*The StandDesk Simple has been discountinued by StandDesk.co. We have plans to review their newest desks in the future. We have put together our best standing desks for 2019 list to provide alternatives.
Today we will be taking a closer look at the StandDesk Simple. StandDesk.co is the second company that I have reviewed that started through crowdfunding. Similar to the Autonomous AI brand, StandDesk.co was created because the founder wanted a healthy standing desk option that cost less than what was available at the time. When it initially launched, a complete StandDesk with top was available for as little as $399. As the saying goes, with most things in life you pay for what you get. I was cautiously optimistic about what I’d find after testing this product. With that in mind let’s take a closer look at what I found.
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The StandDesk Simple is manufactured for StandDesk by multiple factories within China. I am unsure the names of these companies as the design is provided to them by StandDesk.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
According to the StandDesk.co site, StandDesk was founded by Steven Yu after a friend built a DIY standing desk and then lost 10 pounds over the course of four weeks. Steven realized there was an opportunity for a better product that moved electronically, but was less expensive than the $1,000 options that were available in the market. Funded through Kickstarter in 2014, the StandDesk.co reached its goal within minutes of going live.
While Steven Yu studied his masters program on international trade in Beijing, his proximity to the major Chinese standing desk manufacturers allowed him to get a closer look at the factories available. Steven was unhappy with the quality and the pricing that was available from these factories. He ultimately decided to take on the design himself to create the perfect specification for StandDesk. Over the course of the last three to four years, the StandDesk line has been refined to create the best version to date.
Product Specs (per standdesk.co)
Height Adjustment Range: 27.5” to 47.2”
Travel Speed: 1.08” per second
Weight Capacity: 242.5 lbs.
Adjustable Width Base: 42.5” to 59” wide
Adjustable Foot Glide: ⅛”
StandDesk Simple Pricing
Options selected: 26” x 56” Rectangle, Arctic White Top, Memory Handset, Stabilizing Cross Bar
- Tops available in laminate and bamboo
- Include two grommets for wire pass throughs or monitor mounts
- Single stage legs with 19.7” height adjustment
- Telescoping base to adjust to multiple top sizes
- Collision avoidance system (adjustable settings)
- Overload protection
- Three year warranty on electronics and five years on structure
The Packaging was good for the StandDesk Simple. They didn’t use the same type of molded foam that JieCang uses; instead it’s a molded Styrofoam. The box was very heavy.
The desktop also came pre-boxed from China and was well packaged. The had foam around the entire top and used the pieces of particle board around the corners. Everything arrived in perfect condition.
Assembly (1 to 3 Hours)
I have had the opportunity to assemble quite a few standing desks over the years. Since doing these reviews I’ve been able to assemble a lot of the competing brands as well. The StandDesk Simple was without question the most complicated I have assembled, ever. It’s funny how this review lined up, with the ApexDesk review just prior, as that was the easiest desk I had assembled.
After I started to unpack everything I could tell it was going to be a long process. While most of the parts were clearly labeled, the cross support and front middle slat were not. The only part that was really preassembled was the motor to the column. In total there were 32 bolts that needed to be screwed into the frame (including bolts for cross support). There were also four set screws that needed to go into the drive shaft and rod. These proved to be difficult because of how small they were.
It’s a bit confusing at first with assembly, the desk top had threaded metal inserts for attaching the base. Or so I thought they were to attached the base. None of the holes lined up and I was a bit disappointed to find out there were zero pre-drilled holes that aligned with the base. The same was true for the switch, more pre-drilled holes, but none of them were for my base.
Altogether the assembly process took me about 60 minutes to complete. The only minor pain points during assembly were pre-drilling the top, attaching the back slat and set screws in the drive. Otherwise it was just time consuming locating the proper hardware and part, then hand screwing each part in place.
The stability of a standing desk is one of the most important aspects of these desks. Without a stable desk you’ll find it hard to concentrate, which could lead to you becoming less interested in using the desk at standing height. To get the best return on your investment, you’ll want to be happy when using the desk.
Because the StandDesk Simple is the first desk that I have tested with an optional cross support, I will break down my stability tests into two sections. Both tests will include the typical front to back rocking test and a left to right wobble. The first will be without the cross support and the second will be with it. Just to note, StandDesk.co says that the addition of the cross support can increase stability by up to 15%. I have no idea how they came up with that number.
Without Cross Support
Front to Back: The StandDesk Simple started to experienced a rocking motion at 36”. By 41” the rocking motion was bad.
Left to Right: The wobble test was a different situation. StandDesk Simple was the second desk that I tested that wobbled at the bottom with weight on the desktop. The first was the IKEA Bekant. By the time it reached 36” the rocking motion was bad. Beyond this point it would impact your work.
With Cross Support
Front to Back: Adding the cross support does not impact the rocking motion. The StandDesk Simple started to experienced a rocking motion at 36”. By 41” the rocking motion was bad.
Left to Right: Adding the cross support to the StandDesk improved the wobble motion for lower heights. With the cross support the wobble motion didn’t start until you reached 35”. By 39” the wobble motion became bad.
Note: It’s very important with adjustable standing desks to fully tighten all hardware. If there is hardware that is not completely tight, the movement experienced when extended to standing height will be exaggerated. This is especially true with a desk frame that includes 32 bolts, there are far too many points at which the desk has an opportunity to move.
See The Best Electric Standing Desks For 2020
After months of testing 20+ stand up desks, the results are in!
When I pulled the electronics from the box I was taken back for a second. The control box looks very similar in size to the one found on the VertDesk v3 from LogicData. The JieCang, Autonomous and ApexDesk all included very large control boxes. Looking closer at the switch I could tell the quality wasn’t at the same level as what LogicData creates. It had a cheap plastic covering that wasn’t even as nice as the other Chinese products like Uplift Desk or Jarvis desk. I contacted StandDesk to verify where their electronics were manufactured, they confirmed China.
The StandDesk Simple includes a plastic cover over the motor. I decided to take a closer look to see what the quality of the motor looked like. We have used a Chinese electronics manufacturer on our VertDesk v1, TiMotion electronics in the past, and their first motors were pretty crude looking. Because it was hidden inside the plastic case I figured it would be a similar situation. After pulling the cover off, my assumption was correct. Similar to the TiMotion product, the encasement was greasy, the wires were exposed and there were holes through the motor encasement to the motor. It was about what I expected at this price point.
Frame Build Quality
The frame on the StandDesk was heavy, at 70 lbs without a top, it was one of the heavier frames I have tested. There are a lot of welds holding the feet together, which is definitely good. Unfortunately, the nuts StandDesk welded into the foot for the adjustable glides left weld marks on the top of the foot. This was apparent on both feet and it looks to be common issue.
The engineering behind the frame was over done. There is a ton of steel parts used to complete the StandDesk frame, with cross sections going in multiple directions. Every piece of metal that requires a bolt (and there a lot of bolts) has a piece of steel welded onto the tube. They are able to tap this steel to create threading to attach the bolts. The best way to describe the StandDesk Simple would be crude. This is the least refined frame I have tested to date. I understand the main objective was to lower cost on this desk; however, the Autonomous desk which is similarly priced is much nicer looking.
StandDesk Simple Warranty
The StandDesk comes with a three year warranty on all of the electronic components. The structure of the desk which includes the top and frame are covered for a period of five years.
Testing The Specs
Height Adjustment Range: 27.5” to 47.2”
I measured the current StandDesk Simple at 47.25” to 46.5”.
Adjustment Speed: 1.08” per second
With only the weight of the top (approximately 35 lbs.) I averaged 1.06” per second over ten cycles. When I loaded the desk with 145 lbs., we averaged 1.04” per second. The final speed test I loaded the desk to max capacity. It was able to average 1.02” per second. Overall the speed was consistent through all loads.
Noise Level: n/a
The StandDesk averaged 60 db while in motion. It is quieter as it moves up than when it goes down. The hex rod makes a rubbing sound as it moves downward which increased the sound a little bit. Overall it wasn’t bad at all.
Weight Capacity: 242.5 lbs.
I was able to lift 242.5 lbs. without an issue. The speed only dropped slightly from 1.06” to 1.02”. I tested the desk with an overloaded capacity, it would automatically stop after about 1” of travel. This is one of the first desks under $1000 that I have tested besides the VertDesk v3 that includes overload protection.
What I like about StandDesk Simple
Entry Level Price
This is probably the most attractive feature of the desk. With a frame only price starting at $349.99, it is one of the least expensive options available.
Note: I would caution not adding the cross support. Without a cross support this is one of the least stable standing desks available. The additional $49.99 for a cross support will bring you closer to better options in the market, so depending on your requirements for stability it may not be all the cheap.
Includes Overload Protection
The StandDesk Simple is the second desk I have tested under $1000 to include overload protection. When you purchase the optional memory switch you are able to customize these settings as well. Just be cautious not to overload the desk as it will eventually burn out the motors.
Collision Sensitivity Settings
Similar to the overload protection, StandDesk allows you to adjust the collision sensitivity setting on the desk. The settings are from 5 up to 30, with 15 being standard. I found that 15 required quite a bit of force to stop the desk, so I would recommend turning this up if you are concerned with collision issues.
Note: The second reason this function is a positive for the StandDesk is due to inevitable friction issues. After cycle testing many of the Chinese electric standing desks, we have found their glide systems to be sub par. Over time these glides start to wear down and create additional friction within the columns. As your desk reaches a certain height, the friction in the columns mimics hitting a solid object. This stops your desk will engage the collision avoidance system and stop the desk. Having this function will allow you to reduce the sensitivity when this eventually becomes an issue.
What I don’t like about StandDesk Simple
The assembly process on the StandDesk Simple was over the top. There are way too many bolts required to complete the assembly. The average person will spend two to three hours assembling this product.
Tip: I highly suggest watching the StandDesk assembly video to get familiar with the parts prior to assembly. If you have an allen bit set for your cordless drill, use them.
Focus On Quality Not There
After listening to the interview with Steven Yu about StandDesk.co’s history and the evolution of their products I expected more. He specifically mentions his focus is predominately quality, constantly refining the desk to achieve that quality, providing an upgrade above the industry standard. It was for that reason he decided to develop his own standing desk, choosing not to go with some of the well known Chinese brands. The StandDesk I purchased is the third version since the launch of their brand. Of all the Chinese brands I have tested in our facility, the StandDesk Simple is the most crude. While the parts used are made from heavy steel, the overall quality is lacking.
A Design Bound To Wobble
There are several issues with the StandDesk’s design that create inherent stability issues. The first one that I noticed is the fact there are 32 bolts used to assemble the frame. There are so many moving parts that it’s impossible to create something that will remain stable. With this many bolts, some are bound to back themselves out over time with the natural flexing that occurs in all standing desks. You will be required to constantly tighten bolts to achieve maximum stability (which isn’t great to start with).
The second issue with the design is the addition of a small plastic piece called the stabilizing foot plate. It is a thin piece of plastic that goes between the foot and the column. Instead of having a solid metal to metal connection, they have decided to wedge a piece of malleable plastic there. This is at the foundation of the desk and only adds to the wobble and rocking motions experienced with the StandDesk. While the part is labeled as a stabilizing piece, it is more likely for sound. Reducing vibrations that occur between the foot and column. This is the first product I have tested to include this part.
The last issue is linked to the expandable cross support. Because the cross support is not a single piece of material, instead adjustable in two points, it can never be completely stable. Like the rest of the frame, there are too many moving parts here. The second problem with the design of the cross support is how it attaches to the columns. It’s attached with two bolts on either end that are parallel to each other, only about one inch apart. In order for this to be a stable mounting option, the parallel bolts design would need to be about five inches apart on either end. The better option would be to stack the bolts, again about four to five inches apart. This allows the bolts to work in an X pattern, creating leverage against each other, eliminating lateral movement in the frame.
Quality of Electronics
The features and functions of the electronics on the StandDesk are nice. This is the second desk in the low to mid range that offered overload protection. Unfortunately, looking closer at the switch and motor I could tell they were sub par in quality. The three year warranty is better than the two year warranty on the ApexDesk Elite Series, but not as good as the five year warranty on the Autonomous Desk. Both offer sub par electronics, but the Autonomous will give you better peace of mind when something malfunctions.
The design with the foot was interesting. While the welds created a nice stable foundation, the way the adjustable glides were mounted was odd. The bottom portion of the foot was cut out, with a nut welded to underside of the top foot plate. This created an inset for the adjustable glide to go into. Because the stem of the glide was only ⅜” tall it could not adjust more than ⅛” out of the inset foot. Once you have adjusted the glide beyond ⅛” it has minimal contact with the threading of the nut and the frame becomes very unstable. This means the adjustable glides will be pretty much useless if your floor is even a little uneven.
Providing a more affordable option for individuals and companies to create healthier work environments was the reason StandDesk was founded. When it was first introduced in 2014 at $399 there was a lot of intrigue, especially with it being the only electric option under $600. Unfortunately, over the last three years, the market has become a lot more competitive, with other products creeping down into a similar price range. While the introductory price of StandDesk Simple frame only $349.99 is inviting, not adding a $49.99 a cross support will likely leave you less than satisfied. If budget is your number one concern, I would have a hard time recommending this product over the Autonomous SmartDesk 2. If you have are able to spend a little more it’s worth considering a better mid-range product.