What Are Standing Desks Made Of?
Standing desks are made with different materials such as bamboo or rubberwood. Hardwood and engineered wood desktop surfaces are common among Australian-made standing desks. A metal frame is the base of a standing desk, unlike a traditional desk. Various other materials such as wood and plastic are used for the desk space on the frame. Each of these materials has its pros and cons.
- Standing desks can be made from different types of wood, metals, or synthetic materials. The type and quality of the finish play a big part in the cost of a standing desk.
- Laminate, softwood, and hardwood are the most commonly available desktop materials.
- Hardwood offers a premium-looking desk but it also costs more.
Types of standing desktop materials
The main parts of the standing desk are its metal frame and its wooden (sometimes plastic) desktop. The type of wood used on desktops differs from one design to another. A standing desk made from hardwood feels and looks a lot better but costs more than one made from plastic such as melamine. In fact, cost and your desired aesthetics will be big factors to think about when selecting the size of your standing desk. Here are the main materials of a standing desk with its benefits and limitations.
Metal such as steel is the main material of a standing desk’s frame. Made to last, this material also adds the much-needed stability of an adjustable sit-stand desk. A metal frame balances the weight of the desk through its weight. This frame is similar to an electric standing desk, on a manual standing desk, or even on custom alternatives such as DIY standing desks which are personalized with a desktop of your choice.
Sit-stand desks for home offices should be made with quality materials. Apart from the work surface, the metal frame is an important consideration at the time of purchase since its weight capacity should cater to your working needs. A quality metal frame of electric standing desks should be backed by a proper warranty. A period of 5 to 10 years is covered by the warranty of a good-standing desk.
A standard metal adjustable standing desk frame such as The Desky Dual Mini comes with 60cm to 125cm height adjustments and a maximum weight capacity of 140kg. This frame is backed by a 10-year warranty.
Metal Frame Pros
- Sturdy as it balanced the sit stand desk with its own weight.
- It remains sturdy at any standing position.
- High maximum load capacity.
- Often more durable than the desk surface.
- It can be painted in many colours.
- Maintenance-free construction.
Metal Frame Cons
- Higher acquisition cost.
- Heavier than wooden alternatives.
Wood is the main material of standing desks users come in contact with. The wooden desktop is made in different sizes and finishes. Different types of wood are characteristic of a standing desk made in Australia according to each brand. Here are some of the most common types of wood you can find on a standing desk.
Bamboo is a lightweight wood that lasts. It comes in different stains when used to make desktops for an electric standing desk. A fully adjustable standing desk may come with a bamboo desktop of different sizes. Lightweight laminate bamboo materials are also used to make a full-standing desk converter as these aren’t made with hardwood. For example, the Stand Desk Essential Bamboo comes in different finishes.
- A distinct look with visible natural fibres.
- A lightweight alternative to other types of wood.
- Easier on the electric motors than heavier alternatives.
- Made to last years and typically backed by warranty.
- Easy to clean.
- Resistant to accidental water spills once treated.
- Most bamboo desktops are engineered wood which means they might be mixed with plastic when extruded.
Softwood is one of the traditional alternatives to bamboo. With a lightweight yet durable problem, it can hold high weight on both adjustable standing desks and on fixed-height standing desks. Typical softwood choices include pine, acacia, and red cedar. The Desky Dual Softwood Sit Stand Desk comes in a different choice of softwood materials such as pine and acacia.
Softwood Desktop Pros
- Highly durable materials are suitable for a load of up to 140kg.
- Lightweight compared to hardwood materials.
- Each desktop has a unique look due to different fibres.
- Made without mixed plastic engineering.
Softwood Desktop Cons
- It costs more than bamboo.
Hardwood desktops resemble traditional desks or your current existing desk. Some of the most common hardwood materials include oak, rubberwood, walnut, or teak. Your standing desk made from hardwood typically costs more but it also has a higher resale value. One of the common misconceptions about hardwood standing desks is resistance to scratches, chips, or coffee spills. However, hardwood is can be repolished compared to engineered wood.
The right standing desk made from hardwood typically has high durability and the highest weight limit. The capacity to add plenty of accessories includes another benefit of a hardwood standing desk. The heaviest monitor stands as well as cable management trays can be added to supportive hardwood desktops. For example, the Desky Rubberwood Standing Desk comes in different finishes and high 140kg load capacity. An alternative is the Zen Pro Hardwood Standing Desk is made from rubberwood, a type of tropical hardwood. Sitting and standing adjustments are easy to make using a smart controller.
Hardwood Desktop Pros
- A true premium wood material.
- The longest-lasting type of wood.
- Each desktop has a unique look.
- The highest load capacity.
Hardwood Desktop Cons
- The most expensive type of desktop.
- Not available on low-cost sit stand desks.
Melamine is a type of desktop material made by heating and melting plastic crystals. These types of plastic desktops are the lightest option for a height-adjustable desk. Desk options with melamine mainly include standing desk converters. These converters go on top of your current desk allowing good posture while standing and turning any table or desk into a standing desk.
A material that saves money with each purchase, this type of plastic is also lightweight, which means melamine sit-stand desks are also lightweight. Different types of plastic materials are used on standing desks in different countries. In Australia, melamine is finished by painting which makes the material easy to clean. An example is the Desky Zero Sit Stand Converter desk is made from lightweight plastic combined with a metal frame.
Melamine Desktop Pros
- High affordable compared to other materials.
- The most resistant materials to accidental drink spills.
- Most work surfaces made from melamine last long.
- Also useful for desk accessories such as lightweight drawers, an office chairs, stands for monitors, and other accessories.
Melamine Desktop Cons
- Plastic work surfaces don’t have a premium material feel.
Resin desktops are made from high-density polyethylene which makes them considerably more durable than standard melamine desktops. While a standing desk can be made from resin alone, this material is typically combined with reclaimed wood or hardwood in unique desktops.
A DIY standing desk is among the most common projects to consider resin desktops for. An electric stand-up desk or even a manual standing desk can be made using customer resin desktops. This type of plastic supports drilling and a cable management system. A drawer for office supplies may also be added to resin desktops. You can expect resin to last a long time. Highly colourful and slightly translucent, the resin can also be the high of a room such as a home office. Desky’s Dual Resin Hardwood Desk comes with a unique combination of hardwood materials and blue resin.
Resin Desktop Pros
- More durable than regular plastic materials.
- It comes with the ability to customize a desk.
- The final product may be unique.
- It supports drilling and adding features such as a cable management tray after installation.
Resin Desktop Cons
- Heavier than most other materials.
- Not an ideal material to save money.
Tempered glass is one of the rarest types of materials used on an electric standing desk. This type of material has the advantage of looking unique but it also comes with certain limitations such as higher fragility and lower maximum weight. Artiss’ Glass Standing Desk offers a unique desk surface but it has a limited maximum load of 70kg.
Glass Desktop Pros
- Unique transparent look.
- Ideal for light work.
- The main focus piece of a home office.
- Resistant to spills and very easy to clean.
Glass Desktop Cons
- Limited maximum load.
- High fragility.
Sustainable materials for standing desks
Sustainability plays a crucial role in wood production and office furniture product. More and more brands are starting to work with sustainable sources of wood. Various Australian standing desk manufacturers start to certify their products for wood sustainability. Certain certifications attest their standing desks are made from renewable sources and that their wood is sourced responsibly.
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certification attests woodlands are protected and wood is sourced accordingly. Sustainable forest management certifications are also awarded by Australia’s Responsible Wood organization which also certifies Desky products.
How to choose the material for your adjustable standing desk?
Choosing the right standing desk materials may seem complicated. But variables such as budget and personal preferences on aesthetics should make the choice easier.
- Weight capacity: A typical standing desk has a weight capacity between 70kg and 140kg, depending on desktop materials. Glass desktops have the lowest weight capacity, suitable for one user and for 1-2 computer displays. Hardwood desktops are ideal for long hours of working and for the extra maximum load needed for a setup with multiple monitors for working in an elevated standing or a lowered sitting position.
- Durability: The durability of the standing desk is also impacted by materials. Hardwood and softwood desktops are the most durable as many are even covered by a long warranty. Lightwood materials are not the most sturdy and can cause the standing desk to wobble.
- Aesthetics & feel: Natural materials such as hardwood and softwood are ideal for a desk that looks aesthetic. These legs of a desk might all look similar, but the desktop can make a difference in aesthetics. Natural wood is ideally stained, to show the unique grain patterns of each desktop while laminated and plastic desktops may be painted.
- Cost: Laminate and melamine standing desks are the most affordable. You may need to spend at least twice as much for a standing desk with a hardwood desktop.
- Maintenance: Low maintenance is specific to bamboo desktops and melamine desktops. This makes these materials some of the most common choices for standing desks on the Australian market.
Which standing desk material should you choose?
Standing desktop materials have their strengths and weaknesses. Hardwood desktops are ideal for those who want the best materials that look unique and that last a long time. Hardwood desktops are also top choices when building your DIY standing desk. Softwoods are ideal for a home office space when you want to step up from the standard melamine standing desk materials. Melamine is a tight-budget material, ideal as your first standing desk. This material is also light which means your desktop is easy to adjust up and down.
What sit stand desk material is the lightest?
Bamboo materials tend to be the lightest desktop material for standing desks. They offer plenty of support and a lightweight profile which now makes these bamboo one of the most common materials on a new standing desk.
Which standing desktop material is the strongest?
Hardwood materials such as oak and cedar are some of the strongest materials on a standing desk. They might be combined with resin for a more durable combination and a standing desk that’s both unique and lasts for years.
Frequently asked questions
You can make your own DIY standing desk by purchasing the frame from one of the manufacturers in Australia and then adding a desktop of your choice which is either custom-made or which is purchased separately.
How long do standing desk materials last?
The standard warranty on Australian standing desks is 5 to 10 years for the frame and the desktop. A new desk may come with a shorter warranty for the electric components which may fail first. To learn more about how long a standing desk will last, read this article.
Standing desks are made from some of the most durable yet lightweight materials in the world of office furniture. Bamboo, softwood, and hardwood desktops are used on metal adjustable frames so that each desk lifts up to 140kg while also looking attractive.