Whether you need a new desk for your office or for your home, it is essential for your health and productivity that it is the right height. Yes, it is true that most office chairs’ heights can be regulated to fit the desk, but you still need that basic convenience to start from.
So how do you determine whether the desk you like is of good height? Let’s see.
In the ideal scenario, when you sit on your chair and place your arms on the desk, your forearms should be parallel to the floor. This scenario, however, is ideal mostly for touch-typists (the typists that do not need to look at the keyboard while typing) and not for everyone. Instead, the perfect desk height for you will depend on your work habits and the tasks you are required to perform.
For example, if you will be using the desk mostly for manual labor and/or tasks that require the use of force, you will probably be more comfortable with it being lower as it will allow you to exercise more pressure on the objects you have. Lower in this case means below elbow-height, but not much. Be careful not to use this desk for handwriting or computer typing as it will cause you to hunch your back which can lead to severe pain and medical issues.
If you are going to use the desk for handwriting (for example for studying) or need to keep an eye on your keyboard when you are typing on the computer, a desk that is slightly higher will be the most comfortable to you. For such tasks an above-elbow height works best.
If you handle a lot of precise and intricate manual tasks such as jewellery-crafting, watch-repair, etc, a desk that is even higher might work best for you as you will need to be close to the objects you are working on. A higher desk will bring them up to your eye-level naturally without you having to bend your back.
A standard 28 to 30-inch (70 to 76-cm) desk works best for people whose natural height is between 5’8” and 5’10” (172 and 177 centimeters). Even though these numbers may be subject to change as dependant on personal preference and task type, they are still a good general guide. Based on these numbers, an inch of your height equals 0,41 to 0,42 of the desk’s height in inches, while a centimeter of your height equals 0,40 to 0,43 of the desk’s height in centimeters. So if you are, for example 5’6” (66 inches) tall, your perfect desk is probably between 66×0,41=27 and 66×0,42=27,70 inches high. If you work with metric, the same principle applies – if you are 164cm tall, your perfect desk sits between 164×0,40=65 and 164×0,43=70 cm.
Performing these simple calculations might save you a lot of time when you go out shopping as you will at least know where to start. However, keep in mind that you can save yourself even these calculations by purchasing an adjustable height desk which can be fitted to people of different heights and/or for different tasks. The only thing about adjustable desks is that they are not as stable as the solid ones (most of them that is), but they still save you a lot of trouble and possible pain.