Today we will be taking a closer inspection of IKEA’s line of electric standing desks, better known as the Bekant. Like many of the products offered by IKEA, the Bekant has a favorable price point. With IKEA’s exposure, the Bekant series grew in popularity very quickly. With their reach, the ability to try and buy the same day has likely pushed this popularity even higher. Unfortunately, the large volume of sales has spawned a significant amount of bad reviews as well. I was hoping for a better experience, but it didn’t start out very well for me. Let’s take a closer look at what I found during my time with the Bekant.
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IKEA Bekant Review Snapshot
- Available to test in IKEA stores
- Straightforward assembly
- 365 day return policy
- Almost 26 inches of adjustment range
- Online replacement orders take too long
- Cheap plastic fasteners for desktop and base
- Lack of stability at all heights
- Inconsistent motors
- Overwhelming amount of negative feedback on electronics failing
- Only 154 lbs. weight capacity
IKEA Bekant History
Launched in October, 2104, the Bekant was IKEA’s cheap alternative to many of the expensive standing desks available at that time. When it first launched, Bekant was a media darling, gaining massive amounts of exposure for its affordable price tag. Unfortunately, the product would end up having issues with the electronics and IKEA pulled the product from the shelves while they fixed these issues. It is again available for sale in stores and online at IKEA.com.
IKEA Bekant Review Links
– Specs / Pricing / Features
– Assembly Process
– Making a Claim With IKEA
– Stability Testing
– Foot, Frame and Columns
– Motors and Gears
– Glide Systems
– Testing The Specs
– What I Like
– What I Don’t Like
– Final Thoughts
IKEA Bekant OEM Manufacturer
The IKEA Bekant is currently manufactured by ROL Ergo. ROL Ergo is part of the ROL AB company, a privately owned business based in Sweden. They have been operating since 1985, with operations located on three continents. Per their website, they currently own a large portion of their supply chain.
Product Specs (Per IKEA.com)
Height Adjustment Range: 22” – 48” (with top)
Travel Speed: n/a
Noise Level: n/a
Weight Capacity: 154 lbs.
IKEA Bekant 2019 Pricing
$409 to $419 depending on the size selected. If you ship to your location, the shipping is $199.00.
Our options selected: 47.25″ x 31.5″ Black-Brown/Black
- Available in birch wood veneer and melamine foil top
- Includes wire management system
- Two-stage legs (three piece) for 26” overall adjustment range
- Anti-collision stop function
- 10 year warranty on all parts including electronics
- 365 day return policy
IKEA Bekant Packaging
The packaging for the bekant was less than exceptional. In fact, there was very little in the way of additional protection around the outsides of the boxes. Because the desk shipped via UPS Ground that had me concerned. The ground carries give these products a run for their money.
The top that I received did end up with damage to one of the sides. Overall it was okay, but would have needed to be replaced if I planned to keep the desk. After assembling the desk, the left leg didn’t function properly either, I’m not sure that was linked to the packaging. It definitely could have been though as the base had the least amount of protection.
Assembly (60 – 90 Minutes)
The assembly for the Bekant was very IKEA esque. The instructions didn’t include any words, just the pictures of the parts and part #’s on occasion. There were 12 screws to attach the legs to the cross support, but all of them went in without an issue. There were four additional screws to attach the feet to the columns (legs). Fastening the top to the base was interesting. I utilized a fastener that didn’t create the most secure connection. These did not require a tool and were easy to attach. After plugging in all of the electronics, you need to attach the wire management system. This was again attached with the fasteners so it went quickly. It’s suggested that you have help flipping the table over once completed.
Overall I was less than impressed with the aesthetics of the Bekant. The round columns reminded me a lot of the old design from our VertDesk v2. This design is dated in my opinion. The desktop looked nice with the use of a birch veneer material, but it was thin and lacked the rigidity found in thicker alternatives. While the columns appeared to be heavy duty, the connection to the top had me concerned. The use of cheap plastic fasteners created a fit that wasn’t secure. You could actually move the top around because of the play found using these fasteners.
I pressed the button to run the table up. It started to move up, but unfortunately, only the right leg was operating at full speed. The left leg lagged behind and created a crooked table. At this point I was disappointed, but not surprised after seeing how the table was shipped to me.
Making A Claim With IKEA
We have tested quite a few electric standing desks and standing desk converters over the past six months. This was the first that we’ve received that required us to contact customer service before we could use the desk. I don’t personally shop at Ikea, so I wasn’t sure how the exact process would go. I assumed like most major retailers it would be quick and easy. Unfortunately, it was anything but that.
I went to IKEA.com to start the replacement part process. After filling out the form on 4/25, I received the initial response from support on 4/27. Because only one leg was not functional, I asked to find out if we could just get that part vs. the entire base. On 4/28 I received a response saying that they would either provide a credit, replace the entire base or allow me to return the complete unit. I decided on option two.
On 4/29 I received a response again from customer service, stating that my request had been processed. At that point I could expect a phone call from a specialist within 2-3 business days to confirm the final decision. If I didn’t receive a response I was to call them at a number provided.
On 5/3 I called the number provided and was lucky enough to wait on hold for 15 minutes. When the agent answered it took another 15 minutes on hold to find my order and claim that IKEA had started. Even though I provided the number included on my email from support, it wasn’t a number this IKEA agent could use to find the case. I’m glad that I called because at this point, nothing had really been processed to ship. The agent was able to push my issue along and provide a new claim number. She stated that my new desk frame would be shipping within 7-10 business days. This was unacceptable in my opinion, but she said she would try to speed it up for me.
On 5/9 I followed up again to get a ship date. The new agent I spoke with at this point said it was getting very close. I should expect to receive a tracking number later that day or the next. On 5/10 I received the tracking information and on 5/12 the frame was received.
When the frame arrived it came in an oversized box. It had two boxes inside, one for the upper support and the second for the legs. With very little additional packaging, the boxes were just bouncing around in the box. I was skeptical that this would fix the issue, instead being another set of defective legs. Luckily after disassembling the bad leg and replacing it with one of the new ones, the desk was finally functional.
I was excited to finally get to test the Ikea Bekant after waiting 13 working days to get it functional.
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Bekant Desk Stability
I was very skeptical about the stability of the Bekant. The round columns create stability issues in all directions and a missing cross support meant the wobble would be exaggerated the higher the desk went. Round columns can also create a twisting issue, creating additional play and causing more stability problems. Additionally, the fasteners that were used to attach the top did not provide a secure fit. Because of this you can actually feel the top moving around on the top of the base.
Left to Right: The IKEA Bekant was the first desk that I have tested that you could feel wobble at the lowest height. The Autonomous AI SmartDesk 2 and the Jarvis Desk had issues as early as 36”, which I thought was bad. Once the Bekant rose beyond 33” to 34”, the wobble became annoying and beyond 39” it was bad.
Front to Back: Because of the rounded columns, there wasn’t really a direction that the Bekant excelled. I found the front to back stability issues to mirror the IKEA Bekant wobble issues. Even at the bottom you could feel the front to back motion with the desk. The cheap fasteners used were only making the situation worse.
Note: I have said in the past that ensuring all hardware is tight will create the best experience will all standing desks. Unfortunately, the IKEA Bekant’s use of cheap fasteners will not allow for a good connection of the base and top. I would still highly recommend making sure that all of the hardware to assemble the frame is tight, otherwise the stability issues will only be increased.
The electronics on the IKEA Bekant are some of the most unique that we’ve seen come through our labs. Because of the iDrive technology used, the control box circuit boards are actually inside the columns, attached to the motors. This technology utilizes a LIN Bus technology, allowing owners of the ROL ERGO columns to connect up to eight at once, via plug and play. This type of application is used for larger desks or conference tables.
Because of the inline design, the power supply for the IKEA Bekant comes from a cheap power adapter. This is something we’ve only seen with the cheapest desks we’ve tested.
Even with all of the fancy iDrive technology talk, the IKEA Bekant was underwhelming. Considering our first desk to arrive didn’t work and there were countless complaints about this online, I’m not sold on the quality of Bekant’s electronics.
Foot, Frame and Columns
The frame on the IKEA Bekant was well put together, but unique with it’s round design. Overall, the powder coated paint finish was consistent throughout the outside and there was strong welds.
The columns were heavy, with an average of 2.08mm of thickness throughout the three tubes. The upper motor box was even more stout, with an average thickness of 2.72mm. Seeing how thick the steel was, it was surprising how heavy the entire frame felt.
The foot design of the Bekant was nice, with a molded aluminum design. This is a more expensive option than the more commonly used steel foot. Whether you appreciate the aesthetics will depend on your taste of course.
The upper cross support frame system was the same quality as the columns. With a matching powdered coated finish that was durable. A secondary perk with the frame was the wire management system that is included with the Bekant. Using this net system, you’re able to horizontally manage wires, storing them between the horizontal upper cross support.
The motors used on the IKEA Bekant are manufactured by Bosch, the 24V ACH 0 390 203 386 model which is a fairly popular model we’ve seen on other standing desks. The first thing I noticed was how small they were compared to other two motor desks we’ve tested. Considering the low 154 lbs. capacity on the Bekant, this wasn’t a big surprise.
Taking a closer look at the motor, everything was well put together. There weren’t any loose wires, or wires held in place with cheap silicone, like many of the JieCang frames we’ve tested. Inside, there were nice clips, with solid connections. The worm drive and gear were fully internalized, which helps to keep contaminants out of the motors well.
When I opened the motor, the gear and worm drive were well put together. The plastics used for the gear system looking high quality and there wasn’t too much grease inside. Overall, I was impressed with the quality of the Bosch motors found inside the IKEA Bekant, I just wish they had a little more power.
The gear system on the IKEA Bekant was also well put together. The Bekant had a similar feel and look to other high end cold rolled gears, like those from Linak and Ketterer. The gear itself moved smoothly, wasn’t overly greasy and was well put together.
The glide system on the IKEA Bekant answered a lot of the stability questions I had with the product. While there were stability issues in the connection of the surface to the frame, the bigger problem existed in the columns themselves.
The Bekant glides themselves looked to be a good quality plastic and their fit was extremely tight. The issue was linked to the columns design, with glides only being used on one end of the column. The reasoning for them doing this was to eliminate rubbing that occurs on the column, meaning the columns will look better later in ownership. The issue was, this created wobble and rocking issues in the columns, with nothing to counteract the movement in the column. The picture below better illustrates this.
A Quick Look at the Bekant Desk Top
I purchased the IKEA Bekant with the birch wood veneer surface in black. The other surface material option was a melamine top. The wood veneer had a nice look, but the edge banding took away from that. The top was only ⅝” and wasn’t very durable. During the shipment one of the sides was impacted and it left a dent in the side of the top. I am concerned with how durable the thin wood veneer would hold up over time. It is nicer looking that a standard laminate or melamine, but will not be as durable.
Testing the Specs on IKEA.com
IKEA didn’t provide a lot of specifications for the Bekant. It was nice change from all of the other products I had tested that claimed to be the fastest or strongest. In fact, I found that the lifting capacity for the IKEA Bekant was a little understated at 154 lbs. After testing the frame, it could lift over 185 lbs plus the weight of the desktop.
Height Adjustment Range: 22” to 48”
Close. The desk was 22.875” to 48.25”
Travel Speed: n/a
I was able to average 1.25” per second over 10 cycles with only the desktop attached.
Noise Level: n/a
I was able to average 60 decibels when the desk was raised. It was quieter as it moved down, averaging 56 decibels.
Weight Capacity: 154 lbs.
True. The desk had no problem lifting the 154 lbs. listed for its capacity. It only slowed down the speed a little to 1.19” per second. The odd part was that it had issues moving down. When we loaded the desk to capacity the lowering speed dropped to as low as .33” per second. Sometimes it would speed up after 10-15 seconds of pressing the button. The electronics were very inconsistent.
What I Like About IKEA Bekant
Available in IKEA Stores
It is a huge advantage for those that live close enough to an IKEA to try before they buy. By doing this you are able to tell if the desk will be a good fit without wasting too much time. You will be able to kick the tires so to speak. This isn’t an option for the majority of standing desks being sold online.
While there were a fair amount of screws to assemble the Bekant, they all went in without an issue. The frame assembly was similar to the Evodesk, but the larger hardware they use made it easier to get it into the hole. You were actually able to drop it into the hole and then fasten it in place. Attaching the top to the frame used fasteners that you could push in with your thumb which made that process easy as well. The only part that required a screwdriver was attaching the up/down switch and it only required two screws.
IKEA has a really good return policy, with up to 365 days to change your mind. As far as standing desks are concerned, this is the best policy I have seen to date. If you live near an IKEA store you can return it with a copy of your receipt. If you have lost your proof of purchase they will attempt to look it up by credit card number, order number or gift card number.
If you ordered online and do not reside near a IKEA store, you can ship the items back to the store. All you have to do is complete this form and then ship the items back to the nearest IKEA. Just be sure to include a copy of your order confirmation with the shipment.
Warranty (If you live by IKEA)
While the IKEA Bekant warranty is a bit vague on their website, I confirmed with multiple phone calls the entire desk is covered for 10 years. This includes the most important aspect (in my opinion) the electronics. Of course the policy isn’t perfect, if you don’t live close to an IKEA you will be out of luck. For electronic part claims you are required to return the frame for an exchange of a brand new frame.
Note: While multiple reps confirmed this over the phone, they all referenced the same vague brochure I found online. I am not 100% sure if this is true and still cannot get it in writing from IKEA. My thought is if you are close to the store they will likely help you unless they decide to update the warranty and include more specifics on the electronics.
Range of Motion
With close to 26″ of travel, the IKEA Bekant will fit large portion of the population.
What I Don’t Like About IKEA Bekant
Length of Time Required For Online Replacements
After receiving my defective IKEA Bekant, it took another 13 business days to receive a replacement. If this had been for more than just a review I would have been very upset. After paying close to $650 for a new desk, I would expect there to be a little more urgency to get a replacement out. Unfortunately, IKEA.com doesn’t provide the same great service you would get in the traditional store.
Instability Issues at All Heights
I was surprised to find that the Bekant desk had instability issues at all heights. This was the first desk I had tested that moved when the columns were fully collapsed (lowered completely). The use of round tubes for columns allows for twisting and the cheap fasteners to attach the top to the base created too much play. As the desk rose, the instability only became greater and it would affect all users. When I added 55 lbs to the desktop, the instability became greater and I when maxed out at 154 lbs. it was very bad.
The motors had no issues moving the 154 lbs. capacity listed on IKEA.com, they even moved 185 lbs. plus the weight of the top. I found that the speed drop off as the weight increased wasn’t bad either. If you were only going to be adjusting the desk upward this would be great. Unfortunately, the Bekant had issues while lowering the 154 lbs. With this weight the speed would drop off significantly, going from 1.25” per second, down to .33” per second. Sometimes it would travel the full range of motion this way, other times it would pick up speed after about 5 or 6 inches.
Cheap Fasteners For Mounting Top To Frame
The reason that IKEA decided to attach the desktop to the base with plastic fasteners is likely one or two reasons. The first reason might be how easy they are to attach the base and top. The second is potentially because of how thin the top is, without much room for screws to bite into the wood. Either way, it has created instability issues that don’t mix well with a desk that is designed to go to 48” tall. When you fully load your desk with expensive monitors, computers, etc, the last thing you want is for it all to come tumbling down.
Overall, I was less than impressed with my entire experience with the IKEA Bekant. Since I am not close to the store, the 48” version of the Bekant cost me close to $650 with shipping. For that price you can get into a much more stable product like the VertDesk v3 or Uplift 900 desk. The fact that I had to wait 13 business days to even get a chance to use it didn’t help either.
While their ten year limited warranty for everything sounds great, I’m still not 100 percent sure if that’s even the real warranty. The page on IKEA is very vague and each of the reps I spoke with only read off that page. If you are able to return the frame to the store you will likely have better luck, but if you are like me the store is hours away. This would be a risk I would have to consider.
The lack of stability at all heights, cheap components and countless negative reviews online would have me searching for a better alternatives. If you live nearby an IKEA I would suggest taking advantage of kicking the tires on this before deciding on it. I’m sure there are happy Bekant owners out there, I’m just not one of them.