Ever since I built my $47 collapsible standing desk, I’ve wanted a “real” standing desk–an adjustable one that lets me switch to a chair if I’m in the mood. I came close to buying one a couple of times, but I held out each time.
I couldn’t find a standing desk that seemed just right
It seemed like I’d either have to shell out at least $875 for a motorized desk like the GeekDesk or go for a less expensive desk for $600 to $700 and resign myself to using a hand crank to raise and lower the desk.
The GeekDesk is definitely appealing–a motorized desk can’t help but lend you some nerd cred. But they’re expensive and kinda slow; it takes 12 to 15 seconds to move between sitting and standing heights. Plus you have to plug in your desk, and there’s that motor just waiting to die on you someday…
The only alterative that I saw, the hand crank model, also seemed slow. And who wants to crank their desk like a Model T? Minus -1000 nerd points.
Then I stumbled across the Ergotron WorkFit-D Sit-Stand Desk. This desk, which is available on Amazon for around $595 shipped, seemed to hit a sweet spot. It was relatively affordable (for me), and it also offered a fast, manual adjustment mechanism that seemed practical for frequent alternations between sitting and standing.
When I expressed interest, Ergoton kindly agreed to send me a desk to review. I’ve been using it daily for a month now, and I have to say I’m extremely pleased.
If you’re planning to order a standing desk (regardless of the manufacturer) for use at home, be aware: Delivery might be a challenge. The WorkFit arrived by freight, which meant I had to be present to accept delivery. Not a problem for me, since I work from home, but that be an issue if you have a normal-person job.
The box was HUGE and HEAVY. I had the driver leave it in my garage, which has a door that opens into my office. Very convenient.
Even so, wrestling the 108-pound box into my office by myself was difficult. I’d recommend getting a friend to help, especially if you have to negotiate stairs.
Upon opening the box, I found the WorkFit-D’s parts swaddled in heavy Styrofoam and cardboard, unharmed by the rough trip. Excellent job with the packing, Ergotron.
I inspected the pieces as I extricated them from the packaging, and I liked what I saw. I was impressed, both with the materials used and with the fit and finish of the components. The uprights are heavy steel boxes, and the feet are welded firmly in place. The top is heavy particle board, finished on both the top and the bottom. All of the parts were nicely painted with no razor sharp edges.
Assembling the desk was straightforward. The instructions were clear and easy to follow, requiring only a Phillips head screwdriver. The entire setup process, including unpacking, took about 40 minutes from start to finish. (Although I did have some help: My 3-year-old son had a blast handing me the screws one by one while I bolted everything together.)
Putting the pieces together left me even more impressed with the quality of the desk. I particularly appreciated that Ergotron resisted the practice, almost universal among furniture companies, of skimping on hardware. It’s rare these days to put anything together without stripping at least a couple of screws. It doesn’t take much–a little too much English on the screwdriver and you’re screwed.
But the fasteners included with the WorkFit-D were high quality steel, and I didn’t even come close to stripping one, even when my screwdriver slipped.
After putting the desk together during my lunch hour, I pushed it against the wall and started using it that afternoon.
Smooth adjustments, roomy work surface
When assembled and placed on a firm floor (tile, hardwood or office carpet), the WorkFit-D is rock solid. The desk weighs about 85 lbs. when unpacked, and the heavy top and welded steel frame make for a very stable work surface.
But it was the manual adjustment mechanism that I was most eager to try out.Each leg telescopes together, and an internal spring applies constant upward force on the moveable upper segment of the leg. During normal use, the desktop is locked in place by set of brakes, which are controlled by a lever on the front of the desk.
To adjust the desk, you squeeze the release lever down and gently raise or lower the top. If you’re raising the desk, the springs do most of the lifting work for you. To lower it, you need to press down on the top a bit to compress the springs. Finally, after releasing the lever, one final push drops the desktop a half an inch or so and then locks it into place. The entire process takes just a couple of seconds. Want to see it in action? Here’s a video.
My desk adjusted smoothly, although I found the springs to be a bit too stiff for my liking. No problem–they’re adjustable, so I backed mine off a bit.
Due to the maximum strength of the springs, Ergotron recommends placing a maximum of 65 pounds on the WorkFit-D. That’s considerably less than the GeekDesk’s rating of 275 lbs., but it shouldn’t be a problem unless you’re this guy:
The work surface provides plenty of room at 47.6 inches wide by 23.5″ deep, which gives me enough space for my 17″ MacBook Pro, keyboard, mouse, notebook, water bottle and iPhone. I never feel cramped while I’m working.
When I’m standing, I like to keep the desk at a height that allows me to bend my elbows at 90 degrees. I’m 5 feet, 9 inches tall, and the desk adjusts from about 30 inches (mid-thigh level) to 50 inches (even with my armpits). Unless you play power forward for the New York Knicks, you should be able to find a height that works for you.
No desk is perfect…
Although I’m liking the WorkFit-D overall, I have a couple of minor nits to pick with it.
First, the top doesn’t sit as close to the wall as I would like. This is due to the length of the crosspieces that make up the feet–they stick out about 2 inches beyond the back of the desk top, so you can’t snug it up against the wall. Combine that with the trim at the base of the wall, and I have a 3 inch gap behind my desk. Maybe it’s just me, but that’s a little unsettling. (OK, it’s just me.) The upside, though, is that the wider base means more stability.
Second–and this is really isn’t Ergotron’s fault–the desk is a teensy bit wobbly on the plush carpet in my office. I can rock the desk back and forth by maybe a quarter of an inch. It’s only really noticeable if I lean my elbows on the desk top, which I sometimes do when I’m thinking. I imagine I’d need a much heavier desk with wider feet to avoid this.
And my last little gripe is that my optical mouse doesn’t track very well on the smooth, reflective birch top. But that’s nothing a $6 mousepad can’t fix…
A solid, no-frills adjustable desk
I’m really happy with my Ergotron standing desk, and I plan to keep using it. Given the desk’s high-quality materials (and the absence of electric parts), I know I can rely on it to give me years of service.
Bottom line? If you’re looking for an affordable, well-made standing desk, you can’t go wrong with the Ergotron WorkFit-D.