Review: Flexispot Standing Desk Riser
If you’re anything like us, you’re glued to a desk for an unhealthy amount of time each day. One fix is to find a job suited to your skill sets that won’t have you working on a computer most of the day. Good luck with that. A less drastic solution is the standing desk, and Flexispot sent over one of their best-selling Standing Desk Risers (to be placed on top of your existing, non-standing desk) for us play and work with. As of this writing four sizes (27-inch, 35-inch, 41-inch, and 47-inch widths) accommodate different-sized desks and setups, though we got a 35-inch model that was ample big to fit our dual-screen rig. Read on for our full take.
The desk ships in a gigantic box and comes mostly preassembled so setup isn’t too arduous. It’s not light at roughly 50 pounds, so better have a good back if you plan on placing the unwieldy thing on your desk alone; otherwise enlist one other human to help. It takes a few minutes to screw together and mount the keyboard assembly onto the front but that’s about all there is to it. Then on top of it we set up about 25 pounds of gear including a 27-inch monitor, a MacBook Pro on a Rain mStand, and an external hard drive, while keeping some cable slack to accommodate the height adjustability. Included are a few cable ties and the like to organize your cords if you’re into that sort of thing.
Flexispot’s functionality is a bit different than the last standing desk we tested in that it rises straight up and down within its own footprint, rather than sprawling out forward towards you when raised. This it does thanks to an X-shaped scissor mechanism that’s equipped with a gas spring hovering system (think pneumatic, but passive) to assist in lifting whatever’s on it, up to its 35 pound weight limit, unlocking at a light squeeze of bilateral handles. Giving work to both hands is sort of important since otherwise you might stick one in the mechanism as it’s being activated. While this vertical vs forward rise might not matter much if your office is massive the space it saves becomes significant in more modest locations, and because the tipping risk is essentially eliminated the base of the unit doesn’t need to be quite as bulky or heavy. It locks to 12 distinct levels for accommodating a range of user heights — no issues here for our 6’1″ reviewer who used it standing at the maximum height of 19.7 inches.
Design & Ergonomics
The desk surface is made of medium-density fiberboard and the mechanism is largely made of steel. Asking for solid wood might be too much, but the surface has a rugged black coating that feels really good. Its wooden keyboard surface isn’t retractible but the sheer space it provides (at least on the 35-inch width model) more than makes up for that. In fact, we liked it far more than flimsier retractible metal versions we’ve tried in the past and found it to be very solid, with enough texture and slide to use a mouse directly without a hitch. The height for typing went high enough to be spot on ergonomic, though we presume even taller individuals may need to adjust the height of their desks (when possible) to get it just right. Otherwise, the upper level surface is massive and fits tons of stuff albeit with one limiting factor: the aforementioned 35 pound weight limit. Notably at the back there’s also a mount for a monitor arm and, at the front, a long slit that’s sized for propping up a smartphone or tablet (or both), with small holes to slip through a cable and charge them simultaneously.
Do keep in mind that placing one on your desk adds about 6 inches of height even when fully collapsed. If you’re going for the whole ergonomic, eye-level monitor thing this’ll be a non-issue as it was for us, especially considering that we previously employed a stand and a really thick book to boost monitor height before. But if you plan to do a lot of manual writing or other non-computer work you might be better suited by a dedicated standing desk, sans riser. Flexispot also makes some of those.
Sitting & Standing
Raised, we did have a tendency to further boost the height of the monitor by a couple of inches thanks to its adjustable stand, to get it closer to parallel eye level. Maybe we slouch a bit when sitting? Hard to tell why exactly this happened. It’s a quirk we’ve encountered with other standing desks and probably chalks up to posture differences between sitting and standing, though those not as obsessed about monitor-to-eye level may not care. On another note we noticed the gas-spring system gives less assistance as the desk is raised higher and higher, so if you’ve got a heavy-ish setup (like ours) the last few inches before max height take more strength than you’d expect. Despite this the mechanism does its job quietly, and feels particularly solid and stable (as far as risers go) when raised and locked, probably a result of its vertical rise. And it feels really good to break up a long work session by alternating between sitting and standing. Too much standing could lead to leg fatigue for the unaccustomed and for that an anti-fatigue standing mat can help.
There’s a lot to like about Flexispot’s riser. It doesn’t take more room than necessary by rising vertically, has plenty of room for a full sized keyboard and mouse setup on its keyboard mount, and gives you options for resting your phone/tablet, not to mention installing a monitor arm. And with four sizes to choose from there’s one that’ll fit just about any desk. We’d always recommend sizing up.