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Sit/Stand Desk: IKEA Skarsta Review (blog.c-mart.in)
349 points by chrismartin on Jan 28, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 245 comments

I've used an Alvin minimaster drafting table ($129) for the past 4 years: http://www.amazon.com/Alvin-MiniMaster-Adjustable-Drafting-T... I like it so much that I bought a second one for more desk space.

Along with a drafting chair ($150): http://www.amazon.com/LexMod-Office-Drafting-Chair-Leatheret...

I spend entirely more time than I should being semi-baffled at the way the internet has largely forgotten that you can just buy tall chairs and never have to worry about motors or adjustment speed or weight limits (to say nothing of cost).

I just had a genius revelation: I, like another poster here, don't like resting my feet on a bar all day. I like to have them planted firmly.

What if we had tall desks and tall office chairs with a flat, elevated platform? Then you could easily plant both feet on the platform and it would feel just like a regular chair, but then you could easily stand up and have a standing desk?

Something like this: http://www.lkgoodwin.com/more_info/brio_series_chairs/brio_s...

I swear to god they used to make them with like these two plastic pads like 3"x6" that attached to those rings but I've haven't been able to find one like that for as long as I've been looking. I do admit the bars are crap though it's never been an issue because the when seated my feet are further under the desk than when standing and I've always had a boxes of shit under my desk. Or I just stood up or did the one cheek on one cheek off move.

ETA holy crap you found one</praise jesus hands> I feel like a jack ass now.

I bet you could 3D print those pads for "normal" tall chairs with the bars if you wanted to.

By "3D print" you of course mean going to a home improvement store and buying some wooden boards and metal attachment pieces. 3D printing is totally unsuitable for the task, both because of low durability of printed objects and the time it would take you to print a pad like this (a few days, probably).

This is actually a pretty good application for home 3d printing.

I'd say that you'd be looking at 8-10 hours per print with a consumer FDM (extruded plastic) printer on the default settings.

If the printer is correctly configured it will probably be more durable than you're implying, and even if it only lasts a year you could always cheaply print more.

Really, that's the time it takes to print an object that size with off-the-shelf 3D printers? I have no experience in this area, so my (uncalibrated) expectations for 3D printing were that it might take a couple hours.

Here's a ~6" tall hollow rabbit being printed in roughly 7 hours. 3D printers are still just useless and awful. The promise is clear if they ever improve but for now, especially the cheaper home variety, they just don't do anything useful.


> they just don't do anything useful.

We use a cheap 3D printer weekly to make little fixtures, brackets and mounts for robots. These we use for months or years. They are also incredibly great for prototyping: print the doohickey in crappy plastic, check it fits together right, then get it made for real. It's amazing how helpful it is to have a model in your hand for debugging before spending a fortune.

I would amend that to "commercial grade 3D printers are terrible and awful". There are some monsters out there that can pump out amazing stuff quickly, but they come with a hefty price tag. And some use lasers, so that's super cool.

Consumer 3d printing is invaluable for small batch rapid prototyping. I can design and print multiple revisions of a prototype in as many hours. That type of efficiency was previously out of reach(expensive) for tiny, bootstrapped product design teams. It's a huge win.

It is definitely not ready for my Nana to print out a new frame for her eyeglasses after she accidentally sits on them. But it will be one day.

Once you start treating the output as something you can make a mold out of, it makes a lot more sense. Print something out, create a mold, then cast your real parts with that mold in short order.

Print speed depends a lot on the layer height (smaller height = more layers = more time) and infill amount.

We're primarily using a Printrbot Simple Metal at my local makerspace, and I usually expect a solid object the size of my fist, 20% infill, PLA, to run 3-4 hours.

Print times vary enormously for the same object depending on the settings the operator selects. I might be able to print you something in an hour at low detail, low strength settings, but the same object could easily take 30-50 hours if you crank those same settings to the max.

I find the notion of a specialized, adjustable standing desk ridiculous. Why raise and lower the WHOLE DESK, when you could just fix the desk at a high point and raise and lower your chair? It seems so much more efficient and convenient.

Probably so but no one makes chairs that go high, except drafting chairs which are extremely uncomfortable and even more so unergonomic for computer use.

An apple box¹ under the desk would work just fine, and also allow you to put a foot up while standing.

¹That's what they're called in the trade, but they're much sturdier than an actual apple box.

That's what I did with the "shelf" my Ikea Jerker.

Yes! I miss the Jerker...

My first standing desk was similar: http://is.gd/X0JzNu

Our cubicles let you attach shelves or desk tops anywhere along the height of the cube wall. Oh man, I forgot I literally used tape to keep that together. And it wasn't even duct tape, yikes

Explain. What did you modify?

Imagine this desk, but with the two horizontal slabs swapped so that the big surface is at "standing height" while the other is where your feet would be when in a tall office-chair.


Oh, nice.

Why not use a stool instead of a specialized chair?

I get your point but being able to place your feet on the floor anywhere in front of you is different than just putting your feet on a metal bar that's attached under your chair. I use a footstool because my desk is too high and even that I don't love. Having a desk at the correct height so you can put your feet flat on the ground is the best.

Totally. I'm pretty short, and it was many years before I realised that part of the reason I like sit cross-legged on office chairs is that my feet aren't comfortable because they're not flat on the ground.

My home desk is at a height which looks strangely low to visitors, but my knees and elbows are at nice right angles with my feet firmly planted on the floor.

Me too, so I built one. Here a photo of it this afternoon: http://is.gd/RcNLct

And here's where I sell them: http://is.gd/1v7H8k

Placing my feet on the bars connected to a tall chair puts tension on my knees and hips due to the angle. Over time that causes joint pain.

I built mine http://i.imgur.com/IpRAW3m.jpg :)

http://imgur.com/a/H7fxb reclaimed scaffolding and a 8x4 cut down to 7x3, offcuts used to make shelf.

Works really well.

I have the exact same Dr. Who poster and same color top on my desk; used to have custom built frame, but switched to an Uplift 900 just because I wanted it to be a bit more sturdy.

Sturdy isnt a problem with mine, moving it might be though, 48mm steel scafold tube and a 28mm structural birch ply top is stable but not light,last desk I'll ever need though :)

Bananas for scale.

I have a motorized standing desk from Ikea.

It is an advantage to be able to adjust it instantly according to the task, be it sitting or standing: drawing, fixing something, or of course typing on a keyboard. Reading on the computer is not not the same height for me that writing email (standing or sitting).

Once you are used to these sometimes small adjustments, you really want to have them on all desks.

Instant adjusting also works well when you need to show something to a colleague at your desk. Raising the desk is faster and easier than finding a guest chair.

Sorry but I think I'm missing the point. Why would you want a standing desk if in the end you end up sitting anyway? Might as well just get a normal desk and plant your feet on the ground, no?

The idea is that you can switch. Many people need daily breaks from standing, or sometimes just feel like sitting for other reasons.

I built my own standing desk for at home and simply bought a tall, barstool-height chair.

As an early adopter (late 90s), none of my standing desks have been adjustable.

I've settled on using a bar stool. I fidget a lot. Sit, stand, lean, one leg stand, foot rest, dance. Bar stools don't run away.

I bought one like this off craiglist for $30. http://amzn.to/1lYaKgZ

This is my stool of choice, and it's never done me wrong. Cheap as can be, perfect height.


I'd be interested in a picture of your setup. How do you have the monitor and keyboard so they don't just slide off of it? Doesn't it feel like you're using your mouse on a hill-side?

You can lay it flat, of course :) Here you go: https://www.instagram.com/p/86XA-dRG1J/?taken-by=markunfilte... Sorry, no pic of the chair.

Totally offtopic: Is your desktop's wallpaper publicly available?

Thank you!

His wallpaper doesn't strike me as particularly work-appropriate. And let's not forget the blow that Leia's "slave outfit" dealt to feminism and female participation in the arts.

Oh I see. So it is completely flat in your usage, but you can just change the height up and down. Nice!

Thanks for the picture :)

Angle is adjustable, a slight one is no problem.

Interesting. How easy is it to switch between sitting and standing? Does it make sense with a heavy 4K monitor on it?

You adjust the chair so the seat is just slightly lower than your butt then to switch to standing you slide forward off the stool. To switch back you do a little half hop onto your butt.

I think they were asking about adjusting the table's height.

You don't.

That's the point: the table never moves. You buy a table thats tall enough for comfortable standing use then buy a chair tall enough to that you never adjust the table. What's great about this is that there is no conscious effort needed to switch between sitting and standing you don't have to set a timer to remind you to stand up, crank your desk into standing position, nothing. You just flow on and off your chair.

Adjustable standing desk is more than a desk -- it's a multi-use work surface. I can push my monitors out of the way and move it all the way up to have the right height for taking computers apart. I can then move it to writing height and fill out paperwork like it's 1995 and then adjust it again for typing height and pull my monitors back into place.

If I could, every surface I owned would be adjustable height.

The whole point is that you're NOT constantly adjusting the desk, but using a taller chair when you sit.

Oh, then what's the point of comparing it with the Sit/Stand desk in the submission?

I believe the idea is that it is you essentially get the best of both worlds with this setup because 1) switching between sitting and standing is more fluid, as you need only to sit down or get out of your chair to switch (rather than needing to change desk height) 2) it is in general cheaper and longer-lasting because there are not motors, etc. involved.

If all you are trying to accomplish is to move from sitting/standing while working at a computer, they solve the same problem in a way that has been solved for at least a hundred years and is generally cheaper.

There are some merits to adjustable desks above and beyond that though.

What are they?

My motorized adjustable desk and highly adjustable Capisco chair work for both me (6'2") and my wife (5'3") at standard-office-chair height, tall saddle-stool height, or standing. It can easily be slightly tweaked for typing or writing with a pen.

If we wanted to do the same thing with a fixed desk, we would need some kind of platform for her to stand on, plus at least two adjustable-height seats with adjustable foot rests.

Standing work on a computer is different than standing work for a soldering is different for drafting is different for drawing. A moving desk can support all those use cases but a adjustable chair and static desk can't.

Interesting setup. Is the table deep enough? Seems like when sitting, your knees could hit that shelf under the table.

First time I've seen this model. I take the angle is variable ?

Also, more than the desk, a decent chair is of great importance.

I'm using a Jarvis Standing Desk Frame - http://www.ergodepot.com/Jarvis_Frame_p/jrv-fr.htm

With a 72x36 Maple butcher block top from Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/Relius-Solutions-Butcher-Block-Maple/d...

The top easily weighs 200 pounds, and that's not including the 2 Thunderbolt displays that sit on my desk.

It's been a great platform. At my standing height of 45", it needs to be up against the wall or it would likely vibrate a bit. As it stands, it's great.

The pushbutton memory allows for fast adjustment between sitting and standing. I probably transition a couple of times a day. If I'm going to be on the phone a while, I might sit if I'm not pacing.

Even if you simply used it as a regular desk, one of the things that have become most apparent to me is the difference tenths of an inch make in getting your workspace dialed in. Maybe you're wearing different shoes - or no shoes - you can dial in your desk appropriately.

I can also vouch for the Jarvis, I'm tall and often use it at or near max height without issues. I'm not sure how common this is but one of the best features is that it is smart enough to smoothly come to a stop rather than just jerk to a stop when you release the up/down buttons or use the memory settings. Sound like a tiny feature but my desk at work doesn't have this and it jerks enough to move the monitor arms around enough to be annoying.

I built the top myself from strips of oak, maple and cherry, pretty easy to do if you can access the tooling and massively cheaper than commercial tops. It's a bit thinner than the linked top but weighs over 100lbs I would guess.

I have both a Jarvis and a Herman Miller Envelop at my office: http://www.hermanmiller.com/products/workspaces/desks/envelo...

The Envelop is truly fantastic when paired along with an Embody (or less optimally with an Aeron). IMHO sitting slightly reclined with relaxed arms is a great ergonomics setup.

But the price is really high for a low-quality blocktop (the legs are fine though).

Anyone knows similar desks that are better quality and/or cheaper? This kind of desk deserves to be more popular.

I just got the jarvis with the rocket mission top:


Best, most thoughtfully designed desk I've ever seen, let alone owned. My kids will fight over it.

I noticed after a couple weeks of using my adjustable desk that I needed to raise the height by ~1" which I think may have been because I started using better posture in standing position. I then had to adjust my sitting table-height as well to compensate.

A mat of some sort is pretty important for me as well since the floor at the office is thin carpet over cement.

It's kind of weird once you start using it, that you'll notice the difference in the shoes you're wearing. If I come back from the gym in a pair of running shoes, there's just enough difference where I'll notice it and change the height by a couple of tenths.

Any advantages you've come across to a butcher block top than going with maybe an Ikea table top or something more ordinary?

No real advantage per se. I've used them in the shop, and was impressed with the quality. And, it seems like when I got it, it may have been on sale.

I kind of figured that for the amount of time I spend at the desk, ~$600 wasn't too much to spend. I had gotten by for years on an old Office Depot-esque desk propped up on cinder blocks and 2x4s.

So often furniture these days can only really be moved about twice due to the structural integrity of the fake wood they're constructed out of. I was able to mount solid anchors into the bottom of the desk, have mounted a drawer and a cable management tray. It's pretty solid.

Great idea! I actually did a similar thing for my kitchen remodel: I bought a premade Boos Block countertop from http://www.johnboos.com/ for my island and saved a ton of money in the process. Wish I had thought of doing the same for my desk, though - next time!

No one has mentioned http://www.evodesk.com/ I wish I could physically compare the EvoDesk to the Jarvis but they're likely both very similar.

I kinda need one of these. That video sold me. My config came out to about 1k (I had to have the space grey finish for 60 bucks)

Almost same setup, except Amazon top, I went for their maple desk version. It is really rock solid. Has no problems with 2 large 4K monitors on it.

I get tired of standing or sitting too long, so memory buttons are a nice feature.


"Overall, the SKARSTA meets expectations. I would recommend it if you want an adjustable-height desk and only want to spend $230. I would not recommend it if you're very tall and want to use this desk near its maximum 47-inch height, or if you need an absolutely rock-solid desk that doesn't sway at all. If your desired surface height is around 41 inches (or lower), you'll probably be happy. Eventually I'll post a long-term review, but if you are reading this, I've had no issues using this desk daily since January 2016."

Some new results seem to indicate that merely standing might not avoid the risks currently associated with sitting down all day. This seems to point in the direction that "not doing anything" may be the underlying culprit. I wonder if we can develop more dynamic working environments that could tackle that issue, if this is proven to be the case. An article follows:

"Conclusions: Sitting time was not associated with all-cause mortality risk. The results of this study suggest that policy makers and clinicians should be cautious about placing emphasis on sitting behaviour as a risk factor for mortality that is distinct from the effect of physical activity."


I've been using Skarsta since August 2015 at my home office. I'm pretty satisfied with the desk.

I always wanted a standing desk. I saw pictures of many awesome home-built desks here at HN so I thought that I could built myself one too. However, it turned out that it's not very easy. So I started looking for one at local shops.

Fortunately, IKEA is about 10km from my home so I went there and asked. They told me they have some Skarsta desk. Long story short, I bought it for 200 Euro (the larger version). The assembly took max 1 hour. Initially, the desk was a little "bendy" and unstable, but I discovered that the screws were not tight enough. After tightening them, the desk is pretty stable, even at the highest position.

I'm about 190cm tall and at the highest position, I can comfortably work on the desk. What I like the most about it is that it's pretty huge and spacious. You can put three 22" monitors on it + smaller speakers + mechanical keyboard + notebook for drawing without a problem. Although you have to manually get it up and down with a handle, it usually takes something like 30 seconds and you can look into the monitor while doing that. :) It's a good training for your hands.

All in all, Skarsta is very nice and comfortable standing desk for a reasonable price. Since owning it, I no longer understand all the standing-desk startups with their smallish desks for Macbook + one monitor for 500 bucks. What is more, you can put a spin bike under the desk and exercise while doing a light work, reading or watching videos.

Giraffe[1] is starting to lease good quality, motorized standing desks in February for $1/day.

Disclamer: I know the founders and currently working on Slack integration for the desks :)

[1] http://standupgiraffe.com

Desks need Slack integration?

This may not be an issue for everyone, but I tend to stay the same position for too long so I need reminders to switch position. The desk electronics knows the current height and a Slack bot is a nice way to remind me. Being able to lift the desk through the bot is just a side effect of the reverse engineering process (and a pretty good gimmick).

This folks is when you know you are in a tech bubble.

He's joking. Right?

If you told me 20 years ago I'll use a phone with a gigabyte of RAM..

They definitely need beer buttons.

In what markets? It doesn't say...

Best sitting/standing desk around: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4-yOB3qFKI

Cranks, motors and the like have nothing on this simple counterweight system.

The main reason I prefer an electronic height-adjustable desk is the height presets. Imagine if every time you sat down in your computer chair you had to adjust it from the lowest setting to a comfortable height. How much time would be wasted? It's not the effort of cranking it there, it's determining where the optimal height is. With electronic, you set it once, and then whether you're sitting or standing, your surface is at the ideal height. (Elbows approximately 90 degrees while typing, etc.)

I solve this with visual references on the furniture adjacent to the desk. But yeah, presets would be nice on my Bekant.


I have electric ones as well (both at home and in the office), but I don't use presets. In fact, one thing I love about adjustable desks is the ability to move it up and down a little during the day. That way my posture is a bit dynamic even if I don't choose to stand up. Also, I don't really feel like I am "wasting time" finding the right spot -- it takes what, 5 seconds?

Mark the height with a piece of tape on the wall behind the desk.

Here is the very cheap $25 disruptive version made from a cardboard box: http://oristand.co/

What do they do, ship you an Amazon box, a pair of scissors and a can of spray paint?

* Table/desk to put it on sold separately

Can it hold a 27" retina?

Clever, but it's not adjustable.

Uncaught Exception for me. Here's a mirror: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:w-GWDIB...

I bought a sit-stand frame from Ergotron[0] which I fitted my old desk surface onto which saved me quite a bit of money.

I don't like cranks or electronic motors. My criteria for a sit/stand desk was that it must be fast and practically effortless to switch between the two positions. For that you cannot beat a lift-system like the one in the Ergotron.

[0] http://www.ergotron.com/ProductsDetails/tabid/65/PRDID/757/l...

I've an Ergotron WorkFit-T [0] at work that I've been very happy with.

[0] https://www.ergotron.com/Portals/0/literature/productSheets/...

> you cannot beat a lift-system like the one in the Ergotron

I think if you really want something fast you need a sitting desk AND a standing desk with mirrored monitors and each desk with its own keyboard and mouse.

How is the lowering action? Does it go down smoothly? I have to admit this looks pretty promising, I might have to see if I can find one.

It's smooth. It locks into position at set intervals when you release the lever. Fortunately there is a good range of motion and the intervals are rather small (I'd estimate around 2-3cm each?).

I'm also too tall for it. It also seemed to be more wobbly at the fully extended height.

OTOH it might work for you if you use it with a high stool (like a drafting stool). I had a co-worker that would go back and forth from a regular chair to the high stool and they said it helped their back. YMMV.

Any idea what the maximum height of a person would be to use this?

For the Ikea Bekant desk, I'm 6'2" and usually have it near its maximum height. I like things a bit higher (relative to my own height) than most, but I still wouldn't expect it to work for someone over say 6'5".

All these adjustable desks start to have perceptible sway when mostly extended. If this really bothers you, consider mounting your monitors separately.

The Bekant's EU version goes 3cm higher than the US version. I'm 6'1" and it's nowhere near maximum. A colleague of mine is 6'4" and doesn't max it out either. Height is between 65 and 125cm for the EU version, versus 56 to 122cm for the US version.

Interesting, I thought Ikea products were the same worldwide. I guess the American version is made to standard/typical American office furniture dimensions.





The Swedish and Danish versions have the same product code, but the British one is different, yet I don't see any difference in the description. Maybe it's just the different plug.

Americans also benefit from a warning not to be crushed by their furniture.

I'm 6'5" and have my UpDesk set to 49" which is just a hair taller than the BEKANT can handle. If I had my iMac mounted and able to be adjusted to eye-level, I could probably work at 47.5" table height but I go a little higher so I'm not looking downward as much.

I have the motorized version of this desk and agree that it's not built for tall people. I'm about 5'11" and have to use it at its maximum height to be comfortable.

Otherwise love it.

If you're talking about the Bekant, I have that too and am comfortable using it. I am 6'2".

I keep the desk surface such that my elbows are about 90 degrees while resting on it. I have a monitor arm that puts the center of my screens about 18" above the desk surface.

If you're trying to use a laptop sitting flat on the desk while standing, that is going to be uncomfortable at any height because your eyes and hands/arms need to be further apart.

That's interesting. I do use my laptop flat on the desk and find it very comfortable! Maybe I have long arms?

That's funny - 5'11 is just about average height for Scandinavian males, so IKEA being Swedish this is a bit surprising.

EU version goes higher than the US version, see https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10994429

It also depends on the proportions of your arms, I'm 5'10" and my desk is at 41" - maybe Scandinavian males have short shoulder-to-elbow lenghts? :)

Haha, anything's possible. When I bought my road bike, the guy at the shop fitting me said, "you have the torso of a much taller man." What else to say but, "thanks!"

We have 3 of the Ikea Bekant motorized standing desks in our office. They are great and we have had zero problems. My favorite feature is the simple mesh cable pocket underneath the desk, which is a great solution for hiding all the cable clutter.

How long have you been using them for, and how often are they raised/lowered?

Not sure if you'll get an answer from OP but I have a Bekant at home and I've had it for 3 months now or so, and I raise/lower it probably once or twice a week (it spends most of it's time raised).

I've had no problems with the motor and the legs, it raises and lowers quickly and smoothly. The motor and legs do come with a 10 year warranty for what it's worth.

If I have one complaint, it's that it has a tiny bit of wobble, but it's a very minor complaint and not any kind of deal-breaker for me, especially when comparing the price of other motorized sit/stand desks.

Got one for a month and half now. With the 2 - 3 standing 'sessions' per day I can't complain. The motors so far survived even my child playing with it (and that means a lot of action)

Had a Bekant for over a year now. Lower it maybe 3 times per week. Works flawlessly! At the time I bought it for $500. Best setup "pound for pound" in my opinion.

About 5 months now. I raise/lower mine probably 2-3x/day 5 days/week. Others are adjusted less often.

I have the Skarsta (the smaller top). It's pretty good, my only two issues with it are:

1) The top is affixed to the leg brackets using plastic screws, and the top tends to move around a little bit. Definitely wouldn't want to pick up / move the desk by holding onto the top only

2) The top was bowed slightly in the middle on the one I bought. My Apple Keyboard would wobble slightly, so I put masking tape on one of the rubber feet.

The cranking and possible mechanical problems with that seem to be the disadvantage. I have found the Varidesk (http://varidesk.com/) to be quite satisfactory. It sits on top of your normal desk and is adjustable in seconds. (I just own one; don't work for or have investment in the company that makes it.)

I've been using a Varidesk for about a month now, and I love it. "I just own one", too.

I've used this desk for a month or two now. It's great. The only issue is that shaking that happens as the desk descends. Otherwise, it's solid. I'm 6'4" and have about 3" of wood* under each of the four contact-points.

* A 2x10 bucked up into 1' pieces = 8 pieces. Stack 2 under each of four of the desk's feet, and yer set!

I purchased the Jarvis desk and wrote a review. I've really enjoyed it. http://timleland.com/ergo-depot-jarvis-standing-desks-review...

I still don't get standing desk, how can you can concentrate deeply while standing? I guess not for everyone.

I guess I don't see the connection between standing, sitting, and concentration?

I definitely think typing and using a mouse while standing takes some getting used to (in particular if you rest your arm on an armrest while seated); but concentration itself, to me at least, is not correlated.

I will say I think simply standing as a health benefit exists but is overblown. If you really want health benefits you have to move, so now we're talking about: treadmill desks or exercises.

For many people (myself included), standing up feels like working, sitting feels like being lazy.

I find it a lot easier, these days, than sitting. I can move around, I can pace a little. One of my clients only has sit-down desks and, in addition to being really stiff in the knees afterwards, I always feel cramped and a little restricted. I notice it, and it distracts me from what I'm working on.

My standing desk is also just high enough to fit my exercise bike under it (if I take off the handlebars), and that is really nice.

If you get a drafting stool you can sit at your standing height desk for whatever you need to do while sitting but it's still much more natural to transition between sitting and standing/pacing which can encourage not sitting all day/hashing things out on a white board/grabbing a book off the shelf (plus you can remain seated and still be mostly eye level with people that drop by for a chat).

This is what I use: http://amzn.to/1MSrSNa

For me, using a stool makes the switch back and forth between sitting and standing much more seamless. And it's the shifting weight and switching positions that gives you most of the benefit anyway.

You ever pace around the room while thinking about a problem? That's not the same as just standing in place, but put a treadmill under one of these and you've got a great way to get your mind working. There's something about moving your body that unblocks the brain.

Light physical activity does facilitate good thinking for some reason.

Sitting in a chair for 8hrs a day at work, sometimes I have difficulty concentrating because my shoulders/neck hurt. I have a stand-up desk at home and I love it.

That is why adjustable is key. Reading some emails or in a meeting? Good time to stand. Need to deep dive in some crazy code - sit.

I find it hard to really concentrate on a problem when just sitting in a chair. I'll often get up and walk around the room or pace up and down the corridor. Standing at my desk alleviates some of that need for me, while still letting me be in front of a computer. That being said I rarely stand for a full day, preferring to alternate between standing and sitting during the day.

Agreed - I've found myself standing more and more over the last couple years, though. I think I'm up to six hours or so out of an eight-hour day, either in socks on an anti-fatigue mat or wearing my basketball shoes. I feel so much better, and I find I can "lock in" on a problem more effectively.

For me it really comes down to the type of concentration I need. For times when I know both what needs to be done and how I want to do it and I just have to put hands to keyboard and focus on getting it done, then I prefer to sit. For times when I trying to get a grip on a problem or wrap my mind around how to solve something then standing works much better.

Working standing up has similar effects as 'pacing around', when needing to think about something intently, gripped by thought enough that you're compelled to move around a little... I can't imagine being deep in thought and just sitting still.

That said, I don't use a standing desk, I just occasionally stand up and work from a counter when I feel compelled.

> Working standing up has similar effects as 'pacing around', when needing to think about something intently, gripped by thought enough that you're compelled to move around a little... I can't imagine being deep in thought and just sitting still.

It's really hard. I have had to get used to it, though, because I have yet to work in a place with enough space where I can do that.

Depends on the person. I sometimes stand and eat, even walk around and eat if my plate is not heavy. And have heard a earful for it ("it is not healthy" yada yada).

I use one, never had any issues with it. My wife says the same thing, she can NOT stand and concentrate.

> It's doubtful whether IKEA provides any warranty. It's not listed on IKEA's warranty page. When I called IKEA, I was told that there was a 90-day return policy with receipt.

Wow, I wasn't aware consumer protection was quite that bad in the USA. I've got a BEKANT (the smaller table-top version that the linked reviews say doesn't exist) and haven't had the slightest problem with it, but I admit I might have been more nervous if not for the 10 year guarantee it's given in the UK.

It seems that BEKANT has a 10yr warranty in the USA as well, but what's more crazy to me is that you can offer products without any warranty in the USA at all. In the EU, 2 years warranty is the legal minimum, during the first six months of which the manufacturer has to prove that you caused the damage, and during the remaining 18 months you have to prove that it was damaged from the start (reversal of the burden of proof). That's the absolute minimum that's legally allowed, most manufacturers don't make use of the reversal of the burden of proof and will cover reasonable claims anyway. It's probably just too expensive to verify proof ;)

Oh and I also have a BEKANT at work and never had any issues with it. I honestly don't understand the review that was linked in the article. I use it with a different table top which was a complete non-issue to attach if you have a drill.

> I wasn't aware consumer protection was quite that bad in the USA

You're of course blaming the wrong culprit. That's on IKEA for not offering a warranty.

Companies should not be forced to offer warranties on products. Instead companies should mostly be left to compete on their offerings. A minimum warranty time won't make sense from one product to another. Six months for this, seven years for that, 90 days for this. Inserting bureaucrats into the process of setting warranties on products is just another small but wonderful way to add to the endless parade of regulation that has seen most of Western Europe's growth plummet to almost nothing for a decade.

Firstly, you're confusing correlation and causation. These regulations were introduced in the late 1970's in the UK, not in the last 10 years.

Secondly, the right for redress within 2 years is subject to a legal test for if it is reasonable. Anything that's designed to last less than 2 years should be obvious. For example, by supplying a use-by date on the packaging, or by being a consumable.

Thirdly, companies are left to compete on their offerings. What these regulations do is give consumers the right to legal redress from the seller on grounds of reliability being significantly poorer than expected, something that consumers cannot generally know at the point of purchase. This puts additional competitive pressure on the manufacturer, as poor quality products will damage the seller's profit margin.

Finally, there are no bureaucrats involved. If the seller doesn't meet its obligation the only recourse is legal action. There is no government office of extended warranties, or similar.

I was ecstatic to discover this desk in Ikea a month ago, and I bought it right away. It's so much less expensive than any alternatives I could find, and the material and build quality is superb.

Raising and lowering takes some time, but the brief mechanical labor involved in changing the height is probably a good mental and physical break for the operator. I don't change my desk height often - it stays in standing position 90%+ of the time.

I've had the Bekant desk for about a year now. I haven't had problems with the motor or controller. My experience is about the same as the reviewer of the Skarsta. The Bekant isn't super stable at higher heights, but works well. I recommend it.

I'd consider the hand crank next time or if I were filling an office with desks. Motorized isn't really that much of a bonus for me.

The BEKANT is definitely hit-or-miss when it comes to reliability. The motors on mine died just over a month after purchasing it, and some searching at the time revealed it to be a pretty common issue. Luckily IKEA has a generous return policy and I was able to return it with no questions asked. When it did work, however, I agree it generally worked well and was mostly stable enough. I just couldn't risk having to disassemble my desk whenever the motors broke.

Agree. I also have the Bekant, and it's been fine. The motor is nice if I do need to adjust the height.

I bought one of these desks as well. I also use it at just about 41 inches when standing.

I think the desk sways a bit more than the article says. That said, I would imagine using a sturdier monitor stand (or an arm clamped to the desk) would counteract that enough to make it more comfortable.

For less than ~$250, I couldn't find a comparable sit/stand desk.

"Ikea also sells a motorized BEKANT, which costs twice as much and has bad reviews due to problems with the motors and controller."

I have a BEKANT and I am pretty happy with it. No issues with the motor or controller. Also, it has a 10 year warranty I think. And this being IKEA, getting stuff replaced should be super easy.

I bought the autonomous desk from kickstarter for $500 (basic model): https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/403524037/autonomous-de..., so far quite happy with it. Really stable, and the table top is of good quality. I can see the author's point where the motor is not necessary but when it's cheap enough (at the low end of the $500-$3000 price range), it's certainly a nice to have feature.

Wobbly desk really bugs me and I would rather have a fixed height desk rather than a wobbly one. Testing the stability (or confirm from other's review) before you buy.

You can get a pretty good standing desk in the form of $25 plastic shelves from Walmart. It's what I use every day, and works brilliantly.

If all you're using is a laptop, there may be no need to adjust the height of the desk - just move the laptop to where you need it. Voila.

I have the IKEA Skarsta desk too. I am 6'3" tall. Yes, it does wobble a bit. It wobbles less if all pieces are tightened well. For me it is a non-issue even at full height with my laptop. Overall, it's a solid purchased depending on your use case.

I didn't think a review for a piece of IKEA furniture would ever make it to the top of HN :)

Think of it as a dev tools thread. Those are perennial.

Chris, try and get a better chair. A dining table chair is one of the worst options imaginable.

Jerker - best. desk. ever.

I have a relatively expensive Uplift desk. I've had it for about 4 months now and have 0 complaints on the $1200-ish I spent. Here's my protips:

* Get one with a motor in it. Hand cranking sounds awful.

* Get one with presets. Having to hold a button and wait for a desk to go up and down sucks.

* Get one that goes up and down -- sitting or standing all the time sucks.

* Regarding the above items, you'll probably want to move it up and down every 45 minutes to 1.5 hours.

* Just because you can build one for $4 in parts or put your laptop on a box doesn't mean you should. If it looks like you made it out of $4 in parts or is an old diaper box you probably don't actually care about your workspace.

As someone who uses a fixed standing desk without a chair, aside from a desire to do periodic squats, I don't see the appeal of a transforming desk. But I know I am coming at this with a totally different point of view, and everyone's tastes are different. So I'm obviously not saying you're wrong.

The following bit piqued my curiosity:

> Regarding the above items, you'll probably want to move it up and down every 45 minutes to 1.5 hours.

You transform your desk several times a day? I am surprised. I really didn't think transforming desks saw that much transformation in practice. Sounds like you are getting great value out of it!

The desk is constantly going up and down. Depends on what I'm working on, how my back is feeling (dealing with a herniated disc). I actually spend a lot of time pacing on the phone right now, so I may have it up for an hour phone call and then down for some writing.


> Get one with a motor in it. "Damn I need to get a standing desk. I sit around too much and don't move around enough. GOD I definitely need to order the motorized version!"

As with many things in life, reducing activation energy can have dramatic effects.

For example: Most of the people I know, even the health conscious, don't get annual physicals. I pressed them on why, and it came down to this: They didn't want to spend a half-day getting it done. There's just too much activation energy: scheduling, commute, checking in, waiting around, finally seeing the doc for 10 minutes, driving back to work. It's even worse when you have to return for labs because they didn't inform you that you should fast before drawing blood for labs. Simply reducing the activation energy goes a long, long way!

The last time I got a physical my doctor told me annual physicals are not necessary or recommended for someone my age.

There is such a thing as excessive screening and testing. PSA testing (for prostate cancer) had so many false positives resulting in procedures that were ultimately harmful for the patients that the recommendation to get the test routinely was dropped entirely. Recently the American Cancer Society changed its mammogram recommendation age from 40 to 45. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Services went further and suggested 50 should be the age. Again, the reason is false-positives causing harmful outcomes.

Here in Japan we have a mandatory once a year checkup, and have to submit the results to our employer. Im still not sure if i agree with the once a year, but it makes my wife worry less.

I greatly disagree with the giving it to the employer part, which is one of the reasons im switchng to freelance work.

Yeah, it's easy to say that, but you're assumptions are wrong. Spending time and breaking flow waiting for a desk to go up/down is a waste. I can keep typing and focusing while the desk goes up and down.

Also, I don't stand because it burns calories and I wouldn't expect to burn significant calories cranking a desk or holding a button.

I have a motorized sit/stand desk that doesn't have presets. It's not that bad, but I do agree that it's probably worth spending a little extra on. I sometimes try to keep typing with one hand while I'm pushing the up/down button, and that doesn't work so well.

Shameless plug,

If anyone is interested, here's a DIY step-by-step guide that will run you $50 for a custom standing desk, no cutting required.


Spoiler alert:

It's not adjustable but it takes ~10 seconds to move things down a level manually if you really want to sit down.

I recommend resting with a tall chair so you don't have to touch the desk set up.

I ended up with one of these: https://www.standdesk.co/

$400, easy to build, not super loud considering.

> $400

Note that's for just the adjustable base; it's at least $90 more including the surface, depending on options. Looks like the height range is 28-45 inches.

I have used this rack as my standing and sitting desk. One rack adjusted for sitting position and one for standing. I used to stand most of the time. Not as conveniently adjustable as standing desk but it worked for me at $100. http://www.staples.com/Hirsh-Heavy-Duty-Riveted-Boltless-Ste...

I have one of those in my basement! Never thought of using it as a desk. Wouldn't it be awkwardly far from you while you're sitting, since you couldn't slide the chair underneath the work surface?

Not really. I used to play my piano sitting.

Ikea appears to be sold out in all of Northern California. They do provide a predictor of future available stock, and it looks like they are intending on restocking in Southern California stores.


I bought just the frame at IKEA and then purchased a different top than what they recommend goes with it because I felt the Skarsta tops were ugly. I ended up with a butcher block style top also from IKEA.

It's sturdy and I prefer it to the electric model because I didn't feel like I needed one extra thing to plug in. The top I went with is much heavier and I haven't had any issues with weight either.

Is the tabletop you bought the Gerton by chance? Looking into pairing the Skarsta frame with this table top, but wasn't sure how stable it would be at standing height.

Uplift will also sell you the legs (~US$500) which you can mate with an inexpensive desk-top (or maybe one that you already have):


We've used these at my work and they're pretty nice.

I really like my Uplift I have for my home office. I have the one with 4 presets, works well especially with kids :) If you live in Austin you can take a look at them at http://www.thehumansolution.com/. That's where I bought mine.

The Steelcase Airtouch is, to me, the premium standing desk. No electricity needed, fast and fluid movement, and looks gorgeous.

Definitely not cheap, but its quality is top notch.


(for the sake of discussion) Why sit or stand when you can lie down?


Yeah, always liked the idea since I saw ErgoQuests zero gravity workstations - http://www.ergoquest.com/zero-gravity-workstations.html - a few year back.

But 4000-5000 is a little bit too much for me personally.

I bought one of these and am really happy with it http://iwantastandingdesk.com/collections/frontpage/products...

Wasn't there some recent study that both sitting and standing in front of a desk is not really healthy? We knew that about sitting but standing didn't fare much better. We probably need some treadmill-style workplace instead or taking walking breaks for 15 minutes an hour...

"Some recent study" - sounds legit.

Seriously though, I agree with you I think. As I understand it, you get the health benefits from moving and fidgeting more, not from just standing like a statue.

Ye olde New York Times article talks a bit about this: http://is.gd/3k4zJp

And that article gave me a fancier way to say fidgeting: Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenes or "NEAT"

I've used this desk for the past 6 months and is a really good standing desk for the value. I use it always in standing mode so if you are like me the fact that's not motorized it's not an issue. I confirm that if you are tall this desk is not a good choice for you.

Could you define 'tall' in this case?

Over 6'2"

Been using this since last November. I got the longest top version they make. Pretty satisfied with it so far. The manual cranking is bit tiring if you sit-stand multiple times in a day (FWP, I know!) Otherwise, a practical, no-nonsense product from Ikea, as generally expected.

I was going to buy this if I won the Powerball: http://store.focalupright.com/locus-bundle-pro-p/lbn-2000.ht...


I'm considering to buy ergo depot Jarvis. Anybody using it?

This thing is pretty sweet if you just use a laptop: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002VWJZ8S

In case anyone's in the market: While $100-200 more (depending on retailer), I've been using the Victor High Rise Collection Dual Monitor Sit-Stand Desk Converter for the past 8 months and am very pleased.

Comparable price, very adjustable, wall-mounted. Not for everyone, but I love it, excellent for taller people in particular.


I built my own as many of the commercial standing desks have a tendency to be too short (I am over 2 metres). Just two triangle brackets, some screws and a large piece of wood; total cost: ~$30 and some time.

I'd really like an adjustable desk for my home, but at 160x80 (cm) it's just too big. Why can't idea do a smaller version of this, which would suit a simple home office with an iMac on it.

I have it at home in size 70x120, so I guess it comes in multiple desk sizes.

One thing the article doesn't mention is that for some reason it was a huge PITA to assemble. I've used Ikea a lot but this was one of the more difficult.

Overall though, I highly recommend

Have the table, now for 4 months and for me it was a piece of cake to assemble it - also compared to other IKEA furniture.

I like this table. Use it 95 % in standing mode, one reason is that it is not as easy to put it down as the electric version - so the laziness makes me to use it most of the time in standing mode :-)

How wide do they make them? I have three 27" monitors (for film and video work) and would like to add a fourth one.

edit: Apparently there's also BEKANT which is motorised.

The larger SKARSTA is 63" wide.

160 cm! Thanks.

Unfortunately we might have hugged the site to death. Am now seeing:

> Uncaught Exception: SQLSTATE[HY000] [2003] Can't connect to MySQL server on '' (111)

Sorry about that - brand new DigitalOcean instance and Anchor CMS installation. I guess I have some optimizing to do. Won't even accept new SSH connections.

Perhaps it is hitting the memory ceiling?

When a machine runs out of memory, sometimes new SSH connections can fail because when it tries to fork the processes needed to handle the session, that forking can fail.

You may want to look at how much memory MySQL in particular is allowed to consume on the box. It is actually very configurable in that regard, but pretty greedy out of the box.

Thanks for trying to bring the site back up (and for writing the review, which I'll read when I am able). :)

Back up for the moment, resized the instance from 512 MB of RAM to 8 GB. Time for a crash course in MySQL memory optimization.

If it's just a static blog why even run a full on database engine, etc? A static site generator + CDN would handle huge amounts of loads without breaking a sweat.

Only because it's my first blog and I'm new at high-traffic web stuff. I picked what appears to be a very lightweight and easy-to-tweak blogging engine (Anchor). Which stack do you recommend?

Any static generator (e.g. Jekyll) + any HTTP object store (e.g. Amazon S3) + any CDN (e.g. Cloudflare)

Don't bother, just stick a cache in front!

Why bother with optimizing if scaling vertically is possible? /s

Has anyone got this? http://tableair.com/

Though pricey, but seems neat idea and seems sturdy

Came across this the other day: http://oristand.co/

Of course, nothing beats my TrippTrapp!

Don't have a standing desk. I try to go to gym during lunch a few times a week for squats and deadlifts though; works a treat for this programmer.

IKEA apparently is phasing out this product, at least in SF/Bay area. If you want one, act now. :)

They only came out less then a year ago, it is because of a new version coming out or they are under pressure from other competitors for selling it too low priced?

How do you know? On their website it says "New".

Slight hijack - any recommendations on the best standing desk available to the Australian market?

This IKEA sit to stand desk is available at IKEA in Australia now. http://www.ikea.com/au/en/catalog/products/S79084964/

I'd recommend the VARIDESK: http://au.varidesk.com/

I'd be cautious: the range is too small for me (6'1" / 188cm). On a regular desk that suits me, it doesn't go high enough, and if you prop things on the desks up a bit, you then need to remove them when you lower it.

(It's also a bit wobbly, which isn't great, but probably expected.)

I have one of these and they are a fantastic value. Been using it for a year with no troubles.

I'd like a desk where I alternately lie down or stand, but never sit.

I just used about 45min looking at different ways to use Kee Klamps.

Swing is also a good option.

How low can the desk go?

26 inches (+1 inch for the thickness of the desk surface).

How tall are you?

I bought a treadmill desk recently. It's fantastic. I'm walking 15k steps at 2.3km/h daily, and slowly increasing the speed. I've dropped 3+kg and will soon have a healthy BMI again. After the first few days, the novelty wore off and I stopped noticing it while I worked. If I want a standing desk, I just turn the treadmill off.

One thing I've noticed is that I still have to sit down to maximize focus and think through certain problems. Alternating walking for 30-60 minutes, then sitting for a while feels natural.

I have seen one in person; great for passive consumption of what's on your screen but seems like typing would be a pain. How does that work?

It seems like one of those under desk ellipticals would be a better idea: http://www.amazon.com/FitDesk-Under-Desk-Elliptical/dp/B00Y1...

I did lots of research on this before buying one, and have found what most people reported to be true: it's easy to type and be accurate with a mouse at speeds under 2mph.

Mine stops within five seconds, so taking calls etc. is not really a problem either. Plus you can stand motionless on the side rails while it slows down.

15k steps per day is awesome! I have no idea how much 3kg is but that's awesome too ;)

And it's cool to hear you say that last bit because I feel the same way. I really need to sit down to work through through a complicated problems that requires focus. Emails and phone calls are standing and furrowed brow activities are sitting.

According to Google 3kg is 6,61387 pounds.

As a rule of thumbs if you multiply kilograms by 2 you get a rough equivalent in pounds ;-)

I can manage inches, feet and pounds quite OK but Fahrenheit are a bitch though.

> ... but Fahrenheit are a bitch though.

Ha, ha, couldn't agree more... :)

Anyway, I looked it up just now, looks like you substract 32 from Fahrenheit and then divide by 1.8 to get Celcius: http://www.wikihow.com/Convert-Between-Fahrenheit,-Celsius,-...

I know you're half joking, but if you really don't have a feeling (or actual understanding) of the units of the metric system you should spend some time acquiring that knowledge. There are reasons that 95% of the world and the entire scientific community uses it.

i think treadmill desk is fantastic (i'm currently (for 6 months already) at the "cardboard boxes on the table" stage) and wondering - are you in the office with others, ie. what about noise?

It's in my home office, and it's pretty quiet. Not much louder than simply walking around.

Do you have a link for the one you bought?

You can get the treadmill attachment for the evodesk. It's 999.00, so about $1800.00 total w/desk.

It's the Lifespan TR-1200 DT.

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