If you work at home part or full time, chairs and work surfaces can aid your comfort and productivity … or contribute to back pain and too-tight hamstrings. Engineer-driven ergonomic office furniture company Autonomous recently released the SmartDesk 2 Home Office, a less-costly version of the company’s sit-stand desk for commercial offices.
Standing desks that get desk workers out of their chairs seem like a good idea until the rigors of standing for long periods take their toll. Sit-stand desks with adjustable desk heights are a versatile solution to the problems that arise from any single occupational posture. Still, the ease of raising or lowering the desk usually determines how often you’ll use the feature.
The Autonomous SmartDesk 2 Home Office uses dual motors with a push-button control panel to change the desk height from 28 inches to 48 inches high by extending the steel frame. The desk is available in two sizes, Classic and XL. The Classic SmartDesk is 53 inches wide by 29 inches deep, while the XL model is 70.5 inches wide by 30 inches deep. Both sizes are rated to hold up to 300 pounds of electronics, work-related material, and essential beverages and snacks.
The control panel mounts under the right side of the desk’s top. You can raise or lower the desk surface by holding the up or down buttons, or use four memory presets. The current desk height displays on an LCD when you make a change, otherwise, the LCD turns off. Autonomous rates the motor lifting speed at 2.3 inches per second and the noise level at 45 decibels, the approximate level of quiet home conversation.
Autonomous sent me a SmartDesk 2 Classic with a bamboo top and a light gray frame to try out. The desk ships in two cartons, one for the top and the other for the disassembled frame. Assembling typical home office furniture can be a time-consuming and frustrating chore, but that’s not the case with the SmartDesk 2.
It took about 30 minutes to put the frame together, attach the top, and install the motors and control panel. There were no surprises during assembly. The instructions were clear, and it only took as long as it did because I was going slowly to be sure I didn’t make the usual mistakes. I could probably assemble a second desk in about half the time.
Setting up the control panel for my preferred sitting and standing heights was as easy as setting a car’s memory buttons. All you have to do is to raise or lower the desk to a desired height, press and hold the M button, and, when the LCD starts blinking, press one of the four numbered memory buttons. I used a smartphone sound meter app and found the mechanism averaged about 45 dB rising and 42 dB when lowering.
The SmartDesk 2 Home Office is available in three frame colors: White, black, and gray. Classic size stops are available in white, black, walnut, white oak, and bamboo. The larger XL tops are available in white, black, and walnut. The bamboo top is made of natural bamboo, but the other colors are constructed of commercial-grade medium density fiberboard (MDF) wood.
The only differences between the SmartDesk 2 Home Office and Business Office models are height adjustment ranges and frame warranty. The Business Office model adjusts from 26 inches to 52 inches high and has a seven-year warranty. The Home Office adjusts from 28 inches to 48 inches high and has a five-year warranty. The Business Office models cost $100 more, so unless you need a desk with extra-low or extra-high height adjustment, there’s no compelling reason to buy the Business Office model for typical home office use. The SmartDesk 3, an earlier model that included an integrated tablet with virtual assistant software, is no longer available.
The SmartDesk2 Home Office sit-stand desks sell for $379 with color tops and $429 with a bamboo top in the Classic size and $469 for the XL. Autonomous has a Black Friday sale running now with $30 to $50 price reductions on sit-stand desks depending on model and color.
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