You’ve probably heard the phrase “sitting is the new smoking”, especially from people who will gladly sell you a standing desk. I was a skeptic until I got one of my own. The pain in my back was reduced, and once I got a mat to put under my feet, I felt less pressure on my legs and lower back. So what effect would a kneeling desk have? Well, the Edge Desk team wants to answer that question with their aptly named Edge Desk System.
Normally I’d be showing you an unboxing video at this point, but the Edge Desk is already assembled on arrival. In less than a minute after I unboxed it and read the quick directions, I had it fully deployed and ready to use. Subsequent setups were even faster, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
One of the primary issues with desks, even standing ones, is that they have little adjustments beyond up or down. Moreover, a flat desk at any level may be the entirely wrong angle for some activities or body types. Drafting tables exist, but do you really want to have a computer desk, a drawing table, and two chairs of different heights? Who has that kind of space? Well, what if you had a desk that could do all of that, including the chair portion, and folded down to just 6” tall to slide underneath a couch or bed? Enter the Edge Desk System.
The Edge Desk is a kneeling desk. That is to say, you rest leaning slightly forward, legs resting comfortably on a pair of padded arms for your shins. On paper, it sounds like it would be incredibly uncomfortable, or so I thought until I knelt on it.
Getting the Edge Desk set up is accomplished by a series of levers and adjustment tabs. Rotating the table’s orientation by pulling a T-handle reveals a lever that lets you raise that table into the vertical position. Lifting up on the seat lets it ratchet onto one of four positions letting the seat sit at four different angles to accommodate people from 4’7” to 6’2”. I don’t know the precise angles, but that wasn’t how the team tested the device to find the perfect angles anyway. Instead, they drug it around, let hundreds of people sit on it and took copious amounts of notes. In practice, I found that all four positions for the seat are useful, just for different things. When it takes only a few seconds to reconfigure, there’s no reason not to switch it frequently.
The secret sauce of this desk comes from the desk itself and the vertical arm that holds it. It’s capable of sitting in essentially any reasonable angle and height you could possibly want, and I do mean any. You can drop the desk to a vertical position facing you, and essentially nearly any angle until it’s vertically facing away from you, and everything in between, courtesy of 14 position stops. This, combined with seven height positions, and six angle forward-to-rear angle positions means it will be comfortable regardless of how tall you are — something I can’t say for most desks.
The construction of the Edge Desk System is solid tube aluminum, weighing in at 28.8 lbs. The latches look to be aircraft-grade aluminum, with the levers being a solid plastic (with both meanings implied — they are not hollow, and they should hold up to regular use). The desk surface is a smooth white plastic, with a solid plastic black border. Like everything else on this desk, the work surface can be adjusted, orienting it in landscape or portrait, depending on the type of activity you are doing. My wife uses it for painting and drawing, flipping the orientation based on the size and shape of her canvas. I use it for my laptop in portrait mode with my mouse pad, mouse, and with plenty of space to spare.
There is an advantage I didn’t see up front with this desk that became readily apparent as the COVID lockdown wears on. Combined with the wheel accessories (we’ll talk about those in a bit), this desk rolls outside in a matter of seconds, giving me access to fresh air and a change of scenery. In fact, this simple attribute ended up being my favorite one, and I’m not even sure it was intended when this desk was designed.
One of the aspects that I liked most about the Edge Desk System is that it forced me to improve my posture. You might initially look at this seating system and think “Wait, it doesn’t have a back support, that won’t support my back!”, and you are right — there’s no back support. The seat angle combined with the angle of the knee rests puts your back in an aligned position to keep your core engaged and your lower back straight. It’s still possible to slouch, but when you dial in the desk height to where it should be, that goes away too.
I really only have one complaint about the Edge Desk System — the cushions are deep at nearly 3” thick, but they feel a little underfilled. After about an hour I have to get up and walk around as my legs and butt have pushed the cushion flat. Perhaps a notch for my tailbone to take the pressure off, or a switch to a stiffer memory foam would help, but that could just be my physiology. That’s just as well as I should walk around periodically to keep the blood flowing.
You, on the other hand, might have a different problem with the Edge Desk — getting one. There are two colors, a white frame and a black frame, and both are sold out, and as of the time of writing it looks like it’s going to be that way for about a month and a half. These things are popular, and after a few weeks of using it, I can see why. I have a nice wooden desk that lets me sit on the couch, but it doesn’t let me spread out the way this desk does. I can sit at my desk, sure, but then I’m not in the living room spending time with my family.
When you can get your hands on one, the desk comes with a 15 day satisfaction guarantee. It also has a 12 month warranty covering parts and labor, though this thing is so well built I can’t rightly think of a single thing that would break.
You’ll notice that I keep calling this the Edge Desk System. I think that comes from the second thing that makes this all work — the accessories. The aforementioned wheels are a must have, sliding directly onto the feet of the desk with ease. The other two, a water bottle and cell phone holder connect to a patented universal mount system that utilizes the slot that runs around the entirety of the desk surface edge letting you place the accessories anywhere you’d like. It’s easy to start seeing that name connection, isn’t it? Talking with CEO Marc Rosenberg (the guy behind the Furby and a whole lot of cool toys and plenty of Tiger Electronics goodies, by the way) I commented that this universal mount clamp created unlimited potential for this desk system. My wife likes to draw with this desk, and an accessory for her to put her colored pencils on the sides would be genius. She also likes to paint on canvas, and a simple easel system on the bottom when in vertical mode would make that possible. Cord wrangling clamps, an overhead LED, a magnifying glass for detail work on D&D figures, a measuring ruler, a paper grip, or even a simple desk junk holder for paperclips and erasers would extend the usefulness of this desk to completely new heights. Well, it turns out that all of these (minus the magnifying glass, though it seems like that could be on the horizon based on Marc’s reaction) are in development. By the time you read this, some of them will likely be available. What is this desk for? With the right accessories, it could be just about anything you’d like it to be.
While this is a review for the current Edge Desk System, Marc and I did talk about what’s on the horizon beyond accessories. Showing me an early prototype for a gamer-focused Edge Desk System, complete with monitor support, cable wrangling, and a few other bells and whistles, it’s clear the Edge Desk team isn’t happy with sitting on their laurels, at any angle.
Edge Desk System
The team set out to make a desk that could relieve back pain, but they’ve developed something so much more. Whether you are an artist, gamer, writer, or just somebody who wants to enjoy the outdoors while they work, this desk will deliver at any angle -- literally.