NOTICE: This product has been discontinued by Varidesk.
The Varidesk Pro 36™ made its official debut to the office furniture world at NeoCon Chicago in 2013. Varidesk was a huge hit, winning multiple awards and setting a new standard for the desktop converter market. The Pro 36™ was the first product of its kind. Being ready to go out of the box, with an easy operating system and a low price point instantly, made the Pro 36™ a desirable option for individuals and businesses. Since its release, a lot has changed within the market. There are now hundreds of different standing desk options but not much has changed with the Pro 36™. I was interested to see how it fares in today’s highly competitive standing desk converter market so I recently ordered one. Here is my experience with the Pro 36™.
Need help? Get our Free Standing Desk Converter Buying Guide!
Full Disclaimer: We are an office furniture dealer and sell some of the products we review. To learn more about the products we sell, our review process and why you can trust us, please visit: Why we’re different. Who is BTOD.com and The Breakroom Blog?
Varidesk Pro 36™ Manufacturer
The Pro 36™ is manufactured by Varidesk, LLC. The Varidesk product line originated from Gemmy Industries. Gemmy is a Dallas based company that has been in business since 1984. Gemmy focuses in the fields of novelties and animation with their biggest claim to fame being Big Mouth Billy Bass. After the immediate and massive success of the Varidesk product line, a separate entity was formed as Varidesk, LLC.
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 Pro 36™ Quick Summary Video
Country of Origin
Made in China
Weight Limit: 35 lbs.
Unit Weight: 48 lbs.
Shipping Weight: 67 lbs.
Overall at lowest height: 36”W x 26.75”D x5”H
Overall at highest height: 36”W x 30”D x 15.5”H
Base Dimensions: 36”W x 22.5”D
Keyboard Platform Dimensions: 36”W x 12.75”D
Keyboard Platform Height: .75”H
Monitor Platform Dimensions: 36”W x 24”D
Max Monitor Platform Height: 15.5”H
Min Monitor Platform Height: 5”H
Distance Front of Keyboard Tray to Monitor: 19”
Sits on Top of Your Existing Desk
Single Platform Design
11 Height Settings
2 Handle Spring Assist Adjustment
Depth Adjustable Sitting Keyboard Tray
2020 Price – $395.00
See The Best Standing Desk Converters For 2020
After months of testing 40+ sit stand desk converters, the results are in!
The Pro 36™ is returnable within the first 30 days for a full refund. Varidesk will cover the return shipping costs and they will also provide you with a box if you no longer have yours.
Varidesk Pro 36™ Quick Video Summary
On 3/2/2018, Varidesk bumped the warranty on almost all of their sit stand converters, from 1 year to 5 years. This includes the Pro 36™. There are no excluded components. If you need to file a warranty claim within the first year of owning your Pro 36™, then Varidesk will cover the shipping costs. If your claim is filed after the first year of ownership, then you will be responsible for the shipping costs.
Purchases before 3/2/2018: The Pro 36™ comes with a 1-year warranty. There are no exclusions.
The Pro 36™ shipped within one business day and arrived a couple days later via UPS ground. The item arrived in a rectangle shaped box with handles on both ends of the box to make it easier to carry. The box is over 60 lbs. so it was much easier for me to drag the box across the carpet than carry it. If you need to carry it across your floor, then you may want a second person on hand to help. The item was very well protected and didn’t show any visible signs of damage.
The Pro 36™ arrives fully assembled and ready to go out of the box. Simply take it out of the box and place it on your desk. The unit weighs almost 50 lbs. so some people will want to have someone available to help you lift the unit on top of your desk. Once it is on your desk, it is ready to use.
The Pro 36™ is made in China and features a z shaped base design. The Pro 36™ has an arcing movement pattern that pushes the platform out and toward you as it is raised. The movement is assisted by springs and the unit has a basic pin locking system to secure the unit in place. The technology used on the Pro 36™ is very basic and the quality of materials are going to be lower in quality. The locking system doesn’t fully secure the unit in place and doesn’t always fully engage. There is be a bit of bounce when the unit is locked. The handles are a little clunky and make a loud clicking noise when squeezed but the unit is quiet while in motion, unlike the Pro Plus 36 model that I tested.
Varidesk did a nice job of hiding the springs and inner workings of the unit from view. They also use all black parts so that the entire unit matches which is nice to see. One thing that was odd was the amount of dust and dirt on the unit. I am not sure why it arrived so dirty.
The footprint on the Pro 36™ is a bit odd. The base on the Pro 36™ requires a space that is 32.5”W x 21.5”D in order to place the unit on top of. But, there is a lot of overhang on all sides and the movement pattern changes the footprint. The overall dimensions at the lowest height will require about 36”W x 26”D of space. When going to standing, the platform moves out and away from the base. You will need about 8” of additional space behind you when you move to the tallest height.
The Pro 36™ is large and weighs almost 50 lbs. It is not a product that is practical to move on and off your desk or from office to office. It is also not meant to be moved around the desk it is placed on. The weight of the product, along with the rubber stoppers under the base, make it very difficult to move around your desk.
Adjusting the Pro 36™
The Pro 36™ has height adjustment as well as keyboard depth adjustment. To adjust the platform height, press and hold the handles underneath both sides of the platform. Pressing the handles will unlock the unit and you will be able to move it up or down freely. The springs make it very easy to adjust in both directions. When you get to your preferred height, you can release both handles to lock the platform at the new height. The Pro 36™ has 11 different height options to choose from instead of offering infinite position lock. You may need to slightly raise or lower the platform after releasing the handles to engage the locks. You will be able to hear the unit click when it locks in place. I would also recommend wiggling the platform to make sure it is securely locked. There were a couple times that one side locked and the other side didn’t fully click in.
The second adjustment is the depth of the keyboard platform that lays on your desk. There are two small knobs found on the outside of both sides of the base. You can loosen these knobs to unlock the keyboard tray which will allow it to slide in and out. You can then re-tighten the knobs to lock it in its new position.
Because of how poorly the Pro Plus 36™ tested at standing height, I had low expectations for the Pro 36™. It was nice to find out that the Pro 36™ is actually quite a bit more stable than the Pro Plus 36™. The Pro 36™ does not have a separate keyboard tray, which reduces keyboard bounce drastically and it also removes the risk of the unit tipping forward and off your desk. Overall, the Pro 36™ tested very well. At sitting height, the unit is very solid. When moving to standing, the unit has a bit more side to side movement and bounce due to the primitive locking system. This also caused a deduction in the general stability category. The unit does not fully lock into place. Instead there is a little bit of bounce and side to side tilt. The higher the platform is raised, the more pronounced the bounce and tilt becomes. I do not feel that this movement is enough to impact your work.
|Sitting Wobble (10%)||Standing Wobble (15%)||Sitting Bounce (10%)||Standing Bounce (15%)||Sitting Shake (10%)||Standing Shake (15%)||General (25%)||Total Score|
Similar to other single platform standing desk converters, the Pro 36™ is not going to provide proper ergonomics when standing. Having your keyboard on the same platform as your monitor means that you will either have a downward monitor viewing angle or an upward typing angle. The adjustment range allows the platform to go as high as 15.5” off your desk. This is high enough to allow for a proper ergonomic typing position for people up to 6’2” but there will be an extreme downward viewing angle.
The one advantage that the Pro 36™ has over other single platform designs is the sitting position. The Pro 36™ has a keyboard tray that stays on your desk and does not raise when the platform raises. The monitor platform does not go all the way down to your desk so you are able to use the Pro 36™ with dual platforms when you are sitting. The monitor platform sits about 4” higher than the keyboard tray. This will allow some people to be in an ergonomic position when sitting. The keyboard tray raises your normal sitting typing height by .75”, so it will be altered slightly but it is much more practical than other single platform designs I have tested.
The recommended ergonomic monitor viewing distance is 20”-40”. When sitting, the front of the keyboard tray was about 19” from my monitor screen. This put me well within the recommended ergonomic range. The keyboard tray also has depth adjustment so you can extend the viewing distance if you’d like. When standing, the front of the platform was about 14” from my screen. This put me at the low end of the recommended viewing distance
Monitor & Task Space
The monitor platform is 36” wide at the front and tapers slightly toward the back. It is large enough to fit dual monitors or a monitor and laptop combination. When you are sitting, you have a lot of task space because your keyboard will be on its own keyboard tray. When you are standing, your keyboard and mouse need to be on the monitor platform, so your task space will be more limited. You will be able to fit a few objects that you need to keep within close proximity.
One thing about the monitor platform that was quite annoying was trying to remove the large sticker Varidesk places on top of the platform. I tried to remove it very slowly so that I didn’t peel the top layer off but I was unsuccessful. After peeling the sticker off, there was a large portion of it still left on the platform. I scrubbed the remnants with Goo Gone for several minutes and was not able to get the entire sticker off. I didn’t want to try scraping it off in fear of scratching the work surface. For the sake of time, I left the remaining portion of the sticker on there since it didn’t affect the functionality. I am not sure how to prevent this. Maybe getting it wet prior to trying to remove it would help. Or, maybe pre-soaking it in a product like Goo Gone before starting to peel the sticker off would help.
In both the sitting and standing position, there is a lot of keyboard and mouse space. There was plenty of room for my oversized keyboard. As mentioned earlier, you can pull the keyboard tray out when sitting. This allows you to change your keyboard positioning from being right under the monitor platform if you’d prefer to have your hands in the open. This also makes it very easy to place your laptop on the keyboard tray when sitting instead of having to reach up to use it on the monitor platform.
One thing to keep in mind is that you will be switching your keyboard and mouse between two different platforms, depending on whether you are sitting or standing. Having to re-run my keyboard cord each time was a nuisance so I think a wireless keyboard and mouse would make for a better experience on the Pro 36™.
The Pro 36™ comes with adhesive backed clips that can be attached to the converter to guide your wires safely off the back of the unit. Varidesk also includes a nylon cable sleeve to keep them organized as they run off the back.
The only safety concerns I have with the Pro 36™ are the pinch points caused by the z lift design. Your hands and fingers are not near the pinch points, while making adjustment, so you just need to make sure there are not objects or people in the way. Be careful not to run your cords off the side of the unit or the pinch points may damage them.
What do I like?
Good for Laptops
The Pro 36™ is a good option for laptops. Not only does it have a large single surface when standing but it is also viable when seated. The other single platform units I have tested are not practical when sitting because they raise the minimum height so much that it makes it awkward to use a keyboard. Having the separate keyboard tray, when sitting, allows you to use this unit with your laptop all the time instead of just at standing height. One thing to note is that this is not the type of product that you can take with your laptop which will be a drawback.
One of the biggest upsides to buying any Varidesk product is their return policy. The 30-day full money back guarantee allows you to try the product with no risks. You don’t even need to keep the box since Varidesk will send you a new one for no charge. This is a great policy for people that don’t know for sure if they want a standing desk but want to try it.
The Pro 36™ arrives fully assembled and ready to go out of the box. This is a very attractive feature for a lot of buyers since there is no time investment for assembly. You can just unpackage the unit, place it on your desk and it is good to go.
Easy to Use
The Pro 36™ is very easy to use. The handles are simple to press and the springs make the movement easy to perform in both directions. It doesn’t take much physical effort to adjust the unit. This is a big advantage over products like the VIVO DESK-V000B and AirRise Pro that require considerable physical force to move.
It was a welcome surprise to see how stable the Pro 36™ was. The three other Varidesk products I have tested did not perform that well through my testing. The Pro 36™ did. With an overall score of 82/100 and only a couple minor downsides, the Pro 36™ is one of the more stable standing desk converters I have tested.
With Varidesk’s recent change to their warranty, the Pro 36™ is now on the same level as other industry leading products, in terms of warranty length and coverage. I think this is a very nice change that helps to protect your investment much better than the previous warranty.
What don’t I like?
The price of $395.00 is hard to justify on the Pro 36™. I think that products like the VertDesk Converter and FlexiSpot M2 35″ are better products for people that will be using monitors and they are both less expensive than the Pro 36™. There are also a lot of attractive alternatives for laptop users and most of them are less money. Products from Varidesk’s own line-up, like the Laptop 22 and Laptop 30, are less than half the price and are both viable options for laptop users.
The Pro 36™ is only going to be ergonomic for a very small group of people. I use a 27” monitor and it was way too low for me when I was standing. On the flip side, it was too high for me when I was sitting due to the height of the monitor platform. The viewing distance is also on the close side when standing and the sitting position will create an awkward typing angle for some people. I do not think that this is the best product to be using for prolonged periods of time.
Limited Height Options
The Pro 36™ offers about 10” of adjustment range with 11 different positions to choose from. This means that there is a decent gap between each position which can pose a problem for people that find that their preferred height is between two of the options.
The Pro 36™ has a lot going for it. It ships with a risk free, 30-day money back guarantee and arrives within a couple days. It is ready to go out of the box and is among the easiest standing desk converters to use. It is also stable at all heights. The problem with the Pro 36™ is that it is expensive for what you get. The lack of ergonomics and limited height options are things that can’t be ignored on a product that costs nearly $400. I think that this unit is best suited for laptop users; however, it has no mobility, which is usually the point of using a laptop. Even though this is my favorite Varidesk product so far, I think there are better alternatives for almost every situation, so I would have a hard time recommending the Pro 36™.