The Kangaroo, by Ergo Desktop, is one of the original standing desk converter products on the market. It is made in the USA, has dual ergonomics and goes high enough for people that are 6’3”. With that being said, I was not very favorable to the Kangaroo in my in-depth review. Don’t get me wrong, it definitely has some nice things going for it. It just didn’t feel as good to use as a lot of other standing desk converters I have tested. This may be the perfect converter for you, or it may have a downside that makes you look for an alternative product. This review will highlight the potential problems I have found during my experience with the Kangaroo standing desk so that you can easily decide if the Kangaroo is a good fit for you.
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The first problem that I want to touch on has to do with the keyboard platform stability. The platform is thin with the only support coming from the point that it attaches to the column. This causes the keyboard platform to act like a diving board, which creates a very noticeable amount of keyboard bounce. The keyboard bounce is so pronounced that it is very difficult to work with, and can become a big distraction.
To combat this problem, Ergo Desktop came out with a stability bar shortly after the Kangaroo was released. The stability bar is an adjustable metal bar that run vertically from the base of the Kangaroo to the underside of the keyboard platform. The bar prevents the tray from bouncing and adds a lot of stability to the whole unit. While using the bar is better than having keyboard bounce, it is bit of an annoyance. Instead of just being able to use the converter, you need to store a separate part and attach it each time you want to move the desk to standing height.
If stability is one of your main concerns and you do not want to deal with the stability bar, then you probably need to look for an alternative product. You may want to consider a product like the OFM 5100 or Ergotron WorkFit-T. They do not have the same adjustment range but they are much more stable and have a lower price point.
Difficult to Adjust
The Kangaroo has two separately adjustable platforms. Each platform has its own knob that needs to be loosened in order for the platform to move. Tightening the knob will lock the platform in place. Each platform has its own gas cylinder to assist with the upward movement. The gas cylinders make the upward height adjustments much easier than moving the platforms down. An adjustment process that requires you to loosen and tighten knobs is going to be more difficult and time consuming than the majority of standing desk converters out right now. Most converters are adjustable by simply pressing a button or squeezing two handles.
Another problem that makes the downward adjustment process more difficult is that the aluminum extrusions used for the column create a lot of friction. The friction is not as bad once the movement has started. Getting the movement started requires quite a bit of physical effort though. It is important that you do not press down on the front or sides of the keyboard platform when moving it down. You need to reach to the back of the keyboard platform and press down on the metal bar. Having to reach to the back of the unit will make adjustments even more difficult for short people.
When making adjustments, it really helps to lean forward to try to get your weight over the top of the metal bar before pressing down. This will make it easier on your arms and shoulders while also reducing the “jerking” motion the platform can make from the initial force needed to get it moving. If you need something with the same type of functionality but with an easier adjustment process, then I would recommend looking at products like the Humanscale QuickStand and Ergotron WorkFit-S.
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Small Monitor Platform
The monitor platform is small on the Kangaroo. I usually work with a single 27” monitor. The base on my monitor hung over both sides and the front of the monitor platform. This made me very nervous about making adjustments or even bumping into the unit because my monitor never really felt like it was secure. I swapped the 27” monitor for a 22” and the base barely fit on the monitor platform without having overhang.
I would recommend using monitors that are 22” or less when using the Kangaroo with a monitor platform. If you would like to use a larger monitor, then I would go with the Kangaroo Pro. It is the same price as the Kangaroo but it comes standard with a VESA monitor mounting system instead of a monitor platform. You will be able to mount your monitor to the Kangaroo to ensure that it is fully secure.
Awkward Task Space
The Kangaroo was designed to be a good product for any workspace, which includes compact spaces like cubicles. One way that they did this was by creating a keyboard platform that tapers off at the back. This poses a problem for tasking. The front portion of the keyboard platform is nice and wide but this space needs to be used for your keyboard and mouse. This means that your only task space is the area behind the keyboard. Since this section is tapered, it ends up being small. Not having much space really limits the number of objects that can be placed on the platform. It also makes it much more difficult to use larger items like papers or catalogues.
Ergo Desktop has optional keyboard platform extensions that can be added to the sides and/or front of the keyboard platform. Adding these extensions will help to increase your task space. The front extension is $79.00 and each side extension is $29.00. If you would prefer to have a larger platform without adding extensions, then you may want to look into the Winston Workstation. It functions in a very similar way to the Kangaroo but offers one of the largest work surfaces available on a standing desk converter.
Close Viewing Distance
The recommended ergonomic monitor viewing distance is anywhere between 20”-40”. The distance from the front of my monitor to the front of the keyboard tray was 13”. This put my viewing distance at about 18”. It was too close to be comfortable so I had to stop using that set-up after a shorter period of time than I would have liked.
Using a smaller monitor will push the screen back slightly compared to my 27” monitor. It would also help to avoid using a palm support or a keyboard that has one built-in, like I have. This will allow you stand a couple inches further away. Another way to increase your viewing distance is with the keyboard platform extension mentioned above. For $79.00, you can add a front keyboard extension which will put you in the range for an ergonomic viewing distance.
Increased Keyboard Height When Seated
The Kangaroo sits on top of your existing desk. The platform goes all the way down to your desk but it will increase your seated typing position by 1”. This is a small increase but many people will have a tough time achieving an ergonomic typing height if they are using a standard height desk of 29”-30”. If your desk is 29” high, then the minimum sitting height with the Kangaroo is 30”. Most people would need to sit at a chair with a seat height of around 20” to achieve an ergonomic keyboard height. This seat height could pose a problem for shorter users and chairs with limited height ranges.
I would recommend making sure your office chair has adequate seat height range. Most standard ergonomic chairs will have an adjustment range of around 16”-21”. This will allow you to get high enough to have your elbows at 90 degrees. With your chair being so high, I would also recommend using a footrest. A footrest is great to help you keep your knees at a 90 degree angle, which is recommended for the correct ergonomic sitting posture. Footrests are especially helpful for short people. If you would prefer to go with a product that allows the keyboard tray to go below your existing desk, then I would recommend looking into the WorkFit-S or HealthPostures TaskMate Go.
Short Warranty on Moving Parts
Ergo Desktop offers a five year warranty on the structural components of the Kangaroo but the moving parts are only covered for two years. The problem with this is that the moving parts are the most likely to be the ones that break down and make the unit unusable. Most similarly priced standing desk converters have a five year warranty or longer. There are also a number of lower priced products that offer comprehensive five years warranties. Five years seems to be quickly becoming the standard for standing desk converter warranties. It would only make sense that a product that is made in the USA, with a price tag on the higher side, would have a warranty on par with its peers. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
Unfortunately, I do not have a good solution for this. Ergo Desktop does not offer an extended warranty. You may want to look into one of the products I have previously mentioned, like the WorkFit-S, QuickStand or Winston. These will all have similar functionality but with five year comprehensive warranties.
Ergo Desktop ships the Kangaroo pre-assembled but there is still quite a bit left to do when it arrives. There are several screws and parts that need to be put together. The process is not difficult or overly complicated. There are also no major pain points during the installation. It will take most people about 30-45 minutes to get the unit fully assembled. This type of assembly may not be an option for some people.
Ergo Desktop has the option to ship the Kangaroo fully assembled for an additional charge of $19.00. I think that this is an incredible value. $19.00 is not that much extra for a product that starts at $499.00. There are also a lot of standing desk converters that arrive fully assembled and ready to go out of the box.
The Kangaroo has been popular and well liked for several years now. The product is far from perfect though. It has several weaknesses. Some of them are minor while others are more glaring. While competing brand’s products are being improved and completely new products are introduced, the Kangaroo has stuck with the same design and functionality. The Kangaroo has not had an update in quite a long time. I think an update would be able to address some of these problems and greatly improve the product. I hope this article helps to highlight the potential downsides on the Kangaroo so that you know what to expect if you are considering the Kangaroo desktop converter.