Ninja Stand Up Desk Review
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The Ninja Standing desk offers deskers a portable desking solution, allowing on-the-go users to work standing, in the office or in a hotel. But with a shallow work surface and an over-reliance on walls or doors to mount on, the Ninja Standing Desk is far from a complete workplace solution, and does not replace a dedicated height-adjustable desk on the floor.
26″ x 11″
30 lbs. per shelf, 80 lbs. total.
|Where to buy||
Buy on Amazon
|Positives||Ultra light and portable, the Ninja can be dismantled and carried in a backpack or suitcase. It has a large range of height- and angle adjustment.|
|Negatives||Can only be used if you are able to hang it from a wall or door. Small workspace and a low weight capacity limits what you can place on the shelves. Adjusting in the middle of work is an inconvenience.|
The Ninja Stand Up Desk made its debut in 2012 after a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign raised over thirty thousand dollars – three times its funding goal. It was designed as a lightweight, portable, and inexpensive way for people to work standing up. The Ninja gets its moniker from how the desk is installed: rather than resting on table legs on the floor, the desk hangs from a wall or door – you know, like a ninja.
Such an unorthodox design is certain to draw heads, and the Ninja Standing desk has received its fair share of attention from the likes of Mac World and TechHive. Reviews have been largely positive, praising the Ninja’s portability and lightweight construction.
A Lightweight, “Portable” Stand Up Desk
The whole assembly is collapsible – each shelf arrives folded in half and is set in place with an aluminum support arm underneath to maintain the shelf’s rigidity. The Ninja Standing Desk can be mounted over a door, or onto drywall with the included monkey hooks. Long cloth straps attach to Velcro strips on a shelf’s four corners and loop underneath to cradle the shelf securely in place. The shelves are independently adjustable and each is rated to support 30lbs. We remain skeptical about relying on Velcro and cloth to hold our precious laptops, but other reviews have found the Ninja surprisingly sturdy.
In addition to height, the shelves’ tilt angle can also be adjusted. This allows the bottom
shelf, ideally used as a keyboard tray, to achieve negative tilt. The Ninja’s biggest strength is its portability. You can easily collapse and store it in a backpack or suitcase. It’s pitched as a travel companion for on-the-go deskers, and is the only truly portable standing desk product we’ve seen.
So why doesn’t the Ninja Standing Desk have us brandishing our Ninjutsu skills around the office? Well, we’re not fans of the installation method, for one thing. You can mount the desk on a door, but no one can use that door while you’re working. You can also mount it on a cubicle partition, but those ¾ walls aren’t tall enough for a lot of people. And while the Ninja’s website claims its monkey hooks are “apartment and hotel friendly,” we don’t think our landlords or concierges would be too thrilled if we left a trail of pinholes wherever we worked. Additionally, adjusting the desk’s height – which involves detaching the shelves and securing the Velcro straps all over again – requires you to remove your laptop before attempting.
We’re also not too excited about the Ninja’s weight capacity, which was compromised in the name of portability. Each desk shelf is rated to 30lbs and the whole assembly is rated to 80lbs before you risk a laptop-breaking fall. But the weight limit won’t matter much on account of how little space there is to work on. At 26”x11”, work space on the Ninja is a premium. There isn’t room for much, aside from a monitor on the top shelf and a keyboard and mouse on the bottom. That shallow depth also means that your monitor can’t sit as far back as recommended. If you’re the type to accrue a lot of paper over the course of the day, you’ll want to look elsewhere for your standing solution.
Treadmill Users Beware
And for all you treadmill deskers out there, consider this: the motor housing on a LifeSpan TR1200 is about 17” long. The Ninja’s 11-inch depth means you’ve got quite a gap between the walking deck and the desk. That much reaching is guaranteed to punish your shoulders. Normally a keyboard tray would be a good solution, but that’s out of the question on such a small and thin platform.
The Ninja Standing Desk is a good idea, and we’re happy to see an indie spirit in the standing desk industry. This could be the way mobile deskers get their stand on while out of town, as long as they’re willing to put up with some hefty concessions. However, due to the space deficit, the low weight capacity, and the constraints on where it can be installed, the Ninja has limited utility and is far from the all-in-one desk we look for here at WorkWhileWalking.
I got the Ninja desk because I’m ‘semi nomadic’ and I could throw it in the suitcase and take it with me. I actually like it a lot, and since I don’t have a large capacity of things that I need, just a laptop, the weight limit is not an issue. I actually set it up with a treadmill for a while and didn’t have a problem.
HOWEVER, the thing that is nearly a dealbreaker for me is that when you have a separate keyboard and monitor (I do a wireless keyboard with my laptop) is that you are WAY too close to the screen when using it as is. I modified this by getting some heavy duty plastic clamps (for clamping things like furniture pieces together) from the hardware store and putting the ‘teeth’ ends on the shelf with my keyboard, and having the ‘legs’ of the clamps sitting against the wall, giving me about an extra 4 inches from the monitor screen, which is about right.
However, the clamps move around if you put too much weight on the shelf, so it’s become not as easy to use. Plus I now have extra clamps to carry around and the clamps don’t fit in the bag, so I clamp them to the carrying handles, but it’s far from an elegant solution.
I wrote the company and let them know that simply making one shelf a bit deeper would solve this problem, but they never wrote me back and have been completely unresponsive to my noting of this problem. Too bad because for me, the Ninja would be a good solution if only they would solve this problem. I’m disappointed in their customer service response to a legitimate design flaw in an otherwise good product.