FlexiSpot Theodore Standing Desk Review
- Lab tested
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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.
|MSRP / List Price||$499|
|Street Price||Scan for available discount deals|
Free shipping in the lower 48 states
Frame: 5 years
Single electric motor
1.2 inches per second
Simple up and down buttons. No digital height readout. No height memory presets.
The desktop is particleboard with walnut veneer. The frame is steel.
|Monitor Arm Mounting Options||
Height range: 29.5”-49.2”
|Typical Assembly Time||
Once components are removed from the packaging, assembly time should be about 10 minutes. One tool (an Allen key) is included for attaching the lifting columns to the desktop and the feet to the lifting columns. No other tools are required. See assembly video
|NEAT™ Certified by Mayo Clinic||
Compare to Other Top-Rated Standing Desk Storage Options
|Where to buy||
Buy on FlexiSpot
|Ease of Assembly|
|Quality and Aesthetics|
|Positives||It has a built-in drawer with fairly generous proportions. You might like or dislike the appearance, but it's at least something unique and matches a more traditional decor. It's also cheap. The three built-in USB ports will be very handy. The assembly process has only a few steps and should go very quickly.|
|Negatives||Because the desktop is so thick, it is decidedly not compatible with a keyboard tray or ergonomic monitor arm, so it's more ideal for laptop users and those who simply do not intend to have either a monitor arm or keyboard tray on their standing desk. There's only one size and color available. The 99-pound weight capacity is on the lower end, but since it's intended for laptop users, it's not a huge concern. The hand controller is very simple. It doesn't have a height readout or memory presets. There's no anti-collision feature. The desk's minimum height will be too tall for short users. The warranty is short.|
The FlexiSpot Theodore’s design is unique. Next to the quintessential utilitarian standing desk design of two legs, a desktop and a hand controller, this desk stands apart. It’s a thick desktop covered in walnut veneer with decorative moulding around the edge. Some might not like it, but some will love it. It got mostly positive reviews for appearance around the office as we were reviewing it.
We’ve reviewed a few other similarly-styled desks like the iMovR’s Captain’s Desk (a piece of solid-wood designer furniture that’s in a very different price range) but the closest comparison is undoubtedly the FlexiSpot Esben. The Esben has more utilitarian looks, but comes with two drawers. While the Theodore doesn’t quite get our ergonomic senses tingling like the design of the Captain’s Desk does, it does make you look and think twice.
Despite the snappy appearance, look closely at the FlexiSpot Theodore and you’re reminded it is indeed a budget standing desk. The drawer face on our review unit wasn’t fully attached to the drawer body and the moulding isn’t perfectly straight all the way around. Also, the desktop is made of particleboard so liquid spills will always be a concern.
Still, many users won’t notice or care about those imperfections and the point remains this is a great-looking desk at a price range where great-looking desks don’t normally live.
The biggest issue we have with the desktop is a lack of size and decor options. The Theodore comes in one desktop size (47.6”x23.6”) and one color.
The reason for the design is clearly the drawer that’s built into the top. This fights back against one big disadvantage of switching to a standing desk: Losing your drawers and therefore your storage space.
The Theodore’s drawer is generously sized at 21.8” x 11” x 2.6”. This is bigger than most of the add-on drawers we’ve reviewed and plenty big enough for a laptop, mouse and other items to fit comfortably.
The drawer feels very solid when you open and close it. There isn’t much play up and down, or left to right. Like high-end kitchen cabinetry drawers, the drawer slides are “soft closing” so you don’t have to push it in all the way for the drawer face to become flush with the front panel of the desk.
The price for this unique design and built-in drawer is paid in ergonomic flexibility. You can’t attach an ergonomic keyboard tray, because the drawer is in the way. You can’t attach a monitor arm because of the desktop’s edge shape and thickness (4.5”). The desk is clearly designed for laptop users who have no intention of adding further ergonomic accessories.
This lack of attention to ergonomics is also apparent with the hand controller. There are no memory height presets and there isn’t even a digital height readout, so you’ll have a tough time replicating your ideal sitting and standing heights. Each time you change positions you’ll have to find that sweet spot again.
The hand controller has two buttons. One for up, one for down. If you hold either one down for a moment, the desk will raise to its maximum height or lower to its minimum height correspondingly.
These days many of the newly-designed standing desks feature Bluetooth connectivity to work with a smartphone app for controlling the desk, keeping track of your standing-time goals, etc. The Theodore, being a bare bones affair; there is no app, and because there’s no Bluetooth built in, app connectivity won’t be a possible feature in the future either.
There are three built-in USB ports (1 USB-C and 2 USB-A) next to the hand controller, and being able to easily charge your phone or device from your desk is a nice bonus. On the other hand, most desktop power modules have the ports in the rear of the desk where they’re less visible. Having the charge ports on the front of the desk make them really easy to reach.
Electric Lifting Base
Flexispot is the American retail brand for Chinese OEM manufacturer Loctek, a prominent commodity producer of electric standing desk lifting bases. As you would expect for this price range, the FlexiSpot Theodore’s Loctek base leaves something to be desired.
It’s a single motor design and not very quiet. It has a weight capacity of only 99 pounds and moves up and down at a relatively slovenly 1.2 inches per second. We loaded it to 115 pounds in our lab testing and it had the same transit speed so that’s good, but weight ratings are a really important consideration with any standing desk.
Theodore’s low weight capacity makes sense for this specific desk type. As we discussed above, this desktop can’t take a keyboard tray or monitor arm and is designed for the laptop user. Without the capacity for monitor arms and monitors, a 99-pound capacity won’t be a hindrance. We would certainly like more weight capacity, but we don’t knock the Theodore for this as much as other desks since there are fewer ways to stack up the weight on this desk in the first place.
The legs are single-stage (two segments) with the resultant short “stroke” of only 19.7”, and a height range of 29-1/2” to 49.2”. That minimum height is an issue and will be set too high for most shorter users and even some medium-height users to use ergonomically. On the other end, if you’re a tall user, the 49.2” maximum height gives you an extra inch or two over the ANSI/BIFMA G1-2013 Ergonomic Guidelines recommend.
We initially expected the FlexiSpot Theodore to be unstable at height because of its single-stage legs, but it surprised us and performed right in the middle range for stability. The desktop design surely helps here as the five-sided box structure adds much more “parallelogram stability” than a standard inch-thick desktop plank would. The chunky desk feet help as well, weighing in at 3 pounds, 6 ounces each.
Just like with the low weight capacity, the Theodore ducks some stability issues because of its own limitations. It would struggle more with stability if you added a keyboard tray, because it would create a longer “moment lever,” or a monitor arm, because it would lead to a shaky monitor. Alas, you can’t add those accessories, so they’re not a problem.
One last important note about the base is that there is no anti-collision or anti-tiltover feature. This, especially when combined with the lack of any “lockout” feature, is a potential safety issue since children can easily play with the up and down buttons, potentially causing injuries or damaging equipment.
Surprisingly Easy Assembly
The desk comes in one box, and FlexiSpot does a good job of including sufficient packing since this desktop is much more prone to damage than a standard flat desktop plank.
The Theodore shines when it comes to assembly. It is partially pre-assembled, and has only three steps. First, you attach the legs to the frame. Each of these has four bolts and they all went in smoothly, unlike other Chinese-made desks we’ve built that have paint clogging the receiving threads and manufacturing tolerances not being quite as tight as you’d want when dealing with precision electromechanical actuators.
Second, you attach the feet to the legs. Each has four bolts.
Finally, you attach several cables under the desk. There was momentary confusion on this step because the instruction manual is missing a step, but (despite that being a worrying sign of quality control) it’s easy enough to look at the cable ends and figure out where they plug in.
As you can see in our video below, this assembly should take about 15 minutes, including unboxing. As such, we’ve added the Theodore to our roundup of Rapid Install Standing Desks. For tools, you’ll only need the included Allen wrench.
FlexiSpot’s warranty for this desk is five years for the frame and two years for the desktop/electronics. This is better than some of the cheap desks you’ll find all over Amazon (and you should always take user reviews on Amazon with a large grain of salt), but underwhelming against the major manufacturers in this space.
We’re a bit surprised FlexiSpot hasn’t jumped on the warranty train with UpLift and Fully who have recently increased their warranty terms to match iMovR’s 15 years top-to-bottom, but even these longer warranties aren’t a sure thing. Some insert carve-outs in the fine print that might leave you out in the cold if you run into a problem. (In fact, there’s so much spin going on in warranty terms marketing claims these days that we had to write an article just on How To Compare Warranty Policies Between Standing Desk Manufacturers, which we encourage you to read before making a purchase.)
From the design, to the assembly, to the drawer, to the price, there’s plenty to like about this desk. But, it does have limitations. The ergonomics are lacking since you can’t add a keyboard tray or monitor arm. A very simple hand controller adds to the problem by not including a digital height readout or memory presets. It lacks an anti-collision/anti-tilt feature, and lacking Bluetooth doesn’t make it as future-proof as other new desk models. The warranty is short.
If you’re a medium or taller-statured laptop user who just wants to stand and doesn’t care too much about fine-tuning your ergonomics, this desk is an excellent choice. Its unique looks and drawer set it above competitors in this price range.