Able Desk Co Electric Standing Desk Review
Fully is trying to go for the cost-sensitive millennial market with this offshoot of their popular Jarvis desk that is "highly curated," meaning it is offered in very few size and color options for quick ship. Because it is only offered in a single-stage base it is only usable by average height individuals.
Average height users (not for shorter or taller than average people)
7 years on base. Zero on the desktop.
Dual electric motor
1.3 inches per second
4-button memory handset with auto-off LED display
46" x 27" x 0.8"
58" x 27" x 0.8"
70" x 27" x 0.8"
Only three top colors: black, white or maple
Only two base colors: black or white
While claimed to be 350 lbs, in actually Able Desk published a "recommended everyday use" rating of just 220 lbs.
One of the least expensive standing desks you can buy. 7 year warranty on the base. Easy to shop - not a lot of configuration options to pick from.
Very limited performance and options, to not compete too directly with Fully's Jarvis Desk. Limited height adjustment range, for average height users only. Warranty does not cover desktop.
Online active office furniture seller Fully.com has quietly launched Able Desk Co as a separate brand, apparently targeting younger, most cost-sensitive, primarily millennial consumers.
As competitively priced as Fully’s desk products already are, apparently they felt the need to offer an even cheaper product in the marketplace for consumers that find $500 too much to pay for a standing desk. Advertised as a $399 desk (in the 27″x46″ size) the Able Desk is now in the same price league as other standing desks under $400, including the iMovR+Eureka i1 desk, Autonomous desks, and the IKEA Bekant.
The Jarvis Standing Desk, the mainstay workhorse of the Fully product line, has been simplified and cost-reduced to create a new budget desk model. While it looks somewhat familiar, being spawned from the Jarvis line, upon close inspection has very limited performance range. Compared to the wide array of color, size and desktop type options on the Jarvis Desk, the Able Desk comes in just three desktop sizes, in just three desktop colors, and just two frame colors. That’s it.
The rest of the product line presented on Able Desk Co’s website is highly curated, meaning only one monitor arm, one file cabinet, one standing mat, one chair, etc., to choose from to pimp your ride. And all made in China. All as cheap as you can find. This is clearly taking a direct shot at sellers like StandDesk and Autonomous that have similarly curated sites targeting the millennial audience.
So let’s take a look at the differences between the sexy Jarvis desk and its new sister product, the intentionally unsexy ADC-SD1-101 desk (even the product name is decidedly boring). The configurations available were consciously engineered to make it hard to compare the two desk brands against each other, obviously to reduce “channel conflict” between them.
- Able Desk’s base frame is a 2-segment, single-stage affair with a narrow height adjustment range of just 28.3” to 47.8”. No 3-segment, dual-stage base is offered, which is usually twice as popular as the cheaper single-stage base, meaning it will not work at all for shorter or taller individuals. It is targeted strictly at average height users, and will thus never be ANSI/BIFMA-compliant for that reason.
- The base is only offered in two colors, black and white, as compared to four colors for the Jarvis.
- The desktops themselves are the same 0.8″ thickness, but only 27″ deep instead of the usual 30″ like you’ll find on the Jarvis and most any other mainstream standing desks. Widths of 46″, 58″ and 70″ are each a couple of inches shy of the standard 48″, 60″ and 72″ widths (plus others) that Fully offers on the Jarvis. Again, just to make it harder to compare desks. So you have to compare 46×27 on the Able with 48×30 on the Jarvis, for example.
- Only three desktop colors are offered, in a very basic high-pressure laminate finish. As opposed to the many sizes, shapes, colors and materials that the Jarvis desk is offered in, the Able Desk comes only in basic black, white and maple.
- The feet are lighter, thinner, “T-leg” affairs as opposed to the heavier, more stylized “C-leg” configuration you’ll find on a Jarvis desk. The lighter feet would mean less stability if not for the fact that both the depth and height of the Able Desk’s design is so limited. A cantilevered “C-leg” configuration is more necessary with larger desks that lift more weight, as it reduces side-loading stresses on the lifting columns. This is important on larger desks given that most users have heavier items, like monitor arms and printers, along the back edge of their desks.
- We’ve never seen two lift capacity ratings on one desk before. While both desks claim a 350 lbs weight limit (as we found in our lab testing that’s actually a stretch for the Jarvis’ Jiecang base), the Able Desk has a published “recommended everyday” limit of just 220 lbs, which is kind of deceptive given the animated GIF right on their home page of a desk lifting 350 lbs. They don’t state whether this weight limit factors in the weight of the desktop itself. Most likely the Able Desk uses the same motors as the Jarvis but a lower voltage power supply. Able Desk gets one Pinocchio Award for this one (there’s another one coming, read on).
- Dual grommet holes are standard on the Able, optional on the Jarvis.
- The digital handset controller looks different but is functionally the same on both desks; only on the Jarvis you could select a simple up/down two-button option to save $35.
- The warranty is the same 7 years on the base. Able does not warranty the tops, which is a problem because cheap HPL (high-pressure laminated) tops are known for their peeling edge banding after long-term exposure to varying humidity and cleaning chemicals.
- Assembly is a classic “IKEA project” on both desks. To get a sense for the task check out the assembly instructions of the Able Desk ASC-SD1-101. Able Desk claims a 30-45 minute assembly time “with a friend,” but we’d estimate more like an hour based on our past experience with Jiecang base assemblies. Get your toolbox ready.
- The ADC-SD1-101’s pricing is roughly $100 to $200 lower than the nearest-equivalent Jarvis, with bigger savings on the larger desk sizes.
The other key aspect of the Able Desk Co brand is that shipping is relatively fast. With so few SKUs (part numbers) Able can inventory just two base colors and 9 top variations, making fulfillment a breeze. If you place the order on Able Desk Co’s website they will ship product out from either Fully’s Portland, Oregon warehouse or a second one they now have set up in Maryland. Not quite Amazon Prime but at least east coast customers can receive them faster via FedEx Ground now. That said, if you’re going to order it you’ll likely get it significantly faster through Amazon, for the same price, with easier returns and free shipping.
In terms of the back story that’s being promoted very prominently on the website, it’s all intended to make the company look like an egalitarian, hip “by millennials, for millennials” startup venture, which at least competitors like StandDesk and Autonomous really are. Fully being part of a $1.3 billion company (this is public information now since the company was acquired by contract office furniture behemoth Knoll in August 2019), this is basically all faked-up marketing. Millennials are known to favor doing business with authentic companies with authentic back stories over big corporate establishments, so this kind of outright deception wins Able Desk a second Pinocchio Award.
For what it’s worth, which isn’t much, it does appear that Fully has taken its foot off the accelerator on marketing Able Desk Co ever since it was acquired by Knoll. Perhaps it was felt to be contributing too much to price erosion in the $2.5B standing desk industry—something Fully has long contributed to but Knoll would probably be very unhappy about. Or perhaps consumers just didn’t bite the lure enough. We are only able to measure this with tools that monitor a website’s traffic and advertising spend, so this isn’t based on any hard knowledge but just trends that we have observed before and after the acquisition.
It’s also possible that Fully didn’t think they could pull off the back story anymore now that pretty much everyone has figured out that Able Desk is part of it, and Fully itself is now part of one of the largest, publicly traded companies in the office furniture industry.
Looking for something a little more configurable and robust, check out all our in-depth reviews of Best Standing Desks.