Best Bed Desks

Updated October 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Pros
Cons

Buying guide for best bed desks

If you’re one of the many people who work or study from home, you know that finding a comfortable spot to work can be a challenge. Some days, a bed desk is the best place to retreat with your laptop or paperwork.

A bed desk is just what it sounds like: a freestanding table or tray that provides a work surface you can use in bed. Some bed desks are designed specifically for laptops; they tilt to allow you to choose your ideal angle for typing. Some bed desks are completely flat, which works well for writing and drawing. Some bed desks span the entire width of your bed so you have lots of room to complete multiple tasks.

Which bed desk is right for you? That depends on your taste in material, what type of work you intend to do, and how much workspace you need. Read our buying guide to learn about your choices, and don’t forget to check out our product recommendations. Each of the bed desks on our shortlist is a product we’re proud to endorse.

Some people find a bed desk helps improve their productivity when working from home because they feel more comfortable as they work.

Key considerations

Desk material

Wood: Wood is extremely durable and sturdy. However, wooden bed desks can be heavy. They’re prone to moisture damage and won’t help your laptop stay cool.

Plastic: Unlike wood, plastic is lightweight and highly portable. Plastic desks are also very easy to clean, and some are designed to help a laptop stay cool. In the long run, however, a plastic bed desk isn’t likely to be as durable as a wooden bed desk.

Aluminum: Some bed desks are made of aluminum with collapsible legs for easy storage. Like plastic models, they’re incredibly lightweight. Unfortunately, they can have a flimsy feel and aren’t always sturdy. It may be a challenge for an aluminum bed desk to support a heavier laptop.

Surface area

When choosing a bed desk, opt for something with a large enough workspace to meet your needs. If you only want to read or write in bed, a small desk may be all that’s required. If you have a large and heavy laptop, however, you’ll want something that can accommodate your computer’s weight and real estate. If you use a mouse, you’ll want extra room to maneuver  that, too.

For the most generous surface area, choose an over-the-bed desk. These span the width of your bed and afford plenty of workspace.

Weight

The weight of the desk itself is usually only an issue if you plan to carry it around. Heavy wooden bed desks aren’t as easy to transport as plastic and aluminum models, so if you travel often or work in multiple locations, you might prefer to avoid a wooden desk. For easy carrying, stick to a bed desk that weighs 6 pounds or less. The weight should be listed by the seller in the product specs.

Features

Adjustability

Some bed desks are height-adjustable; you can raise or lower the surface from your lap depending on how you are most comfortable. Some bed desks can be tilted to the most comfortable working angle for you. If you’re using a laptop, tilting is a valuable feature because, in addition to working more ergonomically, it can help you eliminate glare.

Ventilation

Laptops generate a great deal of heat, but it’s best to keep your machine ventilated and cool. Some bed desks feature a coating to help prevent the laptop from overheating. Some have ventilation holes that promote airflow. You can even find bed desks with USB-powered fans to counter the effects of laptop-generated heat.

If you notice that your laptop tends to get hot, finding a bed desk with effective ventilation is imperative.

Casters

If you opt for an over-the-bed desk, you’ll have the easiest time moving it if you choose one with casters. Some have wheels, which do make it easy to slide the desk out of the way when necessary. However, wheels are more likely to get stuck than casters. Casters glide a little more freely than wheels, so you can glide the desk away from your bed when you’re finished working.

Storage

Some bed desks feature built-in storage containers to help you organize your workspace. You can store pens, pencils, paperclips, and other small items in these areas without worrying about knocking them around whenever you move the desk.

Portability

If you move your workspace around your house or do a lot of traveling, it helps to choose a bed desk that’s easy to carry from place to place. Plastic or aluminum may be the best materials, but there are some wooden bed desks with handles as well.

Accessories

Laptop computer: Apple 16-Inch MacBook Pro
Most of us need a quality laptop to work or study from home. This model from Apple is a favorite because it has a light, slim design, a super-fast Intel Core i9 processor, and 1TB of storage.

Wireless mouse: Lenovo Wireless Yoga Silver Mouse
Using a wireless mouse with your laptop can make working on a bed desk a little easier. We love this one from Lenovo because it folds down to make it easy to move around and features a rechargeable battery to save you from buying replacements.

Softcover notebook: Rhodia Webnotebook
Whether you’re taking notes for a class, jotting down work ideas, or creating your own art on your bed desk, you need a solid notebook to write in. Available in ruled, blank, and dot grid styles, this one from Rhodia is a favorite of ours because the paper doesn’t allow traditional ink and fountain pens to bleed through.

Bed desk prices

Bed desks vary in price based on type, material, size, and other features. You could spend as little as $10 or as much as $450 on a bed desk.

Inexpensive: The most affordable bed desks are usually plastic or aluminum models that aren’t adjustable. Some smaller wooden desks may also fall in this price range. These desks are often somewhat flimsy and don’t offer many special features. Expect to pay $10 to $50 for a desk like this.

Mid-range: Mid-range bed desks that cost from $50 to $150 are typically adjustable plastic, aluminum, or wooden models. They may have some special features, such as built-in storage compartments or ventilation for your laptop. You can also find some entry-level over-the-bed desks in this price range.

Expensive: The most expensive bed desks are usually high-end over-the-bed desks that can fit larger beds. Locking casters to keep the desk in place are common. You could pay anywhere from $150 to $450 for a desk like this.

Tips

  • Support your back when working in bed. Resting against a lumbar support pillow can help keep your spine properly aligned.
  • Consider purchasing an extra-long power cord for your laptop. You won’t have to worry about having an outlet near your bed when you’re working at your desk.
  • Bed desks don’t necessarily have to be used in bed. You can use one on your couch, sitting on the floor, or even during a road trip in the car.
If multiple people in your house work or study from home, a bed desk can help ensure that there is a comfortable space for everyone to work.

FAQ

Q. What are the benefits of a bed desk?
A.
Although you could work on your laptop in bed without one, using a bed desk improves the ergonomics of your work setup. You can place your laptop at eye level to avoid stretching your neck and to maintain good posture. A bed desk also keeps a hot laptop off your lap so you’re more comfortable.
 

Q. How should I clean my bed desk?
A.
If the manufacturer provides cleaning instructions, follow those. In general, most bed desks can be cleaned with a basic household cleaner. For wooden models, avoid any cleaners that generate suds, or you could damage the surface.
 

Q. Is a bed desk a good purchase for a child?
A.
Yes. Kids can definitely benefit from a bed desk whether they’re going to school remotely or not. Children often use their laptop, tablet, or phone in bed and don’t always assume the best posture while doing so. A bed desk can encourage them to sit up so they don’t develop back or neck pain.

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