We’ve all faced the same challenge, managing that wire chaos that lives underneath your desk. If you’re fortunate enough to work up against a wall and your desk has a full modesty panel, maybe you’ve been able to hide it. If you’ve switched to a modern desk design, which includes most popular standing desks, there is no good way to hide all of your wires.
There are two categories of wire management problems we’ll cover in this post, horizontal and vertical. Horizontal runs left to right and vertical from the floor to the underside of the desk. Getting the right type of wire management will depend on where your cable management problems exist. The problems for each type of wire management have quite a few similarities. Below are the six biggest problems our customers have experienced with cable management.
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Top 6 Cable Management Problems List
- Wire Management That Doesn’t Fit Desk
- Not Big Enough To Hold All Wires or Power Strips
- Doesn’t Included Enough Wire Passthroughs
- Many Tend to be Cheap and Flimsy
- Poor Connection To Desk
- Hard To Access Screw Holes
- Bottom Line
Top 6 Problems with Cable Management Video
1. Buying Wire Management That Doesn’t Fit Your Desk
Getting the right size wire management is crucial to making the entire system work. If it doesn’t fit your desk properly, you won’t be able to use it. Two of the most common mistakes is not paying close attention to the width and depth dimensions of horizontal wire management and length for vertical wire management systems.
If you’re looking to get the proper fit for your horizontal wire management system, consider the underside clearance of your desk. We’ve found that some users will measure the top width of the desk, but there could be issues with obstructions from portions of the desks frame underneath. If you’re using monitor mounts that clamp to the desk or an electric standing desk, there are also additional items that could get in the way.
The length of vertical wire management needs to be considered for all types of desks, but especially for adjustable standing desks. As you move the desk up and down, you want to make sure the system isn’t pulled off the floor, potentially pulling wires from the desk or the power source. The flip side of this problem is a system that might be too long. Your cords might not be long enough which will require you to exit the wire management early. This can lead to a system that doesn’t function as well.
2. Not Big Enough To Fit All Wires or Power Strips
How many wires do you plan to put into the cable management system? Are you an average user with four to five wires total? Would you like to hide a power strip in the horizontal cable management system? If you’re a power user, you’ll require even more space and some systems might not be a great fit.
One of the best ways to eliminate the need for vertical cable management is to use a power strip to bring power underneath your desk. This creates a single wire versus many running to a power source on the floor or wall. What happens to the power strip when it lives under your desks surface? Some adhesives can do a good job of holding it, and some power strips will even have mounting holes that are quite efficient for holding the surge protector in place. If you have an adjustable desk, these solutions tend to break down from the up and down movement. Using a cable tray or wire box management system is generally a better solution.
The right size cable management system will depend on the quantity of wires and what they look like. You’ll want to take a closer look at the number of wires you use, how many surge protectors you might need and if any of your wires include power adapters that will need to be hidden under the desk.
3. Doesn’t Include Enough Wire Passthroughs
Getting the wires from the top of your desk into the cable management system needs to be considered. The same is true for bringing power or data wires into the bottom side of the cable management system. How can you pass wires through the system you choose?
Depending on the size of your desk, grommets on the surface and where you have things placed on the surface, passthroughs on the cable management system become even more important. Having to run wires to the end of your system could create bad aesthetics or worse, not be an option because of your cable lengths.
4. Many Tend to be Cheap and Flimsy
If you’ve spent any time shopping for a solid wire management system, you’ve likely realized there is a lot of cheap and flimsy options available. While this might be okay for some users, if you want something to hold up well over time, this won’t be a good option. If you’re using a standing desk, these systems can break down over time and need to be replaced. If you’re like me, you probably want to set this up and forget about it
My first suggestion would be to take a look at the type of materials used. If it is made from plastic, there is a good chance it will be flimsy. This doesn’t mean that it won’t work, instead you will need to temper your expectations. Some molded plastics can do well enough and hold up just fine. If you plan to put a lot of weight in them, this is where you’ll start to have more issues.
Commercial grade wire management trays and large box systems, that mount to your desk with screws, are the best option, in my opinion. The formed pieces of steel will hold up much better with heavy wires, power adapters and surge protectors. If you work at an office with large desk systems or cubicles, there is a good chance you’ll find something similar underneath your desk.
5. Poor Connection To Desk
How does the cable management you’ve selected connect to your desk? Is it a complicated system or something as simple as wood screws? Some of the lower cost items or cable management systems that come with new desks connect with adhesive. Depending on the type of adhesive and how well it’s applied, these can hold up. If your wire tray is heavy, or the desk moves a lot, this could again be a problem. If you want something to stay put long term, the best solution is to permanently mount with wood screws. This is how almost every commercial system mounts and is the only option, in my opinion.
6. Hard To Access Screw Holes
If you’ve found a wire management system that allows you to mount it with screws, you’re halfway there. One of the most frustrating things when attempting to mount a wire management tray underneath an existing desk is hard to access mounting holes. The most efficient way to attach the screws is with a drill and if you can’t access the screw holes, your life just became a little more difficult.
While it is certainly possible to hand screw a wire tray or box to the underside of you desk, you’ll be spending a lot more time doing so. The potential exists for loose connections from not fully tightening or skipping some of the hardware if you have to hand screw the system to your desk.
The best options will incorporate some type of flange system to mount the wire management system from outside. A quick look at the wire system will tell you if the screw holes are hard to access. If the holes are located inside the tray or box, my suggestion would be to avoid the product.
No matter what type of cable management solution you ultimately decide on, cleaning up that nest of wires under your desk will improve the appearance of your desk. Finding something that fits your desk and the amount of wires you have is one of the most important things to consider. Ensuring your cable management mounts to your desk easily and permanently means you’ll need to spend the least amount of time on this task. No matter the route you take with your wires, I hope this post has helped eliminate some of the mistakes other customers have made in the past.