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We Took Ikea’s New Automatic, Adjustable Standing Desk For A Spin

Sit. Stand. The flat pack giant’s new desk lets you work however you feel like. Is it what will get you on board with the standing desk revolution?

Given how many standing desks are now available (see previous coverage here, here, here, here, and here), it isn’t really a surprise to see Ikea launch its own model. What is surprising, perhaps, is that nobody made an affordable, full-size, adjustable desk before now. The flatpack giant seems to be filling a large hole in the market.

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The company were nice enough to send a Bekant to my apartment in Brooklyn and even nicer to send someone round to put it up for me. It didn’t take him long. The guy who came round said he’d never done one before, but he was in and out within 20 minutes. This made me confident that I could have assembled it myself, even though my Ikea construction skills are poor.

There isn’t really much to the desk (not that that’s a bad thing). The top, a 0.7-inch piece of wood, looks like many an Ikea desktop. Below there’s a thick metal frame, which screws into the wood and houses two wide retractable legs (also metal). The main difference is the motor system. There’s a grey string-net underneath to contain some cabling (so it doesn’t dangle down and get in the way) and a cable out the back to the wall socket.

There are two main things to recommend the Bekant. First is the way you can move it up and down. You control the desk by first turning a key (there to stop someone else from messing around with the height) and pressing one of two arrowed buttons. The desk then makes a pleasant motor sound and adjusts from 22.5-inches to as high as 48-inches. It’s good for more or less any human height, and probably ideal for an office where more than one person might use it during the day.


The second thing is the cost. Other motorized standing desks are priced from $700 to thousands of dollars (say this one or this one). But the Bekant comes in at between $469 and $599, depending on the model, which isn’t a lot considering its size and flexibility. The one I tried out was a standard tabletop 63-inches long, 32-inches wide. It costs $469. Ikea also plans to sell left and right corner tabletop Bekants and a five-sided tabletop with a corner cut out. They all come with four finishes: birch veneer, black-brown, gray and white, and either white or black legs.

Will the Bekant actually improve your life? That’s a more personal question. People who love standing desks love them. They point to how they’re no longer slumped in a chair all day, and now alert and vibrant at work. My feelings were more mixed. After a couple of days with the Bekant, I appreciated the opportunity to stand and indeed felt healthier than usual. But then after a few hours I also wanted to sit down (I’m lazy). The good thing about the Bekant, which Ikea calls a “sit/stand” desk, is that you can do both. You can keep your office chair and just bring the desk to sitting level if you feel like it.

Unfortunately, Ikea isn’t releasing the Bekant just yet. After sending tryout models to journalists, it emailed to say that there was a problem with the labeling. No word on when it will be in stores, though a spokesperson says, “it’s not a quick fix.”

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Bottom line: Would I get a Bekant sit/stand for myself? Definitely. Assuming you’re okay with the standard Ikea styling (my model was birch with white legs and looked, well, okay), I would recommend it. It certainly makes a nice change from sitting all day.

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About the author

Ben Schiller is a New York staff writer for Fast Company. Previously, he edited a European management magazine and was a reporter in San Francisco, Prague, and Brussels.

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