There’s no question that sitting hunched over behind a desk all day isn’t even remotely good for you. Unfortunately for many working in office settings, that’s exactly what we do. Sure we may get up and walk around every half an hour to hour, but then you no doubt have bosses complaining about a loss of productivity. Our Vari Pro Plus 36 review takes a look at a standing desk solution that aims to get you standing while you work, not only improving your health but maybe even increasing productivity as well.
The Vari Pro Plus 36 has the following features and specifications:
- Vari Pro Plus 36 standing desk is designed to accommodate those with dual-monitor setups or larger workspace needs
- The two-tier design gives you an upper display surface for your monitor, and a spacious lower keyboard and mouse deck
- Height-adjustable to 11 different positions for ergonomic comfort. Remains sturdy and stable even when fully extended
- Uses Vari’s patented spring-loaded lifting mechanism to easily lift up to 35 lbs. (15.8 kgs.) in 3 seconds, allowing you to stand up and sit down without breaking your concentration
- Comes fully assembled right out of the box – no assembly, installation, or tools required!
- 36″ (91.4 cm) wide for larger, dual-monitor setups
- Holds up to 35 lbs (15.8 kg)
- Sits on top of existing desk
- Sturdy and stable even when fully extended
- Weighted Base: 30″(W) x 24″(D)
- Flat: 4.5″(H) x 36″(W) x 29.75″(D)
- Extended: 17.5″(H) x 36″(W) x 41.75″(D)
- Extension Height: 17.5″ (Display Surface) & 14″ (Keyboard Deck)
- Work surface measures: 36″(W) x 29.75″(D) (Display Surface & Keyboard Deck)
- Keyboard deck measures: 36″(W) x 14.25″(D)
- Weight: 52.15 lbs.
What’s in the box
- Vari Pro Plus 36
The Vari Pro Plus series has a design that works very well. The work and keyboard surfaces are constructed from 5/8″ pressboard and coated on the top, bottom, and all edges with a laminate finish. Our review unit came with the black finish, but white, Darkwood (darker wood finish), and Butcher Block (lighter birch-like finish) colours are also available for purchase (note: Darkwood and Butcher Block are only available for US purchase). The work surface and keyboard deck have nice rounded edges and corners, and the cutout in the front of the work surface is the perfect size for additional workspace above your keyboard and mouse. The finish is really durable and after a few weeks of daily all day use with a keyboard, mouse, laptop, monitor, and various other devices (smartphone, pens, earbuds, and more), one can’t tell that it’s not brand new.
The metal base legs on the Vari Pro Plus are heavily weighted with rubber padding underneath and the desk doesn’t move around on whatever surface you’ve placed it. On the outer side of each leg are the Vari website and Pro Plus 36 model text in white. A thin metal piece connects the two legs and rests just above your desk when the Pro Plus is placed on it.
The keyboard deck is attached to the work surface deck with 14 screws (seven on either side) and a metal bracket. The work surface is then attached to a spring loaded height-adjusting mechanism. On each side of the work surface, and towards the front, are two handles which are used to adjust the height by squeezing them at the same time then lifting or lowering the main desk to the desired height. Including the fully lowered and raised positions, there are 11 heights that the desk can be locked into place. When it is raised, it arcs back towards where you normally sit and hangs over the edge of your desk by 10-14 inches (depending on how you have the base situated), so you’ll want to make sure you have enough room for that.
Across the back of the spring-loaded height-adjusting mechanism is a horizontal bar that also doubles nicely as a cable management support when used with velcro or zip ties. It’s a good idea to tie up your cables so they don’t hang loose and potentially get caught when you lower the desk. Even though the bar isn’t marketed as such, it definitely works well as one, and it might be nice for future models to include some sort of cable management channel along this bar.
One issue I did notice — and that wasn’t really any fault of Vari — is that my monitor tended to wobble when the Pro Plus was raised. The reason for this is because the model I have has a very thin arm between the base and the monitor, so if yours does as well that’s something to keep in mind. I did test it with another monitor with a wider base stand and the wobble was pretty much non-existent with it.
Our review unit was the 36″ model and easily accommodated a 17″ laptop and a 24″ monitor. The 36″ version safely supports up to 35 lbs (15.88kg) combined on its surfaces. For those with larger or smaller workspace requirements, the Vari Pro Plus is also available in 30″ or 48″ models.
Ease of Use
The Vari Pro Plus comes pre-assembled and is ready to use straight out of the box. Simply set it on top of an existing desk, place your laptop and/or monitor(s), keyboard, and mouse on the work surface and the keyboard deck and you’re ready to go. To raise and lower the desk, place the palm of your hands on either side of the work surface, reach around the edges with your fingers, grab the handles, push down slightly, and pull the handles up towards the bottom of the work surface. Once pulled up, raise or lower the desk to the desired height, release the handles and gently push or pull into place until you hear a locking click sound.
The big question is: are sit-stand desks really worth it? I’ve been working in computers in one capacity or another for longer than I care to remember, and of course the majority of that time is spent seated in front of a computer. Sure a decent chair helps, but even so, it’s recommended to get up and move around every half hour or so. Standing desks — and by extension sit-stand desks — have been gaining popularity lately with health benefits from increasing circulation to a reduction of back pain and more.
This being my first outing with a standing desk, I have to admit that those benefits are definitely there. When seated, my back definitely starts to hurt slightly by 11 am each day, and then again by 2 or 2:30 pm in the afternoon. With the Vari Pro Plus, I started my day out sitting and after an hour or so opted to stand until lunchtime, and then stand for a couple of hours after lunch with a one-hour sit down before ending off the day by standing again.
While standing, my back not only felt better, but I also felt more alert and productive. Because I was standing more, I was getting up and walking around less — although I did still continue doing that throughout the day — which means I spent less wasted time being mobile just to get a break. Being in a cubicle-based work environment, I also felt more in tune with the office in general as I could see what was going on and who was going where — and not in a snooping sense, but more like feeling like I was truly part of a team instead of just a compartmentalized component somewhere. I know that may sound weird, but it was one of the biggest unexpected side effects of using the Vari Pro Plus that I encountered.
During the review period, I was just standing on a typical carpeted office floor, and you’ll definitely want to pick up an anti-fatigue mat for use while you are standing.
The Vari Pro Plus 36 has an MSRP of $395USD/$590CAD. The pricing is definitely in line with other desktop standing desks, however, given the current exchange rate Canadian pricing should be more in the $515CAD range. That aside, with its pre-assembly, sturdiness, and ease of use, the Pro Plus 36 offers decent value for the price.
The Vari Pro Plus 36 is listed on the Vari site as a best seller, and after spending a few weeks using one, there’s no doubt as to why. With its solid, durable, easy-to-use design, the Pro Plus 36 easily earns a Techaeris Top Pick of 2017.