Updated on June 12, 2016
Varidesk Pro Plus 36 Height-Adjustable Standing Desk Review
When it comes to standing desks, there are really two routes you can go. For those ready to jump in head first, there are a number of fully height-adjustable desks on the market, such as the Jarvis desk that I currently have in my home office. The benefit of these desks is that they are generally very sturdy and they function just like a regular desk, only they can move up and down to accommodate both sitting and standing. Typically, the up and down movement is motorized, and the weight bearing capacity is similar to that of any other desk. You can fit a monitor, speakers and whatever else you want on them without having to worry. Unfortunately, they often tend to be rather expensive.
For those looking for a quick way to get into the world of standing desks, there is an alternative option, which I call the “desktop sit/stand desks.” These sit/stand desks can be placed on top of your existing sitting desk. They tend to be smaller and less adjustable than a full standing desk, and they also tend to support less weight. They and tend not to be motorized. As a result, they are often much more affordably priced than their bigger brothers. I already reviewed the X-Elite Pro Height Adjustabe Sit/Stand Desk last week, which is one such sit/stand desk. This week, I am taking a look at the Varidesk Pro Plus 36.
I’ve written extensively in the past about proper standing desk posture and the reasoning behind standing desks. In short, sitting for long periods of time can cause muscle imbalances that can be remedied by varying your movement patterns. One way of doing so is to work from a standing desk periodically.
When it comes to desktop sit/stand desks, Varidesk is basically the gold standard. You will find the Varidesk in the offices of Google, Twitter, Facebook and throughout Silicon Valley. What makes Varidesk particularly unique is the range of models that they offer. When it comes to sit/stand desks that would make sense in the office, they offer 3 models: Pro, Pro Plus and the Cubicle Series.
The Pro Series is the most basic option, and provides a single platform that can be raised and lowered by hand. Though the specs may indicate otherwise, I actually found the pro series to fit me best because I am particularly tall and the single platform allowed me to position the keyboard and mouse high as possible.
The Pro Plus Series, in comparison, offers a separate tray for a keyboard and monitor. As a result, it may provide more functional desk space and may not require a custom monitor stand in order to position the monitor at the optimal height.
The Cubicle Series, as the name would imply, is designed for cubicles. In particular, it fits easily into the corner a cubicle, which may utilize space more efficiently.
Within the 3 primary series, Varidesk also offers a variety of widths from 30″ to 48″ inches. The Varidesk Pro Plus 36 is the 36″ inch wide version of the Pro Plus.
So what makes the Varidesk stand out? Well, to begin with, the Pro Plus is particularly sturdy for a sit/stand desk. According to the manufacturer, it can hold up to 35 pounds, which is plenty for even the most aggressive dual monitor setups. In fact, at that point, the width of the desk is more likely to become a problem than the weight. Luckily, Varidesk offers a 48 inch wide variant of the Pro Plus as well.
In terms of height adjustability, the keyboard tray can be raised anywhere from flush with the desk to 14″ inches. Within that range, there are 11 different height positions. As a sit/stand desk, you lift the tray by hand, locking it into place with two levers located on either side of the desk. The Varidesk comes fully assembled and is incredibly easy to use. Unlike the Pro, the keyboard tray sits flush with the desk when fully retracted, which means that you can just leave the keyboard and mouse in the tray when you return to sitting. The desk platform sits 3.5″ inches above the keyboard tray, which in my case was not enough to properly position the monitor at eye level. I use a ream of paper to move the monitor up to the proper height. This comes with the downside, however, that I need to remove the ream of paper when sitting down.
The tray itself is plenty large to fit my keyboard and mouse and plenty stable. The platform, however, becomes a bit wobbly when used with a Thunderbolt monitor and fully extended. The issue is not so much that I’m concerned the desk will fall over, but that with wobble, the monitor tends to bounce as I type, which can be annoying to follow.
One final item to keep in mind is that cables become an even bigger hassle with standing desks because they need to move with the desk as you move it up and down. The Varidesk doesn’t really do anything to address this problem as I’ve seen on other dedicated standing desks. As a result, I recommend using wireless peripherals and some zip ties for your required cables.
Pros of the Varidesk Pro Plus 36 Height-Adjustable Standing Desk:
- Sturdy for a Sit/Stand Desks – Supports up to 35 lbs.
- Easy To Use – Raising and Lowering the desk is a breeze.
- Height Adjustability –11 height options over a 14″ range.
- Separate Keyboard Tray – Allows you to always keep your peripherals on the tray, whether sitting or standing.
Cons of the Varidesk Pro Plus 36 Height-Adjustable Standing Desk:
- Maximum Height – 14″ inches was too short for me to position the keyboard comfortably.
- Cable Management – It doesn’t.
The Varidesk is the most common desktop sit/stand desk you will find in the workplace for a reason. As far as these desks go, they are some of the sturdiest and functional you can buy. They aren’t particularly cheap, but they are definitely more affordable than most full-on standing desks, and offer the same functionality for the most part. They are easy to use, and can quickly turn your existing desk into a sit/stand desk, which is far more practical than a completely new desk for many.
Final Verdict: This is the gold standard if you are looking for a desktop sit/stand desk.