For the money, the Ikea Bekant standing desk is a great choice for any workspace. It looks smart, the mechanics feel right and the range of heights is massive. Sure, it could be sturdier, a touch wider or have some of the extras offered by the competition, but that would take the price from quite expensive to silly money, especially here in the UK.
The desk is well built and sturdy. The legs are reassuringly heavy and the mechanism feels an industrial level of quality. On the desktop I have a Thunderbolt display, a set of M-Audio AV-40s, and all the usual peripherals and I’m still way under the 70kg maximum load, I can’t hear the motors struggle at all.
At standing height there is a minor wobble, but I haven’t found the need to investigate it further, it could be the desk, or my floor, or a combination of the two. That probably means it’s not wobbling to an annoying degree.
Due to the weight it took two of us to build the desk, and flip it over and move it into place, but I feel more confident putting expensive equipment on it knowing it’s heavy than too light.
The functionality of the desk is pretty simple. You press the up button, and the desk raises, you press the down button, and it lowers. It’s not a fast movement, but it’s not particularly slow either.
The up and down controls could be a little more friendly, they require a decent push, and you have to hold them down for the duration of the motion (the buttons move with the desktop). A few times I’ve accidentally let go as it’s moving. It’s an inconvenience, but a minor one.
It comes with a little plastic key that allows you to disable the movement buttons entirely, a safety feature I use often with two very small, curious children in the house.
The Bekant doesn’t have any position memory functions that I’ve seen on other standing desks, but I don’t think I need them. I raise the desk until it feels right, then I can tweak it if I need to, the same when lowering it.
The range of heights it covers is huge, it goes from too-low-for-anyone (56cm) to unreasonably-high (122cm), I can’t imagine there are many people that would need more range than it provides.
Noise-wise the mechanism does have a distinct sound on raising and lowering, it’s not loud by any means, but you can hear it in the next room.
The one con, amongst this long list of pros is the jolt that happens when you start lowering the desk. It’s not major, but will spill a drink if it’s full. I’m not the type of person that leaves full cups of tea around too long, but it is concerning when I see my drink slosh around during the movement. I’ve captured a video of it below so you can see for yourself.
It comes with a cute little net that fits under the desk to help with cable management, but it’s not quite enough for all of my cables so I added another basket (more on that later).
I didn’t realise until I saw it in the flesh, but the desk surface has quite rounded corners, more so than your average desk. I imagine this is to minimise injury should you bump into it. In a crowded, open plan office adjustable desks could create some hazard, and catching the corner of one with your hip would probably hurt quite a lot. If this isn’t something you could live with, I imagine you could swap the desktop out for a different one, if you’re willing to make your own holes as the legs are just screwed in.
There are a handful of colour combinations to choose from and after much deliberation I went for the white/oak combination and it looks great. My office is small, so I was worried the black legs might look too imposing, I think I made the right choice.
The oak veneer surface looks really smart. It’s got a slightly rough texture to it that might not be to everyones’ taste. It’s not as rough as raw, untreated wood, but if I run a microfibre cloth over it I can feel it pull and tug. I use a mousemat so it hasn’t caused me any practical problems.
The surface is just a veneer, so I’m going to be diligent with my coaster usage, in case I blister it with hot drinks.
I’ve customised my desk slightly with a few add ons. Firstly I built a monitor shelf with an oak wall shelf and six 16cm Capita legs. This raises the display up to eye height when standing and frees up some real-estate under the shelf for my Wacom tablet and laptop in clamshell mode. I haven’t secured this to the desk surface, I’m relying on the weight of the display and speakers to keep it in place, which is working great so far.
For some extra cable management I’ve added a basket, which screws in to the underside of the desk and holds my multi-plug adaptor and prevents too many trailing cables. This means that there’s no chance of pulling cables or tangling anything when the desk is moved.
Finally, I added a strip of LEDs to the underside of the monitor shelf, it adds a lovely touch of diffuse light that gives the room a cosy feel in the evenings.
If you’re in the market for a standing desk, the Bekant is a fine choice. Sure, it’s expensive for a desk, but it’s very reasonable for a powered adjustable standing desk. It’s well built and I expect it to last for many years. If you can forgive the slight wobble when it moves, and the lack of bells and whistles.