Review: An Affordable, Adjustable Standing Desk

affordable adjustable standing desk

I first saw an adjustable standing desk at a Las Vegas CES show a few years ago.  It was pretty much love at first sight.  But I could never get myself to cough up the price they wanted for them, often in excess of $1,000.  So when I had the chance to do a hands-on review of an affordable adjustable standing desk, I couldn’t resist the opportunity.

The kind folks at Autonomous let me select from their more than adequate options.  From a small computer desk to a DIY standing desk that allows you to add your own custom top, there’s something to fit every need and space.  I chose the Smart Desk 2 Premium, which comes in a clean and cheerful white finish.  But here’s a video with a look at some of their awesome product offerings:


From receipt of the desk, through assembly, and finally using it, here’s my impressions of the Autonomous adjustable standing desk.

It’s Here!

Once we agreed to work together, I thought it would be a few weeks until it was received.  I was quite surprised to find it sitting on my front porch in just a few days!

My selection came in two boxes, one for the desk top and another for all the other various parts to complete the assembly process.  I think it’s noteworthy that the packaging was well-designed and the contents were in perfect condition.  Do be forewarned, however, that they’re on the heavy side, so you’ll want to have a helper with both the unpacking and the assembly.

The Desk Top

Top interest for me was the desk top.  That’s where I work, and the texture, quality, and overall finish are what I look for first whenever I’m shopping for a desk.

I was, and am, very impressed with the Smart Desk 2 Premium, and I suspect it’s quite representative of the entire line.  I love the fully-formed finish on the top, meaning there is no seam or joint as the top wraps around the entire edge of the desktop.  No place to catch a favorite top or sweater.  No sharp edge to cut a finger on.  Pleasantly rounded, it barely leaves an imprint after spending an hour working with arms resting perfectly comfortably between me and my laptop.

smart desk 9

Another plus:  I’m a bit old school and have to confess I still use a mouse.  I was delighted that the mouse works just fine on this pure white desk top.

A final nice finishing touch was not one but two cord access ports, finished in brushed nickle, one on each of the two far corners.  And once again, the quality was top notch.

smart desk 5

Box Two:  Everything Else

Box two has the frame, legs, desktop supports, motors (already installed as part of the legs), and desk control panel.  And of course the all-important instruction manual.

No disappointments on quality here, either.  The finish on all the metal parts is excellent, and all the parts fit together perfectly.  And it’s all heavy duty, and could easily withstand a formal office use.  This one will be used in my home office and will surely outlast me!


My first thought upon opening the second box was “whoa, this is going to be a lot of work.”  Fortunately, the assembly instructions are clear and easy to follow.  I was delighted to find that they’d been written by someone fluent in English, as that’s my native and only language.

You’ll need a bit of floor space to lay everything out and go through the assembly process.  And to the guys out there – don’t try to put it together without reading the instructions!  There’s several different types of screws and I did need to figure out which ones were being called for.

The most difficult part of assembly was the requirement to flip the desk over, and then back.  Just because it’s fairly heavy.  This is where the advice for a helper was most important.

Some thoughtful things Autonomous did in designing the desk:

  • Rubber grommets between the desk top and the frame.
  • Large rubber feet on the four corners of the legs.
  • All the pre-drilled holes were perfectly aligned.
  • Inclusion of an extra for every screw or bolt, just in case you lose one.
  • Adhesive zip ties to secure the control wires neatly out of the way.  And, more than enough of them!
  • Easy to access and simple desktop height control, with presets.

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Overall Ratings and Thoughts

Overall, I would say this is the best affordable standing desk that I’ve seen since I first saw one at the CES.  Here’s how I would rate typical aspects that are important to me as a consumer.

  • Accuracy of advertising:  Superior.  I found no “fluff” in their descriptions.  The product is and does everything just as the website says.
  • Pricing:  I seriously doubt you’ll find better value in any other adjustable standing desk out there.
  • Quality:  A+.  I have a pretty critical eye.  And I can honestly say I found nothing that was not among the best I’ve seen in any office products I’ve ever purchased.
  • Functionality:  Yes! I wish I’d purchased one of these long ago now that I’ve used one.  Being able to switch from sitting to standing while doing my website work, at just the touch of a button, is huge.  And hey, it’s makes it easier to dance while I work!
  • Would I recommend to a friend?  The most important question of all.  I am extremely careful about what I recommend to a friend.  Because I don’t want to be the cause of their disappointment, for whatever reason.  I’d feel no hesitation in recommending the products at Autonomous.

If you’ve been considering an automated desk, or a stand up desk, give one of the models offered by Autonomous a serious look.  I’ve seen no better overall value, anywhere. And, if you use the code CAREERGIRL they’ll give you an extra 10% off!


Linda Allen

I'm a serial entrepreneur, with a resume that makes me look like a Jane of all trades. Pretty sure we are all reluctant Messiahs, travelling through life planting seeds where ever we can. Hopefully, most of mine have been good ones! MA from Miami University (Ohio, not Florida), BA from Cal State.