UpLift V2 Standing Desk Review

July 12, 2020
  • Lab tested
uplift v2 sit stand desk review

Overview

Review Summary

It’s popular. Really popular. Not necessarily because it’s an awesome product but because it’s very heavily advertised, with hyperbolic marketing claims that don’t hold up to close inspection. The UpLift is probably the top-selling, Chinese-made commodity standing desk on the market in the sub-$800 price tier, now on its third generation design (the “V2”). The improvements over the last generation appear to be more behind-the-scenes in cost reduction moves than in tangible, valuable features that can benefit most users. After weeks of testing in our labs our reviewers detail the pros and cons of the new design.

MSRP / List Price

Starts at $589

Street Price

May be available for less on UpLift’s website but without Amazon’s liberal return policy, we wouldn’t recommend it.

Shipping

Free shipping included when purchased on Amazon. Ships via parcel carrier, in multiple cartons.

Warranty

7 years on the base only.
No warranty on the desktop.

Lift Type

dual-motor Jiecang electric base (Chinese-made).

Transit Speed

1.57 inches per second claimed. We got 1.4 inches per second in lab test.

Controller

Three options:
2-button
vertical-bezel digital programmable with four memory settings
“comfort angled” advanced digital programmable with four memory settings (recommended)

Sizes Available

42″, 60″, 72″, 80″ wide. Only 30″ depth is offered.

Minimum Height

25.3″ with 1″ desktop

Maximum Height

50.9″ H with 1″ desktop

Weight Capacity

355 lbs claimed by UpLift. We noticed motor strain beginning at about 250 lbs in lab testing, however.

Noise Level

50 dB

Product Weight

Standard UpLift V2 base weighs 68 lbs.
UpLift V2 Commercial base weighs 93 lbs.
Desktop weights obviously vary by size and type.

Power Consumption

Undisclosed

Typical Assembly Time

45-90 minutes after unpacking. Takes less time if you have a cordless drill with flathead, phillips and allen key bits, have a raised surface to work on, and some mechanical skills. Having a helper will be useful during certain parts of the installation.

ANSI/BIFMA Certified

UpLift claims X5.5-2014 ANSI/BIFMA certification but we’ve been unable to obtain a copy of the independent lab report from the company to verify this.

NEAT™ Certified by Mayo Clinic

No

Competition

Compare to All Other Electric Standing Desks
Compare to Other Standing Desks Under $800

Where to buy Buy on Amazon

Rating

Ease of Assembly
2.5
Stability
3.0
Reliability
3.0
Customer Experience
3.0
Innovation
2.5
Value
3.0
Quality
3.0
Aesthetics
2.5
Positives Highly popular because it is inexpensive relative to higher-quality desks. Many desktop options from inexpensive (rubberwood, bamboo, powder-coat, HPL) to exotic solid hardwoods. Lots of desk configurations to choose from including L-desks. Seven year warranty on the base.
Negatives Cheap quality shows throughout both the Jiecang electric desk frame and the rubberwood desktop we lab tested in this review. New 6-axis anti-collision detector definitely senses objects better than before but is so hypersensitive as to be annoying. Unable to obtain verification of claimed ANSI/BIFMA X5.5-2014 certification. Overall, the V2 is only a very slight improvement over the prior generation, and is still just as difficult and time-consuming to assemble as ever. Despite UpLift's claim that the desk can be assembled in 7 minutes it'll take most people at least an hour, assuming they have the right tools, the space to work in, and some skills.

Bottom Line

3.0
While UpLift has been one of the most successful online sellers of standing desks since the industry's inception, the new V2, like the prior version, is decidedly a Chinese-made, commodity offering. Many quality shortcuts would leave a lot of buyers disappointed, especially when compared to what could be had in a premium (and especially American-made) standing desk for surprisingly little extra coin. UpLift's penchant for specious and hyperbolic marketing claims has not changed, including greenwashing of their products' environmental footprint, and performance metrics we couldn't replicate in the test lab. While the 7 year warranty sounds good it doesn't cover the desktop, and isn't as long as on premium desks. We have our doubts about the durability of the design, so even with 7 years of coverage, no one wants to endure the ordeal of a warranty replacement on a desk they use every day. In the sub-$800 category, nicer desks can be had with longer warranties, higher component quality, far more size and color options, and more advanced technology features.

[Editors Note: We have learned from the company that due to coronavirus disruption to the Chinese supply chain some of the UpLift bases and most of their desktop options are currently significantly backordered. We’ve heard from readers who placed orders only to learn of 4-6 week delays after placing their orders and paying. So it is advisable to check on availability before ordering. Some items backordered up to 4 months.]

The Biggest Little Standing Desk Company in Texas

Jon Paulsen uplift deskOne the key players in today’s office fitness industry, UpLiftDesk is no fledgling operation anymore. The Austin-based company is an offshoot brand of The Human Solution, one of the earliest e-commerce retailers of products like ergonomic chairs, monitor arms and keyboard trays. The company was founded in 2002 by ergonomist Jon Paulson, who still runs the company today. (Human Solution and UpLift Desk are really one and the same.)

Naturally, when sit-to-stand desks came into being, Human Solution created their own exclusive line of standing desks dubbed the UpLift 900 series; later re-dubbed as just the “UpLift Desk.” The new standing desk eventually became so popular that it overtook the rest of the business as the leading category. And thus in 2014 they spun out a separate website, UpLiftDesk.com, where the focus was first and foremost on the desk, with the other ergonomic staples positioned as accessories rather than the main meal.

The new V2 looks remarkably similar to the original V1 desk frame, but there are differences

Over the years we’ve reviewed the various instantiations of the original UpLift Desk line. It has had a decidedly mixed reputation, predominantly due to issues with its Chinese-sourced Jiecang base. While very heavily advertised and thus very popular with online buyers, there were some gnawing issues with the product quality that came up each time we tested one out in our labs. Complexity of assembling the desk is another issue that has been endemic to most all desk bases sourced in China, with the UpLift Desk being a prime example.

Where UpLift truly excelled was in creating so many different versions of the same product, with many desktop materials, sizes and shapes to choose from. In this regard they’ve been in continual brinksmanship with their head-to-head competitor, Portland, Oregon-based Fully and their “Jarvis” desk. And to a minor extent with another Austin-base, albeit much smaller competitor, EvoDesk, that also builds their desks on Jiecang bases.

Both UpLift and Fully utilize Jiecang bases in their standup desks, but in 2019 UpLift changed its design to leverage two new versions of the base, while Fully has remained, so far, on the older platform. While Fully was busy being acquired by office furniture giant Knoll, UpLift brought out their new “V2” desk line based on that revised Jiecang base, which we review here. They also create a version targeted at enterprise customers called the UpLift V2 Commercial, which we have also lab tested and reviewed separately. The standard UpLift V2 desk we review here is essentially their home and small business edition.

How Much Better Is the New Base Than Its Predecessor?

After exhaustively testing the new UpLift V2 in our lab we can verify that the new base has a slightly better motor drive than the older version. While it’s still clearly a Chinese-made desk with all the cost-cutting shortcuts in quality that we expected to see (thinner and lighter metal, lower manufacturing tolerances, etc.), within its class UpLift has moved up a half-notch in performance.

The big differentiating feature of the new base appears to be the introduction of 48 “accessory mounting holes” along the crossbar for attaching things like a hammock ,so you can catch a snooze under your desk (that won’t be weird, right?). Keep in mind that unless you’re really short you’ll need a 72″ or 80″ wide desk to have enough space for that hammock. We’re not sure how useful that is to most office workers but one advantage of drilling 48 holes into the metal crossbars is a reduction of shipping weight, sort of like the drilled crank arms you’ll see on some professional racing bicycles.

Other accessories that will attach to these mounting points include a CPU holder and a power strip – both of which can mount just as easily directly to the desktop – and a “foot hammock” for exercising your legs when you sit. As with the full-body hammock, we have serious concerns about placing strain on the delicate lifting mechanisms by swinging a body or even just feet between these mounting points. From a physics standpoint the standing desk frame was not designed to be subjected to these continuous “moments,” and doing so may shorten the useful life of the desk. This patent-pending innovation seems really gimmicky, and probably invented in China where people tend to me much short and lighter than average Americans.

Lastly, UpLift offers a metal “desk extension” option that mounts to these accessory holes. It’s like adding a little shelf on the edge of your desk. This seems to be their response to competitors that offer desktops up to 95″ wide (e.g. Lander) but we’re not sure why anyone would go with this approach over just buying the size desktop that they need and preserving the contiguous beauty of their desktop?

While an examination of the V2 legs’ internal components—circuit boards, power supplies, worm gears, etc.—exposed very few differences between V1 and V2 beyond the addition of the new 6-axis collision detector (see below), the lifting columns are only slightly more stable, stronger and quieter than the last version of theirs that we lab tested a couple of years ago.

Unfortunately the V2 desk still exhibits some of the same significant shortcomings as its predecessor. There is still the propensity for the “glides” between the leg segments to wear down and for oil slicks to run down the legs after absolutely minimal use (these streaks show least on silver legs, more visible on black and white). Compared to other Jiecang-manufactured lifting columns on some competitors’ desks we still observed very heavy grease packing and the opportunity for dirt to contaminate the gears. At this price point we wouldn’t expect it.

Anti-collision detection went from too-insensitive to overly sensitive

We tested the desk without any load as well as at the full rated lift capacity of 355 lbs. At first we couldn’t get the desk to move up and down more than a few inches at a time before the hyper-sensitive anti-collision sensor kicked in, de-energized the motors and backed off an inch. Each time we tried to move the desk up again it would gain a few inches and the sensor would trigger once again. We then double checked that the feet were perfectly leveled and the unloaded desk worked more or less correctly from that point forward. Since most users don’t even bother to perfectly level their desks (and don’t realize how uneven most floors are) the collision detection circuit seemed highly over-sensitive.

It is not uncommon for anti-collision sensors (even those with a G-Force sensor integrated, like UpLift’s) to falsely trigger on very wide, heavily-loaded desk,s but we were testing a very standard 30×60 desktop configuration. Even after perfect leveling, the slightest tap of a finger anywhere on the desktop caused the sensor to trigger. We searched the user documentation and FAQs on the UpLift website to no avail and eventually had to contact UpLift’s customer support. They had us check all the cable connections, which were solid, and then offered no further help in resolving the matter other than to reluctantly offer to swap out the controller.

What we learned in this conversation with the company is that the sensitivity setting is factory set, and we supposedly received their latest controller software. Which perhaps was not thoroughly tested before being put into production. The support agent did admit that it’s not uncommon for customers to complain about the new 6-axis collision detector being too sensitive.

There turns out to be no user-programmable sensitivity setting for the anti-collision current sensor nor for the G-Force sensor. As we detail in our primer on Anti-Collision and G-Force Sensors, it is not uncommon for standing desks to fail to trigger when hitting an object despite all this technology, but we’ve never seen one falsely trigger so many times, with ever the slightest finger tap on the desktop.

The good news in the anti-collision/anti-tilt department is that the digital handset can be “locked out” so that unattended children don’t play with the desk until it breaks, crushes a smaller sibling or pet, or tilts over and crashes from colliding with an obstacle.

Constant-touch versus one-touch

UpLift likes to promote their “one-touch” height-change feature in their video ads, a.k.a. “fire-and-forget” control. While the controller is user-programmable to select between “one-touch” and “constant-touch” (meaning the user must keep their finger on the height preset button the entire time the desk is in motion), the desk ships with the default set to one-touch.

While that sounds great… after all, who wouldn’t want to take their finger off the button and let the desk get to its new assigned height on its own?… there is a safety consideration as well as a legal consideration. As we go into in great depth in our primer on anti-collision sensors, were the desk to hit an obstacle and not automatically sense it and stop there could be damage to equipment and possibly even injury to individuals (especially unsupervised children). In a commercial, government or educational setting there is also the legal consideration that for UL-approved use in the United States, as opposed to China where these desks are made, the settings must be left on constant-touch.

The good news is that you can easily reprogram the desk to constant-touch if that’s how you’d like to have it or if your employer’s legal policies require it.

Lift performance and stability testing

After squaring away the false-triggering on anti-collision as best we could, we loaded the desktop with the rated 355 lbs of well-distributed load. This is one area in which the V2 definitely performed noticeably better than the original Jiecang base. Alas, it still started to exhibit indications of overstraining, with wobbly-sounding noises coming from the motors and multiple false triggers of the anti-collision sensor. Not surprising only in that UpLift has had a long-standing reputation of inflating its technical specs to seem comparable to models that cost more, be it lift capacity, lift speed, stability or ease-of-assembly.

We’d rate the real-world load capacity of the V2 as being about 100 lbs less than claimed, based on our testing. The overload protection circuitry on the Jiecang bases have always been set to a too-low threshold in the past, so this definitely leaves us with some concern about loading the desk up with anything more than 235 lbs, including the desktop itself.

One thing that hasn’t changed, and may actually be worse than the last version we tested, is stability on all four foot pads. The V2 still uses the exact same lightweight, cast aluminum feet as the original, which is part of UpLift’s unique look that distinguished from other Jiecang OEM customers like Jarvis. Light feet are the enemy of desk stability, and the V2’s are among the lightest to be found on any standing desk. Using lightweight aluminum instead of heavier steel reduces shipping weight of the desk but takes a toll on stability. Jarvis makes a big point if this difference between their bases and UpLift’s, as well.

The entire base is so lightweight that a very modest shaking of the desktop causes the entire desk to “walk” across the floor, as you can see in this video. This is where the V2 Commercial version, with its ungainly but apparently necessary, shin-high crossbar, exhibits much greater frame rigidity. In fact, this thinned down V2 standing desk weighs all of 68 lbs as compared to 93 lbs for the V2 Commercial version In all our other routine lateral and longitudinal stability checks with the 60″ wide top (checking for “wobble”) the UpLift is a middle-of-the-road performer—not the worst we’ve seen but quite far from the best—contrary to their marketing hype.

We cannot vouch for the 72″ and 80″ configurations because UpLift did not supply them to our test lab, but as a rule of thumb the wider the top the more important it is to have weight in the base, and especially the feet, in order to lower the center of gravity and minimize rocking. That is why desks like the Lander that can extend up to a category-leading 95″ wide desktop have 125% more weight in the feet as compared to the Jiecang base used in the UpLift V2.

rubberwood standing desk
UpLift V2 desk shown here with standard digital handset on a rubberwood desktop.

The handset controller on the UpLift V2 desks comes in three flavors. The basic product comes with a simple two-button up/down switch. The “advanced digital” controller they sent us is a rather pedestrian plastic button affair, with a clear, white digital readout showing the height setting to a tenth of an inch, and four programmable height memories, at an upcharge of $29. The only issue with it is that the face of the handset is vertical, making it a little hard to see the display and touch the correct button from the standing position. To cure this they do offer an “advanced comfort digital” version for $10 more that comes out at an acute angle to the desktop, like most standing desk controllers. Definitely opt for the comfort version if you go with the digital controller.

In terms of transit speed, UpLift claims “1.57 inches per second,” which we came just a little short of in our lab tests with an unloaded desk. Things definitely slowed down and the motors whined unevenly as we added more and more load to the desk, to its rated capacity.

One notable visual difference between the V2 and the V2 Commercial—besides the very obvious “shin-crusher” crossbar—is that the legs are significantly bigger on the Commercial, measuring 90mm x 60mm versus 80mm x 50mm, for added stability. The lifting columns are reverse-oriented on the Commercial, with the thickest tube at the bottom, thinnest at the top. The obvious reason they had to do this is to be able to weld in the crossbar on the V2 Commercial, though UpLift’s marketing copy just waives it off as an aesthetic choice. There may be some persnickety commercial interior designers out there who think one of these leg orientations is the “right” one but most people would likely never notice, much less care about it.

UpLift does sell its V2 desk frame standalone starting at $495 on Amazon. See other options in our DIY Standing Desk Base Reviews round-up.

The Rubberwood Desktop

As for the desktop itself we tested this desk with the rubberwood top (see our UpLift V2 Commercial Standing Desk Review for our experience with the bamboo top), which is one of their most popular desktop options, and also among the cheapest they offer.

You’re probably wondering what on earth rubberwood actually is, since it’s not that commonly used in furniture sold in North America?

Rubberwood is made from the hardwood base of the plant that we get latex rubber from (also known as plantation hardwood or Malaysian oak). Although it had been used on a small scale before, its use for furniture making has become much more common since the 1980s, when the development of chemical treatment processes allowed the wood to be more practically used. Prior to that the wood was too prone to fungus and insect attack, and thus not a practical choice for furniture making.

Rubberwood is commonly advertised as an “environmentally friendly” wood as it makes use of plantation trees (primarily in southeast Asia) that have already served out their useful lives, making latex for 25-30 years. Rather than burn the plantation field these tree stumps now get a chance to serve a second purpose. But like the false praises of bamboo’s environmental goodness, the process of converting rubberwood fiber into a plank of “wood” is anything but an environmentally friendly process. It is an exceedingly energy, chemical and water-intensive process.

The raw rubberwood is generally treated soon after harvesting by pressurized immersion in boron preservatives, followed by kiln-drying to diffuse the chemicals and to control moisture content. This creates small usable blocks of wood, which are then fit together into desktop-size planks using a bunch of adhesives, sealants and protective compounds. This complex set of steps will hopefully keep the wood from warping, cracking or rotting, but at a high environmental cost despite how cheap it is to fabricate in Asia (UpLift gets its rubberwood desktops from Vietnam).

So what’s it like as a desktop? The plank is assembled from varying sizes of blocks, using a triangular finger joinery to a large contiguous surface, much like assembling Lego pieces. (You can see the joinery pattern in the photo of the controller handset above.) The grommet holes are very roughly finished in comparison to the rest of the desktop, so you’ll definitely want to keep the plastic caps covering them.

uplift stand-up desk review
Unseemly filler between the blocks of rubberwood, overflowing adhesive and clear coat overspray ruin the potential beauty of this desktop

The “hand” on the desktop is noticeably rough. This sort of thing us usually due to overspray of the clear coat from the next desktop on the production line. To save cost these desktops are not buffed down after coating as you would normally do in finishing any kind of fine wood product.

There are filler lines between many of blocks where they did not dovetail perfectly. Not to mince words, compared to most any other wood grain desktop option we’ve ever seen on a standing desk it is the least attractive and has the poorest feel to the touch. While it seems appropriately rigid now, with all the joinery, adhesives and processes involved into turning it into a cheap plank of wood we have serious concerns that, like bamboo tops also offered by UpLift, these rubberwood tops may not be built to last.

uplift v2 desk review
The rubberwood desktop is a composite of many small blocks of wood that aren’t always matchy matchy.

UpLift offers many other options in desktops, including inexpensive or equivalently priced bamboo, old-school high-pressure laminate and powder-coat types, as well as some much pricier solid wood options. To learn more about the differences between all of these desktop types in terms of their durability, trade-offs, ecological impact, hardness and general consumer value be sure to check out our Ultimate Guide to Desktop Materials for Standing Desks.

Other desktop offerings

Like their competitor Fully, UpLift is very big on promoting their bamboo desktops as the best choice for the environmentally-conscious consumer. These bamboo tops are the cheapest thing you can put on a Jiecang base, along with UpLift’s “GreenGuard” standard high-pressure laminate (HPL) tops, rubberwood and powder-coated tops. There’s a reason bamboo tops from China are this cheap, and it’s not because bamboo is a fast-growing crop, as both UpLift and Fully claim.

UpLift Bamboo Standing Desk
UpLift Bamboo Standing Desk

The facts around the environmental scourge created by the mass farming of bamboo grass and converting it into a wood product are in shocking contrast to marketers’ claims. The urban myth surrounding bamboo’s environmental sensitivity continue to spread as these online marketers parrot each others’ claims, despite a preponderance of scientific evidence to the contrary. As you can read in our comprehensive report of Bamboo Standing Desks – Separating Fact from Fiction, if you care about the environment this is the very worst selection you can make for a desktop. It’s the same story with UpLift’s rubberwood desktops, which are identically priced and just give you a different aesthetic on the wood grain.

UpLift Standing Desk with Laminate Desktop
UpLift Standing Desk with HPL Laminate Desktop

UpLift’s “GreenGuard” offering is nothing more than old-school HPL (high-pressure laminate) that’s been around for many decades, and like you’ll find on over 90% of office desks. This is the classic lamination on top and bottom, with color-matched edge banding all around.

UpLift again goes a bit over the top with their GreenGuard branding, which is nothing more than the current standard for virtually all HPL tabletop manufacturers under current EPA laws (i.e. the formaldehyde was eliminated years ago). Government and large enterprise customers won’t buy products that don’t meet these standards but UpLift’s marketing spin makes it sound like they’re unique in this way. In fact, UpLift’s HPL tops use the same MDF core as everyone else’s, by definition made from recycled wood fibers. Perhaps because these tops are made in China they want to distinguish themselves from Chinese competitors that may still be using the old stuff.

HPL tops have been around for decades and can be made very inexpensively just about anywhere in the world, especially in China. The disadvantage of HPL is that air and moisture will get into the open seams over time and degrade the glue to the point that the edge banding can start to peel off. Healthcare environments avoid it because those open seams can gather bacteria, and using harsh anti-septic cleaners on the desktops would only accelerate the degradation of the glues. For this reason, healthcare tends to buy hermetically-sealed and chemical-safe, 3D-laminated desktops such as Surf(x) 3D laminate. The good news is 3D-laminated tops have been available for standing desks for more than five years now.

The sharp edges of HPL laminate also aren’t as nice as the ergo-contoured edges you’ll find on UpLift’s bamboo or powder-coated tops. Note that the grommet holes on an HPL top are not laminated at all, which means if you spill your drink and it seeps into the exposed MDF inside the grommet hole the wood will soak it up and expand like a puffer fish, ruining the desktop. For most people HPL is a familiar and acceptable option. UpLift offers it in six colors and four different sizes from 48″ to 80″ wide, and 30″ deep.

UpLift Whiteboard Standing Desk
UpLift Whiteboard Standing Desk

For the same price you can also get the UpLift desk with a whiteboard top (Fully charges a lot more for this option, for some reason). It’s a great idea until the first time you get marker on your sleeves, but if you want to use your desktop as a sketch pad it’s kind of a cool concept.

UpLift Eco Curve Powder Coat Standing Desk
UpLift Eco Curve Powder Coat Standing Desk

For $20 more you can upgrade to UpLift’s “Eco Curve,” powder-coated desktop featuring a shallow curve on the user edge. Powder coating is literally the simplest and cheapest way to take a plank of MDF and make it look pretty—it is literally spray-painted on. But if you use harsh cleaning chemicals or spill Coke on it too many times the paint can literally dissolve away unless the tops are specially produced.

American-made powder-coated tops are generally produced to a much higher standard that ensures longer durability. This usually entails a dual coat of paint, and a very specific density of MDF. Without getting too technical, the MDF has to be of just the right moisture content and density to hold its electrical charge in such a way that the oppositely-charge paint will adhere well to its surface.

We don’t generally recommend powder-coated tops from China due to their low durability, though it is inexpensive and will look nice for a while. On the other hand, the edging of the Eco Curve is something you can’t do with hard HPL laminates and is as close as you’ll get to real 3D lamination without using a thermofoil of some sort.

UpLift Reclaimed Wood Standing Desk
UpLift Reclaimed Wood Standing Desk

For $460 more than the standard tops, you can select “reclaimed hardwood” made from fir, a very soft wood. As we detail in our Reclaimed Wood Standing Desks primer, reclaimed wood can have a lot of issues with humidity and temperature changes leading to premature cracking and warping, so consider this option carefully. UpLift no longer offers reclaimed Teak, apparently it was too problematic. Reclaimed wood is great for certain applications, but desktops on standing desks really isn’t one of them, so we strongly urge you to read the primer before making a decision.

UpLift Standing Desk with Solid Wood Top
UpLift Standing Desk with Solid Wood Top

Starting at about $900 more and going up from there, you can spring for any of about a dozen domestic hardwood options, in a handful of available sizes. The biggest concern with these is that UpLift requires 10 to 12 weeks to deliver them, as compared to a more common three to five week delivery windows from competitors that offer domestic, custom-made, solid-wood tops with their standing desks. UpLift offers no information as to why they need such a long time to produce these hardwood tops, and that’s a long time to sit on your money.

To learn all about UpLift’s (and their competitors’) real wood desktop offerings, and to learn about all the things you should know when evaluating solid wood options, check out our comprehensive round-up of Solid Wood Standing Desk Reviews.

There are some cheaper “solid wood” alternatives in the $600-$800 range that UpLift offers: acacia, pheasantwood, African mahogany, natural ash and premium walnut. These are imported from Asia and frankly of dubious quality. While they sound exotic, their origin and environmental footprint stories are not disclosed. The only reason to choose one of these is that they are stocked in Texas, if you’re too impatient to wait 10 to 12 weeks for the superior domestic product. In our expert reviewers’ collective opinion if you’re going to spring for solid wood, you might as well spring for the good stuff, be patient for its arrival, and skip over the imported offerings.

We have to say it’s a little peculiar to think of someone spending this kind of dough to put a hardwood top on a cheap Chinese base. Seems to us that if you’re going to invest that much in a top you should buy a higher-quality American-made or Taiwanese-made DIY Standing Desk Base to lift it. Or opt for a top-quality American-made base and domestically-sourced hardwood top, e.g. the iMovR Lander Desk with Solid Wood Desktop.

UpLift 120 Degree Sit-Stand Workstation
UpLift 120 Degree Sit-Stand Workstation

UpLift has come up with more desktop shape options than Fully has, with “pork chop”, 120-degree, L-shaped desks and 4-legged tables in their constant brinksmanship to try and outdo the other on desktop options. But for the main fare of bamboo, HPL and powder-coated low-cost desktops their offerings are very similar to each other’s. Like FedEx vs UPS pricing, you’ll see a very slight difference here and there but their most popular configurations are priced nearly identically to each other.

Learn all about the many options in desktop materials available in the market today, from 3D-laminate to exotic solid woods, by checking out our Ultimate Guide to Desk Tops for Standing Desks.

Three-Carton Packaging

The UpLift V2 arrives in three boxes, one for the desktop, one for the feet, and one for all the other frame parts. This keeps each package lighter and easier to handle, though increases the risk that not all the boxes will arrive at your doorstep together; usually the worst case is one of the boxes arrives a day late.

Printing a TV set graphic on the side of the desktop box is a brilliant tactic for reducing damage in shipping.

All the components arrived in good condition. What we found particularly clever about UpLift’s packaging is that the desktop box has a graphic of a giant TV set on it, to signal to the delivery driver that it should be handled with care. Shipping desktops by parcel carriers like UPS and FedEx is highly prone to damage in transit. That’s why some desk makers only ship by freight carrier, on a pallet. And for desks under 55″ in width it’s now increasingly common to see them ship in a ruggedized single container, which is actually safer in transit as the parts protect one another.

Assembly Will Take Somewhere Between 7 Minutes and 90 Minutes

Beyond basic performance the other important thing we were eager to check out is whether the UpLift V2 featured any improvements in the assembly experience. This is one of those instances where a picture tells a thousands words, but a video tells 10,000. We had one of our most experienced staff members, with literally hundreds of standing desk builds under his belt, tackle the assembly while we filmed the process. It took him 45 minutes to put the desk together, and that’s with someone reading the instructions out to him. If you’re considering buying an UpLift V2 definitely check out the video below to get a sense of what putting it together will entail, and definitely plan on using a cordless drill with a bit set to keep the process under an hour. With only the tools supplied it will likely take you an hour and a half to get all the bolts in by hand.

How does this compare to UpLift’s own video demonstration of the desk assembly? In this video, UpLift employee “Gene,” who has already taken all the parts out of their packaging and laid them out exactly where he will need them, at workbench height (upside down on another desk), and doesn’t need to stop and read any instruction sheets because he’s done this all many times before, miraculously puts the entire desk together in 7 minutes without breaking a sweat! At the end of the video Gene claims to “not be the fastest desk builder in the world.” LOL.

While this kind of exaggerated claim probably doesn’t cross the line into false advertising, suffice to say that in the real world the typical user hasn’t performed this task many times before, does need to read the instructions at each step, and should anticipate a minimum 45 minute assembly time, even if they’ve built other brands of standing desks before. Most users also build their desks down on the floor, which definitely slows things down. If you can find a suitable workbench to build your desk on it will surely save some time, and your back.

Suffice to say the V2 desk is just as difficult to assemble as the “V1,” which is pretty disappointing given that factory pre-assembled and pre-tested desks like VariDesk’s ProDesk or iMovR’s Lander, Lander Lite, and upcoming ZipDesk, are trivial for even a child to put together—in 3 to 8 minutes, depending on the model. In a nutshell, the V2 desk’s technology basically caught up to where it should have been years ago, while numerous desk makers have been introducing “quick-install” standing desks since 2018.

Even VariDesk’s ProDesk Electric Standing Desk installs in a fraction of the time that it took to assemble the UpLift V2, because the frame components arrive already attached to the desktop. The V2’s assembly compared in bolt count and step count to lower cost competitors like the Autonomous SmartDesk and IKEA Bekant or Idasen, albeit with higher quality components. That’s not to say that DIY-minded individuals might not relish the project in order to save a hundred bucks but buyers should just beware of the space, tools and patience that are required in assembling one of these desks.

See how the UpLift V2 compares to the competition in our primer on standing desk assembly time.

The Takeaway

There’s no denying UpLift has been massively successful in selling enormous volumes of commodity Chinese-made standing desks, if not the most successful in the industry (Fully being a likely close second). But it is what it is, built at the lowest possible cost and cutting as many corners as possible to attract budget buyers.

sleeping under your desk
If sleeping under your desk is something you see yourself doing this is the only standing desk we’ve seen a hammock option.

For all the fanfare of “V2,” the enhancements over the prior version of the Jiecang base are just not that meaningful. In terms of desk performance, barely detectable. The accessory mounting points are clever but most users won’t find a significant benefit from them, and while the 6-axis anti-collision works better than on the predecessor it is annoyingly oversensitive. Assembly is just as time consuming and frustrating as before, despite the company’s incredibly exaggerated claim that it can be accomplished in only 7 minutes.

As far as the rubberwood top goes, it actually ranks as one of the lowest-quality desktops we’ve seen over the past seven years. We were surprised that this was the top UpLift chose to send us for review, but like the bamboo, powder-coated and HPL tops that they offer in the same price range it is popular only because it is cheap, and maybe because it sounds a little exotic.

We were initially excited to at least be able to speak to UpLift’s claim that this desk is ANSI/BIFMA certified to the current X5.5-2014 standard, but after multiple attempts at getting a copy of an actual independent lab certification report we have been unable to confirm whether this is just another specious marketing claim or a reality. Relatedly, the UpLift website claims that their desks are on a GSA (Government Services Administration) contract, yet that’s not possible since GSA explicitly excludes made-in-China products. Again, company representatives did not provide answers to this question, and just responded with “we sell to the government all day long.” That’s not the same thing as being listed in a GSA contract, and if they are selling V2 desks through a GSA contract that could constitute a serious in violation of federal law.

The UpLift V2 Commercial standing desk also claims ANSI/BIFMA X5.5-2014 certification, as well as compliance with the ANSI/BIFMA G1-2013 Ergonomic Guidelines for height range. Though, again, we could not get a copy of the independent lab testing report, and none is available in the site’s document download options. The G1 compliance is a simpler matter as it only involves the desk’s height adjustment range, and UpLift’s marketing material is clear that the standard V2 does not comply, while the V2 Commercial does. The latter having a lower top-end height limit, ironically.

One thing that definitely hasn’t changed is UpLift’s hyperbolic marketing claims, from greenwashing their environmental footprint to claiming performance specifications that we couldn’t replicate in the lab.

Meanwhile, other standing desk offerings under $800 continue to advance in quality, technology and consumer value much faster than UpLift has managed to with this new revision, and in particular when compared against premium-quality American-made standup desks that are a lot less pricier than you might think. If you decide to opt for an UpLift desk we recommend buying it through Amazon for their more liberal return policy (although it’s not a “Prime” item so you’ll be paying for return shipping either way).

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