IKEA Bekant sit/stand desk…MINE, ALL MINE!

I’m a big fan of standing desks, but I’m an even bigger fan of being able to do both at the press of a button. Sitting all the time is bad for you, standing all the time is almost as bad for you, so the trick is to balance both sitting and standing. That’s kind of a pain in the ass if all you have is a fixed-height desk, since you have to commit to one or the other.

IKEA finally got the Bekant motorized sit/stand desk back in stock, and I scooped one up during a sale. Regular price is $489.99 USD, but the IKEA Family discount had it marked down by almost $80, and it was too good an opportunity to pass up. I also took lots of photos while building mine so I could share them in the review.

The Build

The desk came in 3 boxes: one box for the table surface, and two boxes for the underframe. Hilariously, it’s the smallest box that weighs the most, and it’s the one that contains the motorized legs.

Legs and crossbraces

These legs are built like a tank. They’re pretty heavy and don’t feel flimsy at all. The crossbraces are secured to the legs with 8 thick bolts. The Allen wrench included is pretty substantial and beefy.

There wasn’t any wobble or wiggle after assembling this part of the underframe, which surprised me because the lack of a lower crossbrace initially seemed sketchy to me.

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The leg bottoms are attached with equally thick bolts. The feet are threaded and allow you to level the desk by screwing/unscrewing each foot to suit. I suspect you could probably replace them with locking casters, but I haven’t checked to see if there are any locking casters that use the same diameter and threading as the feet.

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The desk surface is particleboard sandwiched between a wood veneer and a layer of what seems to be smooth cardboard, trimmed with some sort of plastic or vinyl bumper. The attachment brackets for the underframe are secured to the desk surface by comically large plastic rivets.

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I was initially skeptical because…well, plastic rivets? I was half expecting the desk surface to fall off the second the whole thing was flipped over to stand on its feet.

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Once I pounded in the first couple, it was quickly apparent that these things hold with a surprising degree of tenacity. I still found myself shaking my head and muttering “Plastic rivets? Really?” during the rest of this assembly step, but I guess if it works, it works.

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The underframe attaches to the riveted-in brackets with more of those beefy bolts. It’s all surprisingly stiff and rigid, with no wobble or play whatsoever. I also yanked up one of the legs to see if the plastic rivets would lose the will to live, but they held fast. Impressive.

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Once the underframe is assembled, the next thing to do is wire it all up for power. There’s a power brick, a cross-connection cable, and a control box with a removable locking key. The key slides into holes on either side of the box and clicks into place with authority, and the desk will not raise or lower without the key installed.

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The cross-connector cable connects one leg motor to the other. The remaining 2 sockets are for the control box and the power brick.

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The crossbraces connecting the legs form a convenient wiring tunnel that the power brick fits into nicely.

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Once wired up, all that spaghetti is hidden in a silver-gray mesh cable management net that secures to the underside of the table by means of elastic loops connected to more of those plastic rivets. The cable management net has 2 long, springy metal rails running through the long edges for structural support, and fits pretty snugly.

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The control box can be mounted anywhere along the edges of the desk surface. You just mark and set a couple holes and then use wood screws to secure it.

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I flipped it over and couldn’t resist the opportunity to see how my stuff fit on the larger surface. My old Fredrik desk didn’t have this much room on it.

Accessorizing

Of course, me being me, I couldn’t leave well enough alone and proceeded to modify it by drilling out a 2″ hole for a cable grommet and mounting stuff to the bottom of the desktop.

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I mounted a 12-outlet surge protector with industrial strength Velcro tape on the underside. The advantage of doing this is that the power cords for your monitor and PC only need to be long enough to reach the bottom of the desk rather than having to be long enough to reach a power strip on the floor. Plus, it just looks cleaner and there’s just one cord coming out of the desk to the wall.

I also mounted a 10-port active USB3 hub to the underside of the desk, which serves the same purposes for USB cables. I can plug peripherals into the desk and only worry about one USB cable going into the PC tower.

Impressions

I’ve had the desk for a couple of weeks now. I love the thing to pieces–it is so nice being able to just switch from sitting to standing and back without having to break down the table and relocate the work surface to a different level.

IKEA claims the maximum weight capacity of the desk is something like 140lb/70kg. In practice, I find that the motors work a little too hard for my taste when I get within spitting range of that threshold. The workstation configuration pictured up there tops out at about 136lb/62kg, so I relocated the 70lb/32kg tower to the floor to take some of the load off the motors.

By eyeball, the motors raise and lower the desktop at a rate of approximately 0.5″/13mm per second, which is neither too slow nor too fast. The lowest position is about 22″/56cm from the floor, and the tallest position is 48″/122cm from the floor.

There’s plenty of work room on the desktop. The surface is about 63″/160cm wide and 31.5″/80cm deep.

At a MSRP of $489.99 USD, this is one of the most affordable motorized sit/stand desks on the market. If you’re looking for a sit/stand desk, don’t feel like shelling out four figures, and don’t intend to put a lot of heavy stuff on it, this desk is a pretty good buy.

11 thoughts on “IKEA Bekant sit/stand desk…MINE, ALL MINE!

  1. Steve

    That’s a really useful post. The desk looks like it could be just right for us except it’s a little too big for our space. I see the stock top has some overhang. Would you mind measuring the dimensions of the frame (width, length of the longest top support, and length of the feet)? With those measurements I could see if a custom top might do the trick. Other makers and hackers could find it useful too.

  2. Christopher Roe Post author

    The underframe is about 25.5 inches deep in the middle and 57 inches wide. The feet are about 26 inches long. Basically, the tabletop has about 3 inches of overhang all around, factoring in the crossbraces that the legs attach to.

  3. Craig

    I’d really like to get one of these, but the sit/stand base only comes in one width for the 63″ top, and my 60″ desk is already too large. The electric legs are all the same, I wish the legs would lock into a different cross brace to fit each top size.
    I was thinking about using a hack saw on the cross brace to make it fit the 47″ top. As you’ve gone through the assembly process and seen all the parts up close, do you think there’s any chance of that working?

  4. Christopher Roe Post author

    The motors are held together by a couple of long rails, and it’s actually just those rails that defines the minimum width of the assembly.

    If you wanted to shorten the rails by taking a bit out of the middle and then reattaching the pieces together, it might work (the rails contribute a lot of the structural strength, so I’d be careful doing that).

    Alternatively, you could fabricate a new pair of shorter rails if you have access to a workshop with the necessary tools. The motor units are self-contained and you’d basically only have to worry about lining up 4 bolt holes on each rail.

  5. gho

    thanks for the detailed post on the desk with pictures and how it all goes together. 🙂 i especially like the accessorizing, and it gives me ideas on how to organize my desk. i haven’t picked one of these up, yet, but i plan to ask santa for one. 🙂

  6. Daci

    Thanks for this review. I want to fit the frame over the top of my existing desk and install my own desktop on the frame, so the desktop is raised and lowered, but not the rest of the desk with the drawers. However, my desk is a bit wider than the frame, so I need to adjust the frame wider. I know how to hack the frame wider, but my question is whether the cables are long enough to accommodate a wider frame. Can you tell me how long the cable that connects the two legs is?

  7. Christopher Roe Post author

    Going off memory, the cable connecting the legs together doesn’t have a lot of slack to it, just enough to fit loosely between them without straining the connectors.

    I’d probably look around for a wider sit/stand desk if I were in your particular situation.

  8. Kari Romaniuk

    Thanks for this post. I was told today at Ikea that they don’t recommend using a custom table top, but I have a lovely one and the size seems about right. Did all the hardware come with the base, or were those white brackets and the plastic rivets etc. with the table top. I just want to ensure that if do decide to do it without the table top that I have all the necessary hardware. Thanks for your thoughts.

  9. Christopher Roe Post author

    The box came with everything, including the tabletop. The tabletop has all of the mounting holes and stuff already drilled. You could probably try to match it, but the way it all goes together, I’d be wary of tolerances for the gray pop rivet connections. You might be better off with a different sit-stand desk that doesn’t use plastic pop rivets to secure the tabletop, or if you really want a Bekant, you probably ought to buy correctly sized drill bits for those holes at least. Bear in mind that the weight capacity and stuff assumes you have the standard tabletop installed, so if your custom table top is heavier, it’ll eat into the load capacity.

    They weren’t kidding about the weight limit–at one point, I was pretty close to the upper end, and it really felt like the motors were working harder than I’d like.

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