Laptop and coffee mug on table on bed

The Best Lap Desks of 2021

By Marvin Moreno Desks, Work RemotelyNo Comments

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Working from home has its share of perks, chief among them the ability to set up your workspace anywhere. For some, the freedom to work while lying in bed or lounging on the sofa is far better than being tethered to a desk or kitchen table.

However, placing your laptop on your bare lap isn’t ideal for either comfort or safety. Not only can the heat from the device rise to very uncomfortable levels after a while, but poor posture or viewing angles can cause neck pain or eye strain over the long term.

This is where lap desks come in. These portable office tables provide a more stable, comfortable, and ergonomic surface to work on. They provide an effective heat barrier between you and your laptop, and some even have cooling fans that help pull excess warmth away from your skin.

While lap desks are simple enough in principle, there are several different models out there with features best suited for specific situations. That’s why we’ve rounded up the best lap desks you can get across the board, from compact models you can take anywhere to larger desks that can accommodate all your stuff.

Sale
Best Lap Desk Overall: LapGear Home Office Pro
  • Dimensions: 21.1 x 14 inches
  • Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Height adjustable?: No
  • Suitable for: Laptops up to 15.6 inches

Best Adjustable Lap Desk: HUANUO Adjustable Laptop Stand
  • Dimensions: 17.3 x 11.4 inches
  • Weight: 3.4 pounds
  • Height adjustable?: Yes
  • Suitable for: Laptops up to 15.6 inches

Best Portable Lap Desk: AboveTEK Portable Lap Desk
  • Dimensions: 14.1 x 9.9 inches
  • Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Height adjustable?: No
  • Suitable for: Laptops up to 15.6 inches

Best Budget Lap Desk: LapGear Compact
  • Dimensions: 13.8 x 10 inches
  • Weight: 10.6 ounces
  • Height adjustable?: No
  • Suitable for: Laptops up to 13.3 inches

Best Spacious Lap Desk: SAIJI Laptop Stand
  • Dimensions: 23.6 x 17.7 inches
  • Weight: 9.9 pounds
  • Height adjustable?: Yes
  • Suitable for: Laptops up to 17 inches

Most Comfortable Lap Desk: Sofia + Sam Memory Foam Lap Desk
  • Dimensions: 18.5 x 14 inches
  • Weight: 5.1 pounds
  • Height adjustable?: No
  • Suitable for: Laptops up to 15.6 inches

Best Lap Desk Overall: LapGear Home Office Pro

LapGear Home Office Pro Lap Desk with Wrist Rest, Mouse Pad, and Phone Holder - Black Carbon - Fits Up To 15.6 Inch Laptops - style No. 91598

The LapGear Home Office Pro takes our top spot for two reasons: it’s both highly versatile and very comfortable.

This lap desk has generous dimensions of 21.1” x 14”, providing enough space for a typical 15.6” laptop and mouse while still staying relatively compact for easy portability.

It also has a slot where you can conveniently place your smartphone in an upright position. This allows you to see notifications and messages quickly, or even hop on Zoom calls from your phone while you’re working. The 0.75”-wide slot is a snug fit for most models, although you might need to remove thicker phone cases first.

Comfort is one of the highlights of the LapGear Home Office Pro. The elevated bottom cushion is soft and comfortable while still allowing air to circulate, and does a good job of providing natural ventilation for your device without needing cooling fans.

The wrist pad deserves special mention. Adopting the same soft material as the cushion base, it works well to reduce wrist stress and ensure your hands stay in an ergonomic position. 

The only drawback with the Home Office Pro is the lack of a ledge and anti-slip pads to keep your laptop in place, something the cheaper LapGear Ergo Pro model has. It’s not much of a deal-breaker in practice, however, as the issue can easily be solved by applying anti-slip pads or keeping the lap desk level.  The Home Office Pro’s wrist pad has a bigger impact on comfort and ergonomics, making it the better choice overall. 

You’ll find that the LapGear Home Office Pro is the best lap desk for most situations at any price, whether you’re working on a laptop, sketching on an iPad, or writing in your notebook.

Pros
  • Strikes the perfect balance between generous workspace and compact size
  • Bottom cushion and wrist pads for added comfort
  • Provides natural ventilation without noisy fans
Cons
  • Lacks a ledge or anti-slip pads to secure your laptop in place
Buy on Amazon

Best Adjustable Lap Desk: HUANUO Adjustable Laptop Stand

HUANUO Adjustable Laptop Stand for up to 17 inch Laptops, Portable Laptop Table Stand with 2 CPU Cooling Fans, Detachable Mouse Pad, Ergonomic Lap Desk, TV Bed Tray, Standing Desk, HNLA6

If you love to adopt contortionist positions when you work, consider the HUANUO Adjustable Laptop Stand. This lap desk is, hands down, one of the most flexible and adjustable on the market.

It achieves this through dual three-jointed legs, which can bend and straighten to whatever degree you wish. You can drop it down when working in bed, for instance, or raise it up to act as a standing desk. Having the ability to tilt the desk surface is especially helpful for aligning your laptop display at a comfortable eye level.

The desk dimension is limited, just enough to fit a typical 15” laptop. Fortunately, the stand also includes a separate retractable pad if you prefer to use a mouse. It also has a built-in cooling fan, although it’s weak and feels cheap.

It’s worth noting that the legs can be hard to adjust. Moving them requires some effort and a little elbow grease, and since you need to work on each leg individually, any slight misalignment can cause the whole thing to wobble. Even so, the flexibility and utility you get from the HUANUO Laptop Stand far outweighs this minor drawback, especially for the price. 

Pros
  • Adjustable legs allow for multiple positions
  • Retractable mouse pad
  • Sturdy and stable (if you adjust it right)
Cons
  • It takes effort to adjust the angle on the legs
  • Any misalignment between the legs can cause the desk to wobble
  • Fan feels cheap
Buy on Amazon

Best Portable Lap Desk: AboveTEK Portable Lap Desk

AboveTEK Portable Laptop Lap Desk w/ Retractable Left/Right Mouse Pad Tray, Non-Slip Heat Shield Tablet Notebook Computer Stand Table w/ Sturdy Stable Cooler Work Surface for Bed Sofa Couch or Travel

The AboveTEK Portable Laptop Desk is a very compact and affordable lap desk that easily fits inside most laptop bags and backpacks.

With a weight of 2.2 lbs and a thickness of 0.6”, it’s one of the thinnest lap desks you’ll come across. It has a surprisingly sturdy and stable base, with a thermal-resistant layer that efficiently redirects heat despite the ultra-thin design.

At 15” wide, the desk is just wide enough to accommodate most laptops. The anti-slip silicone surface ensures your device stays in place, important given the limited real estate. If you like to use a mouse, this lap desk comes with a retractable bi-directional mouse pad, so it works whether you’re left or right-handed.

The only trade-off with the AboveTEK’s portability is the smaller desk space. But if you can live with that, you’ll find it’s an excellent accessory for working anywhere you want.

Pros
  • Ultra-thin and lightweight
  • Non-slip silicone surface keeps laptop in place
  • Bi-directional retractable mouse pad
Cons
  • Limited space
Buy on Amazon

Best Budget Lap Desk: LapGear Compact

LapGear Compact Lap Desk - Charcoal - Fits Up to 13.3 Inch Laptops - Style No. 43105

The LapGear Compact is one of the most inexpensive lap desks you can get, but despite the price, you still get the comfort and quality that the company is known for.

Like the Home Office Pro above, the LapGear Compact features similarly soft bottom cushions (minus the wrist pad). They’re just as comfortable and provide good ventilation for your laptop as well.

As the name suggests, this lap desk is meant as a portable option, with its small size and carrying handle making it easy to hold and transport. The only things that keep it from being the best compact option are the lack of a retractable mouse pad and a smaller desk surface that can only accommodate a 13” laptop.

The affordable price point helps justify the above compromises, however, especially if you’re on a tight budget. The LapGear Compact works especially well if you’re a tablet user and don’t want to splurge on a larger, fancier lap desk.

Pros
  • Excellent price
  • Comfortable bottom cushion
  • Good air circulation and ventilation for a budget lap desk
Cons
  • Minimal desk space
  • No retractable mouse pad
Buy on Amazon

Best Spacious Lap Desk: SAIJI Laptop Stand

Laptop Bed Tray Desk, SAIJI Adjustable Laptop Stand for Bed, Foldable Laptop Table with Storage Drawer for Eating, Working, Writing, Gaming, Drawing (Gray, X-Large)

The SAIJI Laptop Stand is the best lap desk solution for people who need extra space, such as artists and graphic designers.

It has some of the largest dimensions we’ve found in a lap desk, with a full 23.6” x 17.7” surface area. That’s a significant increase on the 17” x 13” lap desks that dominate this space.

At those dimensions, the SAIJI can comfortably accommodate a 15” laptop, tablet, and even a notebook with plenty of space left over. It has a slot that can fit either a smartphone or the detachable stand to prop up a book. We also like the storage drawer, where you can put things like pens and valuables.

The SAIJI is built with ergonomics in mind. The adjustable legs allow you to customize the height to your preference, while the surface can be tilted to an appropriate angle for whatever task you’re performing. When not in use, the desk folds down into a relatively compact form for easy storage.

Of course, the disadvantage with the larger size is that this lap desk is heavier and bulkier than most. It’s also one of the most expensive options on this list. Nevertheless, the generous space and ergonomic features more than justify the asking price for the SAIJI Laptop Stand.

Pros
  • Enormous desk space with extra storage
  • Adjustable height and tilt
  • Easy to store despite its larger size
Cons
  • Heavy and bulky
  • Expensive
Buy on Amazon

Most Comfortable Lap Desk: Sofia + Sam Memory Foam Lap Desk

Sofia + Sam Multi Tasking Memory Foam Lap Desk (Black Top) - Supports Laptops Up to 15 Inches

If comfort is a priority, the Sofia + Sam Memory Foam Lap Desk should be your top pick. It has a soft, pillow-like quality that’s a joy to use for extended periods.

This lap desk uses memory foam for both the bottom cushion and the wrist pad. If you’ve ever slept on a mattress with this material before, you know how well it moulds to your body’s contours. That translates to fantastic comfort and wrist support.

The thickness of the bottom cushion also has an added benefit: it props your laptop at the correct height, which keeps your eyes, head, and neck in a comfortable position.

The Sofia + Sam has a relatively large work surface (18.5” x 14”), which can accommodate a 15” laptop with room to spare. It also has two slots: a longer one in the main desk surface that fits a tablet, and a smaller one in the retractable mouse pad that can house a smartphone. 

The one minor drawback is that the mouse pad’s surface makes it slightly harder for an optical mouse to move around, but overall, the Sofia + Sam Memory Foam Lap Desk is an excellent pick that marries both comfort and functionality.

Pros
  • Exceptional comfort and wrist support
  • Flexible for both laptops and tablet users
  • Generous desk space
  • Keeps your laptop at a natural height
Cons
  • Harder to operate an optical mouse with the mouse pad’s surface
Buy on Amazon

Wrapping It Up

For most situations, you can’t go wrong with the LapGear Home Office Pro for its excellent mix of comfort, versatility, and functionality. If space is an issue, though, choose the SAIJI Laptop Stand for a bigger work desk, or the slimline LapGear Compact for portability.


Main image via Shutterstock, product images via Amazon

About the Author
Marvin Moreno

Marvin Moreno

Marvin is a tech writer and email copywriter based in Manila. A former web developer turned wordsmith, his travel dreams include a month-long cross-country Japan trip, a ride on the Trans-Siberian Railway, and exploring Patagonia. He's also a craft beer brewer and can talk about alcohol all day.

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