Varidesk ProPlus36 standing desk review

posted on Monday, 16th December 2019 by Steve May

Furniture  Office  Wellness 


The Varidesk ProPlus36 is a sit-stand solution for home and office use. Comprising an adjustable riser for monitor and keyboard, it’s designed to be used in conjunction with existing office furniture, allowing users to stand and work at their desk.

While few of us will find time, despite the best of intentions, to escape the office environment at lunchtime for a brisk walk, standing at your desk and typing is a lot more do-able. Many advocates suggest it’s a smarter, healthier way of working.

Varidesk isn’t the only sit-stand solution out there, but it is one of the more affordable. The company offers two alternate iterations to the one reviewed here, the ProPlus 30 and ProPlus48, 30- and 48-inches wide respectively, the latter able to take a 20.4 kg load. The ProPlus36, however, is its most popular.

An ergonomic stand-sit solution intended for SOHO use, it adopts a two-tier design, with an upper level for displays and a lower deck, has room for a full-sized keyboard and mouse.

Varidesk also supplies and optional dual-monitor arm, which clamps to the upper desk and supports two monitors using their VESA mounts, priced at £185

Other accessories include a cushioned standing mat and matching risable chair, which retail for £75 and £250 respectively.

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The ProPlus36 ships fully assembled, so the box is large and heavy.

Build quality is best described as substantial. This iteration measures  91.4cm x 68.5cm (which includes both keyboard tray and top deck). The maximum extension height is 45.7cm for the desktop, and 35.5cm for the keyboard. This is probably compact enough to work in most home office spaces and cubes. It supports up to 15.8kg of kit, enough for two large monitors, keyboard and miscellaneous selection of desk toys.

It’s available in black and white versions - our review sample was the latter.

The manufacturer provides an app which issues stand and sit notifications, helpful should you simply forget to utilise the riser.

The Varidesk Pro Plus 36 is suitable for workstations with dual monitors, and could also appeal to PC gamers with a dual screen rig.

It takes just a matter of seconds to flip between the two working positions, a spring assisted lift (literally) doing the heavy lifting. Its dual handle design requires a firm squeeze to operate. There are 11 height settings to choose from. However, if you’re over six foot tall, you might well find yourself stooping, which probably defeats the object of the exercise.

One obvious implication of installing the Varidesk is that you need to ensure that you have enough play in monitor, keyboard and mouse cables to your PC, in order for it to comfortably extend. Unfortunately, there’s no integrated cable management, just some cable ties, so the end result can look a bit messy.

Our recommendation would be to migrate from a wired keyboard to a wireless keyboard and mouse.

"The Varidesk ProPlus 36 is suitable for workstations with dual monitors, and could also appeal to PC gamers with a dual screen rig..."

The keyboard space is 51cm wide, while the deck itself is 91.5cm wide. Fully extended, this version of the Varidesk has a working depth of 106cm.  It shifts forward when raised, which could cause problems if your desk and working space isn’t accommodating enough.

A weighted base keeps the whole assembly relatively steady, however your monitor will probably wobble when you lift upwards, so don’t leave a full cup of coffee on the upper deck, and there’s some shake when typing in the standing position, although this won’t be an issue with light duties - using voice typing on Google Docs suddenly becomes quite appealing.

The caveat is that in its closed sitting configuration, it’s less comfortable than working at a regular desk, as it raises the working height of the keyboard, with implications for arms and hand alignment. For some users this could be a deal breaker.

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We Say: The benefits of a sit-stand desk are said to be considerable, but probably oversold. Studies suggest that standing up for at least a part of your working day offers a variety of health benefits, such as helping combat cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. Taking a screen break and taking a short walk every now and then, is probably just as good.

Perhaps a more compelling reason to adopt a sit-stand work environment is that it just makes you feel, somehow, less crumpled. A mid-morning switch from sitting to standing, while sorting through emails, just feels good.  

We rate the Varidesk ProPlus36 an appealing sit-stand home office solution, albeit it one with caveats. It’s not suitable for laptop users, and requires a fair amount of space.

That said, having an adjustable riser for monitor and keyboard goes a long way to relieving the general inertia of the daily office grind.

The Varidesk ProPlus36 is available now, priced £365. More details on the Varidesk range here.  

Steve May

Inside ID Editor Steve May is a freelance lifestyle and technology journalist, who also writes for Ideal Home, the i, T3, Home Cinema CHoice, TechRadar and Trusted Reviews.

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