Having a desk at home is a necessity not only for working professionals, but also for students, crafters, gamers and just about everyone else. Every home should have at least one desk. You may work from home or need a place to do your homework. Maybe you’re a gamer and want to get into Twitch streaming. All of the above ambitions require a comfortable work surface to succeed.
CNET had “best standing desks” article for a while and we know what best office chairs and gaming chairs are, so now is the time to give you options beyond standing desks. This article has everything you need, from standing desks to small writing desks and more.
I’ve spent hours making desks, moving desks, and sitting on and on desks, all to give you the lowdown on the greatest around. I keep getting more too, so watch this space for more of the best desks as they arrive.
Other desks we tested
Not every desk we test makes the best list. Some of them are not even good enough to mention. However, some are close to good enough and we are willing to mention them here. These desks had something wrong with them that kept them out of the top spot, but they’re decent if you can overlook that particular issue.
How we test
Desk testing is kind of a subjective game. Like office chairs, the tests are based on comfort, reliability, and ease of setup, not things you can test in electronics like power and battery usage. However, I have rigorously tested each of them and will continue to test them for longevity in the coming months.
I tested these desks by asking three people to try each one. Each of them used the desk for at least 16 hours and then shared their impressions with me. The three men were 6 feet, 1 inch; 5 feet 8 inches; and 5 feet, 4 inches tall, respectively, to give me a good cross-section of the average user’s height.
Setup time and packaging quality
Building desks can often be difficult and time consuming. For each desk, I measured how long it took to unpack and assemble and noted whether or not the instructions were easy to follow. I followed the instructions as closely as possible so that each build performed as if I had never done one before. I also carefully checked the packaging to make sure it wasn’t damaged and that it was secure enough to carry the desk that was in it. Any damage was noted and images were sent to the manufacturers for review.
Modern desks must be able to support enough weight. If you’re at a writing desk, you might only have a small laptop, but if you’re using a gaming desk, it probably has two monitors and a giant gaming computer. For each desk, I checked the maximum load specification and tried to match it to the materials we actually use on our desks.
- Heavy duty gaming PC tower
- Two 27-inch gaming monitors on a dual monitor arm
- MacBook Pro
- Two different keyboards and a variety of mice and trackpads
- mine Oculus Quest 2
- My phone stand and USB hub
- Microphone and headphones for podcasting
Depending on the length and weight capacity of the desk, I mix and match these items, then check for warping of the table top or inconsistencies in the feel of the desk as I work.
It’s a bit back from when my dad was making furniture. Anything my dad built would be criticized by my mom and if it didn’t approve she’d say “It’s a bit wobbly isn’t it dear?” After I build each desk and load it up for normal use I’ll check it out to flutter. This means rocking it from side to side and back and forth to check that all the screws, bolts and fixtures are holding everything in place.