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Affordable, automatic sit-to-stand desk (kickstarter.com)
143 points by k-mcgrady on Apr 2, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 107 comments

I talk with a lot of people about getting started with standing desks, and I usually recommend throwing a small cheap table (ikea) on top of your existing desk and getting a drafting chair (tall). This way you don't have to pay for a variable height desk, and you keep it on the cheap side to see if you actually like it. Also, be sure to start slow and stand for maybe an hour or two a day for a few weeks. Then gradually stand more and more.

I've gone into more detail here: http://reustle.io/blog/cant-stand-sitting

A couple of crates and a 1800mm sheet of melamine worked well for me: https://www.flickr.com/x/t/0094009/photos/benrhughes/1082833.... Cost all of about AU$40.

Because I have a corner desk, I can sit at the other half when I want to write, and I use a stool for the rare occasions I want to sit while typing.

I do this too- I can't find the ikea side table I use, but this one looks like it would work, and its 10 bucks: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/90251697/#/801042...

Where were you two years ago... 11 hours day one. It was many days before a day two.

This is what I do and it works great.

practical and cheap way to make any desk standing desk!

When I was researching building my own standing desk, the biggest cost seemed to be getting quality actuators with a long throw at a low price.

Compare this to the a similar looking Ikea Galant workstation at $180-$200. You're getting the motor(s), electronics, actuators, and slide bearings for an additional $200 more.

I'm curious as to how they managed to do away with the horizontal stabilizing bar (this is mentioned as a feature in the video). Without something connecting the legs together, it seems like the left and right tracks could potentially get out of alignment and potentially bind as the desk top raises.

My current verdict from my home built sit stand desk is that it's great for a change a couple times a day. What I found, though, is that my hip starts to hurt after an extended period of standing in one place. I'm now trying standing on an EVA foam pad to see if this helps with that problem.

Incidentally, if you're curious as to how I added sit-stand capability to my desk for less than $200, check out my blog post: http://planiverse.wordpress.com/2014/01/10/building-a-sit-st... .

I think there is some trick that stone masons used where you stand on a brick, and keep changing which foot is on it- somehow it helps

Sounds like it might help, thanks!

Half the price of the competition sounds nice, but they're also using a single motor that has less lifting power and aren't an established name that will necessarily be around in a decade to service your desk... This seems more of a business and marketing play than one of true cost cutting or technical innovation. It would be more impressive to be of equal capability, but less cost.

They could insure against that problem by using off-the-shelf parts so you could just go to Grainger for replacement motors or whatever in 20 years.

I use a standing desk. When I first started out, I spent a lot of time thinking about how I could make a standing desk that I could raise and lower. I looked at taking apart office chairs and using the hydraulics, I looked at possible crank methods, weight and pulley systems, etc.

A friend of mine listened to my brainstorming and said "why don't you just get a taller chair?". He was right.

This $140 drafting chair is what I have now. It has a padded seat, back, armrests, and is just as comfy as any other office chair I've tried. http://www.amazon.com/Boss-Multi-Function-Leatherplus-Drafti...

There are cheaper ones that are more like a stool, more expensive ones, and even some weird (but expensive) saddle type chairs that are designed to mimic standing while you're sitting down. But basically, if you want a standing desk and the ability to sit, ie if you're going to be buying a chair anyways, just buy a taller chair.

It takes a week or two for your feet to get used to it, and if you slouche or lean, you'll find yourself with sore hips at the end of the day. But once you get used to it, you'll find yourself standing much more than sitting. For me, I mostly only sit if I'm eating at my desk, or maybe for a bit after lunch. I have a standing desk at work and one at home. It's a different experience just walking up to your computer and start typing. Most people have to sit down first or stand up when they walk away. This lends to a sort of reluctance to switch from one state to another. Standing, I can lock my screen and walk away at any time.

$500!? Plus shipping!? You can make a standing desk with $100 worth of Ikea parts then buy a tall stool/chair for $75 on Amazon. Bam, just beat your "most affordable" sit/stand desk by $325+. Oh, and you can have it next week instead of next year (or later).

I guess I'll start my Kickstarter campaign tonight.

P.S. 45" is not enough height for many of us tall folk, especially in dress shoes with a thick heel.

This is motorized, so you can also sit at a regular chair if you want as well. Some people don't like stools, they simply don't offer the same level of comfort and ergonomics that a regular chair would.

So spend $200 and get a drafting chair. You'd still be saving a couple hundred bucks.

Drafting chairs aren't as comfortable or as good for your back as a nice standard chair. If part of why you're doing this for your back and are going to sit very much at all, you'll want a better chair.

Only one height? And they claim it fits anyone from 5'2" to 6'2" tall?

I'm 6'3" and my girlfriend is 5'5". Watching her try to use my standing desk is comical. I think those guys are being extremely optimistic, if not outright deceitful.

That seems pretty cool actually, but I wonder if there would be any wobble, or if it would feel a bit off writing on it.

But then you can't use your $750 fancy office chair with it ;).

I think a good cheapo solution would be some sort of platform that you can place on top of an existing desk and will go up and down with hydraulic legs or similar. That way you don't have to remove your desk at your office, get a new chair or similar to try it out.

But is it automatic?

As automatic as it needs to be!

Is giving us a list of your advisers (read: board) supposed to make me think that this is a truly community backed project? I'm sick of people using Kickstarter for free money and advertising on ideas that could be (and probably have been) readily pitched to investors.

Kickstarter is supposed to be for projects that are interesting, but that traditional investors probably won't touch. A stand-sit desk hardly qualifies, IMO. Obviously people are free to give money to whatever they want, but I, for one, won't throw any money at such ho-hum ideas.

Oh, and a quick google search shows that their price point isn't even that much of an improvement on the existing market.

Relax, my friend. Kickstarter is an alternative to a traditional pitch. There's going to be a fuzzy overlap between conventional and otherwise-unfundable projects. No one gets to decide what qualifies. It's a market: just let it work. This project is not for you, but others like it. Why get sick?

It's not free money; it's money in return for a promise of goods once the business has started up, with the risk that the business might never get to that point.

I don't see why only certain types of businesses should use Kickstarter. The only times where it's upsetting to me are when people who already have more than enough money to take risks, instead turn to crowdfunding to convince others to.

Taking your point, if it's on Kickstarter with an appearance that it has already been pitched to investors, it's safe to say that the investors didn't touch it.

Or investors weren't lining up to loan them 100k for free!

Looks nice but not really revolutionary, I've had one of these for a year http://www.heightadjustabledesking.co.uk/index.php?_a=viewPr... which looks basically identical and is quite comparably priced.

> looks basically identical and is quite comparably priced.

I disagree. That desk is priced at £407, whereas this one goes for £240. All else equal, that's significant.

I'd imagine that these desks cost roughly the same amount to produce and the only reason they're ~£400 is because it's a relatively niche product and is sold through a reseller, not direct.

This is they type of desk that I have and I saved a significant amount of money by just buying the legs and then getting a table top at Ikea. Most of this re-sellers are capturing their margins by having overpriced desktops included in the purchase.

This desk also has a cross bar for support and to conceal an axle which allows the desk to have a single beefy motor. I have found the cross beam to be crucial as I have used the desk off-and-on as part of my treadmill setup and every now and then you want to stabilize yourself holding the desk. Even with the cross beam it can wobble in this scenario.

Are the table tops standard or did you have to drill holes in the Ikea top to get it to fit?

just used a power screwdriver to screw the desk to the top

How is 560 comparably priced to 399?

This one is cheaper, and motorized.

this one is motorized too

To those snarky people how say something equivalent to "just use a box", if your desk setup includes three 24" monitors, that is not a practical solution. Even if you only changed between sitting and standing once a day it would not be practical.

[Edit: Some are pointing out cheaper and alternative ways without any snark or smugness, which is great. I wasn't aiming at them and appreciate their input.]

With one trifling exception, the universe consists entirely of other people. A box may not solve their use case just because it solves yours. For them an affordable motorised desk may be the perfect solution.

So stop being a dick.

I'm not sure people are being snarky - more pointing out that there are much cheaper ways to create an alternative. Plus, it's often a whole lot easier to add a DIY platform to an existing desk than to get your company to shell out for a mechanised adjustable height desk.

FWIW, I have a 27" and 2 24"s.

Some are pointing out cheaper and alternative ways without any snark or smugness, which is great. I wasn't aiming at them and appreciate their input.

My employer got me one of these: http://www.ergotron.com/Products/Workstations/StandUpDesks/t... and it's been really nice. You move it up and down by hand. I just grab on and stand or sit and it moves right up or down with me. I love being able to change position so quickly and easily. This desk looks like it takes a long time to move up or down.

The fact that you need to keep the button pressed to move other standing desks is a feature, not a bug. It's a safety feature designed to make it impossible to get yourself in a situation where a body part is trapped in the desk but you're too incapacitated to push the stop button.

I would never buy a desk that had auto-up and auto-down, just like I'll never buy a car with auto-up windows after nearly getting decapitated by this "feature" in a Volkswagen Passat.

In our office we really like the MultiTable.com tables. These were the cheapest high quality tables we could find. Ikea now sells adjustable desks, but the last time I looked they didn't show up on the US version of their site. Ikea prices were comparable to MultiTable. You can buy your table top from MultiTable, or re-use your existing Ikea table tops as we did. Our company was able to negotiate a (modest) bulk discount as well.


Speaking of Ikea. I stared with an Ikea hack as my standing desk. Building a combo coffee table with a book shelf as a keyboard tray, all for about $34. That sat on top of my existing Ikea desk/table. I used that until I was convinced I wanted to stay with the standing desk.

There are two drawback to the Ikea hack solution. 1) they are not readily adjustable. You don't want to stand 100% of the time, certainly not when starting out. 2) they can be very top heavy if you have more than one monitor and a workstation AND a laptop.

The electric motors look cool, but are totally unnecessary. It takes about 10 seconds to crank the table up or down by hand.

What goes unmentioned in most standing desk articles is the need for a really good mat to stand on. Here are the best I've found that are also a reasonable price:

http://www.thehumansolution.com/notrax-974-ergomat-grande-an... http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001BQR23K/

It seems like it would start wiggling side-to-side after a while. Need more triangles! Maybe a strut from lower right to upper left, with an upwards arc in the strut to give legroom?

Two leg standing desks tend to wobble a lot. I'd love to see that specifically called out and demonstrated. Maybe the two legs are wide enough to avoid it.

I backed this project as an early-bird. I'm not sure why you need 4 memory buttons for the deluxe frame. All I need is one more button (maybe two)! Just let me set the height I want it to be at when I'm standing and sitting. If I'm standing pick the other one, and vice versa.

I have a feeling it will get really annoying to use the two buttons on the regular frame over and over again if you're changing the height of the desk a lot. The desk will probably never be at the same height twice if you're telling it when to stop instead of it automatically stopping at the desired height.

Edit: The main point I'm making is for the $399 price, it'd make a lot more sense to include at least one or two memory buttons if a single person uses the desk.

We have a 'quiet room'; a separated-off room with a few desks that some people (but not typically very many) use fairly often. In this case, it would be handy to have a few presets.

I backed this project as an early-bird. I'm not sure why you need 4 memory buttons for the deluxe frame.

It's not uncommon for two people to use a desk, if not interchangeably, then at least regularly.

WRT price, I have a GeekDesk with four memory presents, and it cost about $1000. Is that a lot or a little? It's hard for me to judge, but among the motorized desks it seemed to hit the optimal price / quality point.

I wouldn't go back to a conventional, seated-only desk.

If you live with someone who also uses the desk, it makes a lot of sense to have more options.

Looks interesting. I currently have a GeekDesk, but the market could definitely stand to have some competition at lower price points.

That said, Dave Asprey isn't a name that inspires trust. I would be uncomfortable backing a project he plays such a central role in.

Could you elaborate more on the Dave Asprey bit?

He's made quite a bit of money by promoting what can only charitably be called half-truths.

As another commenter mentioned, his primary claim to fame is "bulletproof coffee"(tm). Among other things, he promotes his own coffee beans by claiming that all other coffee is somehow riddled with mycotoxins - which his isn't, for whatever reason. [1][2]

More subjectively, he comes across as a modern age health guru who touts all his opinion as revelatory fact.

[1] https://www.bulletproofexec.com/why-bad-coffee-makes-you-wea...

[2] https://www.bulletproofexec.com/mycotoxins-in-america/

And grass-fed butter. Don't forget, adding grass-fed butter to your green coffee. That's the key ingredient.

I would have to guess he's talking about bulletproof coffee. I honestly looked at his face on the Kickstarter page and said to myself "this one I don't trust" before I even read this comment. Not sure if I recognized him, but I heard of Bullet Proof Coffee and, as an overweight person and Bitcoin proponent, went back and read the comments and instantly felt myself in that familiar hopeful being scammed mindset.

I am skeptical of most dieting programs, I have nothing hard against this particular one but can't see myself how adding more butter is going to help any fat people with anything.

> The desk can lift up to 225 lbs. Okay, okay…it can actually lift more, but let’s keep things on the safe side.

255 lbs is 102kg; in other words, if I sit on this desk, I'm getting close to the breaking point. Not good :(.

(INB4: yes, people do occasionally sit on their desks, sometimes without even thinking about it - e.g. when full of joy, or drunk. Also there's a good chance that someone at some point will want to stand on a desk to, say, change a lightbulb. Consider this especially if you're buing desks for a more public place, like e.g. your local Hackerspace.)

That's what it can lift, not what it can hold. In your scenario someone would have to sit on the desk and then try and raise it.

> Also there's a good chance that someone at some point will want to stand on a desk to, say, change a lightbulb.

...Or if they're someone who takes "Standing Desk" the wrong way.

Sorry I couldn't help it.

I'm guessing as long as you stand on the portion of the desk directly above a leg you're probably fine even well over 102kg.

That might just be the weight that it can life from low to high height. It might be able to still support more than that when static. It would be good to know what it can support statically.

Not that you need to be using the motor to lift yourself up and down. I'm sure the desk will still support your weight.

Something else to note is that further down it mentions that the 225 lbs limit doesn't include the weight of the table top, so it might be closer to 200.

Simple just don't let anybody overweight/obese get on the desk. Or do it in the morning and if it collapses it will make it easier for them to choose what to have for lunch.


A 6 feet bodybuilder could pass 100kg with flying colors and no body fat to speak about.

Is BMI really the same for males/females? I always assumed that what is obese/overweight for a 5'9 woman would be different than a 5'9 man.

Bmi is mostly bullshit. Much better indicators for overall health is the amount of belly fat and the fat around the internals organs. Having a lot of fat on the butt/thighs is much less damning than lets say fatty lever.

Thanks. I am curious about "lever." Was that a typo or a english-locale dependent noun? I am not trying to be a typo jerk, I produce them constantly, I am just curious what the word is.

Its liver ...

Thanks for following up. I dont know why liver did not occur to me and I stared at the keyboard before replying.

There have been suggestions that slight differences should be allowed depending on one's race and age, too:


According to this ergonomic workspace planner[1] for my height of 1.75m (5'9") I want a keyboard height of 660mm when sitting, and 1080mm when standing. The StandDesk min/max is 711 to 1143mm, so the upper bound is fine, but a bit high for me when sitting.

In fact, according to [1] a keyboard height of 710mm is only suitable if you are at least 1.88m (6'2") so you have to be pretty tall.

The stroke of the StandDesk is 432mm, and I need 420mm so the range is okay for my height. However if I was 1.85m (6'1") or taller the range would be too small.

Back Designs[2] also have guidelines for adjustable work surfaces and again, the StandDesk ranges are just a bit short.

All in all, it looks like a product with great potential, but perhaps needs the specifications reassessed a bit more in order to be truly suitable to a wider user base.

[1] http://www.computingcomfort.org/create2.asp or http://www.ergotron.com/tabid/305/language/en-US/default.asp....

[2] http://www.backdesigns.com/Desk-work-surface-height-W144.asp.... towards the end of the page.

An ironing board is a great, cheap way to test if you like a standing desk. Got the tip from a friend who travels a bunch and uses them in hotel rooms.

Hotel bars work in a pinch as well.

At $399, that's still pretty expensive for a desk.

Doesn't seem that bad to me. I paid $200 for a similar desk (without the standing feature) from IKEA. Most desks, standing or not, that are designed for office environments, are at least that expensive.

My IKEA desk was about $300. (Granted, it's an L shaped one.)

Like the idea, pricing is interesting and wholly out of line with common desks. Still I would lean towards a glass top (black bordered glass is what I have now) instead of laminate or bamboo. L-shape would be fun, but I guess you could put two together, perhaps slave the controls?

As nice as glass top desks are, they get marked up and show every little smudge mark very easily. Also, your arms tend to stick to them more through perspiration.

It quite small. I don't see how my current 3 monitor setup will fit on it.

You'd have to bolt an arm with VESA mounts to it.

Curious that they include "patent application" as part of the process. Based on what they've disclosed in the Kickstarter, they're not doing anything that hasn't already been done before in existing motorized standing desks (this includes the height-position memory function--there's a standing desk out there that retails for about $3000 that has this functionality). As far as I can see, the only real difference is the cost.

Even though I am a software/computer person, I find it refreshing when people come up products/companies that are not software/computer related.

Does anyone know what the success rate is for Kickstarter projects to actually deliver their products on time? After my absolutely terrible experience with Lockitron (I know they're not a Kickstarter project, but they are similarly funded) and some of the other horror stories I've heard, I just don't have faith that these types of projects for goods deliver on their promises.

My god, it's practically funded already. And for those saying it's expensive, I paid $1000 for my GeekDesk.

People saying its too expensive obviously haven't done any research into PROPER standing desks.

I was pricing a CRANK ModTable - it as going to be over 560 and it isn't even motorized. Getting a motorized one would be about 630.

So for this motorized version at 399 is, as stated on their kickstarter page, "most affordable".

Edit: All the suggestions for cheaper alternatives are really just compromises - stacking cardboard ikea tables, or recycling bins, or used warehouse pallets - "$37 cheaper even with the tetanus shot - so sick of kickstarter scams".

This one is rather interesting too ... not as fancy, but interesting company anyway: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/499144433/the-cardboard...

The automatic raise-lower after holding the button is the only reason I won't buy one. Seems like a huge safety issue. The current desks we have in our office have a push-button to hold and a up/down toggle to raise lower. Both must be held to make it move, let go and it stops moving.

Confused over the country specific pledge tiers. Unless KS has changed since I last backed, I thought you could only select a single tier. Therefore, to purchase a standard fame/top from UK, do I just select the $99 UK tier, but pledge $399? (or is it $99 + $399?)

The $399 tier only ships to the US. AFAICT you'd select the $99 tier, and then they'll email you sometime in 2015 to ask for your address plus the remaining $300 (+VAT and shipping).

This seems awfully similar to the Stir Kinetic Desk [1], except the Stir desk is selling at ~$4k.

Anyone know what accounts for the huge price difference between these two?

[1] http://www.stirworks.com/

Touchscreen controls + reference to Apple on the home page. They're targeting an audience who won't mind spending the extra money as long as it's for the 'coolest' thing.

I do like the built in power system.

Did you watch both videos? The Stir desk has a touch screen with built in computer for tracking and displaying standing habits over time. It also seems better designed.

What I'd like to ask here; why is there a patent application involved in this? This is a pretty trivial concept as far as a standing desk goes and certainly not new.


Yea, if you have a laptop, you need to use an external monitor or it will strain your neck to look down all the time. Ego keyboard is always recommended. Living your life typing on a standard "rectangular" keyboard is a wrist's worst nightmare.

I have a monitor arm mounted on the back of my standing desk. As long as your monitor has a VESA mount, this is a viable option.

My back tells me to buy one. Nice Project! Wonder if they ship to the EU.

Looks like they plan to open a UK based distribution centre by 2015.

I just use a comfy stool at my standing desk when my feet get tired.

I'm getting so sick of Kickstarter. It's stuff like this:

> if we receive enough pledges, we'll push the date several months.

You guys are paying for fairy dust.

Woah, their goal was hit in 38 minutes O_O

Guys just wait for 6 months to an year before these desks would be all over Department Stores like OfficeMax, WalMart, IKEA for $99.00 or less.

Why not just get an ikea galant?

It looks very, very similar to the electric standing desk version of the IKEA Galant that I have at home. Too bad for US customers it's not available in their country, because it's a very solid ergonomic desk and reasonably priced.

The StandDesk offered on Kickstarter is a bit less expensive though. I've paid 499 euro (currently 688 USD) for it almost 4 years ago, and that was without the top (I think).

It also seems that it isn't available in the UK :(

Because the Ikea Galant doesn't raise/lower on demand. It's a significant amount of effort to make it do so, and far more if it actually has things on it already.

Looks like the automatic one is not available in the US. http://m.ikea.com/ch/de/catalog/products/spr/39889771/

The one I have at work has two buttons to raise and lower. Fully automated.

The motorized Ikea Galant is not sold in the US, for whatever reason.

> supports someone 6’3”

Well I'm out.

it would be perfect if there was a manual way of doing it.

Like, a crank option? You can get a ModTable, but your price will be over 500...

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