At first glance, the debate between single motor vs. dual motor standing desks may seem like a foregone conclusion.
After all, surely two is always better than one, right?
As you’ll discover in this in-depth, head-to-head comparison, there’s often much more to it than meets the eye.
Below, we outline the pros and cons of each type of standing desk, how they work, and which one may be better suited for you and your office space.
How Single Motor Standing Desks Work
As you’ve no doubt gathered from the name, single motor standing desks use just one motor to power the lifting mechanism that is used to control the height of your desk.
This motor features two sensors that pick up on the number of revolutions completed. The desk then uses this data to manage and monitor the desk height, any pre-programmed height positions, and other adjustable features.
By relying only on a single motor to power both legs of the desk, you tend to get a greater level of consistency.
By this, we mean that even when more weight is placed upon the desk, and even when it begins to rise to its maximum height, the overall lifting speed stays relatively the same.
How Dual Motor Standing Desks Work
Dual motor desks are by no means completely inconsistent, but they are far more prone to consistency problems than their single-motor counterparts.
With a dual-motor, you’ve naturally got one motor for each leg.
As a general rule, that can work well, and often means that they can withstand a greater weight capacity.
However, it’s worth keeping in mind that in order for a dual motor to work properly, both motors have to be completely synchronized and raise each leg to precisely the same height at exactly the same speed at exactly the same time.
While synchronization problems aren’t exactly an everyday occurrence, they can occur on faulty desks. This causes the desk to become lopsided and uneven which pretty much makes the whole desk unusable.
Single Motor vs. Dual Motor Standing Desks – A Head to Head Comparison
Speed and Performance
Regardless of whether you’re buying a pneumatic or electric standing desk, one of the most important factors to look for is always the adjustment speed and overall performance.
By performance, we of course mean how good any particular desk is at lifting a particular weight capacity.
As a general rule, dual monitor desks perform better here.
For example, one of the best-selling dual-motor standing desk frames is the Flexispot EC4 which boasts a maximum weight-bearing capacity of 275 lbs and a maximum lifting speed of 1.4” per second.
Compare this to the Flexispot brand’s single-motor Flexispot Adjustable Standing Desk which supports just a capacity of just 132 lbs and a lifting speed of 1″ per second.
Maintenance and Assembly
If you’re putting your standing desk together yourself, you may actually find that a dual-motor set-up is easier to configure.
This is due to the fact that single-motor set-ups need to be properly aligned, with just one hex rod linking the motor to each of the two legs.
Without absolute precision at this part, your desk can very quickly become uneven and may need rebuilding from scratch.
With a dual motor, there’s no such problem at the assembly stage as each leg uses its own separate motor.
However, as we mentioned earlier, a single problem with just one of the two motors can cause your entire desk to go awry and become lopsided.
As a result, this may mean that you end up spending more time repairing and maintaining your dual-motor desk than you with a single motor option
Consistency and Reliability
So far, the argument isn’t looking good for single-motor standing desks, but they’re clearly a winner when it comes to consistency and reliability.
It isn’t just the oft-mentioned fact that there’s a greater risk of one motor presenting a fault that’s the issue here.
Single motors do a much better job at maintaining an overall consistent speed when handling larger weight loads and won’t slow down when tasked with lifting more weight in the same way that a double-monitor desk will.
No matter what kind of desk you’re buying, durability is bound to be a top consideration. The truth is that this is one factor that largely depends on the brand and manufacturer, more so than the number of motors your desk has.
After all, a cheaply-made dual monitor desk is unlikely to last anywhere near as long as a good quality single-motor desk and vice versa.
That said, we find time and time again that dual-monitor desks tend to have a longer lifespan than their single-monitor counterparts. Although this extra level of durability tends to come at a premium, it does generally mean that you get better long-term value for your money.
Suitability for Double-Monitor Use
If you’re on the lookout for the best standing desk for double monitors, then a dual-motor desk is likely to be a better fit.
The popular Seville Classics AIRLIFT Pro, for example, not only features a big enough desk surface area to comfortably fit two monitors, a keyboard, and other peripherals, but it’s weight capacity of 264 lbs and powerful dual-motor design makes it easy to lift those monitors smoothly and speedily.
The design may not be the most important factor for everyone, but it still matters, especially if you’re aiming to create a certain aesthetic in your work area.
With that in mind, it’s worth considering how the number of monitors on your desk affects the overall aesthetic.
With a double-monitor option like the FEZIBO Dual Motor Height Adjustable Electric Standing Desk, for example, both motors are built into the actual frame, often hidden from view in individual boxes placed above each leg.
This makes them much more discreet and doesn’t hinder the look and feel of your desk.
With a single-motor desk like the SHW Electric Height Adjustable Mobile Standing Desk, on the other hand, the motor tends to be placed externally and is pretty noticeable.
That’s not to say that single-motor desks are necessarily ugly. As we mentioned in our complete review of the SHW desk, it still has a simple-yet-elegant design, but in our opinion, the hidden motors of a dual-motor desk make them a much sleeker, much more attractive option.
Frequently Asked Questions About Single vs. Dual Motor Standing Desks
How does the number of motors affect the stability of a standing desk?
As a general rule, the number of motors in a desk has no bearing on its stability.
What kind of motors do standing desks use?
Electric standing desks tend to use Direct Current (DC) motors which use internal inductors to produce a magnetic field which results in motor movement.
Single motor dual motor standing desks: Which is more expensive?
Though there are exceptions to every rule, dual monitor desks tend to cost more, but for that you get greater power, speed, and durability than you’d get with a single desk.
Do standing desks need dual motors?
Standing desks don’t necessarily need dual motors as many single motor desks can get the job done perfectly well, but if you have heavier equipment, the extra weight capacity of a double motor desk may be a better investment.
Single Motor vs. Dual Motor Standing Desks – Which Is Better?
We started this guide by saying that just because a dual motor standing desk has more motors than a single motor desk doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best option for everyone.
As we wrap up this guide, we stand by that claim, and if you’ve read this far, you may well be in agreement with us.
After all, single motor standing desks are by far the least expensive of the two options, making them an ideal choice if you’re looking to switch to a standing desk while keeping one eye closely on your budget.
What’s more, although they rarely boast the same kind of weight capacity as dual motors, they are much more consistent with their lifting speeds and much more reliable, with less of a chance that one errant motor sending your entire set-up skew-whiff.
Still, with all that working in favor of the single-motor desk, there’s little denying that dual motors really do have much more to offer.
Yes, they’re often more expensive and that can be off-putting for budget-conscious desk-workers, but if you have the money to spend, the investment is largely worth it.
Not only are desks like the aforementioned Flexispot EC4 and FEZIBO Dual Motor Height Adjustable Electric Standing Desk built to last, they also support a superior weight capacity, making them a better choice for double-monitor users or anyone who simply needs to tackle a heavy workload through the working day.
Add to this the fact that they tend to boast faster-lifting speeds (at least up to a point), and there’s no denying that dual-monitor standing desks are the clear winner of this head-to-head comparison.