If you’re ready to make the transition to a standing desk, read our full beginners guide to help.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is an electric or manual standing desk better?

An electric standing desk is superior to a manual desk in terms of ease of use and quality of life. You only press a few buttons to adjust the desktop up and down. There are no quantifiable benefits to using a manual desk such as exercising benefits from using the manual crank for a few seconds.

How much power can I save by unplugging the electric height adjustable desk?

You may save up to $20 by unplugging your standing desk when not in use when it comes to yearly energy bills. This might be a small amount not worth the practical drawbacks when it comes to always unplugging your desk,

Do stand-up desks use a lot of energy under a heavy load?

A heavy desktop load will make your standing desk adjust at a slower pace. It takes more time and it costs more to move your desktop up and down when there’s a heavy load on it. You can exercise lowering the items on your desktop to make its adjustments as quickly as possible for lower energy consumption.

Is it cheaper to run electric height adjustable desks at home?

Yes, it’s generally cheaper to run a standing desk at home in Australia compared to running a sit-stand desk at work. Households have a lower kWh rate compared to businesses.

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