Ergohead Standing Desk Mat Review

If you’re already a standing desk user who works five days a week (or more) in an office and haven’t started using a standing desk mat yet, I highly recommend you start. Standing desk mats reduce the negative side effects of standing. This should encourage you to stand longer.  Generally, when there is less pain and difficulty, more willingness to incorporate and adapt into habit. It’s just like good running shoes for runners. If you’re a regular runner, common sense indicates that you need good running shoes to both protect against injury and provide for a more comfortable and enjoyable running experience.

Unlike the common flat mats, the non-flat mats now include more features and various terrains that let you do more. Anything that helps you move and shift while standing has the potential to help make you stand healthier, with better posture, as well as promote productivity while working at your standing desk.

Butterfly Mats is now an established and popular Amazon store that sells quality standing desk mats. Their initial product offering started last year with the wallet-friendly and fun shaped Butterfly Mat, but their catalog and inventory has now expanded to include a few premium mats with complex design patterns and terrains.  I’ve been looking forward to reviewing one of these new mats, the Ergohead Standing Desk Mat.

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Ergohead Standing Desk Mat Benefits

This mat includes several massage and flexibility mounds for increased blood circulation and mobility. I took off my shoes and tried stepping and squishing my feet into each of the various features and they actually felt great. Obviously better than a flat mat.

That said, with shoes on you can’t feel as much of the detail.  You do still get some of the benefits of stretching your ankles, but the maximum benefit comes from going with socks or barefoot.

The mat is made from 100% Polyurethane Foam. It’s firm enough to feel the mounds and most importantly it’s soft enough to take pressure off your knees and back.

This mat features a unique size and shape. It’s 26″ x 28″ which is nearly square. Ideal for tight workspaces where a wider mat may take up too much room.

Perfect fit at this standing console station in the datacenter.

The bottom edge makes it easy to both slide out to use; and slide back under your desk with your foot when you’re done using it.

Another key feature not typically mentioned is aesthetics. This is a professional looking mat, and would look great in a professional setting. It doesn’t look hokey at all, which is probably important in most office environments.

If you’ve already made an investment in a standing desk and are looking for the right mat to accompany it, then I can tell you from the 2 weeks I’ve been using this mat that it’s well worth the cost.

The Ergocomfy Standing Desk Mat Review

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The cute & popular Butterfly Standing Desk Mat we reviewed in October is a definite favorite and conversation piece in our office due to the fun shape and very decent quality you get from rather inexpensive standing desk mat.  For 2017, the same maker has stepped it up a notch and designed a performance mat to better compete with the higher end mats out there.

Their new high end performance standing desk mat is called the Ergocomfy Mat.

It’s packed with features and we’ll cover them here.

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Anti-Fatigue

This is the most popular reason mats are purchased.  Antifatigue mats and comfort mats have been proven to decrease knee, back, and neck soreness and increase productivity.  Anti-fatigue  mats are essential and often used where workers stand to help ease foot, leg, and lower back pain and fatigue.

Calculated Terrain

They advertise that you can use 10 different standing positions on this mat.  This may sound confusing, but it’s actually a very important part of ergonomics.  Standing in one place has been shown to be almost as bad as sitting.  To optimize the use of a standing desk, it’s important to shift and change position often.  This releases tension and improves blood circulation.  A mat that has terrain encourages you to change your stance, especially when your shoes are off.

Massage anyone?

The Ergocomfy has massage bumps integrated into a protruding “exercise” section.  This enables you to dig those bumps into various parts of your feet to stimulate pressure points.  In these areas on your feet, there are thousands of nerves.  In fact, there are over 15,000 nerves in your feet alone!  That’s why reflexology, a method of massage also known as zone therapy, has been practiced for thousands of years.

While so far there is no scientific evidence that reflexology is effective for any medical condition, millions of people swear by the stress relieving effects they feel from having their hands and feet properly stimulated through pressure points.

How’s it compare?

We set up the mat side by side against one of the most popular terrain standing desk mats, the Topo (that we reviewed last year).

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Size Matters

We will start with the most obvious difference — Dimensions.  Ergocomfy has a whopping 24″x36″ size which provides you with a larger space for standing.  In comparison, the Topo is 26″x 29″. The larger width encourages you to occasionally or often take a wider stance.  As a 6’1″ standing desk user, this is very important to me as my long legs prefer a wider stance than the Topo has room for.

Density

The Topo seems slightly more dense to me.  Although I don’t see any immediate benefit from increased density for my usage, considering the Ergocomfy is dense enough to do the job.  Both mats appear to be made of quality material that won’t fall apart anytime soon.

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Terrain

As for terrain features, the Topo has a center bump, but I haven’t found much use for it.  They both have the raised corners for sliding and positioning the mat by using your feet and can also serve to angle your feet for stretching your calves — equal points there.  However, after trying the massage bumps with socks, I’m leaning towards the Ergocomfy on terrain features.  The bumps feel great and I find myself often squishing my feet into them.

Conclusion

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The Ergocomfy terrain and wide surface area makes it my new favorite mat in this price range and will be replacing the Topo I have been using for the last year.

 

FlexiSpot Adjustable Standing Desk Riser

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FlexiSpot is a newer player in the standing desk market. I was extremely excited to sample one of their new standing desk risers to take a look at the quality. I was also very interested to see how their products stand up against standing desk giants, Varidesk and Ergotron. For this review I opted for the compact sized Flexispot M1. It’s a height adjustable space saving desk riser that is mere 27″ inches wide, but yet packs plenty of space on the surface area. Before getting into the details, we’ll go over what desk riser models they currently have available.

Available Models

FlexiSpot M1 – 27″
FlexiSpot M2 – 35″
FlexiSpot M3 – 47″
FlexiSpot M4 – Corner 41″

Unpacking & Parts Included

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The box came well packed in a cube of foam to protect the edges.
Unpacking Tip: I’d recommend getting a friend to help hold the box while pulling out the white foam from the sides.

The package includes:

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The FlexiSpot Standing Desk
Instruction Manual
Optional Keyboard Tray & Brackets (and screws)
Decorative Bolt Covers for each side & cable ties
Plus, a special bolt is included for mounting one of their awesome monitor arms

 

Assembly

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Assembly begins with simply placing the unit on an appropriate desk. I’m a big fitness guy, and I was able to manage this myself with ease, but i’d recommend the average person should consider having a friend help lift and place the desk to avoid injury.

The keyboard tray comes first. This keyboard tray is unique as it has the feature of being optional. The Flexispot standing desk is absolutely functional without one, and if one wanted to place a keyboard on top or use this standing desk with a laptop, then it can be done without to save on space.

To install the keyboard tray, I had a moment of confusion as the manual indicates step (A) at the bottom left of the page. The first step is to mount the brackets to the keyboard tray.

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I found it best to use the corner of the FlexiSpot standing desk surface as a good place to work on adding the brackets to the keyboard tray.

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I recommend using an electric screwdriver to attach the four screws to each bracket as seen below. Pay attention as there are some extra middle holes that are unused.  Once the brackets are mounted to the underside of the keyboard tray. You hook them on to the four knobs under the desk and tighten them down.

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I didn’t use a monitor arm mount for this desk, so for the intent of this assembly I won’t be demonstrating the installation. The bolt bag does have very easy instructions for this, however.

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According to the manual, the end caps are to cover these bolts:

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The bolts aren’t unsightly, but I do appreciate the consistent attention to detail that appears to be the theme with FlexiSpot.

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The color matched branded caps do perhaps add some nice finish.

The included cable ties are also welcomed. Again, attention to detail and no shortcuts is what makes products go from good to great.

Dimensions

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Max. Loading Weight Limit: 35 lbs
Dimensions(w/o keyboard tray): 5.9″ ~ 19.7″(height) x 27″(width) x 23.2″(depth)
Dimensions(w/ keyboard tray): 5.9″ ~ 19.7″(height) x 27″(width) x 31.1″(depth)

Features & Usage

The FlexiSpot adjusts and locks into 12 height settings, smooth and easy thanks to a gas strut. This allows for easier lifting and smooth operation (Both VARIDESK and Ergotron use spring loaded mechanisms instead). Straight up & down movement is ideal for compact spaces. Some other desks protrude outwards toward the user as they go up, which can severely limit standing room in a tight office.

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For their QA process they claim to test these with a whopping 6,000 height adjustments.

The deep desktop surface offers plenty of working space, and has an integrated tablet holder.

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It can also be effectively used as a place to prop your notes.

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Another great feature is that it’s compatible with ergonomic monitor mounts. If you ever need a floating monitor on an arm, it comes pre-drilled for that and covered for when you need the option.

It’s available in three size options and two colors (black or white).

Impressions

This is a modern, beautiful adjustable standing desk converter. The installation was cake. Yes, there was some minor assembly required to get the keyboard tray built, but this comes with the benefit of having the keyboard tray be optional and removable.

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I found this to be one of the highest quality adjustable desk risers I have tested to date. It’s easiest to lift under load, the adjustments are smooth, and at it’s highest adjustment it is rock solid. The recurring theme here is attention to detail. FlexiSpot nailed it and I think the big guys have new competition to worry about.

 

 

The Butterfly Standing Desk Mat Review

I’ve been writing about standing desks for a few years now and there’s one issue that easily ranks as the #1 concern i’m asked about. That would be the fear of pain and fatigue associated with standing for any long period of time.  Not many people typically enjoy standing around much.  It’s not very comfortable, and often results in fatigue and back or leg pain.

Why would one willingly expose themselves to standing more when a chair is available?

Because chairs are the equivalent of prison cells for your body. You can’t move. Health and vitality relies on movement. You need to free your body from it’s imprisonment and move around *most of the time* to improve or maintain your health.

Now back to comfort and reducing pain.

How do we stand and move more and reduce the discomfort at the same time? Well, standing more often strengthens your body and joints which results in less fatigue over time. But there’s a shortcut — that’s a standing desk anti-fatigue mat.

We’ve talked about standing desk mats before — and they’ve come a long way since the boring rectangular ones made for standing at your kitchen sink.

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I’ve had the opportunity to review a brand new one called the Butterfly Mat. It’s built with function in mind, but is the first of kind (that we’ve seen so far) that also focuses on the aesthetics. Your workspace is where you spend a lot of time and should inspire you, it should be an aesthetically pleasing space.

Below are some of the advertised features:

➤ The calculated terrain encourages healthy movement while supporting the user with incredibly comfortable environmentally-friendly supportive foam

➤ Contoured beveled edge design and no-curl edges prevent tripping hazard

➤ The massage points activate blood flow and engage more muscles than simple standing mats are able to

➤ Butterfly center “teardrop” further drives movement and the ankle range of motion

➤ Easy hands-free edge position lets you slide the mat on various floor surfaces

➤ Thickness ranges from from 7/8″ (min) to 1 2/5″ (max) to enable the user to adjust their standing posture so as not to become fatigued by standing in one position

➤ A front contoured beveled edge design provides a foot prop for split stances and is specially designed according to the ergonomics for standing comfortably

Butterfly Standing Desk Mat
We spent a few weeks on this mat and can confirm that the foam is, in fact, extremely comfortable. Not too firm and not too squishy. Feels best without shoes. We each spent several hours at a time standing on the mat and had no aches and pains in the joints or heels.

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Looks wise, the butterfly shape is clever. It provides an ideal amount of space for movement, which in turn seems to somehow inspire movement. The smaller bumps didn’t do much for me but I definitely found myself balancing on one foot on the center bump occasionally — or going for a stable wide stance, depending on my mood.

The beveled edge is almost a requirement now. I wouldn’t recommend getting any mat that doesn’t have this feature. Very important and the butterfly mat has it on all sides.

Besides that, it’s lightweight so it’s easy move and put away. Overall it’s a very fun, economical, and capable mat that will definitely do the job while looking good at any standing desk.

 

Loctek D7D Dual Arm Monitor Mount Reviewed

Today, I’m going to review the Loctek D7D Dual LCD Arm Monitor Mount: a feature packed and aesthetically pleasing standing desk accessory that allows you to mount and adjust two monitors up to 27”.

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But, before we get into the nitty-gritty details, let’s quickly discuss why you might even want an monitor mount when you could simply just put the monitors on your desk.

Are arm monitor mounts even necessary?

Ergonomics research (and OSHA!) suggests that monitors should be placed at, or just below, eye level. For many people, their monitors are placed too low, which can lead to chronic neck pain. Millions of people spend hours with their neck cranked and tilted forward bearing the weight of their entire skull on a very sensitive area at the back of your neck.

Without an easy way to adjust their monitors, most people fail to achieve this optimal position. Eye level can also change if they shift positions or move from sitting to standing, or if more than one person uses the same desk.

So, if you want your monitor to always be at an optimal level, you should have an easy way to move it around and adjust it. Monitor arms allow you to do that. They’re certainly not the only way to accomplish ergonomic positioning, but they are one of the easiest and most flexible ways to keep things ergonomic.

Bonus: Monitor arms also free up space on your desk by eliminating monitor stands.  Clean and clear desk space can help boost creativity and productivity.

Now that you know why you should want one for your standing desk, let’s get into the specifics of the Loctek D7D.

Installation

There are 3 primary steps to installing the D7D: Attach the base, attach the monitors, and cleanup the cables.  The entire process can be done in under an hour.

Each arm comes tightly constrained by a Velcro loop. There is warning label on the bag and it is important to be careful when you open the bag and maintain a bit of compression as you cut the straps. The arms are under tension and will spring apart a few inches. Just keep it away from your face and you’ll be fine.

1. Attach the base

There are two ways to mount this to your desk: clamp and grommet. Both the clamp and grommet provide a strong grip for the base, which is important considering the weight load on the arms.

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The metal plate that attaches to the base has several holes allowing for a variety of desk thickness (between .98 and 4.72 inches). Also, to prevent scratching or otherwise damaging your desk, they have included custom cut adhesive padding that is to be pasted under the base.

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2. Attach the monitors

The D7D uses the standard 75mm and 100mm (75x75mm and 100x100mm) VESA mounting holes that can be found on many monitors to attach the monitor to the mount. This part is straightforward.

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Once attached, use the provided allen wrench to tighten or loosen the arm movement as needed for the weight of your monitor.

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3. Cable Management

The Loctek D7D dual arms desk monitor mount also comes with a great cable management system via its upper and lower parts of the arms. Plastic casings allow you to run and hide cables and can be removed by pressing down both sides to reveal the channel under it.

Features

The D7D has two arms, which, obviously, means you can attach two monitors. They rotate 180 degrees horizontally and have a 105-degree tilt angle, which means you can move them around a lot. You can also lock them in place if you don’t want them to move.

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Each arm supports monitors that contain VESA mounting brackets and are:

  • 10 inches to 27 inches
  • 4.4 to 19.8 pounds

(Apple Thunderbolt displays are not supported)

It’s built with anti-scratch aircraft-grade aluminum, which is both practical and beautiful.  The arms remind me of robotic arms, easily looks like something Tony Stark would use on his desk.

The D7D also has gas springs to keep it upright and easily movable and cable management trays to make sure everything is organized.

Impressions

The Loctek D7D is beautiful aesthetically and allows you to easily move your monitors around in a wide range of motion. You can really see the quality engineering when you move side to side, up and down, and tilt the monitors.

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It’s also nice to be able to quickly change heights if you move from sitting to standing, or re-arrange things on the fly, instead of needing to physically move around your monitors. You’ll also find that you have more desk space, as the monitor stands are no longer hogging your valuable desk real estate.

The base of the mount also includes pass-through USB and headphone jacks, which is a nice bonus.  Saves you the trouble of going behind the computer if you want to plug in headphones or a flash drive.

Final Thoughts

If you want to upgrade the functionality and ergonomics of your standing workstation, the Loctek D7D is an excellent choice.  It’s definitely not cheap.  But, for a premium price, you’re definitely getting a premium product.  If you can afford it, definitely consider adding the D7D to your office.  It may just be the best standing desk accessory you never knew you needed.

 

Elevate to Stand with the InMovement Desk

If you’re a fan of this site, you probably are well acquainted with the many benefits of standing desks. If you’re not ready to commit to full-time standing, though, you need an adjustable height desk. There are plenty of all-in-one standing desks that will get you from sitting to standing, but those usually require a large investment and giving up your existing furniture.

Thankfully, the Elevate Desktop DT2 from InMovement offers a stylish and effective way to turn your current desk into a fully adjustable unit, giving you full sit-to-stand functionality for just $399.

InMovement Elevate DT2 Standing Desk Light Wood Review

The Elevate DT2 works by sitting on top of your current desk. It goes as high as 19″ and in its lowest position, it adds just under six inches of height.  We can all agree that the InMovement desk looks significantly more stylish than any of those DIY Ikea hacks you may have seen.

InMovement Elevate DT2 Standing Desk Light Wood Review

This is something you can be happy to showcase in your office.

Installation

First of all, InMovement says you’ll need a surface that’s at least 38″ wide by 26″ deep. (However it did just barely fit fine on my desk which is only 24″ deep).  Once you’ve cleared off your desk, the rest is too easy, as the Elevate DT2 comes entirely pre-assembled. Yup–unpack and place and it’s ready to go.  However, be aware that the unit is large and weighs a fairly hefty 58 pounds, you will definitely need some help getting it into place. Once it’s on top of your current workstation, though, your work is done. The installation couldn’t be much easier.

 

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Looks

InMovement sets itself apart from the herd with three unique finishes: white, light wood grain, or rich dark grain.   

InMovement Standing Desk Colors

The unique wood finish is uncommon among standing desks.

You’ll want to find one that matches your current workspace (or taste). Aside from the wooden top, the rest of the station is almost entirely various shades of gray to black steel, which should fit the aesthetics of most workspaces. There are also four rubber feet on the bottom which will protect your workstation from any scratches.

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Key Features

  • Let’s start with the HUGE 41 x 26” workspace:  The Elevate DT2 is more than capable of accommodating two monitors with plenty of space left over for notepads, tablets, phones, and other wonderful gadgety or non-techy desktop items.  Or you could be minimal and appreciate the large clean and zen desktop.
  • Spring-assisted lift: Makes switching from sitting to standing incredibly easy. Adjusting it was slightly different than products from Ergotron and Varidesk in that you must first press down on the desktop before activating the handles.  Once you activate the lift mechanism, you may then release them when you reach your desired height. The lift mechanism can handle up to 35 lbs, which is enough for most but those with dual or triple monster-sized monitors may want to check their combined monitor weight specs (some 27-inchers can exceed 20lbs each!)

  • Height Options: 10 spring adjusted heights over a 14” lift: The 10 levels of height will fit 96% of the population, so you should have no trouble finding the proper height. Combined with the height of the unit, the 14” lift allows you to get a maximum of ~19 inches of added height.
  • Retractable keyboard tray:  The very spacious keyboard tray is ergonomically designed to sit at the proper height. It conveniently slides under the desk so you can easily get up close if you want to do some writing.

InMovement Elevate DT2 Standing Desk Specs

Final Thoughts

InMovement’s Elevate Standing Desk is a stylish and affordable option to achieve sit-to-stand functionality. It can raise your screen up by 19 inches, which should work for the vast majority of the population. With that being said, height is something to consider, because most is not all. If you’re especially tall (over 6’1″), you may need to instead go with something like this.

The pre-assembled fabrication makes setup a breeze and the desk is stylish enough for most setups. A black finish is definitely missing from their current offering, but I think the wood is definitely going to appeal to a very large consumer base that have wood accented offices.

Most importantly, adjusting Elevate’s height is simple and easy. The adjustable functionality also makes it an excellent option for people who share desks. All workstation users can be accommodated, which isn’t possible with a fixed solution.

InMovement Elevate DT2 Standing Desk Light Wood Review

All-in-all, the InMovement Elevate DT2 Standing Desk is a great fuss-free option to instantly add sit-to-stand functionality to your existing workspace.

 

The Best Standing Desk Mat: Topo Mat Review

A good “anti-fatigue” mat is an essential part of any healthy standing desk ergonomic configuration.  Yes we’ve covered a few standing desk mats before, explained what to look for, and made a verdict.  However, it was before we tried this one so we’ll present you with our Topo mat review.

The Topo Mat Review Top View | Best Standing Desks

Ergodriven’s Topo Standing Desk Mat is part anti-fatigue mat and part mini-gym for your feet.  You typically buy an anti-fatigue mat as part of proper ergonomics to avoid foot and lower back pain while standing, and well, fatigue.  Why not spring for something that has unique standing desk benefits and can do more, for just as much as you would spend on a premium mat designed for standing desks?

Ergodriven, an ergonomics company based out of San Francisco,  is on a mission to eliminate flat surfaces, which is why they created a unique mat designed specifically for standing desks.

Topo Standing Desk Mat Blue Side View

Key benefits for standing desks users:

  • Unique ergonomic shapes that subconsciously encourage you to move
  • Comfortable, soft and polyurethane surface feels good for hours

With this mat, movement is natural and thought free

Topo Standing Desk Mat In Use

The first thing you’ll notice about Topo is its bumps and lumps. They may look a little strange, but I can assure you they’re not a manufacturing defect.

Topo is designed with “calculated terrain” to subconsciously encourage you to move. Some studies suggest that, while still better than sitting, standing for long periods of time on flat surfaces comes with its own set of potential problems.  Topo aims to eliminate those problems.

Both my wife and I agreed that the sessions at our standing desks felt improved and upgraded with the Topo.  The mat’s odd shapes actually encouraged us to move around and we often find ourselves stretching our calves and ankles.

Topo Standing Desk Anti-Fatigue Mat In Use

Topo doesn’t force you to move like a treadmill desk—it makes you subconsciously want to move. I think this distinction is one of the main reasons for the mat’s success—it doesn’t feel like work. You get the benefit of movement without any conscious thought.

Comfortable surface, especially for shoe-less standers

While Topo can be used with shoes, socks, or bare feet; but I suggest you take the shoes off, that’s where the mat really shines and you can expect the best experience.

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The mat’s polyurethane surface feels great and somehow keeps cool even during periods of long use. It’s also got just enough cushion to be comfortable while still maintaining a solid surface. 

If I had to rack my brain to find a shortcoming about this product — I’d say that because of its size, the mat can be difficult to move, which might be an issue if you have an adjustable standing desk and like to switch between sitting and standing often. Ergodriven designed the mat so that you can move it with just your foot (if you’re not on carpet), but the mat is still large enough that moving it aside requires the space to store it. On the upside, this might encourage you to just stand more, which isn’t really a bad thing by any means.

Also, because of the mat’s odd lumps and shapes, there’s a small chance of it becoming a tripping hazard (ask me how know this). Not a major issue once you know it’s there, but something to consider, because I don’t think tripping into your monitor is the type of movement Ergodriven envisioned.

Final verdict

Yes, standing is way better than sitting.  But you do get the most benefit from using a standing desk when you’re actively stretching and moving around.  The Topo anti-fatigue mat separates itself from other standing desk mats with its unique calculated terrain. The shapes really do subconsciously encourage you to move around, making long standing sessions much more active, comfortable, and the surface feels better than any other mats I’ve tried.  

All things considered, Topo is unquestionably the most unique standing desk mat out there.  Seriously, get one now.

Topo Standing Desk Mat by Ergodriven Front View

Product Info & Specs:

Colors: Black, Grey, Blue, Purple, Green
Dimensions: 25.5″ x 28″
Weight: ~7 pounds

 

Crane Stands Reviewed: Classic & Elevate

Whether you’re a DJ, know a DJ, or have recently seen a popular DJ perform in person, there is a very good chance you’ve been in the vicinity of a Crane Stand.  Crane hardware is widely popular for their laptop stands in the DJ & Musician scene.   Their adjustable stands are used to elevate laptops to comfortable heights in booths around the globe.

Now they’re setting their sights on homes and offices to solve the widespread case of hunched over laptop syndrome.  We won’t beat a dead horse with all the negative side-effects you experience seated for hours curled over a laptop but the usual advice is to follow the practices adopted for desktops and elevate your laptop off the table to a more comfortable position.  We prefer you stand, and Crane stands give you that option.  It’s a product you should absolutely consider owning if you use your laptop for any extended period of time.

Crane hardware sent me two new models, the Classic and the Elevate.  Let’s explore them:

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The Crane Stand Classic

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Made of a powder-coated steel with welded base, this stand feels solid in every way.  There are silicone rings at the base that do a great job of adding traction and keeping it from sliding around.  The stands weighs about 3.5 lbs and folds flat to a 1″ thickness, so it can absolutely fit in a large laptop bag or backpack.

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The angle adjustments are made using a rotating barrel with a quick-release cam mechanism similar to what you would find on a bicycle wheel.   To adjust to pretty much any position of your liking: You unlock the cam lever, loosen the tension knobs, adjust the base or the tray and then re-tighten the knob and then lock off the cam lever.  When adjusted completely upright the maximum elevation is approx 13″.

The Classic comes with a nylon drawstring carry bag & there’s a 1 Year Limited Warranty.

My only minor gripe:  Quick release mechanism doesn’t lock at any position.  Weight is held up by friction and therefore some care & effort is needed to tighten it enough to support weight at certain angles or it can sink if it’s not tight enough.  Not a deal-breaker, just something that requires a bit of attention while setting up.


The Crane Stand Elevate

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This premium model is made of an ultra-lightweight forged 6061 aluminum and carbon fiber which makes it almost a pound lighter than the Classic and better suited for portability.  The Elevate’s hinge barrels have ‘teeth’ which means that less force is needed to lock the joints in place.  You twist to unlock, adjust and then twist the knobs again to lock into place.

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Height adjustment knobs are unique to the Elevate model and they allow you to adjust the body height to a maximum of 15″.

Like the Classic, it also folds down to 1″ flat for travel but the Elevate comes with a nice fitted & zippered faux-leather carrying case.


Differences and Conclusion

The main differences that stand out between the models are the materials and the adjustment mechanisms.  While I couldn’t see much use in adjusting the height on the Elevate’s body,  it may serve someone else’s needs.  Both these stands can be used on their own as laptop risers for standing, or can be used along with an existing standing desk to elevate your laptop screen to eye level.

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I’d say that if you travel around a lot, get the Elevate.  One pound may not seem like much but trust me every ounce counts when it’s hanging off your shoulder after a while.  If I had to choose one for myself, I’d actually go with the less expensive Classic.  It’s because I believe it’s an unbelievable value for the quality, I actually preferred the solid steel build & weight added slightly more stability.

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Either way you can’t really go wrong.  Both these stands are versatile and extremely well-built stands that will position your laptop at your will.  They’re also both fully self-contained, no loose parts, hardware or assembly required.  They’re quite possibly the best in their class due to the quality materials and attention to engineering details.

LEVITATOR: A Minimalist Desk Riser Inspired By Modern Art

The evolution of the now popular standing desk concept has led to a variety of different models to choose from.  We now have everything from mechanical, spring-loaded height changers to massive, electronic adjustable tables with embedded displays and alarms that pester you to stand up.

For those who crave some style (with fat wallets), there are also several beautiful full-sized designer desks made of a variety of quality materials (usually costing in the thousands).

However, where we may not have seen enough attention is to the aesthetics of the minimal, affordable models.

Enter scientist and inventor Lev Neymotin, Ph.D., who founded NY based company N5Digital, and is looking to solve this problem with colorful, stylish yet affordable standing desk risers.

His made-to-order and made-in-the-USA product is called the LEVITATOR.  The minimalist design adds enough color and streamlined symmetry to liven up any space.  And color is important, as studies have found that dull grey & white offices actually have a measurable depressant effect on employees.  Adding vibrant colors to your workspace may actually increase output and spark creativity.

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The inspiration behind this design is the art of Piet Mondrian, a post-impressionist Dutch painter.

Made of a lightweight aluminum frame, the LEVITATOR is available in black or brushed silver and both the surface and storage shelf is made of colored plexiglass.

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The design is minimal, absent of mechanical parts and hinges which contributes to both the style and makes for a lightweight accessory that can easily be carried from desk-to-desk or into meeting rooms.

The LEVITATOR comes in three pre-assembled models:

The Rise is the most compact model with a 12″ x 12″ surface that’s perfect for a laptop along with a storage shelf of the same size below it.

The Elevate has a work surface of 12″ x 24″, and an additional 12″ x 12″ storage surface.

The Professional has the largest work surface with 12″ x 32″ on its upper level and an additional 12″ x 24″ storage.

All of the models are available at heights of 8, 12 or 14 inches but according to their website they also take customization requests.

I opted for the rise model for the smaller footprint, which I tested out at both my workstation and in meetings.

The aesthetics of the tools I work with and environment I work in are important to me, and this product delivers in looking great on any platform.

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The brushed silver with the bright colors look significantly more appropriate for the modern workplace than a stack of books or the cheap plastic stands I’ve used before.

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The obvious missing feature compared to other stands like this is the ability to adjust in height, or fold down for travel. While having a standing desk that adjusts or folds down is great for portability, I preferred the minimal design — absent of mechanical parts and hinges which contribute to both making it a stylish and lightweight accessory to keep at my desk or to quickly pick up and carry to meetings.

One thing to note is that plexiglass is not hard to scratch if you don’t care for it properly.  You’d want to treat this like you would treat a nice pair of sunglasses. Microfiber is your friend.

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N5Digital’s vision for the LEVITATOR is to help get people upright while working or studying, in a way that’s practical and fun.  If you’re like me and you spend most of your day staring at a cold grey, beige, or black desk — adding a splash of color and style while maintaining your healthy habit of standing makes this solution one well worth looking into.

 

The LEVITATOR is currently available through Etsy and at the N5Digital Store with an estimated delivery time of 3-4 weeks.

The Steppie Balance Board Is A Step Above Standing

Standing desks have gone from weird to commonplace in the offices around the globe.  But while simply avoiding the chair brings on a long list of benefits to the human body and brain, some say that standing still is not enough to maximize the benefits on a standing desk.  Movement is key and the next evolution in the standing culture may just be balance boards.

A balance board is a standing desk accessory that’s basically a platform which aims to promote all benefits of movement while remaining in place.

Enter The Steppie

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The Steppie balance board is an accessory to compliment your standing desk.  I was sent one from Victor Technology and I was excited to give this concept a try.

It has a simple design.  It seems to be made of a strong grey & dark grey plastic and doesn’t stand out — and I like that it’s not distracting.  The shades of grey blend in with the rest of my workstation.

Using it is simple: you put it on the floor, and then you put one foot down on it.  Acting like the lever that it is, the Steppie will lean to one side.  Then you put your other foot on it, and you’re up and balancing.  I tried various different stances until I found the foot positioning that felt the most comfortable.

The Steppie rocks side-to-side allowing you to easily shift weight from one side of your body to the other.  This subtle movement at your hips and knees can be used to reduce stress on your joints, or you can alternate legs at a faster pace to maximize muscle activity and increased circulation to get a metabolism boost going.   Although you’re not going to break a sweat like you would on a treadmill desk, The Steppie is smaller and much more reasonable in price.

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My first few days on The Steppie felt a little awkward at first.  After spending some time on it, I felt less fatigue at my hips and knees because I was able to shift my weight and get a slight stretch whenever I needed to.  I also felt more alert and I seemed to be standing with better posture.  Best of all, it’s fun and much less boring than standing still.

One observation: Standing on a balance board raises you up approximately 2 inches off the ground, which may require an adjustment to the height of your standing desk.  My VARIDESK was maxed out but I’m also very tall.

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Using The Steppie is definitely “a step” above both sitting and standing still, and I feel like it had no negative effect on my typing or focus.  At $99 the price is a fantastic value for something that has the potential to maximize the health benefits of working at your standing desk.