The Edge Desk Review
What happens when you marry an art easel to a piece of gym equipment? Something like the Edge Desk.
Artists, Draftsmen, (not office workers)
|MSRP / List Price||$369|
Free Shipping (continental U.S.)
Tabletop: 20″ x 30″
|NEAT™ Certified by Mayo Clinic||
|Where to buy||
Buy on Amazon
What happens when you marry an art easel to a piece of gym equipment? Something like The Edge Desk. Our review staff evaluates this unconventional workstation.
Kneel all day, keep “sitting disease” away?
The short answer is no, and likely the folks at Edge Desk would admit the same. Remaining in any one single posture for a prolonged period of time is the root of our ergonomic problems, not the solution. Key to staying healthy during the work day is movement, and that’s why we recommend a mix of sitting, standing, and walking during the day, and an assortment of equipment to help make that happen (e.g., standing desks, treadmill desks, ergonomic seating).
So what’s wrong with a little kneeling sprinkled in? In moderation and done correctly nothing, but when it comes to The Edge Desk in particular, we have our reservations.
The basic health premise behind The Edge Desk is the same as other kneeling chairs. In the kneeling position, we sit more ‘actively’ during the day, meaning instead of passively slouching, we engage our core and back muscles to stabilize ourselves and keep upright. Great in theory. After all, passive sitting is the major culprit for so many of our health woes. Anything to prevent it is a step in the right direction.
The concern comes in how that step is made. The Edge Desk takes a leap beyond other kneeling chairs in adding an attached tabletop. In doing so, it brings upon itself (inadvertently) a host of ergonomic difficulties, which if left unaddressed could cause new health problems for users — neck strain, wrist, and knee pain to name a few.
What users have to say
Assembly is a cinch. The Edge Desk comes out of the box pre-assembled and boasts it can be set up in 10 seconds – a more sober estimate from users is a few minutes. But this is an easy product to put together, no complicated assembly steps involved. Just unpack the device from the box, remove some packaging, expand the desk out to full extension, and fine-tune the knobs for your ideal positioning.
Possible adjustments include the desk height (+5 settings), the desk post tilt (+8 settings), the tabletop angle (+5 settings), and the chair depth (4 settings).
With a lever, you can shift the tabletop from landscape to portrait mode, a feature we see well-suited for artists or draftsmen who are using the tabletop for drawings. But as of now, there is no place to store supplies (paint brushes, etc.) on the desk without them sliding off; it’s only when more accessories become available (target date of April) that there will be options for storing supplies on the sides of the desk. Slight grooves along the perimeter will make snapping in accessories easy. (see below)
A fair warning when adjusting the tabletop angle: future accessories include a pad to hold a laptop in place, but one reviewer notes that higher angles will still cause the laptop to slide. Using The Edge Desk with a computer will limit the extent you can adjust your tabletop’s angle.
The base is made of aluminum while the tabletop is made of plastic. In all the device weighs 25 pounds, and it doesn’t have any wheels, making the adjective ‘portable’ a bit of a misnomer. While photos show The Edge Desk out in public, on the streets, in coffee shops, it’s highly unlikely you’ll want to lug this thing around with you wherever you go.
But when you’re done using the desk, you can fold it down and stow it away until you want to use it again. It collapses to a height of 6 inches to fit under a bed or behind a couch.
We noted some complaints about stability, users saying the surface has a tendency to shake when it receives pressure. This could especially be an issue if you’re a heavy-handed typer. No one wants to dart their eyes back and forth on the screen just to focus. But before you give up and concede you’re stuck with wobbler for a workstation, double-check all the knobs are properly tightened.
The Edge Desk has no way to adjust your monitor height. And to us, this is its most significant ergonomic deficiency. You’ll see Edge Desk advertisements with users working with laptops, craning their necks downwards to see their screens. It’s a basic ergonomic faux pas to not level your monitor with your eye line, and it’s something we expect to be addressed for any workstation billing itself ‘ergonomic’. Prolonged time spent leaning over your workstation this way will result in immediate neck strain and potentially serious health issues down the road.
Fortunately, other active workstations have created a solution for adjusting monitor height: the ever-famous monitor arm. Monitor arms attach to a desk and raise your monitors to whatever location is ideal for your individual body type (or anthropometry as ergonomists call it). Adjustments include depth, height, and angle tilt. It’s possible a monitor arm (like these ones) could be attached to The Edge Desk to improve its ergonomics, but there may be issues with stability due to the added weight. This is a feature we’d like to see the creators of The Edge Desk incorporate in a future iteration of their product, or if monitor arms fit on The Edge Desk, advertise them as a highly recommended ergonomic accessory.
But monitor height adjustability is not the only ergonomic qualm we have about The Edge Desk. Improper wrist position is another potential design flaw. The unit thrusts you forward towards the tabletop and may cause you to lean in, or grip on for stability. We highly recommend looking for a position that minimizes the amount of pressure you put on your wrists while you’re typing.
And lastly, there is the fact you’re stuck in the kneeling position. Being in any one position for too long is tough on your body, and kneeling is no different. Constant pressure on your knees can puts strain on your joints. If you have had any history with knee problems, then this product (or any kneeling chair for that matter) is to be generally avoided.
Marrying an art easel with a piece of gym equipment may seem a bit out of place. It turns out to be ergonomically problematic as well. But most of our critique applies to using this device with a laptop. Artists and draftsmen may find using The Edge Desk for short bursts during the day to be a nice break from passive sitting. If the tabletop is raised high enough, there will be no issue with neck ergonomics.
It’s billed as ‘the ultimate desk for productivity’ and we have to disagree. The “workout equipment feel” might give you the illusion you’re in the gym working out, but this product suffers from too many overlooked ergonomic issues to be a reliable long-term workstation.
For $350 we recommend checking out other ways to stay active at work, including fully height adjustable desks, or standing desk converters – an inexpensive, popular way convert your existing desk into a standing workstation.