We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn more ›

Written By
Updated Feb 1, 2023 3:13 PM

If having a regular, stationary desk setup isn’t an option due to limited space, you may want to invest in a folding desk. Whether gaming, writing the next great novel, or working from home, your desk is the foundation to help you focus and get the job done is important. A folding desk offers a perfect, albeit temporary, place for you to get things done without adding too much extra clutter to your space. There are two main types of foldable desks; the one you end up choosing will depend on your own personal needs and home layout. If your dedicated work area is super tight, you may want to consider a foldable wall desk—which not only saves floor space but also gives you the option of having an additional shelf when not in use. On the other hand, if you have a little more space to work with, choosing a dedicated multi-level computer desk or a dedicated writing desk with cabinets might be the better selection for you. The best folding desks can maximize your workflow and complement your space. 

How we chose the best folding desks

Many of us here at Popular Science have worked remotely in some capacity at one point in our careers, from freelance stints to hybrid office life. Being at a desk so much means we each have a certain set of criteria for a space to do our best work. Some of us need built-in computer risers; others prefer something with lots of storage options. We looked at reviews, peer recommendations, and conducted heavy research—online and amongst ourselves—to find the best folding desks.

The best folding desks: Reviews & Recommendations

The best folding desks combine fashion with function—they should be stylish but not so stylish that they’re more aesthetic than practical. Plus, a fold-up desk should be easy to take down, stash, and stow away. Our choices are just that.

Best overall: Sleekform

Sleekform

SEE IT

Why it made the cut: The wood desk is sleek, simple, and stylish—all things a folding desk should be.

Specs

  • Weight: 23 pounds
  • Dimensions: 47.2 x 23.6 x 30 inches
  • Materials: Metal, wood

Pros

  • Comes fully assembled
  • Legs easy to fold
  • Wood is finished in a scratch-free material

Cons

  • Reviews note that a chemical smell lingers when taking the desk out of the box

Assembling furniture can be complicated, but you won’t have to worry about that with Sleekform’s no-assembly fold-down desk. As the best folding desk overall, this model is durable, lightweight, and easy to put together in any room. Plus, the black metal hairpin-style legs of this folding desk also come with special rubber caps to keep your floors scratch-free while moving it around. The wood table is finished with a three-coat water- and scratch-resistant material, so you don’t have to worry about leaving water marks like other wood-topped desks. The desk measures around 47.2 inches by 23.6 inches by 30 inches of 100% real fir wood and weighs only 24 pounds, which makes it easy to transport. Don’t let its lightness fool you—this desk can hold up to 110 pounds. This model is also large enough to accommodate a second person if you want to set up a simple co-working space. A chemical smell lingers when taking the desk out of the box, but it dissipates and disappears in a few hours.

Best for laptops: Elephance Folding Computer Desk

Elephance

SEE IT

Why it made the cut: This versatile folding desk is great for your laptop and can also be used as kids’ table.

Specs

  • Weight: 24.2 pounds 
  • Dimensions: 29.53 inches H x 19.69 inches W x 39.4 inches D 
  • Materials: Steel, particleboard

Pros

  • Versatile
  • Modern design 
  • No assembly required

Cons

  • No storage space

Need a workspace that doesn’t take up much room? The Elephance Folding Desk is a solid option for laptops. With almost 30 inches across of workspace, you can fit a laptop and accessories easily. Made from steel that’s painted white and particleboard, this desk blends in easily in modern surroundings. It can also double as a table for kids to work on projects. And at 24 pounds, it’s lightweight enough to move from room to room and stores easily.

Best for writing: Tangkula Writing Desk

Tangula

SEE IT

Why it made the cut: Drawers mean you can keep important documents and novel outlines in an organized place, and the fold-down table makes this desk easy to stow in a corner.

Specs

  • Weight: 50 pounds
  • Dimensions: 20 x 41.5 x 29.5 inches
  • Materials: Wood, steel, PVC

Pros

  • Desktop folds for easy storage
  • Drawers open smoothly
  • Desk is on wheels for transport

Cons

  • Can be hard to assemble

Whether you’re a writer by profession or just enjoy sitting down to journal now and again, you can’t go wrong with Tangkula, the best folding desk for writers. This desk has three storage drawers—perfect for keeping all your writing tools nearby in case inspiration strikes. The desk folds in a way that allows you to use it as a nightstand or side table when you’re done writing for the day. The multi-functional feature is a huge plus if you like your furniture to serve several purposes—which ultimately helps save on space. Plus, it’s on wheels, which means you can push it to a new location to get a change of scenery in your own home. Reviews note that this desk takes time to assemble—some estimate it took them between 1-2 hours to put it together. However, you get an incredibly convenient desk once it’s built.

Best for kids: Folding Convertible Writing Computer Desk with Side Shelf and Blackboard

Folding Convertible

SEE IT

Why it made the cut: This combination bookshelf, folding desk, and blackboard is an ingenious use of space for a child’s bedroom or playroom.

Specs

  • Weight: 132 pounds
  • Dimensions: 60.25 inches H x 38.5 inches W x 20 inches D
  • Materials: Particleboard and metal

Pros

  • 2-in-1 design that makes the most of small spaces
  • Built-in bookshelves for storage
  • Shelves can be adjusted to accommodate different sizes

Cons

  • May be too much for someone looking for a simple desk
  • More involved assembly

Space can be at a premium in a child’s room, but this folding computer desk makes the most of the space. It has shelves for storage and a desk that folds out with enough storage for a computer and accessories. As a bonus, this unit also comes with a blackboard to give it a classroom-like feel for family reminders. 

Most sustainable: Eccostyle Solid Bamboo Style Folding Desk

Eccostyle

SEE IT

Why it made the cut: Keep your footprint small with this desk that’s made with an environmentally friendly bamboo frame. 

Specs

  • Weight: 16.3 pounds
  • Dimensions: 29.5 inches H x 31.9 inches W x 22.1 inches D
  • Materials: Bamboo, MDF

Pros

  • Made from sustainable materials
  • Affordable
  • Fits in small spaces

Cons

  • Tiny workspace

If sustainability is your aim when shopping for furniture, this modern-looking bamboo folding desk could fit the bill. The bamboo legs support an MDF workspace with room for a laptop and a few accessories or even a sewing machine. And this small foldaway desk is easy to store. That said, the workspace is somewhat small.

Best drop leaf: Best Choice Products Folding Drop Leaf Desk 

Best Choice Products

SEE IT

Why it made the cut: This desk is designed with a drop leaf that you can use as a small display shelf when it’s folded up.

Specs

  • Weight: 42 pounds 
  • Dimensions: 42 inches L x 19 inches W x 29 inches H
  • Materials: Steel, wood

Pros

  • Easy to assemble 
  • Generous 42-inch workspace 
  • Comes with a drop leaf for extra room

Cons

  • Not much storage 

The Best Choice Products Folding Drop Leaf Desk is utilitarian as they come. Made from steel with a wooden desk, this desk provides a workspace of 42 inches, a back shelf, and has a drop-leaf construction that allows it to be a fold-down desk or a folding desk table. You can also choose from an all-black option or natural/black to best suit the surroundings.

Best for small spaces: 4NM Small Folding Computer Desk

4NM

SEE IT

Why it made the cut: This easy-to-assemble desk computer desk looks modern, comes with seven colorways, and stores easily. 

Specs

  • Weight: 20.9 pounds 
  • Dimensions: 31.5 inches L x 17.72 W x 29.72 inches H
  • Materials: Engineered wood, metal

Pros

  • Works in many homes
  • Easy to assemble
  • Multipurpose

Cons

  • No shelf space

This modern desk is designed for small spaces. Made of metal and engineered wood, this small folding desk provides a workspace of about 31 inches across, which is plenty of room for a laptop or sewing machine. It’s available in eight colorways to suit your space best. You can also order a version that allows for a hanging folder for storage and comes with hooks for earphones and cords.

Best wall-mounted: Haotian Drop Leaf

Why it made the cut: Built-in shelves and a fold-down design make this desk blend into your home like a fly on the wall.

Specs

  • Weight: 28 pounds
  • Dimensions: 18.9 x 35.43 x 14.17 inches
  • Materials: Engineered wood

Pros

  • Saves space
  • Stylish and functional
  • Sturdy

Cons

  • Needs hung properly
  • Assembly required
  • 44-pound load limit

If you’re looking to hold on to every inch of space you possibly can, the Haotian folding desk is a good choice. Since it mounts to the wall, you don’t have to worry about taking up too much room on the ground and there’s the added bonus of having multiple shelves to keep your work tools neat and organized. At 28 pounds, this small foldable desk is on the heavier side, so you should ensure you hang it properly and securely, or else it will end up on the floor. Instead of folding up, which would hide the shelves, it folds down to moonlight as a piece of decor. The desk has a 44-pound load limit, so don’t overload it with monitors or heavy decorative knick-knacks. Assembly is required, and it takes around 1-2 hours to build, per shared user experiences.

Best for laps: SAIJI Lap Desk

Why it made the cut: Work from your bed, couch, or floor with this handy adjustable lap desk. You can also use it to transform your current desk into a standing desk.

Specs

  • Weight: 10 pounds
  • Dimensions: 23.62 x 17.72 x 11.02 inches
  • Materials: PVC leather, steel, aluminum alloy

Pros

  • Easy to adjust
  • Incredibly storable
  • Lightweight to take anywhere

Cons

  • Latch on left side that locks the tray tilt blocks drawer from opening

Whether you’re lounging at home or on the go, the SAIJI Lap Desk makes working much more comfortable with its ergonomic features and stylish design. The desk also features a foldable bookstand, a storage drawer ideal for your mobile device, and a non-slip textured design to keep your laptop in place. It’s also height-adjustable and features two auto-lock buttons on each side to seamlessly switch between five different height levels to find your ideal viewing angle. You can also use it as a cost-effective way to turn your current sit-down desk into a standing one. Simply stow it under your couch or in a closet when you’re done using it for the day. The latch on the left side of the desk that locks the tray tilt also blocks the drawer from opening, reviews note. If this desk doesn’t tickle your fancy, check out our other laptop-friendly desk recommendations.

Best budget: Cubiker

Cubiker

SEE IT

Why it made the cut: This desk is easy to assemble, easy to transport, and easy on your wallet. Talk about a triple threat.

Specs

  • Weight: 23.6 pounds
  • Dimensions: 20 x 40 x 30 inches
  • Materials: Wood; metal

Pros

  • Easy assembly
  • Lots of color options
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Tabletop doesn’t attach to metal frame

The Cubiker folding desk will give you everything you need without emptying your wallet. Although you won’t get extra features, you will get a well-built, collapsible desk that’s easy to set up and store when not in use. The desk also comes in four color options, including black, brown, and white. Plus, it takes less than 5 minutes to assemble—all you need to do is open the frame and plop the tabletop on top. Because of its weight and transportability, this desk is a great option for college students hopping from one on-campus living situation to another, or for transient working post-grads. However, if you’re worried that the tabletop will fall off the frame, or want to use this desk in your permanent workspace, you might need to attach Velcro strips or something to secure the tabletop to the frame. Here are more narrow desks to consider.

What to consider when buying the best folding desks

Once you’ve established that folding furniture is the way to go for your small space, there are a few factors to consider when choosing the ideal model for you. First of all, be realistic about just how much space you have. Is there enough to comfortably fit a standing desk, or would a portable desk—like the ultra-slim but extremely stylish and sturdy, fabricated-to-order Hoek Home Office Desk—work better? Next, think about your budget. Can you afford to splurge on something like the aforementioned Hoek Home tabletop, or are you looking for a less expensive option? What about a desk that requires little to no assembly? Is the ability to quickly set up or store away your desk important? Keep reading to find out our top choices.

Easy assembly

At first glance, the Sleekform Folding Desk is beautiful, with its rustic tabletop and hairpin legs, but what really makes it special is its no-assembly required design. The fold-out desk comes ready to use straight out of the box. All you have to do is carefully unfold the four metal legs and flip the table over, then fold up and slide it into storage when you’re done. That’s it, no tools or heavy lifting required.

Computer desk or a writing desk

A huge part of finding the best option is knowing exactly what you’ll use it for once it arrives. If you’re looking for a great folding computer desk, look no further than the Elephance Folding Computer Desk. Meanwhile, the Tangkula Folding Writing Desk is great for literary types.

Space

Another great way to maximize space is by picking up a small, wall-mounted folding model. Consider desks that screw into the wall and fold up. This desk is mounted to the wall by two large brackets. You’re still getting a lot of real estate, as well as integrated shelves for plenty of extra storage space. Plus, when the desk isn’t being used, you can fold it flat onto itself while still keeping the shelves on display.

Portability

Lap desks offer the best of both worlds in a sleek and stylish form. As the name suggests, you can use this model while lounging on the couch, but it can also be a great travel desk to take with you. The ability to customize the height and viewing angles makes the desk more ergonomic—which is always a plus when working long hours. Finally, this folding lap desk takes up very little space and can easily be stored in a closet or under your bed until the next time you’re ready to use it.

Price

When you hear the term “budget-friendly,” you might quickly assume that the item will be poorly made and you’d be better off with a more costly option. However, there are quite a few decent budget-friendly folding desks on the market, like the Cubiker folding desk, which is also easy to assemble.

When selecting a budget folding desk, you shouldn’t expect too many frills or extra features compared to a folding computer desk. These cheaper desks are usually fairly simple in design and offer basic functionality. Another drawback with a desk in the lower price range is that you may not get the best quality wood. However, if you’re careful and don’t plan on using the desk outdoors, you should be fine with a less expensive model.

FAQs

Q: How much is a folding desk?

Our picks start at about $60 and range up to $230 for a combination folding desk and bookshelf. The materials used, features, and the size of the desk are some of the main factors in the prices of the best folding desks.

Q: How do I choose a folding desk?

Choosing a folding desk comes down to your personal preference and lifestyle needs. Take a moment to consider how you’ll be using your new piece of office furniture and how much space you have to accommodate, then make your decision based on those main factors.

Q: What material is best for a folding table?

Hands down, the best material for a folding table is wood. This could be high-quality hardwood or something more affordable, like particleboard. One thing to keep in mind: If you’ll be using your folding table outside, you’ll want to stick with a solid wood, as particleboard is susceptible to moisture.

Q: How much weight can a folding desk hold?

The weight a folding desk can hold will vary depending on the type of desk and the material used to make it. For example, a solid wood desk, like the Sleekform option listed above, can hold over 100 pounds.

Q: What are the benefits of foldable furniture?

Foldable furniture is ideal for people who live in small spaces, who like to move their workspaces around, have limited storage, and who are not looking to spend a lot of money.

Final thoughts on the best folding desks

There is no one-size-fits-all approach when choosing the best folding desk. It all comes down to what you’re looking for and how it can best fit into your lifestyle and routine. Ideally, you want your folding desk to enhance your overall work experience without adding extra clutter in your space—whether that’s reducing neck and back pain or allowing you to relax on the couch during your next Zoom meeting.