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What is the desk height for best posture and ergonomics? [Updated 2019]

When it comes down to having better posture in front of your computer, it’s better to first understand the mechanics of having a nice ergonomic setup, and at the same time knowing what your typical desk height is.

Chances are your desk at work is a standard desk height which can often lead to the dangers of sitting in the long-term. We can understand that sitting is more comfortable than standing, but have you ever considered how to make your chair more comfortable?

In this article, we’ll be going over how tall your desk should be to have better posture and better ergonomics.

We’ve been getting requests on helping customers narrow down on their buying options due to their height. The chances are that you have a regular desk at your office. And by coming here, you’re one step closer to performing better at your work.

What’s an average desk height?

A regular desk at work, or “non-standing” desks you often see from Ikea, Office Depot, or any other similar office supply stores, usually are 29 inches tall, or 73.5 cm (approximately). Sometimes the height of the desk doesn’t work too well with people, especially those that are prone to back pain. Its always better to have options and find a desk that is adjustable per the user’s needs. This is why you often see adjustable and ergonomic office chairs all the time.

Based on the National Center of Health Statistics, the average height for a male individual is 69.0 inches or 5′-9″ tall. For females, the average height is 63.6 inches or 5 feet and 3.6 inches tall. Two very different average heights, so how can people work in the office when the desk height is fixed while everybody is different?

This means that most people deal with the standard 29-inch desk heights are either too tall for them or even too short, especially for those people taller than 6 feet. This could be the reason why you may be dealing with ergonomic issues, which leads to back pain or posture problems.

Average Desk Height Table and Calculations

The image has labels that correspond to the heading of the table. The columns are separated by Seated Position and Standing Position. Each section is then divided by the three and two subcategories: Seat Height, Sitting Eye Height, Sitting Desk Range, Standing Eye Height, Standing Desk Height, respectively.
calculator for standard and adjustable desk height measurement tool

Seated PositionStanding Position
HeightSeat HeightSitting Eye HeightSitting Desk HeightStanding Eye HeightStanding Desk Height
5′ 0″14.0″41.5″22.5″55.5″36.5″
5′ 1″14.5″42.0″23.0″56.5″37.0″
5′ 2″15.0″43.0″23.0″57.5″37.5″
5′ 3″15.0″44.0″23.5″58.0″38.0″
5′ 4″15.5″44.5″24.0″59.5″39.0″
5′ 5″15.5″45.0″24.5″60.5″39.5″
5′ 6″16.0″46.0″25.0″61.5″40.5″
5′ 7″16.5″46.5″25.0″62.5″41.0″
5′ 8″16.5″47.5″25.5″63.5″41.5″
5′ 9″17.0″48.0″26.0″64.5″42.5″
5′ 10″17.0″48.5″26.5″65.0″43.0″
5′ 11″17.5″49.5″27.0″66.0″43.5″
6′ 0″18.0″50.0″27.0″67.5″44.0″
6′ 1″18.0″50.5″27.5″68.0″44.5″
6′ 2″19.0″51.5″28.0″69.0″45.5″
6′ 3″19.0″52.5″28.5″70.0″46.5″
6′ 4″19.5″53.0″28.5″71.5″47.0″

The data presented was used from an average of male and female anthropometric dimensions that was based on the 1988 Anthropometric Survey of United States Army Personnel

This standard desk height table was created to provide a general recommendation measurement for seated or standing based on the individual’s height.

Please note that this information may not be accurate for everyone. We do encourage you to use a measuring tape to measure your current setup as a baseline tool, to see how you currently feel. If you do not have something to currently measure, then the table will be an excellent place to start.

How do we correct our ergonomics with an average desk height?

So, now it begs the question on how to adjust ourselves to compensate for the height of the desk that’s given to us. Thankfully there are plenty of new initiatives companies are doing to help with this.

A lot of startups are now understanding the frustrations people are having with cheap and regular desks. Instead, they’ve opted in providing standing desks or even investing in better ergonomic office chairs.

Even if you’re not in a startup, we’ve got you covered on what you can do to help with your desk height so you can have better posture and ergonomics throughout the day, by correcting your chair height, using a standing desk, or correcting your seated desk height.

A quick rule of thumb that you can use, is that for every 1-inch difference in height from 6-feet, add or remove 0.5 inches from the industry standard of 29-inches.

Correct your chair height

Most office chairs nowadays have the ability to adjust its height. However, standard chair height (non-adjustable) ones are about 18-inches, measured from the floor the seat.

When it comes to finding the perfect and comfortable ergonomic chair, you’ll want to make sure that your chair can be adjusted to your comfort, more than just adjusting its height. Some chairs will give you the ability to tilt, adjust its armrest, and also adjust the seat position itself. But when it comes to ergonomics, make sure that your chair height, table height, and elbow height are in unison.

Related article: Learn more about our anti-gravity recliner chairs

woman correcting seated desk height for better posture and ergonomics

Correct the height by using a standing desk

If you’re looking to buy a standard desk, then you might start developing back pain or health problems in the long run, especially for those that are at their desk the majority of the day. Our recommendation is to invest in an adjustable standing desk or converter that helps you stand up because it gives you so much more flexibility and allows you to control the desk height.

In the illustration above, you’ll be able to see the different average desk height that should be when standing up. Your elbows should be 90-degrees to the desktop or your keyboard, and your monitor is raised to eye level.

There’s no real industry standard desk height for standing desks because these types of desks have a range of heights, giving you the flexibility to adjust per your comfort and height level.

correct standing desk height

Correct your seated desk height

If you’re not interested in getting an adjustable desk, then the typical desk height is around 29-inches, measured from the floor to the tabletop. When it comes to finding the proper ergonomic, you’ll want to make sure that you have a good chair where the seat is adjustable to your height. If you don’t have an adjustable chair, you can use something to prop up your desk, such as riser blocks.

In the illustration above, you’ll notice that your feet should be firmly placed on the floor and your thighs perpendicular to the floor. You shouldn’t raise your desk height where you’re “tippy-toeing,” nor too low where your thighs are at an angle.

For the proper height of your desk relative to the chair, you’ll want to make sure that your knees are about 90 to about 97-degrees.

correct seated desk height with riser blocks

Standard and average desk height FAQs

Why knowing the average desk height matters?

Understanding these measurements can help with your ergonomics and help relieve any future pain that may come from bad posture. When you’re in a flow state, your mind can be very focused and you won’t be able to feel any problems with your body, so eventually, your body starts to hurt more as time goes on.

Setting up the proper height for your desk, chair, and monitor allows your body to be in the correct position so you won’t be stressing out your muscles or joints.

What if I have a keyboard tray?

If you have a keyboard tray that’s below the desk surface, you’ll want to adjust it between 22-inches and 30-inches for a seated position. If you’re in a standing position, it should be 36 to 46.5 inches.

What is the proper height for a desk?

Like previously mentioned, the work surface of a standard desk height should be about 28″ to 30″, which is a good rule of thumb for people between 5’8″ and 5’10” tall that uses a conventional task chair.

Of course, if you’re taller or shorter, you’ll need to adjust accordingly, by using a desk riser block or an adjustable desk.

Tips on a better ergonomic workstation

Desk height should be at a proper position where your arms are rested comfortably with your keyboard. You should also relax your shoulders, and let it “hang” naturally.

Keyboard and mouse should be placed on the same level and close to each other. Your keyboard and mouse should be placed where your elbows are 90-degrees, allowing your elbows to rest on your chair’s armrest. When you’re typing or moving your mouse, your wrist should be straight to avoid any future pain.

Your Monitor should be at eye level so you’re not stressing your neck by tilting it up or down when viewing. Monitors vary by size, and if it allows it, you should slightly tilt your monitor about 20-degrees (seen in the illustration above). Ensure there’s a safe distance so you won’t have eye strain, say a minimum of 15-inches away from you.

For more tips, check out the in-depth article of an ergonomic setup.

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