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The verdict is in on sitting all day: It’s not good for you—but a portable desk can help. 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 chose 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.

The 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 a portable computer desk. Also, a change of scenery can help stimulate creativity beyond the health benefits.

Best overall: Vivo Standing Desk



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


  • Material: Wood, metal
  • Dimensions: 31.5″D x 31.5″W x 31.3″H
  • Weight: 22 pounds


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


  • 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 seven colors and five widths, from 26 to 42 inches.

Most adjustable: Lillipad Work Station

Jen McCaffery


Why it made the cut: This substantial workstation can support two monitors plus a comprehensive computer and accessories surface. It comes ready to go out of the box, easily lifts to standing, and is designed with wheels for portability.


  • Material: Steel and composite
  • Dimensions: 42 x 46.25 x 24 inches
  • Weight: 67 pounds


  • Comes fully assembled
  • Provides generous workspace
  • Designed with integrated power strip
  • Portable


  • Heavy 
  • Expensive

If you’re looking for a substantial portable desk that will provide maximum adjustability, consider the Lillipad Work Station. This electric desk is available in two versions that rise to 42 inches or 48 inches (recommended for people 5’9” and taller), allowing users to stand. At 67 pounds and 72 pounds, each and with metal legs, these portable desks with wheels can also support a full workstation.

A key feature is that the Lillipad comes fully assembled. When the UPS man delivered the box to my apartment, he struggled to get it up the steps. But once I got it out of the box, it was easy to start using the Lillipad 42. I used two wheels to move it in place, plugged it in, unlocked the safety lock, and used the buttons in the righthand corner of the desk to raise and lower it. The 46-inch wide workspace provided more than enough room for my equipment, and if you have a single monitor or two monitors, you can purchase stands for either separately from Lillipad. 

The workstation also features an integrated power system with three outlets, three USB ports, and one USB-C port, so you can plug everything in and charge your devices. When I was done working, it was easy to lower the desk to its lowest height of 6 inches for storage. That said, while this workstation is designed with portability in mind, it’s worth noting that, at about 70 pounds, you’ll need to lift them carefully, and it’s not going to be easy just to toss one into the back of your car.

Best lap desk: Cooper Mega Table for Bed & Sofa



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


  • Materials: MDF wood, aluminum alloy, polycarbonate, silicon
  • Dimensions: 19.3″D x 25.6″W x 10.6″H
  • Weight: 26.6 pounds


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


  • 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, making this option an ideal portable writing desk. 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



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


  • Materials: Engineered wood and alloy steel
  • Dimensions: 23.6″D x 45.3″W x 23.6″H
  • Weight: 26 pounds


  • Standing and seated 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


  • Instructions need work
  • Tilting isn’t perfectly balanced

Made of steel and wood, this ergonomic 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 portable adjustable 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 a portable rolling desk that fits your aesthetic.

Best foldable desk: Need Foldable Writing Desk



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


  • Materials: Engineered wood and alloy steel
  • Dimensions: 15.75″D x 31.5″W x 29.25″H
  • Weight: 17.9 pounds


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


  • Legs sometimes uneven/wobble

A stylish wood finish gives this folding desk a great look. This collapsible portable desk is 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



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


  • Materials: Aluminum
  • Dimensions: 16.54″W x 10.24″D x 1.97″H
  • Weight: 3.3 pounds


  • Adjustable
  • Ergonomic
  • Ventilation holes for laptop heat dissipation


  • 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 little if you need to sprawl out notes across your desk. However, if you’re short on space, this is the smart portable desk for you.

Best full-sized premium desk: Hoek Home Office Desk

Tony Ware


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.


  • Materials: Birch or walnut plywood, recycled plastic
  • Dimensions: 47.5″L x 23″W x 30″H
  • Weight: 42 pounds


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


  • 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 47.5 inches long by 23 inches wide by 30 inches high, 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 (wide enough to fit the vivid vista that is the 34-inch Samsung OLED G8, as seen here), keyboard under-shelf, and/or a headphones/bag hook (or buy it all upfront as a discounted bundle). That would allow you also to use this as a portable gaming desk. 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



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


  • Materials: Plastic, fabric
  • Dimensions: 10″D x 13.7″W x 2″H
  • Weight: .66 pounds


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


  • Cheap

This lightweight lap desk will keep your computer and your legs from overheating. This portable travel desk is 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. LapGear also has a pro model with luxury features like a built-in mouse pad and wrist rest if you’re working with a larger device.

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.


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?


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.


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.

Your 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).


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.


Q: How much does a portable desk cost?

Our selections range from $12 to more than $1,100, 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: How big should a portable laptop desk be?

The size of a portable laptop desk depends on what you plan to include in your workspace. A heavy-duty portable desk like the Lillipad Work Station can support two monitors, plus a desktop, keyboard, and other equipment, but it can weight 67 or 72 pounds, depending on which model you choose. Meanwhile, the LapGear Essential Lap Desk weighs less than a pound and is great for working on the go, on the couch, or in bed.

Q: What makes these desks portable?

Most are lightweight, making them easy to move from room to room. That said, an option like the Lillipad Work Station is more substantial at 67 pounds but is designed with wheels for transport and storage.

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

You definitely can put a computer on a portable desk. That said, some 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.

Final thoughts on 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. With a deal that’s easy to transport, you can turn any room or outdoor space into an office that lets you do your work efficiently and effectively.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.