Dubbed by WireCutter as the best standing desk, the Jarvis desk by Fully has grown to be one of the most popular standing desks available. With a large range of motion, quick adjustment speed and seven-year warranty, there is a lot to like. But just because something’s popular, doesn’t mean that it’s perfect. Today we are going to take a closer look at the problems with the Jarvis Desk. If there are solutions we will talk about them and if not, we’ll provide a better alternative. With that let’s take a closer look at the Jarvis Desk to see if its most common problems are potential deal breakers.
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Top 6 Problems with Jarvis Desk in 2019
- Stability Issues Above 40”
- No Traditional Cross Support
- Low Quality Electronics
- Significant Lubrication on Columns
- No Locking Washers or Loctite
- No Overload Protection
- Bottom Line
1. Stability Issues
One of the most important aspects of any standing desk is the stability at standing height. I like to use the example of a wobbly table at a restaurant, where many will lose focus on everything except the table. Until they have found a solution, which is almost always napkins or a coaster, the person cannot focus on the dinner.
The Jarvis Desk had wobble and rocking issues that started at mid standing height. One of the most obvious reasons for the lateral stability issues was the lack of a traditional cross support. Without this important component, the Jarvis Desk didn’t have anything to counteract the wobble motion. A second cause was poorly fit glides between each column. Glides are designed to fill the natural gaps between each metal column. Because of these poorly fit glides there were noticeable gaps, each creating play between the columns. As a standing desk is raised, small amounts of play become exaggerated and increase the wobble and rocking motions.
If you’d like to learn more about using the WobbleMeter visit: what is the WobbleMeter?.
WobbleMeter Score Range Guide
0-20 = Excellent Stability
Almost all of the desks tested at sitting height will score between 0-20. This is our baseline for excellent stability since most standing desks provide excellent stability at their lowest heights. Users in this range will not notice motion.
21-30 = Very Good to Good Stability
Between 20-30, most users will not notice the small amount of motion in this range.
31-40 = Good to Fair Stability
Between 31-40, some users may begin to notice the amount of motion in this range. This is especially true the closer the score is to 40.
41-50 = Fair to Bad Stability
Between 41-50, most users will notice the amount of motion in this range. This is especially true the closer the score is to 50.
51-60+ = Very Bad Stability
Between 51-60+ all users will notice the amount of motion in this range. This is especially true for scores that are above 60.
WobbleMeter Results for the Jarvis Desk Frame
Overall Wobble (Side to Side) Deflection Scores
Overall Rocking (Front to Back) Deflection Scores
Unfortunately, there isn’t an easy hack or DIY solution to fix stability issues on electric standing desks. There is a lot involved with the engineering of columns and glides, even when desks like the Jarvis seem to be lacking. Welding brackets to the sides of the columns will alter the shape of the metal tube, creating additional rubbing issues that will create a host of new issues.
The best solution is to look for a product that has created a better design for stability. Many times there will be trade-offs to stability. The Uplift Desk is another product made by JieCang, but they have decided to use a non-traditional column design. This is an inverted set-up, with the bigger columns on top and small on the bottom. Using this design, JieCang has been able to add wedges between the motor box and upper column. This wedge system creates additional lateral stability for the Uplift Desk. While the Uplift Desk’s wobble test significantly outperformed the Jarvis, this top down design created front to back rocking motions earlier on.
2. No Traditional Cross Support
As mentioned above, the Jarvis Desk comes without a traditional cross support. While stability is one of the most noticeable issues without this component, there is another equally important issue. When you watch the Jarvis Desk move up and down, you will likely notice the legs and feet are constantly in motion. Without the cross support, there is no way to keep the legs square to the base, which ultimately bows the legs and twists the feet. Not only does this look bad, but it is also very bad for the glide systems in the columns. Glides are used for two reasons, the first we already talked about and that is to provide the proper fit between columns. The second is to act as a natural lubricant between the metal columns.
Glides will naturally wear as the desk is cycled up and down over time. The goal with this wearing is to create a nice even wear pattern through the life cycle of the desk. With the Jarvis desk, the awkward twisting and turning creates unnatural wear patterns on the glides. This ultimately creates friction and binding within the columns. The Jarvis Desk comes with a software based anti-collision system to prevent damage to furniture around your desk. The binding that is created from the unnatural wearing creates false positives that will engage the anti-collision.
This uneven wearing on the glides creates additional stability issues over time. It doesn’t require much for a standing desk to have noticeable movement when extended to standing height. After cycle testing our first Jarvis Desk, we found that after only 4,000 cycles the stability was greatly reduced. This shouldn’t come as surprise, since the Jarvis Desk has lateral stability issues out of the box that started at 36” tall.
The best solution is to look for a desk with a traditional cross support. Without it, there is no way to consistently prevent the uneven wearing found with standing desks that do not include a cross support. If you prefer the JieCang OEM, GeekDesk v3 offers a solution that includes a traditional cross support. This is the most stable JieCang product we have tested, but also one of the most expensive options. The Xdesk Terra also included a traditional cross support system, but with a price point over $1,500 it could be out of many users budget.
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3. Low Quality Electronics
Through my many comparisons and reviews of JieCang products, I have found their electronics to be the best of the worst. When compared to other Chinese manufacturers, JieCang appears to have the best electronics. The problem, is when compared to premium manufacturers like Linak and LogicData, their products are inferior.
Looking at the most recent version of the Jarvis Desk, the circuit board used for their desk has remained unchanged over the previous two versions. This is unfortunate as this is something that really could use an update. With a two board system on the JieCang control box, the first issue is the cheap connectors used to bridge the boards. These create inconsistent connections that are likely to cause problems down the road.
The second most obvious issue is the excessive use a caulk throughout the circuit board to hold the components in place. This is likely used because the larger components are prone to fall off from natural vibrations in the desk. The large components require excessive caulk to hold them securely in place.
The solution to the low quality electronics is to look for an electric standing desk that features single board systems designed specifically for a standing desk application. This includes brands like Linak and LogicData. When compared to the Chinese alternatives, the pictures do the best job telling the story. From small power supplies that are included on the same circuit board, to tightly wound toroid cores, these products have much better consistency throughout. With a heightened level of quality control, the premium suppliers electronics are much more likely to last beyond their warranty periods.
4. Significant Lubrication on Columns
One of the most visible issues with the Jarvis Desk is the over lubricated glide systems. Out of the box, you will notice that after only a few cycles the columns start to turn white. This build up is created from excessive amounts of lubricant used to prevent friction and binding between the columns. This is likely a quality control issue, with no set standard for the amount of lubricant being used between two frames. With eight different JieCang frames in our lab for testing, the only consistency we have found is that there is too much lubricant used on all frames.
Outside of their being an aesthetic issue with the lubricant on the columns, there is also a functional problem. As the lubricant builds up on the column, we have found that it is much easier for the desk to pull in contaminants as it is cycled up and down. Dirt and dust can create havoc on the glide systems, causing unnatural wear patterns. As we’ve mentioned before, uneven wearing of glides can cause false positives within the anti-collision system. It can also speed up the instability issues that form over the life cycle of a standing desk with poor quality glides.
This is a tricky situation, as the lubricant used on the Jarvis is likely needed to have the desk function properly. While wiping the columns would clean up the problem visually, you are likely to create additional issues with a lack of lubrication between the columns. We have found that products like the UpDesk Elements provide a much cleaner experience on the columns. Because these products use better quality glides they require little to no additional lubricant on the upper glides. While these products are slightly more expensive than the Jarvis, each will likely perform better over the course of their lifetime.
5. No Locking Washers or Loctite
The lack of locking washers or Loctite to hold bolts in place on a standing desk is a very common problem. This is surprising as natural movement with an adjustable standing desk will cause bolts to loosen over time. It doesn’t require much movement in a standing desks frame to create a bigger issue as the desk is raised to standing height. Through testing we have found that if a foot, upper support or cross support is slightly loose the entire desk will become unstable. This is true for even the most stable standing desks we have tested.
This is probably one of the easiest problems to fix. If you aren’t willing to spend the extra money on hardware you can always make an effort to routinely tighten your desks bolts. The only problem with that is accessing the bolts on the bottom of the feet, as it will require turning the entire desk on it’s side. Spending a small amount of extra money, you should be able to find the best solution at your local hardware store. Applying a thread locker like Loctite to the bolts and adding star washers should eliminate the re-tightening required without.
6. No Overload Protection
The Jarvis Desk advertises one of the heaviest load capacities available for electric standing desks at 350 lbs. This is a bit deceiving though, as the OEM JieCang only rates the capacity to 281 lbs. This has recently been upgraded from their previous suggestion closer to 220 lbs. While our testing has shown that the Jarvis Desk is capable of lifting 350 lbs., I would strongly suggest not doing this on a regular basis. JieCang has done enough testing on their own products to only feel comfortable offering a 281 lbs. capacity. I don’t believe that Fully knows enough about the frame to advertise an additional 70 lbs.
Without having overload protection included on the Jarvis, there is the risk of overloading your desk. While the actual user of the desk might be careful, others in the office might not be. Having overload protection on the desk guarantees that your desk can not lift more weight than it has been tested for.
The safest option here would be to verify the amount of weight you’ll be using on your desk. If you are a power user and will be exceeding 281 lbs., I would suggest looking at a different desk. If you will be staying below that load capacity, the Jarvis Desk should be fine.
Looking at the Jarvis Desk, there is a lot to get excited about. The recent updates to the Jarvis Desk focused mainly on improvements to the motor design. Its 26” adjustment range and seven-year warranty are also enticing features. But some of its most glaring problems, like low-quality electronics and questionable quality control, have yet to be improved. Stability issues starting as early as 40”could definitely pose a major problem for users taller than 5’7”. If you had your heart set on a JieCang product I would recommend the Uplift v2 Commercial for the added stability. Otherwise, there are a handful of higher quality alternatives that are only 10-25% more expensive than the Jarvis Desk.