Today we will be taking a closer look at one of Amazon.com’s most popular electric standing desks, the ApexDesk. The ApexDesk Elite Series launched in 2015 and was one of the first standing desks available, under $600, to include a desktop. At 71” wide by 33” deep, this desk is huge. While their other stats aren’t as impressive as others in its class, for the size, ApexDesk appears to be a pretty good value. Let’s take a closer look to find out how good of a value it really is.
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The ApexDesk Elite series is manufactured by Apex Furniture, LLC. I believe that this company is actually owned by a Chinese factory and they are selling direct into the US market. I have tried on four different occasions to call ApexDesk.com and have been unable to reach anyone. I have tried all extensions; customer service, sales and the operator.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ApexDesk.com launched in April 2015. Their first products included the ApexDesk Elite, Vortex and Soleil, their children’s desk.
Product Specs (Per ApexDesk.com)
Height Adjustment Range: 29” to 48”
Travel Speed: 1.3” Per Second
Weight Capacity: 225 lbs.
Adjustable Foot Glides:
ApexDesk Elite Pricing
$599.99 + Free Shipping
- Dual-Motor lifting mechanism
- Steel construction frame
- Easy assembly
- Two year warranty on electronics and five years on frame
- Textured woodgrain desktop
The packaging for the Apex desk was good, but it was huge. This is the only standing desk brand I know of that will ship a 71” wide top FedEx Ground. Be prepared and make sure to have an extra set of hands to maneuver the Elite series top. My desk came in three boxes, all of which were very heavy. Because it was so large, I was worried about damage to the top, but I received mine in perfect condition.
Assembly (20-60 Minutes)
The assembly process for the ApexDesk Elite Series was actually very simple, especially considering how large the desk was. One thing that I was taken back by, albeit small, was the fact they included a real screwdriver. I have done this a long time and this was the first time i’ve seen a screwdriver included with a standing desk for assembly. After all of the parts were unpacked, assembly took me about 25 minutes. This was the fastest assembly time for a desk I have reviewed and had not assembled previously.
The ApexDesk uses a single piece for the upper cross support and only two screws for each worksurface support. Each foot is attached with four screws that you are able easily start with your hands and then fully tighten with the allen wrench. Attaching the columns to the upper support uses an odd L bar that you insert and then push down. This applies pressure which holds it in place. Considering the size of the desk and the amount of stress applied when standing, I was not sure about how solid this would be later on. However, it did make for a quicker assembly process.
The desktop uses threaded inserts to attach the base. This is the second desk that I have reviewed that uses inserts, the first was the Evodesk. The threaded inserts on the ApexDesk aligned properly and made for a quick process of attaching the base and top.
The final part is attaching the electronic components. Again, ApexDesk did a good job to make this part of assembly easy. The upper support where the control box attached included threaded holes as well. The only part of assembly that requires screwing into the wood is the button. Two screws that can be easily hand screwed in and you’re done.
Note: The placement of the up/down button was probably not in the most user friendly area. I would be cautious moving this placement with the hardware provide. You want to make sure if you move the button forward to the knife edge that there is enough thickness in the top to avoid poking out of the top. Also, the desktop only connects to the frame with three screws on both desktop supports. There are no screws connecting throughout the entire upper cross support.
Compared to the other desks I have been tested, the ApexDesk is huge. Everything was heavy as well, so it felt like you were getting a lot for your money. The textured wood grain laminate was finished on the top and bottom surface. The wood like laminate was very real looking, but you could see inconsistencies across the top from light to dark. After getting the desk going it appeared to be quicker than what they listed on the website. There is an odd delay before the desk would actually start in motion. The standard button that I received felt a little cheap and didn’t look at that nice. While the desk was solid at sitting heights, it didn’t take long for it to experience wobble.
ApexDesk Elite 71″ Stability
I remember pulling the parts out of the packaging, thinking about how this desk had an opportunity to be really stable. The feet were solid, they had nice welds and included threaded rivnuts to attach the glides, very similar to the VertDesk v3. A standing desk can only be as solid as the foundation it’s built upon and the ApexDesk was starting out really on a good foot (no pun intended). The single piece cross support was heavy and felt solid too, nothing up to this point felt cheap.
Then it started to go downhill, the upper desktop supports that attached to the cross support only used two screws each. The way the legs attached to the cross support was odd to say the least. Four, L shaped bars, slide into place, they are then pushed down, creating leverage to hold the motor mount to the cross support frame. No screws or bolts for such an important connection. Whoever had designed the product had user assembly in mind first. While that is great, it left a lot to be desired for the stability testing.
Left to Right: The left to right motion, or wobble on the ApexDesk was nonexistent below 36”. Once the desk rose beyond 39” up to 42”, the wobble became an annoyance. Beyond 42” the desk had significant wobble. This wasn’t a surprise based on what I learned during assembly.
Front to Back:The front to back rocking motion on the didn’t begin until after 41”. It skipped from noticeable to significant around 44”. This was likely due to the lack of overlap within the columns at this point.
Note: As I mentioned in all of my reviews, you have to make sure to fully tighten all hardware. As standing desks become extended the motion will become exaggerated. If your hardware is loose, all standing desks will have bad wobble and rocking motions.
After 12 months of testing 20+ electric standing desks the results are in!
The electronic components for the ApexDesk are sourced from a company called TA Nikoda. They are a chinese manufacturer of AC and DC motor systems. While I have seen their controls on other desks at trade shows around the globe, I haven’t run into them too much in the states. I have never been to excited about their quality or how they operate.
The button on the ApexDesk was cheap feeling and not as responsive as I would have liked to have seen. When you pushed up or down initially, it took about 1-2 seconds to start the desk in motion. This was likely an issue within the control box, the main CPU of the entire system. As the desk moved it changed speeds and it didn’t have a nice fluid motion. While in motion the motors created weird whining sounds that were about as consistent as the motion of the desk.
Frame Build Quality
From the bottom up, the build quality started out very good on the ApexDesk. The feet were heavy and had solid welds. Unlike the Jarvis desk and Evodesk, the ApexDesk didn’t skimp on the connection of the glide to the foot. They had nice threaded rivnuts with five lines of threading to provide a good connection. The legs were solid as well. The feet and columns came with a high gloss paint finish. My only concern here is how this finish would wear over time. As the columns move up and down, the higher gloss finishes tend to show the rubs marks. The cross support used was one piece and I could tell it was meant to support a large desktop.
The only real gripe with build quality on the frame was the glides for the columns. I could see there was a decent size gap around the outside and that wasn’t going to help stability. I’ve found that many of the Chinese manufacturers go with a one size fits all approach here. This won’t work with steel columns, because they always have natural variances and require a custom fit when piecing them together.
Unfortunately, even with all of these well built components, the desk’s base fell short. The ApexDesk decided to cut corners, using cheap glides and a bizarre connection of the columns to the cross support.
The ApexDesk warranty is two years on the electronic components and five years on the structure. While a lot of the manufacturers in this space offered similar warranties three to four years ago, the mid-range category has seen a lot of improvement in this area. At $600 and up, I would expect most electronics warranties to cover a minimum of three years.
Testing The Specs
Height Adjustment Range: 29” to 48”
True. This range was accurate.
Adjustment Speed: 1.3” Per Second
False. I actually found that the Elite series was faster. With only the weight of the top it average 1.56” per second over ten cycles. With 220 lbs it averaged slightly less at 1.49” per second and with 320 lbs it dropped to 1.45” per seconds.
Noise Level: n/a
ApexDesk does not list a noise level. I did test it and it was the loudest of the desks I have tested. At 66 decibels, the desk motors definitely have a lot of power going to them.
Weight Capacity: 225 lbs.
False. The ApexDesk can lift quite a bit more weight than what is listed here. We tested 320 lbs. And the desk had no issues lifting that weight. In fact, the speed only dropped about 6%.
What I like about ApexDesk Elite
Easy Assembly Process
The ApexDesk has been the easiest desk I have assembled, to date. As long as you have an extra set of hands it goes together quickly. With threaded metal inserts in the desktop, completing assembly of the ApexDesk didn’t require the use of a cordless drill.
The 71” Desk Ships FedEx Ground
You won’t be making friends with the FedEx delivery person with this desk. It is huge, the fact they will ship it ground means you won’t have to take a 71” desk off a freight truck. This is a definite advantage for people that aren’t comfortable with freight deliveries. A couple things to consider though; you will still have to move it around your space and shipping large tops ground are more susceptible to damage. My top didn’t get damaged, but the reviews I have read indicate that is a problem for users. As long as you know that opportunity exists it should help you avoid an disappointment in the situation it is damaged.
At $599 with free shipping, you get a lot of value for the price. This desk is very large and if $600 is at the top end of your budget, it will be tough to find more for less money.
I was surprised to see how fast the ApexDesk moved. They had advertised a more modest 1.3” per second, but it had no problem averaging 1.56” per second with just the top. When you hear the desk run, it isn’t one of the quietest of the bunch. You can tell they have a lot of power going to the motors and it’s definitely designed to move quick. I’m a little surprised they don’t advertise this benefit more.
What I don’t like about ApexDesk Elite
Low End Electronics
The second I pulled the electronics from the box I could tell they were lower quality than all of the other products I had reviewed. The up/down switch felt cheap and didn’t engage the motors for 1-2 seconds after pushing the button. The control box had a strong burnt odor, something I’ve found common with electronics coming from China. Overall, I was less than impressed here and the short warranty on it reaffirmed my feelings towards their electronics.
As mentioned above, the ApexDesk’s short warranty is a big concern for me. With other desks like the Autonomous SmartDesk 2, they provide a good warranty to back their lower quality electronics. TA Nikoda has been producing electronics since 1995 according to their website, but I’m not sure how long they’ve been in the business of electric standing desk components. At this price point I would expect a three year warranty on the electronics as five years is a realistic benchmark based on the competition.
Lack of Stability
The design of the base is only one reason for the stability issues with the ApexDesk. Low quality glides that fit in between the columns are the second major issue. Because of both of these shortcomings, the ApexDesk has stability issues that start as early as 36”. By 39” this wobble motion is bad. If stability is a main concern I would proceed with caution.
Finish on Textured Wood Laminate
I think the textured wood laminate is a nice touch, especially the fact they added it to both sides of the top. Unfortunately, the laminate has a lot of inconsistencies across the top showing what look like brush lines. This attention to detail was clearly missed.
Looking closer at the ApexDesk Elite, I have to say I was surprised with how much product you get for the price. The desktop is huge, at 33” x 71”, there is more than enough space for almost anyone. The construction of the feet, frame and other components was good. The textured wood laminate on the desktop and bottom side was a nice touch as well.
Unfortunately, the ApexDesk missed on some important aspects of the desk; like the custom fit glides for the columns and a normal connection point for the legs to frame. Both of these create stability issues that are a major problem for the ApexDesk when extended from mid and high heights. The below average warranty on their electronics doesn’t help the cause. If you have a little room left in your budget, I would consider something more stable with a better warranty.
Additional Standing Desk Resources
- Top 6 Reasons Why Standing Desks Wobble
- ApexDesk Elite Series vs. The VertDesk v3: Which is the best standing desk?
- VertDesk v3 vs. Jarvis Standing Desk: Which is best?
- Uplift 900 Desk vs. VertDesk v3: Which is better?
- 9 Most Common Problems with Motorized Standing Desks
- 4 Reasons Standing Only Desks Are Bad For Your Health