How A Lap Desk Could Save Your Remote Work Life Plus Our Top 6 Picks
Oh, the hours you’ve likely logged from home in 2020 in an uncomfortable or ergonomically compromised position.
And with the possibility of remote work continuing as commonplace, consistent posture in inconsistent work spaces will be key to your wellbeing and maintenance of proper body mechanics.
Lap desks, with a variety of options in the $15 to $90 price range, offer a budget-friendly solution that will have a daily impact on your health.
How Lap Desks Improve At-Home Ergonomics
We’ve all tried the laptop in bed, on the couch, at the dining room table, out on the porch. Maybe you’ve even found a setup that feels good - for a little while. But log enough hours and you’ll inevitably arrive at the same place as all your remote coworkers: uncomfortable.
Lap desks allow you to work comfortably from pretty much anywhere you’d sit in your house.
With options for adjustable height, multiple surface angles and wrist support, you can achieve proper posture and maintain comfort in places that would never work if you were resting your laptop directly on your lap.
So often, working from home includes positions that promote slumped shoulders or a craned neck. Left unchecked, poor posture can limit range of motion and can lead to neck, shoulder and lower back pains (or Lumbago) as well as tension headaches.
You need the adjustability that is going to allow you to:
- Keep your head directly above your shoulders and hips
- Maintain correct arm height
- Sit evenly without leaning to either side
- Keep your forearms parallel to the floor
Remember, if you’re going to move well, you’ve got to sit well. Don’t neglect your workplace posture. And that includes your remote workplace.
Don’t Forget About Study From Home
It’s not just about working from home. Many students already know they’ll be learning from home at least some of this school year. Their posture shouldn’t be neglected either.
Lap desks with storage options (think old-school flip-top desks) afford students a space to store all of their papers and supplies. It can end up serving as an at-home backpack or locker.
Beyond Posture… Lap Desks Are All About the Features
Let’s face it, sitting comfortably is all well and good, but you want a tricked-out workspace that’s going to give you real functionality to sustain long sessions.
Consider these lap desk feature options - they’re all available - before you buy:
- Surface material (generally wood or plastic)
- Cup holders (some of them stow away to save space)
- Stoppers or texture to prevent your laptop from sliding
- Storage options
- Cooling fans
- A retractable mouse tray
- A slot for your phone
- A foldable book stand
- Lap cushions
- An attachable light
You’ll also want to take into account the size of your laptop. Some lap desk models are built to accommodate computers up to 15 inches while others have space to spare even with an extra large laptop.
Our 6 Best Lap Desk Recommendations
Ergonomically Friendly Lap Desks
SAIJI Laptop Bed Tray Desk ($89.99 on Amazon)
This is a pretty souped-up unit, and it’s at the higher end of the lap desk price range. But you get a lot.
For starters, you’ve got five height settings from 10.6 inches to 15.4 inches. And there are four surface angle adjustments from 0 to 36 degrees. Everything you need for good posture.
There’s also a non-slip surface, a foldable book stand and a storage drawer. And with 23.6 inches of width, there’s room to spare even with a large laptop.
“I am limited to where I can work within my home...needed something that I could use while sitting up in bed but that was angled in such a way that it would help reduce back strain and this product is it!...I love that you can adjust it to any angle and to a very high height if needed.” - Laura P.
LapGear Home Office Pro Lap Desk ($34.99 on Amazon)
A comfortable and versatile lap desk. A dual-cushion system affords a great fit with a natural, posture-friendly surface angle. It also includes a wrist rest.
There’s an integrated 5-inch by 9-inch mouse pad and a built-in 5-inch by 0.75-inch phone slot.
This desk can fit laptops up to 15.6 inches and there’s a device ledge to keep laptops and tablets secure.
“I love this! It's exactly what I wanted for my laptop, little mouse and my phone! It's extremely comfortable and just perfect!” - MAGS
Sofia + Sam Multi Tasking Memory Foam Lap Desk ($47.24 on Amazon)
This one has a very comfortable memory foam bottom but also a built-in memory foam wrist support to help you guard against carpal tunnel syndrome.
There’s also a very cool slide-out mouse pad that includes a smart phone slot.
A USB light that can be removed is useful, as is the tablet slot at the top of the desk.
Can accommodate laptops up to 15 inches and tablets 9.6 inches or smaller.
“This is an amazing lap desk! My laptop fits perfectly and does not slide around when I change positions. The memory foam hand rest and base are very soft and comfortable...The light is a great touch, since I often need just a little light on my work space.” - Ellison Darling
Best Budget Lap Desk
Mind Reader LTADJUST ($14.99 on Amazon)
The amazing thing here is that for $15 you can get eight surface angle settings and a dual-cushion bottom.
Sure, this desk looks a bit plain, and it’s not as sturdy a build as higher-quality-and-priced choices. But this is a surprisingly solid ergonomic option.
Compatible with laptops and tablets up to 15.6 inches.
“As a college student, I'm constantly sitting and looking down when doing school work. It got to a point where my shoulders and neck were sore everyday and my hips ached from sitting either in a chair or on my bed criss-cross-applesauce style. Now, I can comfortably take notes and write flashcards while semi-laying down (no more hunching over to write for long periods!).” - Kristen
Most Portable Lap Desk
MAX SMART Portable Laptop Lap Pad ($27.99 on Amazon)
Totally sleek, weighing in at only 2.2 pounds and just 0.6 inches thick. There’s no wasted space. It can easily be carried in your laptop bag, backpack or briefcase.
Includes a retractable mouse tray that can be slid out in either direction. Someone’s looking out for you lefties.
The textured surface grips laptops up to 15.6 inches.
“I've had several lap desks, and most of them were too bulky, heavy, hit my legs the wrong way, etc. This is a fairly lightweight, yet sturdy lap desk, that is actually comfortable to use, and keeps the hot laptop off of my legs! You can also use it in smaller spaces, like sitting in a chair, and fits easily into any laptop bag or backpack.” - K. Johnson
Best Lap Desk for Storage
LapGear Schoolhouse Wood Lap Desk ($68.19 on Amazon)
With a real wood veneer finish, this lap desk looks the part of a traditional school desk. But it’s the functionality - particularly the storage - that’s noted most by satisfied customers.
The top lifts up to felt-lined storage, divided into two compartments. Perfect for stashing notebooks or pads and pens and pencils.
The desktop fits laptops up to 17.3 inches. But beware: because the storage compartment is divided, the interior will not fit a laptop.
“This product exceeded all of my expectations. It is wonderfully functional and very attractive. The wood and felt lining are beautiful. It is a well made product and worth every penny.” - A. Rush