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Our experts’ Humanscale reviews take a deep look at their keyboard trays, standing desk converters, and more.
As a pioneer and leader in the office ergonomics industry founded in 1983, New York City-headquartered Humanscale started out in making the then-revolutionary articulating keyboard tray. In 1999, it introduced its iconic Freedom chair, created by renowned ergonomics designer Niels Diffrient. The innovative executive task chair broke new ground by combining unprecedented functionality with minimal manual controls. Humanscale followed suit with a series of Diffrient seating designs including Liberty, Different World, and Smart chairs.
Humanscale’s latest products continue the company’s legacy as a leader in innovative, award-winning, user-focused design and include the groundbreaking Element Disc LED task light, the Ballo stool, and the QuickStand height adjustable workstation. They are also known for their monitor arms and Float desks.
Humanscale now has locations in more than 28 countries, where its direct sales force calls directly on corporate accounts. While their products are available through Amazon, Humanscale is not well known among consumers. Their focus is decidedly high-design corporate accounts and their marketing is primarily targeted at high-end commercial contract interior designers.
Below are abstracts and direct links to all the Humanscale reviews we’ve written about since 2013. Some of their products are at least partially still made in the USA, and they’re generally known for high quality and reliability with the one exception of their sit-to-stand desks. From an experts’ rating standpoint Humanscale products are known for their flashy industrial design, high cost, and not necessarily the best ergonomics. As such, their products rarely beat the competition in value, but interior designers often choose Humanscale by default for law offices, financial firms and other clientele that tend to spend lavishly on their office spaces.
Check out our full collection of office fitness equipment brand roundups.
Humanscale Standing Desk Converters
In their debut entry into the fast-growing desktop riser category, the QuickStand oozes with Humanscale’s trademark modern design aesthetic, making it the best choice for office environments that covet high architectural design. Form follows function with a very elegant internal monitor cable routing scheme and a strong desk clamp that attaches to the rear edge of the desk – fully adjustable for varying tabletop depths. As you would expect at this end of the price range the monitor and keyboard heights are independently adjustable. However, while the monitor position is held stiffly, the keyboard position is not. Lacking a quick-release brake there is a tendency for the entire keyboard platform to move downwards with heavy pounding on the keyboard. Tension settings can be set to overcome this to some degree, but not entirely. This is a gorgeous product that gets the job done, but at this price we think the QuickStand should have a quick-release brake on the keyboard platform adjustment to make it perfect. A couple of minor design tweaks would earn this product a 5-star rating from our desktop-riser expert review team, but we can wholeheartedly recommend it for those users who are willing to pay a little more for a clean, modern look that will add to the elegance of their desk or office.
The latest addition to Humanscale’s QuickStand series of converters, the Eco is yet another example of great-looking design meets ergonomic insufficiency. The tray is too wobbly to type comfortably on, and the monitors are not independently adjustable relative to the work surface (without a great deal of hassle). It may work as a laptop stand for short work sessions, but in general this product is a lot nicer to look at than it is to use.
Check out our full round up of standing desk converters
Humanscale Monitor Arms
It boils down to one thing with Humanscale arms, because they are PRICEY. What you’re buying is elegant design that will impress office visitors, just like that $30,000 conference table in the glass-walled conference room everyone sees when they step out of the elevators on your firm’s floor. Functionality-wise these are far from the best-for-the-money but no one tops Humanscale’s glitzy looks. All-in-all you can get better arms for less money that look 90% as nice these days, since other monitor arm manufacturers have all been gunning for Humanscale for many years now.
Humanscale is known for its leadership in industrial design. With form over function these monitor arms may be the prettiest of the bunch, but they generally lack in functionality and ergonomic performance specs. They’re also some of the least rigid arms we’ve ever tested, making them less than ideal for use on 2-legged standing desks (much less treadmill desks) where any vibration in the desk will be significantly amplified by the monitor arm. In the case of the M2.1 its 15.5 lbs maximum lift capability means most monitors sold today wouldn’t be mountable. But if you have a lighter-weight monitor and really love the styling it’s hard to go wrong with this brand if it’s in your budget range.
Check out our full roundup of monitor arms
Humanscale Ergonomic Keyboard Trays
There’s up-scale, and then there’s Humanscale. If you’re committed to building the absolute best workstation then this might just be your leading candidate for a keyboard tray. Incredibly adjustable, well-built, and backed up by a 15-year warranty from a company with a proven track record of quality. There are literally over 159,000 customized versions available, to suit almost every table design and user need out there. These traditionally high-priced keyboards become much cheaper when paired with an adjustable height desk, obviating the need for height adjustment in the keyboard tray mechanism itself.
Purpose-built for adjustable-height desks, the Float Keyboard Tray by HumanScale is designed to retract completely under desks with as little as 12″ of freeboard between the user edge and the under-table crossbars (such as HumanScale’s popular Float Table). But users may miss a few standard features that were eschewed in the name of space-saving.
Check out our full roundup of ergonomic keyboard trays
Humanscale Foot Rests
We love having this Humanscale footrest around; it’s one of the most borrowed items around the testing lab. It’s attractive, slender, and it feels amazing. Yes, we know we’re describing it in romantic terms, and no, we’re not embarrassed about that.
Though it has its drawbacks and design flaws, the sole massager version of this Humanscale FM300 foot rocker provides the best value for its premium price.
At first glance, this is likely the weakest of Humanscale foot machines. Its tubular steel frame appears suspect, as evidenced by few negative user reviews.
Check out our full roundup of foot rests