What is the strongest standing desk surface? This is a common question that we get from customers, wondering what will provide the best stability for their desktop. Is it laminate or is it bamboo? The truth is, we didn’t know for sure until we did a test. Let’s take a closer look to see what we found out.
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The Surfaces We Tested
We decided to start with some of the surfaces we most commonly get asked about:
- Fully Jarvis .8” thick laminate
- Fully Jarvis .8” thick bamboo
- Uplift Desk 1” thick laminate
- Uplift Desk 1” thick bamboo
- VertDesk / NewHeights 1.125” thick laminate
What We Were Testing
To understand which top was the strongest, we wanted to eliminate any frame elements and look specifically at the top. We then added weight to the center of the surface and measured the amount of deflection that occurred from the weight. With the same test setup, we were able to score the deflection between tops. The greater the deflection number, the weaker the surface was.
Note: How these tests impact your actual use of the surface will vary. This test was done purely to look at the strength of the different surfaces only.
Our Test Setup
In all of our test setups, we try our absolute best to keep things as consistent as possible. For this test, we used two stationary tables set at the same height. The distance between the tops was 32”. All tops that we tested were 48”, which left 8” overhang on the stationary desks. We didn’t hold the surfaces down; they rested on their own. All surfaces were brand new and had never been attached to a frame.
We measured and marked to the center point on the surface. This is where the two 75 lbs. dumbells and two 50 lbs. would be placed. Before any weight was added to the surface, we used our level to verify the surface was flat. If the surface wasn’t flat, we measured and noted the deflection.
The first test was with two 75 lbs. dumbbells (150 lbs.). The second test we added the two 50 lbs. dumbbells for a total about 250 lbs. A deflection measurement was taken for both weight tests.
Note: The wider the surface (60” or 72”), the greater the deflection will be for each surface.
Surface Strength Testing Video
Test #1: Fully Jarvis .8” Laminate
Pretest observation: The Fully Jarvis laminate arrived at our office with a 3\32” bow in the surface. The surface was actually cupped, meaning it was bent on all sides. It had sunken in the middle of the surface, likely due to the thickness of the material and how it was packaged. Over time, gravity pulled the center down, while the outsides of the surface were supported. We reached out to Fully for replacements and the update is listed below.
Test #2: Fully Jarvis .8” Bamboo
Pretest observation: The Fully Jarvis bamboo arrived at our office with a 3/32” bow in the surface, just like their laminate. This surface was cupped as well, and with the same thickness and packing, there is a good chance it’s for the same reason. We reached out to Fully for replacements and the update is listed below.
Test #3: Uplift Desk 1” Laminate
Pretest observation: The Uplift Desk 1” laminate was flat with no bowing or cupping.
Test #4: Uplift 1” Bamboo
Pretest observation: The Uplift Desk 1” bamboo was flat with no bowing or cupping.
Test #5: VertDesk / NewHeights 1.125” Laminate
Pretest observation: The 1.125” laminate was flat with no bowing or cupping.
Update from Fully Jarvis
We reached out to Fully’s support team to get resolution on the bowed/cupped surfaces. I was looking to get replacements since the two we received were defective. The response we received was a bit surprising and led us to believe Fully didn’t see them as defective. I have included the emails below for actual proof of the conversation.
Their team was quick to respond, which is a good thing. The first rep apologized for my experience and then gave some tips. He thought the top was bowed from incorrectly assembling the center rails on the desk and let me know how to fix it. This wasn’t the case, as they arrived bowed.
Since they arrived bowed I asked for new tops that were flat. He recognized a miscommunication and put me in touch with support.
The second support team member was friendly and provided the reason for the bow/cupping on bamboo. I was told that bamboo is natural and will adjust to the environment (like the cold FedEx truck). I was instructed to screw my bowed surface down to flatten it out. The interesting part of this is our two Fully surfaces had sat in our office for 11 days to normalize and the tops were still bowed.
My last reply was again asking for a replacement. I mentioned the laminate arrived exactly the same way and asked if this was normal. For tops that don’t come with a warranty, this is a bit concerning. I’m waiting for their final reply.
If Fully decides to send us new tops we will update our post to reflect this. We will also retest the new tops and see if our results are different.
Note: The Uplift bamboo and laminate also arrived via FedEx during the same time frame and didn’t have any bowing to it. The major differences between the two materials were their overall thickness. Each was packaged the same.