Autonomous SmartDesk 2 Review: A Great Standing Desk for the Future of Work

Jason Cockerham

Community Review Team Leader
Dec 9, 2010
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It’s pretty safe to say that those of us with “desk jobs” will be working from home in some form or fashion for the foreseeable future. Reopening plans are getting pushed back again here in the States until September or later for a lot of companies and who knows if it’ll get pushed back even later than that.

Even after the reopening, most of us will continue to work from home at least part of the time. Personally, I don’t see many companies ever going back to a full, 100% in-office working model, at least for many years.

Several big companies have already moved to a remote working model permanently, and I don’t expect they’ll be the last.

Anyway, if you’re like me and are learning to adjust to a work-from-home situation, having a good desk to work at can make a huge difference. For a long time, my cheap IKEA desk worked just fine because I was only using it in the evenings when I needed to pay bills and such, but working at it for 8 hours a day just wasn’t feasible. I needed something else.

At one of my previous jobs, I’d been privileged enough to have a standing desk and I really enjoyed the benefits it offered to being stuck at a desk all day. I’d been wanting to save up for one for a while but really didn’t know which one to get. There’s quite a few options out there to pick from and I didn’t even know where to start.

Thankfully, I got the chance to use one from Autonomous for a few weeks and came away quite impressed.



The design of the SmartDesk 2 was one of the first things that stood out to me. I ordered the White Matte Top with White Frame mainly to match the aesthetic of our upstairs loft which is my makeshift office.

You can immediately tell it’s solidly built from the weight and sturdiness of the top. I use a mechanical keyboard on my desk and on my last one, it echoed and just sounded really loud whenever I typed on it. This one has no echo at all when I type and is very comfortable to type and work on.

The top is very smooth which is great for working for long periods and is very easy to clean as well. I haven’t spilled or marked it up yet but I’m hoping it’s fairly hard to scratch as well. My old one had scratches and dings in it all over the place.

Aside from the matte white color they offer a glossy white, white oak, glossy black, matte black, matte green, walnut, dark walnut and even bamboo and dark bamboo so there’s plenty of top choices to pick from to match your aesthetic.

It also comes in 2 sizes. The “Classic” is 53” x 29” and the “XL” is 70.5” x 30”. I got the smaller size and it fits my keyboard, mouse, 2 monitors, a docking station, 2 phone stands, and a few other desk-type items comfortably. I never feel cramped or wishing for more space to put things.

If you have a dedicated study or larger office space, or just like having more room to work, I’d probably go with the larger size but the smaller one suits my needs just fine.

Another small note but something I noticed, I never realized how much I appreciated contoured edges on a desk until I had them lol. My previous desk was just sharp corners and I didn’t realize how unpleasant it was to work on until I had this desk. I had no problem resting my arms on it comfortably for long periods of work.

The frame is also incredibly solidly built. It’s also insanely heavy so I would absolutely recommend having someone around to help you carry it, especially if you have to go up multiple floors.

It’s made from stainless steel and comes in white, grey or black. I went with the white to match the top but it doesn’t stand out at all or look out-of-place in my workspace.

No matter which color combo you choose, I think you’ll be impressed with just how well built and how good-looking this thing is. Keep in mind that most standing desks have a pretty modern design fele to them and this one is no exception. If you need a more classical or “executive” style desk, you might want to look elsewhere.


One of the more tricky parts of owning a standing desk can often be the assembly, but putting together the SmartDesk 2 was really quite easy (see video). Autonomous provides you with everything you need, minus a screwdriver (and I would recommend a powered one if you have it) along with fairly simple to follow instructions.

It’s not perfect. Some of the steps took me a few minutes to figure out exactly what they meant and they should recommend a powered drill (as I recommend) as manually screwing in everything can be difficult, but don’t be intimidated by it. Just don’t rush it, pop a cold one, and give it a go. You’ll be fine.

Assembly can be done with one person but since some of the parts can be quite heavy, I would advise having someone to help out if you can. All-told it took me about 45 minutes to put mine together but your mileage may vary. Don’t try to rush it. Take your time and be safe.

Autonomous also provides you with plenty of cable ties to help with cable management. Other reviews I’ve read said they sometimes had trouble staying stuck to his desk but I never experienced that with mine. He did get the bamboo top instead of the white matte that I have so it may have something to do with the material.

Either way, you’ll want to do some sort of cable management or you’ll run the risk of a cable catching on something as the desk is rising up and that could cause all sorts of problems.

Once assembled, it sits very firmly on the floor. One of the most annoying things about my last desk was that it wobbled constantly, especially on the carpet floors of our loft. The SmartDesk 2 has no noticeable wobble at all. Even when I move around in my chair or adjust my position or something, it doesn’t move or wobble at all. It’s really nice to type on without having to watch my monitors bob up and down constantly.


So how much functionality can a desk really have? Turns out, more than you might think. For those that have never used a standing desk, the way this one works is there’s a small control box that you attach on towards the right edge of the desk.

The first thing you’ll see on the control box is a small screen that displays the current height of the desk in inches (I was unable to confirm, but I would assume it would display in meters in countries that use the metric system, so everywhere but the U.S. lol).


Next to the screen is an up button and a down button to move the desk, you guessed it, up and down. Just press and hold your desired direction and the legs will do the heavy lifting. Literally. This desk can hold up to 300 lbs. I was quite pleasantly surprised at how quiet the motors are inside the legs as well. I never expected them to be loud, but they are in no way distracting.

Next to the buttons to adjust the height are four preset buttons that allow you to set different heights that are most comfortable for you. I used presets 1 and 2 for my sitting and standing preferences respectively, and my wife used 3 and 4 for hers.

The final button is used to set your presets. Adjust the desk to where you want it, press and hold the button until the numbers flash, then press the button you want to remember this height for. It’s pretty simple and took me about a minute to get all four presets input.


I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed getting to stand up and work whenever my back or legs start to hurt. I just press the button and away it goes! It takes about 8-10 seconds to go from completely lowered to completely raised so I usually press it, move my chair, take a few steps around my (home) office and it’s ready to go when I am.

Final Thoughts

There’s really a lot to like here about this desk from Autonomous. It is beautifully designed with plenty of color options to match whatever decor you have at home. It’s sturdy so it doesn’t wobble or fall over, which is awesome for those of use who have toddlers running around.


This desk has survived being in a house with a toddler, which is quite impressive. Every time he comes upstairs to visit me during the day, he wants to press the buttons and crawl around under the desk. I’ve never had to worry about the control box breaking or about it falling on top of him as he crawls around. The legs on my last desk were really flimsy and I’d always get really nervous anytime he got too close. Now, I don’t have to worry about that.

It’s also quite reasonably priced. There’s lots of options to choose from in the standing desk market and many of them are quite expensive. Autonomous prices theirs very reasonably in my opinion.

At the time of this writing, for the smaller size, the standard white, black, and green tops are $399. The walnut and white oak is $419, and the bamboo and dark bamboo are $449. The XL only comes in black, white, and walnut and they are $539. There is als an L-shaped version if you need it for $799 and you have an option to pay monthly if you’d rather go that route.

Technology is awesome.

Not being confined to my chair for 8 hours anymore is really awesome. I didn’t realize how bad it was for my body until I started to mix some standing into my day. I find myself wanting to stand more and more throughout the day after having this thing for a couple weeks, and not only that, when I do stand, more often than not I’ll take a quick 5 minute walk around outside just to get the blood flowing.

Using a standing desk, especially now that I’m working from home all day, has helped me take better care of my body and my mind which directly translates to me doing a better job at what I do.

I highly recommend heading over to Autonomous’ website and getting one for yourself. Pre-COVID, it may have been a bit harder to recommend if you didn’t spend a lot of time working at home. But with work from home being the new way to work for the foreseeable future, this is certainly something you’ll want to invest in.

And who knows? Maybe you could get your company to share some of the cost. It’s worth a shot.
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