Standing desk cable management has always been notoriously hard. It can feel impossible to keep everything looking neat when all your power cables need to have enough slack in them to work seated as well as standing.
Beyond cosmetic tidiness, cable management is also key for a safe and sane workstation. As we discuss aerodynamics more thoroughly in our primer, there are two main hazards that cable management can help with: tripping and bending.
Bending over too much is a recipe for back injuries, so the more time you spend bent over, trying to figure out what’s what among your messy cables, the more risk you’re introducing.
While safety is certainly more important, cosmetic reasons are the primary driver for most users searching for a cable management kit. A natural consequence of working at a standing desk is less space to hide your cables, and many standing desks end up looking like they’re standing on a jumble of wires. But don’t be content with this. We can tame the snarl.
Stand up desk cable management is an art, don’t let anyone tell you differently. But how do you make meaningful changes, and what do you use to do it?
So Where Do You Start with Standing Desk Cable Management?
Cable management systems are designed to tame this unseemly spaghetti of cords and provide a better-looking, better-protected workstation. Many height-adjustable desk manufacturers have come up with their own cable organizer kits, ranging from a handful of adhesive clips and zip ties to more robust systems with a wide assortment of tools, including surge protectors, cable sleeves and cable troughs that attach to the underside of the desk.
Commonly offered cable management kits differ in componentry and complexity, but most of them run into some of the same pitfalls. The first has to do with the kit’s capabilities. Many basic kits have too few components and with too little variety. These kits don’t have the diverse arsenal necessary to handle the wide array of workstation configurations out there.
Another common drawback is that they are largely comprised of single-use components. Once installed, most of the cable guiding components can’t be undone or repositioned: zip ties are tightly secured, and adhesive clips are stuck in place. This results in a good deal of frustration when it comes time to add or remove cables. And once you’re out of ties or clips, you’ll have to buy new ones.
Another very common user complaint we see on cable management kits is that the adhesive on the cable clamps, which might have been fine on a fixed-height desk that never moved, tend to fail after many cycles of raising and lowering the desk. Or the plastic degrades over time, and pieces snap off when you try to add or remove cables. Even a hefty-sounding 20 lbs-rated cable clamp may be subjected to far greater pulling forces when the desk is in motion, especially if any of the cables passing through it get snagged on the way up.
Lastly, cable sleeves aren’t as clean-looking as cable spines. These vertebrae chains come in two price tiers. The kind you’re likely to find on Amazon are cheaply made with flimsy plastic parts, often hard to use, too short, have too many openings in the chain, making them add to visual clutter rather than reduce it, and are generally disrecommended by our expert ergonomic accessories review staff.
Then there’s the better, and of course, the much pricier variety used by professional commercial office furniture dealers and installers. These are commonly used on large corporate installations where sockets have been placed in very specific locations when the entire office was originally built out. But most people do not have such a convenience; they need a way to get the power cables down from the desktop, routed discretely to the floor, and from there to reach the nearest wall socket. Since our readers are less likely to spend $1,500 per workstation on custom electrical installation, we focus our reviews in this category on those items you can purchase via e-commerce and install on your own. Click to read.
What is wire management for standing desks?
Because most electric standing desks do not include full modesty panels, they have no way to hide the wires for all of your electronics. To resolve this common problem, manufacturers have produced different types of wire management to do just that; manage the wire chaos. There are two main types of wire management: a vertical wire management and horizontal wire management. Some products like zip ties and Velcro straps can be used for both types of wire management. These types of simple wire management solutions are frequently aired with more robust vertical and horizontal solutions.
How much wire management do I need?
Our customers ask this question a lot, and the answer isn’t that simple. Each workstation is different, which means the amount of wire management needed for each desk will vary. If you are a company that is trying to satisfy the needs of everyone or just trying to create a uniform look, I would suggest both types of wire management. On the other hand, if you are just trying to tidy up some wires for your home office and only use a laptop, you may be able to get by with only zip ties.
Common Cable Management Bits & Pieces
Cable ties: We find these small items (cable ties and cable mounts) to be the best gauge of a kit’s overall quality because it shows how much the manufacturer cares about the details. The cable tie range starts with standard plastic zip ties that are not reusable, a pain to remove and can even damage cables if installed too tightly. Next up the ladder is reusable plastic zip ties. Again, it’s good that these are reusable, but they’re not necessarily easily reusable and can also damage cables if installed too tightly. Finally, the best option is felt cable wrap ties. These are very easily reusable and adjustable, plus they won’t damage cables.
Cable mounts: The common solution for cable mounts is a plastic mount installed with adhesive. There are generally two problems with this type of mount. First, they can’t be adjusted. One cable and ten cables take up a much different amount of space in amount. Second, they aren’t designed for a desk that goes up and down multiple times a day, and the adhesive will wear out. The premium solution for cable mounts has velcro, so you can control how loose or tight your cables are held. A premium option will also have both adhesive and a screw hole so you can install it both ways.
Cable trays: Cable trays can be difficult to pick from because some are very flimsy without looking that way on a product page, so when it comes to cable trays, it’s best to read an in-depth review that will flesh out this issue. Length is also important. Remember, you’re probably placing a power strip and a lot of cables in the tray, so you’ll want one that’s around 24″ or longer.
Cable sleeves: Some cable sleeves require a special tool to get cables in or out, and we’re not big fans. This is just one more thing you’ll have to keep around when space is already at a premium with standing desks. There are several different ways that sleeves close, from velcro to zipper to self-closing. Self-closing is our favourite because it wraps around however many cables you put inside. The zipper is also interesting because you can buy multiple sleeves and zip them together for an extra-large option.
Magnet mounts: Magnet mounts are used for routing cables up and down the legs and frame of an adjustable height desk. Ideal options will have loops that rotate because that makes them much less likely to break as a desk moves up and down. Also, pay attention to the strength of the magnets. Ideally, they will be able to hold around 15 lbs of load.
Power strips: We prefer outlets oriented perpendicular to the strip because bulky adapters won’t cover two outlets when you use them. Other factors to consider: Length of cord (you want at least 12′), surge protection (you want at least 1,000 joules) and the gauge of wire (you want 14 gauge). All of these will affect price, safety and how effectively the strip will protect your electronics.
Cable chains: Like the cable sleeve, it’s preferable to have a cable chain that doesn’t require a special tool and instead opens with a simple flathead screwdriver. Cable chains vary widely in quality, so you’ll again want to read reviews to see how easy it is to change the chain length, add cables and take cables out. Quality chains will stay vertical as the desk goes up and down, while cheaper ones will pop out to the side when the desk comes down. Cheaper chains will also often be either too flexible or not flexible enough. You can look here.
Frequently Asked Questions About Wire Management
Their primary focus is on getting the network up and running as soon as possible, which makes it challenging to put proper cabling in place. However, bad cable management can have a long-lasting impact on business operations and cause many issues over time.
Steps to Organize Cables on Your Work Desk
- Hide the power strip and plugs.
- Collect and tie the cables together.
- Shorten cable length.
- Hold unused cables in place.
- Identify the cables.
Cable management is essential to create a visually pleasing and clean work environment. Managing cables or wires help maintain basic functionality and protect the devices from clogged airflow due to messy and disordered wires. Unfortunately, tangled Wires or Cables are generally time-consuming to untangle.
Yes. The real question is whether or not there is value in hiring them. If your area has on-site computer techs, then you should be able to find someone who can cable manage your PC. As someone who has done residential and commercial on-site repair, this is not a common request, and you will have to ask if they have someone who is actually good at it.
Cable routing is a structure used to protect the cable from mechanical stress and harsh situation such as abrasion, which might degrade the insulation. There are different types of cable routing techniques used: Conduits. Trays. Busways.
Why Cable Management Matters?
Your Cables Will Last Longer
Cables are notorious for not standing the test of time. Cord management for standing desks is a surefire way to protect and extend your cables from unnecessary wear and tear. Without management, cables will succumb to heat exposure, stretching, and maybe inadvertently damage.
In addition, wires shouldn’t be hanging loose, getting tangled, or bending. These all contribute to cable breakage. A possible result of cable mismanagement is people tripping over cables and pulling your entire workstation down. The damage will be catastrophic and incredibly expensive to repair. Imagine being at your desk, working away, on a roll, and a cable gives way – you’re no longer working and are now distracted by fixing an avoidable problem.
Cables Can Be Difficult and Potentially Expensive to Replace
If your cables are free to do their own thing, you’re going to find them getting tangled. Beyond the damaging effects tangled cords have on the wires themselves, you’ll find yourself inconvenienced when a cable does give out. When one cord breaks, you may end up wasting time sorting through the tangled cables just to find the one that’s broken.
Beyond inconvenience, specific cables can cost a fortune to replace. If you’re someone who uses Apple products, for example, the last thing you want is to be replacing cables as they can add up!
A More Organized Workspace is Better for Productivity
A clean, more organized workspace means you’re going to spend more time working on important things rather than on cleaning up, fixing, or replacing your workstation. Organization, no matter how big or small can have a vast impact on your productivity.
Simple Cable Management For Standing Desks
Use Cable Grommets
A great solution to organizing the top part of your desk is a grommet. A grommet is a single hole featured somewhere on your desk, usually the back, where you feed your wires through to their desired ports. As a result, your area will be more sorted and professional, with the benefit of having no loose hanging wires.
Hide Your Cable Sockets
There are cable management desks on the market that come with specially created side sockets. These side sockets are favourable for accommodating extra wires. You’ll be able to keep everything where it belongs by routing your wires through these unique slots.
Probably the easiest way to solve a cable organization problem is to ditch the cables as much as possible. It might sound like it would be a dream come true, but even wireless comes with its downsides. A wireless system can come with a steep price tag depending on what you buy. If your standing desk exists at the workplace, recognize that your work might not pay for these upgrades no matter what the reason might be. However, if you can achieve this setup, say goodbye to additional cables, and never bother thinking about those unruly wires peeping out from here and there.
Add the Features
Some desks may already have built-in management features. However, you can learn how to cable manage a desk if not. Unfortunately, however, standing desks don’t have built-in under-desk cable management solutions most of the time. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t come up with ways to handle standing desk cable management on your own.
Add a Standing Desk Cable Management Compartment
These compartments are similar to trays or raceways attached underneath the desk to guide the cables and hide them. For sit-stand desk cable management, these can work quite well. You can find them from various online retailers, stick them on the underside of your desk, and you’re done!
Wire Management Box
The wire management box is the ultimate of all wire management solutions. Like the tray, the wire management box is made from thin gauge steel and is available in black and silver to match the frame colours. The wire management box is available in lengths options of 23”, 35”, 47” and 59”. Each box is approximately 4” deep, with a 1” tall lip with a 4” tall removable panel to enclose the box. There are three pass-through grommets on the back and bottom of the box and one on each end. These allow for wires to enter or exit the wire management box easily. In addition, rubber grommet plugs are included to create a nice finished look that also does a good job holding wires in place when the desk is moving.
Mount Monitors (Optional)
If you choose to mount your monitors over the desk wall, this can save space and help with standing desk cable management. However, you may need to figure out how to lower and raise the monitors so that they work regardless of whether you’re sitting or standing.
The best way to deal with this is to hide the cables behind (in) the wall. An alternative to that is to run them and hide them with a raceway or other objects. However, you may not be able to achieve this look with sit-stand desk cable management. Click here for more.
Therefore, monitor arms may be more suitable. You can keep them on the desk, which means once you set it up for sitting and standing, you’re golden while using your desk. Often, the monitors can swivel around (if there is enough room behind the desk so that it doesn’t hit the wall.) So if you plan to have to walk around a little while standing or do some exercises at your desk, you can keep an eye on the monitor at all times.
Manage the Strays and Keep It Tight
Learning how to cable manage a desk isn’t hard, but figuring out what to do about the strays and looseness can be. Consider buying some cable clips, Velcro ties, and zip ties. These are going to help you clean everything up and make it look effortless. While you are going to remember all the effort you put in, others are just going to see amazing results.
The cable clips can help you deal with stray cables that just didn’t fit into the compartment or weren’t long enough. Of course, if you don’t want to buy one and your desk doesn’t come with one, you can use a bunch of the clips to keep it all organized.
Zip or cable ties can be used in places where things connect to the computer. This includes the cables connecting to the monitor and PC. If you’ve got a few cables in a group, zip ties them up to make it easier on yourself and less of an eyesore. You can also try to push all the grouped cables toward the back, which is helpful if your standing desk is near the wall. Everything just looks better when it’s tightly bound.
As standing desks become more of the norm in the office around the globe, the need for properly managed wires will increase as well. Whether you are just trying to manage wires for a small home office setup or looking to create a uniform look across a large office, we have plenty of options to suit all requirements. Hopefully, this post will help to show you the pros and cons of each, letting you ultimately decide which is best for your specific needs.
It’s time to reclaim your workspace! With proper cable management, you’ll have a greater sense of calm, knowing that your workstation is organized. No more cluttered workspaces, asking how to hide cables on a desk, where to get wire replacements or wasted time. Enjoy a well-organized workspace with excellent cable management that reflects you as a well-organized professional!