Today we are taking a look at two products offered by our company, BTOD.com. The VertDesk v3 is our mid-range standing desk and the NewHeights XT is our high-end option. Each of these desks feature a traditional cross support for stability, Ketterer gears and premium electronics from LogicData. While both products share many similar components, they are actually quite a bit different. Let’s take a closer look at each to learn what those differences are.
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!
Both the VertDesk v3 and NewHeights XT are manufactured by the same company; K&A Mfg. inc. 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. The VertDesk v3 was developed as a lower cost alternative to the NewHeights, without sacrificing stability or the quality of internal components.
Where are the components made?
|VertDesk v3||NewHeights XT|
Pricing and Lead Time
|VertDesk v3||NewHeights XT|
|30” x 60” Frame Only||$519.99||$1356.57|
|30” x 60” Laminate||$630.99||$1486.72|
|30” x 60” Bamboo||$675.99||$1486.72|
|30” x 60” Hardwood||$1200.00||$1828.73|
The assembly process for each desk was straightforward, but the VertDesk v3 had fewer steps. Both products came with the columns preassembled to the feet and upper supports. The VertDesk v3 requires the installation of the motor, hex rod and cross support. The hex rod is the only real pain point, but with the use of a wrench, it is easy to tackle. If you follow the steps in our assembly video the process will go smoothly. The NewHeights XT has internalized motors within the columns, so this will cut down on some of the assembly. It does require the assembly of the cross support and upper frame system (wire management). This upper support system has a few more bolts and would likely be the only pain point. All of the threading found on both products is properly tapped and it allows for easy insertion of the screws.
Standard Specs/Features (Frame Only)
|VertDesk v3||NewHeights XT|
|Button Options||Standard up/down push button||Standard up/down push button|
|Adjustment Range||27” to 47”||24” to 51”|
|Adjustment Speed||1.55” per second||1.55” per second|
|Soft Start – Stop||Yes||Yes|
|Auto-dark LED Display||Yes (programmable)||Yes (programmable)|
|Leveling Glides||.5” adjustment||.5” adjustment|
|Expandable Frame||n/a||Yes (w/o cross support)|
The VertDesk v3 and NewHeights XT feature the same LogicData Smart-e compact control box. LogicData is known globally as one of the leading high-end manufacturers of standing desk electronics. K&A has used LogicData for close to twelve years and during that time frame we have also sold their products. I can personally vouch for the high level of quality that is produced by LogicData. With less than a 1% failure rate with the LogicData, during this time period, speaks volumes about their products.
The Smart-e compact control box from LogicData features a slim design with a highly efficient .3 watt standby power mode. Standard features with this box include overload protection, collision avoidance and easily configured container stop program. While collision avoidance is a commonly found program on electric standing desks, overload protection and container stop are not.
Opening the Smart-e control box on the VertDesk v3 and NewHeights XT shows the high level of quality within the LogicData circuit board. The first thing that you notice is the single board system that is specifically engineered for used with the Smart-eco. Lower quality Chinese products will use large two board systems that are mass produced for other applications. Within the single board system, LogicData has been able to pack all of the required components into a much smaller area. This single board system also eliminates the use of wires to connect each board. We have found on lower quality products these connections are oftentimes loose and can be the weak point the fails over time.
This single board includes a cleaner power supply that doesn’t use significant amounts of epoxies or caulk to hold components in place. The use of a single toroid core with evenly wrapped copper wire shows the level of quality control that exists within the LogicData process. Products from JieCang and TiMotion have poorly wrapped cores, with significant amounts of caulk to hold components in place. This is likely due to cheap connections from the components to the board. Because of vibration issues, these are prone to break over time. The LogicData board uses much better base systems to connect their components which eliminate the use of these messy caulks.
Weight Capacities and Testing
The VertDesk v3 single motor system comes standard with a capacity of 275 lbs. and the dual motor NewHeights XT with a capacity of 325 lbs. Through testing both desks we were easily able to lift the max load capacities indicated. With loads below 250 lbs, each desk was able to remain fairly consistent with its adjustment speed. When the VertDesk v3 reached 275 lbs., the speed dropped down to 1.35” per second. The NewHeights XT didn’t start to shows signs of slowing until about 260 lbs. When loaded to 325 lbs. the speed dropped to 1.26” per second.
Note: It’s important to note that these are both conservative ratings that were designed to prolong the life of the product. Each of these desks could lift more than 380 lbs. with the overload protection turned off. Even when loaded beyond 380 lbs., each desk adjustment speed only dropped about 20%.
Ketterer Gear and Motor Systems
The gears and motors used in both the VertDesk v3 and Elegante XT come from the German manufacturer, Ketterer. They have been a leading manufacturer of gear and motor systems for almost two centuries, with their original focus being clocks. The Black Forest area of Germany has long been known for its precision mechanical systems. In 1982 the company began to focus on the production of gear and motor systems for height adjustable products. Their ability to create small precision gears has allowed them to produce some of the world’s most efficient linear systems to date.
Both the VertDesk v3 and NewHeights XT gears from Ketterer are manufactured through a cold rolling process and then case hardened for added durability. In October 2017 I was able to tour the Ketterer factory in Germany and I have to say I was impressed with their manufacturing process. Almost all of the gears that came off the line were tested to ensure they met all quality standards. Their components were being manufactured in Germany, not outsourced to China like other competitors. This meant they had complete control from start to finish.
Taking a closer look at the gear system on the VertDesk v3, the first thing you’ll notice is the single stage design. In order to keep the cost down on the VertDesk v3, we decided to use a single stage system. While the gear we used in the VertDesk v3 has more than 20” of stroke, we did reduce some of the range to keep more column overlapping. This overlap is what allows the VertDesk v3 to remain more stable front to back than all of the desks we have tested. The VertDesk v3 gear incorporates a bevel gear system on the top of the vertical spindle gear; this allows a single motor to drive both columns. Inside this bevel gear is high quality, small gears that transfer a significant amount of torque from the hex rod to the spindle gear. Because a bevel gear system is used, there is a lower load capacity on the VertDesk v3’s gears. Ketterer rates each gear at 700 Newtons (157.36 lbs.).
The NewHeights XT uses a two stage telescopic spindle gear system. This allows the NewHeights to gain the additional seven inches of travel range. The connection of the motor and gear is done with a mounting flange that includes a built in thrust bearing. This type of system eliminates the bevel gear that is found on the VertDesk v3 and because of this has a heavier load rating. Ketterer rates each gear at 900 Newtons (202.33 lbs.).
Ketterer’s ability to manufacture highly precise gear components that can sustain the force applied from the motor is what sets them apart. Their durability isn’t the only impressive part, as gear is engineered to maximize efficiency when lifting loads. The quality of Ketterer gears becomes obvious when you manually pull and push on the gears. They move smoothly with little effort required. There isn’t a knocking or chatter feeling that is commonly found on lower quality gears.
The VertDesk v3 might have a single motor, but this single can compete with most dual motor systems. One of the advantages to the VertDesk v3 having an external motor is that it’s doesn’t have to be a compact design. While bigger doesn’t always mean that something is better, the Ketterer motor is definitely stronger. While Ketterer shows a max torque rating at 5nm to maximize its efficiency, it can push upwards of 13nm with a lower efficiency. It is a very powerful single motor system and we have experienced this first hand with load testing.
The NewHeights XT uses the much slimmer 3133.00 motor from Ketterer. Don’t let its slim size fool you either, because the 3133 is still powerful. With a max torque rating of 5 nm, it is almost three times as powerful as one of the most popular Bosch motors found on IKEA, ActiForce and the ROL-Ergo products. Unlike those products, the NewHeights XT had no problem lifting loads of 400 lbs. During testing we found that the NewHeights XT averaged a few decibels higher than the VertDesk v3.
One of the most important aspects of a standing desk is also one of the most unknown. Glide systems on electric standing desks serve two purposes. The first is creating the proper fit between the different sized columns. The second is to provide lubrication for the metal components as the desks makes adjustments. Both the VertDesk v3 and the NewHeights feature the highly durable Dupont Delrin Acetal plastics for their glide systems. This product has proven to provide the best performance of high cycle counts. While each product uses the same material for the glides, each uses a much different approach to setting them in the columns.
The VertDesk v3 uses what I would consider a more traditional glide pad design. This includes six glides for the outer column (top of the column) and four glides for the smaller internal column (bottom of column). Having glides on both ends of the column is important, as they will help to counteract each other as the desk is raised. The VertDesk v3 has multiple sized glides to custom fit each column; this ensures a good fit is made.
Through custom design, the NewHeights XT created a unique two glide system in their aluminum columns. This is done with a wedge or notched design on the ends of the columns. While two glides are technically used, their V shape actually acts as four. Because of this, NewHeights is able to reduce the amount of rubbing that occurs on the outsides of the columns. This assists in keeping the outside of the columns looking new for the entire ownership of the frame.
One of the main reasons the VertDesk v3 is less expensive than the NewHeights XT is because of the material used to manufacture the columns. The VertDesk v3 utilizes a less expensive steel tube design, while the NewHeights XT is made from custom extruded aluminum. While each material has its advantages, the price tag is likely the most noticeable.
The VertDesk v3 was designed with the use of steel to keep the overall cost down. The big advantage with using steel is the stability that it creates in the frame. The VertDesk v3 tubes are extra thick; at 2.33mm they are almost 50% thicker than our closest competition. Because the steel material and the shape of the tube, the VertDesk v3 columns have no flex within them. This gives it a huge advantage as the desk is raised to standing heights. The VertDesk v3 comes with the upper supports and feet preassembled to the columns. They are attached with strong welds that eliminate the possibility of loosening over time.
The NewHeights XT has a much different look than the VertDesk v3 with its custom designed aluminum extrusions. While I appreciate the design, it is probably not for everyone’s taste. The NewHeights extrusions are designed with plenty of thickness and extra ribbing to create a strong foundation for the XT’s frame. Because the columns are anodized to create their color, they gain an extremely durable finish through the process. 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. This is a definite advantage over steel columns found on alternative products, including the VertDesk v3.
The NewHeights XT extrusions include a unique channel system that allows you to mount items to the columns. This also creates the ability to mount the cross support in one of the most sleek ways we have seen. It also gives you the ability to mount accessories like CPU holders directly the column.
Stability of Each Desk
The stability of your new standing desk is one of the most important areas to consider. Being able to concentrate on the task at hand can become impossible with a desk that is constantly moving. Both the VertDesk v3 and NewHeights XT ranked as two of the most stable standing desks I have tested to date. This should come as no surprise knowing they are made by the same OEM. Both products feature traditional cross supports to provide excellent lateral stability. The NewHeights XT is one of the few desks we have tested that can be used without a traditional cross support as well. While the XT is available without a cross support, if stability is a main concern we would not recommend going without.
Left to Right: Both of the desks performed well during the wobble test. The use of a traditional cross support was a major reason why. Each desk also included locking washers and Loctite on the bolts to ensure they remained tight throughout all testing. The VertDesk v3 showed no real signs of wobble all the way through max height of 47”. The NewHeights XT went four inches taller and remained stable through 48”, with only a small amount of flexing that occured from 49” to 51”. While it was noticeable, it wouldn’t impact your work.
Front to Back: The rocking test was a different story, with the VertDesk v3 outperforming the NewHeights XT. The VertDesk v3 was solid through 46”, but beyond that point it does start to show small signs of rocking. This motion isn’t significant and wouldn’t impact your work. The NewHeights XT was solid through 43”, with small signs of rocking beginning at that point. Once the desk is raised beyond 47” it requires less effort to rock the desk. Beyond 49” the motion is significant and would likely impact your work. The main cause of the rocking motion on the NewHeights XT is the use of aluminum extrusions.
Reasons for Instability
Because aluminum has the ability to flex, as the desk rises into standing position the leverage begins to flex the columns. Because the columns are fairly thick with a good amount of ribbing it minimizes the flex as much as possible. Unfortunately, beyond 49” the flexing and lack of overlap in the columns is too much to overcome. The same holds true for the VertDesk v3, beyond 46” the lack of overlap in the column creates the small front to back rocking motion. Because we limited the stroke to 20” we were able to keep enough overlap to minimize the rocking motion. This allowed us to keep it within a range that will not impact your work.
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 VertDesk v3 and NewHeights XT utilize a soft start and stop technology. They also include anti-collision avoidance systems and overload protection.
The VertDesk v3 and NewHeights XT are available in silver or black finish.
|VertDesk v3||NewHeights XT|
|Wire Management Kit||$95-$105||Horizontal Built-in|
The return policies for the VertDesk v3 and NewHeights XT are the same. You have 30 days to try each desk, if you don’t like them you can return them for no restocking fees. You are responsible for the return shipping costs and need to ship them pack in original packaging.
*Custom L and U shape NewHeights cannot be returned. This is noted on the pages when it applies.
|VertDesk v3||NewHeights XT|
|Five year warranty for the electronics. Ten year warranty on the frame and surface.||Five year warranty for the electronics. Ten year warranty on the frame and surface.|
The bottom line is that both the VertDesk v3 and NewHeights XT are good performers in their respective category. Depending on your specific needs, I can see a reason to recommend both of the standing desks. Ultimately, your budget might be the main factor with your purchase.
The VertDesk v3 is all around the most stable desk we have tested. Its stability is aided by thick steel tube columns, welded feet / upper supports and a traditional cross support. The use of locking star washers ensure the cross support doesn’t come loose over time as well. With 20” of overall height adjustment and 275 lbs lifting capacity it might not work for everyone. For a desk that includes high-end electronics, gears and motors, it is hands down the best value.
The NewHeights XT is the VertDesk v3’s bigger brother, featuring more lifting capacity and a larger adjustment range. The XT includes more expensive extruded aluminum columns, but the aluminum can create some weak points for stability as well. Overall, the NewHeights XT is the most well rounded desk we have tested to date. For tall users or treadmill desk users, it is the most stable desk we have tested that raises above 47”. If this desk is within your budget, it will perform well for many years to come.