Don’t let the silliness surrounding standing desks dissuade you from owning one. You don't need a treadmill, a stationary bike or even an exercise ball to reap the benefits of an adjustable desk. It’s the best investment and most versatile piece of equipment you'll ever use in your office. And until I tried the GeekDesk I was a standing desk skeptic.
GeekDesk Electric Height-Adjustable Desk
Price: Depends on size, finish, materials. Starts at $525.
www.geekdesk.com (Photo: Anthony Verducci)
After 20+ years of slouching and hunching at my office desk, my neck, shoulders and lower back are twisted up in knots. Rearranging my workspace, taking frequent breaks, and using an ergonomic chair has helped somewhat. I've considered a standing desk, but spending the entire workday standing up? I don’t even like standing on the bus. But the GeekDesk Max changed my perspective. At the touch of a button, this self-adjusting desk raises and lowers itself throughout the day to help users stay posture-correct and comfortable. GeekDesk offers two versions of their sit-to-stand desks in two sizes, the GeekDesk v3 and the GeekDesk Max with extra heavy-duty lifting capacity. I tested the GeekDesk Max with the large 78.75” x 31.5” desktop.
The Max’s steel frame is tough enough to handle serious weight, while the dense carbonized bamboo top adds a modern design aesthetic to my home office. The electronically-synchronized dual motor drive in each leg gives the Max a huge 335 pound lifting capacity—ideal for a multi monitor setup. The Max features a lift speed of 1.1 inches per second, slower than other standing desks on the market, but not by much. The slower speed keeps the Max from shaking, handy when a hot cup of coffee is resting on it. There is a “whirring” sound when the motors are active for as long as the button is pressed, but the noise level is about 70-80dB—as loud as an 80mm computer fan.
The GeekDesk Max falls within ANSI/BIFMA standards for sit-to-stand desks with a height range of 23” to 49.4”. Similar desks raise a few inches higher and GeekDesk offers optional casters to provide more leg room.
There are three different styles of desktop to choose from: bleached veneer, black laminate and carbonized bamboo. I chose the bamboo because I thought it would be sturdy enough to hold at least two large monitors. The carbonized bamboo is gorgeous with its semi-dark patterning and a smooth, deep beveled edge. Definitely a show stopper. At just shy of 80 inches it has plenty of room for my setup: a huge 24” Wacom Cintiq (drawing tablet), a 24” touchscreen monitor and a 27” monitor mounted on a swivel arm.
The Max easily bench pressed all my equipment plus my own weight—about 170 pounds in total. And yes, I felt really silly sitting on the desk as it went up, but now I’m sure the Max will never collapse under stress.
Setup is simple and I completed it in about 45 minutes. I didn't follow the directions entirely (I did it in sub-sections) and it’s still standing. The frame is large and putting it together requires space. I built the frame outside on my deck. Attaching the legs to the crossbar was the most cumbersome step. I installed the control box to the brace and connected the handset. With the frame in my office I added the desktop and secured it by raising the frame height until I could easily screw it to the frame from underneath.
Using the GeekDesk Max
Sitting at the Max is surprisingly enjoyable. I’m primarily using it in the standing position and the only issue I’ve encountered is sore feet. Sitting down is the obvious answer, but I actually prefer standing especially when I’m just checking email so I ordered the Standing Mat, a soft, squishy anti-fatigue mat, to help relieve my aching feet. With the mat I am able to stand for 2 hours easily.
In the sitting position the Max is set to 31.2” high, only 3.2” taller than my old desk, but this small adjustment allows my chair to slide further under the desk, which I found relieves my shoulder stress. With the added bonus of using the crossbar as a foot rest I’m working in an almost zero gravity position.
The GeekDesk Max is a solid piece of furniture that will handle the toughest studio, gaming or work setups.
Whichever GeekDesk options you choose they all achieve the same goal: improve posture and relieve muscle fatigue by changing desk height throughout the day. In my experience when used properly along with an ergonomic chair and frequent breaks GeekDesk helped to reduce back, shoulder and neck strain. It's a pricey investment, but good posture and reduced muscle fatigue outweigh the price.