Humanscale Float Table Stand Up Desk Review
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There’s something almost seductive about a Float table. Innovative counterbalance technology makes these desks fast, easy adjusters.
|MSRP / List Price||
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Free Shipping. Ships 4 weeks from order.
As fast as you can lift it
24″ x 48″
Desktop: Gray, platinum, white, tan, black
Steel and aluminum make up the base
|NEAT™ Certified by Mayo Clinic||
Standing Desk Comparison Reviews
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Buy on Smart Furniture
|Quality and Aesthetics|
|Suitability for Treadmill Desking|
|Positives||No plodding electric motors or tedious crank handles — instead, a counterbalance system gives the Float Table a seductively quiet and smooth gliding adjustment in the blink of an eye. Extremely well designed; users have praised the wide desktops (customizable) and uncluttered foot space. Made with sustainable practices for the green-conscious consumer. Very popular with the high-decor law offices and financial firms.|
|Negatives||High quality, high cost. The Float Table is a brilliant piece of work, but standing and treadmill deskers on a budget may balk at the price tag. The "removable crank" option is a pain to adjust — we strongly recommend the built-in crank option for resetting the weight settings on the counterbalance mechanism.|
With the zooming popularity and consequent rapidly declining costs of today’s electric standing desks, manual (crank) desks have more or less gone the way of the Dodo bird. There are still a few rare models left for sale but they are no cheaper than low-end electrics. Their obvious advantage is that they don’t need to be plugged into a power outlet to work. Position them anywhere in the office and you have yourself a sit-stand workstation.
However, crank desks suffer from some serious deficiencies. They’re quite slow compared to the motorized efficiency of an electric desk. Even at a height adjustment rate of three turns per inch, you’re looking at spending 30 seconds every time you switch between sitting and standing, compared to 10 or less with an electric model. That much cranking can be a real deal-breaker for less-patient users who weren’t exactly looking for a workout today. That’s what makes Humanscale’s Float Table stand up desk so alluring. It forgoes the crank for a speedier adjustment method without motors.
There are many standing desk options out there, but few that are completely made-in-USA. The Float Table is such a beast, and it shows in everything from its design innovation to its warranty. You can read more about the stark differences between Made-in-China versus Made-in-USA Standing Desks.
A Floating Desk? You Gotta Be Kidding
Here at WorkWhileWalking, we’re used to seeing standing desks operate with the aid of an electric motor or hand-operated crank. The Float Table stands apart with its unique crank-free counterbalance system, which relies on a tension system to act against a load. Simply depress a small paddle to release the brake, then effortlessly lift or lower the desktop. You can adjust the desk one-handed — a nifty office trick if you’re trying to impress your colleagues. It’s an adjustment mechanism we’ve seen on some standing desk converters, but Humanscale has pretty well cornered the market on full-sized counterbalance standing desks.
For something that’s such a departure from the standing desk norm, the Float Table has a surprisingly familiar installation process. Aside from the spring tension adjuster and the release paddle, you’re basically attaching a wooden top to a pre-assembled, all-metal base. Attaching the desktop is actually easier than on typical standing desks, thanks to insert nuts embedded into the underside of the Float desktop. These insert nuts, which are also featured on other premium American-made desks like iMovR’s Lander and Energize, make attaching the base easy and mess-free.
As pre-assembled desks go, the Float Table stands alone with only one other, the iMovR Lander Electric Desk with Smartphone App. The difference is that the Lander, which is five years newer than the FloatTable, takes only a few minutes to unbox and put together and requires no tools, whereas the Float Table still requires attachment of several components using tools, and a post-assembly process of tuning the counterbalance to the weight of the items on your desk. The FloatTable’s base is also very heavy; this is a two-person job, to be sure.
A Stand Up Desk with Humanscale’s Signature Sheen
Humanscale is a company that specializes in good-looking furniture and equipment. Their M2 and M8 monitor arms are stylish assemblies of steel and aluminum, and their Quickstand Sit-Stand Workstation takes a page from the Apple School of Design, with its white-and-gray minimalist aesthetic. It even has an elegant way to hide unsightly cables.
The Float Table takes Humanscale’s design principles and applies it to the larger arena of stand-up desks. The base is thin and sleek, made from steel and aluminum. Its tabletop is a basic high-pressure laminate (HPL) affair with a thin beveled edge that makes it easier to grip the height adjustment paddle.
Glide Your Desk to Standing Height
Once you’ve finished putting your Float standing desk together, the next step is to tune the counterbalance system to the right tension. To do this, set up your workstation as normal — placing your monitors, computer, and whatever else you need on top of your desk. Turn the tension crank until you’re able to lift and lower the desktop easily with one hand. Once set, you will only need to readjust the tension if you add or subtract a significant amount of weight. Humanscale offers both removable and mounted crank versions of the Float Table (the mounted option costs $80 more, but we highly recommend as it is far, far easier to use).
The Float Table glides up and down smoothly, without any of the coffee sloshing you get from trying to rapidly adjust a crank desk. It’s also a quiet affair, without any of the noise that comes from grinding gears. It has a relatively low adjustment range of about 27-47″ which, while within the ANSI/BIFMA standard for adjustable-height desks, may not be suitable for taller users of around 6-foot-2 or taller, or of average-height users on an office treadmill. Many desk manufacturers are already seeing the value of exceeding the ANSI/BIFMA standard, and desks like the iMovR Energize XT and Lander can reach up to 55″ with their leg extension options. So we’re a little disappointed at the Float’s rather banal height range.
Also disappointing is the exceedingly low weight capacity of 130 pounds. We’re used to seeing crank and electric-operated desks that can lift upwards of 350 pounds, and the Float seems like a weakling by comparison. That kind of lifting deficiency is to be expected with a counterbalance system, so it’s the price you pay for this gliding table — well, that and $1,635.
Solid Design, Modern Aesthetic
Function comes first, but form isn’t far behind. The Float Table’s polished aluminum and steel body would do any office proud. Humanscale offers five laminate colors for tabletop finish, which all speak to their modern aesthetic. Select from white, gray, platinum, tan, or black. A range of desktop size options are also available, between 48″ and 72″ in width and 24″ and 30″ in depth.
As you can read in our in-depth engineers’ discussion of What Makes Some Standing Desks Shakier Than Others, a two-legged desk is an inherently unstable affair, with a wide spectrum of quality to be found between the cheap Chinese imports (generally quite shaky) and the premium domestic brands (the least shaky, generally speaking). But, if there’s anything the FloatTable’s heavy metal base has going for it is its astounding stability. To get this much stability otherwise you’d have to upgrade to a four legged sit-stand table.
A Few Bumps in the Road
The Humanscale Float Table looks great on paper, and the first time we tried one at a trade show was magical. Which was why we were disappointed when some forensic analysis of customer comments online informed us that units were arriving damaged due to shoddy packaging. But, we really liked the concept of the Float, and there really is something magical about them once they’re set up and working properly. Those problems were all reported in 2013/2014, but not recently. We kept a closereye on the product to see if Humanscale could turn things around. After some careful review of the evidence, we can once again highly recommend the Float Table to our readers. Humanscale appears to have improved the manufacturing quality control and delivery process of this adjustable-height desk, bringing it in line with Humanscale’s otherwise stellar decades-long reputation for quality and service.
The Float Table comes with a very solid 5-year warranty and 24/7 support from Humanscale. While some of the Chinese-made competitors like UpLift and Fully (both using a lifting base manufactured by Jiecang) have upped their warranty terms to seemingly match iMovR’s, consumers should be aware that not all warranties are created equal. Some insert a bevy of carve-outs in the fine print that might leave you out in the cold if ever you run into a component failure in the future. In fact, there’s so much spin going on in warranty terms marketing claims these days that we had to write a separate primer just on How To Compare Warranty Policies Between Standing Desk Manufacturers, which we encourage the consumer to read ahead of making their final purchase decision.
Our staff experts’ advice is to always go with the higher-quality componentry of a top-shelf American or European-made base and significantly reduce the odds of ever having to deal with the immense hassle of an out-of-commission desk. Keep in mind that desks generally start to underperform before they fail, and loose manufacturing tolerances will lead to performance issues such as grease streaking, squeaking when in transit, and increasing shakiness over time.
Humanscale offers numerous options for customizing your Float Table, from different colors of bases and tops to four different base sizes and eight different top sizes. Build your own at the WorkWhileWalking online store to calculate built cost on the fly.
Humanscale, also, has other standing desk options on the market so be sure to read our complete roundup of those desks.
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My gentled used FLOAT died this morning. Internal spring broke. Six years old. Less than 30 lbs on the desk. Hoping that HS will fix under warranty.
My Float table base was just delivered and I opened the box to find it damaged, bent and un-usable. After waiting a month for this to be delivered I’m starting to regret I ordered it in the first place.
I can tell you as someone who has been in the furniture industry for many years that sadly these are junk. The price tag is outrageous for such a limited time on the warranty. If you ask me, that should be lifetime. We have had to replace 80% of the Float bases in my client’s space due to them locking up, gears breaking inside the frame and the whole tension bar snapping completely. Note, they do not have too much weight on these and are using them very minimally. I wanted to love these but I would highly warn anyone thinking of outfitting their office with them. The ease of quickly changing positions is not worth all the risk and the very low weight limit and warranty. There are very nice and comparable electric dual motor bases available now with nearly double the weight bearing capacity, a 10 year warranty at about half the price.
Rick, thank you for the feedback. We are going to be meeting with Humanscale shortly to go over these issues and give them an opportunity to weigh in before we update our review of the Float Table. Based on consistent reports like this from users and dealers it certainly seems that some of their original QA problems have returned. The lift mechanism needs a major redesign, and as you say, electric has become such a better option for the money over the past six years since the Float Table was introduced.
Mine broke too, just near the 5 year mark. Normal home office usage. One day something snapped inside and it would no longer raise. Luckily the retailer I purchased from his quite good and they swapped it out for me with a new one but I have no confidence in Humanscale any more and would NOT recommend this desk.
Rick, Can you offer me some advice? Mine made a “bang” noise at the 6 year mark and it no longer raises or lowers. Humanscale has not returned contact from my original retailer, and they have not replied to a letter I wrote them two months ago. Is there someone I can speak with from Humanscale? How would you advise?
I purchased this desk with the built in adjustable crank but the parts did not come in the packaging. I have been waiting for over a week to get the new parts.
I am 2 weeks into this desk and I would have many nice things to say except today it got stuck in the lowest position and I cannot bring it up. I came to this site in search of troubleshooting. So there you go. Nice idea, work out the jinks or get better customer service (for the price, they might as well)
I ordered my Float desk April 29th. Despite the promise of 4-6 weeks for delivery, and when I called to check not the delivery status, because there is no way to track it online, I was assured it was going to be closer to 4 week…I just received mine today..June 2nd. OK, so it was a little late. I just spent nearly $2,000 on a desk. I was SURE it would be great. I don’t know yet. Why? Because when it finally arrived today it was missing 2 pies…the very pieces that enable the mystical, elusive “float feature”. I cannot adjust it at all. Since I am told the manufacturer is in Spain, it is taking Design Within Reach (where I purchased the table) 24 hours just to hear back from the manufacture to see if they can even send the missing parts…and if they can I am told it will take at least 2-3 more weeks. NO THANK YOU! This desk is going back on the slow boat it arrived on. Not only has the process been tedious, and the delivery incomplete, the quality of the desk top itself is a far cry from what I expected.