I recently got a new desk setup for my home office. The reason I got a new one in the first place is because the previous desk was designed and built for entirely different requirements. It was drawn up pre-COVID and was meant mainly for gaming and a few hobby projects in the evenings. Because we used to go to the office back then, kids. The design was even meant to allow for two people to work together there side by side from time to time. However, because I have been working from home now for three years straight, my requirements have naturally changed, and I wanted to accomodate my shifted perspective.
New requirement: Being height-adjustable
My new desk needed to be height-adjustable so that I could get some standing in while working and to allow me to walk in circles during meetings. I wanted the desk to be powered by an electric motor as I have previous experience with handles and can tell you: You do not use it. Like at all. Mainly because you can only lock the handle in its rotation at a specific angle and whatever height the desk is at will probably be not ideal for you specific height. Personal results might vary. Oh, and also it is tedious to move the desk.
During my reasearch into height-adjustable desks and desk-frames, my priorities were:
- Awesome physical controls, as its what you most interact with
- Stable desk both in sitting and standing positions
- Powerful and quiet drive system
- Smart home controls (as a bonus)
Apart from the desks mentioned above, there is the option to buy frames with generic drive systems and use existing software to enable smart home controls. You then need to provide a tabletop yourself. After a bit of back and forth, I opted to prioritise complete desk builds so that the physical build quality was the best I could get without needing to worry about it.
In the end, I landed on the Ergotopia Desktopia Pro sized 180x80cm in oak veneer. It has the highest range of motion (62.3–127 cm), is pretty quiet and has 7 years of warranty. Additionally, the “Pro X” is a very nice controller with an OLED screen and a host of features I’ll probably never actually use. I’ll go into more detail on why I chose that controller in a follow-up post. I think it is also worth mentioning that I contacted Ergotopia support before my purchase and had a very helpful and insightful interaction with their customer support.
The delivery was quick and with two people, the desk was built and ready from unpacking to moving it to the correct room in about one and a half hours. The extensive documentation in both English and German in combination with clear labels on the packaging made it easy. There are even clips included to manage the cables you need for controlling the desk. They provide enough so you can easily manage many more of your own cables around the desk frame. Depending on how you mount the clips, they can hold about four USB cables.
I added a cable tray and some cable management. While managing power plugs, network equipment and cables witin the cable tray is sometimes frustrating but at least it looks really slick once it is closed. The exact solution to cable management in general might depend on your needs and the available space that you have for working on those areas after the desk is deployed in its final location.
I have been using the desk now for a bit over a month and I am very happy with it. When choosing the desk size, really wanted to keep my 200cm of desk width but I can tell you that I haven’t actually missed it once. There were no problems with the drive system and the physical controls are very responsive. The Pro X OLED display looks nice but I guess that wouldn’t have been a problem with the normal controller as well. The menu is available in both English and German. It has a few menus and options that you might go through a few times but after that the position buttons are all you’ll ever really care about.
The desk fullfills almost all my requirements for a best-in-class hardware solution. I like the oak look and don’t regret moving from 200cm to 180cm in width. The build quality in combination with the customer service I already experienced before my purchase makes me very happy and confident in my new desk. In both sitting and standing situations the tabletop is stable.
I am currently not able to control the desk’s height via any form of smart medium — e.g. HomeKit. As previously alluded to, I will have an update on that once I have a solution working to fullfil the requirement as well.