iMovR Energize Standing Desk Review
iMovR’s new Freedom Standing Desk Line takes cheaply-made Asian-imports to task, combining American-made quality with an impressively low price point. The Energize model (reviewed here) features iMovR’s standard ergo-contoured, 3D-laminated tabletop while the Cascade model includes iMovR’s built-in SteadyType™ keyboard tray.
Starting at $629
Standard shipping cost of $99 in the continental United States. Additional charges for AK, HI, Canada. DHL available for international.
All iMovR desks are made to order and shipped within 5-7 business days. Add up to 5 business days for freight delivery to anywhere in the continental US.
Frame: Lifetime Warranty
Tabletop: 5 years
Moving Parts: 10 years
Electronics: 10 years
1.3" per second
Digital LCD readout with 2 memory presets
3/4" or 1-1/8" tabletop thicknesses
24" or 30" tabletop depths
47", 53", 59", 65", or 71" tabletop widths
Corner Desks also available
Available standard woodgrain colors for the desktop include Mahogany, Hayward Cherry, Shaker Cherry, Almond Cherry, Light Maple and Urban Walnut, while Black, Designer (frosty) White, Warm White (beige), Haute Gray (putty) and a stunning Shark Gray are the available solid colors. Base legs are available in silver, black, or white.
Standard Base: 26.8" - 45"
XT Base: 22.4" - 48.5"
+Height extenders: Add 6"
100% American-made quality, 3D-laminated desktop finish, PerfectPaint lifting columns, quick assembly (and a factory pre-assembly option), extra base color options (black, silver, and white), industry-leading warranty, incredibly quiet operation, value priced.
For those over 5’11”, upgrading to the XT base (+$100) will deliver extra height range. Those over 6’2” can add 6” height extenders (+$59) to the XT base, an option only available on iMovR electric standing desks.
An Introduction to the iMovR Energize
The iMovR Energize desk line was launched to take on the flurry of cheaply-made Asian-imports flooding the market. It's part of the Freedom Line, a series of high-performing all-American-made desks that succeeded their UpStage line. While the latter desks utilized the high-quality, yet Asian-sourced UpStage base - and received 5-star reviews on Amazon and elsewhere - the newer Freedom desks employ a premium-quality American-made base at a price that's competitive with imports. The Energize desk is more affordable and more customizable than iMovR's line of premium Lander desks, which feature higher specs and other unique features.
If you’ve been on the market for a standing desk and seen models like the UpLift, Jarvis, and GeekDesk, you may have concerns about the quality of their Chinese-made bases (these all use the Jiecang base). iMovR’s Freedom Line boasts better performance for equal cost, with a 10 year warranty and prompt local support. In fairness, all these desks are better than the ultra-cheap Autonomous Smart Desk, but in the mid-tier ($600-$800 range), the Freedom Line (the Energize desk, reviewed here, and the sister Cascade desk with SteadyType™ technology) is going to deliver the best bang for your buck.
"The Most Configurable Standing Desk in the World"
iMovR’s reputation for customizable desks has earned it the appellation “the Dell of Office Fitness”. Its literally thousands of different desk and table configurations are all produced on an on-demand, mass-customization product line, for the broadest selection of standing desks in the world. With its latest desk series, the Freedom Line, iMovR continues to live up to the name–especially with the Energize model, which offers the most configurability options we’ve seen on any desk we’ve tested–even more than its sister product, the Cascade.
1. The Widest Array of 3D-Laminated Tabletop Options
All iMovR desks are offered with 11 different 3D-laminated finishes (in addition to hundreds of available custom colors for volume purchasers). iMovR’s tabletops can be distinguished from competitors’ standard high-pressure laminated, powder coated, or thinly veneered tops, since its 3D lamination process hermetically seals the MDF (medium density fiberboard) tabletop, protecting it from moisture damage. This 3D lamination process also creates gently-sloping edges and rounded corners for a comfortable top – what iMovR calls “ergo-contouring”. You can read more on their website about the benefits of 3D-lamination.
An interesting option on the iMovR Energize is the corner tabletop shape. Unlike traditional L-desks, the corner desks feature a "chamfered" back edge which allows you to better utilize space. A workplace filled with corner desks affords more tabletop space for everyone, without the traditional bulk and space-hogging associated with L-desks. Check out our diagram below for just some of the options you can implement with corner desks:
The Energize Corner Desks feature two legs (as opposed to the three legs of burly L-shaped desks), are simpler to install, lighter, and easier on the wallet. They even feature a flat back edge to make installing monitor arms a breeze (and at the right focal depth). Those with an eye for interior design can create a variety of patterns (honeycomb, quads, back-to-back) to optimize space in increasingly popular large open workspaces. Of course, standard rectangular tops are available as well, increasing the number of options available to the consumer.
Energize stands out from its sister product, the Cascade, in its variety of tabletop size options. Instead of offering only one tabletop thickness (1 1/8”), and one tabletop depth (30”), the Energize is available in a sleek, modern 3/4” thick Slim Top, and a compact 24” depth for tighter workspaces. The thinner tabletop features the same trusted 3D lamination as the thicker Select Top. Budget-conscious consumers may be interested shaving off a few millimeters of tabletop thickness and saving some dough in the process—the only benefit to the thicker tabletop is a fuller look.
A key benefit to having all these options for tabletop shape, size, and color, is that if you ever move or remodel, switching in a new tabletop is a piece of cake. iMovR tabletops features pre-drilled holes for easy assembly – the thicker 1 ⅛” tops even have insert nuts and machine screws for an extra strong connection between the tabletop and base. They also ensure you can switch on new tops without worrying about the screw holes wearing down.
2. Standard Base vs. XT
Among the configurable options for your Energize desk is the base–either you can opt for the standard version, with two leg segments and a smaller height range (25.7”– 43.8” not including tabletop, and with leveling feet fully closed) or the “XT”, which features three leg segments and a wider height range (21.3” to 47.4” not including tabletop, and with leveling feet fully closed). iMovR recommends the standard base as an economical option for those under 5’11”, and the XT for those over 5’11”. That being said, the XT base can also accommodate 6” height extenders, and for users above 6’2” or so, these devices are highly recommended. Our 6’7” co-worker can operate comfortably on an XT base with the height extenders installed. (And you can always squeeze another 2.5” of height by installing caster wheels.)
When treadmill desking, the 6” height extenders can be of paramount importance for proper ergonomics. You’ll be 5” taller than normal standing on top of an office treadmill like the iMovR ThermoTread GT or Lifespan TR1200, so if you’re 5’9” or above, you’ll likely need the extra height to type comfortably and keep your screens at eye level. Good news is these extenders are only $59 when purchased with a desk, and they also enhance desk stability, increasing the overlap area at the ends of the leg segments of the XT base. iMovR is the only desk maker to offer height extenders on all of its American-made electric standing desks – another distinguishing factor that separates them from cheaper commodity desks online.
Both the standard and XT Freedom bases are UL 962 / CSA 68 certified, and the XT base model is ANSI-BIFMA certified 5.5 and 7.1.
Let's tally up the options we've covered so far: 11 standard finishes, five tabletop widths, two tabletop depths (standard or compact), two bases (the standard Freedom and the slightly taller Freedom XT), two options in tabletop thickness, and corner or rectangular tops. The amount of options is dizzying—and that's before you begin to factor in the even greater amount of options in accessories such as height extenders, monitor arms and keyboard trays.
3. Add a Treadmill
If you add an iMovR ThermoTread GT, you can transform your Energize Standing Desk into a state-of-the-art “sit-stand-walk” machine. Only recommended for the broader height range of the XT base. Anyone over 5’9” should opt for the 6” leg extension kit, too.
iMovR's ThermoTread GT office treadmill is the first treadmill ever designed specifically for walking while you work.
Made-in-America, Precision Manufacturing
The Freedom Base—Exemplary American Innovation
What’s the Freedom Base’s “secret sauce” that makes it able to trounce imported competitors, combining top notch quality with low manufacturing costs? In the words of singer Meghan Trainor, it’s “All About That Base”.
The Freedom Line’s bases are manufactured in the United States using cutting-edge, extreme robotic automation techniques for finer machining tolerances and unmatched production efficiencies. These new automation techniques grant the base its consistent performance, impressive stability, and contribute to its low cost. Impressively, the Freedom bases actually come with the same warranty as iMovR’s top-of-the-line desks, the Elite and the Everest (lifetime on the frame, 10 years on dual, precision Bosch motors and electronics, and 5 years on 3D-laminated tabletop). This industry-leading warranty coverage is a testament to iMovR’s confidence in the high standards of its production process.
The Core of the Freedom's Performance Edge—Reduced Friction
Key to the Freedom bases’ excellence is the way friction was engineered out of the machinery, and key to that is its PerfectPaint™ glide system. The Freedom bases are weight-rated to lift 220 lbs, but after testing, we’ve concluded they can withstand more real-world weight than seemingly higher-rated Chinese competitors. Why? When linear actuators (the desk’s lifting columns) are machined to sloppy tolerances, they must overcome greater side-load stress, and thus friction, in order to raise the desk (learn more about this in our article on Do Weight Lift Ratings on Electric Standing Desks Really Matter?). Sloppier tolerances also lead to faster wear and tear on the delicately thin components that keep the actuator tubes separated, ultimately leading to a desk that becomes shakier and more likely to fail prematurely.
The point is, when testing real-world loading conditions – with monitors and monitor arms, computers, and other desktop accessories distributed as they normally would be across the tabletop, (i.e. with most of the weight toward the back edge of the desk) – a precisely-machined base with a 220 lb weight rating will outperform a sloppily-machined imported base with a much higher weight rating. It’s not uncommon for them to fail our lab tests at 100 lbs or more below their published weight ratings, particularly with wider tabletops. We always use real-world conditions when testing desks because Asian manufacturers famously publish their performance specs under ideal conditions – in this case with all the weight evenly distributed across the centerline between the base legs.
The PerfectPaint glide system in the Freedom bases ensures the legs operate in a smooth and seamless fashion, raising the desk with minimal friction and no scratching. The difference is visually obvious when comparing the Freedom Base side-by-side against most any low-cost Asian competitors’ base. Over time, cheap Asian bases can show dirty grease marks on the inner tubes of their lifting columns. This is one reason you won’t often find them available in white, or if you do, users often report being grossed out by black streaks running down the legs.
Internal to the leg column, most manufacturers use plastic end caps to stop the individual leg segments during the lifting process (so one telescoping tube doesn’t become unattached from the others). But the Freedom bases have eliminated these costly parts by precisely pinching the tube ends to serve the same purpose, giving their legs’ tube ends a distinctive look. This may sound like a really inconsequential detail, but glide systems and end caps are crucial to keeping your desk in good working order for the long haul; they play an important role in reducing wear and tear on your base, and ensure many years of reliable and stable use.
While most competing desk bases come in black or gray, the Freedom adds a sleek white color option to the mix, so you can create a desk with a characteristically modern “Apple-esque” or Scandinavian look to it. Its transit speed of 1.3 inches per second along with its whisper quiet motors outperform competing Chinese bases in the same price range. Anti-collision sensing is built-in, along with acceleration and deceleration damping for ultra-smooth transitions from sitting to standing. It’s nice not to have your coffee slosh out of its mug when changing desk height.
The digital LCD controller displays height in inches or centimeters, and the Up and Down buttons cleverly double as sitting and standing height memory presets so you can quickly raise and lower your desk to your saved positions. While this minimalist approach leaves the Freedom desks with a less glitzy-looking controller, the truth is most people only use two of their height presets, and all you really need is two buttons to accomplish this.
The one downside of the Freedom controller is that to save on some cost the hand controller uses a cheaper reflective LCD (not backlit) for height reading display, rather than a bright LED. Since you’re not likely to ever look at it again after programming your height presets, we don’t imagine this is going to be a big deal for most users. Plenty of popular electric desks have no height read-out display at all, for that matter.
How does the iMovR Energize Compare to their Elite Desk?
There aren’t that many made-in-USA electric standing desks available to begin with – it’s even rarer to have a choice between two American-made lines from the same manufacturer. So let’s take a look at how iMovR’s new Freedom line differs from its Reliant-based desk line, which features their still top-selling Elite, and its SteadyType-equipped variant, the Everest.
At first glance, the two electric lines may appear similar, and in many ways they are. For instance, both feature the same array of 3D-laminated tabletop designs (although corner desks, compact 24”-deep tops, and the modernistic, ¾ inch-thick “Slim Tops” are only available for the Freedom line at this point). And the desks boast the same, industry-leading, lifetime frame warranty and ten years on all mechanical and electrical parts, plus five years on the tops. However, there are some important distinctions to note that may help you make a purchase decision.
The Freedom line has an advantage over the Everest and Elite in a couple respects. The desks are a little easier to assemble, and they come with their own wire management tray for organizing your cords. (While the Reliant base requires buying a separate cable management tray, the one provided with the Freedom is smaller, and won’t hold a power strip or many cables – some users will still opt to add an iMovR Advanced Cable Management Kit to the Freedom regardless.)
But from a performance standpoint, the Everest and Elite desks remain la crème de la crème of iMovR’s standing desks, outdoing the Freedom desks on most specs, such as transit speed (1.5 in/sec vs 1.3 in/sec), lift capacity (265 lbs vs 220 lbs), and the functionality of its back-lit, readable, and elegant hand controller. The Everest and Elite desks also feature four programmable height-preset memories versus the two that are offered on the Freedom-based desks.
That said, the main distinguishers are that the standard Reliant base raises 3” higher than the Freedom XT, and is a better fit for taller workers. iMovR does offer 4” leg extenders for the Reliant, as well as caster wheels to add as much as a total of 6.5” to its already tall desk height⏤this is great for tall treadmill desk users, and the very vertically-endowed standing desk user. The Reliant has longer feet (23 5/8” vs 29” long) that create more longitudinal stability in the desk. And its crossbars telescope for even wider desks, so it is one of the few bases on the market that can stretch wide enough to fit a 7’ top with complete stability.
All in all, the Reliant base has about 30 lbs more metal in it, giving it the greatest adjustment range and stability of any electric desk we’ve ever tested in our labs. That said, if you’re building a narrow desk (47” or 59”, say) and aren’t super-tall, you might never notice a difference in stability between the two desk lines.
How does the iMovR Energize compare to the newer Lander Desk?
In Spring of 2018, iMovR updated their catalog to focus on two primary desks lines: the Lander and the Freedom. The Freedom line includes the Cascade and Energize desks. With this change, iMovR can say that they are one of the few manufacturers that offers truly, and exclusively, made-in-America standing desks. The desks are built to order in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Elite and Everest desks are also still available, but with the addition of the Lander, they are no longer occupy the same niche as the undisputed top-of-the-line iMovR standing desks.
As soon as your desk arrives at your door, the differences between the Energize and the Lander become most apparent. This is because the Lander ships almost completely pre-assembled while the Energize does not. The assembly process for the Energize desk is still better than its imported competitors, who tend to feature confusing, minimalist instructions. It's also nice that you don't have to use power tools to assemble the Energize, as the holes are all pre-drilled (though it does make the process faster to use a power drill). However, the assembly of the Lander is even easier, as it only requires you to snap in the legs to the tabletop, which features pre-mounted sockets. It's a "snap" to assemble the Lander, while the Energize is closer to your standard furniture assembly experience which could take around 30 minutes, albeit with more complete instructions than most.
Once they're assembled, the Lander desk features, in general, higher specs across the board than the Freedom, at the expense of less customization options and a higher pricetag. Both desks are high-quality made-in-America products, but the Lander is designed to go the extra mile with a higher lift capacity and faster travel speed. These are nice upgrades to have, but they aren't really key differentiating factors that cause buyers to shell out extra cash. The Lander also features a greater height range out of the box than the Freedom, with a taller maximum height of 50.5". Height extenders and caster wheels allow you to go even higher, meaning that the tallest users (over 6'7"), especially those who use treadmill desks, should appreciate the Lander. But for the rest of us, the real reason that the Lander is an upgrade over the Freedom series is its controller with Bluetooth app compatibility.
The Lander desk features a paddle style controller, which is more intuitive to operate than the controllers on traditional desks. Simply lift it up to lift the desk or push it down to lower it. Aside from being easier to operate, the desk will also pair with a free smartphone app for iOS or Android that allows users to control the desk with their phones. On the surface, this doesn't seem like a game changer—why would you ever want to change the height of your desk remotely? You'd be right to wonder about that, as the benefit of the smartphone app is a little bit more roundabout, and requires some understanding of ANSI/BIFMA regulations to appreciate.
All ANSI/BIFMA certified height adjustable desks cannot operate without a user holding down the button on the controller to change the desk's height. This is a safety precaution intended to reduce the change that your desk, a heavy piece of machinery, accidentally crushes something. If you're required to keep your hand on the button to move the desk, you can simply take your hand off to stop it. This was decided with the best intentions, but with advancements in standing desk design eschewing the "knee-crushing" crossbars, the chance of your work surface actually colliding with something (or someone) with enough force to cause damage is slim, especially since both the Energize and the Lander feature anti-collision technology built-in. Most users would rather have the functionality to raise or lower their desks with one touch, as opposed to having to hold down the button for several seconds.
Now back to the app. The Lander's Bluetooth-compatible app makes it possible to control the height of your desk with a single button press, without sacrificing the ANSI/BIFMA certification that most corporate purchasers require. This is because the app features a liability waiver—if you click "accept" on the waiver, you gain the ability to control the height of your desk with a single tap, a convenient feature that just about everyone who uses a standing desk will appreciate. The app also allows you to set reminders on when to stand, which can be useful for first time standing desk users.
To summarize, the Lander features an easier-to-use controller, an app that allows one-touch height adjustment, and higher specs, with a higher price tag and less customization options available. The Freedom is a great deal for those looking to buy made-in-America, while the Lander is more of a premium product.
In a market facing cost pressures from abroad in the form of cheap, poorly-made imports, the iMovR Energize Standing Desk stands out as a high-quality American-made alternative with an impressively low price point for a domestic product and an industry-leading warranty for its price tier. But most notably, no other standing desk on the market offers the same custom options as the Energize. The wide assortment of tabletop shape, sizes, colors, and base types available earn the iMovR Energize its revered status as “the most configurable standing desk in the world”—and it's made right here in America to boot. It's priced as a mid-range desk, but it has the features and warranty of a premium option. The iMovR Energize is a smart choice for the budget-conscious.
See more of iMovR’s products in our comprehensive standing desk comparison review.
For user reviews of iMovR standing desks, see the testimonials page on iMovR.com.
*Full disclosure: iMovR and WorkWhileWalking have mutual ownership interest. However, we can assure our readers that we expose the good and the bad of every product, regardless of any financial connection we may have to the manufacturer.
|The Energize Tabletop|
|Grommets||All sizes have dual, fully-laminated, 80-mm grommet holes|
|Table Thickness||0.750" SlimTop or 1.125" SelectTop|
|Available Sizes||47" x 30"
53" x 30"
59" x 30"
65" x 30"
71" x 30"Energize is also available with Compact 24" depths and in a wide variety of corner models
|Available Standard Colors
See color samples
Designer White (frosty)
Warm White (beige)
|Special Features||Pre-drilled holes for attaching base to SlimTop
Insert nuts for attaching base to SelectTop
Pre-drilled holes for keyboard tray(s) and hand controller on both
|Country of Origin||Michigan, USA|
|The Freedom Base|
|Freedom Standard||Freedom XT|
|Rated Lifting Capacity||220 lbs.||220 lbs.|
|Stroke||460 mm||660 mm|
|Height Range||25.7" - 43.8" not including top or casters,
leveling feet fully closed
|21.3" to 47.4" not including top or casters,
leveling feet fully closed
|Product Weight||60 lbs.||66 lbs.|
|Average Travel Speed||1.3 inches per second||1.3 inches per second|
|Controller Type||Digital LCD Readout with two memory presets||Digital LCD Readout with two memory presets|
|Special Features||Acceleration and Deceleration Dampening||Acceleration and Deceleration Dampening|
|Country of Origin||Michigan, USA (some parts made in Europe)||Michigan, USA (some parts made in Europe)|
Check out our comprehensive Comparison Review of Electric Standing Desks.