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Are IKEA Standing Desks Worth the Money?

  • 18 min read

Who does not know IKEA these days?

Since the store formally opened its doors to the public in 1967, “affordable innovation in home furnishings” has always been its battle cry. Over 50 years and millions-of-knock-down-furniture sold later, they continue to fulfill every DIYer’s dream.

So assembly does not always come easy. Like other customers, you must have also found out—the hard way—that putting a piece of furniture together based on diagrams alone is anything but snappy. But you tried and tried…and tried until you finally got it right.

Well, at least you got through the hard part, and the table/chair/cabinet looks presentable enough, doesn’t it? Flat-pack furniture does not look bad at all. It does not bore a hole through your pocket too.

But does it really give you the value you expect for your hard-earned money?

Now that you are contemplating on buying an IKEA standing desk, you wonder if it will be a wise investment or otherwise. Without question, you will find a unit within your budget range. However, given the backlash the brand has received lately, you cannot help but think twice before you start browsing through their website, let alone place an order.


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WHAT KINDS OF IKEA SIT-STAND DESKS EXIST?

If you have been shopping around for a height-adjustable sit-stand desk, by now you must have realized that they do not come cheap. Depending on the model, prices can easily go up to four digits.

At IKEA, however, you can find a unit at a more affordable cost. Good thing, it did not take long before the Swedish knock-down-furniture giant caught on to the standing desk fever. Today, the store carries two popular variants:

  •  Skarsta

Available in white hue only, the IKEA Skarsta has two models with different lengths: 47 ½” ($239) and 63” ($279). Its table surface is made of particleboard and acrylic. Users can adjust the desk’s height manually with a crank.

  •  Bekant

The IKEA Bekant sit/stand desk’s height can be electrically adjusted with just a push of a button. Its lowest height range for sitting is 65cm while the highest is 125cm (Estimated Cost: $490).

What differentiates the Skarsta desk from the Bekant? It is the motor. Skarsta, which is the more affordable model between the two, is manually operated. The Bekant, on the other hand, has an electricity-powered motor, and it can be lowered or raised with the push of a button.

IKEA DESKS IN MORE DETAIL: IKEA SKARSTA

Adjusting the height of a Skarsta desk is easy: just turn the crank. Users can lift and lower it as needed. The absence of an electrically powered height regulator makes it a cheaper option compared to the IKEA Bekant sit-stand desk.

Because the Skarsta is manually adjustable, you never have to deal with stuck motors, let alone those that do not work at all. However, some users complain that the crank handle wears out over time.

The Skarta’s desk top is fairly stable, and it is strong enough to hold a light pc monitor and some accessories. If you are thinking of designing your office in a way that you can easily fit in an IKEA Skarsta, you do not have to worry: it comes in “white” color.

As a neutral hue, white will blend easily with almost all types of design ideas. Unfortunately, however, you will have to make do with white and nothing else if you get a Skarsta. To date, IKEA has not added another color option to the Skarsta lineup.

Although minimalistic, versatile and sleek; having only one hue limits users in terms of creatively incorporating it in their interior design motifs. Some even voiced out concerns about how hard it is to make the table blend with their present interior.


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IKEA DESKS IN MORE DETAIL: IKEA BEKANT

Budget-conscious office workers, who want a workstation with nice features but do not have the patience (or physical ability) to spin cranks, turn to the IKEA Bekant sit-stand desk. It comes in one size only (63” by 31 ½”) but is electrically adjustable height-wise. This IKEA sit-to-stand desk variant is affordably priced at an estimated cost of $490 a unit (excluding tax and shipping fee).

This IKEA electric standing desk is as popular with some users as it is notorious with others. Since its release, numerous complaints have poured in. Many of them detailed customers’ dissatisfaction due to failures experienced within days or weeks following installation. To find out what led to this backlash despite Ikea’s move to drop prices in response to the continuously growing number of complaints, read on:

  • Poor Motor

Poor electronic capacity edged out all the other complaints. Because the desk’s height can only be adjusted electronically, motor failures disables its primary benefit.

  • Weak Lifting Capacity

The desk can support a maximum weight of 154 lbs. only. Although it is strong enough to hold a pc with monitor and few accessories, loading more than the basic office equipment can compromise its stability. According to one user who reviewed the product, apart from ill-fitting fasteners, which are meant to secure the top, the desk has no cross support. Therefore, it is more likely to wobble the higher it goes.

  • Not High Enough for Tall Users

Users, particularly those who towered above 6’, complained that the desk cannot go high enough to conform to their needs. Its maximum top reach of 48” was purportedly insufficient given its 63” diameter. Some observers say that this is not a major issue considering the fact that not all users are 6’ high or taller.

WAS THERE A BEKANT IKEA SIT-STAND DESK RECALL?

Poor motor quality tops the list of grievances about the IKEA Bekant sit-stand desk. Since its launch in 2014, customers have been bombarding the store with a variety of complaints, most of which were about electronic dysfunctions. Once the motor is rendered useless, users cannot adjust the height as needed. When this happens, the product fails to serve its purpose.

To address the issue, the firm deployed technicians. Cable replacements and various fixes were done to no avail. Then, they gave a $100 discount in an attempt to assuage the market’s growing dissatisfaction. But the outpouring of negative reviews continued. This combined with the firm’s failure to resolve all complaints led to the recall.

Not all customers were dissatisfied with the IKEA motorized sit-stand desk model, though. In their review, they said that they did not experience any problem with the motor. To prove it, they conducted tests.

The results showed that the motor could go up while supporting weights that exceeded the 154 lbs. limit by 14-16 lbs. Neither did they find fault in the speed of the rise despite the hefty weight placed atop. However, it had trouble lowering the weight, slowing down from 1.25” per second to .33”.

At times, the motor proceeded this way throughout. In some instances, it moved faster after covering 5 to 6 inches. Take note that although this issue can be considered common, not all customers have experienced the same problem.

TODAY’S FOCUS: IKEA SKARSTA DESK REVIEW

Some customers consider the IKEA Skarsta desk as the manual version of the Bekant. Considerably affordable, the product comes in two sizes. The smaller and cheaper of the two is priced at $229 whereas the bigger and more expensive model costs $279.

Users can easily adjust the desk’s height using a hand-operated crank. They only have to turn it at a certain direction to raise or lower the desk. Although requiring more physical effort, some users choose the Skarsta over the Bekant. They cited bad reviews as the reason why they opted for a motorless model.

Some reviews even went on to assume that the Skarta is the most affordable standdesk in the market nowadays. Its simplicity and ease of operation makes it a better and more practical alternative for some users. This notion applies to people who are looking for budget-friendly items or are not very comfortable with using electronically operated furniture (or both).

Aside from affordability, the IKEA Skarta sit-stand desk has gained favor among users because of the following reasons:

  • Easy to Assemble

Once the unit has been delivered to your place, you will find a manual, along with the other parts. Do go over it carefully before you start assembling. Take note of the how the items are labeled and which part will go with what part. After assembling, check the frame bolts to ensure that they are attached tightly.

  • Stable Structure

The workstation is durable enough to hold computers or laptops and other work accessories. In general, it is capable of holding up to 154 lbs. However, some users found out that it can hold a bit more (186 lbs. based on the observation of one reviewer).

SKARSTA DESK SIT/STAND MOTOR: YOU ARE THE MOTOR

Versatility is one of the key factors that make standing desks better than sitting desks. This manifests in the height-adjustment feature that allows users to freely customize the desk to fit their needs. Therefore, it is only reasonable for manufacturers to ensure that the crank or motor is functioning well. Otherwise, the product fails to serve its purpose.

Given the backlash on the motor problems of the Bekant, a sit-to-stand desk from IKEA, many customers opted for Skarsta instead. Adjusting how high the Skarta’s top should be is made possible thru the use of a crank. Based on one user’s Skarsta review, it takes 71 revolutions to raise the desk’s top from sitting to standing height.

HOW EASY IS IT TO CHANGE HEIGHTS?

In turning the Skarta’s crank, users must pay attention to the specific directions required (i.e. clockwise for raising and counterclockwise for lowering). If they force it to turn the wrong way, they risk bending it or worse, disabling it altogether.

According to one user’s IKEA Skarsta review, swinging it like pilots do when starting a plane and then pushing down on the surface will prompt the unit to lower on its own. Whenever users need to make adjustments, they can access the crank arm, which slides in and out easily. When not in use, it automatically returns to its slot, which is located at the top’s underside.

HOW EASY IS IT TO CHANGE HEIGHTS AT CAPACITY?

In adjusting the height of the Skarta, a sit-stand desk from IKEA, just slide the crank out and start spinning the handle according to the indicated direction. Again, read the manual carefully. Follow the directions stated in it.

The crank is sturdy enough for daily manual operation. However, if you turn it in the wrong way, time will come and its gears will loosen. When that happens, it will no longer work—and this means that your desk will be stuck at a certain height for good.

In some IKEA Skarsta review posts, users noted that the crank’s shaft obtain scratches after some time. This is expected given that the desk has been used and adjusted several times after a few years. For some users, the crank’s supposedly quick degradation is troublesome, particularly if it will keep them from adjusting the desk’s height whenever necessary.

DOES THE SKARSTA DESK SIT/STAND CRANK GET IN THE WAY?

What is most notable about the Skarsta (sit-stand desk from IKEA) is its simplicity and efficacy. Customers who are looking for a good bargain without compromising their needs will find it satisfactory.

The hand-operated crank is reported to function well in most cases. Its handle is located on the underside and can be easily pulled out. Once a user pulls it out, it detaches from the mechanism, which allows users to spin it without resistance.

Some users complain about the noise it makes while they are using it. In line with this, the time it takes to adjust the height is approximately 1-2 minutes. Also, while being cranked, the desk wobbles a bit. Although slightly distracting, users do not find the noise distracting enough to make them feel uncomfortable. Neither does it affect the crank’s speed while they are using it.

With regards to turning the crank, some users reported that the task can get tedious over time. However, they did not consider this as a problem to begin with. They did not attribute the task’s difficulty to how the crank works while they are spinning it, but rather to the fact that they would rather raise or lower the desk without needlessly exerting physical effort.

In general, users did not find it difficult to turn the crank regardless of how much weight is placed on the manually operated IKEA stand-sit desk. As one reviewer put it, users are least likely to load the desk with very heavy equipment weighing exactly 154 lbs. (or its equivalent) or more. Nonetheless, as previously mentioned in the IKEA sit-stand desk review, this did not pose a problem, even if the load exceeded the limit by up to 20 lbs.

WHY IKEA SIT/STAND DESK'S MOTORS WERE BAD: THE SWITCH TO THE HAND CRANK

The electrically operated IKEA Bekant sit/stand desk edges out its non-electronic counterpart, the Skarsta. Users can adjust the desk’s height more easily. With that, they no longer have to wear themselves out by spinning the crank with their own hands. Also, it is much faster. Hence, they do not use too much of their time (which many considers a distraction) just to raise or lower their desk to a suitable height.

However, not long after its official release in the market, complaints started flooding in. Although generally diverse, most of them involved the model’s most distinctive feature, its motor.

Remember: In the event that the motor bogs down or stops working altogether, the desk no longer serves its primary purpose. Learn more about the details of this common complaint by going over the information listed below:

  • The motor stalls for 1-3 minutes. The problem persists even if user tries to restart operation by pressing the button. One female user added that she still experienced this issue even after removing and reapplying power.
  • According to many users, there seems to be a problem with the amount of power used by the motor. It stops after moving up or down by a few millimeters and will not start again. To address this issue, one reviewer suggested the following measures:

a. Unplug it whenever it is not in use. The only time you should plug it back is when you want to shift from a standing to a sitting position, and vice versa.

b. If the power supply will not work, return it to IKEA for a replacement.

c. Should you encounter any problem with the motor, you should call the customer support hotline right away. In most cases, the firm sends power supplies and cables directly to the complainant’s home. You do not have to disassemble the desk and take it back to the store for assessment or replacement.

CAN THE SKARSTA DESK HANDLE EXTRA WEIGHT?

Expect that office desks will be supporting a considerable amount of weight, specifically work-related equipment and accessories. Hence, when it comes to choosing the best unit, weight matters.

Although some use complained that the Skarta desk could not hold more than its 154 lbs. weight limit, others disagree. One review even indicated that it managed to go up and down with 186 lb. load—and the speed remained constant throughout the test. In some reviews, the reviewer was quick to point out that it rarely (or never) happens that users will put that much weight on top.

As a general workstation, it can hold monitors, laptops and other accessories/tools. Usually, such equipment, even if combined, will not weigh 150 lbs., let alone 160 and above. With this, you can surmise that overall, weight was not much an issue for Skarta users.

THE INFAMOUS IKEA SIT/STAND DESK STABILITY ISSUES

Some users complained that the IKEA Bekant sit/stand desk was unstable even if it was not being raised. This problem is more alarming because it is more common for workstations to become unstable once or after they are raised. In the case of the Bekant, however, it became more unstable as it got higher.

After checking how the equipment elevates, the reviewer proceeded with testing its weight capacity. He placed a 50 lb. weight on it and started the motor. The wobbling began to wobble. The wobbling got worse as the desk rose higher. By the time it reached 33”-34” inches, the reviewer had to stop it because the shaking got so bad; it was already distracting.

After a brief pause, he turned the motor on again, and the desk resumed rising. When it was done, he concluded that the wobbling got worse, the higher the desk went. At 39”, the wobbling got too intense that it already hindered his focus. Needless to say, this adversely impacted his productivity.

IKEA SIT AND STAND DESK CORE ISSUE: PLASTIC FASTENERS

Apart from the wobbling, the connection between the base and top of the Bekant was also problematic. As with all IKEA products, these two parts were attached to each other with specially made fasteners. Made of plastic, these connecting devices were not high quality.

Although they made assembling quicker and easier, the fasteners of this IKEA motorized sit-stand desk failed to secure the attachment of the base to the top. Because of this, the top can be moved slightly. This explains why some users doubt the stability of the desk. Hence, they are not that confident about placing their computers and other work equipment on it.

THE SKARSTA IKEA WARRANTY: WHAT IS THE POINT OF NO RETURN?

Users have good reason to keep their receipts. With it they can avail of the provisions in the warranty, which has 10-year coverage. So after receiving the original copy, they should scan it and file it in an app or on their desktop. Accordingly, the support team at IKEA honors scanned copies as well.

In general, IKEA offers a limited warranty for their products, including desks. It covers a range of issues involving material defects and craftsmanship. After confirming that the complaint is covered, the firm will address the problem by repairing, replacing spare parts as needed, or replacing the item with a new unit of the same model or another product comparable to it.

Customers do not have to pay for labor, shipping or fares. The firm will shoulder all costs involved so long as the customers’ locations are accessible and no special expenses will be incurred in the process.

The warranty will not cover products that are not assembled properly, used inappropriately, misused, modified or cleaned with the wrong products and/or methods. In addition, items that have worn out over time or under the usual circumstances or sustained damages (cuts, scrapes, scratches, chips, etc.) from impacts arising from accidents are also not covered. The same provision applies to consequential and/or incidental damages.

THE SKARSTA IKEA WARRANTY: HOW EASY IS IT TO RETURN?

Warranties are made to put users and manufacturers at an advantage. You only have to take the time to go over the details (twice or more if needed) and comprehend the information provided. If some parts of the narrative are vague, do not think twice about emailing or calling the customer support hotline. Rest assured that the well-trained support team is always ready to help clear things out for puzzled customers like you.

At IKEA, the provisions of the warranty take effect on the day you purchase the product and last for a specified number of years. To make claims, you only have to present the original receipt.

If you are planning to return a Skarsta desk, you can do so within 90 days after purchase. Not all products offered at the store have lifetime warranties, though. Usually, many of them are covered by limited warranties.

To find out which warranty applies to your purchase, inquire with the designated personnel. Afterwards, he/she will what type of warranty applies to your product and until when. IKEA alone has the liberty to decide on the best solution for your problem. Usually, they will have it repaired or replace it with another comparable product.

IKEA SIT-AND-STAND DESK: OVERPRICED FOR WHAT IT IS

Fact: the IKEA sit-or-stand desk is widely regarded as one of the most affordable standing workstation in the market. Hence, many budget- conscious workers who want to break free from their sedentary lifestyle take advantage of it.

For some users, the product delivered exactly what they expected. Others, however, were so dissatisfied that they did not just complain. But they also made an effort to dissuade future customers from buying the products in question.

Such was the case with the Bekant sit-and-stand desk from IKEA. Customers flooded the store with a barrage of complaints, most of which involved a faulty motor. Since its public launch, the complaints never stopped pouring.

To address the issues, the company sent technicians to do repairs and make part replacements whenever needed. Despite this, the complaints continued to pour in. Unfortunately, the number of complaints kept outnumbering that of customers whose problems were resolved.

Eventually, this led to a clamor for product recall, which IKEA eventually did, months after the outcry reached its peak. Given this deplorable turnout of events, we can assume that most customers, who thought they struck a bargain when they ordered the desk, ended up feeling ripped off.

THE TAKEAWAYS FROM OUR IKEA SIT-STAND DESK REVIEW

The continuously rising popularity of standing desks/sit-to-stand desks assures that you will never run out of choices. You can always check out reputable stores online to know what variant/s will fit your preference. But before you start browsing, consider the information you have gleaned from reading this article first. Then, to help further assure that you will get the best value for your money, take note of the following guidelines presented in Q&A format:

1. Will buying a standing desk suit your needs?

It depends. Your main objective should be to move as much as you can during the day. This involves changing positions every now and then by varying your actions often. Remember: The culprit is staying frozen in any position. So whether it is standing, sitting or anything in between; if you are stuck in a pose for hours on end, your health suffers. To help you vary between standing and sitting with ease, check out today’s sit-stand desks.

2.  Which should I choose: a standing desk or a sit-stand desk?

Both sit-stand and standing conversion tops allow you to shift easily between standing and sitting. However, there are models that are designed exclusively for standing or “perching” (a sit-stand or semi-seated pose where your hips assume a position with a wide, open angle). If you prefer standing for longer periods or are comfortable with perching, then standing models will suit you. Otherwise, you are best off checking out the sit-stand varieties, which lets you stand every once in a while and sit for the rest of your shift.

3.  Is it more beneficial to get a desk whose height can be adjusted any time?

If you want flexibility, getting a height-adjustable desk is more advantageous. With it, you can look forward to attending to all your work and personal well-being-related needs. Regardless of what you are preoccupied with at the time (reading, computing, writing, talking to someone on the phone, etc.), you can adjust the desk’s height as you see fit. Take note: Height adjustment is particularly imperative if you are sharing the desk with others.

4.  Which is better: to get a new desk, or just a separate unit to be placed atop my existing desk?

Only you can determine which equipment best fits your needs and of course, budget. Aside from preference, you also need to consider the amount of space and surface you can allot without sacrificing your convenience.

If you are having a hard time determining how much space and surface you need,contemplate on your working style. Now, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I like spreading things out while working?
  • Do I find it more comfortable to have more elbow room?
  • Am I more productive in smaller or cramped spaces?

Answer honestly and as specifically as you can. Your responses will determine if you will benefit more from a full desk, which gives more elbow room, or a sit-stand desk, which allows you to shift positions while working conveniently without requiring much space.

Also, you should also assess if it will go well with your other pieces of furniture or the overall interior design of the room. The best desk should be functional and aesthetically appealing at the same time. But bear in mind that not all cubicles or workspaces are built to accommodate adjustable desks. If this case applies to you, then your only choice is a desktop unit.

5.  How high or low should my desk be?

To maximize your benefit, go for a desk that you can fully adjust to both sitting and standing heights. This type of unit offers maximum flexibility while helping ensure that you stay healthy and productive for a long time.

Different brands offer specific models with this feature. Each one has unique advantages that will differentiate it from the rest. Hence, you should take the time to go over each product carefully. Check the website, read the literature and chat or ask the sales representative as needed.

To determine the best option, check the unit’s height for standing and sitting positions. It should be just right for you or whoever will be using the desk. Other factors that you should consider while shopping include: table desk surface, thickness, height of the keyboard surface when placed on top, shoe height, thickness of the carpet or mats the user will be standing on, and other materials that may affect the user’s height.


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FINDING A SIT/STAND DESK THAT RISES TO THE OCCASION

Buying the right standing desks for your needs requires careful planning and research. What more if you have to decide on behalf of other people, particularly a large group of employees in an organization.

Workstations are not supposed to be cheap. Because they will serve as the uses’ partner in their day-to-day tasks, they have to be well-built and designed in accordance to ergonomic principles. It is not just about ensuring the users’ convenience. But it is about having workstations that serve their purpose for a long time without risking the users’ safety.

In choosing the best standing desk, taking into account the user’s needs and physical height are imperative. If you are buying for yourself, this will not be a problem. However, the same considerations are multiplied and diversified if you will be doing it for others, particularly if the equipment will be placed in a common area that everyone can access.

To help you get started on the right foot, here are important user-oriented guidelines that you need to observe, prior to deciding on the best unit/s to buy.

For You Only:

Note:

For this procedure, wear your usual work shoes and make sure that your feet are comfortably placed flat on the floor.

1.  Sitting: Let your upper arms hang down your sides while your lower arms assume the position of typing on a keyboard with elbows bent. Sit comfortably and avoid reaching forward. The distance from the floor to your elbow’s underside is the ideal height for your keyboard while it is on top of the desk.

2.  Standing: Now, get up and take the measurement of the distance between the underside of your elbow to the floor. You can do this even if you are standing on a special floor mat. Just make sure that you get the right measurement.

Important Pointers:

  • The ideal desk should adjust to the height of your elbow when you are standing and sitting.
  • If you are not tall and you are having a hard time finding a desk that can be adjusted low enough, try using either a footrest or a keyboard with adjustable height.
  • It also helps if you add a caster (make sure to include it in determining the right height of your desk) for increased flexibility.

Shared by Two or More People:

Note:

For this procedure, all users should wear their usual work shoes with both feet comfortably placed flat on the floor.

1.  Sitting: Do the same procedure in “For You Only”. Not all users are required to participate. You only need to get the measurements for the shortest and the tallest users.

2. Standing: Please follow the same procedure for “Sitting”.

For Placement in a Common Work Area:

Note:

Because there are no specific users assigned to this station, determining the exact height and type of work to be done is improbable. Therefore, you have to find out what specific range of adjustment will fit majority of users.

To do this, select people who will represent the group and perform the same above-mentioned procedures. If you are buying on behalf of an organization, do some research and interview people first. Select representatives for each height range and get the measurements required.

1.  Sitting and Standing:

a. Choose a desk that is could be lowered to fit 1/5 th of the total number of female users and can be raised to suit 95% of the male users.

b. If the previous step is too difficult, pick out a desk that could be raised to 50” or more for tall users.

c. Do not forget the shorter users, though. While checking measurement, make sure to include a footrest and height adjustable keyboard for them.

d. To make your chosen desk more apt for a greater number of users, use casters during the measuring and selection process. Be mindful of the number of inches they will add to the desk’s height.

So before you head off to IKEA to inquire about the Bekant or Skarsta, why not check out other brands first? Remember: Not all products that you can buy on the cheap offer the best value for your money.

To ensure that you invest wisely, take the time to gather product information and compare prices and features accordingly. Inquire from sales personnel. Then, only after you have narrowed down your list to the best brand choices, should you sit down and begin the evaluation process. This way, you can look forward to making an informed decision that is not only intelligent, but also most advantageous for you and/or your colleagues.


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