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The Techni Mobili Laptop Stand

Great for Those With Space and Money Constraints

If you usually work on a laptop and you plan to move to standing, you may want to consider purchasing a standing position laptop stand instead of a full-size standing desk. You may decide to splurge for the full-size standing desk in the end, but if both space and money are constraints, you do have options. There is one extremely popular and, dare we say, incredibly inexpensive laptop stand we want to tell you about – the Techni Mobili Laptop Cart, which is currently selling on Amazon for $49.88 plus free shipping.

Now the main reason this stand is so cheap is that it is made of MDF and PVC instead of sturdier, more expensive materials, so you’ll need to adjust your expectations, particularly about its appearance, accordingly. But its key feature, when it comes to using it for the purpose of standing, it that it has an unusually broad height range as compared to similar products: 35” to 44”. An Amazon reviewer who is 6’4” tall is able to use it as a standing desk when it is extended to its full height. Many purpose-made standing desks are not high enough for people who are that tall.

What The Reviewers Say

In general, Amazon reviewers are extremely impressed with this product and many of them state that it exceeded their expectations for such an inexpensive piece of furniture. Out of 267 reviews, 171 buyers gave it five stars and 64 gave it four stars. The most negative reviews complain about the cheapness of the fittings – and state that it is difficult to put together. This is in stark contrast to the positive ones, many of which express surprise that it is so easy to put together. It seems that there are a few “dud” products being shipped out – or maybe some buyers are just better with their toolkits than others. (In any case, it would be wise if you were primed to return the product in the specified time period if you did happen to get a dud.) And one negative reviewer, who gave the product only one star, complained that her main problem with it was that it was too high for her to use while seated on the sofa. This clearly wouldn’t be an issue with those who want to use it primarily for standing at work!

 In Conclusion

One caveat: this is definitely a standing position laptop stand. The desk area is only large enough to hold just that — a laptop. Reviewers remark that there isn’t even room for the addition of a separate mouse. Overall, though, if you use a laptop as your primary work computer and you want an inexpensive way to get on your feet more throughout the day, the Techni Mobili Laptop Cart is a solid bet — albeit one made of MDF and PVC.

 

DIY Hand Crank Desk: Using a ModTable Base

If you already have a desk that you love but you’d really like to get into standing while you work, we have a great solution for you. Turn that beloved desk of yours into a DIY hand crank desk! Yes, there is a fairly simple way to convert your existing desk into an adjustable height standing desk. All you need is a little elbow grease – and the ModTable Adjustable Height Standing Desk Manual Base, by MultiTable. This product, which costs $479.00 (with free shipping) on Amazon right now, is only the base for a standing desk, not the desktop itself, and it can be raised or lowered by turning a removable hand crank. In order to build your own hand crank desk, simply detach the legs from your original desktop and then attach the ModTable base in their place. Your good old desk can now be raised or lowered whenever you wish.

Don’t Want to Part with Your Existing Desk?

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Chad Warner, of OptimWise, was unwilling to part with his existing desk, one that he purchased at a garage sale. It was sturdily constructed and, as you can see from the above photo, featured both a large work surface and a smaller riser or raised shelf at the back. Chad positioned his keyboard and mouse pad on the lower surface and his monitor on the raised one and he didn’t want to give up the ergonomic comfort this provided him. So he located a hand crank adjustable height desk base on Craigslist for a great price and put it together with the top of his original desk. While Chad isn’t sure who manufactured his base and hasn’t been able to locate any more of them, the ModTable base would work perfectly in a case like this.
Want An Adjustable Height Desk at the Lowest Price Point?

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And while Roy Park didn’t have a desk he was particularly wedded to when he decided to start using an adjustable height desk, he didn’t want to fork over more money than he absolutely had to. At first he considered two higher end, ready-made options, but in the end he settled on the ModTable base. MultiTable does sell the base in combination with your choice of a laminate top in white, black or espresso, but that desk top will cost you an extra $120.00 plus $62.48 for shipping. Park thought that seemed unreasonably steep for a laminate surface, so he ordered just the base and located a cheaper laminate work surface, at Ikea. It set him back only $30.00. Of course, you could also use a real wood surface instead of a laminate one, and still save money.

At first glance you may feel that, at $479.00, this DIY hand crank desk base isn’t an inexpensive option, but trust us. Once you start investigating the prices of ready-made height adjustable standing desks, which tend to start at over $600 for low end versions, you’ll want to give this DIY version a try. If you do, please send us a photo! We’d love to see what you come up with.

The Standing Desk Chair: An Oxymoron?

Even if you’ve chosen to work at a standing desk, you’re still going to need a place to sit every now and then. And, if you’re new to standing, that’s probably going to be more often than you expect. As we here at DeskHacks.com keep reiterating, the consensus is that it’s best to constantly vary your position throughout the day. That may mean that you are going to want a standing desk chair. At first, that might sound like a contradiction in terms — but it’s not. Basically, you’ll either need to have a height adjustable desk that you can lower so that you can sit down in a conventional office chair or you’ll need to have a height adjustable chair that you can raise so that you can sit at your standing desk. (Or, if you have the space, you could have both a standing desk and a regular one to use with an ordinary office chair.)

We’ve taken a look at some of the stools designed for use with standing desks before and they’re all solid choices. Sure, they’ll get you off your feet for a while. However, there are times when you are likely to need the more supportive comfort of a conventional chair.

When it comes to choosing a comfortable and supportive office chair for use with a standing desk, there are a few things to consider.

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A Large Highly Adjustable Herman Miller Aeron Chair

How Much Should You Spend On Your Chair?

Even if you plan to sit in your office chair for only a few hours a day, you should buy the highest quality chair you can afford. This is not to say that the most expensive chair on the market is necessarily the best. But, when it comes to office chairs, there is a definite correlation between price and quality. Most really high quality office chairs start at around $600 and you can expect to pay anywhere between that base price and $1500. Of course, if you do happen to find the perfect office chair for your body at a price point of $200, then by all means, go for it. Just don’t choose something you know is inferior with the idea of saving money, unless you really can’t afford anything else. Your office chair is an investment in your physical health and it will have a direct impact on how well you can perform your job.

Is It Highly Adjustable?

Make sure the chair is adjustable, particularly in terms of height if you plan to use it at a standing desk, but in other ways, too. Can you adjust the tilt of the seat back? It should be able to be positioned so that your lower back is supported in the S-shape that is considered most ergonomically sound. Can you extend and/or tilt the headrest? Can you remove it? What about the arms? Can they be lifted and lowered? Pulled in toward your body or pushed out? Can they be removed entirely? Some higher-end chairs even have adjustable seat pans, which allow you to control how far out the seat extends underneath your legs because leg and torso length vary widely from person to person, regardless of height. Take a look at the specifications for Ergohuman, which describe the various ways their chairs can be adjusted, to get a sense of what kinds of adjustments are available in the market.

If you are very tall, you may have trouble finding a chair you can also adjust for use at a standing desk, simply because your standing desk will have to be particularly high. In this case, your best bet may be to purchase an adjustable height standing desk. If you are of average height, your chances of finding a suitable chair are much higher. You can simply use a conventional adjustable office chair at the height intended for a tall user. If you’re of average height and you intend to use your chair mostly at your standing desk, consider purchasing a chair purpose-built for a taller user. (Higher-end office chairs often come in at least two sizes, one for average users and one for tall ones.) You are also likely to want to purchase an additional footrest if the chair doesn’t come with a built-in one, to avoid the dangling leg syndrome.

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A Steelcase Leap Chair in Black Fabric

Is It Comfortable for YOU?

If you’re buying a chair online, you can certainly read the specs to find out precisely how adjustable it is. You can (and should) also read the reviews from other users. But before you fork over hundreds of dollars for a chair, you really should try it out in person. So, even if you intend to shop on the internet (and many of the best deals are available online), you should make the effort to try out the chair either in someone else’s office or in a physical retail environment.

At this point, as well adjusting the seat to your body and its needs, you should also carefully consider the material the chair is made from and the amount and placement of padding on it. If your work environment is chilly year-round for instance (perhaps it is air-conditioned), then you probably won’t mind a heavily padded chair in a nubbly fabric. However, if you work in a warm environment for at least some of the year, you might prefer a breathable leather and mesh chair.

Here are three adjustable office chairs with a great reputation and a solid track record to consider:

The Highly Adjustable Herman Miller Aeron Chair

The Steelcase Leap Fabric Chair

The Ergohuman Black Mesh Swivel Chair

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The Ergohuman Black Mesh Swivel Chair

If you’re looking for a solid, inexpensive way to convert your sitting desk to a standing one, one of our favorite options here at DeskHacks.com is the Executive Stand Steady, which Casey reviewed for us a couple of months ago. A sturdy stand that rests on top of your existing desk, at around $200 a pop it remains one of the fastest and least expensive ways to switch to standing for part of your day, short of cobbling something together yourself. In addition to its reasonable price, the Stand Steady’s most important feature has always been, in my opinion, its stability. And you can put it together in five minutes.

Now there’s another feature that really stands out: its height adjustability.

Use the Stand Steady Leg Extenders with the InMotion Elliptical Trainer

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A few months ago I posted a review of my Stamina InMotion Elliptical Trainer, a compact elliptical trainer that you can use while working at a standing desk. I noted at the time that it made me about a foot taller and that, when I used it, the buffet I was using as a standing desk at the time was too short. My temporary solution was to pile a couple of boxes on top of the buffet.

When the folks at Stand Steady saw that review, they offered to send me a Stand Steady desk with a set of the leg extenders you can buy as an accessory to use with the elliptical trainer.

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My Stand Steady at its lowest height. Those are the leg extenders on the left.

The regular Stand Steady desk has a height range of 11.25” to 15.25”. The leg extenders, which will cost you $29.99, allow for an added height range of 16” to 20”. I’ve placed the Stand Steady on top of my dining table, which is the height of your average desk surface. With its regular legs on, it works well as a standing desk for both me and my husband. I’m around 5’5” and my husband’s 6’0”. Adjusting the height of the legs is easy – you simply press the snap buttons and lift or lower the leg to your preferred height.

In order to use my elliptical trainer with the Stand Steady, I do need to use the leg extenders, but only to add an additional inch or two. And my husband needs only another couple of inches on top of that. Someone who is, say, even 6’2” could use the Stand Steady with leg extenders and the elliptical trainer at the same time.

Use the Stand Steady Leg Extenders If You Are Tall

If you’re looking to convert your sitting desk to standing and you’re particularly tall (over 6’2”), you know it can be tricky. It’s hard to find even a high-end standing desk that will work for really tall people. In cases like this, the Stand Steady with leg extenders is a great solution. You’re not likely to find one at a better price.

In summary, there are plenty of “desk-top desks,” for lack of a better term, on the market that promise to easily convert your sitting desk to a standing one. We here at DeskHacks remain impressed with the Executive Stand Steady, particularly in combination with the leg extenders, which make this product particularly versatile.

By now we all know that sitting for eight hours a day at a desk is bad for you. However, not everyone fully understands that standing in one position for eight hours a day at a desk, all day, every day, is also bad for you. It is.

There’s an easy solution, though. You simply need to spend part of your day standing and part of your day sitting. And in both positions, the key is to constantly vary your movements throughout the day. Using one of these three “standing stools,” designed for use at a standing desk, at least for some part of the day, is a great way to accomplish that. They require more active participation than a traditional office chair and they also force you to maintain better posture during the time you spend sitting.

The Mogo Stool by Focal Upright

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The Mogo Stool, designed by Martin Keen, the founder of Keen footwear, was dubbed the Human Kickstand by beta testers of the product and it really does look like one. Designed to be portable, it is collapsible, weighing in at just two pounds, and can be carried in a tote bag or attached to a backpack. Focal Upright suggests that you not only use it at your standing desk but also outside, at events like soccer games.

As you can probably tell from one look at the peg-like base, the Mogo Stool was designed for leaning, not for traditional sitting. This helps align the pelvis and spine to create a neutral, natural position. The company recently added more cushioning to the seat, which does look a little uncomfortable. With a height range of 18″ to 37″, it has the greatest range of the three standing stools featured here. The Mogo Stool will work for people up to 6’2″ in height, as long as they weigh 200 pounds or less. Amazon sells it for $125.00.

The Wobble Stool by Uncaged Ergonomics

 

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The weighted rocking base of the Wobble Stool lets you move around while sitting on it—and it always automatically returns upright after use, like one of those Weebles toys from the 1980s: “Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down.”

Featuring a rounded triangular saddle seat, the Wobble Stool pivots 360 degrees and can be adjusted for height (between 23″ and 33″) at the touch of one of three buttons located underneath the base of the seat. This company, too, has recently added extra cushioning to the seat, which suggests to us that the comfort of the padding of the seat is something to pay close attention to when making a purchasing decision about standing stools. Amazon sells the Wobble Stool for $189.00.

The Muvman Sit-Stand Stool by Aeris

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At the high end, the Muvman Sit-Stand Stool is more attractive than the other two choices shown here. Designed by a German company, the stool blends in nicely in almost any modern décor and, in fact, it won the prestigious RedDot design award in 2011.

As you might expect from a more expensive product, the Muvman is more customizable than the other two options featured here. The seat itself can be used in the traditional flat front position or it can be turned 45 degrees and used as a saddle seat. The standard stool’s height can be adjusted from 20″ to 33″, but then the stool also comes in a tall option, with a range of 23.5″ to 36″. This is great, because, for whatever reason, it seems that a lot of standing desk users are well over 6′ tall.

Furthermore, with the aid of a “dynamic strut,” the cushioned seat maintains a forward tilt of 4 degrees, for an “active, supported standing position,” according to the company. This position keeps your pelvis upright and your spine in its natural S shape.

Of course, all these extra features end up costing you a little or, depending on your perspective, a lot more. Amazon retails the Muvman for $599.00.

There you have it. Three good options for standing stools for your standing desk. Choose any one of them and you can feel great about sitting for at least part of the day. And you’re sure to spark your office mates’ interest with one of these unusual seats, too. If you’re uncomfortable with the space-age look of these standing stools, though, Amazon has plenty of options that look much more traditional. We just can’t guarantee they’ll be as much fun!