An In-Depth Review of the Adjustable Standing Desk by Able Desk Co.

Let's take a look at how does the desk that bills itself as "The Unbeatable, Affordable, Adjustable Standing Desk" perfoms, in a crowded standing desk market.

Background image from Able Co website: abledesk.co

If you're looking for an in-depth review of the Able Desk Adjustable Standing Desk, you've come to the right place.

Here you'll find pretty much everything you need to know about the Able Desk standing desk and my experiences assembling it, and using it. You'll also find an assortment of photos and videos of the Able Desk adjustable standing desk in action.

Disclaimer: This is review is a completely independent analysis of the Able Desk. I have not received any compensation, or instructions, etc., from Able Desk Co. I purchased the desk for myself, with my own funds. There are several links to Amazon in this review, which is the only form of compensation that I might receive if you purchase any items through these links.

Why I chose the Able Desk from a very crowded adjustable standing desk market.

To call the adjustable standing desk market a crowded field would be an understatement. And if you're anything like me, you like to do ALL THE RESEARCH. There is nothing I enjoy less than returning a large item, even if it's less than what I wanted. And that goes double for items that you can't physically go and experience in person.

As a small business owner who works from my home office desk all year long, I had a couple major needs for my new adjustable standing desk:

  1. It needs to be sturdy, with solid construction
  2. It needs a great warranty that stands behind the product.

I'm a big fan of The Wirecutter blog and so my first stop was to look into their choice of adjustable standing desk, which was the UPLIFT V2 desk.

However, if you've shopped these desks before, you'll find there's usually a very big asterisk missing: PRICES STARTING AT YOUR FIRST BORN CHILD. Just like window shopping for a new vehicle, no photo or video features the base model.

In fact, the UPLIFT desk that they reviewed included the "advanced" keypad which has 4 presets like the Able Desk, but it costs an extra $34 for the option. Otherwise the base model has a simple up/down two button keypad.

While I won't be doing a comparison between the Able Desk and other brands in this review, I must say that the checkout experience for Able Desk was refreshing. Instead of endless upsells, and a process that leaves your pockets continuously more empty, they treat you like an adult and let you simply add-on any accessories that you want.

In my case, I chose to forgo any of the accessories for my initial purchase. I assume that, if I like the desk, I can purchase those later.

Checking all the boxes, and at a very reasonable price.

I wound up researching the following desks and comparing the various specifications for each one, plus comparing the prices.

I decided that I wanted a desk in the 55-60" range. And thus got the 58" version of the Able Desk Adjustable Standing Desk, at a price of $449 with no charge for tax. They also have a 5% off coupon if you sign up for their newsletter, which reduced the price to $426.55.

The Competition

To compare, here is the pricing for the competition -- for desks in the same desktop size range, with a programmable memory control handset (if available):

  • UPLIFT Desk — $673 + tax (free shipping)
  • VariDesk — $795 + tax (free shipping)
  • Jarvis — $654 + tax (free shipping)
  • Autonomous SmartDesk — $479 + tax + $49 shipping
  • Updesk Pro — $895 + tax (free shipping)
  • ApexDesk — $699.99 + tax (free shipping)

That puts the Able Desk Co Adjustable Standing Desk $101.45 less expensive than the next closest competitor.

With a 350 pound max weight capacity (but a recommended 220 pound every day use capacity to maximize the motor life), trying the Able Desk was a no-brainer for me since I couldn't test or experience any of these desks in person.

From a purely price to performance standpoint, it seemed like potentially a "too good to be true" product. The base model with a 46" desktop comes in at $399. The larger desktop pricing is very reasonable compared to sometimes $120+ increase from the base to a more "standard" desktop size.

So after comparing the features side-by-side, I decided to order the Able Desk. The worst case scenario is that if it turns out to be cheap quality, I send it back, and get a refund. Best-case scenario, I get a desk that's at least sturdy, but rated at a higher weight capacity... and a programmable handset for at least $79 cheaper than the next lowest comparable desk...  and a $446 cheaper than the most expensive comparable desk.

Not a bad position in the market... IF it can live up to it's tagline: An "Affordable, Adjustable, Unbeatable" adjustable standing desk.

Shipping & Delivery

The desk arrived in two separate deliveries, both via Fedex. I ordered the desk on a Friday. I received the hardware components on the following Wednesday, and the desktop on Thursday.

The hardware box was packed well inside, but the exterior tape job was haphazard. If the package would have gone through too many more interchanges, I can imagine that I might have received a damaged product.

The desktop on the other hand was absolutely expertly packaged and sealed. Very dense foam blocks and plenty of masking tape kept the desktop in perfect condition.

You'll find a breakdown of the components from each box below:

Putting it all together

There's not a whole lot to say about the assembly process. The instruction manual is very clear, and easy to follow.

PDF Manual Download

Here's a quick link to download the PDF of the manual for the Able Co Adjustable Standing Desk.

The only issue in assembly was getting the leg lined up to attach the side brace. The leg is rounded on the outside edge and the holes that the bolts go into are partially on the corners where the leg is rounded. This led to the bolts being difficult to line up and get initially threaded. Eventually it caught and from there is was a snap.

Bring a friend, if you can. There were exactly 3 steps that really do benefit from having a partner to help you.

  1. Attaching the legs to the desktop. Mainly just to help get the pre-drilled holes lined up. The legs are heavy, and lining up 3 holes can be a little cumbersome. A friend helps.
  2. Attaching the feet to legs. The way they attached, you basically balance the foot piece on the skinny leg, while you thread the bolts. Not hard, but if you bump them off, you won't be a happy camper.
  3. Flipping it over and moving it. OK, this is obvious. But if you're like me and like to tackle projects yourself, you probably don't think ~100-120lbs is heavy to lift. But the size and distribution of weight makes the desk hard to move more than a short distance... especially across carpet.

Assembly tip: do not tighten any of the bolts during the leg assembly. Just screw them in enough to start them. There's a reason they mention this in the manual, and it'll just make your life easier. Tighten them all AFTER all of the bolts are in place. Obvious, I know, but you'd be surprised. :o)

Overall the process took about 30 minutes. On a scale of 1-10, 10 being difficult to assemble, and 1 being easy -- I rate this at about a 3.

The instructions were simple, the included allen wrench was of very good quality (which was a nice surprise), and all of the holes and assembly pieces were organized and easy to locate.

The standing desk after assembly. Wire management came later!

Setup and Calibration

One of the main draws for me was that the desk came standard with a handset with multiple presets. This desk has 4 presets, as well as up and down keys. As mentioned earlier, a lot of the desks use a memory-equipped handset as an upsell for ~$30+.

The process for calibrating and setting the presets is extremely easy and takes a couple seconds to accomplish. Below are the exact instructions from the manual, and a couple videos demonstrating how to perform each step.

Step 1: Calibrating or Resetting the Desk

After the desk is assembled you'll need to plug it in, and perform a quick calibration (these are the same steps as to perform a reset).

  1. Press and hold DOWN until desk reaches the lowest height position. Release.
  2. Press DOWN again but hold until the display flashes RST. Release. (NOTE: The RST readout may look like ASr)
  3. Press and hold DOWN once more until the desk lowers and rises slightly. NOTE: DO NOT release the DOWN button until after these motions have finished.

Step 2: Setting your presets

Assigning heights to each of the 4 presets is also easy, and will take you about 3 seconds. It's literally impossible to mess this up.

  1. Use the UP/DOWN buttons to adjust desk to the desired height.
  2. Press the * to display the letter S.
  3. Press one of the four memory presets (1,2,3, or 4) to save the current height position to that button’s function.
  4. Your desired height has now been set. Perform this set up again to save different height adjustments.
  5. To change a current memory preset, simply perform this setup to override any of the four numbered buttons.

Step 3 (optional): Setting Custom Height Limits

An additional option is to set custom upper and lower height limits. While not a particularly useful option for me, I can see where this would be useful if you had very young kids and you didn't want them messing this the desk height.

Here's how to set the upper height limit:

  1. Use the UP/DOWN to adjust the desk to the desired maximum height.
  2. Press * and release. Press UP and release. The display will flash S, indicating it is ready to set the upper limit.
  3. Press and hold * for 2 seconds. Display will show 999 and then return to the height readout.
  4. The upper limit has been set.

To set the lower height limit, simply repeat the process, but press DOWN in Step 2, instead of UP. When lower limit has been set, the display will shows 000 instead of 999 to indicate the lower limit was successfuly set.

Conclusions: So how good is the Able Co Adjustable Standing Desk?

So here's the meat of the review. I've covered all the bases, so it's time for my personal opinion of the actual product. So here it is:

It. Is. Fantastic.

It's VERY Sturdy

I've had a very large, very old fashioned desk for over a decade. I work from home, and am at my desk literally all day long. I was concerned about switching to a much more slim, minimalistic desk.

I was especially concerned about the amount of weight that I would put in the desk while standing. I'm only 5' 9", but I'm used to leaning on my desk and offsetting my weight.

In standing mode, I set the desk to 41.2 inches high. At this height, there is virtually no wobble to the desk. I mean, if you SHAKE it, sure. But in normal use: leaning on it, typing, moving things around, even the occasional bump, there's no movement. My monitors are on a dual monitor stand that's attached to the edge of the desk. Even in standing mode, the monitor arms don't wobble. The desk doesn't wobble. It's extremely stable.

At the highest height of 47.5 inches, there's no change in its sturdiness. I'm not tall enough to use it at this height, but I wouldn't have problem suggesting it for someone of that stature.

From the shortest height of 28.3 inches, to the tallest height setting, it's rock solid. And it's able to go lower than most desks I've looked at, which is very handy if you're short. Like my wife. ;o)

It's Quiet and Fast.

The motors are very quiet and smooth. I was worried that my wife would be annoyed from the sound in the adjoining room, but she has never been able to hear it. The desk is on carpet, which no doubt helps with any vibration noise.

I've attached a dual monitor arm stand, and even bolted a CPU holder for my workstation to the bottom of the desk. I weighed all of these components and they added a total weight of 75 pounds to the desktop. Even with the hefty computer attached to one side, creating an off-balance situation, the motors don't seem to care one bit.

Since they advertise this being able to withstand 220 pounds day-to-day (with a max load of 350 pounds), I wouldn't have been surprised if my meager load gave it any issues, and I was initially concerned for the CPU holder. But not any longer.

The Desktop: The only sticking point for some.

First, the good: It's absolutely beautiful. I purchased the pine desktop and it looks immaculate. It will fit right in with pretty much any other decor.

Second, the potential sticking point: OK, here's the only catch in the whole arrangement. And honestly, it's a small one.

The desktops that they sell are GOOD quality. But I wouldn't call them GREAT quality. I expect the desktop to last for years, as long as I treat it good. It's laminate, not hardwood, so your mileage may vary. Any scuffs, scratches, stains, etc., aren't going anywhere. With hardwood, you have options. Laminate is what it is.

If hardwood is a must for you, you can purchase the desk hardware alone, and then have a desktop made or purchase one from a place like IKEA. Measure and pre-drill some holes, and you've got a custom desktop. I've read some people doing that, and having a great experience.

The desktop is thinner than it probably should be. It's listed as 0.8 inches. My monitor stand and CPU holder both attached sturdily to it, and I'm happy with the result. But in an otherwise perfect product, a slightly thicker, more robust-feeling desktop would put this over the top.

Don't get me wrong: the desktop is perfectly fine. But for me personally, if they had the option to get an inch thick desk or hardwood, I'd be happy to spend an extra $50-$100 for the option, just for peace of mind.

Finally, the "ugh really": OK, there's one bad thing about this whole desk. And yes it's minor, but it's a head scratcher.

The grommet hole's cover and collars. Cheap plastic. Like, really, really cheap. Sure, it's a small detail, and you'll probably never care -- but using metal, rubber, or even just a stronger plastic, tighter-fitting for the grommet hole cover and collars would have cost pennies more.

Here's a video of the cover and collars:

I know, I know. They sit at the edge of the desk and I never do anything with them, but it's the one area that they seemed to put zero thought into.

If there's a version 2.0 of this desk, make that better!

Final Thoughts about the Able Company's Adjustable Standing Desk.

So, would I recommend this desk? Absolutely yes.

The two minor annoyances or concerns are so greatly outweighed by the positive factors, that I'm not sure what the other manufacturers are doing to justify the higher prices.

Surely the laminate desktops on the competition are roughly the same quality. Unless there's some hidden feature, or component that makes them worth $300-$400 more (some over double the price!), I'm left wondering if there's a magical standing desk experience that I'm missing out on. After all, it's motorized legs and a desktop. I've seen them all, and I'm left scratching my head.

So, yes. I would recommend this desk. Even if the desktop doesn't stand the test of time, I could go purchase a hardwood top and attach it. If the motors burn out early, it has a 7 year warranty.

I honestly can't think of a reason to buy from somewhere else, UNLESS there's an added feature they have that you can't work around, or add-on, for less than $300.

Table of Contents
Recommended Addition: Anti-Fatigue Mat

If you intend to use a Standing desk, for extended periods of time, we highly recommend an anti-fatigue mat. We recommend this one. To read our review of this standaing desk anti-fatigue mat, click here. Or click here to view the Amazon listing


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