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I’ve been sitting in a desk chair with my eyeballs glued to a computer for about 12 years now. I get up sometimes to forage for snacks and change my underwear, but overall, that’s where I spend most of my time. And like any other desk denizen can tell you, that time comes with a price: a stiff neck, headaches, and back pain of every variety (sometimes all at the same time).
We all know sitting is killing us. I tried many solutions: a posture corrector, sitting on an inflatable ball, even wearing a harness to pull my shoulders back. They all failed.
When Varidesk offered me the chance to try out a standing desk for a month, I was reserved but hopeful. As many of you already know, standing desks can help to interrupt the positions that, when held too long, are harmful to the body. But standing all day long isn’t always comfy either, which is why a desk that can convert from sitting to standing is an ideal solution. And since VariDesk is known for being one of the best standing desks on the market, I was excited to give one a try.
The first thing you’ll notice about a Varidesk when you get it home is how huge it is. It’s also heavy, so lure a friend into helping assemble it by bribing them with pizza, or something. This model is the ProDesk 60 Electric, VariDesk’s top of the line model. We didn’t quite get it assembled in the five minutes VariDesk promises (lots of packaging to claw your way through), but within 20 minutes we were up and running.
As soon as you get this desk out of the box, you can tell it’s a beautifully made product (not to mention roomy!). As you can see, there’s tons of space for all my stuff, plus some to spare. But once it’s set up, we know what we want to try first: the sit to stand feature. Since this is a mechanical desk, there’s no crank to change the height. All you do is press a button located on the right of the desk just under the surface, and it goes up or down, as you’ll see in the video below.
The desk can go as low as 25.5 inches or as high as 50.5 inches for you gentle giants. The handy screen also tells you what height you’re at when you stop, so it’s easy to remember your ideal stand and sit heights. There are also programmable memory settings so you can save the heights that work for you. Press the corresponding number and the desk will automatically go to the height you set. And as an added bonus, the motor is quiet, so it won’t make your coworkers glare at you.
Thanks to the solid steel legs and the crossbar that connects them, the frame of the desk does not budge. Say goodbye to knocking over coffee cups because your desk isn’t so stable. Even transitioning from sitting to standing, the desk remains completely stable. Pretty impressive, if you ask us.
I started out with two standing 30-minute intervals a day, aiming to work my way up to a total of four hours standing and four sitting. I have worked at standing desks before, so I was able to adjust right away. But after a week of use, it was clear that I was starting to get relief from shoulder and neck pain because I could align my monitor perfectly at eye level, and I wasn’t hunched forward in my chair since I was standing up.
One of the best things I got out of spending 30 days with the desk was a clear comparison of the way my body felt working in a standing position versus sitting. By week three, I was spending more time standing in my workday than I sitting because sitting down became painful more quickly, whereas standing felt like a relief. That made it clear to me that all those threatening infographics about sitting killing us are right – and if you have a standing desk, you just might live a bit longer.
I came away from the experience feeling that VariDesk does offer one of the best standing desks on the market. I would recommend this product with no reservation. The company offers sit to stand converters as well, so there’s an ideal option for every budget. Converters start at $175 and desks at $495. If you plan to make any one investment in your work life this year, make it a standing desk. Not only is it worth the money, but your body will thank you.
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Colette Bennett is a writer/editor who specializes in web culture, skincare, and all things geek. Her work has appeared on CNN, HLN, Engadget, Kotaku, Colourlovers, and Continue Magazine. She also writes horror and sci-fi fiction for Corona Books and is at work on her second novel.