Electric (also available Incremental Leg, Hand Crank, Torsion Paddle, Standard Actuator)
The Haworth Planes Height-Adjustable Table has a simple, utilitarian design with a customizable desktop. The significant advantage to this height-adjustable table design from the Haworth Design Studio is that the crossbeam has been moved up directly underneath the table top, which improves its accessibility and range of motion with no reduction of stability at full height extension. The trade-off for this stability seems to be weight—even the smaller version of this sturdy desk (23" x 58") is heavy enough to need two people to move it. However, the table has a very wide sit-to-stand range (22" - 48"), and the raised crossbeam and two-leg design with low-profile feet improve accessibility for wheelchairs and users of different sizes and needs to the point where it exceeds ANSI/HFES 100-2007 requirements. Plus it has a motor and gear set that can handle a load up to 250 lbs, so it's going to need some weight behind it.
Maximum & minimum table heights, with a 15" laptop and 6 lb chihuahua for scale
The worktop can be laminate or wood veneer and is available in standard or Green core. Our table has the linen laminate top with the standard 3mm edgeband. The motor and mechanics are hidden within the legs, which keeps the lines cleaner. But there was a lack of anything more than clips for cable management under the table, which I found surprising.
The Programmable Actuator is once again utilitarian, but clear and easy to understand and can be mounted on the left or right side. There are buttons to save up to four different heights, and even if they're all used up, you can still use the digital height readout (in inches) with the up/down buttons to memorize your preferred heights.
Overall the table gives the impression of being a high-quality piece of office equipment. But while the table top can be customized, the black and metallic finish on the legs seems intended to fade into the background.Options
Haworth's line of Planes height-adjustable desks include both rectangle and corner tops, and the adjustment ranges depend on the adjustment mechanism: incremental leg, hand crank, torsion paddle, and standard or programmable actuators. Tops have multiple options in laminate and wood veneer, as well as customizable edge styles and trim colors.
Orders include shipping and on-site assembly, which include adding the Actuator to your preferred side, or any other add-ons like a Flip Top for additional power outlets.
The desk is immediately responsive, and minutely adjustable. Its fun to make it move, but its not so loud that you'll startle your neighbors every time you want to change position. A load of typical office desk detritus made no discernible impact on its speed or stability. Even with the digital height setting readout, I found the programmable settings a great feature—once I micro-adjusted to a comfortable height I could easily save it and didn't have to rely on muscle memory to find my sweet spot after someone else monkeyed with used it.
One of the critical first steps we did when setting up this shootout was to also procure anti-fatigue mats for the tables, and I cannot recommend this step enough. [Ed Note: Lookout for our standing mat review to come!] I additionally would stand barefoot on a Wellness Mat while using the desk to make sure my footwear wasn't interfering with the experience (and because standing on what feels like a soft, squishy rug in shoes makes me sad). I would still shift my weight on a regular basis, but never because my feet grew tired or sore.
Back to the desk—I have issues with shoulder/rhomboid pain that can radiate down into my right forearm, and I loved that I could easily adjust the desk to around waist height while standing to help keep my shoulders back in the posture I need to alleviate shoulder tension. I found that eventually I would end up leaning against the edge of the desk, and so the 3mm edgeband is fairly comfortable on the tummy. I was still moving, shifting, and going to the restroom or getting things far more often than I would while seated. The main issue I found was that once I got the desk to the height I wanted, my laptop monitor was lower than it should be, but that ended up not bothering me very much.
I loved using the Haworth Planes height-adjustable table. I would try to use it standing at least twice a day, and my laptop's battery always gave out before my legs, back or any of the rest of me. The main reason I didn't use it more was because, as a communal laptop station, I didn't have a secondary monitor (which I found harder to do without than any of my other peripherals except for the mouse which I brought along). Otherwise I think I could have stood at it nearly half the day. I might have felt differently if I'd had a chair readily available to use while at the station, but I never felt tired or compelled to sit. The shifting around didn't seem to affect my ability to focus or concentrate, and walking away for a moment on a task felt natural rather than interruptive.
I also really enjoyed the narrower depth of our model (23"), which works well with laptops and flat monitors. At standing height it felt appropriate and more naturally counter-like than a full-sized desk which appears strangely top heavy when elevated.
While using the desk, I did end up feeling like there were a couple of missed opportunities. Since the desk needs to be plugged in for height adjustment, it would have been nice to have a secondary outlet available for devices or a power strip to plug into underneath the desktop. There is a single-touch Flip Top add-on, but it seems like an overlooked feature for a table designed for stationary office use.
What really struck me though, was that the Programmable Actuator feels like an afterthought and is somewhat flimsily stuck on—as though it was designed by an electrical engineering team only to the point of functionality, then the design process stopped once it was working. Why is ugly more acceptable than daring when it comes to workspace design? The actuator is a stark contrast to the thoughtful and usability-conscious design of the legs, feet and crossbeam, and actually seems like the area where Haworth could push some new, creative design solutions into an otherwise fairly familiar table structure. On the other hand, the Programmable Actuator design is simple enough that I was able to easily figure out how to save a height setting without consulting a manual. It just doesn't feel, well, designed.
However, as someone who generally hates standing, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed using the Haworth Planes Height-Adjustable Table. There were times when I wanted to go use it, but felt compelled to stay stuck in my chair due to my need for two monitors, or by the dog asleep on my lap, and was left feeling very conflicted. Being able to easily tweak the table height by an inch or two was surprisingly satisfying and contributed to making me want to use the desk more, and I can easily imagine being much more willing to properly configure an electrically adjustable desk than a pneumatic or mechanically adjusted one.