Today we are taking a closer look at our most expensive electric standing desk option, the NewHeights Elegante XT series. Produced in Wisconsin by K&A Mfg., the NewHeights series features the first full aluminum columns we have reviewed. The NewHeights XT is unique, with the ability to function with or without a traditional cross support. The option we reviewed for this post included the cross support which I have found, when included, greatly improves lateral stability. The NewHeights XT was no exception to this and was especially important with its 27” range of motion. Let’s take a closer look at the NewHeights Elegante XT and see how it performed.
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NewHeights XT Review Snapshot
- Custom extruded aluminum columns
- Premium German gear and motor system
- High Quality Laing Innotech electronics
- Overload protection
- Gyrosense collision avoidance
- Best in class 27 inch range
- Lifetime warranty on complete desk
- High price tag
- Front to back stability issues above 49 inches
- 60-64 decibel rating in motion
The NewHeights XT is the first electric standing desk that I have reviewed that doesn’t have an OEM manufacturer. NewHeights is made by K&A Mfg., which is essentially the same company. Based in Wisconsin, K&A Mfg. has been producing ergonomic products for thirty years. K&A is known in the industry for building high quality products that are built to stand the test of time. The NewHeights Elegante follows suit, with their fourth generation being the most robust standing desk to date.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
– Specs / Pricing / Features
– Assembly Process
– Stability Testing
– Column, Foot and Frame
– Motor and Gears
– Glide Systems
– Testing The Specs
– What I Like
– What I Don’t Like
– Final Thoughts
Height Adjustment Range: 24″ to 51”
Travel Speed: 1.55”
Weight Capacity: 325 lbs.
Adjustable Foot Glides: .5″
Noise Level: 60 dB
$1836.04 + Free Shipping
Options selected: 30″ x 48″ Laminate, Black Base, Cross Support, Programmable Button
Push button control for easy height adjustment
Large 27″ height adjustment from 24″ to 51″
Strong and consistent 325 lbs. lifting capacity
Soft start and stop technology
Gyrosense collision avoidance system
Frame built in the USA
Premium Electronics from Laing Innotech
German Ketterer gears and motors
The NewHeights XT comes in three separate boxes and each is packed very well. The base and electronics come in one box, the cross support in another and the desk surface in the last box. All desks up to 60” are able to ship FedEx Ground, which allows users to receive large desks to their suite or front door. The box with the frame comes with built in handles, making it easier to manage. Overall, the packaging was good.
The assembly process for the NewHeights XT is straightforward. Because the upper supports and feet are preassembled to the frame, you only need to attach the upper cross support (wire management system) and cross support if you have ordered one. The upper support requires four bolts to attach to the legs motor boxes. Because the upper support is width adjustable, you will need to set the width with two additional bolts here as well. Lastly, to finish the frame assembly you will need to use four bolts to connect the cross support to the legs. Once you have the frame assembled you are able to attach to the desk surface and connect all of the electronics (control box and switch). Altogether this process took me about 30 minutes, but could take up to 60 minutes for those less experienced.
WobbleMeter Testing NewHeight XT
If you would like to see the pictures and videos of us testing the XT on the WobbleMeter, please visit the WobbleMeter NewHeights XT testing page. Below is the deflection score range guide for the WobbleMeter. How these results impact your experience will depend on your sensitivity to wobble and rocking motions.
WobbleMeter Score Range Guide
0-20 = Excellent Stability
Almost all of the desks tested at sitting height will score between 0-20. This is our baseline for excellent stability since most standing desks provide excellent stability at their lowest heights. Users in this range will not notice motion.
21-30 = Very Good to Good Stability
Between 20-30, most users will not notice the small amount of motion in this range.
31-40 = Good to Fair Stability
Between 31-40, some users may begin to notice the amount of motion in this range. This is especially true the closer the score is to 40.
41-50 = Fair to Bad Stability
Between 41-50, most users will notice the amount of motion in this range. This is especially true the closer the score is to 50.
51-60+ = Very Bad Stability
Between 51-60+ all users will notice the amount of motion in this range. This is especially true for scores that are above 60.
WobbleMeter Results for XT Frame
Overall Wobble (Side to Side) Deflection Scores
Overall Rocking (Front to Back) Deflection Scores
Laing Innotech GmbH & Co. KG History
Laing Innotech GmbH & Co. KG was founded by Karsten Laing. Prior to Karsten starting Laing Innotech, he had spent the previous 30 years building his first business that engineered and manufactured electronic systems for the heating, spa and computer cooling market. The Laing Group grew to become the market share leader of electronically commutated circulators in the pump market. At their peak, the Laing Group produced and sold 600,000 ciculators annually to the heating and spa market. Ultimately, in 2009, the Laing Group sold to Xylem Water Systems.
After selling to the Xylem Water Systems, Karsten shifted his focus to the production of control box technology. To ensure this new company maintained the same level of quality as his previous company, Karsten hired on his lead electronic and software engineers from the Laing Group. By 2015, Laing Innotech started to offer their own control box technology for the furniture industry. One of their control box applications is specific to height adjustable desks. His latest product features gyro sensor technology for a higher level of anti-collision precision. This GyroSense control box system also creates the opportunity for better connectivity for future cloud based applications.
Laing Innotech GmbH & Co. KG has offices in Germany, with all production of the control boxes being done just outside Budapest, Hungary.
NewHeights XT High Quality Single Board System
As I’ve discussed in previous reviews and comparison, we’ve found two different types of circuit board systems used with electric standing desks. Of the 20 plus control boxes we’ve examined, the single board system has shown a higher level of quality than the less expensive two board systems. That is the case with the new NewHeights XT circuit board as well.
The NewHeights XT features a single board system that was engineered by Laing Innotech specifically for use in the electric standing desk control box. A four layer circuit board was used to maximize functionality and create a small footprint. The components are securely fastened to the circuit board with solid platforms and permanent soldered connections.
The only real weakness we found with the board is the way the toroid core had been wrapped. Coming from a LogicData board, that had perfectly wrapped wires in copper, the one on the NewHeights Elegante XT wasn’t perfect. There is some overlap to the wrap that could be improved upon. We are currently working with Laing Innotech to improve on this and should hopefully be closer to the LogicData in future iterations.
All XT frames now come standard with the GyroSense technology. The GyroSense system utilizes an integrated gyro sensor within the NewHeights Elegante XT control box. This gyro sensor driven system provides us with what we believe is the best anti-collision option currently available on the market.
We found the GyroSense system to be better with soft collisions and off balance loads than our previous LogicData system. Understanding how the gyro sensor functions better illustrates why it is so much better. With the new GyroSense system, we are able to use any starting plane of the desk as the perfect level position. This means that if your table were slightly off because of an off balance load, the gyro sensor will consider this the new perfect plane and function normally. Only when the surface plane changes while a desk is in motion, will the anti-collision system trigger and reverse the desks course.
Our previous solution was driven by software, which didn’t provide as sensitive of a solution as we needed. This software driven solution is still the most commonly found anti-collision system being used in the market. This system works off spikes in the amperage while the desk is in motion. When an electric standing desk starts its motion up or down, there will be a certain amount of amps drawn. When the desk hits a hard surface, the desk will experience a spike in amps because of the blocking that is occurring. Hard collisions will show the biggest spikes, but soft collisions only show a more gradual rise in the amps as the blocking slowly occurs. Because of this, soft collisions are harder for the software drive system to recognize.
There is a fine line drawn with how sensitive manufacturers can set their anti-collision with the software driven system. Because they trigger off a change in amperage loads in the columns, binding issues can create significant false positives. As any tables age, glide systems break down and tables begin to naturally bind. Lower quality tables will experience some of the worst binding, but all tables can have issues at some point. Most of the current control box systems do not have the flexibility for customers to adjust the sensitivity through their control pad. These false positives have created headaches for customers and manufacturers; this ultimately can require control boxes to be replaced. The most common solution being a significantly reduced sensitivity to the anti-collision system. If you are using a one-touch system, on this less sensitive system, it can create a major safety concern. Also, if the brand has a short warranty on electronics, it likely means you’ll be investing in a new control box.
One-Touch System on Programmable Option
With the introduction of the GyroSense technology, we have released the one-touch functionality on all NewHeights Elegante XT products that use our programmable switch option. This is something that has been asked by our customers and we are excited to have this option is currently available on all two and three-leg frames. This new solution is a safer than most alternatives, but it’s still important to understand the risks associated with one-touch functionality. Like previous versions, the NewHeights Elegante XT programmable switch offers four preset positions, a standard up/down switch and a digital readout.
The NewHeights Elegante XT one-touch functionality has the option to be turned on or off. If you have small children and are concerned with the safety aspect, we recommend turning this option off when not in use. To prevent users from accidentally triggering the one-touch system, we have a long press required to start the desks movement. This long press is designed to demonstrate intent when making an up or down movement to the desk.
Improved Efficiency on Control Box System
Overheating concerns are a common problem for the enclosed control box systems found on electric standing desks. Our previous LogicData control box system was like the vast majority of alternative brands currently available. With a black plastic housing, heat wasn’t easily able to escape the control box. Because of this, you will find that the common duty cycle is 2 min on/18 min off. This means that for every two minutes you cycle the desk, the desk will require 18 minutes of rest. For that 18 minute of period of time, the desk will not function up or down.
Laing Innotech took a different approach with the design of their GyroSense control box system. The NewHeights XT control box is now housed within aluminum with added heat conductive pads attached to the underside of the circuit board. These heat conductive pads press to the aluminum housing, allowing them to transfer the heat to the control box and then dissipate to the outside air. This change allows us to cool the electronics faster. Because of this quicker cooling process, the NewHeights XT does not require a long down time if overheating occurs.
Column, Foot and Upper Frame Build Quality
The NewHeights Elegante is the first desk I have tested that includes a full aluminum column design. With extruded aluminum, they were able to create a design that is quite a bit different from all of the others we have tested.
The upright columns on the NewHeights XT are made in Wisconsin, using recycled aluminum to create their unique design. Using an extrusion process, the Aluminum is heated up and then pushed through a die. This forms the columns and as it cools, the material hardens and creates a strong tube. Through the extrusion process, the aluminum columns are more stable, reducing the amount of bending and flexing typically found on solid aluminum.
The extruded columns are then anodized to create their color and an extremely durable finish. This electrochemical process changes the metal to an anodic oxide finish. Because the aluminum is a porous material, the anodization process creates a color that is solid throughout the aluminum. This means the aluminum finish cannot scratch or chip like paints would. Through the anodization process, the aluminum columns become corrosion resistant as well.
The NewHeights XT uses a formed steel foot and similar to the columns, this creates a more stable foot than if solid steel was used. There is careful consideration with the entire foot, as specific heights were used on the side wall to improve stability. Looking at the bottom of the foot, there are threaded rivnuts used to attach the adjustable foot glides. The glides allow for the proper amount of threading when attaching these glides. Because this is the foundation of the desk, having a good connection here is important to creating a solid frame throughout. Lastly, the connection of the column to the foot is done with bolts and star washers. The bolts use Loctite and star washers to ensure the connection remains consistent. This is something that is often overlooked by other manufacturers and means you will have to consistently tighten the bolts to ensure stability over the course of ownership.
In taking a closer look at the cross-support system on the NewHeights XT, it is made from extruded aluminum. This design is similar to the foot, but has a thinner profile to create a sleek look. The cross support is 6” tall and uses a four bolt system to attach to the columns. This creates the proper connection to the column, eliminating stability issues that would otherwise occur from twisting found on shorter cross supports with a non X bolt pattern. The NewHeights desk also uses Loctite on the bolts that attach the cross support, with lock washers, to ensure a consistent hold here as well.
Lastly, the NewHeights XT features an additional upper cross support system. This was designed for those who wish not to use a traditional cross support system with their desk. While I wouldn’t personally recommend going without the traditional cross support system, this will allow for that setup should you choose. Through testing I have found this to be significantly less stable than when paired with the traditional cross support. This upper frame system does assist with lateral stability when paired with the lower traditional cross support. The second use for the upper support is a horizontal wire management system. We will discuss this in more detail in the wire management section.
Gear and Motor System
The gear and motor system on the NewHeights Elegante XT are from the high-end manufacturer Ketterer. Based out of Germany, Ketterrer is known around the globe as a leading manufacturer of some of the highest quality gear and motor systems. When comparing Ketterer to less expensive alternatives, the overall fit and finish is the first noticeable difference. When you manually push and pull the gears, you can actually feel the quality with how smooth they function. Through our own cycle testing we have found the Ketterer gears to often outlast all other components of the electronic standing desk.
The NewHeights XT Elegante comes standard with a two stage gear, model # 4115.14. Ketterer gears are manufacturered through a cold rolling process. The gears are then case hardened a process in which a thin layer of more durable steel is added to further reinforce the teeth of the gear. This process has been proven to create stronger components that extend the life of the product.
The NewHeights XT features dual 3133.00 slim drive motors from Ketterer. The Ketterer motors used might be slim, but are still very powerful. With a max torque rating of 5 NM for each motor, they are three times as powerful as the popular Bosch motors found on products like the ModDesk Pro by MultiTable.
The Ketterer 3133.00 features a fully enclosed motor system, with the worm drive and gear housed inside an nice encasement. This helps to protect these important components from contaminants like dirt and dust, which can short the life cycle of the product.
The only downside to this motor system used on the NewHeights XT is the sound rating. Based on my testing, I have found it to be one of the louder options in the category. On average, it had a decibel rating between 60-64 dB while in motion.
The NewHeights XT features a high quality glide system, designed to hold up well to high cycle counts. Through custom design, K&A Mfg. Inc. created a unique two glide system in their aluminum columns. This is done with a wedge or notched design on the ends of the columns. While two glides are technically used, their V shape actually acts as four. Because of this, NewHeights is able to reduce the amount of rubbing that occurs on the outsides of the columns. This assists in keeping outsides of the columns looking new for the entire ownership of the frame.
Similar to the VertDesk v3, the NewHeights XT features the high quality plastic from Dupont, known as Delrin Acetal. This plastic is designed to hold up well with high cycle counts and act as a natural lubricant between the three sections of the columns. Because of the high durability, significant loosening of the columns is not an issue over time.
With cheap plastics, this loosening is a stability issue and creates additional play between each column. Over time this can create binding issues that will trigger the anti-collision system and stop the desk from moving from sitting to standing. Instead it will reach a certain height, then reverse course as if it has hit something solid.
The natural lubricant created from the use of Delrin is good for two reasons. The first is that it requires little lubricant, which creates a cleaner experience. The second is that it doesn’t require additional lubrication over time. The frame should operate normally over the entire course of ownership.
The NewHeights XT is the first desk I have tested to make a secondary use out of the upper cross support system. Instead of making it only a solid bar system, they have turned it into a horizontal wire management trough. Within the trough are additional pass through holes on both the bottom and side of the wire management system. I think this was a really smart decision and it allows you to hide a ton of wires. It is big enough to fit power strips and small surge protectors as well.
The NewHeights XT comes with a lifetime warranty on all electrical components and ten years on the structural components. This is the best warranty in the electric standing desk category.
Testing the Specs
Height Adjustment Range: 24” to 51”
True. The range was as specified by BTOD.com.
Adjustment Speed: 1.55”
True. The desk maintained this speed throughout testing. The speed remained consistent through 260 lbs. When I loaded the desk to max capacity it dropped to 1.25″ per second.
Noise Level: n/a
I found the desk to operate between 60-64 dB in transition. This noise level was above the average noise level of 58-60 dB in the electric standing desk category.
Weight Capacity: 325 lbs.
True. I was able to confirm the desk would lift the max 325 lbs. load without an issue. Because the NewHeights XT has overload protection it would not raise more than a 325 lbs. loaded onto the desk top.
What I Like About NewHeights XT
Lifetime Warranty on Complete Desk
With one of the highest price tags in the category, the NewHeights XT now comes with a warranty to back it up. Featuring a lifetime warranty period on all electronics, frame and top; this is the best warranty in the category.
The highly durable aluminum extrusions are a nice touch on the NewHeights Elegante. The only desk I have tested to include aluminum columns, the Elegnate hit the mark. With a durable anodized finish, the NewHeights XT finish cannot chip or peel like many of the painted alternatives. This means your frame will look as good as new over the entire course of ownership. By using an extruded aluminum, the NewHeights XT is also able to offer a little more style than the more commonly used rectangular column.
Stability at Standing Height
After testing eight electric standing desks that go beyond 49”, the NewHeights XT was the first desk I have tested to remain fairly stable in both front to back and left to right tests. While it’s lateral stability was the best we’ve tested on the WobbleMeter, its weak point was front to back rocking. Once the desk rose beyond 49” this motion became bad enough that it could start to impact your work. Beyond 49”, the front to back rocking became bad due to a lack in overlap in the column and some flex in the aluminum extrusions. While this desk wasn’t perfect through all stability testing, it was the best overall for stability.
High Quality Electronics
The decision to switch to Laing Innotech for the NewHeights XT has proved to be a smart one. We’ve been able to introduce Gyrosense collision avoidance, Bluetooth functionality and now voice control for iOS and Android devices.
Comparing the internal components of the Laing Innotech to Chinese alternatives the differences are obvious. Having used less expensive electronics on our original VertDesk v1 product, I can tell you Chinese electronics do share a lot of weaknesses. Like most things, you pay for what you get with this.
Dupont Delrin Glide System
The use of Dupont Delrin Acetal plastics for the glide is something that is expected with a desk in this category. This portion of an electric standing desk is important and cannot be overlooked. High quality plastics hold up to the high cycle counts better than cheap alternatives. Through our cycle testing, we have found that this plastic also shows significantly less wearing on the outer columns as well. If you want your desk to function well over its lifetime, high quality glides are a must.
Horizontal Wire Management System
Because of the minimalist design of a standing desk, wire management is a common issue for owners of this type of furniture. Having a way to properly store wires is something that users, who are particular about the organization of their desk, should consider. The NewHeights XT upper cross support not only provides stability, but offers a large tray to hide a large amount of wires. It is large enough to hold multiple power strips which is the easiest way to eliminate vertical wire issues. Simply run one power strip to the tray and power all of your electronics from there.
27” of Height Adjustment
The NewHeights XT features the largest height adjustment range we have tested to date. With a starting height at 24” up to 51”, this desk has no problem fitting the masses properly. If you are less than 5’ tall, you may still require the use of a keyboard tray to properly fit your body at sitting height.
What I Don’t Like About NewHeights XT
High Price Tag
You pay for what you get, and that is definitely the case with the NewHeights XT. With high-end components throughout, the XT we tested ended up being around the $1800 range. Depending on your needs, this could be a little excessive. If you are shorter than 5’6” or taller than 6’5”, the NewHeights XT might be your best option. Users that require their desk to go below 27” and above 47” will have a hard time finding a better alternative with regards to stability and weight capacity.
Front to Back Stability Above 47”
While the NewHeights XT is most stable standing desk we have tested overall, it still has a weak point. When raised beyond 47”, the front to back rocking motion is definitely noticeable. Once the desk rises above 49” the motion becomes bad enough to potentially impact your work efficiency. It’s important to note that we have yet to test a desk that has performed well beyond the 47” mark with the front to back rocking motion. All desks beyond this point show signs of rocking because of the lack of overlap in their columns and flexing/swaying found in the columns.
The NewHeights XT ranked as one of our loudest standing desks we have tested to date. With a dB rating between 60-64, depending on the direction it was moving, it was about 2-4 dB louder than most desks we have tested. For the typical office setting this won’t be noticeable, but if you are in a quiet space, it could be a difference story. The average dB level of a conversation falls between 60-70 dB’s to put the sound level in perspective.
The NewHeights XT is the second most expensive desk I have tested, so my expectations for the desk were high. Overall, I think that it did a good job in almost every area, which solidifies the cost.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t perfect, with front to back stability issues beyond 47”, it could pose a problem for taller users. With a decibel rating of 60-64 dB, it is also one of the loudest desks I’ve tested. While this is the level which most conversations are held, users in quiet environments will notice the difference.
The NewHeights XT has a lot going for it though. With aluminum extruded columns, high quality glides, wide adjustment range, the list goes on. If you want a desk that will last a long time, the use of premium electronics and German made gears helps to ensure this desk will function “like new” for years to come. While the desk does exhibit stability rocking issues beyond 47” tall, it was our most stable option for all desks tested that raise beyond 48”. If you are a tall user, you will not find a more stable desk overall than the XT, unless you are willing to sacrifice on the adjustment range.