Recently IKEA announced their first electronic sit/stand desk and it looks pretty great. Sit/stand desks are awesome. I’m standing at my desk right now, and if I wanted to sit down instead I could just push a button. In fact, I think I will…

My original “standing” desk was an IKEA Galant. I write “standing” in quotes because it wasn’t meant to be a standing desk. I extended the telescoping legs out to their max and even that was about 3 inches too short, so I put some wood blocks underneath the legs. Safe.

I worked at that desk for about 6 months, but after a while I very much missed having the option to sit and decided that if I had to chose between sitting or standing then I would sit.

The standing bug kicked in again toward the beginning of this year. I honestly just got tired of sitting all the time, especially first thing in the mornings. I would come downstairs to my office with a hot coffee and a million ideas for the day, and honestly I wanted to stand up and work because I had energy.

So I set my IKEA Galant back to its standing position and worked that way for a couple of months when I decided it was time to invest in a non-stationary standing desk (not unlike the sit/stand desk IKEA is making).

The desk I picked up is this Jarvis adjustable height desk. I wish I’d bought it years ago.

  • The height range is 23.5 – 49.5 inches.

  • It can be attached to any desktop slab that is at least 42.5″ wide and 21″ deep.

  • The control panel has an LCD that shows you the exact height (to a tenth of an inch), and has 4 memory presets.

    The Jarvis desk control panel

  • The motor is fast and quiet. Lowering my desk from its standing height of 40.4 inches down to sitting height of 24.5 it takes 15 seconds. And the reverse — lifting from sitting height to standing height — takes just one second longer. The motor starts out slow as it begins moving, speeds up, and then slows down when it reaches the memory preset.

Standing is awesome. I am here, at my desk, for anywhere from 6 – 10 hours in a day. I nearly always stand for the first half of my day, and usually stand for the second half as well. If, in the evenings, I have computer-related work to do — such as editing photos — then I usually will sit.

There are some things about the IKEA desk that are great. It has a 10-year warranty, it’s inexpensive, it’s motorized (no hand crank), and it comes with a desk top slab.

But there are things about the Jarvis I think are better. It has a vastly superior motor control panel, with better buttons and the 4 programmable memory positions.

In his review, Estes said this about the buttons on the IKEA desk:

The only other gripe I can think of are those ugly buttons. Not only are they ugly, they’re also a little bit finicky. They’re barely buttons, really. […] When you’re adjusting the desk, moving your finger even slightly to one side or the other will disengage the button, and the desk will stop moving. You get the hang of it, though. It’s just a bummer that IKEA did so much great work building a beautiful desk and then skimped on the gadgety bit. Then again, IKEA’s never been into gadgets.

Moreover, the IKEA has just two buttons — up and down — and no display to let you know what height the desk is at.

What’s awesome about the memory positions of the Jarvis is that you know your setting your desk to the exact height every time you adjust it. Because the IKEA controller doesn’t have a height indicator you’re adjusting by feel every time.

Though, to be fair, in the comment section of his review, Estes says he likes not having a memory program:

I don’t actually think I’d want presets. Much to my dismay, I found myself adjusting the height constantly. I really liked to be able to change my posture by tiny amounts. Now it’s hard to go to the office and deal with my big dumb stationary desk.

But the memory programming is, for me, is alone worth the $39+ extra. And really, that’s the only significant difference. You have one point of interaction with your adjustable height desk: the control panel. Having easy-to-use buttons and a programmable height memory is pretty darn nice.

And it’s not just about making the desk easier to adjust. It’s also about consistency. My body posture has a lot of habit built in, and if my desk is an inch off, I never feel quite right.

All that to say, I’ve had my Jarvis desk for 4 months now and it’s doing great. I don’t ever plan to replace it until it dies. My friend, Ben Brooks, has had his Jarvis desk for over a year and it’s still going strong as well.

Adam Clark Estes’ Review of the IKEA Sit/Stand Desk