Setting the Ideal Standing Desk Height: How High Should a Desk Be?

So you've made the decision to invest in an ergonomic desk - great choice. The benefits this decision will have on your health and productivity are tremendous. This is one of the best investments you can make in yourself. But - only if you set your new investment to the correct standing desk height.

This is something we see many of our customers get wrong. So, we've decided to take matters into our own hands and teach you how to set your stand up desk height so you can unlock all the stand up desk benefits that come with an adjustable workstation.

If you want to get the most out of your standing desk, it needs to be set up to the correct height. This will help to make sure that no musculoskeletal problems develop as a result of you progressing from a seated posture to a standing posture. The last thing you want is for your standing desk to end up doing more harm than good. But if you experience wrist pain when typing, standing desk hip pain, or other forms of physical discomfort - it is likely due to the height of your standing desk.

You need the proper standing desk height for both your sitting and standing positions. Moreover, you need to ensure that your monitor(s) on your desk is positioned correctly - so you don't have to crane your neck up or down.

These are just a few of the factors that dictate your proper standing desk height. In the next section, we'll help you program your standing desk to the proper height - so you can enjoy the comfort, productivity, and calorie burning benefits that an ergonomic office desk has to offer.

Keep in mind that there is no need to try and stand all day. This is another issue that leads to pain from the standing desk. To learn about how long you should stand at your standing desk, read our related article. For now, though, let's get into the main topic you came here for today: to learn how to set the proper standing desk height.

Finding the Proper Standing Desk Height: Advice from a Physiotherapist

Before we get into helping you find the ideal stand up desk height, it's important to consider that there is no single formula that will allow you to set the height of your standing desk perfectly. I often get asked how high should a desk be for someone of "x" height. Leg length, torso length, and arm length will all influence how high your desk should be.

So, the safest option is to not follow any formula. 

Instead, use the angle at your elbow as your primary guide (explained below), and comfort at as your secondary guide. If it doesn't feel comfortable, then your desk is set to the wrong height. Here's how to find the sweet spot for your adjustable standing desk height:

Find the 90-Degree Angle for Your Elbow When Your Hands are on the Keyboard

Adjust the height of your standing desk so that when your hands are on the keyboard (in a natural way - as if you're typing) there is a 90-100 degree angle at the elbow. 

Any range between 90 degrees and 100 degrees is fine for most people and it is fine if you find 90 degrees more comfortable than 100 degrees, and vice-versa. Problems can occur if you go outside of this range.

Note that in the photo below, my elbow angle is closer to 100 degrees than 90 degrees. I find this more comfortable than 90 degrees.

Correct Standing Desk Posture
Correct standing desk height - between 90 - 100 degrees. Note that in this photo I am at about 100 degrees, which I find more comfortable for me personally.

If the angle is noticeably less than 90 degrees, or your standing desk is too high, it will mean that your elbows are below the level of the desk. This is shown below. If this happens, one of two things is likely to happen. Either your forearm/wrist will dig into the edge of the desk because you're effectively reaching upwards to type, or you will shrug your shoulders to raise the height of your forearms back to parallel.

Neither of these compensations are conducive to an ergonomic workstation.

Standing desk height too high.
Standing desk height too high.

If the angle is considerably more than 100 degrees, your shoulder muscles will have to do more work because your arms will not be supported on the desk. Your shoulder muscles (particularly your upper traps - "shrugging" muscles) will have to activate to help hold and support your arms up off the desk. ​​​

​Also, you are more likely to slouch forward if the sit stand desk is too low, which will lead to problems.

Standing desk height too low.
Standing desk height too low.

Final Thoughts on Setting the Proper Stand Up Desk Height

We hope the advice we laid out above helps you find the ideal adjustable standing desk height for your unique body proportions. Remember - there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question - what is the ideal height of a standing desk?

You'll want to optimize your stand up desk height based on your unique limb proportions. By seeking out the 90-100 degree angle when standing at your desk and typing, you can lock in that height. From there, it's just a matter of optimizing your monitor stand height accordingly - to protect your neck from craning up or down.

At that point, you'll have found the ideal desk height. You'll be able to enjoy all the health and productivity benefits that a sit stand desk has to offer.

If you're an organisation and would like assistance in setting up the correct height for your employees' standing desks, or would like some education sessions for your employees, please fill out our ergonomic assessment booking form here.

Or, head over to our site to get the #1 sit stand desk in Australia. Whether you're looking for an electric sit to stand corner desk, a manual sit to stand desk, or even a standing up desk converter - we've got what you need to enhance your workplace and create a space you're excited to work in. Shop now and discover firsthand why we're the #1 choice for ergonomic computer desks in Australia.