A version of this review originally appeared on PainlessMovement.com and has been edited and republished with permission.
Varidesk has long been an industry leader when it comes to standing desks, and their products allow anyone to transform a completely normal office space into a sit-stand workstation. Last summer we reviewed the Varidesk Soho—a minimalist option that’s great for laptop users and those low on space. However, if you’ve been looking for a standing desk converter that you can use with your desktop and/or multiple screens then the company’s most popular model, the Varidesk Pro Plus 36, is certainly worth a look.
Being Varidesk’s best selling standing desk converter means that the Pro Plus must be doing something right. But no product is without flaws, so we took a deep dive and examined the ins and outs of this product to find the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Things we like
1. Works straight out-of-the-box
The Varidesk Pro Plus 36 comes pre-assembled, so you can be up and running in no time. No Ikea-like installation manuals and hours spent frustratingly trying to put it all together. Instead, with the Varidesk Pro Plus, you just need to take it out of the box and place it on your desk—instantly transforming your office space into a sit-stand workstation!
2. Large surface area
With the 36” width of the tabletop, this desk converter has a fairly large surface area which is great for people with multiple monitors (or just a messy desk, like me). The versatile, two-tiered design has a lower keyboard deck that provides convenience, ergonomic comfort and frees up space on the top-tier for paper, pens and a coffee cup. Thanks to the Pro Plus’s separate keyboard and mouse tray, any added desk clutter won’t get in the way of your hands, so you can maximise your productivity.
3. Low seated profile
You might be thinking…seated?! Who cares about being seated, I want a standing desk! Well, it’s actually not recommended to be sitting or standing all day long; in fact, the healthiest approach to desk work is to switch between seated and standing positions throughout the day.
With that in mind, a good standing desk converter will make it easy to switch between collapsed and extended positions and be comfortable to work on at various heights.
The Varidesk Pro Plus ticks both of these boxes. The spring-loaded height-adjustment mechanism is easy to operate and the desk surface has a low seated profile, meaning that it won’t increase the height of your existing desk by much (in its folded position) so that you can maintain a comfortable posture while seated.
4. High-quality build
One thing that Varidesk is known for is the build quality of all its products. The products are made of solid metal frames and sturdy MDF and laminate finishes that enable them to withstand all sorts of bumps and knocks.
Additionally, Varidesk offers a 5-year warranty on all the products in the Pro Plus series. This means that you can rest easy knowing that your standing desk converter will withstand the test of time and that Varidesk has got you covered, in the unlikely case that the desk as a manufacturing fault.
5. Various model sizes
One thing that we really like about the Varidesk Pro Plus is the fact that it comes in a few different sizes. There’s a 30”, a 36”, and a 48” model. Not everyone has the same office space or the same computer setup, so it is nice that you are able to choose the size that best suits your requirements. With a product as well-built as this, it would be a real shame if you couldn’t use it just because it was a little too big or small.
Things we don’t like
1. Z-frame design
The z-frame design, in our opinion, is the one major drawback of the Varidesk Pro Plus. There are a few different lifting mechanisms utilised in standing desk converters, with the most common being x-frame and z-frame. An x-frame design lifts vertically, like an ironing board, whereas a z-frame design moves out towards the user as it is extended.
When in a fully extended position, the Pro Plus 36 will stand about 30cm further out than the base. This means that the overall volume occupied by the standing desk is quite large, which could pose a problem in small office environments.
Solution: Varidesk also has an electric version of the Pro Plus 36 that utilises an x-frame lifting mechanism. This is, therefore, a good choice for those limited on space.
2. Not high enough for particularly tall users
The Pro Plus 36 can extend to a max-height of 17.5″ (keep in mind that this is on top of your existing workstation). This provides enough lift for most users, however, if you are particularly tall, you are likely to stand in a ‘hunched-over’ position which can result in neck and back pain.
Solution: If you are particularly tall then we suggest that you take a look at a standing desk that can be extended to a higher elevation (for example, the Cooper by Fully which has a maximum height of 22”). To determine which standing desk height you require, simply stand by your existing desk and measure the height from the desk surface to your elbows. As an example, I’m about 5’10” and require an elevation of 12″ from my existing desk surface.