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Published Jul. 30, 2021

The best computer desk is more than just a coffee table and some extension cords. It’s a dedicated space for the computer and it’s the literal foundation for all your work and online play. Comfort, efficiency, and style should combine to make the most important piece of office furniture—next to an ergonomic office chair and a dependable coffee maker. 

Fortunately, computer desks have come a long way since folding card tables and particleboard eyesores, with models that bend and shape to your specific needs. Corner desks, adjustable desks, standing desks, portable desks, ergonomic desks, folding desks, dual monitor desk—there’s a desk for every job and every computer.

It’s important to find a computer desk with useful options and without add-on gimmicks and unnecessary flourishes. It should be nimble enough to handle all of your tasks and sturdy enough to support your workload. And, most importantly, it should make you happy and excited to get stuff done. You can easily get overwhelmed with choices or discouraged by high prices. Be strong. Your perfect desk is out there! 

Features to consider when shopping for the best computer desk

The best computer desk means different things to different people. Do you want a small and sleek modern computer desk? Or something large and multi-functional? Think about how you use your computer and what would make your current workspace more efficient.

Look for longevity

A well-made computer table won’t break or bend under pressure; it will last your entire career. Think of your desk as a hard-headed, dependable friend even when work gets stressful. This is not the time for cheap plastic and too many moveable (i.e. breakable) parts.

While it might seem cost-effective to buy the cheapest work table to simply “get the job done,” investing in a more substantial desk will eliminate furniture breakdowns and keep the workflow flowing. Plus, working on a solid, dependable surface makes any task, from closing a deal to Slack-ing funny memes, feel important.

If you want a permanent workstation, think carefully about style as well as material. Tiny desks with spaghetti-thin legs won’t last past one intense Zoom call or Twitch livestream. And enormous, solid wood desks belong in Ebenezer Scrooge’s office, not your house. Simplicity is best, with clean lines, dark wood surfaces, and metal accents. Desks that are too trendy will look dated faster than you can say “spinning CD storage racks.” 

Luckily, there are solid desks that have an airy, lightweight aesthetic and storage for all the necessary tools of your trade.

A two-person desk doesn’t have to break the bank, or your relationship

As more people now work from their house, your home office desk might be getting crowded with a new “employee” (significant other) or pesky “interns” (kids). But adding a second worker to the office can quickly get pricey. Buying a two-person desk is often cheaper than buying two separate desks. And the style will be uniform instead of looking like your office is a collision of tastes. 

When shopping, think about how the two of you will work together. You want to conserve office space, but working on top of each other is a path towards annoyance and arguments. You need a little privacy and room to focus. 

Instead of a single tabletop, consider a two-person computer desk with desk space between workstations. This boundary will improve your work and prevent your relationship from falling apart before lunch.

Gaming desks don’t need to be elaborate

Desks don’t have to be all about work and they can still meet your needs with style. Even if your gaming rig has multiple screens, keyboards, wires, and a wildly expensive steering-wheel controller, it can all rest on a single level of an impressive-looking desk. 

Multi-level desks are often bulky, and some of those cubbyholes will only be used to store a dusty old ream of sprocketed Commodore 64 printer paper. Plus, the more planes and elements to a desk, the more the desk takes over and the work and gaming become secondary. You need a workspace, not a 12-foot tall cat tower.

Save as much space as possible

How small can a computer desk be? If you want a desk that’s one step above working on your lap, but a few steps below standard workspaces, there are tiny options that conserve space for those organized enough to handle the limited surface area and lack of storage. 

Hidden desks that fold or roll away can turn any room into an office as needed. With a few flips and twists, your hallway is now your work HQ. For those living in cramped apartments or overcrowded houses, you need a desk as small as possible. And because tiny desks can be mounted or placed anywhere, your options for workspace subscribe to the number-one rule of real estate: Location, location, location.  

The guest room, the living room, even the bathroom can be a viable workspace with a compact computer desk. If you need the basics, or even less than the basics, go small and keep our work-life balance leaning towards life.

Find a computer table that bends to your needs

L-shaped computer desks offer all the space you need, while taking up as little space as possible. For those serious about working from home and feeling in charge, the L-shaped desks are the standard. You can make your own L-shape by combining two rectangular desks together, but a properly designed L-shaped desk will add uniformed style and functionality to your work. 

When shopping online, take special notice of the size. L-shaped desks quickly grow and grow. And when shopping in-store, know the big airy sales floor will make any desk look perfect for your room. Remember: Measure twice, buy once.

You can also arrange and rearrange most L-shaped desk layouts, giving them a bit more versatility than you may assume. And you can easily fit two people at one well-sized L-shape desk, if privacy isn’t a concern. The L-shaped desk might be the most-used piece of furniture in the house.

Can a desk be healthy?

Like the desk itself, the standing desk trend rises and falls. One year these moveable tall tables are all the rage. Next, a Harvard study finds standing desks to be of no real benefit for weight loss. It comes down to your own personal taste. 

Standing desks do offer the benefit of keeping you on task. It’s hard to zone out when you’re upright. Keep in mind when shopping for a standing desk that you want one that works efficiently. If the act of raising and lowering the desk requires six steps and a key, it probably won’t do you much good. 

It’s also important that the standing desk offers enough workspace for your laptop and other accessories. If you have to bend down to get equipment every ten minutes, your back won’t be a happy worker.

Best computer desk on a budget: What you get for under $50

Computer desk prices can vary significantly, with luxury furniture pieces skyrocketing past the $5,000 mark. You just need a place to work. But before you fork over $10 on the cheapest thing you can find, know that a low price may mean less workspace, poor quality, or a deadly combination of both. 

Scrutinize the product dimensions to make sure you’re getting an adult-sized desk and not a breakfast-in-bed tray. And see if there are any weight limits in the specifications because a decent-sized desk isn’t worth much if it can’t even support a Nintendo Switch. 

Luckily, a computer desk is a simple, readily available piece of furniture so you should be able to find one within your budget that won’t collapse under a mild breeze. Don’t spend hundreds of dollars if all you need is a basic table with legroom and some storage. 

The best computer desks

Best overall pick: Walker Edison Modern Computer Gaming Desk

Built to Last

This heavy-duty wood and metal model is timeless without being intimidating. Walker Edison

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The Walker Edison Modern Computer Gaming Desk is more useful than a standard table desk thanks to the handy shelves and includes an AC plug and USB port. A simple pull-out drawer provides enough space for your supplies, and the open shelves prevent gadgets, cameras, paperwork, and other items from getting lost in a dark, dingy filing cabinet. Everything is open and inviting, yet built to withstand even the hardest typers or heaviest lunches.  

Best computer desk for two: Tribesigns Double Computer Desk with Printer Shelf

Shared Space with Privacy

One simple divider between this two-person pick improves the work/life balance. Tribesigns

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Share the space, but not the frustration with this two-person computer desk from Tribesigns. The inexpensive dual-desk gives you the surface area needed to get things done with the privacy needed to focus. A printer shelf sits between each workstation, making you feel like you’re in your own little office. And with accessories like printers and scanners easy to reach for both workers, you won’t be interrupted with, “Can you hand me that?” Add a few plants or books for more privacy. Perhaps best of all, the simple, understated style is less likely to cause fights over design when shopping for furniture.

Best small computer desk: Prepac Wall-Mounted Floating Desk

A Desk that Fits Everywhere

Attach this versatile pick to the wall at any height to suit your chair. Prepac

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It’s not for everyone, or all types of work, but the wall-mounted Prepac desk provides a flat place to rest a laptop and get to work. The accompanying (removable) shelves can hold supplies and cables, and the tabletop is just big enough for a laptop and mouse. If you don’t want a big piece of furniture hogging up valuable space, or if you need to quickly add a workspace to a cramped living space, this small computer desk is the most efficient workstation available. You will need to mount this on the wall, which adds another step to the already annoying task of desk assembly. But once put together, the desk is surprisingly sturdy. While you shouldn’t rest your 45-pound desktop computer on this surface, it can hold up against most office work. If you’re looking for more vertical storage, check out this minimalist wall-mounted desk.

Best L-shaped desk: Teraves Reversible L-Shaped Desk

Large Surface, Multi-Use Desk

An expansive option with shelves keeps you organized with room to stretch Teraves

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The Teraves Reversible L-Shaped Desk gives you space and options. The elegant desktop surfaces can be arranged to suit your needs. It’s great for work and gaming, and it’s one of the most affordable L-shaped desks. The long side gives you 69 inches of space. The short side is 53 inches long. That’s plenty of room to work, and yet isn’t too bulky to block your office door. You could, theoretically, also fit a second person at the desk, if you’re willing to give up some privacy.

Best gaming computer desk: NTENSE Genesis Adjustable Gaming Desk

Sleek and Subtle

This pick won’t overtake a room yet still looks like a dedicated station for some serious play. NTENSE

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The simple NTENSE Genesis Desk can be adjusted to three different heights to give you the right angle for work or gaming. A built-in wire trough keeps cords from strangling your productivity and snagging your legs. The headphone hook and cup holder can be installed in four different areas, ensuring everything you need is within reach. But best of all, this modern model looks good. Remote-controlled RGB LED lights make this best gaming computer desk glow and shine like a futuristic workhub, without looking like a disorganized cyberpunk rig.

Best standing computer desk: DEVAISE Standing Desk

Tall Enough, Strong Enough

An easy to adjust standing desk that works with you, not against you DEVAISE

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You shouldn’t have to choose between a standing desk and a sitting desk. Get the best of both worlds with the DEVAISE Standing Desk. Use the crank to raise and lower your workstation as needed. There’s no need for expensive electrical-powered raising desks when a little elbow grease gets the job done. And turning the crank makes even mundane tasks like budget balancing seem like rough and rugged machine work. The desk is also solid and stable, which is one of the most important things for any moveable desk.

Best budget desk: Cubiker Computer Desk

Affordable Writing Desk

A basic, modern work surface that won’t hurt the wallet or the knees. Cubiker

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The Cubiker Computer Desk checks off the three most important boxes for any quality desk: It’s flat. It’s durable. It’s the right size. While some budget desks are puny tray tables, the Cubiker’s 40-inch surface has enough space for a laptop and two monitors, with room to spare. The modern design will fit into any home office or gaming room and the storage bag keeps things organized. It lacks USB ports and electrical outlets, but a few extension cords can turn this simple desk into a bonafide gaming hub. And because it’s inexpensive, go ahead and cover it with coffee stains, phone numbers, and stickers. 

FAQs

Q: How do I choose a computer desk?

Start by measuring your space. The best computer desk for you is one that fits where it needs to fit. Everything else, such as shelves and accessories, is secondary to the size. A desk that’s too small will hinder productivity. A desk that’s too big will clog up a room. You want a desk that fills the perfect amount of available space.

Q: How thick should a computer desk be?

The best desk is thick enough to hold your laptop or desktop computer and everything else you need without bending or buckling. Be wary of anything thinner than 19mm (about the size of two standard Lego bricks stacked together). Some sleek, stylish gaming desks look great but the thin material can’t take a beating.

Q: What wood is best for a computer desk?

The best wooden computer desks are made of hardwoods such as oak, walnut, and cherry. But a solid wood desk will be more expensive, and much, much heavier than you probably need. Unless you’re using the computer desk to also chop firewood or weld car parts, you can feel safe and supported using composite material and medium-density fiberboard (MDF). Avoid glass, because chipped, scratched wood can look rustic and cool, but the nicked glass looks cheap and sad. 

A final word on shopping for the best computer desk

The best computer desk has one job: Support your computer. Find a well-made desk that won’t crumble in a year and won’t overpower a room. Everything else is up to your own personal preference. Do you want shelves? Desk drawers? Do you need an L-shaped or corner desk to fit into a specific space? Do you want to try a standing desk? Before clicking “add to cart,” think carefully about how you’ll use the desk. It’s more than just a slab of wood. You need something more specialized than a kitchen table and more attractive than a folding table. But most of all, you need a computer desk that works.

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