Today we are going to be taking a closer look at two of the most stable standing desks we’ve tested to date. Both the VARIDESK ProDesk 60 Electric and our own, VertDesk v3, feature traditional cross supports and steel frames. This design has helped to create stout frames that are stable through most heights. While each desk looks similar, there are a few major differences. Let’s take a closer look to see if the VARIDESK ProDesk 60 or the VertDesk v3 is the best product for your needs.
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!
The VARIDESK ProDesk 60 Electric has partnered with Kaidi. Kaidi is a vertically integrated Chinese manufacturer based in Changzhou City, Jiangsu Province, China. This basically means that they produce all the components for their products in-house. Kaidi has been in business since 1992 and since that time has grown to approximately 1,500 employees worldwide. They are one of the larger Chinese suppliers of linear actuator systems.
Like many of the other standing desk brands available online, BTOD does not actually manufacturer the VertDesk. We work with a US based OEM manufacturer, K&A Mfg., Inc.; a company we’ve done business with for over 12 years. They are the manufacturer of RA Products, which includes the premium NewHeights standing desk brand. I am personally a little biased towards their products and standards because the owner of K&A also happens to be my father, Bill Knighton. He has been in the industry for thirty years and continues to set a high bar for quality.
Where are the components made?
|VARIDESK ProDesk 60 Electric||VertDesk|
Pricing and Lead Time
|VARIDESK ProDesk 60 Electric||VertDesk|
|30” x 60” Frame Only||n/a||$519.99|
|30” x 60” Laminate||n/a||$597.99|
|30” x 60” Bamboo||n/a||$630.99|
|30” x 60” Hardwood||n/a||$1200.00|
The VARIDESK ProDesk 60 electric is hands down the easiest desk I have assembled to date. This really didn’t come as much of a surprise; their focus has always been on shipping fully assembled products. In the case of the ProDesk 60 electric, the product was too large to ship fully assembled at a reasonable rate. While most of the desk is pre-assembled, there was a small amount of assembly required. To VARIDESK’s credit, they included all tools required, even a rubber mallet. My first attempt at assembly took me about seven minutes total, which is really good.
The VertDesk v3 is fairly straight forward as well, albeit not quite as easy as the VARIDESK. With the upper supports and feet pre-assembled to the columns, it cuts down on some of the assembly time. The biggest hang up we’ve found for some customers is the installation of the hex rod. Sliding the hex rod into the motor side isn’t difficult, but some customers have encountered issues with the opposite leg. Since the launch of our VertDesk v3 we have started to include a wrench tool to assist with the process. This has made the process easier, but some users will still have a hang up here. While the assembly process for a VertDesk v3 takes me about 12 minutes in the video below, most will be closer to the 30-90 minute time frame.
|VARIDESK ProDesk 60 Electric||VertDesk|
|Button Options||Programmable button||Standard up/down push button|
|Lifting Capacity||250 lbs.||275 lbs.|
|Adjustment Range||25.5” to 50.5”||27” to 47.5”|
|Adjustment Speed||1.28” per second||1.55” per second|
|Soft Start – Stop||Yes||Yes|
|Auto-dark LED Display||Yes||Yes (one-touch programmable)|
|Leveling Glides||.5” adjustment||.5” adjustment|
|Anti-collision||Yes (software driven)||Yes (Gyrosense)|
Both the VARIDESK ProDesk 60 electric and VertDesk v3 operate with smart electronic control box systems. Each brand uses a single circuit board system, designed specifically for electric standing desks.
The VARIDESK ProDesk 60 uses a two-layer PCB circuit board construction. This single board system was engineered specifically for use in their electric standing desks. This is without question the best put together control box I have seen from a Chinese manufacturer. Most of the components are held in place with stands and soldered securely in place. There are also no cheap plastic connectors like other Chinese brands we have reviewed.
The VARIDESK ProDesk 60 wasn’t perfect, and featured one of the largest circuit boards we’ve found on current models. Higher-end brands have done a better job at using smaller components and brands like LogicData have switched to four-layer PCB boards. The second area for improvement was linked to the use of caulk throughout the board. This is commonly found on Chinese made circuit boards we’ve tested and it is done to help prevent components from vibrating off the board. Even though it was on the VARIDESK board, Kaidi has done a better job with this than all of the other Chinese brands we’ve tested. Lastly, the copper wrapping on the toroid core isn’t done as perfectly as you will find on the LogicData Smart-e boards.
The VertDesk v3 features a more compact four-layer PCB circuit board construction. Like the VARIDESK’s board, this was specifically designed for use with electric standing desks. With the use of a four-layer PCB, the VertDesk board is able to better utilize space than the two-layer board on the VARIDESK. Each of the components on the VertDesks circuit board are held in place with stands and soldered in place for a permanent connection.
The VertDesk v3 board was close to being perfect, with the exception of the toroid core. The actual wrapping of the copper wire around the cord was similar to that of the ProDesk 60. We would like to see a cleaner wrap, similar to the electronics found on the LogicData Smart-e board that had previously been used for VertDesks.
Weight Capacities and Testing
Through the testing process we were able to verify that both desks were able to lift the advertised weight ratings.
The ProDesk 60 Electric comes with a weight rating of 250 lbs. The dual motor system on the VARIDESK was consistent throughout all loads that were tested. We averaged 1.28” per second for adjustment speed with loads that varied from 100 lbs. up to the max of 250 lbs. Once the desk was loaded beyond 250 lbs., the overload protection system kicked in and the desk would not move up.
The VertDesk v3 comes with a standard weight rating of 275 lbs. The single motor system was consistent through 200 lbs., averaging 1.55” per second for adjustment speed.. When loaded beyond that point, the desk slowed down some. By 275 lbs., the VertDesk v3 averaged 1.35” per second. When the VertDesk v3 is loaded over 275 lbs. the overload protection system would prevent the desk from moving.
The motor setup between the VARIDESK ProDesk 60 Electric and VertDesk v3 were quite a bit different. The most obvious difference being that the ProDesk 60 features dual motors that are fully internalized inside the frame. The VertDesk v3 on the other hand uses a single motor system that is visible underneath the desk surface.
The motors on the VARIDESK ProDesk 60 electric reminded me of those found on the DL4 column from Linak. This isn’t a big surprise, as we’ve found that Linak is oftentimes copied by Chinese manufacturers. The problem is that this isn’t one of the best motor system we’ve found. WIth an exposed worm drive and gear on the VARIDESK motor, there is room for improvement. The opportunity for contaminants to impact the efficiency and life of the motor were real. Inside the motor box we found that there was dirt, metal flakes and paint already working into the worm drive and gear. Similar to other Chinese manufacturers, there was an excessive amount of lubricant used throughout the worm drive and gear. This only created a messier situation that showed a lack of quality control.
While the VertDesk has a single motor, it was still able to outperform the VARIDESK’s adjustment speed and weight capacity. The large single motor on the VertDesk v3 is built by German manufacturer Ketterer. Founded in the early 1800’s, Ketterer was first known for manufacturing high quality gear systems for clocks. By the 1970’s they saw the opportunity for manufacturing components for vertical adjustment. The motor used in the VertDesk v3 fully internalizes the worm drive and gear system in a custom encasement. The gear system utilizes two bearings for improved efficiency.
The gear system for an adjustable height desk is a critical component. The level of quality that we have seen from brands is wide ranging. Both the ProDesk 60 and VertDesk v3 feature cold rolled spindle gears. This process has been shown to provide smoother adjustments and gears that hold up well over time.
The ProDesk 60 utilizes a two stage gear system. This allows for the desk to maximize the adjustment range. The gear appeared to be well built and the knowledge that it was cold rolled was a bonus. Like everything, there are still different levels of cold rolling and most of it comes with experience. While the gears appeared to be good, they had an excessive amount of grease which is too similar to other Chinese products we’ve tested. When you look at other high-end gears from companies like Linak, you will not see this amount of grease on new gears.
The VertDesk v3 has a single stage gear system that doesn’t offer as much adjustment range as the VARIDESK. This single spindle gear is manufactured by Ketterer, the same German manufacturer of our motor systems. Ketterers 180 years of experience manufacturing precision gear systems are evident when you take a closer look at the components. Minimal amounts of grease are visible on the spindle gear when it is cycled. There aren’t any awkward knocks or hiccups as the gear is manually pulled and pushed apart. Only when the VertDesk v3 was cycled tested 20,000+ times was there some dark grease visible on the gear.
Glide systems inside an electric standing desk can make or break an entire system. These small plastic components provide the proper fit between the metal tubes, creating a stable frame. Glides also act as a lubricant, allowing the metal tubes to easily slide as the desks are adjusted. Over time glides will begin to break down and can create binding issues. These binding issues can be a nightmare for anti-collision functions in an electric standing desks’ control box. Binding ultimately triggers false positives that can mimic collisions and cause the desk to stop moving up or down.
The ProDesk 60 features one of the most interesting glide setups I have seen over the last couple years. Their quests to create a stable desk lead them to a design that was not standard for their OEM Kaidi. The standard design for the Kaidi frame incorporates two rows of lower glide on the bottom column. These glides are made from a high quality plastic that is durable and should hold up well to high cycles. The way the glides are placed in the column creates a stability issue found in the upper portion of the frame. To counteract this, VARIDESK wisely decided to add an additional line of glides at the top of the lower frame.
Unfortunately, Kaidi created these glides from a lower quality of plastic that was manufactured through the 3D printing process. These glides were not nearly as precise as the lower glides in the column. Because of this, there were fit inconsistencies throughout the columns that created stability problems. The lower quality of plastic also showed signs of wearing that were not found on the better quality glides that were standard with the Kaidi product.
The VertDesk v3 features custom fit glides on the top and bottom sections of the columns. These glides are made from Delrin Acetal by Dupont. This type of plastic was designed specifically for applications where low friction and high durability is required. This material is the preferred choice amongst the leading manufacturers of electric standing desks. Because Delrin is used, minimal lubricant is required. After a lifetime cycle test, that included 21,375 full up/down cycles, we can verify the durability of the glides. With minimal wear, the VertDesk v3 was able to remain stable throughout most heights.
Frame and Foot Comparison
Both the ProDesk 60 and VertDesk v3 feature steel frame construction. The foot construction for each desk is also constructed from steel and formed for added stability.
The VARIDESK frame and foot construction was solid, and overall I was impressed with the quality. Looking first at the foot, the top it was made from thick plated steel, with the bottom portion stamped for additional strength. Consistent welds held the top and bottom plates of the foot together, with the threading for the leveling glides created from tapping the bottom steel plate. Because of the thickness of the steel it created a solid connection for the adjustable foot glides and made for a good foundation for the frame.
Looking at the upper frame, it to was built like a tank. The upper supports measured at .135” thick, which is some of the thickest we’ve seen for an upper frame. The actual columns of the frame were not quite as thick, but still within the average for the class. They used formed steel tubes to help minimize the flexing that naturally occurs as desks rise into tall positions. Overall, the paint finish and welds were good throughout the entire VARIDESK frame.
The VertDesk v3 was built with a solid foundation as well, using steel components throughout. The feet were made from formed steel, but it is not as thick as what was found on the VARIDESK. Rivnuts are put in place within the foot to create the proper threading required for the leveling foot glides. The welds on the two piece foot construction were consistent throughout. One key difference was the fact that the VertDesk v3 used welds to connect the column and foot. This creates a more permanent connection, that won’t loosen over time. VARIDESK uses bolts to connect these components, which is the industry norm.
Like the foot and columns, the upper supports were welded to the column. These connections are key to the stability of the VertDesk v3. The steel tubes used on the VertDesk v3 are thicker than others in the class by design; eliminating any flexing when the desk is raised to max height. Overall, the paint finish and welds were good throughout the entire VertDesk v3 frame.
Stability of Each Desk
One of the important aspects of an electric standing desk is the stability at tall heights. This is something that is oftentimes overlooked by manufacturers. The VARIDESK and VertDesk v3 are two products that made stability a key component of their desk. It really isn’t much of surprise that they both ended up on our recent Top Four Most Stable Electric Standing Desks post. There are a lot of things that go into creating a stable standing desk. The truth is that a standing desk will only be as stable as the weakest component.
Front to Back: During the rocking test I found the VertDesk v3 to be more stable than the VARIDESK. By 42” the motion on the VARIDESK rocking motion became an annoyance, and beyond 44” the motion was bad enough to impact your work. The VertDesk v3 was solid through almost the entire travel motion. It is not until the VertDesk was raised beyond 46” you begin to notice the front to back rocking motion. If you are taller than 6’3” this could be an annoyance.
Left to Right: Both the VARIDESK and VertDesk feature steel cross support systems that helped with lateral stability. While both were stable below 43”, the VARIDESK design has some flaws in their design that created stability issues beyond that point. Once the desk reached 45” the wobble motion became bad enough to impact your work. The VertDesk excelled with the wobble test, with almost zero movement when fully extended.
Note: It’s very important with all adjustable standing desks to fully tighten all hardware. If there is hardware that is not completely tight the movement experienced when extended to standing height will be exaggerated. We attach our upper supports and feet to the column (legs) with strong welds. These are permanent and provide the most secure connection, the majority of other products use screws to connect these parts.
How Do They Operate
Both the VARIDESK and VertDesk v3 include a soft start and stop mechanism for adjustment. While both desks include a collision avoidance system, the VARIDESK system is not as sensitive to soft collisions as the VertDesk v3. The VARIDESK uses the more common software drive collision avoidance system, which relies on amperage spikes when a desk is in motion. These systems are primarily designed for hard collisions with furniture. The VertDesk v3 uses gyro sensor technology inside its control box to better sense soft collisions like hands, arms or legs. Below is a video showing how the two types of systems work (Jarvis Desk used in Video).
The VARIDESK and VertDesk v3 both offer programmable switches for their desks. The VARIDESK comes with it standard and the VertDesk v3 is available for additional money. The VARIDESK has a safety function built in that requires you to press and hold the memory key until the desk has reached its desired height. The VertDesk v3 offers a one-touch programmable switch that allows you to short press and release the button. This one-touch function can be easily turned on or off for added safety around kids and pets.
Note: One touch memory is a nice function; however, it is a safety concern with these powerful desks. While the VertDesk’s collision avoidance is sensitive enough to sense soft collisions, hazards still exist. If you have smaller children, pets or furniture that could be impacted by this, please be careful.
The VARIDESK is available in silver or slate. The VertDesk is available in silver, black and white.
|VARIDESK ProDesk 60 Electric||VertDesk|
|Wire Management Kit||Included||Starting at $32.99|
VARIDESK is known to have one of the best return policies in the industry. You have 30 days from when the item was purchased to decide to return it. VARIDESK covers the return shipping cost and will send you a replacement box if you throw the original away. You have 30 days to return the VertDesk, but you are responsible for the return shipping costs. We require that you hold onto the original packaging for all returns.
The warranty for both the VARIDESK ProDesk 60 Electric and the VertDesk are similar. The VARIDESK ProDesk 60 Electric is five years, which covers the electronics and the structure of the desk. The VertDesk v3 has a five year warranty on the electronics and ten years on the structure of the desk.
If you are looking for a height adjustable desk that is stable through most heights, both the VARIDESK and VertDesk v3 are good options. The VARIDESK will offer a wider height adjustment range and better return policy than the VertDesk v3. While the VertDesk v3 offers a better weight capacity and adjustment speed than VARIDESK, the difference isn’t significant. If components like gears, glides and motors are important, the VertDesk v3 has the advantage. Like all VARIDESK products, there is a steep price to pay for the name brand. Unless you are needing the added adjustment range, the 40% difference in price might be too much for some shoppers. Regardless of your brand preference, both desks are two of the best options we’ve tested to date within the mid-range.