It’s like a skateboard, but with a convex aluminum bottom. You balance on it while you work.
My first concern: I’m probably going to fall off, right? I normally leave my chair mat in place to protect the carpet from my chair, and when I stand at the desk, I plop down my cushy anti-fatigue standing mat. I didn’t want to use the Level atop my anti-fatigue mat or my bare carpet because the pressure would probably ruin them in a matter of days. But I was afraid to use the Level on my plastic chair mat because the Level would probably slip right out from under me and leave me flat on my butt.
Good news: after over a month of daily use, the Level has never slipped. Not even once.
Whew. So let’s get to the fun stuff.
This thing is awesome.
I went into it thinking, “I’ll just be balancing, so it’ll probably give me the tiniest bit of muscle activity in the background without thinking about it.”
Nope. I’m dancing all over the place.
I’ll work in one position for a while, then a song will come on and I’ll find myself swaying and dancing while I work. Even when stationary, I lean forwards, lean backwards, put one foot on the side of the board and just slump, you name it.
When I need to stop to think about something, I find myself picking my arms up off the desk, maybe cross ’em or put ’em on my hips, and just balance for few seconds. It’s a tiny distraction in a good way.
I thought it’d be distracting on a webcam (I do a lot of videoconference work), but I’ve never had a client say anything. I’m guessing they think I’m just shifting around on my feet.
It’s not a workout by any means – I’ve never noticed pain or gain, but it’s just a more pleasant way to spend the day.
In a typical day, I divide my time between the Level, standing on the anti-fatigue mat, and sitting in a chair. The NextDesk Terra Pro’s 3 memory settings come in really handy here – I have height settings saved for each of those setups. I like the Level most in the mornings when I’ve got lots of caffeine energy, and I spend at least a couple of hours on it at a time. When I’m not using it, it goes in The Holster – a kinda good-looking stand, but not great, since it only comes in one finish and doesn’t match the bamboo of my Level.
Which brings us to the tough part: The Holster goes for $129, which sounds like a lot of money for a piece of maple plywood and a metal bar.
Until you find out that the Level starts at $289.
And then goes up to $429 for the aluminum and bamboo one I’ve got.
That is, as we small business people like to say, “a buttload of money for what it is.” Yes, it’s environmentally friendly, made in the US with fancy processes, but…yeah. It’s expensive. I know people with entire standing desks that cost less.
I get that this is a sturdy, well-designed device. You’re not gonna 3D-print something that’s built to hold 300 pounds of dancing geek. (No, I’m not 300, I’m just listing the Level’s capacity.)
This is a lifetime purchase.
After switching to a standing desk, I’m a huge believer, and I’m going to use them for the rest of my life. I can’t imagine buying another standing desk – my Terra Pro had better last a hell of a long time, and when I amortize the cost out over decades, it’s totally worth it.
After trying the Level, I’m a huge believer in that too. I thought it was going to be a total gimmick, but I use it every single day. I can’t imagine buying another one – it’s not like I need next year’s model or more futures. Like the Terra Pro, this is a lifetime purchase.
If you have a standing desk, you could start cheaper with any number of cheap wooden balance boards. Try one, and if you like it, graduate to a FluidStance Level. I can say from experience, though, that the cheap versions aren’t big enough to be comfortable as part of daily work, and certainly not safe enough to be used in the background as a distraction. The FluidStance Level gives you a nice, big space and a shallow, safe curve.
I love it, and if I didn’t already have a free one, I’d go buy one. Go check ’em out.