James+James Power Adjust Solid Wood Standing Desk Review

November 28, 2022
  • First Look

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Overview

Review Summary

The Knotty Alder Hardwood desktop is handcraft in the USA but is oddly paired with a cheap Chinese-made base that’s dramatically underpowered and slow for this kind of price tag. The single-stage base has a limited height adjustment range and has a short warranty not even mentioned by James+James. The desktop is all right-angles, offering no ergo-contoured edges as you’d expect in a solid wood standing desk priced this high. Six different stains are offered, but James+James is known for customizations, so if you need something other than the two standard sizes or want other modifications you can call them for a quote.

MSRP / List Price

$3,235

Street Price

60″: $3,235
72″: $3,335
Customizable: Need to call for quote

Shipping

Free curbside shipping to all 48 contiguous states

Warranty

Not defined, but they say “If your item ever cracks or splits, we’ll fix or replace it.” This seems to only apply to the desktop. We think we found the correlating base for this desk on VIVO, where they source other standing desk legs, which has a short 3-year warranty.

Lift Type

Single-motor, single-stage lifting columns

Transit Speed

1 inch per second

Controller

Push-button adjustment with up to 3 memory saved heights

Sizes Available

5-feet wide
6-feet wide
Custom

Colors Available

Charred ember
Tobacco
Tuscany
Deep grey
Harvest wheat
Barn wood

Construction

The Knotty Alder wood is what James+James uses for all their furniture. It is kiln dried in-house, “distressed”, and has a reclaimed wood appearance. No ergo-contouring, all edges are 90-degrees. The desktop is protected by a polyurethane coating.

Adjustment Range

The height adjustment range is not published but being a single-stage base it will definitely not meet ANSI/BIFMA G1 ergonomic guidelines (i.e. not good for very short or very tall individuals).

Weight Capacity

The specifications on the legs that seem the same from vivo say the capacity is 176 lbs without the top. We would estimate the available lifting capacity after the weight of the desktop is subtracted to be in the range of 75-100 lbs based on similar bases we’ve lab tested. The weight of the alder desktop would depend entirely on the moisture content it is dried to in the kiln.

Dimensions

5′ Desktop: 60″ W x 30″ D x 1.5″H
6′ Desktop: 72″ W x 30″ D x 1.5″H

Connectivity Features

No Bluetooth

Typical Assembly Time

James+James doesn’t list an assembly time for the desk, but from our experience with similar kinds of desks and the legs featured on the desk, we estimate that it will take around 60 minutes to assemble, given you have all the proper tools beforehand.

ANSI/BIFMA Certified

No

NEAT™ Certified by Mayo Clinic

No

Competition

Compare to All Top-Rated Standing Desks
Compare to Other Solid Wood Standing Desks
Compare to other American-Made Standing Desks

Where to buy Buy on CarpenterJames

Rating

Ease of Assembly
2.0
Reliability
1.5
Quality and Aesthetics
3.5
Ergonomics
2.5
Innovation
2.0
Value
2.0
Suitability for Treadmill Desking
1.0
Positives Although only offered in standard sizes of 5' or 6' wide off the website, James+James specializes in custom orders. So if you're looking for something that's cut to-the-inch to fit your space, and you like the distressed alder hardwood look, this may be an interesting option for you.
Negatives Extremely weak single-motor, single-stage, and slow-moving base to pair with such an expensive, handcrafted desktop. The "warranty" situation is sketchy. Only one species offered, which is a "distressed" alder that has a "reclaimed look", with just six stain options. As custom-made standing desks go, that's a pretty limited offering.

Bottom Line

2.0
While priced like an executive standing desk, this expensive American-handcrafted desktop is paired with a ridiculously underpowered, commodity-grade, Chinese-made lifting base, which makes no sense at all. While there are no warranty specifics listed on James+James website, the company states they'll replace any desktop that cracks or warps (forever?). We think we found the base from VIVO that correlates to this desk, which offers a short 3-year warranty, which makes sense given the likelihood that it will not last all that long.

Executive Desk Price, But Is It Worth It?

As we dive into in our round-up of The Best Executive Standing Desks, we typically categorize any desk over $2,200 in the Executive category, so this Power Adjust electric standing desk from James+James should quality. But it doesn’t take long to see the incongruity with other desks in this category.

carpenterjames electric standing desk review
The commodity-grade lifting base on this very pricey desk seems a complete mismatch.

While the desktop is custom hand-crafted in America, the base is a super-cheap, commodity-grade, single-motor, single-stage, and extremely slow unit that seems too be a complete mismatch. It also has no stated warranty coverage, which surprised us given that the desktop appears to have a lifetime warranty. However, after figuring out that they source legs from VIVO, we found the specifications for the likely corresponding desk, which VIVO gives a 3-year warranty, which is a bit short for a unit that is so expensive. It doesn’t have any of the state-of-the-art features you’d expect of a $3,000+ desk. No Bluetooth, no anti-collision detection, a limited height adjustability range, and a very basic handset. See the PDF to get an idea of how you’ll have to put it together.

The desktop itself is made of a distressed Knotty Alder Hardwood that has a “reclaimed look.” This is the same wood that James+James uses to make all their furniture. It’s kiln-dried in-house, and offered in six different stains. The desktop is a basic rectangle with no ergo-contouring. The finish is a coating of polyurethane. This very basic production process doesn’t touch the level of customization and artisan craftsmanship that other solid wood standing desk manufacturers offer, and yet it costs substantially more.

While the company is known for making a wide variety of home furnishings, it’s pretty clear that ergonomic furniture for the office is something they dabble in but have limited knowledge of. James+James is a garage-started company based in the Ozarks that began 11 years ago with one coffee table.

Bottom Line

Although we have not been able to get this product into our testing labs just yet, we can tell enough just from what we can see online and from inquiries with the company’s sales department. That assessment shows that there are far better desks out there for the money, in a far greater variety of shapes, sizes, species, and finishes paired with far higher quality American-made lifting bases. The extremely rudimentary base is such a great mismatch with this very expensive alder wood desktop that we are reluctant to even list it in the Executive Standing Desk category but for the price.

Be sure to check out some of our other solid wood standing desk reviews to help you find the best one for your ergonomic workplace. And if you’re not sure that solid wood is in your budget you can check out many more standing desks in our comprehensive round-up of the best electric standing desks.

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