Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
Searching for a new lap desk? Our team of experts researched the market before purchasing 11 of the best models to test against each other in a head-to-head comparison. With more people than ever working from home, the right lap desk can help transform a bed, sofa, or table into a comfortable and productive workspace. There are so many options on the market, making it challenging to decide which style or design features would suit you best. After putting our lineup to the test while hosting virtual client meetings, taking graduate school classes, writing reports, and editing photos, we're here to help you decide which product is right for you.
This review covers the best lap desks, some of which double as standing desks when used in tandem with a kitchen table or in your home office. While lap desks are more versatile, we also do extensive testing of standing desk converters as well.
Editor's Note: This article was updated on June 30, 2022, to ensure our selection was still current; we removed one discontinued lap desk.
Heavier and more awkward to transport than most others
The Saiji Laptop Bed Tray is one of our favorite lap desks. The XL version that we tested is solidly built and has an oversized desk area with plenty of room for your laptop, books, notebooks, and other supplies. It's wide enough to be comfortable working on a couch, on a bed, standing at a table, or even on the floor. The adjustable legs keep the desk from resting directly on your lap while providing a stable platform on many surfaces. The lap desk is easily adjustable with a wide array of options, including tilt angle and height, which are controlled by a simple button push. Even when fully loaded, this desk was a breeze to adjust. Some additional perks include a removable book stand, a removable laptop support ledge, and a synthetic leather desktop covering.
While we appreciated the wide, supportive legs and large desktop surface area, these features do create some drawbacks. At almost eight pounds, the XL size Saiji Laptop Tray is one of the heaviest models we tested. Additionally, while the legs will fold flat against the desk, it is still more unwieldy than most other desks in our lineup. Finally, it is one of the most expensive models in our review, though we believe it also delivers higher performance than the less expensive models. If you are looking for a larger desktop area in a highly adjustable package with several high-end features, we'd steer you towards the Saiji.
The Wishacc Home Office Bamboo desk uses high-quality materials and construction to create a simple and convenient desk space. Sporting a more traditional padded lap desk design, this model nonetheless stands out due to its solid bamboo surface, high-quality adjustable padding, and well-executed design details, including a laptop support ledge and phone tray. The padding is foldable and helps dissipate heat buildup while providing a slight tilt that can improve comfort and ergonomics. When it's time to move to another room or out of the house, its carry handle and reasonable weight make it a convenient portable option.
While the Wishacc Bamboo lap desk is better than most traditional padded models at preventing heat buildup, it still falls short of tray-style models that keep the desk off your lap entirely. Additionally, its padded design cannot compare to the wide range of ergonomic adjustments available from systems with fully adjustable height and tilt angle options. However, those more adjustable options tend to weigh quite a bit more and can be more complicated to set up, adjust, and pack away. So the Wishacc remains our top choice for those looking for a simple, portable, and high-quality lap desk.
Larger set of rubber feet don't fit in the storage drawer
The Nnewvante Bamboo Laptop Desk is an attractive and versatile option. It boasts a durable, full bamboo construction with adjustable height legs that allow for ergonomic sitting and standing positions. Rubber feet attachments help to keep the desk stable on various surfaces. Further enhancing comfort, the desktop surface can be tilted up to approximately 45 degrees, allowing you to adjust to positions on the couch, on a bed, or on the floor. This model sports extra features like a storage drawer and a removable laptop support ledge, making it an overall versatile and efficient workspace.
While the Nnewvante has excellent build quality in an attractive overall design, it doesn't quite match some performance features of models utilizing higher-tech materials. We love the drawer feature; however, it was rather sticky upon arrival. We took a moment to treat it with dry lube, and now it glides open easily. Adjusting the legs can be more tedious on this model than on more modern designs, as you will need to loosen and tighten four different adjustment dials rather than hitting a simple button. Also, this larger desk with a full bamboo build weighs more than several of the models we tested. However, those who appreciate the natural aesthetic and durability of bamboo construction will find this versatile desk worth a closer look.
With a lightweight design, comfortable microbead filling, and a variety of fun patterns and colors all at an affordable price, the LapGear Designer With Phone Holder desk provides excellent bang for the buck. The microbead filling is flexible enough to conform to your body and provides a more comfortable and stable platform than other designs with denser padding. The lightweight design is easy to transport with a built-in carry handle, and the colors and patterns allow you to add a touch of personal flair to your home office.
The LapGear Designer's microbead filling does a reasonable job at mitigating heat buildup but doesn't completely prevent it. Any model that sits directly on your lap will likely eventually suffer from heat buildup. And while we appreciated the lightweight design, we found that the desktop laminate material isn't as durable as we had hoped, as we found a few small gouges and chips forming during our testing period. This model still became one of our preferred desks during testing because of its comfortable padding material and simple and lightweight design. Users looking for an affordable option that is easy to use and easy to transport will appreciate this model.
Scissor-style legs allow for a wide range of adjustments
Includes removable, ambidextrous mouse platform
Prevents heat buildup on your lap
REASONS TO AVOID
Legs are less stable than other adjustable models
Smaller overall desktop surface
Shorter ledge may not support larger laptops
With three different adjustment points on each leg, the Uncaged Ergonomics Workez Best Laptop Stand can be configured in many ergonomic work positions, earning it recognition as the most adjustable design that we tested. A simple button push releases each of the three adjustment dials on each leg, allowing adjustment for sitting on a couch or bed or for standing at a table. The aluminum desktop surface helps prevent heat buildup and can be tilted at an angle or positioned flat. A detachable mousepad can be moved to either the left or right-hand sides and includes an independent tilt adjustment to keep the mousepad level regardless of the desktop tilt position.
While this design allows for impressive height and tilt-angle configurations, we found a bit of a learning curve to get the adjustments just right. As you raise or lower the legs, it can be challenging to get the angles properly aligned to prevent an imbalance. We also found the legs to be somewhat wobbly, especially as the desk is elevated, and the adjustment dials also make an audible click that could annoy partners or colleagues in a quiet work environment. Nevertheless, this model was still one of our favorites for dialing in an ergonomic work position for those long workdays or study sessions.
Why You Should Trust Us
Our team of testers ditch their home office set-ups for weeks on end to hands-on test lap desks. Performing 108 individual tests to evaluate 11 models that we have tested over the last few years has given us a great idea of what works and what doesn't. From initial setup to working eight-hour days with each model, we actively and passively evaluate every lap desk in our review evenly. We test each model with a 14-inch Macbook Pro laptop, a modern 15-inch HP laptop, an old, clunky, 16-inch Dell laptop, various notebooks or textbooks, and even breakfast in bed, complete with waffles and mimosas. We spend equal time with every model on couches, beds, and even floors. Our legged models also get some table time in place of our stand-up desks, which generally is a far less expensive and more versatile option. Our extensive hands-on testing helps us make specific recommendations to fit your needs.
Our lap desk team consists of Nick Bruckbauer and Hayley Thomas. Nick studied civil engineering and brings a technical and scientific eye to the testing of all products, even ones as simple as lap desks. He and his wife both work from a small apartment which means that setting up and breaking down their office space is key. Hayley, on the other hand, lives in a converted sprinter van. As a van-dwelling nomadic writer, she spends more time on her laptop in her bed than most people and therefore offers a very practical perspective on the performance of items like lap desks.
Analysis and Test Results
As we put each lap desk to the test, we paid particular attention to five distinct performance metrics: comfort, stability and adjustability, build quality, features, and portability. We weighed each model's performance across each metric to determine our overall rankings, but we recommend that you pay closer attention to the performance metrics that are more important to you to help you find the right product for your needs.
To assess value, we consider how well each product performs in relation to its price point. Just because something is expensive does not automatically mean it is high quality. More expensive models come with a higher level of adjustability. They also tend to be more feature-rich. Some examples of these features are drawers, cup holders, cooling slits, cooling fans, and USB ports. If those higher-priced features are what you are looking for, then the value of the more expensive options goes up. We are here to help you find the right option for your budget and needs.
If you are in the market for an adjustable yet budget-friendly option, the Nnewvante is the cream of the crop. Not only is it adjustable and comfortable but this all-wood desk is far from an eyesore. You can stretch your savings further by foregoing the legged models. These are typically less expensive than their competition with adjustable legs and have strong long-term value due to their simple design that's unlikely to have issues down the road. Of these more truly lap desks, we recommend the LapGear Designer model for covering your basics at a bargain price.
We used each lap desk for hours on end, ensuring that we paid close attention to the differences in comfort. From the couch to the bed, and the floor to our living room table, we monitored whether the padding conformed to our lap or caused any uncomfortable pressure points, how quickly heat builds up or is able to be dissipated, and if the desk allowed for an ergonomic body position or caused any strain in the neck or shoulders.
The shining stars in comfort are the table-style designs with adjustable legs and adjustable tilt angles. These adjustment features help keep the desk from making direct contact with your lap, allowing your legs to move around independently of the desk, and prevent heat buildup on your lap during long work or study sessions.
The Saiji Laptop Bed Tray makes it easy to dial in a comfortable work position no matter where you're stationed. The leg height and desktop tilt angle can each be adjusted with a simple flip of a lever, even when the desk is already loaded with your gear.
Similarly, the Nnewvante Bamboo Laptop Desk, Nearpow Laptop Bed Tray, and Uncaged Ergonomics Workez all score well in this metric with their adjustable heights and tabletop tilt angles. These designs help you achieve an ergonomic work position and prevent heat buildup by keeping the desk from making direct contact with your lap.
Of the traditional padded desks that sit directly on your lap, the Wishacc Home Office Bamboo and the LapGear Designer are the most comfortable. The Wishacc Bamboo has an adjustable padding feature that helps enhance airflow underneath the desk. It also provides a slight boost in height that can help you adjust your posture and potentially reduce strain on your back or neck during long work sessions. The LapGear Designer has a soft microbead filling that nicely conforms to your lap for a snug and comfortable fit and does a reasonable job of preventing heat buildup, even though the material is in direct contact with your lap.
Stability and Adjustability
While working from the comfort of your bed, a couch, on the floor, or at a table probably isn't as ergonomically correct as sitting at a proper desk workspace, an adjustable lap desk can help mitigate poor posture and can put your body in a more comfortable and efficient work position.
Designs with adjustable heights and tilting desktops provide greater versatility and can potentially reduce the strain on your eyes, neck, back, or shoulders from long work sessions. Having a stable desk is essential, especially if it's adjustable. No matter how comfortable or adjustable a desk is, it won't perform as well if it's wobbly or always toppling over.
Similar to our comfort metric, the adjustable table-style desks are the highest performers regarding adjustability. However, there is a more significant spread when it comes to stability. The top-ranked Saiji Laptop Bed Tray is one of the most adjustable and most stable models we tested. The tilt angle and height are easily adjustable, and large feet provide a stable and robust base that holds steady even on irregular surfaces.
The Nearpow Laptop Bed Tray has a similar highly adjustable design, but the hardware doesn't glide quite as smoothly as the Saiji. The legs also aren't quite as stable. The Nnewvante and the Moclever Laptop Table do a good job of balancing adjustability and stability. The Uncaged Ergonomics Workez is one of the most adjustable designs but struggles a bit with wobbly legs compared to the others.
Traditional lap desks with a simple desktop with a padded base typically aren't very adjustable but are usually quite stable. The LapGear Designer has one of the most secure designs with a microbead filling that does a great job of conforming to the shape of your lap. The Wishacc Bamboo strikes a nice balance between adjustability and stability with the firm and stable foam padding that can be folded out for a slight height and tilt angle adjustment. The Mind Reader is one of the only designs we've seen with a padded bottom and an adjustable desktop tilt angle, but it isn't as stable as others with its narrow bolstered padding design.
Though many lap desks might look similar at first glance, consistent long-term performance can be impacted by materials and construction quality that may not be visible or immediately apparent. We paid close attention to differences in materials, hardware quality, seam reinforcements, and execution of design details throughout our testing period.
Standing out once again is the Saiji Laptop Bed Tray with its strong, stable, smoothly operating legs and sizeable synthetic leather-covered desktop surface.
With their bamboo construction, the Nnewvante, Songmics and the Wishacc desks also offer excellent build quality. The Wishacc model separates itself from other traditional padded designs with its sturdy bamboo desktop material, dense padding, and robust fabric, while the Songmics and Nnewvant are entirely constructed from bamboo. These products are a bit heavier than many of their similarly designed competitors, but their quality and attention to detail are apparent.
Finally, the Nearpow Laptop Bed Tray has a straightforward bed table design that is well-constructed, with fewer features and moving parts than many other options. Those looking for a simple and user-friendly design that is easily adjustable for various positions will appreciate this model.
A lap desk's primary function is to provide a stable and uniform work surface while sitting in various positions. Many products also include additional features that add extra value or convenience. Most models have a built-in laptop ledge to support your computer and a phone tray to hold a phone or tablet upright and within easy reach. More fully-featured designs might include an additional book holder, a storage drawer, or even an LED light, cooling fan, or USB outlet.
The Moclever Laptop Table stands out as the most fully-featured model in our lineup. It includes adjustable height legs, a two-piece adjustable tilting desktop, fold-out laptop support tabs, a built-in LED light, a built-in laptop cooling fan, and a USB charging strip. The LED light, cooling fan, and USB strip can be activated with alkaline batteries or by connecting the included USB cord directly to your laptop. Unfortunately, we could not get the USB power strip to charge or even register on our mobile device.
Three of the highest-rated models we tested — the Saiji, Nnewvante, and Songmics-- also have an extensive range of useful features. These three models have a wide range of height and desktop tilt adjustments, a removable laptop support ledge, and built-in storage drawers. The Nnewvante also includes removable rubber feet for a more secure stance on slick surfaces. The Saiji model also includes a handy book holder to keep your textbooks or reference manuals open and within easy viewing distance. The Songmics shines brightly with a drawer that glides open with ease, a recessed cup spot for your coffee mug, and slits in the tabletop to allow your laptop to vent heat away from it.
The Wishacc Home Office Bamboo is noteworthy among the more traditional padded desk models with its adjustable fold-out padding design. A rectangular piece of padding either sits flush with the rest of the padding to create a level bottom pad or can fold out towards the top end of the desk to add some height and desktop tilt and increase the airflow under the desktop. Well-executed features like a carry handle, stable laptop support ledge, and useful phone and pen holder make the Wishacc our favorite traditional padded lap desk.
Our portability evaluation turns the tables on many of the larger, more durable, and more fully-featured lap desks and tends to favor the simpler, lighter, more affordable options. Not everyone wants to go through the trouble of setting up and adjusting a table across your lap or hauling around a heavier or more awkward piece of furniture.
Not surprisingly, some of the lightest and most affordable models we tested are also the most portable. The Mind Reader and LapGear Designer both weigh around two pounds, have reasonable but not oversized desktop dimensions, and include a built-in carrying handle for easy transport. These designs would be convenient for carrying from room to room at home, from your dorm to campus, or from your office to the conference room. They hardly require any setup time and are easy to escape from when you need to get up and move around.
Similarly, the LapGear Home Office Pro and Wishacc Home Office Bamboo are almost as portable, with built-in carry handles but weigh a little more (around three pounds each) and are slightly bulkier with larger desktop dimensions.
All of the adjustable height desks that we reviewed score lower in this metric because of their heavier weights, more complicated designs, and lack of built-in carry handles. However, each of these models folds down into a pretty low profile shape and can easily be stored under the bed, in a closet, or in the trunk of your car. It is also worth noting that the Nnewvante has a secure clip for the legs and tabletop, so while it is bulky, nothing flops around during transport.
Lap desks are an essential piece of home office equipment for many. This is especially true for people who live in smaller spaces and don't have a dedicated desk or home office space. A high-quality lap desk can provide a comfortable base to work on, a more uniform work surface, a more ergonomic body position, and can help prevent your computer from heating up your lap. Our review highlights the best options available, whether you're looking for a simple design to place on your lap or a heavier-duty and more adjustable model to improve your ergonomics or use while standing. We hope this review helps you find the right product to enhance your home-office experience.
Looking to mix it up with a new desktop fan? We bought and...
Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.
GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.