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What is ANSI/BIFMA, UL Certification in Relation to Standing Desks?

04 August 2022

Consumer awareness has been a critical driver in competition within the global furniture market. But, this competition is not merely from the price point but also from the value proposition.

How do major furniture brands maintain a superior standard and reputation? One such way is conforming to ANSI/BIFMA & UI certification protocols. Although these standards and terms apply to overall workplace ergonomics, you can still find them on buying guides for standing desks.

ANSI/BIFMA & UI standards are a mark of credibility and customer satisfaction. But, how does this relate to standing desks? Well, the answer may not be as complicated as you think–please keep reading to find out all you need to know about ANSI/BIFMA & UI certification in relation to standing desks.


Photo Credit: ANSI

What is ANSI?

ANSI is an abbreviation for American National Standards Institute. This global organization ensures that companies that do business in the USA conform to the highest standards and authenticity.

These standards apply specific guidelines to product manufacturing, shipping, and sales. It ensures that even products sourced from foreign markets are of the highest quality and inarguably safe for the consumers.

Besides that, ANSI standards ensure uniformity in the way office furniture companies package, label, and implement ANSI’s guiding principles in their products. This improves the overall customer experience as it raises the compatibility of pieces of furniture sourced from different manufacturers.

That way, you’re not forced to single-source all your ergonomic furniture from one brand, thus ensuring customer satisfaction and an even playing field for all producers.

Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association

Photo Credit: BIFMA

What is BIFMA?

Until recently, most companies and their staff didn’t place much value on office furniture's comfort, safety, and suitability. However, with the rise of workplace ergonomics awareness, this has changed. Now, every office manager is scampering to ensure their office space is the picture of comfort and productivity.

And that’s where BIFMA, or the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer’s Association, steps in. It is a non-profit organization that sets out voluntary standards to promote safer and more functional office spaces.

BIFMA standards’ voluntary nature makes them appealing, especially to companies that sell ergonomic office chairs and standing desks in bulk. That is because the organization offers an extensive database of information that helps manufacturers improve the product before it hits the market.

And it goes beyond comfort, as BIFMA standards also place value on functionality. For instance, standing desk motors should operate in silence, and drawers shouldn’t jam even after periods of use. BIFMA certification standards also evolve with the changing nature of working environments. So, you can always rely on the utmost comfort, durability, and functionality from any standing desk you acquire with that mark of excellence.

How Does ANSI/BIFMA Certification Relate to Standing Desks?

Most people assume that ANSI and BIFMA are government-mandated organizations responsible for testing and assigning credibility “labels” to furniture. But, they use independent labs all over the world to test out product safety and quality. This ensures the highest independently verifiable standards.

Here’s all you need to know about how this relates to standing desks:

Tests and Certifies Various Standing Desk Components

The first thing you notice when unpacking a new sit-stand desk is its many components. Some of these components come from different factories. The ANSI/BIFMA testing protocols first ensure that these parts are compatible with each other.

Testing Various Mechanisms

ANSI/BIFMA tests how height/ width adjustment, anti-collision, column strength, weight capacity, and other standing desk mechanisms work. It also goes beyond this to set reasonable baselines for maximized performance and safety.

Establish the Durability of Products

Independent BIFMA-affiliated testing labs create various durability tests. Such scenarios put motors, desk frames, and other components through the same stress test thousands of times over to establish their breaking points.

It’s worth noting that the environment and testing conditions are usually similar to those of an office. Here, they use advanced actuators and robotic sensors to imitate human behavior. So, they can simulate anything from you toppling the desk to abusing it in other ways. This makes it easier to identify the failing components and replace them, ready for a fresh round of testing.

Ensure Only the Best Standing Desks Hit the Market

These independent labs work hard to ensure the highest chances of each tested standing desk failing these criteria tests. Weaker products that don’t make it past the testing are discarded. Defective elements can’t merely be replaced and re-run through these tests again.

The most reassuring bit is that there are no partial certifications! And with that, you can rest assured that any product with an ANSI/BIFMA certification tag is worth your investment.

Works Within UL Certification Frameworks

ANSI/BIFMA processes also consider UL guidelines and standards when testing products for defects. Here, they expose them to elements like fumes, fire, and water damage to see what it takes to render the product useless. Let’s delve deeper into this in the next section.

Underwriter Laboratories

Photo Credit: UL Solutions

What is UL?

UL or the Underwriter Laboratories is a third-party certification firm that came about in Chicago in 1894. Their main goal is to certify products to ensure they are safe for the global market. This duty is not limited to new products, but the organization plays a critical steering role in ensuring that newly developed products adhere to industrial standards.

What does a UL certification label say about a product? It’s a sign that your product has been tested and certified safe for daily use. UL certification not only applies to the electronic components of a standing desk, but it extends down to the nitty gritty like the wires and hidden circuitry.

So, you can rest assured that the product will not compromise your comfort and safety at any level.

Why is UL Certification Relevant for Standing Desks?

UL standards are a must for standing desks and other products that feature electronics. This is because they feature various working parts that need to be cohesively functional and up-to-code. A tiny defect may not be considered harmful to the operation of the desk, but it can have harmful yet not-so-apparent effects on the user.

Testing residual chemicals and electric emissions

UL certification testing goes beyond the inner workings of various components. It also tests to see if they have any toxic chemical residues or electronic emissions in order to certify that they don’t cause malfunctions down the line.

In other words, UL certification offers an assurance that a product has undergone rigorous testing against any possible eventuality. So, while it’s not a legal requirement, only reaching for certified products is an avenue to peace of mind and reasonably higher value on return on your noble investment!

Test out Control Mechanisms

For instance, it makes loads of sense that an up/down button responds effectively to each push. This means it should stop instantly within a fraction of a second of you lifting your finger from the trigger.

The same standards also apply to cross-platform compatibility, i.e., desks controlled via Smartphone apps or Bluetooth connectivity. A desk control panel that deviates from such dynamics might fail to pass UL certification. This is because such a tiny defect can be dangerous, especially if your kids or pets are part of the equation.

Ensure Your Standing Desk Has Effective Safety Features

UL testing works to establish and assign weight capacity, operational footprint, and other guidelines to ensure you get the most out of a product. Standing desks that don't have an anti-collision detector, child lock, and other safety features will fail UL safety tests. This is because such features work to ensure that your desk independently preempts and negates hazardous situations. That said, the rules differ depending on the market where the standing desk is being tested for sale.

inspect paper

How Can You Identify a Fake ANSI/BIFMA or UL Certificate?

The market is flooded with both quality and knock-off standing desks. Yet, manufacturers claim their products meet the highest testing and quality standards. So, it’s natural to surmise that some of them pay for fake tags so they can get their products to market without paying extra for testing.

For such reasons, it makes sense to understand the difference between real and fake certification. Fortunately, genuine UL certificates also carry loads of product-specific information in the area of clarification that includes:

The manufacturer’s details
Material types
Voltage rating
Tempered glass type
Physical material properties
Trace toxic elements (like lithium-ion in batteries)

If one or more of such details is omitted from the Certification tag, it is probably a fake. So, it makes no sense to even consider the product.


Insist on Flexispot for ANSI/BIFMA & ULCertified Standing Desks

The popularity of standing desks and other ergonomic pieces of furniture is predicted to continue to rise. So, we’ll continue to see new designs and brands pop out of every corner, and you need to stay informed of who or where to get the most genuine, high-quality products.

The difference between a product that will serve you for a long time without causing unnecessary accidents could be that simple certification tag. But the work that goes into being worthy of certification is the peace of mind you pay for.

Flexispot guarantees that there are no corners cut towards ensuring that our products are of the best quality. So, give us a try, and we’ll guide you to a new world of elegance, comfort, and assured product satisfaction.