ErgoDesktop Wallaby Desktop Riser Review
The Wallaby is Ergo Desktop's budget-class alternative to their successful Kangaroo sit stand workstation. It's based on the same design, sporting the same free-standing steel base, impressive weight capacity, and peerless stability, but without the gas-assisted monitor lift mechanism that made the Kangaroo such an ergonomic hit. Despite this, the Wallaby still features a robust set of capabilities that make it a great value for any office.
Ships in 2 weeks
Steel: 5 years
Parts: 2 years
Gas-assisted lift system
24" x 28"
Black, Maple, Cherry, Putty
Monitor: 15 lbs.
Work surface: 34 lbs.
Budget-friendly and incredibly easy to set up and use. Unobtrusive and lightweight, with an affordable pre-assembly option to make it a breeze. Newly redesigned with a mounting column, users can now install their monitors to a more ergonomic height than the old model.
Unlike the Kangaroo, the Wallaby does not have a secondary gas-assisted lift system for monitors. Adjusting the height of the monitor relative to that of the work surface is doable, but tricky. Aesthetics leave something to be desired.
[Editors Update, June 19, 2020: It appears ErgoDesktop may no longer be in business. The company’s website registers zero traffic, their products have been delisted from Amazon, and there is only an ambiguous recording when dialing the company’s phone number. We are sad to see this company go after so many years of reviewing their fine, albeit outdated products. ErgoDesktop was an early trailblazer in the standing desk converter category. We leave this product review up here for posterity.]
Ergo Desktop's original Kangaroo was a simple, yet immensely capable, sit stand workstation. Its ease of use, customization options, and unbeatable stability earned the Kangaroo our top score among desktop risers, and even today it can't be beat for sheer functionality and ergonomics.
Ergo Desktop's Wallaby is a more affordable variant of the eminent Kangaroo. It shares many of the features and designs of the original: A free-standing, easy-to-move base; a spacious, expandable workstation; and an ultra-stable construction. But to lower the Wallaby's cost, Ergo Desktop eschewed one of the Kangaroo's most important features: a second gas-spring lift system that allows users to change the height of their monitor relative to the work surface. This independent adjustability is an important feature that enables users to maintain an ideal ergonomic position both sitting and standing (See the “Not as Ergonomic as the Kangaroo” section of this review for more details).
Missing this feature makes the Wallaby less ergonomically sound than the Kangaroo. Despite this it remains a very capable workstation, able to hold its own against more expensive products like the Winston Workstation and Humanscale Quickstand, as well as industry mainstays like the Varidesk.
This is the second version of the Wallaby desktop converter. The first Wallaby model was a single, height-adjustable work surface, without the Kangaroo's monitor mount. You were expected to set both your keyboard and your monitor on the Wallaby's platform and work in an ergonomically atrocious hunched position. This redesigned Wallaby (formerly called the Wallaroo, which is a real animal believe it or not) includes a VESA-compatible bracket to attach your monitor to the steel column. However, this version still lacks the Kangaroo's gas-assisted lift mechanism, making it difficult to find an ergonomically suitable monitor position.
It Takes Two to Assemble this Desktop Converter
Assembling the Wallaby is a short and straightforward process. Unfortunately, the first assembly step is also the most difficult. It requires you to position the Wallaby's heavy base plate onto your desk top until five holes are hanging over the edge, and then very carefully align the bottom of the lifting column atop these five holes, before bolting the column to the plate with a hex key. This process is a bit harrowing, and we were worried the whole thing was going to topple over at some point, but we managed to attach the two without incident. It is possible for one person to assemble the Wallaby by his or herself, but we recommend having a buddy help you with this step to keep the base from falling off the table. Thankfully, it’s smooth sailing from here—all that's left is to attach the work surface and set up your monitor. Of course, if you'd rather avoid the hassle of assembly altogether, Ergo Desktop offers a factory pre-assembly option for the Wallaby. For just $19, your new workstation will arrive ready to use right out of the box.
Once the Wallaby is assembled, you still have to set your monitor to the proper height. This isn't as easy as on the Kangaroo, which as we mentioned above has a separate gas-assisted lift mechanism that lets you raise or lower the height of your monitor by loosening a knob and moving the column up or down. Instead, four bolts attach the monitor mounting assembly to the column. This assembly slides apart into two pieces: a removable monitor mount that attaches to any VESA-compatible monitor, and a bracket that's affixed to the column.
To set your monitor to the correct height, you attach the monitor mount to your monitor, then slide the mount into the column bracket. If the monitor is not at the correct height, detach the mount from the bracket, loosen the four bolts securing the bracket to the column, and slide the bracket to the correct spot before tightening the bolts back in place. You then have to check the monitor's height again, repeating these steps as necessary. The process can quickly turn into a time-consuming dance of trial and error if you're aiming for an ergonomically friendly monitor position.
That Metal Shop Aesthetic
The simplicity of the Wallaby's design extends to its aesthetics. The work surface is available in different finishes, but like all of the Ergo Desktop converters its steel base and aluminum lifting column are not customizable. Together these two components lend the Wallaby something of a metal shop aesthetic—largely inoffensive, but a far cry from the chic modern office. Unlike the form-focused Quickstand desktop converter, the Wallaby won't be winning any beauty pageants any time soon. But its "function first" approach makes the Wallaby a robust, heavy-duty workstation that outperforms beauty queens like the Quickstand.
Despite its comparably low price, the Wallaby boasts some impressive specs that rival even some of the more expensive workstations on the market. The first is its expansive work surface. At 28" x 24", it's large enough to support a laptop, documents, phone, and just about anything else you may need to take with you to standing height. This is just shy of the Winston's 30" x 23" work surface—that is, until you kit the Wallaby out with optional work surface extensions. A full-size keyboard attachment can add nine inches of depth to your work surface, while 11.5" square side surfaces attach just about anywhere on the work surface to add even more space.
Having more space to carry your equipment is fine and dandy, but it requires a lift capacity that can support all that extra weight. The Wallaby sports one of the brawniest weight capacities among any sit stand workstation. It starts at a 15lb. max as standard, but you can order one with a lift capacity up to 34 lbs, which has more than enough muscle to take your laptop, phone, textbooks—whatever you keep on your desk—to standing height. To compare, the $679 Winston Workstation has a maximum weight capacity of 20 lbs., and the $829 Quickstand can't lift a thing above 25 lbs. So if you're looking for pound-for-pound functionality, the Wallaby is tough to beat. The only exception to this is the monitor weight capacity, which stays at 15 lbs—which is fine since modern monitors are very light, so anything heavier than that would likely be too big to view comfortably anyways.
An unfortunate byproduct of many sit stand workstations is that they are often shaky affairs. Some work surfaces suspended above a desk will bounce and budge as you type, causing your screen to shake and creating a distracting work environment for yourself. This is true for the Workfit-S and Humanscale Quickstand, but it's not true for the Wallaby. This is thanks to the included stabilization leg, a simple piece that props up the user end of the work surface. This leg is itself height adjustable, able to rise or lower with your worksurface, but creates another step in the height adjustment process. Using what is essentially a metal monopod to hold up the work surface is a bit inelegant, but we believe it's a small price to pay for rock solid stability.
Of course, the name to beat for any desktop converter is Varidesk. The popular brand happens to be the Wallaby's closest competitor, in terms of both price and design philosophy—Varidesk manufactures products that are affordable and, like the Wallaby, concerned primarily with functionality.
The two Varidesk models most like the Wallaby are the Pro 30 and the Cube Corner 36. The Pro 30 is the simplest workstation in Varidesk's catalog: It's on the small side (yet still manages to dominate your desk space) and doesn't have the suspended keyboard tray of the "Plus" models. At $375, it's the cheapest Varidek model available, but it's still pricier than the $348 Wallaby. The Cube Corner is the Varidesk model that most closely resembles the Wallaby's design. Like the latter, its work surface features a more angular, trapezoid shape to better fit into a wall or cubicle corner. The Cube Corner has the aforementioned suspended keyboard tray, but at $495, it still loses to the Wallaby on price. This is especially true considering the fact that neither Varidesk model has a built-in monitor mounting solution—you’re meant to place your monitors on stands right on the work surface, which eats up a good bit of space. A separate Varidesk monitor arm can be purchased for $125, but that would take the price way beyond the Wallaby's, and indeed beyond the Kangaroo's as well.
Not as Ergonomic as the Kangaroo
To accommodate a wide variety of users and their desks, the Wallaby features a maximum height of 16.5 inches. The monitor mounting bracket can be fixed to any point on the column in a 7" range, and can tilt, pan, and rotate. We always recommend tilting the top of your monitor backwards slightly—this makes your screen more comfortable to view than a completely vertical screen. All in all, these capabilities guarantee that just about any user can work on the Wallaby in an ergonomically comfortable position.
However, the Wallaby's lack of any monitor lift mechanism once again detracts from its otherwise superb capabilities. Because every user has different body proportions and everyone will want their monitor set at a different height, the Wallaby is less suited to use as a shared workstation than the Kangaroo.
More importantly, a user's anthropometric ratios often require small adjustments in monitor height relative to their work surface when they switch from sitting to standing. Users who rely on their chair's armrests will want to type with their arms at a lower height relative to their body when standing, for example. This means that different work modalities have different ergonomic requirements for working in a comfortable solution. For this reason, we prefer desktop converters like the Kangaroo that let you easily adjust the monitor height on the fly. The Wallaby, for its part, has no such mechanism, and minute adjustments in monitor height are very difficult.
Looking for something a little different than the regular Wallaby? Not a problem: In addition to the Wallaby Standard, Ergo Desktop offers a couple of variants for you to further customize your workstation. For a more space-efficient model, select the Wallaby Junior, which sports a more compact design than the standard. It has a smaller 24" x 18" work surface and a 15" max height, but is otherwise the same as the Wallaby. For those who work with two screens, the Wallaby Elite can support two monitors side by side, so long as they weigh less than 10 lbs. each.
The Wallaby offers a reasonable value for its price. Its expansive, expandable work surface can support a full load of office equipment, while its pre-assembly option saves time and labor so you can get straight to work sooner. Its lack of an independently-adjustable monitor lift mechanism hurts its ergonomic capabilities, but the Wallaby's features and capabilities nevertheless hold their own against more expensive options on the market. ErgoDesktop has also recently released the Wallaby Junior ($279) and Wallaby Elite ($449), which we plan to review in the near future.
The original Wallaby at $349 was included in our expert reviewers' best picks in our recent Top Stand Up Desk Converters Under $350.
Ships in 2 weeks.
Steel: 5 years
Parts: 2 years
See our comprehensive Comparison Review of Standing Desk Converters