The Standing Desk Kloud Height-Adjustable Workstation Review
- Lab tested
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If a pneumatic standing desk is ideal for your work environment, we have yet to see any that measure up to the level as those from The Standing Desk, and the Kloud is perfect for those that need more than just a place to put their laptop. With the net lifting capacity of 90 lbs (150 lbs of max counterbalance minus the 60lb desktop) you’ll have plenty of load capacity even without having to be plugged into a power outlet. With quick and smooth movement between sitting and standing heights, you can find your next working position in a fraction of the time it takes an electric lifting base to move, and with whisper-quiet operation. You won’t get some of the possible conveniences of electric height-adjustable desks, like saved heights, standing reminders, and more, but pneumatics might fit your working situation much more, especially if your desk needs to be more mobilized on caster wheels. Compared to other premium grade standing desks, the only real downside to the Kloud is the desktop, which is the standard HPL as is used on many cheaper desks, without any ergo contouring and only 5 color options. But if you want a non-electric standing desk that still has the size and power for a normal workstation, the Kloud is the way to go.
|MSRP / List Price||$999|
48″ wide: $999
Free in the contiguous United States
Instantaneous height changes are faster than any electric desk can perform.
Pneumatic brake lock (no electronics involved)
Desktop: Urban Oak, Walnut, Neutral Twill, Dover White, Graphite Twill
Square steel powder-coated base and a Formica finish over a recycled wood substrate
Height adjusts from 28.25″ to 48“
90 lbs net (150 lbs of counterbalance minus the 60 lb desktop)
Certified to BIFMA x5.5
|NEAT™ Certified by Mayo Clinic||
|Where to buy||
Buy on The Standing Desk
|Ease of Assembly|
|Quality and Aesthetics|
|Positives||The major up-sides to the Kloud include the high-quality pneumatic mechanism that The Standing Desk includes in these non-electrified desks. Exacting German engineering, Swiss Steel, and adding craftsmanship from the USA results in a lifting base that is near impossible to beat. Just by virtue of being a pneumatic desk, the Kloud frees your workstation from being tethered to an electrical outlet, which is even cooler if you have your desk on caster wheels for mobility around your office. It also lets you switch between sitting and standing positions faster than any electric desk can and with less noise. You also don’t have to worry about all the possible points of failure that can come with electric desks, especially cheaper ones.|
|Negatives||There are things you give up when you go with a pneumatic height-adjustable desk over an electric one. You won’t be able to save your favorite heights, having to find it each time you change position. Some electric desks come with built-in reminder systems so you don’t forget to get up on your feet for a spell. And many of the premium-grade electric desks can even link to your phone by Bluetooth for even more tech-forward features. Also, if you still need computers, monitors, etc that need to be constantly plugged in, that kinda negates the freedom of movement perk from pneumatic desks. The part of the Kloud that is just disappointing is the desktop, which is your run-of-the-mill high-pressure laminate with edge banding that is prone to deterioration over time.|
A High-Tech Standing Desk You Don’t Plug In?
When you think about ergonomic standing desks, the leading models that come foremost to mind are typically ones that get plugged in, using motorized linear actuators to enable the desk to go between sitting and standing heights. This has been the case for many years now, ever since electric standing desks pushed their way into the industry and overcame early crank and pneumatic operated desks in popularity.
But pneumatic adjustable height desks are still here, operating completely without electricity. Instead, they use pneumatic gas cylinders to raise and lower the desktop surface in quick, smooth, and near silent movement.
This kind of technology has definitely persisted in the ergonomics industry with a plethora of standing desk converters that aren’t electric, but there are only a few full standing desks available today that operate with pneumatics. We’ve reviewed some in the past, like the Humanscale Float Table, which has suffered from a legacy of mechanical design flaws despite its high price tag. Now made in China, it no longer stands apart from all the other Chinese-built pneumatic sit-stand desks, and most all of those share similar design shortcomings.
The Kloud, and other pneumatic desks from The Standing Desk, share one very important thing in common. Their mechanisms are made by parent company Kessebohmer Ergonomics, which uses German engineering and Swiss steel to make their high quality componentry.
Why Would You Want a Pneumatic Desk?
Since electric desks so clearly dominate the industry, you might ask why anyone would choose something that seems less popular. In fact, there are a bunch of reasons to bypass the seemingly more convenient electric desks.
Probably the largest check in the positives column for pneumatic desks is the simplicity of their operation. With just a quick squeeze of the locking mechanism, you can then lift up the surface or push it down to your desired height. The entire process can take as little as a couple of seconds, whereas the transit time for electric desks usually comes in at around 0.9 to 1.6 inches per second..
The convenience and freedom of placement is also another big aspect of these desks. When you don’t have to plug your desk into an available outlet, you can set up your workstation wherever your heart desires, worrying not about an extension cord trip hazard.
Pneumatic desks might also appeal to the “green” side of shoppers, as it won’t increase your power bill at all or drain possibly limited energy resources if that is what you rely on. If you live and work “off the grid” or even in an RV or on a boat, it’s one less thing that can draw down parasitic power that you need to worry about.
Noise is another issue where pneumatic operation excels in comparison to electric or crank adjustable-height desks. Where electric motors hum and whirr with noises anywhere from a fly buzzing against a nearby window to a jackhammer right outside your office door, pneumatic desks are so whisper quiet that the noise is almost indistinguishable from the breath of a coworker across the office.
Another issue that you get to avoid with pneumatic powered standing desks is everything that can go wrong with electronics. So many small parts that make up the electronics of adjustable height desks increases the possible points of failure, and if you look at customer reviews across the internet, you’ll find that it is not an uncommon occurrence. Along with that, there is no worry about power surges or liquid spills possibly making your standing desk unusable. We don’t want to make too big a thing about the risks of operating an electric standing desk, but statistically speaking there is more to go wrong with an energized desk than a power-free desk.
A common place to find pneumatic desks like this and the Humanscale Float are in law firms, financial firms, and libraries, where being quiet and able to quickly change your posture are very important to workers, which happen to be places with typically larger budgets. They’re also ideal for use in labs and studios, with caster wheels on the feet, where computer workstations need to roll quickly between different parts of the room without catching on power cables strung across the floor.
But When Do You Need an Electric Standing Desk?
However great pneumatic desks can be, there are times when an eclectic desk might be better for a shopper.
The physical effort to change the height of an electric desk is absolutely minimal, literally just pushing a button. Some, you can even control from an app on your phone with just a finger tap. Pneumatic desks do require a slight bit of effort to push the top down or lift it up. For those that might have extreme limitations, the pneumatic options might not be feasible.
Another difference between these desk types is their lift capacity, and if you need a greater lift capacity, you’ll be better off looking primarily at electric desks. If your workstation requires multiple monitors, and a bunch of accessories that will weigh down on your desktop, a pneumatic-powered desk likely won’t have the counterbalance capacity to keep it lifted to any significant height. But if you just have a basic workstation, pneumatics will have sufficient support for your gear. And if you find your desktop meandering up or down for any reason, you can recalibrate the counterbalance to bring it back to homeostasis. Along with that, with electric desks, you’ll never have to adjust the pneumatic counterbalance, which you would have to do on a pneumatic desk every time there is a significant weight change to your workstation.
If you are a feature junkie, you will likely prefer to look at electric desks as well. Many electric desks offer some pretty nifty features, like Bluetooth connections to extremely useful apps, reminders to stand throughout the day, wireless phone chargers, and programmable memory for saved desktop heights. If these kinds of features are important to you, pneumatic might not be the best path.
In the end, deciding whether to buy a pneumatic or an electric desk will come down to your particular situation. Neither is inherently better than the other overall, and each kind serves the purpose it was designed for.
The Standing Desk’s Heavy Duty Standing Desk – The Kloud
TheStandingDesk.com offers several different models of pneumatic standing desks, and the Kloud is their rockstar. It has the largest surface area and the greatest weight capacity among their entire line of non-electric desks. It can lift up to 90 lbs (technically, 150 lbs, but you need to subtract the weight of the 60 lb desktop), which is quite a feat for pneumatic columns. While the best electric desks handle well over 200 lbs and even over 300 for some, most of the workstations out there don’t need that much lifting capacity, and the 90 lbs threshold for the Kloud is plenty for your monitor, laptop, and a few devices. It can uphold basically all but the most robust and decked out modern setup, something many other pneumatic desks won’t be able to claim. (See our primer on How Important Are Weight Ratings On A Standing Desk for some nuanced considerations.) And even with that kind of load, it can still go up and down in just a few short seconds.
You Get The Desk They Have, Nothing Else
There is not much customizability with the Kloud. There are only two available sizes, either 48” or 60” in width by 30” in depth. As for colors, there are only five that you can choose from for the desktop, and three different hues for the base. While they aren’t unattractive finishes, it does limit the different kinds of decor where the Kloud standing desk can match. In addition, The Standing Desk tells us that there are solid wood desktop options soon to come, so watch for this review to get updated. There is also no option to add grommet holes to the desk. Granted, one of the great things about the desk is that it doesn’t have any wires hanging off of it, so why mess it up with a bunch of your wires that you need to pass through a grommet hole? Overall, there just isn’t as much customizability as we often enjoy from other manufacturers.
Impressive Quality Componentry
The Kloud is a premium-grade standing desk, and that is reflected in the price. The German components are precision made to the highest standards. The Swiss steel is some of the best available. And then you have everything assembled together in Grand Rapids, Michigan to another high-standard of quality. This all results in a standing desk base that can outclass any of the units we’ve seen coming out of Asia, including the Humanscale Float Table. (Once upon a time Humanscale used to utilize Kessebohmer pneumatics in their bases but they’ve since gone to China to lower costs, and the quality went with it.)
However, The Standing Desk’s warranty did make us scratch our heads a bit. So we asked them about it. While some of the lighter-duty desks from the company can last up to 30 years easily, the Kloud has a few more components to allow it a higher lifting capacity. And with more components comes more points of possible failure. Their testing has shown that if some of these components are faulty for any reason, the failure will occur early, within the warranty, so it can be addressed through that coverage. But if you take care of the desk and its parts, they do believe the desk will keep you moving for much longer. And in the end, 5 years also isn’t horrible coverage for a standing desk. Some Chinese brands you’ll find on Amazon offer no warranty at all.
The only real complaint we have when it comes to quality is the desktop. The top is a completely pedestrian HPL product with standard edge banding with all the pitfalls that entails. But it is what you’ll find on 90+% of desks these days, because it’s relatively inexpensive and easy to make. Read our article on what it takes to be The Best Tabletops for a Standing Desk for more on that. There is also no option for order grommet holes on this desktop.
Is The Kloud an Ergonomic Desk?
One of the biggest evaluation points on the ergonomics of any desk we review is the height range. The Kloud can go from 28.25” to 48”. This will certainly be quite enough to find ideal sitting and standing positions for users of average height, but won’t go down low enough for some shorter users when seated. And the desk has been tested and certified to meet BIFMA x5.5 standards (see our primer on ANSI/BIFMA G1 Ergonomic Guidelines). And if you get it on caster wheels, it will be that much better if you are of above-average stature when standing, but will at the same time may make the desk’s bottom end uncomfortably high for a shorter person when seated.
Like we mentioned before, the desktop could be more refined considering the cost range of this desk. Many desktops feature a contoured edge that is more comfortable for wrists and forearms. The Kloud has a sharp 90-degree edge that might leave painful red indentations after any significant time of typing or mousing.
Assembling the Kloud
If you look in the “Details” tab on the product listing page for the Kloud, you’ll find their assembly video. If you get the desk, try to follow those instructions as much as possible. It is much easier to assemble the desk on top of another desk. If you don’t have another raised surface on which you can assemble it, some of the steps will take a little longer because it won’t be as easy to turn the Allen wrenches.
The process isn’t overly complicated, but you will want to use an electric driver to get all the screws in place, so it’s a good idea to make sure you have one handy before starting the assembly (this is true of most standing desks).
All in all the assembly of the desk should take you around 20 minutes, which technically qualifies it for the third category of our Quick Install Standing Desks. Though not as swift as some desks that only take three minutes to put together, 20 minutes is about a third of the time it takes to assemble most standing desks coming out of China these days.
If you want a pneumatic adjustable-height desk, TheStandingDesk.com is where you want to go for the preeminent manufacturer in this entire category. And most likely, you will want the Kloud model because it can support the most weight, especially if you have more than the minimum setup for your workstation.
When it comes to the price, it is more than reasonable considering the quality of the European/American construction on the base. While the desktop is unexceptional, like we said above, the same can be said about 90+% of the desktops on the market today. If you want to pair a better top with the Kloud’s impressive base, you can make a DIY project out of it for your ideal workstation.
In the end, the needs and plans of each individual shopper will determine if a pneumatic desk is right for them, but if so, no other pneumatic desk gets as many thumbs up from us as the Kloud. Can you get a cheaper one on Amazon that is made in China? Yes. But they will lack the quality, durability, and reliability of these smooth-operating, German-designed, American-made beauties.
Compare this desk to all others we have reviewed in the roundup of standing desks.
Many standing desks and converters come with grommets for some added convenience. Check out our article on grommet holes for everything you need to know about the different ways to use them to enhance your workstation, what to look for in your grommet holes, and where to find the desks with the best ones.