Electric Desks vs Desk Converters: Which Should You Choose?

The electric standing desks vs desk converters debate might solve your questions about your new adjustable desk. Practical and ergonomic differences make electric height-adjustable desks different from desk converters. From size to ergonomics, there are different areas where these adjustable desks are different.

Standing desk converters turn any existing desk into a new sit-stand desk. An electric desk is easy to adjust and it comes with a large desktop to suit most users. Further differences are detailed in the guide below

Key takeaways:

  • Electric sit-and-stand desks are large and easy to adjust.
  • Cheaper desk converters turn an old desk into a workstation for standing.
  • Ergonomic standing while working benefits are seen with both types of desks.

The Differences between Electric Standing Desks and Desk Convertors

Here are some of the most important differences between an electric up-and-down desk and a sit-and-stand desk converter.

CriteriaElectric DeskDesk Converter
CostAn electric desk can cost up to 4 times more than a desk converter.Desk converters are the cheapest solution to turn a regular desk into a standing desk.
InstallationAssembly is required for the desktop and the frame of the desk, but not for the electronic components.Desk converters ship preassembled.
WeightAn electric standing desk weighs at least 40kg, being heavier than a desk converter.At least 2 times lighter than an electric desk.
AssemblyAssembly is required as you need to attach the desktop to the metal frame.These desks come preassembled.
Load capacityUp to 150kg maximum load capacity.Considerably lower weight capacity of up to 40kg.
Accessory optionsThe best standing desks have a wide choice of accessories such as keyboard trays, cable management trays, USB chargers, built-in wireless charging, and monitor arms.A limited choice of accessories such as monitor arms.
SafetyHighly safe as some of the leading electric desks come with an anti-collision mechanism.Generally safe with or without anti-collision sensors.
PowerPower is needed to adjust these desks up and down.Only electric desk converters need power.
Ease of useThe standing desk with the best user experience as all adjustments are made pressing a buttonYou need to manually elevate and lower the desk if not electric.
DurabilityShort warranty for electronics and a longer warranty for the frame and desktop, anywhere between 5 and 10 years.At least 5 years warranty.

What Is An Electric Standing Desk?

An electric adjustable desk is a complete standing desk in terms of adjustability and features. It lowers and elevates to support standing and sitting working postures. This desk adjusts its height using electric motors, normally activated by the press of a button, to ensure you achieve the ideal working height.

Electric Desks: Pros & Cons

While the most complex type of standing desk, an electric sit-stand desk has both benefits and drawbacks.

Electric Standing Desk Pros

  • Easy height changes from sitting to standing with electric motors.
  • Sufficient space for multiple monitors.
  • Proven health benefits as it encourages frequent changing between sitting and standing.
  • Ample space to accommodate different types of computer accessories such as a keyboard, a mouse, speakers, a printer, and other commonly used items at the office.
  • High travel range from 60cm to 120cm to suit users of different heights.
  • Available in a wide range of desktop colours and materials.

Electric Standing Desk Cons

  • It comes with an extra cost compared to desk converters.
  • The desk is not adjustable in the event of a power outage.
  • Hardwood electric desks are heavy and difficult to move around the office.
  • Depending on its size, electric standing desk assembly can be a 2-person task.
  • Electric motors come with a shorter warranty compared to the frame.

What is a standing desk converter?

A desk converter is a small manual or electric sit-and-stand desk that goes on top of your existing desk or a table. It facilitates standing while working on an existing desk. Some of the best standing desk converters to use include Movi Pro Converter, Standesk Pro Memory, and UpDown Ergotron.

Desk Convertors: Pros & Cons

Here are the strengths and limitations of standing desk converters.

Desk converter Pros

  • Practical size to place over any table or desk.
  • An affordable solution to improve posture by standing and working.
  • Compact and readily assembled out of the box.
  • 2-level design with an included keyboard platform.
  • Ideal for limited-space offices such as cubicles.
  • Made from lightweight materials.

Desk converter Cons

  • May be too small for some multi-display setups.
  • Limited options for colours and materials.
  • Can be wobbly compared to other desks.
  • Even weight distribution can be tricky with a heavy monitor arm.

The Practical Differences between Electric Standing Desks and Desk Convertors

In simple everyday use, these types of up and down desks are slightly different because they are made for different users.

An electric standing desk is easier to adjust

Simply pressing a button is always easier than relying on muscle power to elevate or lower the desktop. A desktop can be heavy, especially when there’s a dual monitor setup to elevate. Office workers may already experience hand fatigue from using a mouse all day. It won’t be easier for these types of workers to feel relaxed while working when they need more muscle power to adjust their desks.

electric adjustable desks Are Easier To Use

You can simply place your laptop on an electric sit-stand desk and start working. Once assembled, it’s simply controlled through its electronic controller that is used to program the standing desk height. For example, Omnidesk’s Standing Desk comes with 4 height presets that are user-defined. All height adjustments are made by pressing the up and down buttons corresponding to the direction of the desktop. Further memory presets eliminate even long press adjustments on these controllers as you can simply jump to your ideal height.

A desktop converter desk takes longer to adjust. This can keep some people away from frequently alternating sitting and standing. The alternation of sitting and standing throughout the day is what makes standing desks good for posture.

A standing desk converter is cheaper

Users shopping on a budget might find a converter standing desk ideal for their temporary stand workstations. An entire desk that elevates might not be something they’re interested in. A new desk can take up too much space and even cost more. Ergotron is one of Australia’s brands that sells some of the smallest converter desks in the country. These measure only 50 x 15cm, making them ideal for both small spaces and for saving on your purchase.

A high choice of desktop materials for electric height adjustable desks

Almost all types of customization are not possible with a standing desk converter. While the ergonomic benefits are there, these types of desktop converters rarely offer a choice of materials. You need to know there are different desktop materials electric desks come with to make an informed decision. Desky, an Australian brand we’ve reviewed, offers the following choice of desktop materials for electric sit and stand desks.

  • Softwood
  • Hardwood
  • Rubberwood
  • Resin

A standing desk converter is ideal for small spaces

Cubicles, small desks, shared desks, and even small home desks are ideal for many converters that turn a traditional desk into a standing desk. Your standing desk might still be usable and you aren’t sure of how much space you need to choose a new sit and stand desk and make a financial commitment. You can still see the posture benefits without changing your desk and without spending thousands on a new desk. Some of the benefits of standing while working seen even with a small converter desk include better mood, reduced back pain, and lower blood pressure.

You get more space with an electric sit stand desk

A sit and stand desk with electric adjustment comes with a large desktop that typically measures at least 100cm in length. This supports one or multiple computer screens and all of your work-related accessories. Its larger size comes with improved stability and even room for drawer units below the desktop. More options for accessories are also noted for these types of desks. A keyboard tray, a power rail, drawers, or a cable tray are all accessories you can consider for a motor-driven standing desk but ensure you choose the right size standing desk.

The ergonomic differences between motor standing desks and converters

Posture and good ergonomics are directly influenced by the type of desk you use for work. Here’s how these desks impact ergonomics.

Good ergonomics is standard for both desks

A correct sitting posture means you need to sit up with your back straight when you plan on standing while working. This is a position supported by both desks. Based on our review, the Updown standing desk has a high adjustability range as they go up from 61 to 127cm. Some of the standing desk converters the company makes also have a very high adjustability range, from 16 to 59cm.

Electric adjustable desks support working from different positions

The standing position is fixed on a standing desk converter. On the other hand, you can work from different areas of the desk on an electric sit-and-stand desk. Your existing desk platform may not offer this versatility as the back of the desk blocks you from putting your feet under the desk.

Electric Standing Desk vs Desk Convertor: Which Do You Choose?

Both electric and desktop converters are useful and also durable. They don’t break easily and may even come with the same 5-10 years warranty. However, these desks are made for different types of users as follows.

  • Choose electric height adjustable desks if you value space and ease of use. A traditional standing desk is now seen as an electric sit and stand desk. This is the most popular choice due to its ease of use and great customization options, apart from its versatile size. While assembly required by the manufacturer might deter you, these are the desks that are the easiest to use once assembled. These desks are available in lengths between 100 and 200cm to suit all types of setups.
  • Choose standing desk converters if you have limited space. A small traditional sitting desk might be all that fits in your cubicle at work. Even in this case, you can still see the benefits of standing and working by choosing a standing desk converter to put on top of your current desk.

Electric Standing Desk vs Desk Convertor: Which Do You Choose?

Both electric and desktop converters are useful and also durable. They don’t break easily and may even come with the same 5-10 years warranty. However, these desks are made for different types of users as follows.

Frequently asked questions

Should I get a sit stand desk or a converter?

A sit and stand desk is ideal if you have the space and the requirements for a full desk, mainly to replace your old desk that doesn’t adjust by height. A desk converter is an affordable alternative to a standing desk that you can consider when your space is limited. You may use it over your current desk when you want to work and while standing.

Is it healthier to work at a standing desk?

It’s generally better to avoid long hours of sitting which may trigger lower back pain. Using a standing desk is one of the methods you can consider to work without back pain. An electric adjustable desk or a converter that sits on your existing desk helps you achieve this goal.

How many hours should you use a standing desk?

You can spend anywhere between 1 and 2 hours standing at the desk before spending 1-2 hours working while sitting. Frequent rest breaks are just as important when it comes to seeing proper health benefits such as reduced lower back pain from working at the desk.


Research shows periods of standing and sitting are good for posture improvements. These improvements can be seen with different types of desks, as there’s no scientific difference between electric adjustable desks and standing desk converters. You can see these posture benefits yourself as long as you can raise the desktop of any of these desks to a comfortable level. If you want to choose an electric desk, read our complete step-by-step tutorial on how to transition to a standing desk.

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