The standing desk market is still in its infancy, but there has already been one company that has emerged from the pack as the clear leader in both brand recognition and units sold, VARIDESK. We ordered a ProPlus™ 36 quite a while ago to find out what all the hype was about. We were amazed to see the unit show up within only a few business days and were thrilled that it was ready to go right out of the box. That’s about where the hype ended and the ProPlus™ 36 was placed into storage a short time later. I recently dusted it off and set it up in my office so that I could get a first hand feel for what it’s like to use it all day long. Here are my thoughts on the VARIDESK ProPlus™ 36 .
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Gemmy Industries has been in business since 1984. In 2013, they started VARIDESK as their sit-stand furniture company. The start of VARIDESK came when employees at Gemmy Industries saw the need for an inexpensive sit to stand solution for one of their co-workers. VARIDESK was founded on the idea of providing a quick, easy and affordable way for anyone to stand at their desk. Their immediate and massive success has allowed them to expand worldwide with an increasing number of patents for their product designs.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
– Quick Summary Video
– Country of Origin
– Specs / Features / Pricing
– Return Policy and Warranty
– Build Quality
– Making Adjustments
– Task and Keyboard Space
– Wire Management
– What I Like
– What I Don’t Like
– Bottom Line
Varidesk ProPlus™ 36 Quick Summary Video
Country of Origin
Made in China
Weight Limit: 35 lbs.
Unit Weight: 52 lbs.
Overall at lowest height: 36”W x 29.75”D x 4.5”H
Overall at highest height: 36”W x 41.75”D x 17.5”H
Base Dimensions: 30”W x 24”D
Keyboard Tray Dimensions: 36”W x 14.25”D
Monitor Platform Dimensions: 36”W x 20”D
Monitor Platform Cut-Out: 20”W x 3.5”D
Max Keyboard Platform Height: 13.75”H
Max Monitor Platform Height: 17.75”H
Min Keyboard Platform Height: .75”H
Min Monitor Platform Height: 4.75”
Distance Between Keyboard Tray and Monitor Platform: 4”
2021 Price: $395.00
Two handle spring assisted lift mechanism with 11 different height adjustments
Sits on top of existing desk
Two-tier design: Upper display surface with lower keyboard/mouse platform
Black, White, Darkwood or Butcher Block
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After months of testing 40+ sit stand desk converters, the results are in!
|Single Monitor Arm||$125.00|
|Dual Monitor Arm||$195.00|
|Monitor Arm and Laptop Holder||$195.00|
VARIDESK offers a full 30-day money back guarantee. If you do not like the product you can send it back within the first 30 days for a full refund. VARIDESK will cover the return shipping costs. They will also send a box if you didn’t hold on to the original one.
If your ProPlus™ 36 was purchased after 3/2/2018, then it comes with a 5-year warranty. There are no exclusions. For claims arising within the first year, Varidesk will cover replacement shipping costs. For claims made after the first year, you will be responsible for the replacement shipping costs.
If your ProPlus™ 36 was purchased prior to 3/2/2018, then it comes with a 1-year warranty. There are no exclusions.
All orders are shipped FedEx or UPS Ground. Orders placed during normal business days ship within 24 hours. Orders placed on weekends or holidays ship the next business day. Most orders arrive within five business days. The product is well packaged throughout. Our unit did not have any damage and it works as intended.
The ProPlus™ 36 arrives fully assembled. You simply open the box, take it out and the unit is ready to go. You do not have to deal with any screws, hardware or parts.
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The ProPlus™ 36 is made in China, but it is not on the higher-end of Chinese made products, like the Humanscale QuickStand. The metal is not thick and robust. The fiberboard used for both platforms is low quality and some of the edges on the underside of the platforms are a bit sharp and can scrape the top of your hands.
The adjustment process is assisted with springs and held into place with a primitive locking system. Pressing the handles will remove the locking pin from one of the holes on the locking bracket and releasing them will slide the pin back in place and lock the unit. The handles feel a bit clunky and make a loud clicking sound when they are pressed. The springs squeak quite often when making adjustments and there is a loud snapping sound when the locks engage after adjusting the unit.
VARIDESK did make an effort to hide some of the inner workings of the product with some plastic side panels that feature their logos. They also made sure to use all black parts including, screws, brackets and plastic to make sure there was no color contrasting like we see on models like the Kangaroo. The White finish will feature a silver base with matching screws and hardware. While the ProPlus™ 36 is more aesthetically pleasing than products like the Rocelco ADR or Halter ED-258, I do think it falls behind models like the WorkFit-T and and Flexispot ClassicRiser .
The footprint on the ProPlus™ 36 is going to one of the biggest areas of concern. In the sitting position, the platforms extend much further than the base. While the base is small enough to fit on a surface as small as 30”W x 24”D, the platforms require a minimum space of 36”W x 29.75”D. The extra platform space is both in front of the platform and at the back. This means that you cannot have a wall behind a 24”D desk or the legs of the base will hang over the front edge.
The arcing pattern means that you need quite a bit more room behind you, when moving to the highest height settings. When at the highest couple heights, you will be pushed more than a foot from where you would be when sitting. This can pose a problem for people with small spaces to work with.
The ProPlus™ 36 does not have any mobility or portability. It is large, heavy and awkwardly shaped. Once it is placed on a desk, it is meant to stay there. It does not have any desktop mobility for the same reasons. The bottom of the base is also fitted with rubber stoppers to prevent the base from sliding.
Adjusting the ProPlus™ 36
The VARIDESK ProPlus™ 36 has height adjustment. This is the only adjustment on the unit. To adjust the height, press both handles found on the underside of the monitor platform. Pressing both handles will unlock the platforms and allow you to move the unit up or down between 11 different positions. Once you get to your desired height, release the handles to lock the unit in place. Since there are only 11 different positions to choose from, you may not be able to lock the unit in the exact position you’d like. You may need to move the platforms either up or down slightly to get the unit to lock.
It is important to note that the platforms adjust in an arcing pattern. The higher you raise the unit, the further the unit pushes you from your desk. Make sure that you have enough room behind your desk to make this adjustment. Also, make sure there are no objects behind you that could trip you as you step back when raising the unit.
The ProPlus™ 36 is very easy to adjust. The handles are easy to press and the unit requires very little effort to move, in either direction. The product moves smoothly within a couple seconds.
ProPlus™ 36 Stability
The ProPlus™ 36 is extremely stable at sitting height. There is no side to side wobble when in the sitting position. The keyboard tray lowers all the way to your existing desk when in the lowest position so there is no keyboard bounce. There is a slight amount of monitor shake but it is very minimal.
Unfortunately, the stability when standing is going to be one of the ProPlus™ 36’s biggest downfalls. The side to side wobble is going to be pretty good but the standing keyboard bounce is among the worst I have seen on a standing desk converter. This significant amount of keyboard bounce contributes to a large amount of monitor shake when standing.
The ProPlus™ 36 has some issues when it comes to general stability. One problem is that the ProPlus™ 36 really only locks fully when in the lowest and highest position. Every position in between will allow the platform to bounce a little instead of holding firmly in place. The second issue is that the locking system is inconsistent. Sometimes it will not fully lock and then move after you thought it was locked. The final, and most concerning issue, is there is the potential for the ProPlus™ 36 to tip forward and off your desk. With the desk fully loaded and at its tallest height, there is a lot of weight sitting over the front of the base instead of the center of it. Leaning on the desk or pushing too hard on the keyboard tray could pose a problem.
|Sitting Wobble (10%)||Standing Wobble (15%)||Sitting Bounce (10%)||Standing Bounce (15%)||Sitting Shake (10%)||Standing Shake (15%)||General (25%)||Total Score|
The VARIDESK ProPlus™ 36 does not have dual ergonomic capabilities without adding a monitor arm. A monitor arm will cost at least $125.00, but this will give you the capability to ensure that you have the proper monitor viewing angle. Without a monitor arm, there will be a large segment of the population that are not in the correct ergonomic monitor viewing position.
While the monitor viewing angle may be lacking out of the box, the monitor viewing distance is good. When using a single 27” monitor, it is about 21” from the screen to the front edge of the keyboard tray. When using dual 22” monitors, it is about 24” to the front of the keyboard tray. This will put your viewing distance anywhere between 24” and 30” which is well within the recommended ergonomic viewing range of 20”-40”.
The keyboard height will range from .75” off your existing desk up to 13.75”. The ProPlus™ 36 does not have infinite position lock so the options within this range will be limited. One thing to note is that the cut-out shape in the front of the keyboard tray forces an awkward proximity between the keyboard and mouse. The mouse platform will be positioned behind your keyboard tray which means that you will be reaching back to use your mouse. This is not recommended for proper ergonomics.
The VARIDESK ProPlus™ was the first standing desk converter to introduce the large cut-outs found at the front of the monitor platform and keyboard tray. There have been many models to follow suit. The monitor platform is very large, but the cut-out is so pronounced that is makes the space very awkward for tasking. The main function of this cut-out is so that you can use a laptop comfortably on the keyboard tray. While this is a nice addition for laptop users, it is a huge hindrance to normal desktop users. The monitor platform is still plenty large for dual monitors and a few other small accessories.
They keyboard tray is very large but it also features a curved edge at the front. This curved edge is less pronounced than on the monitor platform, but the curve makes it awkward for placing your keyboard because there isn’t a flat edge. Also, as discussed above, it produces an awkward mousing posture. The keyboard tray is large enough for an oversized keyboard and mouse. You will also be able to use the space opposite of your mouse for something like your phone.
VARIDESK does not include any wire management tools for the ProPlus™ 36 . It will be up to you to get some adhesive backed strips for wire management if it is needed. It is important to know that your cords should not be in danger of pinch points as long as they are run straight off the back of the unit.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind when it comes to safety on the ProPlus™ 36 . The first issue are the pinch points we see on models with two z lifts on the base. VARIDESK does a good job of protecting people from the pinch points by placing large plastic covers on the bottom of the base. There is still a small risk of pinching items or fingers in the arms of the base when making downward adjustments from mid to high heights. Just be aware of objects and people around you prior to adjusting the unit.
The second safety risk to keep in mind is the tipping factor we discussed earlier. I personally never tipped the unit or was in a position where it felt like it would tip while using but there is certainly the potential to do so.
What do I like?
Shipping and Assembly
The fast shipping with no assembly required is the best aspect of the ProPlus™ 36 . The product is usually in stock so you will almost always be able to get this item within a few days. No assembly required opens the door to a very wide range of possible customers because the burden of having to find time, tools or the know how to perform an assembly is gone.
30 Day Guarantee
I commend VARIDESK for offering the best 30-day money back guarantee I have seen on a standing desk converter to date. They not only pick the item up for free, but they will even send you a new box if you have trashed yours. Additionally, they will let you return the item for up to one full year. The only concession is that you will be responsible for the return shipping charges. Being able to try the ProPlus™ 36 for absolutely zero financial risk is a big reason for this product’s popularity.
Easy to use
Due to the minimalist design, the ProPlus™ 36 is very simple to use but still remains highly functional. Height adjustment is the only function that you can perform with this unit. There are two large handles underneath the left and right sides of the main platform. Simply push them both at the same time and you can move the ProPlus™ 36 up or down very easily. Since the design is not overly complicated and there is such limited functionality, there is a lot less that can go wrong as compared to a product like an electric standing desk.
On 3/2/2018, Varidesk made a fantastic change to their warranty, which included the ProPlus™ 36 . Having 5 years of coverage, instead of 1 year previously, means that the ProPlus™ 36 now has a warranty on par with industry leaders.
What don’t I like about Varidesk?
I am not a fan of the pronounced arcing adjustment pattern used on the ProPlus™ 36 . It makes the product awkward to use in settings with walls and small desk space, like cubicles. The higher settings also push you quite far from the desk which furthers problems for people with smaller spaces.
Awkward Task Space
I would like to see a model that has a monitor platform without a cut-out. Yes, some space would be lost on the back of the keyboard platform but much of this could be made up by removing the cut-out on the front of the keyboard platform. The large amount of extra space on models like the Cooper, WorkFit-T and FlexiSpot M2 are very welcome in comparison to the ProPlus™ 36.
Lack of Stability
Even though the ProPlus™ 36 is very stable at sitting height and has little wobble at standing height, it still received a very low stability score when compared to other models. The keyboard bounce and monitor shake at standing height are among the worst I have seen on a standing desk converter. There are also a number of general stability concerns for the ProPlus™ 36 that help to make it one of the most unstable standing desk converters I have tested.
Not Ergonomic for a Lot of People
I am 5’8”. If my correct keyboard position is height setting eight, then this unit cannot accommodate people that are much taller than me. I asked one of my co-workers, Kent, to find the height setting that he would use since he is 6’0”. He was able to use setting eleven, but he would have preferred setting twelve if one would have been available.
This unit also raises concerns for shorter people because the keyboard tray sits about an inch higher than your desk. For people that like to have their keyboard lower than their desk height, this product is not a good fit.
The VARIDESK also suffers from the same problem that similarly designed products like the WorkFit-T and FlexiSpot M2 35″ suffer from; a lack of dual ergonomic function. The distance between your keyboard platform and monitor platform will remain the same, no matter what height the unit is adjusted to. You cannot adjust the height of the platforms independently. This makes it difficult for all users to be in a correct ergonomic position.
If you want your product to be delivered fully assembled, within a couple business days, by the most recognizable standing desk brand in the world, then the ProPlus™ 36 is an obvious choice. The 30-day money back guarantee is great reassurance for people who may be on the fence and their warranty ensures you’ll get longevity out of the purchase.
I do think there are better products available for the same or less money though. The stability issues are a huge concern and the limited amount of working space is a nuisance. The adjustment range is not suitable for a lot of people and the ProPlus™ 36 lacks dual ergonomics out of the box. I think that products like the FlexiSpot M2 and WorkFit-T provide a better value than the Pro Plus 36. Adding a monitor arm for dual ergonomics makes the price of the Pro Plus 36 similar to models like the Ergotron WorkFit-S, which is a much better product.
In the end, I think it is important to identify what factors are most important to you when making your buying decision. The ProPlus™ 36 excels in some areas and struggles in others. I hope this review helps to provide some clarity if you are considering the ProPlus™ 36.