Standing desks are here to stay, and if you’re interested in giving one a try, there are a few different product styles out there to help with the transition. Buying a dedicated, non-convertible standing desk is a drastic step, especially if it turns out that standing all the time just isn’t for you. Fortunately, a number of companies offer either fully transformable sit/stand desks or desk risers, which can be added on top of existing desks to provide a standing option without requiring completely new furniture or a significant investment of money.
The ApexDesk ZT Series 36″ Electric Desk Riser comes from one of the best known names in the young standing desk world. It’s larger and sturdier than many similar desk risers on the market, and offers a lot to like for someone interested in making their first steps into the world of standing desks.
The ApexDesk ZT is available in either walnut or white, and consists of a two-tiered desktop. The walnut model I tested has a nice dark woodgrain appearance, and feels sturdy and fairly high-quality. The surface also passes a number of critical use tests: it works nicely with an optical mouse, with zero tracking issues even without a mousepad, it has enough texture to it that a coffee cup won’t easily slide off, and it’s smooth enough to not interfere with your pen or pencil when you’re physically writing on a single piece of paper.
The lower tier of the desk is a small shelf designed to hold a keyboard and mouse, and it feels about the right height for that purpose, but it’s a little on the small side for my preference. It’s best used with a compact keyboard and for mouse activities that don’t require a large range of physical movement. If you have a beefy gaming keyboard with a full numpad or if you’re the kind of person that likes to swing your hand around a lot while using your mouse, you’ll run into problems here.
I also wish this lower shelf had some function that allowed it to lock into place. As it is, the shelf wiggles a little bit as you use it. More in-and-out rather than up-and-down, so it doesn’t really affect your typing or clicking, but it still doesn’t feel quite right.
A major plus for the ApexDesk, if you’re considering buying one, is the lack of assembly required. The desk ships in a large, flat box, and once you slide it out and plug it in, it’s basically ready to go.
One area where the ApexDesk ZT really knocks it out of the park is in its weight distribution. Many desktop risers in this category can too easily slip on your desktop or tilt forward in a frightening fashion if you rest your arms in the wrong spot. The ApexDesk ZT avoids this admirably, even at its highest elevation.
It’s a heavy desk, with plenty of weight in its legs and towards the back. That means it isn’t the easiest thing in the world for a single person to move on their own, but that’s a small price to pay for the security it offers, once you have it where you want it. ApexDesk advertises this model as having a 45 pound weight capacity, so if you put your full weight on the lower shelf you could still tilt or potentially break this desk, but that would be a pretty crazy thing to do with any desk, so…just don’t do that, okay?
The upper surface of the desk measures 36″ x 24″, and is large enough to support two standard monitors side by side, which is something many similar products can’t manage. It’s not quite wide enough to fit two widescreen gaming monitors quite so easily, but if that’s what you’re looking for you’d be better off with a full standing desk setup.
The ApexDesk ZT converts from its lowest point to its highest (from 5.7″ to 18.1″) in about 24 seconds, accompanied by the quiet but notable sound of its electric motor humming. There’s an easily accessible button on the right front side of the desk to control the elevation, and it works perfectly. At its full height the desk is just about right for me, standing at 6’1″, but if you’re taller than that you’re likely to find it doesn’t quite reach the proper position for your best ergonomic experience.
The desk works surprisingly well even in non-standing mode, elevating your monitor to what feels like just about the right height (unless your monitor is higher than average, with no ability to be adjusted vertically) and providing a typing and mouse surface that doesn’t cause any extra strain on the wrists.
A USB port!
A final major plus of the ApexDesk ZT is the powered USB port built in to the desk, alongside the height control button. This port is easy to reach and extremely convenient, and works perfectly for charging a cell phone. Since you’re taking up one extra outlet by using a desk that you now need to plug in, getting an extra powered USB port for your trouble makes the trade-off much more appealing.
For more information, check out the ApexDesk ZT Series 36″ Electric Desk Riser on Newegg. It’s currently available for $269.99.