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Review head-to-head: VARIDESK ProDesk 60 vs Autonomous SmartDesk 2 Home Office

TL;DR: Both of these are winners

Standing desks side by side
Image: Josiah Motley / KnowTechie

Let me preface this review with the fact that I’ve been using fold-out Walmart tables as a desk for like the last three years of my life. I like to remember where I came from, but when the offer to review some standing desks came up I forgot all about my allegiances and quickly agreed to a review.

I had two show up from two different makers, VARIDESK and Autonomous, both popular names in the home-office world when it comes to standing desks. Instead of trying to eke out a bunch of words for each (because at the end of the day, they are desks), I’m going to cover them both (the VARIDESK ProDesk 60 and the Autonomous SmartDesk 2 Home Office) here and give thoughts on installation, the finished product and more.

Both desks are approximately the same size, with the VARIDESK being slightly larger at 60 by 30 inches.


Varidesk prodesk 60 with computer on it

VARIDESK ProDesk 60 (Image: Josiah Motley / KnowTechie)

When dealing with a standing desk, one of the first things I want to know is just how easy it is to put together. I type with my hands, but I’m not very handy, so the less effort on my part the better. Surprisingly, both of these desks were a breeze to put together.

The VARIDESK was the definition of easy. Most of the parts were already attached to the desk and it only required sliding the legs into the very-obviously marked holsters and tightening a few bolts. The only downside to that is that the box the desk’s top came in was extremely heavy, so it might be worth keeping that in mind if you can’t get to-door delivery on it.

I put together the Autonomous SmartDesk 2 Home Office second, and while the VARIDESK definitely spoiled me on ease-of-installation, it was also extremely straightforward to put together, with everything needed included in the box. Whereas the VARIDESK took around 15 minutes to get up and running, the SmartDesk 2 took approximately 30 minutes to complete.

One final note – I highly recommend having a friend help with the process as the desks are pretty dang heavy when everything is attached.

The standing elements of the desks

Autonomous smartdesk 2 home office

Autonomous SmartDesk 2 Home Office (Image: Josiah Motley / KnowTechie)

A standing desk is only as good as the elements used to make it motorized. Again, both of these options knocked it out of the park.

The motorized elements for both the VARIDESK and SmartDesk 2 featured smooth motions and neither of them was overly loud. The VARIDESK was slightly more gentle when starting and stopping its motion; I would feel completely confident with a glass of water on it while it was in motion.

The same goes for the SmartDesk 2 Home Office, but its motorized parts were a bit louder than those found on the VARIDESK. Even so, it was never noticeable, but this is a head-to-head after all.

Both options have a spot for a cable management tray on the underside of the desk. Surprisingly, my SmartDesk 2 did not come with one included, but it looks like it attaches with just a couple screws and I’m sure it works fine. Additionally, both standing desks include the ability to set presets for your favorite positions, which is nice.

Something I never expected to use but found myself quite glad I had it, was the ActiveMat that VARIDESK sent along with the desk. At $95, I have a hard time fully recommending it, but it made some of the longer standing sessions way easier on the knees and feet.

Which standing desk looks better?

This is really going to come down to personal preference. I went with solid black options on both desks and while both are similar, I do slightly prefer the more matte finish of the VARIDESK. It doesn’t show fingerprints and smudges as much as the glossy finish of the SmartDesk 2. Again, this is really just a personal thing.

Both companies offer various finishes, so almost anyone is going to find something they like. If I had to do it all over again, however, the butcher block on the VARIDESK looks amazing, as does the bamboo top on the SmartDesk 2.

One final note, the VARIDESK uses an indention in the back of the desk for cable management and monitor mounts, while the Autonomous SmartDesk2 uses cable holes on each back corner. I like the clean look of the indention, but depending on your use case, you might find the cable holes work better for you.

Overall, if you are in the market for a standing desk, you can’t go wrong with either of these options. The VARIDESK ($795) is going to run you almost double the cost of the SmartDesk 2 Home Office ($399), so if you are a newbie to the world of standing desks or on a budget, the SmartDesk 2 is great. If you are looking for something a bit more refined with a little bit more style and elegance, the VARIDESK might be a better fit.

Sample units were provided for the purpose of this review.

Editors’ Recommendations:

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Former KnowTechie editor.

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