If you’re in the market for an electric standing desk and on a tight budget, there is a high likelihood you’ve seen the Titan Fitness WA2 desk. With a frame only price point under $250, the Titan desk is one of the most affordable options currently available. Titan Fitness has risen the ranks in the fitness community, offering heavy-duty products at a fraction of the cost of more well-known brands. Their WA2 desk is much like their fitness products, featuring heavy-duty metal components that feel like they can stand the test of time. Unfortunately, an electric standing desk frame for under $250 is likely to have a few shortcomings. This post will talk more about those problems, provide solutions if they exist and alternatives if available. Hopefully, after reading this post you’ll know if the Titan Fitness WA2 is a good product for your needs.
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Top 8 Problems With Titan Fitness Standing Desk For 2019
- Paint Finish
- Low-Quality Glides
- Sound From Electronics
- No Overload Protection
- Low Load Capacity
- Front to Back Stability Issues
- Gear System
- Short OEM History
- Bottom Line
Titan Fitness WA2 Quick Summary Video
1. Paint Finish
The paint finish on a standing desk plays a bigger role than most are likely aware of. While the paint finish is important from an aesthetic standpoint, it also plays a role in how efficiently glide systems function.
The Titan Fitness desk comes standard with a rough powder coat finish, that is more commonly found on the fitness equipment lines they sell. This rough exterior would appear to be durable, but unfortunately, it wasn’t. When we received the frame there were scratches and permanent rub marks on the frame. These marks were easily reproduced in our testing lab.
The second issue with this rough powder coating was how it impacted the functionality of the desk with adjusted up or down. There was a distinct rubbing sound as the desk was adjusted. The sound was coming from the glides as they moved across the rough paint finish. This was likely to wear down the glides much quicker than a smooth finish on the columns. This could potentially shorten the life cycle of the desk and significantly reduce the stability of the desk.
The best solution for the Titan Fitness WA2 would be to offer a more commonly used smooth finish. This is the first product I have encountered to offer such a rough paint finish on the columns. All of the alternative low-end products do a better job with their finish.
2. Low-Quality Glides
Glide systems play an important role in the longevity of an electric standing desk. These small plastic parts are needed for two major reasons: creating a custom fit between two different sized tubes and acting as a natural lubricant between the metal parts. If you don’t get the fit right, desks will have play here and that can be a major issue for stability at standing height. Cheap glides also tend to break down faster which will only create more stability problems over time.
The glides found on the Titan Fitness were not the worst we’ve seen come through the lab, but they were made from lower-quality plastics. This level of quality creates a potential problem with the fit of the columns as they break down. With loose-fitting columns, it was a bit of a surprise to find each of the glides had sizes imprinted on them. I would have expected a one size fits all approach with this low-end product.
It would be nice to see the Titan desk using multiple sized glides to create a better fit between each of the columns. All of the glides in their desk were marked with 1.0, which leads me to believe they are sizing glides.
Glide quality and fit issues are common in the low-end category. To find a desk with better glides you would have to move into the mid-range. One of the best products we’ve found in the mid-range category was the UpDesk Elements. Featuring Linak columns that used high-quality Delrin glides. The glides used were perfectly sized to marry the two columns together.
See The Best Electric Standing Desks For 2020
After months of testing 20+ stand up desks, the results are in!
3. High Pitch Sound From Electronics
The Titan Desk came with one of the simpler electronic systems we’ve tested. With a small circuit board included in the switch, the only other technology was found in the motor side column. With a top and bottom sensor, the Titan desk is able to understand the min and max height range of the desk.
When first testing the desk, we found that there was an odd delay when pressing the up button. During this delay, there was a high pitch sound that came from the motor box of the desk. Using our decibel meter, we found that the high pitch was as high as 60 decibels. Even after the desk started to make the upward height adjustment, the noise was still noticeable.
At 60 decibels, the sound level isn’t likely to be noticeable in a loud office environment. If you have a call center with multiple users talking, this is a sound that will go unnoticed. If you are using this product in a quiet environment, it is likely that it will be more noticeable. If you are someone who is impacted by this high pitch sound, it will be an annoyance.
If you’re looking for an alternative product in the same price range, the Autonomous Home edition is a good alternative. While these products rated at the same 42/100 score, the Autonomous Home edition doesn’t have this awkward noise. The Autonomous Home edition comes with a more advanced system, with a full-featured control box system.
4. No Overload Protection
Overload protection on a desk offers the peace of mind that you won’t inadvertently overload the desk. The vast majority of electric standing desks feature weight capacities of 150+ lbs. Unfortunately, the Titan Fitness desk featured one of the lowest weight capacities that I have seen. It was so bad that they had two distinct weight descriptions for their desk. The first was a dynamic (moving) rating, which was a whopping 88 lbs. The second was a static capacity, at 176 lbs.
When you consider these capacities include the weight of the surface of your desk, 88 lbs. is a small number. To give an idea of what a surface weights, or our most popular 30” x 60” surface weights 55 lbs. This leaves you with only 33 lbs. for your monitors, computer, phone, light, etc. If you are a power user with a heavy-duty PC, this product is not a good option. While I appreciate the level of honesty from this company, providing the real weight capacity if you’re buying a full electric standing desk you should expect better than this.
After pulling apart the Titan Fitness desk, I believe the problem with the weight capacity is more likely linked to the gear than the motor. With a motor that was a good size, our capacity testing showed that it was more than capable of lifting north of 150 lbs. Closely examining the gear system, I believe this was likely the weak link in the desk. When manually moving the gears, they were rough, loud and the small bevel gear components lacked the precision required for efficiently moving higher capacities.
5. Low Load Capacities
As mentioned in the previous problem, the Titan desk comes with the smallest load capacity of any desk we have tested. With a dynamic (moving) load capacity of 88 lbs., users with heavy desk surfaces won’t have much available for anything else. Titan advertises a static load of 176 lbs., but that is only for loads that do not move.
I believe the solution that Titan Fitness wants its customers to see is the static load capacity. I can’t see another reason why they would advertise the two load capacities. This is the first company we have seen do this. The problem is that even though the Titan Fitness can hold 176 lbs. when you want to make a height adjustment the weight needs to be reduced to 88 lbs. The benefit of an electronically operated standing desk is being able to quickly move from sitting to standing. Having to move loads on and off your desk will be a major headache. If you’re trying to extend the life of your desk you would be wise to follow this weight capacity.
Within literally every other desk we’ve tested providing a larger weight capacity, I would recommend any of the alternatives found in our Best Standing Desk List.
6. Front to Back Stability Issues
If you’ve had a chance to read any of my posts, you have learned how important I feel stability is with a standing desk. When you’re standing desk has movement, this can create a distraction that will reduce productivity. Unfortunately, stability has found itself on the backburner with most of the modern standing desk designs.
The Titan Fitness desk was another example of stability being an afterthought. With the front to back motions starting at 36”, they became bad by 39”, a height that would impact users 5’4” and above. The left to right wobble motion was better, with it becoming noticeable at 39” and a problem beyond 43” tall.
Because the Titan Fitness had a non-traditional column setup, with big on top and small on the bottom, the front to back motion is expected. Their best solution would be to flip the columns to the more commonly used big on the bottom and small on top design. They could then add a cross support to improve the lateral stability even further. Finally, using more than just one size glide would help with the poor glide fitting found on their frame.
The best alternative for improved stability without breaking the bank would be our VertDesk v3. The VertDesk frame is about twice the price but offers superior stability when compared to the Titan desk. Front to back stability tests has resulted in very little movement until 46” tall. Only a slight amount of front to back motion is noticed beyond that to its max height of 47.5”. Left to right, the VertDesk v3 is better, with little to no movement throughout the entire range of motion.
7. Low-Quality Gear System
With a dynamic weight rating of only 88 lbs., finding a low-quality gear system wasn’t much of a surprise. To be honest, I was happy to learn that the Titan Fitness OEM had provided a realistic weight capacity. Many of the other products that have weak components still tend to exaggerate their weight capacity.
I must give credit where it is due, the Titan gear system did feature a fully internalized spindle gear. This is the only single-stage gear I have seen in our lab to do this. Fully internalizing the gear will help to prevent contaminants like dust or dirt from entering the gear. While the gear isn’t high quality, this will help to extend the life of the product.
When attempting to manually move the gear, it didn’t even move as smoothly as the gears found on the low-ranking IKEA Bekant. As the gear was moving through the support tube it was loud as well.
Last, because this desk used a hex rod and single motor system, it required a bevel gear to transfer power to the legs. These small components are very important to how efficiently an electric desk can move a load. Opening the bevel gear, you could see they weren’t machined with precision and this was likely a major reason for all the vibrations when manually moving the gear. This was also likely why the desk had such a low weight rating since this is the weakest link in the entire gear setup.
Improving on the level of precision would go a long way to fixing the gear system found on the Titan Fitness desk. While there was some excessive lubrication found inside the bevel gear, it wasn’t as bad as the JieCang frames we have tested. Cleaning this up just a little bit would make for a more polished product.
The closest alternative would be the IKEA Bekant, which featured well-built spindle gears that were smooth when manually adjusted. The cold rolling process is the preferred process for manufacturing spindles, and even on the lower-priced Bekant, the difference was obvious.
8. Short OEM Manufacturing History
Experience is important with a long of manufacturing processes. This is especially true with the electric standing desk unless you aren’t looking for a product that will hold up well over time. Some of the best brands that we have tested are those that have been involved in the standing desk industry the longest. The OEM of the Titan WA2, Waltz, has only been actively manufacturing for three full years. This is a major red flag and would be a cause for concern. The fact that the product only comes with a one-year warranty should only reinforce this concern for most.
With almost every other Chinese manufacturer we have tested operating longer than Waltz, I would honestly recommend all of them over this one. Until they have proven themselves in the industry, I would be worried about the lifetime of these products.
When you consider the Titan Fitness WA2 is available for less than many of the popular standing desk converters, it’s probably best to temper expectations. The Titan Fitness does come with a heavy-duty steel frame and standard programmable switch. Unfortunately, outside the low price point, the positives of this product really end there. With only a one-year warranty, extremely low 88 lb. dynamic capacity and cheap paint finish, this product has some serious problems. So much so, I would have a hard time recommending it over any other product we’ve tested, including the similarly rated Autonomous Home Edition.