Ergonofis Sway Solid Wood Standing Desk Review

October 31, 2022
  • Lab tested

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Ergonofis Sway solid wood standing desk

Overview

Review Summary

The bottom line is that the Ergonofis Sway solid wood standing desk is a quality product with one of the best bases money can buy and Canadian-sourced wood that will add a touch of class to any upscale office space. They don’t have a ton of options, opting for a more curated listing typical of many businesses trying to streamline the purchasing process. The desktop quality isn’t quite up to the standard of our favorite American-made standing desks from iMovR, but is better than all the other commodity-grade desks coming out of China. While the price is a bit higher than those more common desks, it is meant for shoppers wanting a superior product, and they will learn that the cost is worth it.

MSRP / List Price

$1,149

Street Price

Cherry, Maple
24″ x 48″: $1,149
30″ x 60″: $1,405
30″ x 72″: $1,661
White oak:
24″ x 48″: $1,438
30″ x 60″: $1,661
30″ x 72″: $1,917
Walnut:
24″ x 48″: $1,469
30″ x 60″: $1,725
30″ x 72″: $2,045

1 grommet: +$24
2 grommets: +$34
Price in dollars changes continually depending on exchange rates.

Shipping

Free shipping in Canada. Ships out from Montreal in 5-15 business days from order. Shipping to USA is available with a surcharge based on the customer’s Zip code.

Warranty

10-year warranty on all components of the Linak base
1-year warranty on solid wood top

Lift Type

Dual-stage, dual electric motors

Transit Speed

1.6 inches per second

Controller

Set into desktop. Slide and tap-controlled touch screen. 4 separate user profiles with 2 memory presets each.

Sizes Available

24″ x 48″
30″ x 60″
30″ x 72″

Colors Available

Solid wood desktop: Maple, Cherrywood, Walnut
Frame: Black and White

Adjustment Range

22” to 48.3”

Weight Capacity

360 lbs

Connectivity Features

No Bluetooth

Typical Assembly Time

Under 20 minutes

ANSI/BIFMA Certified

ANSI/BIFMA G1 Ergonomic Guidelines compliant

NEAT™ Certified by Mayo Clinic

No

Competition

Compare to All Electric Standing Desks
Compare to Other Compact Standing Desks
Compare to Other Solid Wood Standing Desks
Compare to Other Canadian Standing Desks

Where to buy Buy on Ergonofis

Rating

Ease of Assembly
4.0
Stability
5.0
Reliability
4.0
Customer Experience
4.0
Quality and Aesthetics
4.0
Ergonomics
4.0
Innovation
4.5
Value
4.5
Positives The Ergonofis Sway is the only option for a genuinely Canadian-made solid wood standing desk. It offers a high quality base and lifting columns that you can only find on the best desks on the market. The desktop is a quality piece of wood that fits a classy décor. The price is appropriate for the quality of product they provide. The embedded controller is of a unique design that Ergonofis made specifically for their Sway and Alive standing desks, which won't be found on any other standing desk. The "gesture control" works a little differently than paddle-type gesture controllers found on a few other desks out there, but similarly superior to the typical button consoles found on 99% of standing desks. The Sway is built atop a state-of-the-art Linak lifting base, the best that money can buy. Assembly is relatively easy, taking only about 20 minutes with the proper tools.
Negatives The biggest critique would be their limited options of size, color, and customizability. They don't fully finish imperfections of the underside of the desk, and the wood top in general is very basic in its shaping (rectangular block, no ergo-contouring) and few finish steps, all of which are reflective in the meager 1-year warranty on the desktop. Using the embedded controller isn't quite intuitive to figure out without watching the video or reading the manual first, but after that it's completely easy. There are two technological benefits of Linak bases, however, that Ergonofis doesn't take advantage of. The frame is not pre-assembled to the top so it's not an effortless, tools-free assembly, and it doesn't have Bluetooth or a smartphone app.

Bottom Line

4.5
If you want a luxury quality solid wood standing desk, this is one of the few options you will want to turn to. If you want to support Canadian-made products, this is definitely the only solid wood standing desk option there is. While it is a premium product with a premium price tag, you definitely get what you pay for. The embedded handset is so unique as to be nonintuitive (you'll need to read the manual to learn how to use it, but it's fine once you know how). Is it nicer than the very best solid wood standing desks you could buy? no, but it's better than most others in its relative price tier. We just wish there we more size and color selections to choose from.

The Best (And Only) Solid Wood Standing Desks Made in Canada

One of the most exciting new subcategories within the standing desk market are the fancier, pricier, solid wood desks, offering elegance and luxury that was not previously available to the online consumer. In the last few years, a handful of desk makers have appeared on the scene introducing premium-grade furniture pieces that’ll look good in any high-end home or office. (You can discover them all in our round-up of solid wood standing desk reviews.)

If you picture a Venn diagram of the best premium-grade solid wood standing desks available in the market today in one circle, and all the native Canadian standing desk manufacturers in another circle, there is today only one actual contact point between those two circles, and that is Montreal-based Ergonofis, makers of the Sway and Alive solid wood standing desks. 

This hands-on, lab test review is of an all-new, refreshed version of the Sway desk that was released in the summer of 2022. The previous version was built on an American-made lifting base from OMT-Veyhl, which had some issues. Ergonofis swapped that base out for an even higher quality one from Linak, also made in the USA. This is the first published review of the new version. 

An editorial comment we’d like to get out of the way first is that the reader may feel that we’re perhaps being too persnickety about some of the things we call out in a review of a solid wood desk as compared to most of our lab test reviews. There’s a good reason for this. In our experience, customers paying upwards of $1,500 for a desk are naturally expecting a higher degree of precision and perfection than those who are buying a $300 commodity-grade, Chinese-manufactured desk off Amazon

Hey, Is That a New Sway In Your Step?

Ergonofis currently manufactures three standing desk models, if you include the more pedestrian Shift desk. Of the two solid wood desks, the Sway far outsells the Alive, so it’s the one we wanted to receive first. (All three desk names allude to the body’s movement, get it?). 

For this review, Ergonofis sent us a pre-production prototype of the 24”x48” walnut version of the Sway, so that we could publish this review on August 16th, 2022, the day that this new iteration goes live on their website. 

While the design and quality of the solid wood tops offered with the Sway Desk have not changed, the base is completely new. It is made in Denmark and Louisville, Kentucky rather than in Holland, MI, on a completely different tech platform. So if you’ve looked at the Sway desk before, note that it’s a completely different animal now. And for our money, a much better one. 

Both OMT-Veyhl (headquartered in Germany) and Linak (headquartered in Denmark) are suppliers to behemoth commercial office furniture majors like Steelcase and Herman Miller, and their products certainly outperform commodity–grade Chinese-made lifting bases used by the vast majority of online standing desk brands. We’ve toured both manufacturers’ factories in the US and abroad over the years, and they are both state-of-the-art producers in terms of their investment in robotics, lasers and other precision equipment.

One of the areas in which they diverge, however, is Linak’s greater sophistication in designing differentiating handsets for their OEM customers. So we completely understand Ergonofis’ rationale in switching to the Danish firm to get a proprietary handset design that was unique to them and them alone.

(Read our detailed investigative report on the major differences between Chinese, American and European-made standing desks.) 

As for the linear actuators and frame components now used in the Sway and Alive desks, these are the same Linak DL6 lifting columns that US-based iMovR uses in their flagship Lander desk line, which includes the broadest solid wood offering of any standing desk manufacturer, in addition to their standard array of 3D-laminated desktops. 

And so we’re going to make that direct comparison between these two products throughout the review below, as they really are the two relevant “comps” in the premium solid wood standing desk category. (While other vendors like Fully and UpLift make pricey, custom solid wood desktops they marry them with commodity-grade Jiecang bases, which is something we’ve just never understood.)

 

ergonofis sway desk review

The handset on the Sway and Alive, however, is a completely new design that Linak developed specifically to Ergonofis’ specifications, and won’t be found on any other desk. While it doesn’t have built-in Bluetooth and an accompanying smartphone app like the Linak “gesture controller” (paddle) that iMovR uses in its desks, it has its own unique features intended to differentiate it from all the other standing desks out there.

The handset is dropped into a cutout on the topside of the desktop rather than being mounted underneath the user edge as it is on 98% of standing desks. On the other 2% that do have their controls embedded flat into the desktop they are typically mounted flush with the wood.

One very minor nit is that Ergonofis’ newfangled handset sits about 2mm higher than the surface, which can be ever so slightly annoying when shuffling papers around. This is common with inset controllers, and given the expansion/contraction nature of solid wood recessing the controller for a true flush mount wouldn’t be really practical.

Functionally, it works very differently from any typical standing desk handset. Walk up to most standing desks and it’s unlikely that you’ll need to reference an instruction manual to figure out how to make the desk go up and down, or store your height favorites into memory. They intuitively work just like the seat memories in your car. 

The Ergonofis controller is so different from the norm that none of our experienced standing desk review staffers were able to figure it out—even the two veteran Carnegie-Mellon trained engineers—without a demo from the one guy who actually read the manual. For that reason we’ve created a video just to demonstrate how it works. It’s non-intuitive, but easy to remember once you’ve read the instructions. 

There’s a sticker on the controller that actually tells you: “See instructions manual to activate your desk.” (And because it’s the law in French Canada, below that it says “Consultez le manuel d’instructions pour activer votre bureau.” below that.) While all this lettering does detract a bit from the elegance of the product, it is understandably necessary. For the home office or solo user, however, you’ll probably want to peel off that sticker as soon as the desk arrives.

Up to four users can store their favorite sitting and standing heights in the desk. Once a user’s height favorites are programmed, changing from sitting to standing involves merely “swiping up” or “swiping down” along the white stripe. Compared to the most common method of hitting a numbered memory button, or tapping a paddle upwards or downwards as in the case of iMovR’s Lander desks, it’s a unique way to command a height change. Not particularly superior in any that we could ascertain from Linak’s gesture controllers, but definitely unique. We can check that box for Ergonofis.

The key benefit of using this capacitive-sensing controller appears to be to keep the user edge of the desk clear of any forward protuberances, but it seems to be more about design differentiation than actual functionality. It is nice having a total of eight memories—a stored sitting height and standing height for each of four users—but this kind of luxury solid wood desk doesn’t seem to be the kind of thing that’ll be used as a hot desk for multiple users. It’s probably situated in the CEO’s office, or perhaps shared by spouses in an upscale home office.

In the case of a hot desk, if you really need to support more than one or two users, then the smartphone app approach offers an unlimited number of users up to four memories each. This allows each user to carry around their preferred sitting, standing, treadmilling and balance boarding heights around with them in their phones and sync up to any iMovR-compatible hot desk in the company, for example. So by going with this totally proprietary design sans Bluetooth, Ergonofis did leave behind one of the technology advancements that Linak is actually best known for.

The other differentiating factor is the unique styling of the Ergonofis desks’ feet. To geek out on physics here for a moment, feet play a crucial role in a standing desk’s stability. The heavier and the longer the foot, the more longitudinal (front to back) stability there’ll typically be. The Ergonofis 24”-long foot design uses more steel in the foot than the typical commodity-grade Chinese frame does, weighing in at 4.2 lbs versus the typical 2-3 lbs. But that’s still significantly shy of the 28.5”-long and 6.6 lbs foot than the stability-leading Lander desk employs.

Like the Lander, the Sway and Alive have a brawny weight lift rating of 360 lbs and a transit speed of 1.6 inches per second. The Linak base is the very state of the art in the standing desk industry, with one of the lowest sound signatures, highest performance, and highest reliability track records to be found. 

The desk has a height adjustment range of 22” to 48.3”, similar to the Lander, making it ANSI/BIFMA G1 Ergonomic Guidelines compliant. However it lacks iMovR’s 6” height extender option that makes that desk so popular with taller individuals and under-desk treadmill users. 

Ergonofis offers black and white as the only two color options on the base, whereas iMovR and most other solid wood standing desk makers also offer silver.

Ease of Assembly

Surprisingly, Ergonofis does not take advantage of the Linak “kick ‘n click” frame set that they use on the Sway and Alive desks in that they do not ship the desks with the frames already assembled to the top like iMovR does. By factory-installing the frames, tacking down all the cables and factory testing the system, plus pre-assembling the feet to the legs, iMovR is able to market the Lander desk as a “no tools required” assembly taking only three minutes to put the desk together once it arrives. 

To assemble the Sway you’ll need your toolbox. A powered screwdriver is helpful for attaching the frame to the desktop. You’ll use the supplied hex key to attach the feet to the legs with four bolts each. And if you want to attach the mesh cable management accessory (included with the Sway) you’ll want to pre-drill pilot holes for the four corner post attachment points once you decide where they’ll go. 

So all-in-all, as you can see from this video of what it’s like to build an Ergonofis Sway standing desk, it’s about the same amount of work as most of the better desks out there, and will require a bit of patience from the customer to put together. We’re just surprised that for a premium quality solid wood desk in this price range Ergonofis chose not to go the extra mile with factory pre-assembly. 

Real Canadian Hardwood Tops

Ergonofis as a company believes in marketing a more “curated” selection of options, and when it comes to the hardwood tops offered, everything on the menu is 100% sourced from Canadian forests. This is a diametrically opposed approach to that of iMovR, which currently offers tens of thousands of desktop color/size/shape combination options, always made-to-order to the customer’s online design specifications, and sourced from American forests. 

Since we really only have one other solid wood standing desk built on a Linak lifting base to compare to—iMovR’s Lander desk line—there are a few aspects of these hardwood tops that we can focus on to compare and contrast. 

1) Breadth of options. 

Ergonofis is indeed super-curated, offering only three wood species in three sizes, on a choice of black or white base color, for a total of 18 possible design options. The size options are 24″x48″, 30″x60″ and 30″x72″, and the available species are Walnut, Maple and Cherry. Birch and White Oak that Ergonofis used to offer appear to have recently been dropped from the selection. (The version we were sent for lab testing was the smallest unit, a 24×48 desk in Walnut, their finest and most expensive species.)

Lander L-Desk with SteadyType
⁣One of iMovR Lander’s many combinations of shape, color and options.

In contrast, iMovR offers a total of eight species and 38 total species+stain finish combinations in their solid wood selection, in two thickness, with or without grommet holes, in sizes ranging from 24”x47 all the way up to 30”x95”, in six inch increments. They also offer L-desk and U-desk versions, versions with a built-in SteadyType keyboard tray, the entire Lander Lite line with thinner, smaller and lower-priced tops. Plus the alternative of 24+ 3D laminate colors, as well. 

So, one giant difference between the two brands is simply the curated selection of 18 permutations of the Sway versus tens of thousands of permutations within iMovR’s Lander desk line.

2) Quality of craftsmanship

Don’t get us wrong, both the Ergonofis and iMovR Solid wood desks are gorgeous. But the aesthetic difference in finish level between the two are obvious to the eye. Our review staff members that have years of experience with solid wood production also saw things that only the trained eye would see. 

Comparison of wood between Ergonofis Sway and iMovR Lander in solid wood. Close up side view.
This close up shows quite a difference in the shape and finish on the wood of the Ergonofis Sway and iMovR Lander.

We just happened to have an old iMovR Lander Solid Wood desk in virtually the same rustic walnut finish on hand, so we placed the two desks side by side to illustrate all the differences between the two.

Like other solid wood standing desk manufacturers such as Fully and Uplift, Ergonofis produces a simple rectangular top, with hard 90° angles all around. 

There is a label on the bottom of the Ergonofis desktop explaining that the underside is unfinished. We had to ask what they mean by this since the bottom seemed to be fully stained and sealed just like the topside. What they explained is that any knots or other defects in the underside are not repaired with color-matched resin fill-in as they would be on the top. We just happened to get a perfect sample that had no knots on the bottom side so we couldn’t take a photo of what that might look like.

Ergonofis claims that they don’t finish the bottoms for “ecological reasons, as it would create unnecessary waste and use of unneeded materials.” Indeed it isn’t uncommon for solid wood furniture products to be less finished in less visible places as on the most visible surfaces, and it is typical of lower-grade solid wood tops from Fully, Uplift and the lot. 

Comparison of the finish on the top of the Ergonofis Sway and iMovR Lander in solid wood
The difference in the finish on the similar woods between the Sway and Lander offer very different looks.

By the same token it highlights some stark differences with higher-grade products like iMovR’s, where all those defects are fully finished, even on the underside of the desk. While claiming an environmental savings for passing over such repairs might seem a bit specious, there is definitely a labor cost difference in bringing an expensive piece of natural hardwood up to the highest level of craftsmanship. We also noticed that the Sway top had a little dimensional imperfection in being tapered in a bit in two of the four corners.

In contrast, iMovR’s solid wood tops have beautiful ergo-contoured edges, precision CNC-routed and hand-sanded to perfection all the way around, which are more comfortable to lean against and result in less edge damage from chair backs banging into the desk. 

iMovR’s optional grommet holes are also fully finished, stained and sealed like the rest of the desk. (The sample we received from Ergonofis didn’t have grommet holes so we can’t do a photo comparison here.) The undersides of all iMovR solid wood tops are fully finished in terms of knot repair, and they even offer an upgrade for full heirloom quality finish on the bottom as on the top for the most perfection-demanding clientele. 

Comparing the walnut Ergonofis top side-by-side with iMovR’s, the expert eye can see a pretty noticeable difference in dimensional precision and application of stain and sealant. Prospective buyers can glean a lot of information about how these tops are created on both iMovR’s site and Ergonofis’. The contrast between iMovR’s 7-step heirloom-quality finish and the more minimalist clear matte lacquer coating done by Ergonofis is directly evident in both the price and delivery times of their respective products. Simply stated, it takes a lot more labor, precision equipment and specialized artisan woodworking expertise to make a more beautiful product. This does not come cheap.

wood grommet hole
⁣Even the Lander’s grommet holes are finished to the same level as the surface.
Corner close-up of the iMovR Lander solid wood standing desk
⁣Higher sheen and ergonomic contouring on is apparent on the iMovR Lander solid wood.

To the casual observer looking at the two products side by side it is clear that while both solid wood desks are exceptional compared to run-of-the-mill standing desks with standard laminate tops, the iMovR desks “look more expensive.” The matte finish on their solid wood tops just have a higher sheen, brightening up the gorgeous grain beneath. In furniture industry parlance, the iMovR tops exhibit a nicer “hand,” as well.

The Reflection of Quality in Warranty Terms and Return Policy

When it comes to standing desk warranties there’s a lot of gamesmanship taking place in the market right now; so much so that we had to write a primer on how to compare warranties between standing desk manufacturers (recommended reading). The good news is these two companies probably have the two best customer service reputations in the standing desk business, because of the high-end clientele they typically serve.

Down to brass tacks, however, Ergonofis offers a 10-year warranty on all components of the Linak base, on both the Sway and Alive desks. This is in contrast to the 15-year warranty offered by iMovR, which has many more years of experience with Linak OEM components. 

But all the quality differences noted above regarding the solid wood tops are probably accurately reflected in both the warranty term and warranty carve-outs with respect to what Ergonofis actually covers. Where iMovR offers a five-year warranty on their solid wood tops, Ergonofis gives only one year. And excludes, without qualification, some problems that are common with less fully-finished natural wood surfaces, like cracking and warping. 

To be fair, there do need to be carve-outs for out-of-norm use and abuse of a solid wood desk. Normal home or office temperature and humidity ranges are expected. Placing an expensive desk like this in the direct sun or outdoors is a great way to ruin it. But a year seems a very short time to warranty an expensive top like this against warping or cracking. Still, it’s better than some other manufacturers that offer zero warranty except against shipping damage, or offer a long warranty but with so many carve-outs as to be useless. 

Ergonofis gives customers 30 days to decide whether they love their desk. iMovR gives 100 days (on all their products). Both have very specific return policies, which you should check out on their respective websites. 

Shipping Times

Ergonofis requires 5 to 15 days to ship out the Sway desk. Given that there is far less customization and finishing process involved in producing their desktops, that’s significantly faster than iMovR’s 6-8 weeks to produce and ship a solid wood top. 

Both companies have the same challenges shipping across the border, but they both do it routinely. It just involves getting a custom shipping quote through the website based on the customer’s specific delivery Zip code.

iMovR also sells all of their solid wood and 3D-laminate desktops standalone, for customers who already own a standing desk but wish to upgrade it. Shipping times are the same as for the full desk systems on these standalone tops. Ergonofis only sells their tops with a new base. 

The Takeaway

Firstly, we have to explain that there just aren’t a lot of options when it comes to true luxury standing desk furniture. Both Ergonofis and iMovR also offer an array of matching accessories, like file cabinets, monitor shelves and premium desk drawers to accompany their desks, which is even more rare.  And when it comes to Canadian consumers wanting something homegrown in this caliber of a solid wood standing desk, Ergonofis is their only option. 

It’s a great desk for the price, and the Linak componentry is as good as it gets. We’re a bit disappointed in the limited breadth of size and finish options on the Ergonofis desktops, the minimalist finish on them, and sadly minimal warranty coverage. These are areas which Ergonofis can potentially improve over time, although we certainly understand the value of curation, especially in the luxury furniture category. 

Online and retail buying trends are going in the other direction, however. Highly customizable furniture like sofas and desks are rapidly shifting from brick-and-mortar stores to online sites that let you personalize your purchase to your heart’s content, not to mention typically pay less and get the merchandise much faster. And we see that trend with companies like iMovR, and to a lesser extent other Chinese-base standing desk makers like Fully and Uplift. 

At the end of the day, if you’re a Canadian consumer seeking the very best solid standing desks made from Canadian hardwood that can be found, you found it in Ergonofis. While they will ship to US customers with shipping surcharge for crossing the border, there are a lot more options across all price ranges with US-based makers already, so we’re not sure it makes a ton of sense to import one from Canada, but they do sell desks to American customers as well.

If you’re comparing Ergonofis versus iMovR there’s a big difference in price (easily $1,000 on a larger desk) but also a huge difference in breadth of selection, quality of finish, warranty coverage and ease of delivery and assembly. The Bluetooth sync and smartphone app is a highly popular feature of all iMovR desks now, the way of the future. All iMovR standing desks are ANSI/BIFMA certified, which may only be relevant to business and government buyers, but is the gold standard in independent lab testing of commercial-grade office furniture products. 

The bottom line is these are two excellent products from two excellent North American companies, just at different price and quality tiers. But these are the Top Two you’ll want to shop first in this category of luxury standing desks. 

Be sure to check out all our Top-Rated Standing Desk Reviews, and especially our Solid Wood Standing Desk reviews if you’re looking to create a more luxurious workstation. If you’re looking for something specifically Canadian, discover them all in our round-up of Canadian Standing Desk Reviews. If the storage possibilities in a desk are what you are looking for, see our other reviews on desks with built-in storage options.


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