Best TV Tray Tables

Updated September 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

26 Models Considered
5 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
132 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
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.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best TV tray tables

Last Updated September 2019

“Netflix and chill” is officially a thing, and when you watch back-to-back episodes, you can work up an appetite. There’s no need to unpeel yourself from the couch for a meal when you have the luxury of TV tray tables as an option. Rest assured that convenience is within reach.

TV tray tables are a staple piece of 1950s Americana at the intersection of multipurpose furniture and space. They became nifty additions to living rooms and shoulder a great deal of recreational responsibility — dining, game nights, and makeshift homework stations. They’re made out of differing materials and offer a surprising array of features, including wheels, cupholders, and even adjustable heights. Choosing the right one for you depends on how you intend to use it.

These compact companions are ideal for people who need a little extra surface area to eat, work, or play. So if you’re short on space or simply want a convenient solution to multitask, tune in to our reviews to choose the right TV tray table for your home.

If you have a small living room and need end tables that fit, TV tray tables are a space-saving option. Decorate them with statement lamps or cover them with a tapestry or tablecloth for a stylish look.

Key considerations

Freestanding or attachment

TV tray tables are either freestanding or attached to a chair or couch. Freestanding models have two to four legs and can easily be moved around the room. TV tray tables that are attachments, on the other hand, have specific and somewhat permanent placement in a room. They’re typically secured beneath seated furniture, so they require some effort to assemble and install.

Collapsible

As far as TV tray tables go, collapsible models are some of the more popular designs. They have different folding mechanisms to close, which involves shutting the legs and folding down the table surface. These models are convenient for rooms with limited space or for someone who only occasionally needs an extra surface.

Buying a set

Think long-term investment instead of temporary solution when considering TV tray tables. You may only need one for now, but it could be more practical to buy a set. They usually come as a pair or four-pack, though some sets have as many as six. Some sets even come with their own stands and fit neatly behind one another for simple storage. When it comes to price, sometimes it’s only the difference of a few dollars between buying a single table as opposed to a set.

While some TV tray tables appear to have wood surfaces, they may be made of synthetic materials. Check the instructions to see what it’s made of so you can use the right cleaning products without damaging the surface.

Staff
BestReviews

Features

Materials

TV tray tables are usually made of wood, bamboo, particleboard, or metal. There are some plastic and metal components for attachments, though certain wood or bamboo models have wooden rods and dowels. Even though they are less expensive furniture, they’re constructed fairly well to sustain being used often and moved around.

Wheels

There are some freestanding TV tray tables that are equipped with wheels. It’s a desirable feature for easy portability, and can be less taxing than frequently picking up and moving a table. Certain models also have wheel locking mechanisms in case you sometimes prefer the table to remain stationary.

Tilt settings

Certain TV tray tables have tilt settings, which come in handy if you’re reading or using a laptop. This feature varies between models, with the most basic iterations having only a couple basic tilt options. More advanced models have a crank mechanism that allows for complete tilt customization.

Adjustable height

Some TV tray tables we examined have height adjustability options, especially two-legged models geared toward laptop and light reading use. The legs are usually made up of two stacking or sleeve pieces with pegs and peg holes, and offer three to six height options.

As for attachment models, these often have height adjustability as well. They have a single leg with either the aforementioned peg mechanism or a manual crank. Because chair and couch sizes vary so much, it’s a stable feature in these models.

Swivel

Another feature seen in several attachment models is a swivel. Since this variety of TV tray tables is attached, the table surface needs the option to move out of the way if necessary. These models are purchased by individuals with medical needs, so the swivel is fairly easy to push but has enough resistance not to spin around on its own.

Cupholders

A couple of the TV tray tables we looked at had cupholders, though they took on completely different forms between models. Some cupholders are optional attachments that protrude from the side, which is not always practical with surrounding furniture. Others have a slight depression to accommodate an average-sized drinking glass.

EXPERT TIP

If you’re buying a swivel TV tray that attaches to your furniture, check the areas where it will be secured so you can confirm compatibility.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Self-stick cabinet liners are an excellent choice to protect TV tray tables from stains. Simply cut them to fit the table. Be sure to use liners that are removable so you can peel them away and stick a new one on without causing damage to the table.


Staff  | BestReviews

TV tray table prices

TV tray tables typically cost between $40 and $175.

Inexpensive: Between $40 and $50, you can get a single table with the most basic features, such as collapsibility or a simple built-in cupholder.

Mid-range: Mid-range TV tray tables cost between $60 to $100, may come as sets, and have a more durable design with better materials.

Expensive: The most well-constructed models cost between $100 and $175. They tend to be geared toward individuals with medical needs and include advanced adjustability options. They may be equipped with handles or supports to assist in standing, so their weight capacities go up to 300 pounds.

Tips

  • Invest in coasters and placemats. Food and drinks may spill onto the TV tray table, so pick up some coasters and placemats to minimize potential messes.

  • Check the height. Some TV tray tables are taller than others, so make sure the one you buy has a height that coordinates with the seat of your couch or chair.

  • Avoid pushing off one to stand up. TV tray tables are less stable than traditional tables, so refrain from leaning on one to stand so you don’t fall, unless you have a model that is designed to be leaned on as an assistive device.

  • Alternate use for sets. If you have a set, alternate the TV tray tables so they sustain equal wear and tear.

  • Limit heavy items. While TV tray tables are designed to sustain heavy daily use, placing overly heavy items on one could cause it to buckle. Use your best judgment or refer to the manufacturer for a recommended weight limit.

  • Leave space between tables. If you accidentally bump against your table, it could cause a chain reaction and topple your partner’s table as well. Leaving a little space between tables reduces that possibility.

  • Mind your fingers. Be careful when opening and closing the TV tray table so your fingers don’t catch in its folding mechanism.

  • Adjust height settings while seated. Have a seat and find your most comfortable sitting position with proper posture. It’s easier to adjust the height once you’re settled, otherwise you may go through a lot of sitting down and standing up in the process.

Other products we considered

If you’re looking for a classy, upscale TV tray table that can blend in, Nnewvante Sofa Table TV Tray is a great pick. It comes in either walnut or bronze to match the rest of your decor. This table has a smart, reinforced design with a Z-structure and an additional support board beneath the surface. Even as an affordable mid-range model, it looks far more upscale.

If a wheeled model is more practical for your space, so Vasagle Industrial Side Table Mobile Snack Table could be an option. Appearance-wise, it’s art deco meets industrial, especially with its mid-century swivel ball wheels to complement the look. This TV tray table has a strong metal frame and is much more durable than stationary models. With its added portability and easy-to-hide bottom frame, it’s a stylish addition to any room.

Some people consider bamboo TV tray tables to be blank canvases. Try your hand at a small interior design project by applying a fresh coat of paint or wood stain. If you’re wondering about the right materials to use for your TV tray table project, ask a design pro or check out an online tutorial.

FAQ

Q. Which TV tray table should I get for my kids?

A. It really depends on their ages. For younger children, you may wish to get trays that don’t have complicated folding mechanisms so they don’t pinch their fingers by accident. Older children may prefer ones with more adjustability features to accommodate a variety of activities like puzzles, games, or laptop use.

Q. Where can I keep my TV tray tables when they’re not in use?

A. You can keep them anywhere you have room, or you can choose to optimize your space. “Negative space” in a room is an area that is underutilized and could be repurposed to store items. In the case of tray tables, that could be behind a door, inside a coat closet, or in the skinny space between dressers and a wall.

Q. I have to get an attachment TV tray table, but I don’t think I can install it myself. What can I do in this situation?

A. If you don’t have a friend or relative who can install it for you, get a recommendation for a handyman. It’s a relatively quick assembly job, and they’ll be prepared to move your couch or sofa. Another option is to put out an ad in a community group on social media. Someone around town can assist you for a nominal fee, or volunteer to do it for free.

Q. I really like my collapsible TV tray table. Is there a way I can leave it open permanently?

A. You could, but keep in mind that TV tray tables aren’t as sturdy as regular tables. Regardless, you certainly have the option to reinforce it with screws and bolts in the right places. It does take some planning, so if you know someone more handy than yourself, have them help you.

The team that worked on this review
  • Alvina
    Alvina
    Photographer
  • Amos
    Amos
    Director of Photography
  • Branson
    Branson
    Videographer
  • Ciera
    Ciera
    Production Assistant
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Enid
    Enid
    Editor
  • Katherine
    Katherine
    Editor
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Michael
    Michael
    Writer
  • Sian
    Sian
    Writer
  • Steph
    Steph
    Web Producer

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