IKEA IDÅSEN Standing Desk Review
- Forensic Review
If you’re a fan of IKEA DIY assembly projects and already own other pieces from IKEA’s Idasen furniture collection that you want to match, this desk might be worth consideration. Only two color schemes and two desktop sizes make this one of the most limited options in the standing desk world, where some models come in literally thousands of variations. For the money you could do much, much better. And with most standing desks shipping in one week or less these days, waiting a few more days to get a higher-quality desk of just the right color and size for your office would be wise. Read the full review to understand our review experts’ numerous caveats on quality, reliability and ergonomics.
|MSRP / List Price||
$549 for the smaller desk, $599 for the larger (shipping not included)
These days free shipping is included on most standing desk options, but IKEA charges based on your distance from the nearest stocking warehouse. Of course you could always trek out to one yourself and pick it up (3 cartons, about 90 lbs in total) and pocket the shipping fees.
Ten year, however the terms and conditions are not published on IKEA.com and not to be found in the installation instructions or user manual so we can’t opine on its limitations. That said, IKEA usually doesn’t question warranty returns.
1.5″ per second
Linak DPG1M height control paddle with Bluetooth
Desktops come only in brown or black, and bases come only in beige or dark gray, to match the Idasen furniture collection color scheme
Base comes in two boxes:
Total weight out the door:
|NEAT™ Certified by Mayo Clinic||
|Where to buy||
Buy on Amazon
|Quality and Aesthetics|
|Suitability for Treadmill Desking|
|Positives||Simple up-down height control paddle has cleaner look than buttons and syncs to your smartphone through Bluetooth for impressive parlor tricks. Extra tubing in the leg-to-foot connection and a metal crossbar add to stability. Ten year warranty (which you'll probably wind up needing). If your local IKEA has it in stock and you're OK with the very limited choice in colors/sizes it is one of the fastest desks you can buy short of using Amazon Prime.|
|Negatives||Severely underpowered leading to concerns that it will have a similarly notorious DOA and premature field failure track record as the IKEA Bekant. Limited to only two drab colors and two sizes. Tubing in the legs are a collision hazard when swiveling out of your chair. Typically arduous IKEA assembly.|
Imagine spending a couple of hours going to IKEA to pick up a standing desk kit, dragging the three boxes totaling 116 lbs into your office space, spending an hour or two following pictorial instructions to assemble it, and then having it not work correctly. Or, perhaps worse, the desk works normally for a month before failing, when you’ve already tossed out all the original packaging—and then going through the process of disassembling your entire desk and packing it all up to take back to IKEA for a replacement.
It’s a good thing IKEA standing desks come with ten-year warranties, but unfortunately this scenario has become all too common with the underpowered IKEA and Galant standing desks to date. In this review we’ll examine whether the new IKEA Idasen standing desk will have a better chance of offering lasting quality and durability.
Will the third time be the charm?
The now defunct Galant has been erased from IKEA’s website, but their most economical standing desk currently, the Bekant, continues to be sold. Read our experts’ review of the Bekant Standing Desk to learn more about its tortured history, and why it garners only a 1.8-star review from IKEA’s customers on their own website.
We all know IKEA furniture can be a real bargain, but trust us when we tell you that precision electromechanical devices are not in the company’s core competency. Their first two models cut every possible corner in the name of cost reduction, and most germane, were designed with terribly weak motors and low-voltage power supplies that predictably often failed prematurely in the field. Despite this awful track record the Bekant continues to be sold.
IKEA has apparently decided that the high return rates are just part of the cost of doing business. It would be one thing if these desks were really cheap compared to better ones you could buy online but they are not, so buyers who place blind trust in the IKEA brand without first reading the plethora of online reviews from previous buyers are risking adding their own voice to that growing pile of stung customers. We cringe every time we see a new user review posted on the Bekant that starts out with “I only wish I’d read this review before, not after buying.”
For the new Idasen, IKEA switched from their fellow Swedish vendor for the lifting columns, ROL ERGO, to their Danish neighbor LINAK. These are two of the largest and most reputable OEM manufacturers of linear actuators in the world. But don’t let that fool you, IKEA talked them into dropping their standards for promise of very large volumes of orders. And in fact IKEA does own a significant share of the $2.5B US standing desk market, because they do have such a giant retail footprint here. But don’t kid yourself, the cheap components used in the Idasen are nothing like you’d find on commercial-grade standing desks from makers like Workrite, Teknion or iMovR.
The obvious first question we had was why did IKEA chose to create another, more expensive standing desk line? Was it to offer a higher quality version with better reliability than the Bekant? Perhaps, and if that’s the case, then only time will tell if they drop the Bekant in favor of the new Idasen. That would just be repeating history with the ill-fated Galant that preceded the Bekant. More likely, though, is that they just wanted a line of standing desks to match their Idasen collection of furniture pieces designed by Jon Karlsson.
Love it or hate it, the Idasen line features drab colors of beige or dark gray on the metal parts, and brown or black on the wooden parts, at least as far as the desk pieces go. So that’s the first thing you need to know about the Idasen standing desk—it only comes in these two base colors and two desktop colors. When competing brands in the same price range offer literally thousands of size-and-color combos to match any conceivable space and decor IKEA of course has to focus on simplicity of inventory, as this is their discount-warehouse business model. So you need to be ready to settle for just four color combos.
When it comes to sizes, IKEA again only offers two, a small and a large, so better hope one of these fits your space well. Because the Swedish company is on the metric system their desk sizes are non-standard, so just be aware that the 61.5″-wide desk is not going to fit in your 5′ cubicle. American brands will size their desktops with “pinch trims,” e.g. 59 inches to fit a 5-foot cubicle. Common depths in American office desks are 24″ and 30″, while the Idasen’s depths are 27.5″ and 31.5″ because of that metric standard bit.
It’s all about that base
See our separate IKEA IDÅSEN Standing Desk Underframe Review for a deeper dive into the all-important electric standing base that the Idasen sit-stand desk line is built on. It’s classic IKEA: complicated to assemble, underpowered, and limited in versatility. It does have some distinct advantages over the Bekant’s base, however.
(To see how the Idasen Underframe compares to other DIY electric standing desk base kits see our round-up of standalone sit-stand desk frame reviews.)
For one, the height controls aren’t just an up-and-down button affair, they’re a more sophisticated LINAK “DPG1M” style height-control paddle, with a Bluetooth transceiver. There’s no his-res, multi-color readout in this cost-reduced version of the DPG1C like you’ll find on nicer desks, but you can sync to the desk with your smartphone, and impress your friends with the ability to make it go up and down from your phone.
Bluetooth is a hot trend with standing desk controllers, but IKEA has selected the most defeatured version of this high-tech controller.
The motors. 165 lb lift capacity versus 150 lbs for the Bekant. The 10% is not a huge improvement, and it concerns us because the T-leg design of the desk means that side-loading stresses on the round-tubed lifting columns are likely to be a real strain on the motors and power supply. Most people have the majority of items like printers and monitors/monitor arms located at the back of the desk, and only a light keyboard and mouse on the front. This is why commercial-grade standing desks use cantilevered “C-legs” to better balance the typical load of equipment and minimize strain on the motors. Learn more by reading our primer on Do Weight Ratings on Electric Desks Really Matter?
There’s a lot to be said for the amount of metal IKEA uses reinforcing the connection between the bottom tube of the lifting columns and the feet for stability enhancement. The downside is not just the bulky aesthetics but the obstacle these tubes create when swiveling out of your chair to exit your desk from a sitting position.
Topping it off
If there’s anything IKEA is good at it’s making wood panels as cheaply and light-weight as possible. The tops they sell with the Idasen are dramatically lighter than the MDF-core desktops you see on 99% of other standing desks, and early user reviews already point to easy scratching, sharp edges, and susceptibility to showing fingerprints.
We’ve seen some low-quality particle board tops and cheesy, easy-to-peel-off thermofoil laminates from some of the cheaper Chinese vendors but no one can compete with IKEA’s wood panel “frugality.” Even though IKEA consumers 1% of all the wood in the world, their desktops are ingeniously made with 95% air.
In researching this we found this great visual demonstration of how IKEA tops are made on Youtube. It’s a must-see if you’re seriously evaluating the $600 Idasen versus other brands that use real MDF and real laminate in making their tops.
Learn all about the various desktop materials used in the furniture industry in our Ultimate Guide to Desk Tops for Standing Desks.
One nice feature of the Idasen sit/stand desk is that it comes with an elastic mesh netting for holding all your loose cables up nice and tidy underneath the desk.
Early customer reviews, however, point to the rapid degradation of elasticity of this netting, and so you’re probably going to want to invest in an actual cable management kit up front and avoid the hassle of doing it after your desk is already loaded up with stuff.
One downside to the round leg columns is that you won’t be able to use “Mag Daddy” super-magnet cable guides to guide the slack in your cable bundles as the desk moves up and down—those need a flat metal surface to attach to.
Check out some tips and tricks in our article Taming of the Snarl: A Primer on Cable Management.
What’s the value of a ten-year warranty?
In the case of IKEA, it’s hard to say, because while the website asserts that consumers should read the terms and conditions of their warranty before buying, they don’t actually supply the document anywhere on IKEA.com, nor do they include any details in the Assembly Instructions or User Manual for the Idasen. So we can’t opine on any hidden Easter eggs in their T’s & C’s. That said, IKEA is not likely to push back on a warranty exchange or return credit based on the customer’s word.
What concerns us greatly, however, is reading the gut-wrenching reviews of legions of burned IKEA buyers who described the hassles of not only picking up and assembling their IKEA desks but the lost productivity in taking them apart, boxing them back up and returning them to the store when they’ve failed. A ten-year warranty would normally leave you with the sense that the product should last at least ten years before you’d likely experience any kind of failure, but that’s not IKEA’s “breakage economics model.”
In our expert review staff’s opinion there’s no way the Idasen, like its predecessor the Bekant, will last ten years. At some inconvenient time between the day you built it and a few weeks or months down the road these underpowered lifting columns are prone to hit their limit, at least with any kind of modern-day load configuration, such as a PC with dual monitors and a desktop printer. If all you ever plan to put atop this desk is a laptop there’s a chance you’ll get away with no issues.
We’ve lab tested dozens-and-dozens of standing desks over the years, and our staff experts have taken many a desk base down to its core internal components and toured the linear actuator factories where they are made—to borrow the phrase from Farmers Insurance, “we know a thing or two because we’ve seen a thing or two.” For the money you can find way nicer desks that are going to be more reliable, durable, versatile, and even with a real ten-year warranty.
So unless you have your heart set on the Idasen collection of furniture and having every piece match perfectly, we’d recommend moving on to better choices you’ll find in our round-up of Top Standing Desk Reviews.