I pride myself on being healthy from limiting my caffeine intake, eating less processed junk, and attempting to work out. While all of those aren’t always met, I never took one unhealthy task into consideration: sitting all day. Sitting for extended periods of time can increase your risk of heart disease and death from other causes. It’s alarming to read about sitting causing so much damage when most folks who work in technology work behind a desk. I would sit for the majority of my day, until recently. The Autonomous SmartDesk is a motorized home desk or office desk which can raise and lower itself from a sitting to a standing position. You can go from sitting at 10 am to standing by 1 pm, in just a few seconds.
When I mention, I have a sit to stand desk they always give me the odd double take. Most of my friends want to try working at the desk or have started looking at buying themselves one. With the desk starting at $199 for the Home Edition it’s hands down the cheapest option around. I have the Business Edition which has the dual motor instead of the single motor in the Home Edition. I opted for the gray legs, dark wood top, and picked out the accessory kit to add to the desk. The configuration I have will run you $524, but that’s still cheaper than other sit to stand motorized desks.
Having the desk as my only place to work has changed not only how I work but how I think about working. In the review I’ll talk about the build quality, how I adjust to sitting and standing, how the electric motor works, and compare the price to other options.
Build and Design
At a glance, the desk doesn’t appear to be motorized. It looks like an ordinary desk that in some cases are really tall and in other cases standard height. The table tops sold through them are premium materials which finish like black, white, walnut (one I received), light oak, and bamboo. While they’re solid wood slab they are finished well enough you won’t have chips or scratches from setting up and moving your arms around the desk. The legs are a heavy, premium metal that’ll help keep the desk from wobbling and tipping over. I haven’t had any problems with a wobble, with my desktop monitor stay still when I move from sitting to standing.
The desk can hold up to 300lbs for the business edition and 220lbs on the home edition. Each one should be able to hold a monitor or two plus a desktop PC. There are cutouts to run your wires easily under the desk. They’ve also included multiple cable ties to keep everything from looking unruly under your desk. One major thing I wish Smart desk would offer is a table with drawers. While you can use your tabletop from Ikea or another manufacturer, it would be nice to have somewhere to hide all your junk.
How does it feel
Having the ability to switch from sitting to standing is a significant change. I’m accustomed to moving from desk to the couch throughout the day. I used the desk for two weeks before writing this review. I would start the day sitting and often forget I could move to standing position. Once I got it ingrained in my head, I would constantly switch between sitting and standing. I’ve become a big fan of having the ability to switch from sitting and standing. It’s great for my health and also promotes better creativity and productivity. If I ever get writer’s block, I simply start to walk around until I’m able to write something that doesn’t sound like I’m spewing garbage.
Not everyone will enjoy standing for hours on end, but with Autonomous’ ErgoChair you’ll have the perfect sitting position. The company has all their bases covered whether you’re sitting or standing.
The dual motors are quiet and quick. They’re not going to make a lot of noise when you’re moving from a sitting or standing position, drawing attention to you. They’re super fast when you’re moving from the lowest setting to the tallest setting, less than 10 seconds. The control for the desk is a panel with the ability to manually adjust the height or set 4 different presets. I’m never going to use all four presets, but I can imagine people who share a desk might need all four.
There’s also a five-year warranty on the business edition and a one-year warranty on the home edition. The five-year warranty will cover almost everything on the desk and gives you peace of mind when you’re constantly moving from sitting to standing.
The most I’ve spent on a desk is $100 from Ikea. The SmartDesk starts at $299 with the top tier configuration costing $674. I received the business edition, classic walnut table (53”x30”), gray platform, and added the accessory kit which cost $524, plus shipping and tax around $600. That price is similar to what Ikea offers for their sit to stand desk. The difference is the SmartDesk feels and look like a premium desk. An Ikea alternative isn’t always motorized, a hand crank is required, and can feel like a cheap product.
When you compare the SmartDesk to other sit to stand desk like Jarvis or the Up Desk, you’ll see how affordable the SmartDesk is. The Up Desk cost upwards of $999, and when you factor in shipping and tax, closer to $1,100. The Jarvis desk configured similarly to what I got would cost you around $800, plus shipping and tax around $900.
The Autonomous SmartDesk is unparalleled in price, build quality and accessories. While some may look at the Ikea desk as a cheap alternative, you cannot compare the two. The Ikea versions are either cranked powered or the motorized version- which is expensive. The SmartDesk feels like what you could get from the Up Desk, which cost over a $1,000. They thought about the small things from cable management to preset heights.
They offer a dozen of different combinations whether you want a business edition with an extra extended desktop or want a home edition with an ergonomic cutout. The desks start at $299 and top out around $700. If you want to switch between sitting and standing during the day, the SmartDesk is the best option around.