Best Lap Desk of 2020
The SAIJI Laptop Bed Tray earns our top honor as our favorite overall lap desk with its colossal desktop size, wide range of adjustment, and high-end build quality. The adjustable legs keep the desk from resting directly on your lap and provide a stable platform that is reliable on various surfaces. The desktop height and tilt angle can easily be adjusted with a simple push of a button, even when the desk is fully loaded. It also provides a wide enough range to be comfortable working on a couch or bed, on the floor, or standing at a table. Additional features include a removable book stand, a removable laptop support ledge, and a synthetic leather desktop covering. The oversized version (size XL) that we tested has plenty of room to hold your laptop, books, notebooks, and other supplies.
Our testers appreciated the wide, supportive legs and the large desktop surface, but these features come with some tradeoffs. The SAIJI Laptop Tray is one of the heaviest models that we tested, weighing in at almost eight pounds in size XL. Even though the legs fold flat against the desk, it is still more cumbersome to haul around than most other desks in our lineup. It is also one of the priciest models we tested, although we believe that it delivers a higher level of performance than all others we tested, too. Users looking for a large desktop area, a wide range of adjustment, and an assortment of high-end features should check out this model.
The Wishacc Home Office Bamboo desk combines high-quality materials and construction in a simple yet well-executed design. With a solid bamboo desktop surface, high-quality adjustable padding, and well-designed details like a laptop support ledge and phone tray, this model stands out among similarly designed traditional padded lap desks. The foldable padding helps dissipate built up heat and allows a slight tilt of the desktop surface to improve comfort and ergonomics. A carry handle and a reasonable weight make it easy to haul from the living room to the bedroom or from home to campus or the office.
The Wishacc Bamboo model does better than most traditional padded styles at preventing heat buildup with its adjustable padding but still falls well short of tray-style models that keep the desk entirely off your lap. And while the padding design provides a little bit of height and tilt angle adjustment, it doesn't compare to the variety of ergonomic positions that can be achieved by systems with fully adjustable leg heights and desktop angles. While those models provide more adjustability, they typically weigh nearly twice as much and are more complicated to set up, properly adjust, and take down. For a simple design that is more portable, easy to use, and doesn't sacrifice build quality, the Wishacc is our top choice.
With a handsome and durable full bamboo construction, the Nnewvante Bamboo Laptop Desk is a simple, versatile, and relatively affordable option. The adjustable-height legs allow for comfortable ergonomics while either sitting or standing, and the rubber feet attachments help keep things stable on various surfaces. The main desktop surface can also be tilted by up to approximately 45 degrees, allowing for a comfortable work position, whether on the couch, on a bed, or on the floor. Extra features like a storage drawer and a removable laptop support ledge add to the utility and versatility.
The Nnewvante's bamboo construction has an excellent build quality and a handsome aesthetic but doesn't match some of the performance features of more modern designs with higher-tech materials. Adjusting the legs isn't necessarily difficult, but requires loosening and tightening four different adjustment dials, which is much more tedious than other models that slide up and down with the flick of a button. This desk is also one of the heaviest models we tested with its natural materials and large overall size. Users who appreciate the natural aesthetics, durability, and affordability of bamboo and are looking for a versatile desk should take a closer look at this option.
With a lightweight design, comfortable microbead filling, and a variety of fun patterns and colors all at an affordable price, the LapGear Designer 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 casual 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.
With three different adjustment points on each leg, the WorkEZ Adjustable Cooling 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 also includes a 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 just right to prevent an imbalance. We also found that the legs can be a bit wobbly, especially as you raise the desk higher, and that the adjustment dials make an audible click that could annoy partners or colleagues within earshot. We still found this model to be one of our favorites for dialing in an ergonomic work position for those long workdays or study sessions.
Featuring a large surface area and easily adjustable legs and desktop tilt, the Nearpow Laptop Bed Tray is another highly adjustable option and an excellent choice for those looking for a simple and user-friendly design. The tray-style system keeps the desktop off your lap to prevent heat buildup, and the larger footprint is ideal for holding a few books or notebooks or serving breakfast in bed. Adjustments are simple with the flick of a button and can be performed even with the table loaded with gear.
The Nearpow has a broad base that is plenty stable when placed on flatter surfaces, but the legs can get a bit wobbly when on uneven spots like the edge of a couch cushion. And while adjustments are straightforward, the hardware did not operate as smoothly as the similarly designed SAIJI model. This design is also relatively simple and lacks extra features seen on other models like a phone tray or storage drawer. Users looking for a large, simple, adjustable tabletop that is versatile for various uses should check out this option.
The HUANUO Laptop Desk is unique among the simple, traditional padded lap desks with its wedge-shaped padding that raises and slightly tilts the desktop surface for a more ergonomic position. The simple and stylish design includes a padded wrist rest that doubles as a laptop support ledge and has a solid build quality, especially for its price and weight. The rustic weathered wood grain finish with light gray material that we tested is modern and stylish and blends in with various decors.
While the wedge-shaped padding improves this desk's ergonomics, the dense foam material can be pretty hot on your lap. It also isn't quite as comfortable as other padding materials that are softer and do a better job of conforming to your body. The desktop is also a little on the smaller side compared to other options. Overall, this is a solid choice that is lightweight, easy to use, and provides some enhanced ergonomics.
With a built-in wrist rest and mousepad, the LapGear Home Office Pro is an excellent option for artists, designers, or drafters that need to use a mouse instead of a laptop touchpad. The mousepad is covered in soft nylon material, and the wrist rest provides some relieving support for tired hands. A little larger than most other padded lap desks, the Home Office Pro is still plenty portable with its lightweight materials and built-in carry handle.
The padding on the Home Office Pro is configured in two distinct tubes at the top end and bottom end of the desk. This design helps prevent heat from building up on your lap but can lead to some uncomfortable pressure points, as the weight of the desk is supported across a smaller surface area than other models with more extensive, softer padding. We also found that the desktop material is pretty thin, which gives us some concerns about its long-term durability. Users looking for a simple, lightweight design with the enhanced features of a wrist rest and a mouse pad will appreciate the Home Office Pro from LapGear.
The Mind Reader Adjustable Portable Lap Top Desk is one of the most portable designs that we tested with its sub two-pound weight, low profile design, and built-in carry handle. The adjustable tilting desktop has eight different angle options to help you find the most comfortable configuration. The two padded bolsters, while a bit narrower, are pretty comfortable, and do a pretty good job of preventing heat buildup. The Mind Reader is also one of the most affordable options in our lineup, making it great for those looking for a compact design on a shoestring budget.
While we appreciate the mobility of this lightweight desk, its smaller size can hinder its comfort and usability. The two padded bolsters are much narrower than most other models, which might make the desk feel awkward or uncomfortable on larger laps. The smaller desktop size may also limit its usefulness. Our older 16-inch Dell laptop extended all the way to the edge of the desktop, and larger laptops, textbooks, or sketch pads might not fit very well. While it has a very affordable price, spending just a little more can buy you a much larger work surface and a more comfortable and balanced padding design. The Mind Reader Lap Top Desk is still affordable and lightweight and could be a great option for smaller users or for those with a compact chromebook or tablet.
The Moclever Laptop Table stands out in our lineup for its high-tech features, including a built-in LED light, a strip of USB outlets, and a built-in cooling fan. The desk height and tilt angle are also adjustable. The nearly silent cooling fan is a nice touch to help keep your laptop from overheating, and both the fan and the LED light can be powered by either alkaline batteries or the included USB cord connected to your laptop.
Unfortunately, this desk only has two height adjustments because of the way the legs fold out. The lower adjustment was too short to provide us room to maneuver underneath it, and the higher adjustment was too high to be comfortable. The short length of the LED light arm limited its effectiveness, and we weren't able to get the USB charging strip to work with our mobile devices. The overall plastic construction is also not as durable as other models. While this is a unique design with potentially useful features, the final product's execution wasn't as user-friendly as we had hoped. Still, users interested in an LED light and cooling fan may be interested in this model for a reasonable price.
The HOME BI Portable Laptop Table is a simple and lightweight design with all the basic features you need and nothing that you don't need. Its ultralight construction makes it easily portable, and the built-in padding is surprisingly comfortable.
The desktop material is not as sturdy as other options, and the built-in laptop support ledge, phone holder, and storage strap aren't as well-executed as other models. For the price and the weight, the HOME BI would be a suitable option for someone looking for a simple and affordable design, but it's distinctly not our favorite option out there.
Why You Should Trust Us
This review is brought to you by GearLab Review Editor Nick Bruckbauer. With a professional background as a civil engineer, Nick brings a technical and scientific approach to his reviews and is experienced with a wide variety of home office products and technology. His intense attention to detail helps him discover the small nuances that differentiate high performers from the rest of the pack and helps you find the right products and features to meet your needs. Nick has worked remotely at home for almost two years and shares time between a desk, the couch, and the bedroom, making lap desks a key piece of equipment in his home office inventory.
For this review, we bought 11 of the highest-rated and best-selling lap desks for a head-to-head evaluation. With Nick and his wife both working from their small home, being able to set up comfortable and flexible workstations is critically important. With a variety of lap desks at our disposal, we set up and used each model while lying in bed, sitting on the floor, lounging on the couch, or standing at the kitchen table. We closely monitored each model's relative comfort, prevention of heat buildup, adjustability, and stability in various positions, as well as their build quality, features, and portability. We tested each model with a 14-inch Macbook Pro laptop, a modern 15-inch HP laptop, an old, clunky, 16-inch Dell laptop, and an assortment of notebooks and textbooks.
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 weighted 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 yo you to help you find the right product for your needs.
We paid close attention to each lap desk's comfort as we used them for hours at a time on the couch, on a bed, on the floor, or at a table. We monitored whether the padding conformed to our lap or caused any uncomfortable pressure points, how quickly heat built-up or was able to be dissipated, and if the desk allowed for an ergonomic body position or caused any strain in the neck or shoulders.
Our test's most comfortable performers were the table-style designs that have 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, the Nearpow Laptop Bed Tray, and the WorkEZ Adjustable Cooling laptop Stand all score well in this metric with their adjustable heights and 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 when it comes to 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 Bamboo Laptop Desk and the Moclever Laptop Table do a good job of balancing adjustability and stability. The WorkEZ Adjustable Cooling Laptop Stand 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 isn't as stable as others with its narrow bolstered padding desgin.
While lots of different 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.
The Nnewvante Bamboo Laptop Desk and the Wishacc Home Office Bamboo desk also stand out with excellent build quality with their bamboo construction. The Wishacc model separates itself from other traditional padded designs with its sturdy bamboo desktop material, dense padding, and robust fabric, while the Nnewvante option is 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 help 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 a 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, and 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.
Two of the highest-rated models we tested — the SAIJI Laptop Bed Tray and the Nnewvante Bamboo Laptop Desk — also have an extensive range of useful features. Both models have a wide range of height and desktop tilt adjustments, both models have a removable laptop support ledge, and both models include a built-in storage drawer. 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 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, the LapGear Designer, and the HOME BI Portable Laptop Table all weigh right around two pounds each, 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 nearly as portable with built-in carry handles, but weigh a little more at 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.
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 in 2020, 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.
— Nick Bruckbauer