The Best Desk Cable Chains
- Lab tested
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A cable chain or cable spine (or cable management vertebrae or cable track, these things are called a lot of different names) is along the same vein as a cable sleeve, but it’s a rigid structure instead of a soft one. Cable management chains are sold standalone but also commonly included in some standing desk cable management kits.
Cable chains vary widely in price and quality. Good cable chains will take into account how many times a standing desk goes up and down every day, how users add and remove cables, and how they look. The best options are more than 50″ long so they don’t dangle off the ground when desks are elevated (this is especially true for treadmill desk users whose desks can reach as high as 56″).
You should also pay attention to the mounting brackets on cable chains. Some chains have weak mounting brackets and some have brackets that aren’t completely under the desktop. Not being under the desktop is a problem for two main reasons. First, there’s no way you’ll be able to get several cords in the chain without popping up above the desktop and being visible. Second, this type of installation sticks out behind the desk so you won’t be able to have your desk up against a wall.
Beyond cosmetic tidiness, cable management is key for a safe and sane workstation as well. As we discuss more thoroughly in our primer on ergodynamics, cable management can help you avoid tripping and bending injuries, among other issues.
The Best Cable Management Chains
We rate the best vertebrae cable management options below.
While it’s the most expensive cable chain you’re likely to be able to buy via e-commerce, the iMovR Tucker Cable Management Chain is clearly the best. And it’s still significantly cheaper than the commercial-grade cable chains used by professional furniture installers, which frankly aren’t as well designed. It’s longer, better and easier to work with than other popular cable spines. The design keeps all your descending cords moving in a neatly-contained vertical column hidden behind one of the desk legs, which is much more professional looking than all the other cable management spines we tested. Plus, there’s a 5-year warranty to provide peace of mind.
The StarTech’s looks will catch your eye, for better or worse. A 5-year warranty is excellent for a cable management component. StarTech’s method for installing cables is nice in that you don’t need a special tool, but it otherwise falls short. You have to press cables into each link individually, taking a lot of time and potentially damaging larger cables. The mounting bracket is also a weak point.
The VIVO’s method for installing cables is nice in that you don’t need a special tool, but it otherwise falls short. You have to press cables into each link individually, taking a lot of time and potentially damaging larger cables. The mounting bracket is also inadequate.