Choosing a desk for working from home can be a minefield. You could go to IKEA, hunt around on Wayfair or look for a company that specialises in desks. Whatever you do, it’s worth considering a sit-stand desk.
This means you have a choice: you can sit or stand and the desk raises and lowers to the appropriate height. Though you won’t burn a whole lot of extra calories by standing (some reports claim it’s about additional 80-90 calories if you stand all day) there are other longer-term benefits such as better posture, stronger bum muscles and some studies even link sitting for long periods to a higher risk of anxiety and depression.
I’m not a scientist, so for the rest of this review I’ll stick to telling you about the desk, and not the claimed benefits of using it.
Features & Design
- Available in 160x100cm and 180x120cm
- Height adjustment from 71-120cm
- 100kg weight limit
The FlexiSpot E1L is one of many desks the company makes. It’s an L-shaped desk that comes with two identical rectangular desktops, 25mm thick. The instructions explain how to build the stand and attach the desktops to get a left- or right-handed desk: you don’t have to the deeper section on the left as shown in the photos. It can be on the right.
When ordering, you can choose the colour of the legs – black or white – and the colour of the desktops: black, white or maple (effect, not real maple).
You also need to choose the size: 160x100cm is quite large, so only go for the 180x120cm if you want an absolutely massive desk for multiple screens and other stuff – and ensure you have room for it.
The weight limit is the same for both, so you can’t put more than 100kg of equipment on either size. You’d be hard pushed to hit that limit with even a PC tower and two screens, though.
A control panel underneath the desktop lets you raise or lower the desk: two powerful motors in the legs do this job smoothly and without much noise.
As well as manual control there are three presets you can use to store different heights. Two of these will be your ideal sitting and standing heights and there’s a spare if you need it.
The control panel also has an alarm which alerts you when you’ve been sitting (or standing) for 45 minutes. You can then change to the other position and wait for the timer to go off again. It’s surprisingly handy: without it, it’s very easy to spend too long sitting and only realise you haven’t stood up after a few hours.
Strangely, my control panel reported a minimum height of 73.5cm, not the advertised 71. But on breaking out the tape measure it turned out the display was wrong and the desk was precisely 71cm from the floor.
Setup & build
- Instructions could be clearer
- Takes around 60-90 minutes
The E1L is a flat-pack desk which arrives in multiple boxes. In my experience that will be on different days and with different couriers. FlexiSpot’s website confirms this: each item is dispatched separately, and in the UK both DHL and DPD are used.
There are lots of parts, and the instructions aren’t the best. I consider myself a competent DIYer, but managed to build the frame for a right-handed desk instead of the left-handed one I wanted because of unclear diagrams.
Similarly, it’s unclear whether you’re supposed to attach the power supply to the frame or screw it to the desktop. FlexiSpot would do well to produce a video guide and link to it from the instructions.
Instructions for mounting the desktops are even less clear. When you’re ready to do this, you’ll realise that the distance between the two feet is adjustable. Some of the pre-drilled holes line with the frame brackets, but others don’t and so it can be hard to know how wide the feet are supposed to be, and which holes the screws go into.
Two flat metal brackets hold the two desktops together, but there are only two pre-drilled holes for these: you have to make two more for each one.
It’s well worth enlisting the help of an assistant, as the desks are heavy and, until they’re secured in place with screws, they could easily fall off.
You’ll also need help to move the desk to its final position, as it’s very heavy. The weight comes from the heavy-duty build, and overall it feels like a top-quality desk. It doesn’t wobble any more when you raise it to its maximum height: it’s just as steady. If your monitor stands aren’t particularly stiff, you might notice them wobbling a bit compared to being on a desk with a leg at each corner, but movement is minor and not normally noticeable.
Surprisingly, there were a couple of tiny blemishes on the frame where the powder coated finish had chipped off. These couldn’t have been caused by mishandling during shipping, so must have been from the factory.
FlexiSpot offers a five-year warranty for the frame and three years for the motors, controller and buttons.
Tip: make sure your power cables are long enough to reach your equipment when the desk is at the highest setting you want to use, not just the lowest. There’s a safety feature which stops the desk raising or lowering if it touches an obstacle, but it won’t stop expensive electronic equipment being dragged off the desk when the cables are too short (as I discovered…).
Price & Availability
You’ll need to order directly from FlexiSpot’s website as the E1L isn’t available on Amazon like other FlexiSpot models. The frame costs £399.99, and you then choose your preferred desktop colour. Adding 160x100cm desktops brings the total to £539.98, but go for 180x120cm and it’s £569.98 – only £30 more.
The E1L isn’t available in the US, with the closest model being a one-piece L-shaped desk for $599.99 where you have to choose when ordering whether you want it to be left- or right-handed.
If you’re after a cheaper option and are happy with a rectangular desk FlexiSpot has smaller models such as the ED2, reviewed, and the EF1/EG1 which – at the time of writing was discounted to £249 including the desktop.
FlexiSpot has a sale event coming from 13 to 20 September where it will have flash discounts of up to 35%.
It may seem expensive compared to the cheapest flat-pack desks available, but the FlexiSpot E1L is good value overall. It’s not much more expensive than some sit-only L-shaped office desks. Build quality is excellent, and the motors have worked reliably over several weeks of testing, with regular changes in posture throughout the day.
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