How long do standing desks last? Insider tips & facts!


Purchasing a standing desk is an investment and consequently you’ll want one that lasts as long as possible. With this in mind, this article questions how long do standing desks last? I reveal what type of standing desk is the most reliable and also how long a motor can last for. This is covert information that manufacturers are often reluctant to disclose, so read it here first!

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Along with to all of the above, you’ll find lots of valuable tips and insider tricks to help you know what questions to ask when searching for the most reliable standing desk.

How long do standing desks last? - Office desk with monitors and laptop

How long do standing desks last?

Standing desks typically have a life of 5 – 30 years depending on the type of sit-stand desk. Electric standing desks are prone to motor malfunctions and break downs; consequently, they are considered the most unreliable when compared with crank or gas lift standing desks.

According to multiple desk manufacturers that I queried; they have noticed that electric standing desks are more prone to faults than pneumatic standing desks.

Did you know? The length of the warranty can vary for each component, for instance the motor may have a different warranty length to the frame.

How long do pneumatic standing desks last?

High quality pneumatic standing desks can easily have a lifetime of 30 years or more. Pneumatic standing desks are often rated for 50000 lift cycles over the period of their life. This is double the amount required by BIFMA standards.

Related: How heavy are standing desks? – It’s more than you think!

How long do manual standing desks last?

Manual sit-stand desks tend to be more durable and should easily last 5 – 10 years or more. They have fewer components that are liable to break when compared to electric stand-up desks.

Related: Do standing desks make much noise? Plus clever tips included!

How long do motors last?

Many standing desk motors can last an average of 5 – 15 years. Motors are cycle tested to achieve between 5000 – 10000 up and down movements. Some motors achieve upwards of 20000 cycles!

It’s difficult to assign a lifespan to motors since it is ultimately dependent on factors including the frequency of use, load capacity, quality of the motor, along with the level of care and maintenance provided to the motor.

Based on these cycle tests, the below table illustrates how long a motor could last a user working 8 hours a day over 252 days per year – yes, that’s on average how many days we work annually!

Cycles per day

Cycles per working year

Cycle test duration

Number of years

1

252

5000

19.84 years

2

504

5000

9.92 years

3

756

5000

6.61 years

4

1008

5000

4.96 years

5

1260

5000

3.97 years

1

252

10000

39.68 years

2

504

10000

19.84 years

3

756

10000

13.22 years

4

1008

10000

9.92 years

5

1260

10000

7.94 years

Let’s explain the calculations from the above table. Assume that a cycle equals an up and down movement.

Assume that a sit-stand desk user would raise and lower their standing desk 2 times in a day (adjusting between sitting and standing once in the morning and once in the afternoon) over an 8-hour day, and there are approximately 252 working days in the year.

That would equate to 504 movements in a year. The motor could be expected to last a duration of 9.92 years (if lifespan of the motor is 5000 cycles) and 19.84 years (if lifespan of motor is 10000 cycles).

Perhaps the person is a power user or works a longer day. The person adjusts their position 5 cycles throughout the day, that would equate to 1260 movements in a year.

The motor could be expected to last a duration of 3.97 years (if the lifespan of motor is 5000 cycles) and 7.94 years (if the lifespan of motor is 10000 cycles).

Based on these assumptions, a person could expect that a motor would last a minimum of 3 years.

However, bear in mind that motors can often outperform their cycle test, so it wouldn’t be surprising if it lasted longer than a few years.

On the other hand, if the motor is cheap, overloaded or simply malfunctions, this duration will decrease.

Why not try the calculation out for yourself to see how long a motor could last you? Here’s the formula:

(Number of desk cycles per day X Number of days using standing desk per year) ÷ Cycle test length = Estimated desk motor lifespan in years

Tip: The warranty length provided on a standing desk, particularly in relation to the motor, is a key consideration. Look for a warranty with a minimum of 1 year, but preferably 3 years or longer.

Conclusion

It’s impossible to give a hard fast rule regarding how long your standing desk will last but anticipating a lifetime of at least 5 – 30 years for a standing desk would be reasonable. It’s evident that pneumatic and manual height-adjustable standing desks prove more reliable in the long term.

Despite the bad reputation that electric standing desks receive for the electronic failures, it’s still worth bearing in mind that a lifespan of 5 – 10 years is still a long lifetime for an electric desk.

I’d personally choose a mid-range priced sit-stand desk from a trustworthy brand with reliable reviews and good specs that suit my needs and environment.

Speaking of which, the Ergotron products are my all-time preferred choice as they offer excellent warranties, have a trustworthy name and popular standing units. I have no delay recommending them to friends or family! If you want to slash the time you spend researching standing products, then they are certainly worth a quick look! 

Of course, how long a standing desk will last is only one factor to be considered. Are you curious about the cost of a standing desk? Well if you do, I’ve gone to the effort of compiling a price cheat sheet to save you jumping in and out of every website, you can read about it here: How much do standing desks cost? Plus, 40 price comparisons included!

My goal with this blog is to help you on all matters related your home office and work area. Bearing that in mind, if you have any queries or comments on the above, please drop them in the box below. I’d love to hear them.

Sharon

With years of both professional and first-hand experience in office equipment and work settings, I now want to help you avoid making mistakes that countless others do. Whether you're studying or working from home, this site will help you create the ultimate haven for working safely, comfortably and productively in!

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