We were intrigued by the Edge Desk when it launched on Kickstarter last March, blowing past its $165,000 goal in two weeks. By the time the campaign was over 1,159 backers had pledged $412,994 to be the first to get their hands on their own all-in-one portable desk and chair combination. Clearly, we weren’t the only ones who thought the Edge Desk met a current workstation need.
The Edge Desk looks like an evolved version of the kneeling computer chairs that first showed up in the late 1970s. But kneeling chairs didn’t include work surfaces. That’s why the Edge Desk is called an all-in-one desk solution: It combines a chair and a desktop. The design concept is a comfortable, portable workstation you can take with you as you move between assignments or locations.
We found the Edge Desk works as promised; it’s easy to adjust, comfortable to use, and has an ample work surface. The unit’s rugged construction means a slight tradeoff in weight, but it feels like it will last for years while being moved around often.
Out of the Box
The Edge Desk ships fully assembled and folded. Very clear but essential setup instructions are included on a poster taped to the desk surface and in an included brochure. You can see the same instructions in a video on the company website.
Once you remove the packing material and lift the folded Edge Desk out of the box, it’s ready for setup.
We went slow when setting up the Edge Desk the first time, but it still only took about four minutes. The unit is shipped with the desktop swiveled to easel (portrait) mode to save space. To begin you pull a T-handle to swivel the work surface to desktop mode, then raise the seat. The seat has four height settings. We suggest one of the two middle settings the first time you set it up — it’s easy to change later.
The Edge Desk is easy to store.
With the seat up, you then adjust the work surface’s upright support to a vertical position, raise the work surface to a comfortable height, and then adjust the tilt. That may sound like a lot of adjustments, but once you’ve done it a couple of times, it’s quick and easy. The second time we set up the Edge Desk from its ready-to-carry folded configuration, it took us just under one minute from start to finish.
The Edge Desk’s knobs, levers, and cam lock releases feel substantial, as do all the parts and components. The structural components are made of heavy, industrial-grade aluminum for strength and durability. We ran our hands over all of the aluminum structural pieces and found no rough spots or sharp edges. The seat and knee rests have thick padding, which we found comfortable to sit and kneel on.
In addition to the four seat height positions, there are six work surface vertical support angle choices, five work surface height adjustments, and 11 tilt positions. Chances are you’ll find the workstation adjustment combination you like and stick with it, but the variety is impressive. Each adjustment has a solid, specific detent with locks to hold it in place. This type of adjustment is more likely to maintain its hold over years of use than an infinite adjustment style that locks by tightening components and is prone to wear out with use over time.
The Edge Desk isn’t just for desk users. With the work surface height adjustment raised to the top and the tilt angle set all the way down, it becomes suitable for use as an easel. You’ll have to use clamps of some sort to hold paper or other media in place, but it’s easy to imagine an artist sitting at the beach or other scenic or urban setting sketching or painting as people walk by. The company could have called it the Edge Easel, but we’re glad they didn’t.
Putting it to use
Sitting on and getting up from the Edge Desk is a little like mounting and dismounting a new motorcycle the first few times. You’re careful at first to be sure you get the position right, but once you’re in the seat, you’re fine. By the third time we used the desk, we didn’t even think about it. The seat and knee pads are thick enough that we never felt the structural pieces below the padding.
The Edge Desk’s work surface measures 30-inches wide by 20-inches deep. We used it with two notebook computers, one 13.5-inches and the other 14.5-inches wide. In each case there was ample room for cards or notes on the left side and a mouse on the right side. Letter-sized sheets of paper or notebooks won’t fit, however, but how often do you actually handle paper these days?
If you use a mouse with your notebook computer, you’ll want to use a mouse pad. We tried the Edge Desk with a mouse, and found that it slid to the near edge and once fell to the floor before we caught it. The sliding occurs because the most comfortable work surface angles are not flat. When we asked a company rep about sliding mice, the answer was to use a mouse pad. If you use your notebook’s touchpad, there’s no issue.
If you hit your notebook keys hard, you could find the work surface shakes a bit. We noticed it at first but soon got used to it — or maybe we just stopped typing so hard.
If you keep a cup of coffee or other beverage at your desk, you might need to make an accommodation. The combination of the slight tilt and minor shaking made us hesitant to work with a cup on the work surface. The Edge Desk company is designing a series of accessories that will attach to the desktop by snapping into a slot that extends around the perimeter. The current list of accessories, scheduled for availability in April, includes drink, smartphone, and tablet holders.
The Edge Desk was designed to be easy to move. When you collapse the unit, it’s ready to go, and the components lock in place so it won’t open when you move it. You’ll find the correct carrying position because there’s a strategically placed hard plastic handgrip when you pick it up from one side. The collapsed Edge Desk measures 39-inches long by 20-inches wide by 6.5 inches high.
The desk weighs 29 pounds, which is a little heavier than we expected. The website says it’s 25 pounds, but the shipping box listed the net weight at 28.8 pounds. When we weighed it by holding it while standing on a home digital scale, the difference with and without the desk was 29 pounds.
The design is such that the desk feels balanced when you carry it.
That’s not a big deal for most people, and the design is such that it feels balanced when you carry it, but it’s still heavier than we thought it would be. When you’re carrying things around, as any backpacker will tell you, a few pounds can matter. We’d happily carry four extra pounds for the Edge Desk’s extra sturdiness and structural strength, however, and we wouldn’t expect to carry it on a hike.
A carrying bag with a rugged handle and a shoulder strap would make it easier for transport on long trips or shipping on a plane, for example, but if you’re just moving from your office to an outdoor patio or into a coffee shop, a bag is unnecessary.
At just over six inches high when collapsed, the Edge Desk is easy to store under a bed, under couches, against the wall, in a closet, or in the trunk of your car. When inventor Marc Rosenberg conceived of the Edge Desk, he did it with millennial, who often head for urban areas where living spaces are tight, in mind. The desk was also designed for college students, who, according to Rosenberg, rarely use school-supplied desks in dorm rooms, and would rather have the extra space afforded by a folding desk and chair unit that could fit under the bed when not in use.
The Edge Desk is guaranteed against defects and workmanship issues for as long as the original purchaser owns it, except for the foam and upholstery, which are guaranteed for one year from the original date of purchase. If the company discontinues or modifies the product, the warranty extends for one year after the discontinuance or modification. We can see how the upholstery could suffer abuse depending on how people use it, but the sturdiness of the overall unit make the long structural warranty seem reasonable.
The Edge Desk is solidly built, easy to move and carry, and a comfortable alternative to traditional desk and chair workstations. We were surprised and pleased at its structural strength and the multiple ways it can be adjusted for different user sizes and preferences. We weren’t put off by the slightly greater than expected weight or slight shakiness. We’d prefer to be able to use a mouse without a mousepad but that’s not all that big a deal. Coffee matters, so we’d figure out a way to have a cup handy, but not on the desktop.
Is there a better alternative?
The DT Accessory Pack
There are no other portable, all-in-one desk and chair products on the market that we could find. The only way to get the flexibility and portability of the Edge Desk is to buy it. Some people like stand-up desks or adjustable sit-stand desks for more back-friendly posture than conventional desks and chairs, but none of those alternatives are portable or as easy to store as the Edge Desk.
How long will it last?
The Edge Desk won’t go out of date. The structural components seem built to last a long time, even with frequent location changes.
Should you buy it?
The Edge Desk costs $350 including free shipping in the continental U.S. Buy the Edge Desk if you live or work in tight spaces and need a comfortable workstation but can’t figure out where you’d put one. Also buy the Edge Desk if you frequently move to different locations when you work or study — or if you’d like that capability. Don’t buy the Edge Desk if you need loads of work surface space around your computer or, if you want to move it around, you can’t easily carry 29 pounds.