REVIEW UPDATE: The Original ModDesk Pro has been discontinued. MultiTable’s ModDesk Mod-E Pro is the current replacement, made by Chinese OEM Kaidi Electrical. If you’d like to learn more about a brand we’ve reviewed using Kaidi, please refer to the VariDesk ProDesk 60 Electric Review.
Today we are taking a closer look at an electric standing desk from the brand, MultiTable. MultiTable has been involved in the standing desk market since 2010, with its first product being a hand crank desk, the ModTable. Over the years their line of desks has grown in popularity and so has the number of options they offer. One of the additions to their product line is the ModDesk Pro. The ModDesk Pro is an electric standing desk from the mid-range category. Featuring premium electronics and a gear system, the ModDesk Pro has a lot to offer. Let’s take a closer look at this model and see how it performed.
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The OEM manufacturer for the ModDesk Pro is Actiforce. Actiforce manufacturers the frame components and sources of additional parts from other suppliers. They currently use LogicData for the electronics (control box and switch) and Bosch for their motors. The gear systems come from Ketterer. Actiforce is a global company with its frame manufacturing facility in Penang, Malaysia.
ModDesk Pro Review Links
– Specs / Pricing / Features
– Assembly Process
– Stability Testing
– Column, Foot and Frame
– Gear and Glide Systems
– Testing The Specs
– What I Like
– What I Don’t Like
– Final Thoughts
The MutliTable company was founded in 2010 by Drew de Weerd after he became inspired to create a new adjustable standing desk. His goal was to take the standing desk users’ experience to a new level. MultiTable is currently headquartered in Phoenix, AZ.
Product Specs (per MultiTable.com)
Height Adjustment Range: 24.25” to 50.25” (no top)
Travel Speed:1.5” Per Second
Weight Capacity: 300 lbs.
Adjustable Foot Glides:
Noise Level: <45 dB
Frame Only: $599.00 + $69 (Programmable Switch) = $668.00
Frame with 24” x 48” Top: $719.00 + $69.00 (Programmable Switch) = $788.00
Features (per MultiTable.com)
- Ultra-quiet Bosch® motors for fast height adjustment – Noise Level: <45 db(A)
- Impressive 26” height adjustable range
- Accommodates 6’4” or taller stature with a 50.25” max. desk height setting
- Width adjustable from 43.3″ to 67″ to fit many desktop sizes
- Advanced start-stop switch for controlled adjustment
- Extremely stable steel frame with powder coat finish
- Wide variety of desktops and base frame colors and finishes
The packaging for the ModDesk Pro frame was good. There were two separate boxes that included all of the pieces to complete the frame assembly. Each of the metal components were individually wrapped in plastic to protect their finish. Shipping from AZ to our location in WI, I found no damage. I would be confident their packaging would hold up well to locations around the USA.
Assembly (40-90+ Minutes)
Overall, I thought the assembly process was straightforward. Unfortunately, the package I received included the instructions for their hand crank table. Luckily, the MultiTable has instructions available on their website, so I was able to print them without calling. There are quite a few parts involved with the assembly, but once you have located everything they all go together well. Because of the number of parts, it took me about 40 minutes to complete assembly. For someone who is less experienced, it could potentially take 90 or more minutes to complete.
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ModDesk Pro Stability
Stability is one of the most important aspects with any standing desk. If you use an unstable standing desk, the potential exists for reduced efficiency, with your focus shifting to the wobble/rocking issues. Design flaws within standing desks are not something that can be easily fixed in the field. These design flaws are only exaggerated once the desk is raised to tall heights. The ModDesk Pro doesn’t include a traditional cross support, which is a red flag. Desks without this type of support will always have lateral stability issues.
Left to Right: The first test I performed on the ModDesk Pro was the wobble test. Without a traditional cross support, the ModDesk had wobble issues early on. I first noticed the left to right motions at 36” tall. By the time I reached 40”, the motions were bad and would likely impact your work.
Front to Back: The rocking motion test on the ModDesk was much better than the wobble test. The design of the columns, proper fit glides and a traditional (big on bottom, small on top) set up definitely helped. I didn’t notice any real rocking until 42” tall. When 46” was reached the rocking motion became bad.
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.
Having the opportunity to review over ten desks within the mid-range category, I have unfortunately seen a lot of low-quality electronics. The ModDesk Pro was a nice change, using premium electronics from LogicData. LogicData is the same provider of electronics for our own line, the VertDesk v3 and the high-end NewHeights brand. They are one of the leading manufacturers of electronics for standing desks. We have used these on our products for years and had great success.
While the control box found on the ModDesk pro lists the OEM Actiforce as the manufacturer, the switch still shows the LogicData label. They are currently using the Compact-eco control box. It features the highly efficient switch mode power supply system, with .3 watt standby power. The control box allows for speed control, which the ModDesk Pro has turned up to 1.78” per second.
Unfortunately, not all of the electronics on the ModDesk Pro are what I would consider premium level. Their OEM has decided to use the notorious Bosch motors, 24V ACH 0 390 203 386. These are the same motors being used on the IKEA Bekant. Both of which scored very low in our reviews and were found to be very inconsistent.
When testing these motors, combined with the LogicData control box, I couldn’t believe how fast they were. They were significantly faster than the IKEA Bekant. Unfortunately, during my testing I still found speed inconsistencies. At peak performance, with only the weight of the desktop, the motors moved at 1.78” per second. This would rank as our second fastest desk to date. As I loaded additional weight onto the desk, the performance started to suffer. You could also hear how hard the motors were working to keep up. By the time we reached max capacity, the speed had dropped all the way down to 1.11” per second.
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Column, Foot and Upper Frame Build Quality
Taking a closer look at the ModDesk Pro columns, I could tell that there was a good amount of quality control involved. The overall build quality of the column itself was nice. The welds were consistent and the paint finish looked good. It wasn’t quite at the same level as the Linak DL5 columns found on the UpDesk Elements series, but similar to our own VertDesk v3.
The ModDesk Pro continued to impress me with their foot and upper frame build quality. Unlike products like the StandDesk Simple, the ModDesk had solid welds throughout the foot and upper frame.
The ModDesk did a good job with their foot, it was solid and the welding was consistent here as well. The threading used to attach the adjustable foot glides had plenty of thread lines, which made for a solid connection. Ultimately this creates a solid foundation for the rest of the frame.
The expandable upper frame was put together well. The only parts missing were the bolts to attach the upper support to the side of the column. Currently, they only attached to the top. By doing this, there would be something to counteract top bolts. Other than that, I thought this portion of the frame was well built.
Gear and Glide System
Pulling apart the columns of the ModDesk, I was happy to see the use of quality Ketterer gears. We have years of experience using Ketterer gears inside of our own products and have had great success with them. In fact, our recent 21,375 cycle test performed on the VertDesk v3 only helped to cement my feelings towards the Ketterer product.
One of the things I like to do with the gears is pull them in and out, to feel how smoothly they move. The gear on the ModDesk was very smooth and easy to pull in and out. They have also done a good job building the top bearing system into the motor bracket, compared to a loose bearing that is found in most Chinese made spindle gears.
The glide system used on the ModDesk was the first of its kind I have seen. This doesn’t mean that it was bad, just a different setup. They still used the more traditional set-up, with glides on the top and bottom of the columns. This is the best way to provide a nice fit between the columns. The difference was how the top glides were held in place as they used set screws in the outer corners of the columns. I’m not sure if I’m a hundred percent sold on the look, but it appears to do a good job holding them in place. This will also give you the ability to loosen or tighten the glides, helping to maintain the fit of the glides over time.
The plastics used inside for the glides looked and felt to be of good quality. I reached out to both MultiTable and Actiforce, but one thing I’ve learned is that no one willing to give their secret sauce. It’s too bad because I feel like this could potentially help to sell their products.
They did a good job with using lubricants inside the columns, only putting the lubricant on the bottom glides. These would be the glides that have to slide on the unpainted portion of the column. Raw steel requires more lubrication to slide efficiently, while the painted portion of the column creates a more slick surface for the glide to slide against. Because the upper glides slide against the painted surface, no lubricant was used here. This is similar to how we set up the VertDesk v3, which creates a much cleaner experience.
The only complaint I had with the lubricant used, was the smell that is created after the desk was cycled. Because I have only cycled the desk about 200 times, I can’t speak on how long the smell would last. However, when I was testing it, my business partner Ryan came into the lab. His first response was, “What is that smell?” It was so strong that it hit him when he first walked into the room, which is about twenty feet from where I was testing. This was very odd, to say the least.
The ModDesk Pro comes with a solid five-year warranty, that includes the electronics. While there are longer warranties currently available on the market, five years is still above average in the mid-range category. The LogicData components are solid and should have few issues. My only concern would be the Bosch motors.
Testing The Specs
Height Adjustment Range: 24.25” to 50.25” (no top)
True. With the use of the adjustable leveling glides, the frame was able to hit this range.
Adjustment Speed: 1.5” Per Second
False. The ModDesk Pro actually exceeded this speed. We were able to average 1.78” per second with only the weight of the desktop.
Noise Level: <45 dB
False. The desk is much louder than this. On average, when lowered, the desk was between 58-59 decibels. When only the weight of the desktop was raised, the desk averaged 64-65 decibels. The ModDesk Pro was the loudest desk we have tested to date.
Weight Capacity: 300 lbs.
True. Through testing, we were able to lift a load of 300 lbs. We tested multiple loads to measure how consistent the motors were. With 200 lbs, the desk only slowed to 1.48” per second. When we added 250 lbs, the adjustment speed dropped to 1.32”. Finally, we tested the desk at max capacity and the speed dropped to 1.11” per second. While the motors were able to lift the different capacities, they sounded like they were being worked pretty hard. Based on my own experience with these Bosch motors, I would stay below 200 lbs for daily use. By doing this you shouldn’t have any issues.
What I Like About The ModDesk Pro
LogicData Electronics Pack
There are two major players in the premium electronics category for electric standing desks. Linak is one and the second is LogicData. Both of these companies supply the highest level of electronics that standing desk manufacturers can use today. Having used less expensive Chinese alternatives in the past, we’ve learned that partnering with companies like LogicData has proven to be a more consistent option.
Ketterer Gear System
The consistency of the Ketterer gear system is obvious. Just by taking the gear in your hands and pulling them in and out, the smoothness was hard to miss. Factor that in with the rolling process they use to manufacturer their gears and you can understand why Ketterer is creating some of the best quality gears available. When compared to the Chinese products on JieCang Linear frames, the attention to quality control on Ketterer is hard to miss.
Solid Glide Setup
ModDesk Pro had done a good job using a traditional glide setup. They also appear to be using high-quality plastic with their glides. With glides on the top and bottom of the column, each is able to counteract each other, providing a good fit throughout the full stroke of the column. Making sure to only lubricate the bottom glides that slide against raw steel ensures that you only see a clean column. All glides sliding again the painted part of the column are lubricant-free. This is the preferred method and will create a much cleaner experience.
Large Range of Motion
With 26” of travel, the ModDesk Pro will have no problem fitting a wide portion of the population.
What I Don’t Like About The ModDesk Pro
Lateral Stability Issues
Without the use of a traditional cross support system, the ModDesk Pro has wobble issues. Unfortunately, these wobble motions start as early as 36” and by 40” they become bad. This is something that will likely impact your work, especially if you are like me and can’t concentrate when at a wobbly table. It’s unfortunate that ModDesk Pro has chosen to go without a cross support system, their desks stability would be much better with one.
Use of Bosch Motors
While Bosch is known to make good products, our own experience testing this specific model has been less than stellar. The previous reviews done on the IKEA Bekant desk show the significant inconsistencies found on the Bosch 24V ACH 0 390 203 386motors. We have now seen the motors on three different electric standing desks and each experience has been unique. One thing that has remained consistent is how inconsistent the motors were during various load testing. In my opinion, ActiForce should have used the Ketterer motor that pairs with their gear system.
Loud When Raising
Because the Bosch motors are being used close to max capacity, they make a lot of noise when raising the desk. With only the weight of the desktop, you can hear the motors are working hard. The decibel rating goes from 58 when lowering, to as high as 65 when only raising the weight of a desktop. This aligns with my concerns of the motors ability to maintain the speed setting inside the ModDesk Pro’s control box. My suggestion would be to slow down the system, creating better consistency across various loads.
Smell After Use
One of the oddest things about the ModDesk Pro was the smell coming from the desk after use. Before opening the columns, I honestly thought it was from the Bosch motors. Especially with how hard they were working. Much to my surprise, it was actually the lubricant being used inside the columns. Because we have only cycled the desk about 200 times, I’m not sure how long the smell will last. There is a fair amount of lubricant on the bottom glides, so there is a chance it could be for the entire time you own these desk.
Going through the ModDesk Pro review, it was hard for me not to like this desk. It became apparent early on that it was very similar to our own line of standing desks. Their focus to use premium components and strict quality control standards definitely shined through during my review. There were only a couple big misses on the ModDesk Pro. Using the Bosch motors was the first one, especially when the OEM already has a relationship with Ketterer for their gears. Our experience with Ketterer motors on own products has been very good. The second was the lack of traditional cross support, which meant the lateral stability issues were unavoidable. The price on the ModDesk Pro is higher than the majority of competitors, but outside the VertDesk v3, I have to say it’s a better value than most of the lower quality options. Overall, I would have no problem recommending this desk.