If you have had a chance to read through some of my reviews, you’ve probably come to the conclusion that no standing desk is perfect. That is also the case with our very own VertDesk v3. While it does a lot of things well, there are some areas where it doesn’t lead the pack. Today we are going to take a close look at what the top problems are for the VertDesk v3. If there are solutions, we will address them. These solutions could potentially include alternatives if the problem is significant enough to merit one. With that, let’s take a closer look at the VertDesk v3 problems and solutions.
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Top 5 VertDesk v3 Problems For 2019
- Knee Clearance with Cross Support
- Limited Height Adjustment Range
- Single Motor System
- Hex Rod Assembly Process
- Limited Top Material Options
- Bottom Line
1. Knee Clearance With Cross Support
One of the most frequently asked questions we get at BTOD is about the cross support and knee clearance. At first glance, one could potentially see the cross support as a problem with knee clearance. When standing desks were first introduced, many of them were based on the “T” leg design. This meant that the column was center-mounted to the foot. Many in the industry referred to the early design as knee knockers, which implied that knee clearance would be an issue.
The VertDesk v3 comes with a “C” leg design, which sets the foot back of center. This design improves the amount of knee clearance. With the cross support mounted on the backside of the columns, there is quite a bit of space from the front edge of the desktop. The 24” deep desk will offer 18” of knee clearance, while the 30” deep desk will offer 21”.
To give you a better idea of how much distance you might require, I took a quick measurement of myself at the desk. I am 6’ tall and sitting normally at the desk I had about 12” of my leg underneath the desk. If you like to sit a bit closer, someone at my height might get as close as 14”. What does this mean? Well if you are over 6’6” tall, the 24” deep workstation could potentially cause a problem, however, it’s still unlikely. For about 95% of the population, the 24” deep desk will not create a knee knocker situation. If you decide to go with a 30’ deep configuration, knee clearance will not be an issue.
Why the Cross Support is Important
The truth is, the cross support does a lot more good than it does bad. The most obvious is how it improves lateral stability on standing desks at tall heights. Without a cross support, it is impossible to keep a standing desk from wobbling at standing heights. The second thing it does is ensure that your base remains square. Meaning the feet do not point inward or outward. This is a major problem that brands without cross supports don’t talk about. When this happens it can create binding issues in the columns which make the desk work harder while adjusting. This will also impact how the glides wear and ultimately can shorten the desks lifecycle. Lastly, binding issues can create false positives for anti-collision systems.
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2. Limited Height Adjustment Range
There is no getting around it, the VertDesk v3 has a 20” height adjustment range. It starts at 27” and will adjust up to 47” (47.5” with the use of the adjustable foot glides). I personally don’t like to extend the foot glides out for the extra half-inch of adjustment. This reduces the stability of the desk, creating a weak foundation. Because stability is one of the VertDesk’s strongest selling points, I wouldn’t ever recommend something that reduces it. The 20″ adjustment range could result in fit issues with the VertDesk v3.
The height of someone who should sit at a 27” tall desk is between 5’10” and 5’11”. If you are between 5’3” and 5’4”, it’s recommended that your sitting desk height be 23-24” tall. Since the VertDesk v3’s lowest height is 27”, this means the desk could potentially be too tall in the lowest position for shorter users. On the other side of the adjustment range, if you are over 6’5” you will likely need to use a standing desk that will go up to at a minimum of 48” tall. With the maximum height at 47.5” on the VertDesk v3, the desk will be too short.
It’s important to note that the average desk height in the United States is between 29” and 30”. This means that most users are currently sitting at a desk that is designed for someone that is at a minimum of 6’5” tall. While the VertDesk v3 will help create a more comfortable solution for many users, it’s not going to fit everyone. However, the perfect height for short users is still achievable with the use of an adjustable keyboard tray. While this means the VertDesk v3 isn’t a perfect fit right out of the box, the addition of this common accessory can eliminate this issue. For users that are over 6’5”, the VertDesk v3 will not go tall enough. This means you will likely have to sacrifice stability and look at something that can go taller, like the ModDesk Pro from Multitable.
Tip: We recommend that all standing desk users consider the purchase of either a keyboard tray or monitor arm system. This will allow you to set the proper separation between where you use your keyboard/mouse and view your monitor. Without one of these accessories, you are likely to have your monitor too high or too low, to offset where you use your keyboard and mouse. If you want to get an idea of what this feels like, we suggest using books to prop up the monitor height. Once you feel the positive impact of proper dual ergonomics on your body, it becomes easier to understand the importance.
3. Single Motor System
More is always better; at least this is what most people would assume. Naturally, that would lead you to believe that the VertDesk’s single motor system is inferior to the dual-motor alternatives. This becomes fairly clear when you look at the weight capacity comparisons. The single motor on the VertDesk v3 only has a 275 lbs. capacity, compared to 350+ lbs. on so many other dual motor desks.
The first thing that has to be addressed is that all motors are not created equal. When looking at a size comparison of the motors in the dual-motor desks, the first thing you notice is how much larger the VertDesk v3 motor is. Going through the stats of the Ketterer motor, used on the VertDesk v3, I found that the torque rating on average is twice than that of the dual-motor desks. Size is not always the single indicator of the quality or power, but the quality that is produced by the VertDesk v3’s single motor system is clear.
Secondly, it’s important to consider how much weight you will actually be lifting. 300 lbs. on an office desk is lot of weight. I would say that most users will fall somewhere between 150 to 200 lbs. This includes the weight of an average 50-pound desktop surface, your computer, dual monitors, books, phone, and paperwork. Even then it is hard to believe you would have more than 200 pounds on the desk. If you know that you will have more than 275 lbs. on your desk, the VertDesk v3 will not be a good fit. With the overload protection engaged, it will not lift more than 275 lbs.
Note: It’s also important to consider how a desk functions with the load on the desktop. If the desk you select can lift 300lbs., but the adjustment speed drops from 1.5” per second to .8” per second, it might not be the right fit for you. Slowing down that much can be a sign of poor quality electronics and/or underpowered motors.
4. Hex Rod Assembly Process
Having to assemble your new desk can pose an issue if you aren’t comfortable doing so. While almost all of the desks we have assembled include some type of pain point, they were typically linked to hard to access bolts. The VertDesk v3 is different; it includes a hex rod that a single motor drives to both legs. This hex rod then turns the spindle gears inside the legs to lower and raise the desk. The VertDesk v1, v2 and v3 have all included a hex rod.
Over the time period that we have sold the VertDesk, we have found this to be the biggest pain point during assembly. The reason this can be an issue is that on occasion the inputs for the bevel gears (where the hex rod inserts into the spindle gear) don’t align perfectly. If this is off just a fraction of a turn it can be difficult to just simply slide the hex rod into the input.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be a pain point for you if you use our assembly suggestions. Using a small adjustable wrench, you should be able to turn the hex rod up to ⅙” of a turn counterclockwise. This will allow you to easily gain leverage on the hex rod and align it with the input. The wrench should allow you to easily slide the hex rod into the bevel gear input. We have put together a video to show you how easy it is to slide the hex rod into place with the use of a wrench.
5. Limited Top Material Options
Over the last couple of years, the mid-range has exploded with options available to customers. While many of the options are subpar in quality, there is a handful that is a cut above the rest. We recently showcased the 4 Best Standing Desks Under $1000, which does a good job explaining why they are better. The Uplift Desk is one option and they have done a good job offering one of the widest selections of desktop material options. The VertDesk v3 is currently available in a laminate and solid wood. The Uplift Desk has all of those options, plus the powder-coated top and the reclaimed wood tops. They currently offer the most options for a product within the mid-range category.
Our focus with the VertDesk v3 has mainly been on producing the most stable desk within the category. Using premium gears and electronics, to offer what I feel is the best value in standing desks. Because of this, the selection of our desktops has suffered some. The good news is that there are still a few options, including the durable wood essence laminate and solid wood. With the wood essence laminate, we have the ability to customize in over 304 size and shape options. Unfortunately, this might not be enough to suit your requirements.
Because we offer the base only for the VertDesk v3, you have the option to go the DIY route. This means that you can purchase just the v3 base and add your own top. You get the stability of the v3 frame, the quality components and have the option to add a top very specific to your needs.
With the launch of the VertDesk v3 in early 2017, we were excited to bring what we felt was the best value in standing desk to market. I watched the category change significantly over the last few years, with most competing products eliminating the cross support over that time. Instead, they offered frames that were expandable and started to focus one heavy load capacities.
In my opinion, the stability of the standing desk has always been more important than its capacity. For most, the desk will never have to lift more than 150 to 200 pounds. The ability to lift that load efficiently and hold it stable at standing is more important. If lifting over 275 lbs. is a major concern, the VertDesk v3 will not be a good option. With overload protection engaged to ensure a long lifecycle of your desk, the ability to lift more than this weight is not available.
With a single-stage column, the VertDesk v3 will have fit issues as well. If you are shorter than 5’6”, you will likely require a keyboard tray to sit at the correct height. If you are over 6’5”, the desk will not fit you, regardless of what you do.
While we would like to offer a product that will fit everyone, cost and stability have always been at the center of development with the v3. In order to provide the best value, we had to make a few concessions. While the VertDesk v3 might not be a perfect fit for everyone, it is still a good option for most. I hope that I have been able to help you decide if the VertDesk v3 will be the right fit for your specific needs.