Best Lap Desks
If you are away from home, or simply away from your desk, you know how frustrating it can be to juggle all of your tools and portable devices from the comfort of your couch. Plus, some of the more serious laptops have fans that are positioned on the bottom that can become quite hot if you are working for long periods of time. Recruiting the help of a well-designed lap desk will help you keep organized as you work away, tucked onto your nice and comfortable couch. What we liked about these options is that they are generally pretty lightweight, thin enough to hide it from view behind the sofa when not in use, and are pretty affordable. In this guide, you will find some of our favorite picks so that you can add a new level of comfort when working from home.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 5 hrs of research
Lightweight and slim
- Mind Reader
- HOME BI
- Green Sphere
- Laptop Buddy
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Expert Interviews & Opinions
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Picks
1. Mind Reader
Lightweight and slim
Some users feel that the plastic feels a little flimsy
This design from Mind Reader is our favorite pick because it has all of the standard features that you would want from one of these designs, plus it comes in at an affordable price point. The benefit of the adjustable base makes it perfect for using a computer, or for writing in a notebook.Read more
The frame of this style is made from a high-quality plastic that is lightweight and durable. There is no product description listed for the base, but from what we could tell it is filled with a soft but sturdy foam, and is covered in a soft cotton fleece-like fabric.
What users really like more about this design is that the base can be used flat for computers or devices, or it can be flipped upwards to read or write in a notebook without straining your neck. The lip at the bottom will keep books in place and is also a great place to hold writing utensils to keep them from rolling off.
This design measures to be just over a foot long and is about 14 inches wide. This should give you just enough workspace for a single textbook or portable computer.
Weighing in at just 2.02 pounds, this is one of the lighter options to make our list. Plus, the thin design makes it easy to store in a closet or toss into a suitcase when you are going to be working on the road.
One of the best features about this design is the incredibly affordable price point that is one of the lowest of many of the other options out there on the market.
If you are looking for something slim and lightweight that is going to travel well and comes in at an incredibly affordable price point, this option is going to be your best bet.
Offered in fun and trendy colors
Thin design makes it easy to store or pack
Users feel that the tabletop is a little too slippery
The Honey-Can-Do is great because it sports a simple style that serves to keep your devices from digging into your legs, and it comes in a lot of fun colors that will add a little pop of color to your living space.Read more
The tabletop of this unit is composed of MDF, which stands for medium density fiberboard, which is basically like plywood, only a little bit more dense and durable. The soft base is made from a cheesecloth-like material that is made to be breathable, but some say isn’t all that durable in the long run
There isn’t much to say in terms of additional features for this design. It stands to serve the function of providing users a flat surface for which they can work. A built-in handle along the top makes it easy to carry from room to room, and color options will give your room a little pop of color and style.
Measuring in at 23.23 inches long, 15.75 inches wide, and 2.52 inches deep, this unit is a little bit bigger than some of the other designs.
Since it only weighs 3.25 pounds, taking your show on the road is incredibly easy with this design. Plus, due to the fact that it is just over 2 inches deep means that packing it into a suitcase or the back of your car is going to be simple and easy.
We liked that the price tag on this unit is one of the more affordable price tags out there on the market, and it will likely set you back about the same price as a pepperoni pizza.
If you just want something that has a simple design that will keep your legs comfortable while you work, and that also comes in a lot of trendy color options, this is going to be a great choice without breaking the bank.
Built-in lamp (batteries not included)
Slide-out mouse table for additional workspace
Memory foam padding on the bottom
A bit bulkier than most, may be difficult to travel with
This design from Sofia+Sam might not be the perfect product to toss into a suitcase, but it has quite a few bells and whistles that are going to make working from the couch incredibly easy as well as comfortable.Read more
While it isn’t expressed in the product description, it appears that the top of this design is composed of a glossy plastic material based upon its appearance as well as the products weight. The soft bottom is composed of a memory foam that is upholstered in a soft cotton fabric.
This is where the Sofia+Sam model really shines. It has a slide out table along the side that can be used for a wireless mouse or can also be used for things like calculators or notepads. Another thing that users love about this design is that it actually has a built-in reading lamp that runs off of 4 AA batteries (not included).
Measuring in at 18 inches long, 14 inches wide, and 3.5 inches deep, this model is going to be big enough to hold most of your portable devices, while still having a little bit of extra room for pens, and notebooks.
Weighing in at 5 pounds, this unit is a little bit heavier than some of the other designs out there on the market. The built-in reading lamp not only means it is a little bit heavier, but it is also going to be a little tricky to pack away when work takes you out on the road.
The cost of this design is one of the more expensive designs out there and will set you back about the same amount that you would spend filling up your gas tank before hitting the road. However, considering all of the smart features offered with this style, we feel it is well worth the price point.
If you want something that is going to live next to the sofa for the times that you want to work while watching TV, we think that this option is going to be a perfect addition to your office gear.
Foam leg pads with reinforced polyester fabric
Built-in mouse pad
Glossy faux wood grain finish
Some found the top to be a little slippery
This design from LapGear is made for serious business. The longer frame makes it easier to hold more office gear, and the slim and portable design makes it simple to take with you on the road. Plus, users like the smart features that were added to the tabletop to make working easier.Read more
This unit is also made from a pressed particle board that is coated with a glossy finish to look like deep wood grain. Where this design really shines is in the construction of the comfortably cushioned bottom. Has a foam padding that is comfortable on your legs that is covered in a double stitched 600D polyester fabric.
The big takeaway with this design comes from all of the smart little details found on the tabletop. It has a long frame that is perfect for even some of the bigger laptops or tablets, and it also as a textured mouse pad built into the right side that also as a cutout to place pens and pencils. Plus, a well-placed lip at the base keeps books and papers from sliding off if you are holding it at a slight angle.
This unit measures to be 22.5 inches long, and 12 inches wide, and it is only 2.5 inches deep.
Weighing in at just over 2 pounds, taking this unit with you on the go will be simple and easy and won’t weigh you down. Plus, because it is only 2.5 inches deep means that you will be able to tuck it behind the couch or into a suitcase with ease.
The cost of this unit is about three times as much as some of the more affordable options out there on the market. However, the use of high-quality materials and smart design make it well worth the added cost in our option.
For users that want something that is going to be durable as well as practical and smart, this design from LapGear is going to hit all those marks for you.
Storage built into the base
Legs fold down and keep unit off of body completely
Some users feel it is made from flimsy plastic
Legs do not have a sturdy locking mechanism
This option from Gutbanch is built to be a little bit different than some of the other designs that utilize a soft base. Instead, it has a set of legs that pop out to keep the entire unit up off of your body completely.Read more
The entire unit is composed of a plastic material. There are some users the feel like the material is a tad on the thin and flimsy side, but it is sturdy enough to get the job done.
As we mentioned earlier, this unit has a set of legs that fold from the base to serve as a miniature tabletop on your legs. One thing that really makes it stand out from the rest is that the base opens up and allows users to place items such as notebook, pens, and pencils into the clever storage compartment.
This unit is a little on the small side, and measures to be 17.9 inches long, 13.1 inches wide, and just 2.5 deep.
The incredibly small frame makes this design simple and easy to fold up and place into storage, or just pop into your suitcase when you are working on the road. Plus, weighing in at just shy of 3 pounds means that you can toss it into your suitcase without weighing you down.
We found that while the cost is affordable and is just slightly lower than some of the higher end options out there on the market, it is just a little bit higher than most users are willing to pay on this particular design.
If you want something with a simple frame that will allow for a lot of storage in the base, this is a really great option that is going to be perfect for both working from home and on the road.
6. HOME BI
Small and compact
Media slot for displaying smartphones or tablets
Some users feel it was smaller than they expected
What we liked most about this model is that it has all of the simplicity of many of the basic designs, but the tabletop has a few extra features that can serve as a great benefit while working at home.Read more
The base of this unit is composed of foam that appears to be upholstered with a thick canvas material. The tabletop is made from MDF, which stands for medium density fiberboard.
The thing that makes this design stand out from the rest is the addition of a media slot on the top. Users can place their smartphone or tablet into the slot to stream media on their phone, or just have it handy for easy access when needed.
Measuring in at 19 inches long, and 14 inches wide, which is going to be just big enough to hold one a laptop or tablet.
The small and compact features might make it a little difficult to place more than a laptop, but it makes it ideal for traveling. Weighing in at just 2.75 pounds, you will be able to toss this design into your suitcase or the back of your car without weighing you down too much.
The cost of this unit runs about in the middle of the road. It isn’t the most expensive design out there on the market, but it is far from being the least expensive. It will likely set you back just a little bit more than what you would spend on a pepperoni pizza.
If you are looking for something that is well made, and it small and compact enough to take with you on the road, this option from HOME BI is going to be one on your better options.
Users can adjust the height and pitch of the tabletop
Extra wide base
Some feel that the lowest setting is a bit too high
If adjustability is something that you want from these devices, this option from AboveTEK is going to be one of your better options. While it doesn’t have the same level of portability as most, it may still be worth a look.Read more
The legs and base are made from lightweight metal materials that have soft silicone edges, and the tabletop is composed of plastic that is coated with a finish to make it look like light wood grain.
Adjustability is the name of the game when it comes to the AboveTEK design. Users will be able to adjust the pitch of the tabletop up to a 30-degree angle, and they can also adjust the height from being 9 inches high to be 13.5 inches high.
This unit is a little bit longer than your average option, and measures in to be 23.8 inches wide, and 13.1 long.
Due to the fact that this unit has a pair of metal legs that aren’t able to be folded in on itself, tucking it behind the couch or tossing it into a suitcase is going to be a little bit problematic. However, considering that it weighs only 2.1 pounds, moving it from place to place should be pretty easy.
The price tag on this unit is one of the higher options out there on the market. However, we feel that the price tag is well worth it based upon the quality of materials used, and the ability to adjust it in a myriad of ways.
We liked this unit because it has a long tabletop design that can hold a good deal of office gear, and it can be easily adjusted to suit your needs for whatever the task.
8. Green Sphere
Thinner and comfortable leg cushions
Tabletop uses triple layer bamboo
Some users do not like the flat cushion
For many of the cushioned options, they can be a little bit bulky which can lead to them becoming unstable. That might not be such an issue if you are working on a computer, but if you are using it for sketching or drawing, it could be an issue. The Green Sphere design is great because it has a large surface with a soft yet thin cushion.Read more
One thing we loved most about this design is that the tabletop is composed of a triple layer of bamboo which makes it incredibly lightweight, but it is also durable. The padded base is made from cotton with the addition of poly bead cushioning.
There isn’t a whole lot in terms of extra features, because this unit is designed to be simple. Users like that are has a wide and flat base, and it also has a handle built into the top to make it easy to take with you on the go.
This is one of the biggest units to land on our list. It measures in at 22.5 inches long, and 15.5 inches wide.
This unit really shines in its portability. While it has wider dimensions than most, it is incredibly thin which makes it easy to tuck in behind a couch, or into a suitcase. It only weighs 3 pounds, so it isn’t going to weigh you down too much.
The base news here is that it has a price tag that is quite higher than many of the other basic designs we have seen. However, we feel like that high-quality materials make it well worth the slightly padded price tag.
If you want something that has a larger base that is perfect for sketchbooks, but is also designed for laptops as well, this option is going to be one of your better choices based upon its larger overall frame.
Additional built-in leg pillow
Surface made with bamboo
Some find the padding to be a bit on the thin side
This option from HENGSHENG uses many of the smart design features that we have seen from other options and blends them into one unit. While it is a little bit more expensive than some of the smaller and more basic cushioned designs, many feel that it is well worth the price point.Read more
The tabletop of this unit is made from a blend of both MDF as well as natural bamboo. The base uses a stiff and sturdy foam cushioning covered with a beige breathable canvas.
It offers a media slot along the top that is perfect for placing your smartphone or tablet. It also as a strap on the corner that will keep papers in place, even when the unit it cocked at a 30-degree angle. The flatter cushion along the bottom also has a built-in pillow that extends out to give users a higher angle to work from.
Measuring in at 12.9 wide, 21.1 inches long, and 3.74 inches deep, this unit is just a little on the smaller size than most. It should be able to comfortably hold a laptop with enough room for a mouse.
The addition of a handle along the top makes this design simple and easy to carry along with you on your travels, and the slim frame makes it easy to slide behind the sofa when not in use.
The price tag on this unit is one of the more expensive models out there on the market. Past users feel that this price tag is well worth it based upon the quality of materials used as well as all of the smart features.
If you want something that is going be small and compact, but it is also going to have a lot of the features that will help you keep organized, this is going to be well worth the slightly higher price point.
10. Laptop Buddy
Built-in light with batteries included
Users feel that the plastic is too flimsy
Users have experienced the tabletop coming apart from the base
This unit has all of the fun of some of the smaller and more colorful options, but it also offers a few handy features that will help you work harder and smarter. Plus, it comes in at a really affordable price point.Read more
Users typically give this unit a 2.7 out of 5 stars when it comes to the quality of the materials used. The tabletop is made from a thin piece of blue plastic, and the base uses what some describe as feeling like styrofoam on the inside with a soft fleece fabric lining.
One thing users really like about this design is that it comes with a LED lamp in the left corner that runs off of 3 LR44 Button Cell Batteries that are included with purchase. It also has a built-in cup holder on the other side that is perfect for holding a can of soda.
This unit measures to be 19 inches on and 15 inches wide, which is quite a bit smaller than many of the other designs out there on the market, but it will still be big enough to hold a modestly sized laptop.
Weighing in at just over 2 pounds, this design is incredibly lightweight. Plus, the slimmer design means that it is going to be easy to toss into a suitcase or into the back of your car when it is time to take your show on the road.
The cost of this unit runs about in the middle of the road. It isn’t the most expensive, but it isn’t the least expensive either.
If you are looking for something that is simple and affordable that comes with a few extra features that you won’t find on the more basic designs, this is an excellent option.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Selecting a design that uses high quality materials is going to be the key for longevity.
There are two distinct areas that we considered when looking at materials use: the base and the tabletop. For the upper section, heavy wood grains are not going to be ideal. Sure, they are going to look nice and will last you a long time, but they are going to be big and heavy, and that is going to limit the ways in which you use it. For these products, materials such as plastic are ideal, as well as particle boards. Bamboo is going to be one of your best options because of its durability and easy weight, but you are going to end up pay just a little bit more than you would for a plastic or particle board option. For the padded base, there are a few options, but they all boil down to a matter of personal preference. Some brands offer designs that firm and rigid options that are padded with memory foam or, in some cases, styrofoam. Others take a more gentle approach and fill their padding with beads or soft cotton. Again, this is going to boil down to a matter of personal preference.
Things like cuts into the surface, and tables that extend outward can really make a big difference.
What we liked to look at is what additional features were offered that would help the user keep all of their work (or play) gear organized while the lounged on the sofa. We were fond of options that offered a light built right into the unit. For some, this feature might not be that much of a benefit if they are using their product with just their laptop. Users that used these products for reading or doing homework loved the addition of a light. Simple things such as grooved lips in the base will keep books, pens, and tables from sliding off when it is being used at an angle. Other things we liked were tables that were built into the unit and could extend out from the side were perfect for those that don’t like to use the touchpad on their laptop, and media slots that served as a place to keep smartphones and tablets propped up. Storage pockets are great for keeping extra tools such as pens and pencils, but they can often make a surface a little too bulky which could be a problem if you are using it on the road.
Size matters in this case, because you are going to want to select something that is actually going to be big enough for your laptop.
Most average size laptops measure to be anywhere between 15 and 17 inches, so we made it a point to never select designs that offered anything less than at least 15 inches. Keep in mind, however, that if you select a design that is only big enough for your laptop, you aren’t going to have room for anything else (such as a mouse or a notebook). If you are looking for something that is going to be able to hold more than just your laptop, investing in a longer design that is about 22 inches is going to give you a little bit more space to work with. If you are selecting something to use while you draw or sketch, length as well as width are also going to be important factors to keep in mind.
We wanted to try and select designs that would allow the user not to just move their office around their home, but to be able to take it with them on the go as well.
To achieve this, we tried to stick to designs that were lightweight as well as thin. For the most part, plastic and particle board designs are made to be pretty lightweight, and clock in at just under 5 pounds in most cases. If you decide to opt for solid wood, you are going to find that it is going to be significantly heavier (although it will look pretty sleek and sharp). Another feature that will make a product a little bit more easy to travel than others doesn’t have to do with length, but is has to do with depth. Be sure that you look at how deep a product is before you take the plunge. Designs that have a depth between 2-4 inches are generally great to pack into storage or pop into a suitcase. Anything more than 5 inches, and you might run into some troubles.
As always, we wanted to be able to save you a little bit of money when we could.
This meant that we kept an eye on the price tag, and made sure that we didn’t select designs that were way too expensive. For most, the price was generally affordable, and never rose above the price you would pay for a tank of gas before a business trip. How much you are willing to spend on these models is just going to be a matter of personal preference. The more expensive design typically have more bells and whistles over the simplistic counterparts. These designs usually are made from high quality materials such as bamboo, and offer users things like built in storage, tables, and battery powered reading lamps. However, if you just want something to keep the fan from your laptop from blowing hot air all over your thighs, you might benefit more from selecting one of the more affordable options.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Be sure that you select a material that is going to be lightweight but durable. Bamboo often comes at a pretty high price point, but is it one of the more durable materials. Just be sure that you stay away from heavy, solid wood options. They may look sleek and appealing, but they are going to be heavy and difficult to carry and travel.
The might seem simple and arbitrary, but the details make all of the difference in products such as this. A tiny little lip on the end os going to make the difference between keeping your pen handy, and it rolling off only to become lost in the couch cushions.
Be sure that you select the right size! To do this, measure the length of your laptop, and be sure to select something that is as big, if not bigger. You want to be able to make sure that you have enough room for your computer, and maybe a little extra for pens and notebooks.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Can I use a mouse on it?
The answer to the question depends up what style you select. While there are some options out there that have mouse pads built directly onto the surface, most options do not offer this feature. Due to the fact that most designs have a slippery coating on the top, using a mouse is going to serve to be just a little difficult, which means that you are going the need to employ the use of a mouse pad. Before you go out and buy a mousepad, however, you are going to need to make sure that you are going to have enough room. Most options out there are designed only to be big enough to hold most standard size computers and tablets, so if you want to use your mouse, be sure to select a longer design, or find a model with a built-in mouse surface that can be pulled out on the side.
q: Can I take it with me when I travel?
Absolutely! Just make sure that you select the right design. If you plan on taking your surface with you on a car trip and work outings, you are going to want to keep an eye on how thick the surface is. Designs that are between 2-4 inches thick are usually pretty easy to toss into a suitcase or in the back of your car. Plus, these thinner designs also make them perfect for hiding behind the sofa while they are not in use. If you are looking to take these to travel, there are a few designs that you are going to want to steer clear. The first option is the products that have built-in storage. These are often a little too bulky, and from what we could gather, the clips to keep the lid closed are not very secure. The second option that is not great for travel is designed that have metal legs that are unable to fold down. While these options are perfect for the home, taking them anywhere else can be a bit of a hassle.
q: Am I able to use it for anything other than using it with my laptop?
Yes, they can be used for more things than just your laptop. In fact, some designs cater more to students that are using textbooks and notebooks, and some cater more towards artists. If you are a student, you might want to consider designs that have a media lip to place your smartphone, and designs that are able to adjust upwards so that you don’t have to strain your neck in order to read, or so you don’t strain your neck writing in a notebook. For artists that are looking for something that they can use while they draw, there are a few things to consider. First, take into consideration the width of the design, as well as the depth, Sketchbooks are often bigger than your average notebook, so you want to make sure you get something big enough to fit. Secondly, look at the padding underneath. You are going to want something that gives you as little wobble as possible, so selecting a design that has minimal or thin padding underneath may be in your best interest.
q: What material is best?
The answer to this question is just a matter of personal preference for the most part. One thing that we would warm against is selecting designs that use solid wood. For any other type of furniture on the planet, solid wood is the way to go because it is durable and has a polished look to it. However, with these types of products, you want to walk the line between durable and lightweight. If the product is too heavy, you are going to groan every time you have to lift it up off of you, and after a while, you may stop using it altogether. Ome material we found that walks that line beautifully are bamboo. This wood is incredibly lightweight but is also wears quite well. The only downside to selecting bamboo is that it often comes at a much higher price point. We feel that the best materials to use in this case are particle board and plastic materials.