A review of the SmartDesk 2 by Autonomous

Michelle Haag

Staff member
Oct 12, 2011
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I’ve worked from home for a really long time now, over a decade, and many times over those years I’ve thought about getting a standing desk. I’ve read the reports, I’ve weighed the pros and cons and studied the benefits. But somehow I’ve always put it off. A standing desk is a bit of an investment, and in my opinion not something you just rush out and buy. I was given the opportunity to review the SmartDesk 2 by Autonomous in exchange for my honest review, and it seemed like the perfect chance to finally make the switch!


Here’s what I was looking for in a new desk:

  • It needs to be sturdy. I hate a desk that feels wobbly and like it could tip over at any moment.
  • It needs to be spacious, with a lot of room for everything I need, but not bulky and taking up unnecessary space.
  • It needs to be easy to assemble, and not require two people or obscure tools.
  • It needs to be reasonably priced.

Does the SmartDesk 2 check all my boxes? Let’s find out!

Choose your desk
Let’s start with picking out your desk. Depending on which of the two desk sizes you choose, Autonomous offers 2-5 different finishes for the desktop, and 2-3 options for the color of the legs. I opted for a bamboo top with white legs. I live in the desert and it’s super dusty all the time, and the lighter options help conceal a lot of that in between dusting days. I also chose the classic top size. I love having a big desk with lots of space, but I also know most of that space gets taken over by piles of stuff so I decided to save the room this time.
desk finishes.jpg

The base and the top arrive in separate boxes. As you can imagine, they’re both fairly heavy, but I felt they were packaged well and there wasn’t a lot of excess packaging materials to throw out.


On to the assembly! I’ve assembled my fair share of furniture in the last 20 years or so, so I’m no stranger to interpreting all sorts of instruction manuals. That said, these were on par with most other furniture assembly instructions. If this is your first time assembling a desk or similar furniture, there is a video you can refer to that even helped me with a couple of steps I found unclear.

I put the desk together by myself, and mostly by hand as my drill wasn’t cooperating (Note to self: buy a real drill, not another from Ikea) and it took me about an hour to finish. I recommend an assembly partner and a drill, unless you’re looking for a workout or have a lot of time to kill.


Now that it’s assembled and in place, I really like how it looks. The legs might be a tad thick if you’re used to the Ikea style desk, but considering they support up to 300lbs and have lifting mechanisms inside, I think it’s a reasonable trade-off. The top of the desk is thin and provides a low profile, but it’s very solid and feels like it can accommodate anything one might need it to. Overall it feels really sturdy, it doesn’t wobble, and for the most part it doesn’t slide around easily on my fake wood floor. That said, I’ve seen it recommended that you do incline pushups against your desk during the work day as part of a quick fitness break. I think this desk is fine for that type of thing ONLY IF you have it pushed firmly against a wall and you’re careful to test your own desk for tipping before getting carried away.

Screen Shot 2021-04-12 at 8.00.59 PM.jpg

The control pad is installed on the front right corner and looks modern and blends in well to the desk. I’m sure it blends better with the darker color desk options but it doesn’t stand out on the lighter top in my opinion. There are up and down buttons as well as 4 programmable preset buttons so you can raise and lower the desk automatically or adjust at will depending on your current needs.

On that topic, I was curious how loud the desk would be when it was in motion and was pleasantly surprised to find that it’s actually VERY quiet. It does make a low whirring type sound as you’d expect, but it’s very quiet and not annoying to me. I was also very impressed with the smoothness of the motion when raising and lowering the desk. There is no jerk when it starts or stops moving, which I was worried would be the case. This is fantastic because as I mentioned, I always have ‘stuff’ on my desk and I don’t need it sliding around every time I raise or lower the desk.

Other notable features:

  • Two circle cutouts on the back of the desk so you can run cords and cables down to the outlet while keeping the desk firmly up against the wall.
  • Beveled edges around the desk for a more comfortable experience for your arms.
  • They include stick on cable ties so you can keep those annoying cords out of the way. I haven’t used these as I have a cable tray attachment to corral the cords. Definitely recommend this if you have a lot of things to plug in, and who doesn't?



Overall I think the SmartDesk 2 is a great choice for anyone. Whether you’re working from home, your kids are homeschooling, the family is working on arts and crafts, or you just want more flexibility with your space, a standing desk might be just what you need. So, next time you’re in the market for a new desk, make sure you give the Autonomous SmartDesk 2 standing desk a look!
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