Thursday, August 14, 2014

Ikea BEKANT Desks Impressions: Electric Height Adjustment?

My mouth is agape right now. I am in mourning. It has recently come to my attention that that Ikea GALANT desks may have been discontinued according to various online sources -- Google search. To add insult to injury, the dates attached to those sources appeared to be from back in 2013. Wow, am I late to the game. It appeared to be more than speculation because people were citing information from Ikea representatives.
Ikea GALANT Desk
As far as I can remember, the GALANT desk series has been available at Ikea. I'm not that young -- or old. To be clear, my memory goes back at least a decade. The GALANT has been around the block for a while. If the news is true, it would be a shame because I use a GALANT on a daily basis and love it -- not to mention, I have two spare A-legs and a spare T-leg waiting for a new table surface when I find the room. Better act before it's too late because luckily, as of mid-August 2014, I can still find GALANT desks available on the Canadian and American Ikea websites.

Update October 2, 2014: Found Ikea BEKANT on Canada and United States Ikea websites.

Notes: I don't speak German aside from "schnell", "ja", and "nein". All translations in this post were taken from Google Translator. While no accuracy is guaranteed on this website anyway, I want to especially emphasize that there is no accuracy remotely implied in this post because everything I researched was in German -- a language I don't speak. Also, the BEKANT was a very new product at the time of writing and not, as far as I knew, available for sale in my country. I had no experience with the table, hadn't even seen it in person, when writing this post. These are just observations I noted from reviewing a few, not all, BEKANT product webpages.

Ikea BEKANT Desks: A successor to the GALANT?
The sort of good news was that I found that someone in my research talked about a replacement line of desks called the BEKANT. I wasn't able to find any BEKANT products on the United States Ikea website or the Canadian version on August 14, 2014. I was, however, able to find a category listed under "Desks for stationary computers" called "GALANT/BEKANT system Office desks under both the /ca and /us websites.

To find the actual BEKANT desks, I had to go international": they showed up on the German ( website -- more accurately, I Googled "Ikea Bekant" and found it there.

This product line was filed under "PC-Shreibtische" (Google Translator said "Shreibtische" was "desks") with a "neu" label. I think we can figure out the meaning of the second word.

Doing a search for "BEKANT" on the German site, I found over a dozen results for desks. The main product photos had a light wood color similar to the GALANT's birch veneer and black T-shaped legs. Prices ranged from "149,00" for a simple rectangular desk to "696,00" for a conference table; I ignored the accessories. One detail worthy of note was that the conference tables or "Konferenztisch" had straight legs. Not entirely sure, but I think Germany uses Euros?

GALANT T-Leg Unboxed

Basic Models?
First things first, what did they look like? I would say they looked like GALANT desks with T-legs but with a bit more polish. Less industrial, more modern looking.

Starting with the cheaper models around the 200,00 range, a number of sizes and color variations were noted. I noticed rectangular and L-shaped BEKANT tables, similar to the GALANT line. T-Legs I saw were white and black according to the translated labels. For desk tops, there were "schwarzbraun" ("blackbrown"), "wei√ü" ("white"), "grau" ("grey"), and "birkenfurnier" ("birch veneer") colors found. Sizes noted for rectangular desks were 140 cm x 60 cm, 120 cm x 80 cm, and 160 cm x 80 cm. For L-shaped desks, I found one size: 160 cm x 110 cm.

Translating the "Wichtige Produktmerkmale" ("Key features") for one of the desks, some other interesting details were noted. One was the mention of the legs being adjustable: "Beine zwischen 65 und 85 cm verstellbar sind" translated to "Legs between 65 and 85 cm can be adjusted". It also appeared that there was mention of built-in cable organization under the desk ("Netz zum Ordnen von Kabeln unter der Tischplatte") in the notes. Cable management in the manual appeared to be a mesh-like net that spanned between the two legs.

"Max Belastung" ("Max Weight") appeared to be 100 kg for the basic BEKANT tables I looked at.

According to the manual for the 140 cm x 60 cm rectangular BEKANT, the height adjustment mechanism for the basic BEKANT T-legs appeared to be similar to the GALANT desk's T-legs (video here) . That is, the BEKANT's T-legs appeared to use an Allen key to lock and unlock the upper leg from the lower leg.

There wasn't any sign of an A-leg under the BEKANT series. Wonder if it's on the way or gone for good. The conference tables had straight legs though.

GALANT Inside an A-Leg

Electric Powered Height Adjustment?
I noticed some tables with T-legs that were a lot more expensive and in the 500,00 range. They were labeled "Schreibtisch sitz/steh" (Google: "Shower seat / stand, birch veneer, black") and "Ecktisch links sitz-/steh" ("Corner table left sitting / standing, birch veneer, black).

Running their "Wichtige Produktmerkmale" through Google Translator suggested that there was "electric height adjustment" ("elektrische Höhenregulierung"). In the product photos, I could see two buttons with up and down arrows on these more expensive tables.

Going through the manual for the BEKANT "Ecktisch links sitz- /steh", there were items with electric cords shown under the parts inventory. They appeared to plug into the legs, which suggested that the height adjustment mechanisms were built into the tops of the T-legs. For this "Ecktisch links", the translated product details suggested that the height range for the legs was 65 cm to 125 cm.

Max weight for the electric powered tables I looked at appeared to be lower at 70 kg instead of the 100 kg limit for the basic tables I checked.
Underneath a BEKANT Desk with Electric Height Adjustment
Million Dollar Question: Are GALANT and BEKANT Desks compatible?
No clue whatsoever.

As noted earlier, I found the "GALANT/BEKANT system Office desks" category. Is that to help with the transition from GALANT to BEKANT? Are the desks similar enough that they merited a joint-classification? Ask Ikea.

The biggest surprise was that I didn't notice any mention of the BEKANT in the very recently released 2015 Ikea catalogue when I browsed through it on the United States website. I even went back and skimmed it again after I wrote this piece and came up empty.

In Closing
I'm really disappointed that the GALANT may be fading into the sun. The possibility seems very real and the void is hard to fill, but it appears that Ikea is in the process of releasing a worthy replacement. I just hope they're as modular as the GALANT tables and built to the same quality standard. Seeing the A-leg go doesn't really surprise me given my mixed feelings about them. Here's to another decade or two with the GALANT's replacement?

<<< Ikea BEKANT: Part 4, First-Hand Impressions

Alternatives to Ikea BEKANT Desk
Alternatives to Ikea GALANT Desk
IKEA GALANT Desk A-Leg Review / Disassembled
IKEA GALANT Desk T-Leg Review / Disassembled
IKEA SKARSTA Desk Impressions: Like a BEKANT or GALANT?
IKEA PAX Wardrobe System Impressions

Gladiator Adjustable Height Maple Work Bench


  1. I too am disappointed - I drove over an hour to the "local" IKEA to buy 4 desks and couldn't. But as for your search on the international version of the site - the BEKANT desks are available on the Great Britain page. No German translation necessary :-)

  2. I received an email this morning from an Ikea manager saying they would be receiving the new desks later this week, around Sept. 3 or 4. During an earlier discussion, I was told the products would be similar but would have different frames. They weren't entirely sure the parts would be interchangeable.

  3. Just bought a bekant desk yesterday for my son at the College Park, MD store, but they are still not on the website.

  4. Queria saber como esta' sendo sua experiencia.