In this post we will be taking a closer look at two high-end electric standing desks, The NextDesk Terra and NewHeights XT. This is my first opportunity to compare two high-end products that feature premium components throughout. While each product has a lot of similarities, there are still some key differences. Let’s take a closer look at both desks and see how they stack up against each other.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
– OEM Manufacturer
– Where Are Components Made?
– Specs / Features
– Weight Capacity Testing
– Motors / Gears / Glides
– Frame and Feet
– How They Operate
– Return Policy and Warranty
– Bottom Line
The major OEM manufacturer for the NextDesk Terra is Linak. They provide the columns and all electronic components for the NextDesk. Linak was founded in 1907 as a flat and V-belt manufacturer. Changes to management in 1976 would ultimately bring Bent Jensen on as CEO and owner of Linak. He would later introduce his first linear actuator in 1979. By 1986, Linak added an electronics department to produce their control boxes. Over the last 38 years, Linak has positioned themselves as one of the leading suppliers for high quality linear actuator systems and control box mechanisms. Because they only produce the columns and electronics, companies that use them for a supplier are required to produce their own feet and desktops.
The NewHeights XT is the first electric standing desk that I have reviewed that doesn’t have an OEM manufacturer. NewHeights is made by K&A Mfg., which is essentially the same company. Based in Wisconsin, K&A Mfg. has been producing ergonomic products for thirty years. K&A is known in the industry for building high quality products that are built to stand the test of time. The NewHeights Elegante follows suit, with their fourth generation being the most robust standing desk to date.
Where are the components made?
|NextDesk Terra||NewHeights XT|
|NextDesk Terra (31.5” x 63”)||NewHeights XT (30” x 60”)|
|Bamboo||$1634.00 (includes shipping)||$1486.72|
|Rubberwood||$1931.00 (Includes shipping)||n/a|
The assembly process for both desks was straightforward, with the NextDesk Terra being the easier of the two. What I liked about the NextDesk Terra is that all of the upper frame components were pre-assembled to the desk surface. This also included the control box, switch and motor/switch wires. Attaching the cross support on the NextDesk Terra required a rubber mallet and didn’t require hardware with its interlocking wedge system. The only time an allen wrench was needed was during the process of attaching the columns to the upper supports and feet. Altogether, I would say this process should take most users 30-45 minutes.
While the NewHeights XT required more assembly, it isn’t overly difficult either. The upper supports and feet come pre assembled on the XT, which helps to cut down on assembly time. First, you will need to attach the legs to the desktop, but you will want to make sure not to fully tighten the legs as you will need to be able to make some small adjustments here later. Next, you will attach the wire management (upper cross support) to each motor box. This portion of the assembly was the most time consuming and required a fair amount of bolts and washers. Next, you’ll need to attach the traditional cross support with two bolts per side. After that’s completed, you will need to make sure all of the hardware has been fully tightened. Lastly you will need to attach the control box, switch and power strip. Altogether, the NewHeights XT will take more users 60-120 minutes for assembly.
|NextDesk Terra||NewHeights XT|
|Button Options||Programmable button standard||Standard up/down push button|
|Adjustment Range||24” to 50.5”||24” to 51”|
|Adjustment Speed||1.48” per second||1.55” per second|
|Soft Start – Stop||Yes||Yes|
|Auto-dark LED Display||Yes||Yes (programmable)|
|Leveling Glides||Not included (extra $100)||.5” adjustment|
|Frame Material||Steel||Extruded aluminum|
|Foot Material||Solid aluminum||Steel|
Both the NextDesk Terra and NewHeights XT feature top of the line electronics. The NextDesk Terra includes Linak technology and the NewHeights XT LogicData. Both electronic manufacturers have been considered leading global manufacturers of electric standing desk technology for years.
The NextDesk Terra comes standard with the CBD6S smart control box from Linak. This portion of the electronics is manufactured in China for Linak. This is Linak’s smallest control box, measuring at 38 mm tall and only 210 mm long. It was designed to fit underneath the work surface without taking up valuable space. One thing that is different about the CBD6S is how the motor plugs are located on each end. This allows you to center mount the control box and easily connect the left and right motors. While this isn’t necessarily a game changer, it is always good to see manufacturers make changes that address problems. One of the most highly marketed features on the CBD6S box is the low power consumption when in standby mode. At only .1w watts, the CBD6S is one of the most energy efficient control boxes available.
The NewHeights XT comes with the LogicData Smart-e compact control box. K&A, Mfg. Inc. has been using LogicData as their sole supplier of electronics for the top end series for over 12 years. We have offered the NewHeights during that entire time span and have experienced less than a 1% failure rate. Taking a closer look at the Smart-e system, it is also a slim box design, which is actually smaller than the Linak system. With a standard .3w standby, the LogicData Smart-e is also one of the most efficient boxes. While LogicData has the option to upgrade to a .1w option, the NewHeights XT does not feature this option. A unique function with the LogicData Smart-e is the ability to attach an up and down switch directly to the control box. This means one less wire is required and helped to cut down on some cost, albeit small.
Opening the control boxes, you quickly notice that each circuit board is a single board system. Each board is likely engineered specifically for their specific use. While the Linak board is made in China, it is much higher quality than others we’ve tested that were also made in China. Looking closer at each board, they are both clean with consistent wiring and soldering throughout.
While each board is more than capable of offering all of the bells, only the NewHeights XT has decided to take advantage. I actually found it very odd that a desk as expensive as the NextDesk Terra doesn’t include overload protection, or anti-collision protection. This was especially odd considering desks I’ve tested under $400 include a minimum of some sort of anti-collision. The NewHeights on the other hand comes standard with overload protection, anti-collision and a bonus container stop function. The contain stop allows you to adjust the minimum and maximum height settings in the field. This removes the risk of accidental collisions that can occur. Even though the NewHeights XT includes anti-collision, I believe that prevention is always your best option.
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The NextDesk Terra and NewHeights XT each use high-end linear actuator systems driven by premium motors. NextDesk Terra currently uses a motor from Italian manufacturer Electro-Parts SpA. NewHeights XT motors come from leading German manufacturer, Ketterer. Each motor features a fully enclosed system, which helps to keep contaminants such as dust or dirt away from important internal components.
Taking a closer look at the motor system on the NextDesk Terra, the Electro-Parts motor is very unique. This is a fairly new slim line actuator system for the DL4S series, as the previous DL4 version was a chain driven system. They have designed the motor in a way that allows them to house it inside the column vertically without the commonly used bulky motor box. In order to do this, they had to create a fairly intricate gear system. This gear system is what makes the entire setup so unique, layering multiple sets of gears with one another. Through this gearing, they have enabled the DL4S to lift at an average rate of 1.49” per second. While this isn’t the fastest we have seen, it is above average for the category.
The NewHeights XT motor system design is a more traditional linear actuator design. With motor boxes found at the top of the columns to house each of the Ketterer motors. The dual 3133.00 slim drive motors found in the XT are small, but very powerful. Per ratings from Ketterer, each motor has a max torque rating of 5NM. To put this in perspective, the popular Bosch motor found on the ModDesk Pro and IKEA Bekant standing desk has a rating of 1.6 NM.
This is something to consider, especially knowing these desks will likely outlast their warranties. Because of the way Linak has decided to mount their motor to the gear system, the only way to replace this motor is to completely disassemble the leg. Then pull the gear and motor system from the leg. This is highly technical and wouldn’t be suggested for someone who has little experience working with this type of product.
The NewHeights XT on the other hand is similar to most other standing desk designs. This includes the other popular Linak DL5 column we have reviewed. This design houses the motor in the motor box found at the top of the column. The NewHeights motors are held in place with clips that can be pulled off with pliers. The motor can be easily accessed when the desk surface is removed. This process is straightforward and something that most would be able to accomplish.
Taking a closer look at the gear systems driving each of these desks, the first thing you’ll notice is that both utilize a two stage design. This allows for each of the desks to offer an impressive adjustment range of over 26”. Both high-end gears are also manufactured using the cold rolled process. This process allows for the gears to function much more smoothly than those that are alternatively machined. This process also includes case hardening, which adds a thin layer of even more durable steel to further reinforce the teeth of the gears. This case hardening process improves the gears overall strength and durability.
As mentioned in the section above, the NextDesk Terra gear and motor were attached. This creates a nice slim design. Pulling the motor off, I was able to get a better look at how the gear functioned on its own. Similar to other Linak gears, this model was smooth when manually pulled apart. The quality was apparent and on the same level as the single stage gear I reviewed on the UpDesk Elements series. The NewHeights XT two stage gears were also very smooth when manually adjusted. Looking at the gear itself, it wasn’t overly lubricated and had a nice finished look as well. Each gear was housed inside a support tube, which allows the gear to re-lubricate itself as it is cycled from standing back down to sitting.
Besides the shape of the gear housing, there were a couple differences with how the NextDesk Terra gear functioned from the NewHeights XT. First, the gear pushed out of the bottom, where the NewHeights pushes from the top and bottom. This is due to the motor being connected to the top of the spindle. Next, the load bearing part of the gear is held in place with a reinforced nylon part, which is only held in place with two small notches in the column. The NewHeights system uses two nylon parts that fully house the load bearing portion of the gear. In my opinion, the NewHeights XT provides a better solution, with more structure supporting the gear inside the column.
The glide systems found on the NextDesk Terra and NewHeights both feature Delrin Acetal from Dupont. This is the preferred material when producing glides that are durable and hold up well to high cycle counts. Both brands use an array of sizes for their individual glides, which helps to create a custom fit between columns. The material type and the use of multiple size glides are about the only thing these two desks have in common with regards to the glides. Each desk utilizes very different systems to create the proper fit and lubrication between their columns.
Pulling the columns apart on the Linak I was surprised to find three levels of glides. There was one level at the top of the column, one level at the absolute bottom and a third found around 7” up from the bottom of the column. This third level of glides created a really nice fit between the columns when they were fully extended. In fact, they were some of the best I have tested at full extension. This fit was aided by over 7” of additional column left inside each level of columns as well. Inside the column, there was a small amount of lubricant used to assist with the glides. This left the columns clean for the most part. One problem I noticed and it felt like a gaffe based on my experience with Linak. There was a large amount of lubricant left on the side of the middle column. It really didn’t help with anything and just needed to be wiped up. This would be a reoccurring issue though.
The NewHeights XT’s glide system was quite a bit different than the NextDesk Terra. Unlike, the Terra, NewHeights uses two levels for the glides. This system includes top and bottom glides, which is more commonly used across the industry. Because NewHeights XT frame is made from extruded aluminum, they have been able to create a wedge system for their glide placement. This means only one glide is used in the front and the back of the column. Because it is shaped like a V, there are still four sides to the glide, which helps counteract front/back and side/side movement. The NewHeights XT glide system created a snug fit. This unique way of marrying the columns reduces the amount of rub marks typically found on all four sides of the column. To allow the glides to slide smoothly, there is also a small amount of lubricant used between each glide system.
Frame and Foot Comparison
The frame and foot design on the NextDesk Terra and NewHeights XT are each very unique to themselves. While most of the competition has stuck to a typical rectangular or rounded column design, these two brands have created their own style. Each brand features a two stage design, which allows for their wide 26”+ travel range.
The NextDesk Terra currently uses the DL4S column design from Linak. This design is a combination of the rectangle shape with a slight oval flair. It is definitely a unique look, which I’m not 100% sold on with the use of straight lines through the rest of the frame. Overall, these columns are married together fairly well naturally, but there is still a decent size gap between each column. Other Linak columns would use a glide that is like a collar to fill this space. I actually prefer the DL5 design found on the UpDesk over this version.
The foot, upper supports and cross support of the NextDesk Terra is created from a solid piece of aluminum. On the desk I purchased for review, a high gloss finish was used for the aluminum components. Unfortunately, the matte finish on the powder coated steel column didn’t match. The difference was pretty dramatic and is something I wouldn’t recommend. A major concern I have I have with the use of a solid aluminum for the foot is the lack of stability found with this design. I will discuss the stability in greater detail later on, but there was a considerable amount of flexing found in the foot and upper supports. A better solution would have been to use a molded aluminum or formed steel for these areas that can easily flex.
The NewHeights XT goes even further with is unique look, using custom made extrusions to create a sort of rectangular design. Like the NextDesk Terra, this design isn’t for everyone. When creating the custom extrusion, NewHeights decided to leaves a fair amount of ribbing in the column for additional support. This ribbing helps reduce the amount of flexing that would be normally found if thinner gauge aluminum were used. While the ribbing certainly helps with stability, it isn’t perfect. When the desk is raised to very tall heights this flexing becomes noticeable. The use of steel for columns wouldn’t allow for the same design, but definitely creates a more stable column through all heights.
The cross support system found on the NewHeights XT is also made from a custom extruded aluminum tube. Both the columns and cross support are colored with a process called anodization. This electrochemical process changes the metal to an anodic oxide finish. Because the aluminum is a porous material, the anodization process creates a color that is solid throughout the aluminum. This means the aluminum finish cannot scratch or chip like paints would. Through the anodization process, the aluminum columns become corrosion resistant as well.
The feet and upper supports on the NewHeights are made from formed steel. These parts are powder coated to create a matte finish that is similar to the columns and cross support. While the match is not 100%, it is very hard to tell the difference. Because both parts are finished in a matte color, it is easier to make them look similar. The use of formed steel helps to add rigidity in the foot and upper supports.
Weight Capacities and Testing
The NextDesk Terra comes standard with a capacity of 315 lbs. and the NewHeights XT with a similar capacity of 325 lbs. During the testing process, I found that both the NextDesk Terra and NewHeights XT were able to lift the capacities each brand advertised. Each dual motor system was plenty powerful to lift loads exceeding 250 lbs. without much impact on their adjustment speed. While NextDesk Terra advertises an adjustment rate of the 1.7” per second, I found it actually closer to 1.48” over the average of multiple cycles. The NewHeights XT was able to consistently adjust at a rate of 1.55” per second.
Stability of Each Desk
The stability of a standing desk is one of the most important aspects of any standing desk. The more unstable your desk is, the less likely you are to maintain concentration throughout your work day. If a standing desk is unstable out of the box, it is not something that can be fixed in the field. The taller that your standing desk raises, the more pronounced the wobble and rocking motions will become. Both the NextDesk Terra and NewHeights XT featured traditional cross supports which helped with lateral stability.
Left to Right: Both desks performed well during the wobble tests. The use of a traditional cross support, with upper cross support channels and proper fit glides were all played a big part. The NewHeights XT showed no signs of motion until about 48” tall. From 49” to 51” the motion was more noticeable, with heights above 50” potentially impacting your work. The NextDesk appeared to have a slight edge, with no signs of wobble through almost 49” tall. Beyond 49” there was a slight amount of sway. This motion was consistent through 51” tall and likely wouldn’t impact your work.
Front to Back: During the rocking test, I found that the NewHeights XT is significantly more stable than the NextDesk Terra. The Terra had started to show signs of front to back movement as early as 28” tall. Once the desk rose beyond 38” this motion was significant and would impact your work. At this height, users 5’2” and above would be impacted by this lack of stability. The NewHeights XT was much better, with no signs of rocking until about 43”. Once the desk rose beyond 47” the motion was more noticeable with less force required. Beyond 49” the motion was significant and would likely impact your work.
Reasons for Poor Rocking Test on NextDesk Terra
While both desks showed great signs of stability with the wobble test, the NextDesk Terra was completely opposite with the rocking test. While the NewHeights XT was significantly better with the rocking test, it wasn’t perfect. After closer inspection, the solid aluminum feet and upper supports on the Terra were the main culprit. Because solid aluminum doesn’t provide great strength, the feet and upper supports are able to flex at sitting height.
Note: Regardless of the electric standing desk selected, it is important to always fully tighten the hardware. Without proper assembly, all standing desks will have stability issues when extended.
How Do They Operate
Both the NextDesk Terra and NewHeights XT utilize a soft start and stop technology. The NextDesk Terra doesn’t include a collision avoidance system or overload protection. The NewHeights XT comes standard with both of these functions.
The NextDesk Terra is available in black, silver or white. The NewHeights XT is available in black or silver.
|NextDesk Terra||NewHeights XT|
|Wire Management Kit||$147||Included|
|Adjustable Foot Glides||$100||Included|
|NextDesk Terra||NewHeights XT|
|Five year warranty for everything on the desk.||Five year warranty on the electronics. Ten year warranty on the structure.|
|NextDesk Terra||NewHeights XT|
|30 day trial period. If you don’t like it you have 30 days to return it. There are no restocking fees and the customer is responsible for return shipping costs. The desk must be returned in the original packaging.||30 day trial period. If you don’t like it you have 30 days to return it. There are no restocking fees and the customer is responsible for return shipping costs. The desk must be returned in the original packaging.
*Only valid for two leg configurations
This was my first time getting an opportunity to compare two top of the line products from theelectric standing desk category. While I enjoy looking at all of the brands, it was nice to see products are each use high quality components throughout. I believe that each desk has enough of these quality components to warrant a price tag over $1,500. While the motors and gears found in each desk were different, I would definitely consider them equals. The same goes for the glides, with each desk utilizing high quality Delrin from Dupont. However, I would give a slight edge to the NextDesk Terra since it had three levels vs. two on the NewHeights XT. Unfortunately, for the NextDesk Terra, it suffered from poor stability stemming from solid aluminum feet. If stability is a major concern, it would be hard for me to recommend it over the NewHeights XT. Depending on your needs, both the NextDesk Terra and NewHeights XT have a lot to offer. If each product is with your budget, I can see both offering a high quality desk that will function for a long life time.
Additional Standing Desk Resources
- Top 6 Reasons Why Standing Desks Wobble
- VertDesk v3 vs. NewHeights XT: Which is better?
- GeekDesk v3 vs. VertDesk v3: Standing Desk Comparison
- Autonomous SmartDesk 2 vs. VertDesk v3: Which is the best?
- Uplift 900 Desk vs. VertDesk v3: Which is better?
- The Uplift 900 vs. The Jarvis Standing Desk
- 9 Most Common Problems with Motorized Standing Desks