Singaporean company NorthDay — maker of the ErgoTune Supreme V3 office chair — has brought its standing desk Down Under. The EverDesk Max is a highly customisable standing desk, but its most impressive feature is perhaps its ability to remind you to stand up at regular intervals.
While that might sound a bit moot to anyone who wears a smartwatch or fitness tracker with a standing reminder feature on it, it’s handy for those who don’t, particularly when working from home.
Desktop size (in cm): 120x60, 140x60, 160x70
Min/Max height: 60cm to 124cm
Max supported weight: 120kg / 264lb
After using a standing desk converter (one that you place on top of your existing desk) for about four years, the EverDesk Max makes my home office look less cluttered and more streamlined.
I was initially nervous about losing the little storage my old desk gave me, but add-on accessories from NorthDay have helped solve that little issue and it’s handy that there are bundle options that can get you some of these packaged in.
There are several others, however, that aren’t included in the bundles but could be useful to add on if you think you need them… and can spare the cash.
Importantly, the desk is easy to assemble if you follow the instructions carefully and, if you pick up the EverDesk Max during a sale, I think it’s well worth the investment if you want to improve your office or working-from-home setup.
EverDesk Max review: price and availability
Currently, you can only buy the EverDesk Max directly from the manufacturer via NorthDay’s website. Prices start at AU$949 for the smallest size without any bundled accessories, going all the way up to AU$1,412 if you opt for what NorthDay calls The Works — a bundle where all the smaller accessories like a pegboard, cable tray, etc are included.
Also available outside of the accessory bundles are shelves in two different sizes, monitor arms, laptop stands, pedestals and castor wheels. Incidentally, you can also add on the ErgoTune Classic or Supreme chairs, too.
The EverDesk Max comes in three sizes, three worktop finishes and two frame colours — you can mix and match the frame colour with the top finish in all three sizes, but note that the Oak and Walnut finishes cost AU$50 more than the Lily White.
Considering that the average cost of a quality standing desk in Australia is upwards of the AU$1,000 mark, the EverDesk Max being priced at under that is quite competitive. It's also worth noting that NorthDay gives you a 21-day trial of the product and the desk comes with a 10-year warranty.
EverDesk Max review: Assembly
Assembling a motorised standing desk can seem like a daunting task, but NorthDay has made it easy by offering simple, pictorial instructions that you can follow step by step.
The EverDesk Max sent to Tom’s Guide for review came in 15 boxes — now, don’t let that intimidate you as most of those boxes were the accessories the company thought we should try to get the full experience. The actual desk itself comes in three boxes — the frame, the worktop and the controller. You don’t need power drills or any additional tools — everything is neatly packaged in the boxes.
The first box you need to open is labelled clearly, which is the frame. Everything you need is provided in the box including, very thoughtfully, a rectangular piece of paper to use as a step guard when you need to lock in the legs to the horizontal support. You’ll find instructions on how to get it all done inside the box, and you won’t need help at all, even with the electrics — it really is very simple.
I decided to opt for the castor wheels separately as I was going to assemble the table on my living room rug, then move it over to my home office in another part of my apartment. These replace the knobby feet of the frame legs and feature brakes, which is a good thing as I have a habit of pushing against the table to get up and that shoves the table into the wall each time.
The worktop comes with holes pre-drilled so, again, you just follow the instructions. If you ordered the smallest size, you’ll likely be able to handle it by yourself, although we’d recommend help if you’ve opted for the bigger sizes.
Before you flip the assembled table over to stand right side up, you’ll need to screw on the controller — NorthDay calls it a Health Coach Controller (more on this later) — and, again, the instructions are clear and easy. It can be installed either on the left or the right of the front edge and you will have to make sure you’re not screwing it on upside down. And when you are ready to flip the desk, NorthDay recommends getting help, but I managed the small-sized desk on my own.
All told, you could be looking at about 30-40 minutes of getting your new standing desk set up. And if you think the instructions in the boxes aren’t helping you, there’s a handy YouTube video to take you through the assembly process.
If you’ve opted for any accessory bundles, they too are all supremely simple to assemble and attach, and you can do that at any time after you’ve finished assembling the desk itself. In my case, I didn’t start getting every element done till two weeks after I started using the desk.
The only accessory I had an issue with was the monitor arm sent to me for this review. The pictorial instructions, unlike the ones for the desk, were quite confusing and, in my case, the two main pieces (the vertical pole arm and the swing arm) would not align. The one screw on the arm that looked like it should loosen to allow this to be fixed just refused to budge, giving the impression it was glued on or welded. Patience and a heck of a lot of elbow grease helped. I soon found out that this wasn’t an isolated case — it looks like NorthDay sources some of its accessories from third parties and this could be an issue for the company to take up with its monitor arm supplier.
Neutralising my frustration with the monitor arm was the under-desk storage accessory and the pegboard. The former comes fully assembled and is a narrow, two-drawer shelf system that slips onto the tabletop. Each drawer can be pulled out to access your items, but they are open from the top, so you can just reach in like any shelf. The pegboard, while needing a little bit of manual assembly, comes with shelves, hooks, knobs and a stationary holder — most of these just hook into the holes of the pegboard. Easy!
Need more shelves? NorthDay has units in two sizes to match the table colour. These take no more than a couple of minutes to assemble and can either be placed on top of the desk or screwed into place via the groove on the rear of the worktop. These shelving units need to be purchased separately as they're not part of a bundle. I personally found an additional shelf useful, particularly since it’s a two-tiered unit that includes a thin (yet sturdy) metal sheet as the lower shelf.
Other accessories include more cable management options like a tray and a spine to hide away powerboards and cables under the desk, plus a lightbar that can be clipped on to the top of a monitor (in my case, the pegboard). You'll also get a desk mat and a mouse pad to match your tabletop colour, and you can opt for an anti-fatigue mat to stand on while working at the desk.
EverDesk Max review: Design
At first glance, the EverDesk Max looks like any other standing desk — a tabletop sitting on a frame, with the motor to move it up and down tucked away into the latter. However, a little more thought has gone into the design of the EverDesk Max.
For starters, the most obvious design element is the UniGroove cable management system. As the name suggests, it’s essentially just a groove running along the back length of the tabletop. There are cutouts in the groove that are small enough to stop the connectors of charging cables from falling through, giving you easy access to them when you need them.
If that doesn’t stop your cables from falling through, an optional accessory called the Cable Stopper Set will help. These are notched pieces of felt that tuck into the UniGroove, with the cables getting caught in the notch of each piece, thus preventing them from falling through onto the floor.
The other visible design element of the tabletop is a shallow scallop cutout. However, unlike other desks where this is in the front to help you stand closer to the keyboard, it’s on the rear to allow the EverDesk Max to be placed closer to a wall without causing damage. The necessity for this becomes apparent if you’re using a monitor arm in particular.
The tabletops themselves, in any of the three variants, are not 100% wood — they’re wood veneer, which means they’re not as long-lasting and, if you’re not careful, can scratch quickly. However, NorthDay promises that the tabletop is heat, warp and swell resistant, and a 10-year warranty means the company is confident in its product. After a few months of use, I've only noticed a single scratch that was due to me moving my laptop stand around, so I would advice that you be careful to not drag potentially sharp objects along the worktop.
The only embellishment on the wood veneer is an engraved EverDesk logo on the bottom right corner. The same logo is clearly visible on the Health Coach Controller, where it doubles as the ‘home’ button that you tap to wake up the mechanism.
The metal frame holding the top up is made from cold-rolled steel and it’s very solid. More importantly, the frame length can be widened — if you’ve purchased the smallest size and think you need to upgrade to a bigger worktop down the line, you don’t need to purchase the whole setup again. The legs are well stabilised, although the knobs under the feet can be adjusted if your floor is a little uneven — no one wants an unstable table.
Fully assembled, the desk has a minimum and maximum height of 60cm and 128cm respectively, and can bear up to 120kg of weight. The Health Coach Controller is used to change the height from sitting to standing and you can save up to three preset heights.
EverDesk Max review: Performance
Now we get into the nitty-gritties of the Health Coach Controller and learning to use it will require a little patience.
The front of the controller resembles a touchscreen, but note that only the EverDesk logo (aka the home button) and the three numbers printed on the front are the actual touch controls — the centre is just the display.
You unlock the controller by tapping on the home button, then swiping left to right in an arc along the numbers printed on the front. Just unlocking the controller takes some getting used to as you need to be precise with your finger’s movement along the arc of the printed numbers. That said, this particular unlock feature can be disabled (second item on the menu), but that wouldn’t be advisable if you have young children — the touch functions on the controller are quite sensitive.
The controller’s menu is accessed by holding down on the home button for five seconds, then use the numbers to set your preferences. These include saving up to three height limits, setting the reminder alerts and the kind of vibration you want from said reminder. You can use the reminders to not just go from sitting to standing, but vice versa as the timer resets after each beep. Reminders can be set at intervals of 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes and an hour.
What I really liked about the EverDesk Max is the addition of automatic collision detection — if the worktop hits something on its way up or down, it will automatically lower or raise itself slightly as the case may be. If there’s nothing in the way, the movement is smooth — I often have a brimming cuppa on the desk when I’m raising it and not a drop has spilt so far — and it’s not too loud either.
The average electric standing desk emits about 50dB of noise when changing heights, but I found the EverDesk Max peak at 40.1dB when being raised (for reference, a whisper is about 30dB and a regular conversation sits at about 60dB). This measurement was taken in a quiet room with minimal ambient noise measuring at 25dB.
The loudest thing about the desk are the reminder beeps. There are three options to choose from and they’re as loud as 52dB. While that may not seem like much, it could be a disturbance if you’re on a conference call in a quiet room. I have occasionally found the beep to be a bit of a rude awakening too, particularly when I’m concentrating on a task, but then that’s perhaps necessary to make sure I’m looking after my body as best I can without stepping away from the desk altogether.
If you don’t change the height of the desk at a reminder, it won’t ring again. You will need to go from sit to stand to trigger the timer to restart.
The EverDesk Max takes about three seconds to go from its lowest height setting to its maximum — that’s quite quick. Some standing desks can take up to 10 seconds.
For this review, I opted for the smallest desk (120x60cm worktop) and that’s more than enough for me to comfortably fit my existing setup. This includes a 24-inch monitor and a 16-inch MacBook Pro. Also on my desk is a full-sized Bluetooth keyboard and a mouse. If you don’t use a laptop or you’re using it to type, this size desk is plenty for two such monitors side by side. If you use a 32-inch monitor, though, you might want to consider a larger EverDesk size. And mounting the monitor onto an arm will give you more desktop space.
EverDesk Max standing desk: Verdict
The EverDesk Max’s biggest selling point is its price. Compared to some of the competition on the market in Australia, it’s well priced and, more importantly, can be had for less during sale periods like Black Friday or EOFY. Even adding on a plethora of accessories makes it hard to beat in terms of overall value. In fact, just getting yourself a standing desk converter from a reputable brand will cost you about the same as the EverDesk Max, but it will make your setup look cluttered as it will sit on top of your existing WFH desk.
Smartwatches seemingly make the Health Coach Controller’s reminders a bit moot, but if you don’t wear one at home or all the time, you’ll appreciate the standing reminders. The desk is also easy to assemble even though it looks intimidating when the parts are out of the box, and the end result is a streamlined, customisable home or office workstation.
Additionally, while the trial period and the warranty goes a long way in terms of buyer confidence, it would be nice if NorthDay could offer a solid wood worktop option — for a price — that’s even more long lasting than wood veneer.
If the Health Coach Controller was a touch more user friendly and the accessories were checked for quality (I refer specifically to the monitor arm that NorthDay is selling, while some accessories I received had a little blemish somewhere on them), I’d have given this standing desk a full five-star rating. Those little niggles aside, it’s easy to recommend the EverDesk Max standing desk on its own — it's definitely worth every penny, particularly when discounted.