Budget vs. High-End Standing Desk Comparison and Review
Does a decent electric standing desk have to place a significant dent in your wallet? Let’s find out as we pit a budget-friendly option from Vivo against a higher-end desk from Vari to assess the benefits and drawbacks of each.
Disclosure: Vivo sent a Single-Motor Electric Standing Desk and a 43” x 24” Table Top to review; Vari sent a sample of their Vari Ergo Electric Standing Desk, 54” x 26” to review.
Comparing a Budget Desk to a Higher-End Desk
Sit-to-stand desks are in demand as the trend toward setting up versatile workstations in remote or hybrid employment environments continues. But there are so many desks and companies to choose from, and why are some more expensive than others? Is it worth paying more for a premium product? Here, we compare 痴颈惫辞’蝉 Electric Single-Motor Desk Frame plus a 43” x 24” Table Top from the same company to the Ergo Electric Standing Desk 54” x 26” from Vari.
How These Products Were Tested
I paired a Vivo table top with a set of Vivo single-motor legs and used this setup daily in the workplace for two weeks. I used all features, in standing and sitting positions, as intended by Vivo, and observed and rated it for ease of construction, comfort, build quality and design, and value for money.
For my Vari desk review, I used the Ergo desk for three weeks, 8 hours each workday in my role as a graphic designer, testing its functions and usefulness. I tried and observed the functionality of the desk’s electronics and motor, assessed the comfort and quality of the desk’s materials and manufacture, and split my time at the desk between standing up and sitting down.
Vivo is a U.S.-based brand specializing in ergonomic solutions for the workplace, but it has products that don’t break the bank. The black 43” x 24” tabletop I tested is purchased separately from the frame and retails at $89.99. The black Vivo V100EBY Single-Motor Electric Standing Desk Frame I tested retails for $189.99. So, all together, the combination retails for around $280.
Vari, meanwhile, is based in Dallas, TX, and is no knockoff brand — it’s a pioneer of office space solutions. The Vari Ergo Electric Standing Desk 54x26 we reviewed retails for around $800.
That means there is a $580 difference between the desks I tested. So, what are the differences between a budget desk and a premium desk?
Delivery and Assembly
The Vivo desktop came with pre-drilled holes to fit a variety of Vivo desk legs. You can also use it with a frame from other brands, but you may have to drill your own holes — not a huge challenge. The pilot holes are tiny, and drilling requires some handiness. Two pilot holes toward the center of the desk top were missing but did not adversely affect the desk’s performance.
Fixing the desktop to the leg frame assembly is not hard if you use the provided QR code, but the diagrams in the manual are very small and difficult to understand. Most tools are provided, except for a screwdriver, but an electric drill makes the job even easier. There are dampener grommets to stop vibration, and all components feel well-made. The control panel is attractive and feels nice to the touch.
Assembling the more expensive Vari is easier than the Vivo. It is delivered in two boxes, and you’ll get the sense that this is a serious commercial-grade desk built to last! If you’re taking it up multiple flights of stairs, you may need someone to lend a hand, because it is heavy-duty equipment. Assembly is a cinch and takes about half an hour, and all tools are provided. It is foolproof to assemble, whereas the Vivo involved had some manual drilling and presented opportunities for user error.
Build Quality and Features
The budget-friendly Vivo 43” x 24” desktop is sold independently of a frame and is designed for universal fitment. It does not have to be used exclusively with Vivo legs. It is constructed of particleboard and has a veneer finish. The tabletop comes in six colors, but we were given black. Other colors have good reviews — the white wood finish seems attractive — but the cherry and walnut colors seem to be polarizing choices. Many reviewers love those colors, but others report that they do not match the online images and are not so attractive in person.
The black tabletop I reviewed had a sheen that almost felt oily. It was not a pleasant or expensive-feeling tabletop to the touch. I would recommend people use a desk mat with this desktop to protect the surface and provide more comfort. It also was prone to showing fingerprints, and the edges of the top were quite sharp. More expensive desktops tend to have beveled edges that are much more comfortable for hours of use. If I were buying this desktop for myself, I would consider a color other than black.
Meanwhile, the Vari Ergo Electric Standing Desk work surface commanded the attention of my workplace colleagues. It is an attractive addition to any workspace. I experienced many colleagues coveting this desk and showing interest in what it is and how it works. One of the main reasons was the work surface. The light wood finish (one of five different finishes available) is easy on the eye, and the faux grain is visually realistic. The surface feels superb! The edges are rounded, and the leading edge is a contoured waterfall shape that provides welcomed wrist comfort. The surface helps make the standing desk look classy, professional, and elegant, and it is fabulous to use.
The Vivo V100EBY frame is available in black, gray, and white. If I were buying, white seems to be a cool, unique option paired with a white wood finish! Or a white desktop with gray legs? Your choice!
The Vari Ergo desk frame is available in gray only, so there is no opportunity for customization there.
One concern I had about the budget-friendly 痴颈惫辞’蝉 frame design was the position of the electric motor and drive shaft. Both are located “in the open” on the underside of the desk and are not encased within the desk frame. I worry that this leaves them susceptible to damage if they are inadvertently knocked.
My only other concern was that if you pull the desk apart a few times for any reason, the screws will strip the particleboard. The Vivo desktop and frame are probably not able to withstand being pulled apart multiple times.
The Vivo desk’s surface area is small but not truly limiting. An advantage of the small dimensions is that people can use it for many different purposes, from office work to craft and sewing room activities to an extra workstation in the bedroom when working remotely. For office work, this desk can generally fit one decent-size monitor plus a laptop. There’s not space for much else, maybe some small speakers and a cup of coffee. But it is perfect for a tight spot at home.
The Vivo electric standing desk frame’s secret weapon is that it can extend in width to become significantly wider — all the way out to 77” from a minimum of 37”. Should you ever want to upgrade to a wider desktop, the V100EBY frame gives you the option. To make the desk’s footprint wider, simply remove the top working surface, extend the driveshaft, and widen the main cross-beam by adjusting four screws. You can easily customize your tabletop to fit any incremental width. This means if you have a dedicated space in your house that you want to fit your desk to, you can adjust your desk frame to fit that space exactly.
The Vari, meanwhile, is wider at 54” but cannot extend further like the Vivo frame can. If you use only one monitor on a conventional stand, your laptop or desktop will easily fit side by side. If you use more than one, you may need to purchase a double monitor arm, which can conveniently clamp onto the rear edge of the standing desk. If you use two monitors on stands or risers, plus a laptop, you’ll find they will not comfortably fit. Overall, this desk feels like a versatile, reasonable size for most users.
Using the Standing Desks
The 痴颈惫辞’蝉 settings touch panel has four memory presets to program your preferred heights — anywhere from 28” to 47” high. Narrow leg width dimensions (37”) mean this compact standing desk frame is suitable for all types of uses, such as offices, craft rooms, or even the laundry room, and it is rated strong enough to lift heavy loads up to 176 lb.
The desk was very stable, with just a small amount of flex under the weight of my elbows. It did not rock or wobble. When moving the desk up and down, the single electric motor did an admirable job carrying the weight of a laptop, extra monitor, coffee, water bottle, and other general workstation accessories. It moved the desk up and down quietly and easily at a safe, uniform speed. The LED touchpad controller illuminated effectively and was easy to set and operate.
The budget Vivo desktop I tested did not have contours for my wrists to rest upon, which made it less comfortable. In fact, the sharp edges, for some people, could be reason enough to upgrade to a top with better ergonomics.
The V100EBY frame came with adjustable feet, cable management clips, and two headphone/bag hanger brackets, but there were no passthrough holes for cables in the desktop.
The desktop was small and ideal for a compact space and minimalistic workstation setup.
The Vari Ergo’s laminate surface was soothing and hard-wearing, and the “waterfall”-shaped leading edge was extremely comfortable. Other market-leading standing desks I have used flexed forward under the weight of my elbows, but the Vari Standing Desk did not flex. It was firmly planted, did not wobble, and easily extended high enough to accommodate my 6’1” height.
The Vari’s motor was quiet and did not affect nearby colleagues. Online videos demonstrate that the motor can easily raise the desk surface even with a 200 lb person lying on the desk. So, it easily handled my monitor, laptop, and other desktop items.
During assembly, I slid the memory touchpad into a bracket on one side of the desk (you can change it to the other side if you prefer). This pad featured four customizable desk-height presets. Setting memory presets was straightforward, and additional up/down buttons let me quickly fine-tune the desk height when needed.
The desktop had cable passthrough holes, so routing was easier and neater than on the Vivo. The dimensions of the desk were “just right.” Not too big, not too small, and my colleagues were envious of its appearance and functionality.
Conclusion: Budget or Up-Market desk?
So — do you get what you pay for in standing desks?
My experience with the Vivo desk was positive. I was amazed to see what quality you can get in an electric standing desk for $270. The Vivo combination I tested was a highly functional, excellent-quality rig for everyday use. Its versatility of width, four handy height presents, and color combinations make it well worth consideration.
A large part of a Vivo purchase decision would be identifying which top to choose. If I were choosing, I would not buy a Vivo top. I would purchase a butcher-block panel and install it myself. The drill holes are easy to mark, and the process would be very simple.
The 痴颈惫辞’蝉 price is competitive, and the unit’s functionality is basically the same as that of a more expensive desk. The durability of essential components, such as the electric motor, cannot be determined in this review. Still, for the price, the Vivo V100EBY single-motor electric standing desk frame and tabletop are tough to beat.
Meanwhile, the Vari Ergo Electric Standing Desk 54” x 26” is a high-quality, sturdy, and comfortable standing desk that delivers significant enjoyment and comfort to your workspace. All signs point to this desk lasting a long time, most likely longer than the Vivo.
I enjoyed the extra sturdiness of the three-tier telescopic legs (Vivo only has two) and the overall build quality. I also took note of the company’s strong market presence and favorable customer reviews.
Cost: Studies show that when your workspace is optimized for comfort, you’ll experience improved concentration, better task performance, and you’ll feel happier mentally and physically! If you are a professional who wants to improve your posture, the more expensive standing desk, coupled with a quality chair, anti-fatigue mat, and monitor arm, will inspire you to get your body mobile and your arms and head in a healthy, upright position to stay focused, productive, and happy. The Vari desk is more of a showpiece than the budget Vivo, and if aesthetics are important to you, the extra money would be well spent.
Health benefits: Before my test, I used to sit at my desk each day for up to 8 hours and experienced lower back stiffness. After my test period with the Vari Ergo standing desk, I have noticed a distinct improvement in my back.
At around $800 retail, this is a definite “recommend” for the Vari Ergo Electric Standing Desk. It’s worth it. But if your budget doesn’t stretch that far, you definitely can’t go wrong with the Vivo Electric Standing Desk and a top of your choice.