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The Cost of Building a Quality Stand Up Desk—It’s All About That Base
Understandably, DIY’ers are always looking to find the lowest cost option for any components they need to buy versus make. In the case of electric height-adjustable bases, spending a little more is usually going to buy you a quieter, faster, heavier-lifting, more reliable standing desk frame, a longer warranty period, and a longer “stroke” (total distance between the lowest and highest desk setting, ideal for taller users).
Bottom-end standing desk legs will run you around $200 to $500, almost all of them made in China. (Note that tariffs and post-pandemic inflation have hit a lot of these models recently.)
Factory warranties among these units will run anywhere from zero (e.g. the FEZiBO standing desk base) to 15 years on top-quality American-made bases like iMovR’s Lander, Lander Lite and Freedom.
Some of the US-based e-commerce sellers that source their bases in China have decided to tack on extra-long warranty periods to try and be competitive with the higher-quality US-manufactured competitors, but they are basically self-insuring against claims by hoping to sell at a higher volume. For example, both UpLift and Fully—in a permanent state of brinkmanship with one another—have recently raised their warranty terms to 15 years. Yet both are based on a Chinese-made Jiecang base that doesn’t carry a 15-year warranty from the factory. This is one of those caveat emptor moments where we have to caution our readers to read these warranties very carefully. Or save yourself the trouble and just read our primer on How to Compare Warranties on Standing Desks.
The price pressure on Chinese-made frames brought on by tariffs, extraordinary increases in international shipping costs and other inflationary impacts of the pandemic has made a few American-made bases really competitive with them now. The UpLift V2 Desk Frame ($489) and Fully’s Jarvis Desk Frame ($494) have both gone up significantly in price with no improvement in the underlying technology.
This compares to American-made bases like iMovR’s Freedom ($399) and their lightweight iMovR Studio 470 base ($329) desk frames. Before the pandemic, you would not have seen American bases selling for less than commodity frames like the Jiecang.
More advanced models—typically made in the USA or Europe—feature higher transit speeds, tighter manufacturing tolerances, quieter motors, nicer handsets, better collision detection and tilt detection, and a greater range of height adjustability and desktop width accommodation. Some of them also allow you to expand into an L-shaped standing desk frame. These will typically run you anywhere from $650 for a 2-leg base to $1450 for a 3-leg base. Warranties on American-made bases tend to be 10 to 15 years, a reflection of how long they’re likely to work trouble-free compared to the cheaper Chinese frames.
American and European-made bases are also likely to be more stable and to stay more stable over time compared to their wobblier Chinese brethren. To better understand the many factors that enter into the stability equation, from the length and weight of the feet to the precision manufacturing of the “glides” separating the tubes of the lifting columns, see our primer on Why Some Standing Desks Shake More Than Others.
Planning to build a sit-to-stand desk or treadmill desk with your own desktop lumber? There are some great options available for standing desk legs. We’ll take you through the pluses and minuses of each model of electric standing desk frame.
A monitor stand is a work from home essential that serves two important purposes: Giving you extra space for your accessories, cleaning off your desk, and making your workspace more ergonomic. By elevating your monitor closer to eye-level you won’t have to crane your neck for hours at a time, which can strain it over time.
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