From BTR’s first review of an electric height-adjustable standing desk in April, we concluded that if you work mostly in a seated position, you are probably drastically shortening your life and killing your productivity.  Since then, more studies have come out supporting this view and we would like to update our readers with the very latest findings as we have received the VertDesk v3 for review from the company, and we have been using it for the past several weeks.

According to the bulk of medical evidence available, sitting continuously causes muscles to burn less fat because blood flows more sluggishly which can also increase the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancers, and other serious health problems.   The very latest studies overwhelmingly concur that sitting for prolonged periods is one of the most easily correctable health issues, and because of these findings some people have moved to working at fixed-height standing desks.

However, working for long hours on your feet can also spell health issues.  Researchers say that standing for just five hours a day contributes to significant and prolonged lower-limb muscle fatigue which may raise your risk for long-term back pain and other disorders.  So desk-centered workers are advised to switch from sitting to standing at least once every couple of hours.  But if you just get up and walk around, you will probably break your train of thought, and it takes time to readjust back to working productively.  The best solution is to use an electric motor-driven height-adjustable desk.

The Serious Health Risks From Prolonged Sitting

The evidence against prolonged sitting is overwhelming as there are over 10,000 studies showing that it will reduce your lifespan by promoting dozens of chronic diseases even if you exercise regularly.  There are many serious health disadvantages to sitting for long periods of time that are well-documented in nearly 50 major peer-reviewed studies.  There is one unified conclusion from analyzing all of the data:

Prolonged sedentary time was independently associated with deleterious health outcomes regardless of physical activity.

Recently, according to Bloomberg, sitting for prolonged periods can increase risk for hypertension, diabetes, cancers, back disorders, anxiety, and a higher probability of a premature death.  Even working out at the gym or engaging in regular physical activity does not appear to offset the risk of sitting although some of the latest studies appear to suggest it may help somewhat.  For those of us who work or game at a desk, this news is disturbing.  According to many experts, one good solution is to alternate between sitting and standing.  In fact, Bloomberg says that adjustable desks are the fastest growing office perk:

Source: Bloomberg

The reason that adjustable- height desks are becoming popular with employers is because they increase their workers’ productivity.  A recent study by Texas A&M University tracked the productivity of 167 workers in a call center over a 6-month period between a control group of seated workers and those given height adjustable desks.  The researchers summarized their results and concluded the following:

Results: Users of stand-capable desks were ∼45% more productive on a daily basis compared to their seated counterparts. Further, productivity of the stand-capable desk users significantly increased over time, from ∼23% in the 1st month to ∼53% over the next 6 months.

Conclusions: These findings suggest important benefits of employing stand-capable desks in the work force to increase productivity.

Almost 50% more productivity from using stand-capable desks is a good reason to use height-adjustable desks in addition to the health benefits.  The very best solution for health and productivity if you work at a desk all day evidently is to have an electronically operated height-adjustable desk. 

There are mechanical lift desks available, but they defeat the purpose of being able to continue your train of thought as you have to work to lift the desk.  So it’s best to have an electrically operated desk that can move quickly with you as you rise or sit.  Ideally, the desk should operate quietly in an office situation and also have presets for predetermined heights.  It should also be stable with or without a load, and a desk should not rock in any direction.  And very importantly, it should be reliable yet affordable.  The VertDesk v3 claims to excel in all of these important areas.

Two Adjustable Desks

This editor works all day splitting his time between two desks.  Our original adjustable desk houses a gaming PC with a 34″ display, and a notebook.  Since it is centered around writing, it sits near the patio sliding glass door with a great view of the mountains for inspiration.  The new VertDesk v3 now accommodates a second workstation PC in a corner for less distraction while working.  It usually is set up with 2-displays, and it houses the printer and the copier, and it is also used for building and modifying PCs.  We appreciate being able to adjust the height of our work surface without getting up and down or stooping over to work on our PCs.

Two months ago BTR received a couple of heavy packages with parts for the sitting/standing VertDesk v3 directly from the company via FedEx.  After removing our worn old traditional computer hutch with a sagging desktop, we built the VertDesk the following month and we have been using it ever since as our workstation.  

The 24×48″ VertDest v3 that we are evaluating today is a little smaller than our other height-adjustable desk, but it fits perfectly into the corner that we reserved for it.  VertDesks start at $517.99 for the basic 24″x36″ desk with no options, to $637.99 as reviewed for our edition with programmable controls ($49) and a larger desktop ($71 extra). 

VertDesk also included two cable management tracks for our review unit that we have not set up (at $29.99 each which if ordered, brings the total up to just under $734).  As reviewed, without the optional cable management, this desk costs about $190 more than the standing desk that we reviewed back in April, and we will see what the differences are.

The VertDesk v3 is available with a choice of many options as above including a larger desk surface, a custom desk platform with a solid plank of real wood, or a built-in file cabinet, keyboard, or pencil tray which are installed under the desk.  We picked a standard gray laminated driftwood top with black legs, and it looks very nice in our room. 

A good-quality desk is very important to desktop PC users including gamers.  It has to be sturdy and it also has to be large enough to hold at least one display and the other accessories a PC user/gamer needs including a keyboard, mouse, mouse pad, and speakers.   It also needs to handle the weight of the equipment that it supports for many years without sagging – or rocking.  All of this is important for electronic height-adjustable desks, with the addition of needing a reliable motor, lifting mechanism, and electronics. 

Until motorized desks were introduced, moving an entire desk from a sitting to a standing position was not an easy thing to do.  The VertDest v3 is a desk that remembers four of your sit versus stand positions and allows you to effortlessly, quietly, and quickly change its position at the touch of the control pad.  

Most of the competing automatically adjustable electrically-powered desks made in America are quite expensive in the “well-over $1,000” price range.  On the other hand, many inexpensive desks are often cheap wobbly knockoffs made in China, and although they may start below $300, they are often only covered by a 1-year warranty, and many of them struggle with lifting very much weight.  They may also be slow and noisy in operation.  The VertDesk v3 starts below $520, it is quiet, fast, sturdy, powerful, the electronics are made in Europe and it is assembled in the U.S.A., plus it comes with a 5-year warranty on the electronics and ten-years on the frame and desktop.

Before we get to our impressions of the VertDesk v3, let’s unbox it and put it together.