As one of the original “brands” in the standing desk category, GeekDesk has long been known for its electric standing desk products. While they have improved upon their products over the course of their evolution, they have missed the mark in certain areas. Their latest line of standing desks features the popular Chinese technology from JieCang Linear Motion. Known as the most popular option from China, I consider the JieCang line to be the best of the worst. While most of their technology is copied from leaders such as Linak, their cost-cutting has resulted in low-quality components throughout their frames. Let’s take a closer look at the GeekDesk v3 and see what the six most common problems are.
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Top 6 Problems For The GeekDesk
- Price Verus Comparable JieCang Models
- Two Year Warranty on Electronics
- Low-Quality Electronics
- Cheap Glide System
- Over Lubricated Columns
- Front to Back Stability Issues
- Bottom Line
1. Price Versus Comparable JieCang Models
When you consider the fact that GeekDesk v3 comes with some of the most commonly found JieCang technology, price becomes a big factor for which product to select. While the GeekDesk v3 comes with a traditional cross support, is that enough to support a 30-40% price difference to it’s closest peers? With their smallest option available for $749, almost all of the other options in the mid-range are less expensive.
If you’re in the market for a JieCang product, there are other well-known brands that use the same technology. Both Uplift 900 and Jarvis by Fully feature the same options for significantly less money. A recent price check shows a 33% price difference for the 48” laminate options. While these brands won’t be as laterally stable, he cost savings might be enough to sway you away (no pun intended). You’ll also find a significantly larger selection of top and frame sizes from these alternative JieCang vendors.
2. Two Year Warranty On Electronics
With a price tag that is on the upper end of the mid-range of electric standing desks, expectations here are generally pretty high. One thing that most customers want is a product that is backed by a solid warranty. Personally, I think this is even more important with products that have low-quality electronics. The GeekDesk v3 features a two-year warranty on their electronics, which is one of the worst warranties in the category. A benchmark for the mid-range is, at a minimum, three years. At two years, you can find products that are being sold for under $400. This doesn’t show a high level of confidence in their brand, considering the high price point. This is a red flag.
If your budget is somewhere in the $700 to $800 range, there are some really nice alternatives in the mid-range. Products like the ModDesk Pro, from MultiTable, include a five-year warranty on their desk. Not only do they offer a better warranty for their desk, but the electronics are also better as well. Featuring a LogicData control box and switch, you’re less likely to even require a warranty claim. When looking at other products offering similar JieCang technology, both Uplift and Jarvis have seven-year warranties on similar components. Even the lowest cost option in the mid-range from Autonomous features a five-year warranty on their electronics. Even though Autonomous uses low-quality TiMotion electronics, they still provide a solid warranty.
3. Low-Quality Electronics
One of the biggest reasons for my concerns with their short warranty is low-quality electronics. Featuring an outdated version of electronics from JieCang, these control boxes are similar to what was used on Jarvis almost three years ago. Upon opening the GeekDesk v3 control box I immediately found a lack of quality control. It featured the commonly used two board system; this incorporates mass-produced components used across many different industries. This meant that the same problems found on other cheap electric standing desks existed here too. Plastic connectors linked each of the boards and created loose connections that appear to be the first place for failure. Excessive amounts of caulk are used to hold bulky components in place. Lastly, large poorly wrapped toroid cores, that included excessive amounts of copper wire, significantly reducing their efficiencies.
The best solution for these low-quality electronics has been to look at alternatives not made in China. It’s unfortunate, but all of the Chinese made electric standing desks shared these same characteristics in their control boxes. Global leaders LogicData and Linak are the best options when looking for high-quality electronics. A quick glance at their circuit boards and the difference in quality is obvious. The first and most noticeable feature is how they both feature single-board systems. Engineered specifically for use within their own control boxes, these circuit boards are much more efficient systems. Smaller components, no excessive amounts of caulk and tightly wound toroid cores are the standard here. If you’re looking for a tight electronics system, these two brands feature some of the best in the electric standing desk industry.
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4. Cheap Glide System
Taking a deeper look at the guts of the GeekDesk v3, we opened up the columns of their frame. Inside the columns, we found glides that came up short in the quality department. Cheap plastic glides that seem to be inconsistently fitted to seven different JieCang frames we have tested. With three Jarvis frames, two Uplift frames, an Evodesk and the GeekDesk frame in house, we have found a wide range of play in each frames columns.
After cycle testing these JieCang frames anywhere from 400 to 4,000 cycles we found the wearing on the glides to vary significantly. With the quality of the plastic glides lacking, the potential for binding in the columns was a real issue. The GeekDesk v3 has the best opportunity to wear evenly with the assistance of a cross support, keeping the frame square through height transitions. Even then, the glides still took a beating with the dust and dirt that made its way into the columns. Through testing we have found the higher the cycle counting, the more the wearing of the glides impacted the stability of the frame. Considering front to back stability issues already existed at 41”, this was a major cause for concern.
The other common problem we found with these cheap glide pads is how they impacted the paint finish of the columns. All of the JieCang frames started to wear down the paint finish, leaving permanent rub marks up and down the interior columns. Because the paint used on standing desk frames reduces friction for the glides, the fact it was wearing down was problematic. This meant the finish would become more abrasive, speeding up the wearing of the cheap glides. All of this will ultimately lead to the standing desk killer; the binding which causes electric standing desks with anti-collision to create false positives.
Looking at the column that JieCang has clearly replicated, the DL4 on the UpDesk showed us what this was really supposed to look like inside. These included high-quality Dupont Delrin glide pads that were properly fit on all four sides of the rectangular tubes. Using this type of material, with the proper paint, significantly reduces the amount of lubricant required to function properly. After close to one thousand cycles, these glides still looked brand new. The outside of the columns also showed little signs of wear. Linak frames that we have seen with thousands of cycles almost all still look like new as well.
5. Over Lubricated Columns
Another problem that we have found consistent with almost all Chinese electric standing desks is an excessive amount of lubrication. This was also true with the GeekDesk v3; as the desk was cycled, the lubrication started to quickly build up on the columns. This creates a few different issues that could be a cause for concern. While the aesthetics of the frame are one of those issues, it is the least of my concerns.
The first real concern is why there is so much lubrication. Is it needed to ensure that the cheap glides function properly over the lifetime of the product? You have to wonder if they feel without this much lubrication binding will occur, causing the desk to stop function properly. Secondly, with all of the lubricant built up on the leg, how many contaminants can be transferred into the glides when the desk is cycled up and down? We know from our own cycle testing that this caused accelerated wearing on the glide pads in the columns. This too can create binding issues as the glides become less efficient over the course of the life of the product.
If the over lubrication of the GeekDesk v3 is a major concern, the best alternatives are found from the likes of ModDesk Pro, UpDesk Elements and the VertDesk v3. These were the only three electric standing desk frames that we found in the mid-range that didn’t have excessive amounts of lubrication. It’s no surprise considering the materials each of these products use throughout their columns. High-quality glides are at the center of the solution, reducing the amount of lubricants required to make the desk function properly. The lack of quality control in the Chinese factories appears to be another reason the amount of lubricant in the JieCang products can vary so much. Looking at the three higher quality products, each product had just the right amount of lubricant on their upper glides. The only section of the column that really requires a fair amount of lubricant is the rough interior portion of the column where glides have to slide over raw steel. Because this part of the frame is completely internalized, you will never have to see the lubrication and it can’t pull in dirt and dust from the environment around your desk.
6. Front to Back Stability Issues
It’s unfortunate that the GeekDesk v3 ended up having stability issues. Their use of a traditional cross support created one of the most laterally stable standing desks we tested. The front to back stability test ended up being much different, which stability becoming poor around the 40” to 41” mark. Poorly fit glides on the small side of the column, a lack of overlap in the columns and tube thickness all could play a part in this issue. One thing we have found with JieCang is that each of the desks we have tested had big differences with their tolerances between columns. When we tested products from EvoDesk, Jarvis and Uplift each showed differences with the amount of play between the columns. While this isn’t uncommon, the large difference between each was a problem.
One of the most common problems among the ranges of standing desks is their ability to be stable. At some point, all standing desks will show signs of motion. Some products are definitely better than others though. In my attempt to find stable standing desks I have ordered over 20 products. It’s really no surprise that both the NewHeights XT and VertDesk v3 products are the most stable. The focus on stability has always been a major part of the design and development process.
The use of a traditional cross support has always been at the foundation of all NewHeights XT and VertDesk v3’s. Attention to small details like using locking washers where bolts are used is missed by most alternative brands. This prevents the constant loosening of bolts that occurs over time as the desks vibrate while moved up and down. Properly fit glide systems, that are hand-checked on each desk frame, also play a vital role in the stability of the product. Without checking the fit of these glides, throughout the entire stroke of the column, can cause stability issues to crop up. Limiting the number of moving parts that require bolts for assembly significantly reduces the amount of opportunity for movement throughout the frame. After testing over 20 electric standing desks, we’ve found it only takes a small movement at low heights to create major stability issues at standing height.
The hardest thing about recommending the GeekDesk v3 is the high price tag when compared to other like products. While the use of traditional cross support created the most laterally stable JieCang we’ve tested, the extra 30-40% in cost isn’t really worth it. The GeekDesk v3 comes with plenty of weight capacity, a good range of motion and average adjustment speed. Unfortunately, it also comes with one of the worst warranties in the mid-range, with only two years coverage on the electronics. Considering it includes all of the other problems associated with a JieCang frame made in China, if you are willing to spend $700 to $800 on a desk there are better options. Knowing that Jarvis and Uplift offer the same technology for so much less money, I find it hard to not recommend both of those brands over the GeekDesk v3.