ApexDesk Elite Standing Desk Review

May 15, 2022

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ApexDesk Elite Standing desk in office setting

Overview

Review Summary

Our ApexDesk Elite Standing Desk review revealed that it is constructed much like the majority of its commodity-grade peers that are manufactured in China. While it does come with some decent perks like an included cable management tray and having decent height range for taller users, it suffers from a lower quality of materials and construction that is typical of desks sold at this price. If this is the desk you are going for, you will also likely get better customer service and return privileges if you order through Amazon. Inadequate packaging does lead to a fair amount of shipping damage, but they’re quick to send replacement desktops. The thinly-laminated, particle board desktops are probably the weakest aspect of the product. To keep the price down, like most desks in this tier, expect to do a lot more assembly yourself as compared to finer alternatives.

Best Use

Definitely better for medium to tall-statured users, but with a bottom height that’s too high for short users when seated.

MSRP / List Price $600
Street Price

The Elite desk costs $600 for the smaller version (60”) with the MDF desktop. The bamboo top version costs $650.
The larger desk (71”) costs $700 if you get the white frame, but for some reason goes up to $730 if you want the black frame, a difference not shared in the 60”.
Scan for available discount deals

Shipping

FREE shipping via FedEx to the continental United States

Warranty

5 years on non-electric parts
2 years on electric parts
No warranty on the desktop

Lift Type

Single-stage, dual-motor electric

Transit Speed

ApexDesk publishes a transit speed of 1.5 inches per second but this is with no load on the desk. We place it at 1.3 ips at the full rated load of 235 lbs.

Controller

4 programmable height presets
Anti-collision detection (turned off by default for some reason)
Automatic shut-off for power saving (can be annoying to the user, the way it was implemented)
Mounted in a very off position that makes it vulnerable to being snapped off by accident

Sizes Available

The larger Elite desk model measures 71” wide and 33” deep (27.6” at the mid-section)
The smaller version measures 60” wide and 27” deep (23” at mid-section)

Colors Available

Frame – Black or White
Desktop – 71″ comes in Black, Walnut, Red Apple, Red Cherry, Teakwood, Rustic Grey, and White; 60″ comes in Black, Walnut, Red Apple, Bamboo, Light Oak, and White

Adjustment Range

Height adjust between 29 and 49 inches

Weight Capacity

235 lbs

Connectivity Features

At one time ApexDesk had a Bluetooth feature and smartphone app, but this was inexplicable pulled from the market. Currently none of their models have Bluetooth.

Shipping Weight

Elite 71” Dims:
Box 1 – Tabletop – 76 x 37 x 3” at 68 lbs.
Box 2 – Desk Frame – 68 x 13 x 3” at 41 lbs.
Box 3 – Desk Legs – 33 x 15 x 8” at 35 lbs.

Elite 60” Dims:
Box 1 – Tabletop – 64 x 34 x 3” at 60 lbs.
Box 2 – Desk Frame – 57 x 13 x 3” at 36 lbs.
Box 3 – Desk Legs – 33 x 15 x 8” at 35 lbs.

Typical Assembly Time

45-60 minutes minimum if you have power tools. Likely more to understand the instruction manual. No assembly video means you’ll have to do some guessing work.

ANSI/BIFMA Certified

No

NEAT™ Certified by Mayo Clinic

No

Competition

Compare to All Top-Rated Standing Desks
Compare to Other Compact Standing Desks

User Reviews

Reviews on ApexDesk
Reviews on Amazon

Where to buy Buy on ApexDesk
Buy on Amazon

Rating

Ease of Assembly
1.0
Stability
2.0
Reliability
2.0
Customer Experience
2.0
Quality and Aesthetics
2.0
Ergonomics
1.5
Innovation
1.0
Value
2.0
Suitability for Treadmill Desking
1.5
Positives The Elite standing desk from ApexDesk has a few points that can be considered solidly positive. This cheap standing desk includes a cable management system for the cords of your devices. It's stroke and height is good for accommodating taller users. And the insert nuts installed in the desktop make screwing and unscrewing the base simpler, as long as they hold to the desktop itself.
Negatives In general the Elite is constructed with lower quality materials and to a lower quality standard than many other standing desks, including some from manufacturers in Asia. This is reflected in a warranty that doesn't cover all that much for all that long. The particle board desktop lacks any durability whatsoever, scratches very easily. The assembly is far from simple, with unclear instructions even for the mechanically inclined. There are also very few options when it comes to colors, shapes, sizes, etc. While it does accommodate most tall users, shorter customers will find it almost impossible to use the desk comfortably while sitting. This is a "remote control" company in China that has no US-based customer service staff, so all support is via a contact form on the website or through Amazon email relay.

Bottom Line

1.5
Like most ApexDesk stand-up desks, the Elite line sits in between the truly substandard commodity-grade desks sold for under $400 and the next tier up, those desks that sell for under $800. It has a generally poorer quality when compared to the upper tier, and better when compared to the lower tier (as you’d expect at the price point), but the rate of shipping damage, assembly problems and other annoying issues is higher than it should be for a brand that’s been around this long. The bottom line is “you get what you pay for, and you pay for what you get”. There is plenty of room for improvement but you could do a lot worse in selecting a cheap standing desk off Amazon.

The ApexDesk Line-up

ApexDesk is one of the earliest and still most popular brands of standing desks sold on Amazon. While they do ostensibly also sell their products directly off their website, the inventory seems much more limited, delivery isn’t as fast and the consumer protection isn’t nearly as good as when buying through Amazon. So this is one of those brands that’s a lot easier, faster and safer to shop for on Amazon than to go bargain hunting elsewhere.

There are five desk lines offered by ApexDesk:

  • In this review we’re going to dive deep into the Elite Series, which is fundamentally a single-stage, dual-motor base with a limited height adjustment range and a minimal-quality desktop that’s available only in 60” and 71” widths. The Elite Series is far and away ApexDesk’s top seller. The other desks listed below will soon have their own reviews.
  • ApexDesk also offers the Flex Series in the same widths, but with the base upgraded to a dual-stage and thus accommodating shorter and taller users much better. 
  • The Vortex is more minimalist, with a single-motor, single-stage base and an HPL-laminated desktop available in 48”, 55”, and 60” widths.
  • Newest in the line-up is the 47” Lumi desk with a tempered glass top. 
  • They also make some Pneumatic Standing Desks that are a bit old school and not nearly as popular as the electrics, but fit that niche where someone wants an untethered mobile desk for use with an untethered laptop or for non-computing purposes.

The company has had a long enough track record for us to figure out where their products generally sit on the value spectrum for consumers, i.e. how good they are within their respective  price ranges. It’s a bit of a mixed picture. 

On the one hand, ApexDesk is a Chinese factory that produces commodity-grade sit-stand desks for high-volume sales through Amazon. They do this all pretty much by remote control, other than the fact that they use a contract fulfillment warehouse in Los Angeles to position their inventory in the US. There is literally no phone number to call in the USA; all contact is either through Amazon’s customer service email relay or a contact form on ApexDesk’s website. There are literally dozens of companies selling stand-up desks on Amazon that fit this description. Most of them price their products well lower ApexDesk’s, however, so we’re going to look at whether these higher prices are worth it.

On the other hand, the next tier up is filled with what appear to be US companies, like Fully, Uplift Desk, Autonomous, Flexispot and Vari, although their products are still commodity-grade and made-in-China, with all that implies. It’s not until you move up to more premium American-made brands that you get top-quality, commercial-grade standing desks with solid US-based engineering and customer support, and relatively infinite customization options.

ApexDesk sits decidedly in the middle between the two tiers of commodity-grade, Chinese-made standing desks. They’re definitely more expensive than some, while slightly less expensive than the US-native brands that still make their sit-stand desk products in China. As goes with the territory when importing such goods, there are fairly limited sizes and finishes to choose from when it comes to the desktops and even the bases that are offered. It’s all about fast-turning inventory. 

In terms of selection limitations, we had to chuckle when we read that ApexDesk’s Elite “Series” is really just two desktop sizes in a handful of colors. This falls in sharp contrast to something like an American-made iMovR Lander Desk, for example, that literally comes in tens of thousands of shape, size, height range and finish variations.

How the ApexDesk Elite Series Stacks Up to the Competition

In this review we look at the Elite desk series, which is their most popular line. At a starting price of $599 for the 60” size and $749 for the 71”, they’re not in that cluster of super-cheap, garbage standing desks we’ve reviewed in the under-$400 range that occupy more than 90% of the search results for “standing desk” on Amazon. The Elite falls into the next tier up at stand-up desks under $900, along with major Chinese-made standing desk brands like Flexispot, Uplift, Fully, Vari and Autonomous. (Decidedly, their products wouldn’t be considered “premium,” either, but these other companies will at least answer a phone call during US business hours.)

Like a lot of Chinese standing desk manufacturers, ApexDesk is prone to making hyperbolic marketing claims—especially when it comes to quality and performance of their products—while at the same time being famous for making things as cheap as possible to produce. So in this review we’re going to dive into just how true their claims are, and focus on where they’re clearly better than, equal to, or worse than other made-in-China brands. (Read our primer to learn all about the major differences between Chinese-made and American/European-made standing desks.)

ApexDesk benefited for several years from a “top rating” from CNN Underscored in the standing desk category, which the company continues to promote in its marketing materials even though they’ve been replaced on CNN by other brands since. The fact is many of these product review sites that have been acquired by major media companies like CNN over the years are not expert reviewers, they’re SEO-generating review factories. Most of their “reviews” are fluff promos monetized with Amazon links and sometimes advertising fees, and they usually don’t even test the physical product (they certainly haven’t lab tested dozens and dozens of standing desks with real engineers like we have for the past decade). But even a single-paragraph review bestowed by a trusted brand like CNN has probably helped a lot of consumers decide to buy the ApexDesk brand. (Forgive us for grinding our axe a bit about those other review sites.)

Desktop Quality

The internal core of the working surface of the Elite standing desk is MDF, a commonly used material for many desk manufacturers (check out our primer on different desktop material commonly used in making standing desks). However, MDF is susceptible to a variety of damage if it isn’t properly laminated or is itself of poor quality.

Even though “MDF” stands for “Medium Density Fiberboard” there are actually several different tiers of quality within the category, and in fact many different densities. The chemicals used in the process of producing MDF can also vary widely in environmental compliance depending on the country and mill manufacturing it. 

ApexDesk puts a premium on reducing shipping weight and cost of materials, and uses a low density MDF that is lighter but less durable than the good kind. As is typical of these Chinese sellers on Amazon, ApexDesk also doesn’t publish any environmental specifications on the kind of MDF they use, but it’s safe to assume it’s not the same quality as you’ll find in American-made furniture. 

Our furniture experts’ assessment correlates with the abundant empirical evidence we see in Amazon verified buyer reviews warning people that it can scratch pretty easily and often arrives damaged. Indeed the thermoform laminate is of extremely poor quality and scratches up all too easily. 

As one user reported: “The reason for the two stars is because of how cheap the desk surface is. I’ve had this for less than two months and just about everything I put on the desk (mouse pad, keyboard, laptop, notebook, iPhone) puts a scratch on the surface. I don’t mean just a line you can wipe off, but actual scratches that you can feel with your finger. Very disappointed, especially at this price point.” (Note, ApexDesk does not warranty their desktops for anything other than damage in shipping; scratches and tears are not covered.)

While technically a “3D laminate,” meaning that the MDF is first shaped with contoured edges and then the laminate is wrapped around it (nicer looking that the usual 6-sided, hard-edged rectangles found on even cheaper desks), there is again a huge variation in the technology of 3D lamination. 

The substandard 3D lamination on the ApexDesk products is very typical of the kind coming out of China. The adhesives used in this thermoform type of manufacturing tends to lose hold easily with variations in temperature and humidity, and often starts peeling off the MDF at the edges after a while. (We received a Luxor standing desk for lab testing on time that was already delaminated by the time it was delivered to us!)  Learn more about how newer, American 3D lamination technology makes a superior desktop). 

The laminate itself is so thin and flimsy that users reported easily tearing it by yanking too hard on a stick-in cable routing clamp, for example. Even on the underside of the desk. This can make cable management a bit of a nightmare. 

One horrifying user review we read said “Laminate table is poor quality and warped in 24 hours of 85 degree heat. Before assembling, the tabletop sat in our dining room solarium in direct light in 85 degree conditions. The entire tabletop warped, laminate began separating, and now it cannot be used moving forward.” This is exactly what we’d expect from this super low-quality thermoform laminate. So, caveat emptor. 

Apparently ApexDesk made a change along the way to the way they make desktops, and not necessarily for the better. User reviews from six years ago are much better than reviews today. As one consumer who purchased an original ApedDesk Elite and then bought a second one more recently reported: “​​The desktop style has changed, the new version feels incredibly cheap. It feels like a cheap cafeteria tray, everything slides around on it.

A related user comment was “The surface has minor bumps and isn’t completely smooth. Approached support and asked about this – suggested me to put something on top of it, something for potential buyers on what type of support you can expect.” Again, a common attribute of cheap thermoform 3D laminate made in China is this surface bumpiness that’ll make your signature on a piece of paper look like you were hopped up on amphetamines. 

Another thing we rely on verified Amazon user reviews for is to learn about how frequently the product arrives damaged, with missing parts, or even as an obvious refurbished unit instead of factory-new. Again, not atypical of these remote control Chinese manufacturers, it’s a numbers game to them. They use cheap cardboard packaging and just accept losses from shipping damage as part of the cost of doing business. 

Good packaging that will consistently survive the rigors of FedEx and UPS handling costs too much, so regardless of the impact to the customer experience these Chinese manufacturers tend to find it’s cheaper to just replace the damaged units (when customers even bother to demand it) than to invest in higher quality packaging.

ApexDesk has apparently had so many customer complaints about desktops arriving damaged in years past that they make a big point of the fact that they’ll ship a replacement desktop within 24 hours out of their LA warehouse. (This desk arrives in three parcels, with the desktop in its own box). 

In case you do want to return the product, the original packaging will be pretty useless. It is designed to travel once through the parcel network, and not particularly safely at that. 

Again, this is a solid reason to buy from Amazon and not the ApexDesk website, because of their far more forgiving return policies. That said, ApexDesk does stipulate even on Amazon that returns “must be in new condition.” Well, that’s practically impossible with this packaging quality, so you might want to pop another $109 for Amazon’s indoor furniture protection policy. And at that point you might as well spend a little more to get a better desk, for our money. 

Most other vendors we’ve seen in this $400-$800 price range for sit-stand desks do tend to use more robust packaging to reduce the incidence of having to put their customers through the hassle of getting a replacement top shipped and disposing of the damaged one.

Another material option, only available on the smaller model of the Elite, is bamboo. ApexDesk does the typical “green-washing” of most companies that sell bamboo products, claiming “environmentally-friendly 100% solid natural bamboo”. The reality is that most growing, harvesting, and processing of bamboo into a wood-like product is quite harmful to the environment. Read about these misleading eco-friendly claims about bamboo, and red flags to watch for. Bamboo is popular in Chinese made desktops these days because it’s cheap to produce, and is visually appealing to many consumers—but it is decidedly not an environmentally-friendly choice, contrary to the marketing spin.

Overhead view of Elite desktop ergonomic shape with concave inner curved front edge
The concave front edge of the “ergonomic” Elite desktop may help put more of your tools in easier reach as you work. But if you want to install a keyboard tray, that will be difficult.

Looking more specifically at what ApexDesk labels as its “ergo-shaped tabletop,” while the shape of the desktop may be very visually appealing to some consumers, there are definitely some practical drawbacks to consider as well. On the positive side, the concave curve along the user edge of the desk allows users to sit closer to their keyboard and mouse, so they keep their movement zone within an “ergonomic arc” that reduces upper arm movement. 

A disadvantage of a concave user edge is that mounting a keyboard tray may be difficult or impossible depending on the type. Keyboard trays are designed to mount below and in front of the straight-edged frontage of a desk. Some popular trays specifically designed for standing desks, like the SteadyType Exo, cannot mount to a concave desktop at all. 

The beveled underside of the top gives it an interesting side profile. However, as numerous Amazon reviews have also pointed out, this beveled edge makes it hard to attach some C-clamped devices like monitor arms and power modules to the desktop. While there is about a foot-wide section in the center of the back edge of the desk that is inset slightly, and squared off for C-clamps to attach to, this may not always work. 

For example, most single-arm monitor arms do not actually mount in the center of the desk, but are rather offset to the left or right in order to keep the monitor centered on the desk. So unless you plan to use a monitor arm that truly mounts in the center of the desk you may find that you can’t mount it at all. This is a major drawback for something marketed as an “ergonomic desk,” and combined with the challenge of attaching a keyboard tray and the limited height adjustment range of their desk indicates just how unconcerned ApexDesk is in designing ergonomic accommodation into their products.

The ApexDesk Elite standing desk set up with a dual monitor configuration that makes it look like an animal with bug eyes
Just try to look at this and picture and not imagine a toad monster with bugging eyes. This wasn’t the best photo choice by their marketing team.

By the way, no one has their dual monitors set apart from each other as they are in this photo of a dual-arm standing desk setup—which just illustrates how little the marketing team understands about ergonomics. Also, where’s the handset in this photo? The handsets are actually missing from most of the photos on ApexDesk’s own website. (Of the dozens and dozens of standing desk manufacturers’ websites we look at weekly we’ve never seen this photographic strategy before. It is actually a violation of Amazon’s advertising guidelines, too.)

Speaking of the handset… we don’t expect to see high-quality controllers on commodity-grade standing desks, and the one shipped with the Elite is no exception. It’s got a cheap plasticky feel that is likely to break easily. But there again seems to have been too little attention to detail in designing the contour of the user edge of the desk, providing a precarious mount for the handset. Not only is it incongruous with the edge of the desk, the way it halfway protrudes in front of the desk edge is just a setup for accidentally snapping it off its mount. 

The larger Elite desk model measures 71” wide and 33” deep (27.6” at the mid-section). The smaller version measures 60” wide and 27” deep (23” at mid-section), technically qualifying it to also be listed in our “compact standing desk” review category.

One consideration for users who might be planning to use their standing desk in a cubicle office is that many have side walls that are specifically 30” deep, and this non-standard 33”-deep desktop will protrude further out than the partitions. Not a biggie, but worth pointing out. 95% of standing desk tops are 30”-deep for this reason. (We often see Chinese desks made in odd sizes compared to American desks because here we have a standard wood plank size of 4’x’8, but in China the mill standards are different and so they get the best yield efficiency out of what are some pretty odd sizes for the American market.)

The Elite desktop also has an interesting feature that you don’t often see. Most desks that don’t come with the crossbar already installed might have pilot holes pre-drilled for the screws that will secure the top to the frame. But the Elite includes pre-installed “metal anchors,” as they call them (better known in the US as “insert nuts”), to make that process easier. 

Included insert nuts that have come out of their holes, sitting on the overturned desktop.
Included insert nuts don’t always hold well in the MDF desktop. You might need to use some other kind of adhesive to secure it.

This also makes it easier to disassemble the desk when you have to move offices someday, without excessive damage to the top. This feature is a definite plus on these desktops because given the low quality of the MDF core, like IKEA furniture, once disassembled the wood becomes so degraded that you would need to drill new mounting holes to reassemble the desk. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the quality of the wood is so cheap that it doesn’t always work as intended. One user reported: “It appears that the nuts are glued into the holes and screwing the legs into them will make them lose traction and spin with the bolt (3 of them did this). I was pretty upset at this point and filled the holes full of liquid nails, put the nuts back in there, and waited a good two days. Such a high quality piece with the little things not given much thought. I hope this helps the ones that run into the same issue.” So, good idea, but bad execution. 

Lifting Base

The transit speed on the ApexDesk is published as being 1.5 inches per second (ips), which is right where most modern standing desks come in. The problem is that when fully loaded to its specified maximum load capacity of 235 lbs the transit speed grinds down to 1.3 ips. This is a crystal clear indication of an underpowered motor drive system (meaning the problem could be in the motors themselves, the controller circuitry or the power supply). See our primer on why lift capacity ratings on standing desks really matter to learn more about why this may not necessarily be a red flag if you don’t plan to operate your desk with lots of heavy gear on it, but should still be a yellow flag for all consumers in terms of what to expect in reduced useful life. At any rate, we’d rate the transit speed of this desk at 1.3 ips since the industry standard is to measure this speed at specified maximum load, not minimum.

The height adjustment range (“stroke”) of the legs allows the desktop to be set between 29 and 49 inches, which meets the ANSI/BIFMA E1-2013 Ergonomic Guidelines standard on the high end. However, the lower end will be very problematic for short users, and we see this complaint in many of the user reviews as well. 

While the BIFMA-recommended bottom end is a bit extreme for the real world at 22”, our standing desk experts generally like to see a bottom end of at least 25”-27” to accommodate 95% of the population without having to hack a solution with a drop-down keyboard tray. Given that the Elite uses a single-stage base with only a 20” stroke, they chose to rob the shorter users of range in favor of taller users. The bottom line is that this desk is not suitable for shorter users who wouldn’t find 29” to be a comfortable or ergonomic height for sitting. 

The best solution for accommodating both short and tall users is to get a desk with a dual-stage base (i.e. three telescoping tube segments instead of just two) like ApexDesk’s Flex models, with a 25” or better stroke . Read more about ANSI/BIFMA standards and guidelines to learn more about what heights you should look for in your standup desk.

The Controller

With 4 programmable height presets available on the controller handset, you can easily include desired heights for two people, for both their sitting and standing positions. Unlike some of the newer premium standing desks the controller doesn’t include Bluetooth and there’s no smartphone app available for any of the ApexDesk models. (The advantage of the smartphone apps really comes in when multiple users are sharing the same desk, and always carry their personal settings and usage statistics in their phones, not in the desk controller, thus allowing for an infinite number of users to easily share the same workstation.) 

 

Close up view of the control panel for the ApexDesk Elite with seven separate buttons.
The controller for the ApexDesk Elite Standing Desk offers standard buttons and 4 memory set buttons with an LED display. Though some customers have reported malfunctions with its use.

Collision and tilt detection have become pretty standard features on electric sit-stand desks in recent years. The Elite’s controller does have an anti-collision feature, but the factory default is that it is off. So, users need to take care when first setting up their desk and figure out how to turn the feature on for safety purposes. 

The only conceivable reason for leaving the default off is that we’ve seen quite a few Chinese-made desks come through the test lab that annoyingly detect the slightest bit of breathing on the desk as a collision. This is usually an indicator of a weakness in the design of the glides that create a gap between the leg segments. Poor construction of the linear actuators can create fluctuations in friction as the desk moves up and down, triggering a false alarm. Supporting this suspicion is that the E11 error code in the troubleshooting guide says “Anti-collision protection activated prematurely. Reduce sensitivity or turn off anti-collision function.”

One annoying attribute of the controller is that it has an automatic shut-off for power conservation that is really poorly designed. The upshot is if your desk has been idle for more than a few minutes the controller shuts down. You have to wake it up by pressing any button on the handset, and only then will it respond to your commands. So rather than just holding the up, down or a height preset button to change heights, you have to wait a couple of seconds after the first tap and then issue your command. We’ve only seen this kind of energy-saving feature on a handful of standing desk models that were sold years ago. More modern controllers have figured out how to idle the power consumption without annoying the user.

Again, we find support for our own staff reviewers’ opinion on this among the verified user reviews: “My big gripe is that the controller to raise/lower the desk is not quick/easy to use. It *requires* a delay after waking the screen before sending the command. With my wife’s desk, you can double-press to go to a position, but not with ApexDesk. With this desk you have to tap any button to wake the screen, WAIT, then double-press to get to a pre-set height (without the wait, presses are ignored). That extra wait after waking the screen is honestly frustrating enough that I would’ve gone with a different brand if I had known. It breaks the smooth operation you’re aiming for when trying to change the desk height. You could press-and-hold instead, but that’s not as convenient as a double-tap.”

Assembly

Ironically, the base that ApexDesk uses on the Elite desk is a “quick-install” type, but they don’t take advantage of this. With a quick-install standing desk the frame is usually pre-attached to the desktop, allowing for a fairly quick and easy attachment of the lifting columns by the user, and with some models (e.g. the ZipDesk, the Lander and the Lander Lite), without needing to even break out a toolbox. In the case of the Elite desk the user assembles the frame, attaches it to the desktop, and then inserts the lifting columns. 

We’ve seen quite a number of OEM quick-install electric lifting base designs over the past couple of years, and the particular one ApexDesk chose to use here is the least stable and secure of the lot. It doesn’t have that solid locking feeling of other designs, and the installing user has to sort of jiggle the four clamping levers around a bit, feeling their way to a correct position. It’s just a setup for instability, if not damage to the frame and/or desktop if done incorrectly by the user.

Even the installation manual indicates “You should feel some pressure while pushing it down. Once the handle is flush with the beam, use a tool such as a flat-head screwdriver to push it further down. It is normal that you feel more pressure on one handle than the other when pushing levers down. Shake the lift column with your hand when both levers are installed and make sure each lifting column is tightly secured and does not wiggle.” Uggh. This is literally the exact opposite of the user experience we would expect from a good quick-install standing desk design. 

Indeed, one user reported: “I did have to flip my right/left feet at some point but it was easy enough to correct. My snag in the process was the locking levers that hold the legs to the beam – the handles tended to drift too far and rest in a position that would mean they would press into the desktop. It didn’t seem correct and I emailed support- they responded promptly at first but didn’t provide much guidance and when I asked if there was an optimal position it took awhile for them to reply that levers should be against the underside of the top (Which didn’t really help with my issue and at this point I had moved on). I ended up with some sore fingertips having to fiddling with them till all the levers were more properly aligned and balanced.

The total assembly should take you about 45 minutes *if* you read all the instructions in advance and avoided some common mistakes users report making due to the fact that… well… the instructions are really quite terrible. Steps are out of sequence, diagrams are small and fuzzy, and the text is often hard to read or understand. It’s actually quite easy to attach the feet to the desk incorrectly unless you intuit what the instructions meant to say. An installation video would be helpful for avoiding such installation errors. Alas, after all these years of selling their standing desks on Amazon, ApexDesk still doesn’t have installation videos to make the job easier (most sit-stand desk makers do).

The manual for the Elite includes a troubleshooting section, which lists “Desk wobbles excessively” as one of the concerns. The prescribed solution? “It is normal that desk wobbles slightly at standing height. Make sure all the screws are tightened and adjust leveling studs if the floor is uneven.” The second sentence is good advice for any standing desk. But the first sentence is what gives us pause. Yes, all standing desks taking to their very top height will exhibit some wobbling, this is just basic physics when you get to the short overlapping ends of the tubes in the lifting column. So there’s a wide subjective range of what a customer might consider to feel “normal” in this regard. 

To gain a more objective perspective we again looked at the thousands of verified user reviews on Amazon to see if they support our own staff reviewers’ subjective opinion that the ApexDesk Elite, especially the 71” variant, is decidedly not one of the more stable desks on the market. Sure enough, it’s a common complaint, and so there’s no surprise to find it in the Elite’s installation manual troubleshooting section. If it is listed in the manual it might be a worryingly common issue. Indeed we read quite a few users reporting exactly this complaint. Read our primer on why some sit-to-stand standing desks shake more than others to learn more about what to look for when shopping standing desks.

It is somewhat concerning how many more times the installation manual refers to flaws in the product that users should expect to encounter. To the symptom of “Desk is unusually noisy” the answer is “It is normal that the desk is noisier when one stage extends into the other. Apply silicon-based lubricant if it is unusually noisy.” Aack! 

No, it isn’t normal for a freshly-built desk to wobble as much as this one does, and it’s definitely not normal for it to make excessive noise (much less require lubrication by the user!). A visual inspection of hole-to-bolt alignment and weld joints on the base evidence very poor construction quality. This is just a very poor quality desk that has low manufacturing tolerances and is built using very cheap components. And that’s why it’s wobbly and noisy. 

Size and Style Options

Dimensions of the 60 inch ApexDesk Elite standing desk
There aren’t that many options for the Elite desk, but you should take note of the sizes to ensure that you can fit it in your space comfortably and fit all the devices on that you need while avoiding the beveled edge.

As mentioned above, the Elite standup desk from ApexDesk comes in two different sizes, 71” x 33” and 60” x 27”. There are also only two different colors available for the frame, black and white. For the large MDF desktop, there are 8 color options, but only 6 on the smaller version. Be aware that what you can purchase at any time will depend on available inventory (ever since the pandemic, inventory outages are very common with imported desks). The bamboo top option only comes in the smaller size. Overall, the Elite desk has 29 total combination options. 

Included Cable Management

ApexDesk includes a cable management tray to keep your cords as tidy and out of the way as possible. This tray measures 35.5” x 5.5”, which should be sufficient to hide all the cables connected to devices on your desktop with room for a power strip or adapters if needed. This is a nice inclusion that you won’t find included on every sit-stand desk. Read our primer on standing desk cable management for more information on what you might need for your desk.

Warranty

Predictably, the warranty term on the Apex Elite desk is quite short for a sit-to-stand desk in this price range. Only 5 years on non-electric parts and 2 years on electric parts is pretty thin—but appropriate for the quality of the componentry. All the usual caveats apply on comparing the warranty coverage on standing desks, but when other desks in the price range have 10 to 15 years of coverage, this is one more knock on the consumer value of the Elite desk.

Takeaway

The ApexDesk Elite has been a popular option on Amazon for many years. And it gets a decent percentage of five-star reviews, though we always caution consumers to take these with a large grain of salt due to the inaccuracy and even downright fraud that prevails in Amazon user reviews. The reviews on the ApexDesk products are no exception, and we’ve read through hundreds of the thousands of reviews posted (focusing on the most recent, of course) to confirm pretty much everything our own expert staff reviewers determined in their evaluations of the ApexDesk products. (Pro tip: you can usually ignore 5-star reviews completely and learn most everything you need to know about a product by reading it’s 4-star reviews, which invariably include a reason why they didn’t give it 5.)

To recap, the ApexDesk stand-up desk products sit in between the truly substandard commodity-grade desks sold for under $400 and the next tier up, those desks that sell for under $900. They’re of generally poorer quality when compared to the upper tier, and better when compared to the lower tier (as you’d expect at their price points), but the rate of shipping damage, assembly problems and other annoying issues is higher than it should be for a brand that’s been around this long. 

The bottom line is “you get what you pay for, and you pay for what you get” when it comes to ApexDesk’s standing desks. There is plenty of room for improvement but you could do a lot worse in selecting a standing desk off Amazon. When deciding whether to buy off Amazon or the company’s own website, this is one of those cases where we urge consumers to go the safer route with Amazon for better consumer protection, and better selection. 

Be sure to read the full roundup of our standing desk reviews.



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