With high-end electronics, gears and glides, the NextDesk Terra™ standing desk has a lot to offer. Unfortunately, like many of the desks I have tested, it has some glaring weaknesses too. Today, we will take a closer look at the top problems I have found with the Terra. If solutions exist to these problems, I will provide that information and if not, I will offer a better alternative. Let’s take a closer look to find out what i’ve learned with my experience using the NextDesk Terra.
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?
After 12 months of testing 20+ electric standing desks the results are in!
Front to Back Stability Issues At All Heights
The NextDesk Terra was one of the most confusing desks I have tested. With the use of a traditional cross support and well fit glides, the NextDesk Terra had great lateral stability. It’s lateral stability was so good, it would have easily ranked in the top three most stable standing desk. Unfortunately, the front to back rocking motion was the worst I have tested.
The reason for the front to back rocking motion stemmed from the solid aluminum foot design on the NextDesk Terra. Based on the marketing material found throughout the NextDesk website, their vision was to create the most beautiful standing desk. That is likely a major reason they chose the solid aluminum, as it created the look they wanted. The problem with solid aluminum is that it provides poor strength. The foot design allowed for the weight of the upper half of the desk to flex the feet when it is rocked back and forth. This flexing was so bad that it was noticeable when the desk was at sitting height.
Because of the design choice to use aluminum for the foot, NextDesk Terra cannot be fixed without a design update. The best option would have been for NextDesk to use a cast aluminum mold for their foot design. This would have allowed them to create a custom shape, with better strength throughout the foot.
Two product alternatives that we have tested with similar adjustment ranges are the GeekDesk v3 and the NewHeights XT. Each will offer a traditional cross support to provide good lateral support. During testing we have found that the GeekDesk v3 was stable through 45”. Beyond that point, the front to back rocking motion was significant enough to impact your work. The NextHeights XT performed better, with rock solid stability below 47”. Beyond this point the front to back rocking became noticeable. By 49” it was significant enough to impact your work.
Mismatched Color Frame/Feet
Considering the NextDesk Terra was the most expensive desk I’ve tested, I had pretty high expectations on the look of the desk. When going through the options at checkout, I decided to go with the more expensive silver gloss finish option. This added $97 to the cost of the desk, but based on pictures on the NextDesks.com website, it looked the best. When I received the desk, the first thing I noticed was how different the colors were on the columns compared to the feet, cross support and upper supports. The only parts that had a high gloss finish were the parts that NextDesk makes for the Terra. This meant the big vertical portion of the frame was a completely different color.
The most likely reason for this was the fact the columns from Linak are steel and the NextDesk produced parts are aluminum. When selecting the high gloss silver finish, NextDesk is only able to change the color on the parts they actually produce. If the colors were close, it wouldn’t have been a big deal. However, the difference was significant, with the columns have a matte finish and the aluminum parts having a high gloss.
I would recommend staying away from any of the upcharge finish options for the NextDesk Terra. By doing this you can avoid paying extra for a finish that doesn’t match your columns. My biggest concern is any finish that has a high gloss though, because all Linak columns come with a matte finish. If this is something that will bother you I would recommend requesting finish samples from NextDesk. Be sure to specifically ask for swatches of the columns and the cross support or foot. That will ensure you know what each finish will look like next to each other.
Inaccurate Information Throughout the NextDesks.com Website
When shopping for a new product, you should feel comfortable with the content found on the manufacturer’s website. I mean, afterall, this is the manufacturer and who would know better about their products? Unfortunately, through my experience reviewing the EvoDesk (a lower-end brand from NextDesk) I found this isn’t true. After reviewing their high-end NextDesk product, I found this is an ongoing problem with NextDesks.com too.
During the research portion of the buying process with NextDesk, I ran into multiple red flags. The first was in regards to the type of material used for the frame. There was a ton of content surrounding the use of recycled aluminum and this included details as to why it was so much better than steel. The odd thing was that NextDesk has always used a Linak column for their Terra products. To be more specific, it has always been the DL4 series column from Linak. This series from Linak has only been constructed from steel. So how could there be any confusion?
Like my experience during the EvoDesk review, speaking with reps at NextDesk led me to the same conclusion. No matter what I said to them about Linak and the series being used, they maintained a firm stance on the Terra being an aluminum product. As of 9/24/18 they continue to provide bad information to new customers on the frame materials used.
The second problem with misinformation on their site was linked to the internal components of the columns. Linak has phased out the original DL4 column and replaced it with the DL4S. This change was fairly major, moving from a chain driven system to the more commonly used spindle driven system. If you go to the NextDesk website today you will still see a chain driven system advertised and the benefits that this type of lifting mechanism offer. s of 9/24/18 they continue to provide bad information on the lifting mechanism used in their columns.
While there were a handful of additional items mentioned on NextDesk that are simply not true, these are two that I found to be the most important. I hate to say it, but the only real solution for this is to come to the Breakroom Blog for more detailed information on the NextDesk Terra. We have their most recent version in our office and would be happy to help. Going to NextDesk will likely leave you with over-hyped marketing, that is dated or just plain wrong.
Awkward Vertical Wire Management
With a fancy name like NextFlex™, the vertical wire management system seemed like it was sure to impress. Honestly, when I first saw it I thought it looked pretty cool on the desk. Once I started to used it though, there were two clear problems with the product.
The first was linked to a high level of difficulty running more than one wire through each NextFlex channel. The monofilament cable is designed to expand and retract naturally, which is a problem with bulky cables. While the first wire was easily fished through to the end, the second cable ended up getting stuck on the braided cable that had expanded. This made it impossible to pass the second power cord through the wire management system.
The other problem was how to manage wires that start underneath the desk surface. There is no way to access the NextFlex system unless you are starting on the top of the desk surface. This left the most obvious wire, the power wire to run the desk, completely exposed and awkward with the fancy NextFlex running down both sides of the desk. This issue is also true if you are wanted to run cables from the top of the surface, to just underneath the surface. If you have a CPU holder, this will be a major headache passing cables to the CPU.
The first solution for running multiple power cords is to use tape to tie the cords together. Focus on the head of the wire, where the bulkiest portion is. This will help reduce the catching that occurs as the monofilament expands. Cables with smaller heads like a USB will pass through easier and you should be able to pass multiple wires.
The second problem with accessing the NextFlex from under the work surface isn’t as easy. This will require you to actually cut into the NextFlex material to gain access into the wire management. This is not something I would recommend as it will impact the integrity of the wire management. Desperate times call for desperate measures and if you want to keep the wires clean, this might be your only option.
No Overload Protection or Anti Collision
Something I found interesting during my time reviewing the NextDesk was the lack of overload protection or an anti-collision system. These are features found in desks that I have tested under $500, which meant a desk that retails over $1,500 should certainly include this functionality.
If you must have the NextDesk Terra or already own one, my solution for this problem is to be careful. The OEM specs includes a max lifting capacity of 1400 Newtons (314.73 lbs). During my testing I found that the desk can definitely exceed that capacity; so for sake of not voiding your warranty, try to keep the load below the 315 lbs. mark. Secondly, be aware of your surroundings in your office. With a lifting capacity over 300 lbs., the NextDesk Terra is no joke. It can easily crush objects around your desk.
No Threadlocker or Star Washers
One of the most common problems I have found across almost the entire stacking desk industry is a lack of threadlocker and locking washers being used on bolts. This is something that seems to be so obvious I can’t believe it is missed. Standing desks are moved up and down daily and while in motion the motors vibrate the entire frame. It is a natural occurrence for bolts to slowly loosen over time. Without threadlocker or locking washers, these bolts will continue to loosen over time.
During my testing with the NextDesk Terra, the lack of threadlocker and locking washers was a major problem. One of the biggest benefits linked to stability for the Terra was the use of a traditional cross support. I found that the bolts that held an important bracket used to connect the cross support to the columns would continue to loosen. The biggest problem was that it took very little loosening to have major impact on lateral stability.
The solution for those that already own a NextDesk Terra is a trip to the hardware store. If you haven’t already purchased the desk I would consider requesting that NextDesk include these with your new desk. If you don’t, you will be forced to constantly tighten bolts on your desk to maximize stability. Because the same bolts are used to attach the feet and upper supports, I would recommend adding loctite there as well. I recently reviewed a close competitor to the NextDesk Terra, the NewHeights Elegante XT. NewHeights used Loctite and locking washers throughout the entire frame. It’s small things like these that go a long way to make your standing desk stable.
Adjustable Foot Glides $100
The lack of adjustable foot glides was a first for me. I have tested close to 20 electric standing desks to date. These desks start as low as $339 and every one of them included adjustable foot glides. Granted, not all of them were great, but they did work as advertised. The NextDesk Terra requires you to spend $100 just to add six adjustable foot glides. Without this, you cannot level your desk out on an uneven floor or thick pile carpet. This represents a good majority of the offices looking to add the NextDesk Terra.
If your floor is uneven or you have high pile carpet the only solution is to buy the pads from NextDesk or source them from another company for less money. I tested other glides in our office from competing products and they each fit into the threaded inserts.
High Price Tag
The last problem I have found with the NextDesk Terra is linked to the price. Starting at $1497 with additional shipping fees (+$100 to Wausau, WI), this is one of the most expensive options available. While the components that come from Linak are exceptional, mostly everything else from NextDesk is overpriced.
The use of solid aluminum throughout the feet and upper supports might catch some users eyes. Unfortunately, the lack of stability from them should be a major concern. We found flexing issues that were present at sitting height, these would create significant rocking problems for all users. These aluminum components made by NextDesk Terra didn’t match the columns either. This created a look that I wouldn’t expect from a desk that is at this price point.
I you really want to purchase a NextDesk product, your best solution may be to go with the NextDesk Encore series. It includes Linak technology which is a major draw to the NextDesk brand. Based on pictures shown on the NextDesk site (which I cannot guarantee are accurate) it has a formed steel foot vs. the solid aluminum found on the Terra. This will significantly improve the front to back rocking issues found on the Terra. Unfortunately, with a lack of a traditional cross support, the wobble found on the Encore will most likely be a new problem.
If price is a major concern, there are better alternatives found in the mid-range. These products are available for under $1,000. My recent post of the 4 Best Standing Desks Under $1000 is a great place to start.
While the NextDesk Terra features some of the best columns in the industry, it has some glaring issues. The internal components produced by Linak are considered to be top of the line in the standing desk industry. However, If stability is a major concern, the Terra is one of the least stable desks I have tested. Starting at $1497 plus shipping costs, the NextDesk Terra should not have color matching issues or lack basic functions like anti-collision or overload protection. With so many better alternatives found at half of the price, I would have a hard time recommending this desk to many people.