Smugdesk Stand Up Desk Converter Reviews
Quality appearance and stable surface. Keyboard tray is lowered for better ergonomic monitor positioning. Arrives fully-assembled.
May be extremely difficult to lift to standing height when monitors are on top. Shipping damage is common. Requires monitor arm for proper ergonomic monitor height. Short maximum height makes it unfit for taller users.
Editor’s Note: The following is a “forensic” review. We have not yet had the opportunity to test the Smugdesk in our labs. When we have been unable to obtain a review unit from the manufacturer and when there is demand from our readers for information on the product, we evaluate publicly available information that the manufacturer and users of the product have provided online. We then apply our extensive experience evaluating standing desk converters and make an informed projection of how well this product will stack up against other products in its category. As soon as we are able to conduct a hands-on evaluation of the product or learn new information about it, we will update this review. Learn more about our review process at Anatomy of a Review.
- Z-Lift type
- Lowered keyboard tray
- Two sizes of models, 32”-wide work surface and 36”-wide work surface
- Many users find the lift mechanism too difficult to raise due to weak counterbalance force from flimsy air pistons
- Short maximum height, 15” or 16.5” — not for users over 6’ 0”
Smugdesk Stand Up Desk Converters
The Smugdesk belongs to the Z-Lift family of stand up desk converters, known for solid stability and good ergonomics.
Both models (32″ and 36″) are on the super budget side for Z-Lifts—you can expect extremely cheap components went into its construction. It’s basically a copycat product of the Varidesk, attempting to do the same, just cheaper.
Does the Smugdesk succeed?
Not quite. For one, those who use dual monitors or monitor arms will be disappointed—especially with the 32″. The extra weight from these items will make lifting the Smugdesk too difficult. Its weak air pistons will provide little counterbalance support during the lifting process, making you do nearly all the lifting work yourself. We’ve seen it on cheaper desktop risers like the Halter Standing Desk Converter before. These products sell well on Amazon, where consumers don’t have a way to compare the products’ quality (only pretty marketing images to see). Billed as back-savers, the opposite is true.
At the same time, we cannot recommend using the Smugdesk without a monitor arm because you’ll lose the ability to fine-tune your monitor position for proper ergonomics. Most people want their monitor(s) slightly higher relative to their work surface when they’re standing versus when they’re sitting. Otherwise they’re looking over the top of their monitors when they adjust to standing height. Without a monitor arm, this subtle adjustment is extremely difficult, if not impossible.
The Smugdesk has an altogether unimpressive height range in both of its incarnations (the 32″ and 36″ models). 15″ for the smaller model and 16.5″ for the larger model—neither of these will accommodate users over 6′ or so.
As expected, its keyboard tray does not tilt for proper typing ergonomics. (You want to emulate a neutral wrist and arm posture while typing, so a declined angle is best.) But apparent from some of the photos is a ‘drooping’ keyboard tray—an issue inexpensive models frequently have, where machining tolerances in the production process weren’t precise enough, causing the front of the keyboard tray to tilt down slightly, grazing the tabletop in the fully lowered position.
Interestingly, it appears Smugdesk pillaged their marketing copy from a competitor. If you ask us, that’s reflective of their lack of originality in product design too.
For the amount of time you spend at your desk working, it’s worth investing in a higher quality workstation. There are a multitude of stand up desk converters that are better designed, longer lasting, and more ergonomically-sound. You can get a taste of what’s out there in our sit-stand converter reviews. Like we said, with the Smugdesk, we don’t see much to be ‘smug’ about.