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Updated Nov 23, 2022 8:19 AM

The verdict is in on sitting at one immobile desk all day: It’s not good for you. Having to stay seated in one location all day wrecks your back and overall health. Getting up on your feet and gaining the ability to move around will make you healthier and create a happier, more flexible work environment. Whether working from home, in an office, or on the go, a portable desk allows you to set up shop anywhere. Every space will have demands, so here’s how to find the best portable desk for your setup.

How we selected the best portable desks

We work, and we work till we know what works. As a remote-first office, we’ve tried many portable desks around our own homes and asked coworkers and peers for recommendations. We scrolled through specs and critical perspectives and combined that research with real-world user impressions to find the best portable desks we could stand (or sit) behind.

Best portable desks: Reviews & Recommendations

When we’re stuck in one place, work—or life, for that matter—can become repetitive, hurting our productivity. Neither sitting nor standing for hours throughout the day isn’t great for your overall health, so how about having the ability to move where you work? Feel healthier and more comfortable while you work with the best portable desks. Also, a change of scenery can help stimulate creativity beyond the health benefits.

Best overall: Vivo Standing Desk

Amazon

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Why it made the cut: This space-efficient desk riser allows on-demand standing without needing an outlet or expanding your workstation.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 31.5″D x 31.5″W x 31.3″H

Pros

  • Room for laptop and monitor
  • Wide keyboard tray
  • Lift-assist mechanism
  • Minimal assembly

Cons

  • Hydraulics can be sticky/inconsistent

This adjustable standing desk is a great portable option that is strong enough to support up to 33 pounds. The double-tier workstation also means it’s great for people who use a mouse, keyboard, second monitor, or need some extra space for papers. If you want one surface, the keyboard tray is removable. The Lift Assist mechanism allows you to rotate from sitting and standing mode—4.5-20 inches—easily throughout the day. It’s available in four colors and 32- or 38-inch widths.

Best lap desk: Cooper Mega Table for Bed & Sofa

Amazon

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Why it made the cut: If you need space for a laptop and open book, whether you might need to work or study, XXL mega table is for you.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 19.3″D x 25.6″W x 10.6″H

Pros

  • Extra-large surface area
  • Perfect for the floor, couch, or counter
  • Foldable legs for storage
  • Ergonomic edges and carrying handle

Cons

  • May be tall for children/those with short torsos

The smart design of this folding lap desk means it takes up very little space and allows you to lay out all you need for the day. The large surface area and 11-inch leg height allow you to lie in bed without needing to place the desk on your legs. Beyond that, a handy side drawer gives additional space for your pens, pencils, and notebooks. This portable laptop desk can be propped up on a countertop, and you have a standing desk as well. A groove in the back lets you set up your phone or tablet.

Best rolling desk: Sdadi Standing Desk

Amazon

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Why it made the cut: Easily assembled and moved around, this wheeled adjustable desk fits whether you stand or sit.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 23.6″D x 45.3″W x 23.6″H

Pros

  • Standing & seating modes
  • 2-inch ABS mute wheels with locking function for maneuverability
  • Easy to install, can be finished in 15-20 minutes by one person with attached tools

Cons

  • Instructions need work
  • Tilting isn’t perfectly balanced

Made of steel and wood, this great portable desk allows you to stand or sit with the ability to move your desk anywhere you please. The height can be adjusted between 27.5 to 45.3 inches. The desk’s durable, lockable 2-inch wheels make it super easy to move on carpet, wood, or floor materials. This option is easy to install, and there are four styles available, so you’ll be able to find one that fits your aesthetic.

Best foldable desk: Need Foldable Writing Desk

Amazon

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Why it made the cut: With no assembly required, this foldable writing table is sturdy and perfect for a home office/dormitory.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 15.75″D x 31.5″W x 29.25″H

Pros

  • 4.5 inches, convenient for storing
  • High-strength, thick powder-coated steel tubing
  • Scratch-resistant surface
  • Adjustable leg pads

Cons

  • Legs sometimes uneven/wobble

A stylish wood finish gives this folding desk a great look. It’s lightweight but made of quality steel components, so you’ll be folding it away for years to come. An ideal option for those with heavier desktop computers or additional weight on their desks, it can support up to 220 pounds. Conveniently adjustable leg pads allow it to be propped to the right height.

Best compact desk: Rainbean Portable Workstation

Amazon

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Why it made the cut: With multiple configurations, this table lets you work comfortably whether sitting, standing, or lying on your back.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 16.54″W x 10.24″D x 1.97″H

Pros

  • Adjustable
  • Ergonomic
  • Ventilation holes for laptop heat dissipation

Cons

  • Not padded
  • Poor instructions booklet

We love how small this portable workstation is. It boils your desk down into the essentials and can fit a mouse and laptop easily. This compact desk gives you full control and flexibility to work in the most comfortable position possible. This may be too small if you need to sprawl out notes across your desk. However, if you’re short on space, this is the portable desk for you.

Best full-sized premium desk: Hoek Home Office Desk

Hoek

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Why it made the cut: Fabricated-to-order and hand-finished before being flat-packed, this quality carpentry is a modular, minimalist workstation that’s up and running within seconds of arrival.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 47.5″L x 23″W x 30″H

Pros

  • Quick assembly
  • Can be hung from the included mountable wall cleat
  • Sustainably sourced materials
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Hanging requires drilling in a wall mount

If you’re looking for more surface area for work but have limited working space, Brooklyn, NY-based Hoek designs, machines, and hand-finishes quick-assembly furnishings that arrive flat-packed and can hang flat on a wall (mountable wall cleat included). Ultra-slim but extremely sturdy, the 42-pound fabricated-to-order tabletop (sustainably sourced maple or natural birch plywood, with a black colorway option) sits atop modular 100% recycled HDPE plastic legs that click in or out in seconds (no tools required) and store on the chassis’ underbelly when not in use. Measuring L 47.5″ x W 23″ x H 30″, with an integrated handle, the Home Office Desk offers a stylish, easily moveable workstation. And suppose later you want it further kitted out. In that case, you can purchase a perfectly paired CNC-meets-carpentry creation, including a monitor shelf, keyboard under-shelf, and/or a headphones/bag hook (or buy it all upfront as a discounted bundle). At $495 ($795 for the bundle), the Hoek Home Office Desk costs far more than the other options in this roundup. Still, you’re buying creative, quality craftsmanship with a lifetime warranty that makes your workspace look appealing, not just practical.

Best budget: LapGear Essential Lap Desk

Amazon

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Why it made the cut: An inexpensive way to keep your lap, and laptop, properly ventilated while working wherever you feel like sitting.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 10″D x 13.7″W x 2″H

Pros

  • Cheap & compact
  • Easily carried and stored
  • Good for children & adults

Cons

  • Cheap

This lightweight lap desk will keep your computer and your legs from overheating. It’s available in six colors, from basic black to bright turquoise, which is a nice plus when setting up portable desks for the whole family. It fits up a laptop up to 13.3 inches, so make sure you’re buying a surface that works for your computer. If you’re working with a larger device, LapGear has a pro model that includes some luxury features like a built-in mouse pad and wrist rest.

What to consider when buying the best portable desk

Creating a workspace anywhere is super helpful today, where it’s not uncommon to be working from home. The problem is, we don’t all have extra space to turn a room into a properly kitted-out office. What to do? Using a portable desk, you can create a workspace anywhere and get back to what you need to do. Bedrooms, sofas, and yards are all fair game when setting up a portable desk.

For those looking for the ease of working from bed, a lap desk can easily be set up after you’ve hit snooze a few too many times and transport you into your next conference call. If you have minimal space, you may want a standing desk extension that can be put onto a countertop.

Looking for a laptop desk for bed?

It’s great to work from an extremely comfortable location like your bed. Work guilt-free by setting up a fully functioning laptop desk for your bed. Working on a bed or sofa can also ease the strain of sitting at a desk all day. You’ll be able to prop up a notebook, lay out your laptop, scatter some snacks, and do most things you would on any other kind of desk. It’s also ideal for days off—who wants to crane their neck to watch a movie or YouTube video when the laptop could just be propped up closer to eye level?

How easily can I move my portable desk?

One of the biggest benefits of a portable desk is that it allows you to set up an office in various rooms. Do you need to be seated at your desk one moment and then rearrange the space to make room for a photo shoot later in the day? Look to a portable desk on wheels for those who want to switch their workspace daily. You won’t have to lift it, so it’ll be friendlier on your back and let you transfer your gear from room to room without removing it from the desk’s surface.

Do you need to put your desk away at the end of the day?

If you’re setting up a home office, the last thing you want to do is turn valuable home space into a room that will only be used when you’re on the clock. A foldable desk is one of the best portable desks that allows you to create a multi-functional room in seconds.

With foldable legs, you can slide your desk conveniently under a bed or sofa to maximize space. Think about your options when turning your daytime office into a game room, study, or guest room.

Need a portable workstation that can fit into a compact space?

You’ll want to create a portable workstation within the room’s framework for the most compact spaces. A desk that clips onto an existing table can add extra functionality to a space, and easily move with you from room to room. Make sure to look for ventilation holes to allow airflow within your laptop (and keep your legs from overheating if you choose a lap desk).

Best portable desk on a budget: What you can get for under $15

If the price is a factor, you can still get the best portable desk without sacrificing quality. For most jobs, you need a surface for your laptop. If that sounds like your job, a basic lap desk is a great option that will allow you to use your computer or take some notes while sitting on a seat, sofa, or bed.

FAQs

Q: How much does a portable desk cost?

Our selections range from $15 to $500, depending on the size and quality you’re searching for.

Q: How do I choose a portable desk?

To pick the best portable desk for you, it’s best to define how you’d like to use it. Decide if you want to be standing or sitting, lying in bed, or sitting on the floor. Once you know this, you can find the desk that will work in your space.

Q: What makes these desks portable?

Most are lightweight, making it easy to move from room to room.

Q: Can I put my computer on a portable desk?

You definitely can set up your desk like you would in a static office. That said, some of the portable desks designed for laps won’t work well with desktop computers. as they will likely be too heavy. All portable desks can hold laptops, notebooks, iPads, and more.

The final word on shopping for the best portable desks

Gain the freedom to set up your workspace anywhere by getting the best portable desk. Consider a lap desk with vented airflow if you prefer to sit, or a standing option with wheels for easy mobility. Turn any room or outdoor space into an office that allows you to get your work done efficiently and effectively.