A standing desk is a standing desk — or is it? Maybe if you’re just looking at it as a way to be less sedentary, but there’s more to a piece of furniture than that.
Since these ergonomic tools are now widely accepted, the standing desk is a mature concept and many brands are using the same good-quality generic lift legs and controller mechanisms. This means you’re more likely to get a good desk whatever you choose, but also means that you see a lot of samey desks out there.
But it also means that you have more choices and can zero in on what matters, whether that’s value or the quality of the top and accessories. Our recommendations for the best standing desk mostly use MDF tops — the solid, durable engineered material that makes up a lot of the furniture you likely own — and because of that you can get them in a huge range of finishes, profiles and sizes to suit your office.
But the Canadian brand Ergonofis is among the manufacturers who have gone in a different direction, with desktops and a range of accessories and add-ons fabricated from solid woods. And after a couple of months of using one, we think that if you can afford it, the fine-furniture quality top really does separates it from the MDF models. It looks fantastic and the extra heft makes for a very solid work surface, especially noticeable when standing.
While most standing desks we've tested use MDF tops, the Sway's solid-wood surface gave it a more stable feel and a more luxurious, fine-furniture look and feel than any other ergonomic desk we've tried.
What we liked about it
The nicest thing about the Sway is that after using several MDF-topped desks it looks and feels like a piece of fine furniture, not just a tool for work. It’s great if you want your home office to look more “home” than “office” while still taking advantage of the ergonomic benefits of a mechanized desktop.
Our sample Sway desk, with a solid cherry top (it’s a serious 1.25-inch thick slab of lumber, beautifully finished) and matching monitor bridge/shelf and storage drawer, arrived impeccably and securely packaged — should you get one, you can put aside any worries you might have about the wood top getting damaged in transit.
It looks great, and based on our experience so far the surface should weather nicely over time rather than chipping or discoloring like manufactured surfaces can. We managed to put a small ding in the edge of the drawer front while assembling (apologies!), but frankly it just looks like natural imperfection in the wood and doesn’t detract. The surfaces overall have a rich, robust surface with visible grain that looks great and feels good to the touch. Ergonofis includes a leather coaster for your coffee, a nice touch that’ll help protect the desk.
The wooden top (we tested in the 30-inch-by-60-inch size) is quite heavy, assembly was simple, with everything clearly laid out and the directions clear, so we were up and running pretty quickly. The frame (which uses the well-regarded Linak motor drive) includes built-in cable management, so it was easy to keep everything tidy under the desk (the desk ships with a cable net, which does the job nicely; we opted for the cable management grid that provides tie-down points and a power bar).
Once we settled in for use, programming the controller was a breeze. The touchscreen brain can be set up to recall standing and seated positions for four users, and the commands are intuitive. The touch panel itself is beautiful, easy to read even in bright sun, intuitive to use and seems very solidly built. You can set up standing and sitting heights for four users (great if you’re sharing a space), and it’s simple to make small adjustments on the fly — really among the easiest interfaces we’ve tried.
The coordinated solid-wood monitor bridge (starting at $195) is a great addition, and while it simply rests on the desktop on felt pads it is stable enough to hold a 32-inch 4K monitor and a pair of substantial studio monitor speakers without any creaking or wobbling, even while raising and lowering the desk repeatedly.
What we didn’t like about it
The Sway uses lovely materials and is a pleasure to use, but that comes at a price — this is an expensive desk. Depending on what species you choose, the Sway can cost from $100 to around $300 more than what an equivalent solid-wood top would cost you from Uplift, which builds our favorite standing desk overall (we tested and recommended its MDF-topped model).
While Ergonofls offers a wide range of convenient accessories, from laptop stands to drawer units, you don’t get quite the number of options Uplift offers (there’s no choice of C- versus T-style lift legs, for instance), and a cable management system isn’t included in the overall price as it is for Uplift’s desks. Ergonofis’ very substantial power and cable management grid and privacy screen is a $235 extra, while a simpler power supply/power strip is a little cheaper at $70, but either one brings the overall package price a bit higher than Uplift’s similarly spec’d higher-end offerings.
And while we love the smooth operation and memory capabilities, the top mounted controller surface does take up precious desktop real estate, and we found ourselves wishing occasionally for a side- or under-the-top mounting (à la Uplift’s solutions) so we could lay something flat across that corner of the desktop. We actually prefer the controller mounting system used on the company’s cheaper Shift standing desk, which places the controls out of the way under the desk surface.
The Sway is a beautiful desk — one of the nicest standing desks we’ve tried over the years and something that’ll look good in most home offices. It’s easy to share between two people, it has plenty of range and it’s stable and feels great, and if you’re looking to spend more time on your feet in your home office but you want something that looks more like a piece of fine furniture than most models you’ll find on the market, it’s a great choice and you’ll enjoy using it.