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Does standing desk take a lot of electricity?



Feb. 04, 2024
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Unlike the manual ones, you need to plug in an electric standing desk. The uninterrupted flow of electricity ensures the desk is at least on standby mode when you are not using it. But that’s when you wonder, how much electricity does a standing desk use?

A standing desk can draw 150 to 220W while it’s active. If you keep it on standby most of the time, the power intake wouldn’t be more than 0.2W. The ultimate cost of electricity depends on how often you use it.

If you have recently bought a new standing desk, it’s logical to get worried about the electricity bill. After all, the cost is only increasing per year. Keep on reading to find all your answers.

Do Standing Desks Use A Lot Of Electricity?

Standing desks do consume a good amount of electricity. The range starts from 140W. Compared to a table fan consuming only about 42-57W per hour, it sounds like a lot. If you don’t interfere with the power intake, you have to pay hundreds of dollars in bills at the end of each year.

But, no need to get afraid. There are two ways a standing desk consumes power. One is called active mode, and another is known as the standby mode. The difference in power consumption in these phases is like night and day.

The standby mode requires as low as 0.1W, which is almost zero. And, if you notice, the desk spends most of its time in the standby zone. So, even though a standing desk consumes quite some electricity, it’s for a very short time frame.

How Much Electricity Does A Standing Desk Use?

Standing desks use 5.8 kWh of electricity per year. Of course, it is not a fixed number. There are many factors to consider, like how many times a day you activate the desk, how long you stand in front of it, and so on.

Another thing that matters is which manufacturer has designed your desk.

Let’s start by comparing the power usage of standing desks from three renowned brands (Uplift, Desky, and Flexispot). 

DesksWattageStand-By WattageUplift Pro200W0.2WDesky Standing Desk200W0.1WFlexispot 220W0.6W

You may ask, why is there a difference in power usage per hour? That’s because each brand is known for its own set of accessories and features. It helps the desk stand out from the desk. Such features include a memory pre-set, child lock system, anti-collision scanner, dual motor, and so on.

And, the more features you want, expect the power required to increase accordingly. It’s simple logic. More electrical parts will draw more electricity.

The same thing happens with the standby power usage rate as well. If a desk is heavily equipped with electrical accessories, it will take slightly more power to keep the furniture on a standby phase. 

Moving on to the second part, here’s a chart to compare the standing desk’s power usage with some other home appliances.

Home AppliancesWattage During Active UsageAverage Active TimeStanding Desk150WSix hoursRefrigerator250WEight hours TV150WFour hoursDesktop PC200WSix hours

As you can see, a standing desk draws pretty much the same amount as a desktop PC. The active period (average) for both components is six hours. So, does it mean the standing desk will impact your electricity bill just as much as the computer? 

Absolutely, no. Here, we have to understand how a standing desk’s power consumption actually works. For example, the desk surely draws around 200W when you press the up or down arrow. This much energy is necessary to move the desk to any desired position. 

But, as soon as the desk settles down and stops moving, the power intake reduces significantly. Suppose you are working for 5 hours straight in a sitting position. 

However, you will notice the desk only draws 200W once (during the transition). And this transition time, regardless of the desk’s brand, won’t be over 10 seconds. So, the 200Wh power rate is only applicable for a short time. Once the desk reaches its position, it no longer needs such a power usage rate. Hope this clarifies everything.

The Average Cost Of Electricity For Using A Standing Desk

Are you familiar with the term kilo-watt-hour? If not, then you have to calculate the cost of electricity for any home appliance. First, let’s understand what watt-hour means. It’s the amount of power an equipment draws within one hour. Divide it by 1000, and you get kWh.

For example, if a standing desk consumes 220 watts and it is active for 20 hours a year (only considering the transition). Multiply both numbers, and we get 4400Wh. Let’s divide it by 1000 (4400/1000)= 4.4 kWh. It’s as simple as that.

Once you find out the kWh value, just check your state’s electricity cost per kWh. Check out the electricity cost per kWh in a few states, just for a little idea.

State NameCost Per kWhCalifornia28.38 centsArizona14.74 centsNew York22.64 centsNew Jersey17.76 centsFlorida15.48 cents

Don’t live in any of these states? No worries. The information is available online. California has the highest rate (28.38 cents) all over the USA. 

So, get the rate and multiply it by the kWh value you got earlier. For example, Flexispot desks consume 5.8kWh of energy every year. If you live in California, the cost would be 5.8×28.38= 164 cents. It’s close to $1.5. 

Now, you see there’s little to no impact of using a standing desk on your electricity bill.

Is It Okay To Unplug The Standing Desk To Save Electricity?

If you are still adamant about saving some electricity, you can unplug the desk after every use. It is perfectly safe to do. 

Imagine what happens when the power source of your area fails, and lights go out. Unplugging the desk does exactly the same thing. Any adjustment you saved would disappear forever. You have to manually set the sitting and standing height every time you use the desk.

If you are okay with the trouble, you can surely prevent the desk from intake power to remain on standby all the time. However, there’s not much you can save this way. For example, 0.5W is the average power requirement for standby desks. Multiply it with time (an hour), and we get 0.5x 6x 365= 1095 watt-hour. Let’s divide it by 1000 for the kWh value (1095/1000=1.095 kWh).

Considering the cost per kWh is 16 cents, we have 17.52 cents which is equivalent to $0.1752. You see, that’s not even one dollar. Is it really worth the trouble?

3 Ways To Save Electricity Costs Without Unplugging The Desk

There is no obvious reason people bother about electricity consumption by their home appliances. For some users, it’s money. In contrast, others care about environmental safety and try to reduce the carbon footprint even by a little. No matter why you want to save power intake, here are three proven ways to achieve that. Take a look.

1. Check The Weight

Desk manufacturers highly recommend staying below the max weight capacity. It keeps the transition stable. But there’s another reason why you should follow it. A desktop loaded with heavy equipment is harder to lift for a single motor. 

The aggregate weight can exceed the optimum level if you usually keep desktops, printers, keyboards, and other office electronics on the desk surface. Even if it’s below 270 or 300 lbs (as shown in the manuals), the desk will end up drawing more electricity to push the table up.

What you can do is, reduce the number of heavy machines before pushing the arrow buttons. It will allow the desk to complete the transition without accelerating the power usage.

2. Work From Home

Currently, the electricity cost per kWh is 23 cents if you work remotely. That means residents enjoy a little benefit over business establishments. Since you work from home, you would also be eligible for that discount.

If you are trying to reduce the cost, bring your office home. However, there’s another side to the story. The report says that remote workers use 25% more electricity than ordinary people. It implies that if you are an employee working from home, you are paying some extra bucks as an electricity bill.

If you choose to work from an office, you don’t have to pay those energy bills. Your employer is responsible for that. So, keep these hidden charges in mind.

3. Switch To Manual

We don’t think the standing desks consume too much power. It shouldn’t make you consider an alternative option. As you can see from the above discussion, there won’t be any noteworthy change in your bills. However, everyone has their reasons. If you are willing to save the electricity usage anyhow, switch to a manual sit-stand desk instead.

It is equipped with a crankshaft. The pneumatic mechanism allows the leg/columns to rise up and down according to your command. Pneumatic desks are a little slower. But it compensates for the speed by erasing any cable/electricity requirement. The choice is yours.

Before You Go!

Even though many people blame standing desks for consuming high amounts of electricity, numbers don’t lie. Go ahead and plug your standing desk into the power outlet. Still, if you are fighting in your head, check out our discussion on whether a standing desk needs to be plugged in or not. 

Related Article: Do standing desks need to be plugged in?

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Dr. Robert H. Shmerling is the former clinical chief of the division of rheumatology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), and is a current member of the corresponding faculty in medicine at Harvard Medical School. … See Full Bio

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