The Best Quick Install Standing Desks
- Lab tested
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Not Quite Minute-Rice Assembly, But Pretty Darned Close
Do you need a quick-install standing desk? When it comes to the prospect of assembling a standing desk we find that our readers generally fall into two camps:
- People who love a good DIY project, have the proper tools, and wouldn’t dream of paying for someone else to assemble their desk, and
- Everyone else. Including people who dress nicely for work, who don’t have the patience or technical skills for an “IKEA project,” and those who don’t have the proper power tools to make the job go faster.
If you fall into Group 2, this article is for you. The rest of you dudes can go check out our DIY section and learn all about the best bases and desktops to use in constructing your ultimate standing desk.
Between all our expert staff reviewers we’ve assembled literally hundreds of standing desks in our evaluation labs over the past decade, so to parrot J. K. Simmons “we know a thing or two, because we’ve seen a thing or two” when it comes to how these mechanisms go together.
Out of all those desks there are only a handful that you can assemble in under 20 minutes, and fewer still that’ll assemble in less than 10. One assembles in just three minutes, remarkably using no tools whatsoever, not so much as an Allen key.
Considering Standing Desk Assembly is More Important Than Ever in a Post-Pandemic World
There has been extraordinary interest in this category of standing desks ever since Covid-19 chased the majority of the American office workers into their home office bunkers.
With companies like Google offering employees $1,000 towards furniture purchases for their home office, standing desk sales have been skyrocketing. After all, their employers were progressive enough to provide them with healthy ergonomic workstations at the office, why would they want to subject them to the pains of working at a kitchen counter or living room sofa? Not to mention the potential workmans comp claims for ergonomic injuries (that hasn’t gone away if the employee was directed to work from home).
No employer wants to saddle Janet, single mother of three, a cat and a dog with assembling a cheaply-made standing desk at home. Besides not having the patience, skills, floor space or proper tools to put it together, it is really not a good use of their time. And you can forget hiring a professional installer to go into her home with current social distancing rules.
We say “cheaply-made” because that’s how low-cost producers extract costs, by transferring assembly labor from the factory workers to the consumer. So, yes, a pre-assembled desk will cost a little more, reflecting the higher labor, packaging and shipping costs involved in pre-assembly, but for many people it’s going to be the best way to go.
There’s the Quick, the Quicker and the Quickest
This round-up review of quick-install standing desks is broken down into three tiers:
- Under 3 minutes
- Under 10 minutes, and
- Under 20 minutes
We do not rely on manufacturers’ claims of assembly time as they are often optimistic, and in some cases legitimately fraudulent claims. These times were obtained by actually constructing these desks in our test labs, following the manufacturers’ instructional documentation and/or videos.
Note that we do not include the amount of time it takes to remove all the components from their packaging. These times are clocked from the moment all the components are laid out to when the desk is initialized and ready for use.
The part that many people forget to consider is whether or not the quick-install desk they buy is also individually tested at the factory. Not all are, and those that aren’t represent the same installation risk as cheaper models that take longer to assemble. If anything goes wrong it’s going to be a huge hassle for the user to deal with getting replacement parts, even under warranty, and reverting back to the kitchen table until problems are resolved. We won’t hesitate to say that this is going to be more common with standing desks made in China versus domestic brands, because it’s just a statistical fact. For more information on warranties, be sure to read our primer on How to Compare Warranties on Standing Desks.
On to the round-up…
Standing Desks That Assemble in Under 3 Minutes
The Lander is clearly more future-proof than any other standing desk we’ve had the pleasure of testing. There have been some gimmicky predecessors that had an iPod built into the desktop (e.g. the Stir Desk) or a smartphone app (e.g. the Autonomous SmartDesk 3, from a bottom-bracket Chinese manufacturer with extraordinarily bad reliability and customer service record). And there have been multiple attempts at building in standing reminder notifications, but the results have been clunky, at best. The Lander is the first desk we’ve seen to put it all together in a clean way, with true ease-of-use, and on a top-tier mechanical platform.
All this comes at somewhat of a premium price, naturally. While the Lander isn’t the cheapest desk on the market, given its premium components, the value is clearly there. Desks built this well tend to last longer and easily justify their higher price by promising lower cost of ownership (purchase price divided by years of use) than cheaper models from China.
If you’re looking for the most elegant and sophisticated standing desk available in the market today, you’ve found it. But be prepared to pay what it costs for this kind of quality workmanship and materials as this desk is made 100% of solid wood, and the most premium select cuts of wood at that. This is a truly bespoke product, with 6-8 weeks of artisan woodwork labor to produce it. Even the delivery experience is exceptional. The lifting base is the strongest we’ve ever seen on any standing desk at 540 lbs, as it needs to support the weight of three drawers, the full-length concealed electronics cabinet, and all the desktop equipment and drawer contents that an executive user might add to their desk. The full-length concealed electronics cabinet is a major innovation, as is the optional 1800W Executive Power Bus that goes in it. Like test driving a Bentley (which we actually did in preparation for this review), when we got to test out the very first Lander Executive units, we were blown away by all the little touches that make it a true luxury product.
Standing Desks That Assemble in Under 10 Minutes
iMovR has managed to take the industry’s No. 1-rated, premium-technology standing desk, the original Lander, keep 90 percent of the technology features and significantly lower the entry price with this new Lander Lite offering. It’s a winner because of features like factory pre-assembly, Bluetooth-enabled height control paddle and smartphone app, built-in health coach, and the choice of over 50 colors of Surf(x) 3D-laminated or solid wood desktops resulting in superior value to consumers.
Perfected ergonomics and designer furniture panache combined? This desk brings it all together like no other we’ve seen because it allows you to pick the configuration that best fits both your sense of style and your ergonomic needs at the same time. The Scandanavian-styled Red River or Baltic birch top, curved edge option and optional Fly Deck monitor stand together to form one of the most beautiful standing desks we’ve seen. Plus, it has the trusty Lander Lite base beneath it. It’s a desk that forces you to make very few compromises.
If you’re tired of the typical “two legs and a slab of wood” standing desk design, the Captain’s Desk is a breath of fresh air. Packaging that design with the technological features of the Lander Lite base makes for an exceptional desk. You get the warranty, assembly, stability, height range and quality you would expect from a premium, American-made iMovR desk, plus a stunning design and the strong Baltic or Red River birch desktop.
($3.5B+) Steelcase is the biggest brand in commercial office furniture but this new Solo standing desk is targeting the home office user, and the jury is still out on whether the company can eventually learn how to sell to and support the residential customer. The Solo desk aims to hit a $600-$700 price point with stripped-down basics and limited size and color offerings, but a much easier assembly process than their other desk lines that they’ve repositioned and repriced for the home office. Based on a new Linak base made in a new Thai factory, it circumvents the higher cost of American-made or Danish-made Linak bases while avoiding Chinese tariffs and quality issues. The desktop, however, is very basic, not of the highest quality, and at 55 dB it may be one of the noisiest electric frames out there.
Standing Desks That Assemble in Under 20 Minutes
It’s hard to say what we like the most about the Jaxson desk, it has so many distinguishing features over the dozens of “ordinary” commodity-grade standing desks we’ve lab tested over the years. The ultra-reliable brushless motor technology in the base is obviously a standout, the Jaxson being the first standing desk in 24 years not to be built with brushed motors. The unobtrusive yet sleekly contoured handset is as “space age” as it gets in standing desk controls, with built-in Bluetooth, an infrared presence sensor and NFC. But it’s the overall styling that really grabs us, from the chamfered square columns to the ergo-contoured 3D-laminated tops, there are no hard edges to this desk. Where many standing desks have an industrial equipment aesthetic, the Jaxson with its warm colors and softened edges just looks nicer in any home or commercial office environment. And the industry-leading 15 year “top to bottom” warranty and 100-day satisfaction guarantee is classic iMovR. At only a slight premium in price to the most popular standing desks out there today (all of which are made in China), this American beauty is likely to massively disrupt the competitive landscape and finally give consumers the impetus to ditch the cheaply-made foreign goods.
Literally the most advanced standing desk on the market. Comes 98-percent factory pre-assembled and tested, the impressively-engineered Lander L-desk can be installed by one person in just eight minutes, instead of the usual two-man, 90-minute affair required to assemble all other sit-stand L-desks. All the high-tech features you can expect to find in a premium standing desk, including Bluetooth sync to smartphone app. Literally thousands of customization options in 3D-laminate and solid-wood desktop colors and sizes. Outstanding quality and industry-leading warranty.
Yet another incremental extension of the most advanced standing desk on the market, the iMovR Lander, this 4-legged U-desk comes 90 percent factory pre-assembled and can be installed by one person in just 13 minutes. This is not only much faster than most 2-legged standing desks, it stands in stark contrast to the usual two-hour, two-man installation job a “console” desk like this would ordinarily require. All the tech-forward features you’d expect to find in a premium standing desk, including Bluetooth sync to a smartphone app, are built-in. There are a mind-boggling 15,000 customization options available, yet this is the first “off-the-shelf” product in the category at a fraction of the cost.
The FlexiSpot Theodore is very specifically designed for the person who wants a drawer in their standing desk, and doesn’t intend to install any ergonomic accessories like a keyboard tray or monitor arm. It’s minimalist in performance specs, easy to assemble, and if it matches your traditional office decor, it may be one of the best values out there.
The glass top on the ApexDesk Lumi Standing Desk may sound like it will give your office a stylish upgrade, and on the surface, an undamaged version of the desk could do that, at least until you start using it. The glass easily picks up highly visible prints. The controller can be annoying to use before you get the presets established. Lack of safety features in the controller can be dangerous. And that isn’t mentioning the flaws that are overlooked by quality control or damage that happens in transit. But the USB port is a nice addition, and controller being in the glass desktop will protect it from bumps from office chair arms. It is also pretty easy to assemble, if not the fastest we have seen. But those perks are probably not enough to make up for something that is supposed to look stylish but likely won’t arrive that way, even at its low price point.
This Northread adjustable-height desk is a low-cost addition to the available compact standing desk and those with quick installations (relative to other commodity-grade standing desks in this price range). It does have some nice features, like the extra power ports built into the controller and pencil drawer. On the other hand, the manufacturing quality is quite low, resulting in short warranties, open gaps to the inner mechanics, misaligned parts, and shaky stability. However, that is basically what you will get when paying that little for a product you are going to use almost every day.
The ecotribe Standing Desk is a unique form of workstation that is primarily meant for working while standing. It offers slots for inserting different working surfaces at a variety of heights.
This Northread electric standing desk is a cheap option for basic functionality of a standing desk. It has a glass top and comes in either black or white, to fit various décor. Glass tops might be difficult to keep clean, but are pretty when they are spotless. It isn’t ideal for the tallest or shortest users because the height range is limited with a single-stage design. Having a power strip, pencil drawer, and USB ports are nice bonuses, but if you want to mount anything with a clamp, the frame will get in the way. In general, this Northread glass top standing desk is a low-cost addition to the available compact standing desk and those with quick installations (relative to other commodity-grade standing desks in this price range).
Discontinued Standing Desks
At WorkWhileWalking we’ve been lab testing and writing reviews of ergonomic office furniture and accessories for over a decade. In that time, we have seen many of the products we reviewed fall by the wayside. This is inevitable due to the cycle of continuous improvement, with new models supplanting their predecessors. Of course in some cases products weren’t as competitive as they needed to be, or their manufacturers ran into financial challenges (which very much accelerated as a result of the post-pandemic economy).
For whatever reason, these products now fall into the discontinued category, but we will still keep their reviews published and available to read. Whether you want to know more about the desk, monitor arm, etc. that you bought years ago, need more info because someone is selling one second hand, or just want to compare current offerings with what was available in the past, these reviews will remain here for your reference.
When you need a desk as fast as possible, and are willing to pay a little bit more to not have to worry about product quality, reliability, durability or lack of cutting edge features. What you trade off is size and color personalization, but those desks take longer to built-to-order and ship.
iMovR’s Freedom Standing Desk Line takes cheaply-made imports to task (when it was still in production), 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.
Another entrant in the category of standing desks with drawers, the FlexiSpot Esben distinguishes itself from the similarly priced and similarly featured FlexiSpot Theodore with an extra drawer and more utilitarian looks.
Vari is one of the original standing desk converter industry giants, and this is their first foray into the electric standing desk market. They’ve always been known for their massive branding budget, as well as their high prices. The difference with this product is that it’s not an industry leader – it’s late to the party with outdated features and a very high price point.
FlexiSpot uses the very use cheapest actuator mechanisms and a single-drive motor to make the Vici a bottom-dollar offering, and they only use only a single-stage base that won’t go low enough for very short people or high enough for very tall people. The Vici’s warranty is not great either (5 years for the frame, motor and other mechanisms, 2 years for the electronics, and zero on the desktop), which tells you about how much confidence they have in their own product. As for the promise of being “quick assembled” that is perhaps the most specious claim of all of FlexiSpot’s hyperbolic marketing copy (they literally put this in the product name).
Completing Your Ergonomic Workstation
Acquiring the best standing desk for your decor, budget and performance requirements is Step One. But making it a true ergonomic workstation involves adding the appropriate accessories you’ll need to keep your body in a correct posture, and have a neat and tidy setup. Check out our comprehensive guides to monitor arms, keyboard trays, anti-fatigue mats, ergonomic seats, cable management kits, power management modules, foot rests and under-desk treadmills for both expert advice and lab-tested product reviews of options in each of these categories.
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