• April 17, 2024, 12:52 pm

The best folding desks of 2023 SoftAIT

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Update : Tuesday, November 7, 2023

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If having a regular, stationary desk setup isn’t an option due to limited space, you may want to invest in a folding desk. Whether gaming, writing the next great novel, or working from home, your desk is the foundation to help you focus and get the job done is important. A folding desk offers a perfect, albeit temporary, place for you to get things done without adding too much extra clutter to your space. There are two main types of foldable desks; the one you choose will depend on your personal needs and home layout. If your dedicated work area is super tight, you may want to consider a foldable wall desk—which saves floor space and gives you the option of having an additional shelf when not in use. On the other hand, if you have a little more space to work with, choosing a dedicated multi-level computer desk or a dedicated writing desk with cabinets might be the better selection for you. The best folding desks can maximize your workflow and complement your space. 

How we chose the best folding desks

Many of us here at Popular Science have worked remotely in some capacity at one point in our careers, from freelance stints to hybrid office life. Being at a desk so much means we each have a certain set of criteria for a space to do our best work. Some of us need built-in computer risers; others prefer something with lots of storage options. We looked at reviews, peer recommendations, and conducted heavy research—online and amongst ourselves—to find the best folding desks.

The best folding desks: Reviews & Recommendations

The best folding desks combine fashion with function—they should be stylish but not so stylish that they’re more aesthetic than practical. Plus, a fold-up desk should be easy to take down, stash, and stow away. Our choices are just that.

Best overall: Sleekform

Why it made the cut: The wood desk is sleek, simple, and stylish—all things a folding desk should be.

Specs

  • Weight: 23 pounds
  • Dimensions: 47.2 x 23.6 x 30 inches
  • Materials: Metal, wood

Pros

  • Comes fully assembled
  • Legs easy to fold
  • Wood is finished in a scratch-free material

Cons

  • Reviews note that a chemical smell lingers when taking the desk out of the box

Assembling furniture can be complicated, but you won’t have to worry about that with Sleekform’s no-assembly fold-down desk. As the best folding desk overall, this model is durable, lightweight, and easy to put together in any room. Plus, the black metal hairpin-style legs of this folding desk also come with special rubber caps to keep your floors scratch-free while moving it around. The wood table is finished with a three-coat water- and scratch-resistant material, so you don’t have to worry about leaving water marks like other wood-topped desks. The desk measures around 47.2 inches by 23.6 inches by 30 inches of 100% real fir wood and weighs only 24 pounds, which makes it easy to transport. Don’t let its lightness fool you—this desk can hold up to 110 pounds. This model is also large enough to accommodate a second person if you want to set up a simple co-working space. A chemical smell lingers when taking the desk out of the box, but it dissipates and disappears in a few hours.

Best for laptops: Elephance Folding Computer Desk

The Elephance Folding Computer Desk is the best folding desk for laptops.

Why it made the cut: This versatile folding desk is great for your laptop and can also be used as a kids’ table.

Specs

  • Weight: 24.2 pounds 
  • Dimensions: 29.53 inches H x 19.69 inches W x 39.4 inches D 
  • Materials: Steel, particleboard

Pros

  • Versatile
  • Modern design 
  • No assembly required

Cons

Need a workspace that doesn’t take up much room? The Elephance Folding Desk is a solid option for laptops. With almost 30 inches across the workspace, you can fit a laptop and accessories easily. Made from steel that’s painted white and particleboard, this desk blends in easily in modern surroundings. It can also double as a table for kids to work on projects. And at 24 pounds, it’s lightweight enough to move from room to room and stores easily.

Best for writing: Tangkula Writing Desk

The Tangula is the best folding writing desk.

Why it made the cut: Drawers mean you can keep important documents, and novel outlines in an organized place, and the fold-down table makes this desk easy to stow in a corner.

Specs

  • Weight: 50 pounds
  • Dimensions: 20 x 41.5 x 29.5 inches
  • Materials: Wood, steel, PVC

Pros

  • Desktop folds for easy storage
  • Drawers open smoothly
  • Desk is on wheels for transport

Cons

Whether you’re a writer by profession or just enjoy sitting down to journal now and again, you can’t go wrong with Tangkula, the best folding desk for writers. This desk has three storage drawers—perfect for keeping all your writing tools nearby in case inspiration strikes. The desk folds in a way that allows you to use it as a nightstand or side table when you’re done writing for the day. The multi-functional feature is a huge plus if you like your furniture to serve several purposes—which ultimately helps save on space. Plus, it’s on wheels, which means you can push it to a new location to get a change of scenery in your own home. Reviews note that this desk takes time to assemble—some estimate it took them between 1-2 hours to put it together. However, you get an incredibly convenient desk once it’s built.

Best for kids: Idea Nuova Minecraft 2 Piece Table and Chair Set

The Idea Nuova Minecraft 2-Piece Table Set is the best folding desk for kids.

Why it made the cut: This simple set is inspired by Minecraft and designed for small spaces.

Specs

  • Weight: 11.4 pounds
  • Dimensions: Chair: 13 x 12 x 13.25 inches: table: 25 x 20 x 15.25 inches
  • Materials: Steel frame

Pros

  • Comes with table and chair
  • Minecraft theme could inspire kids to code
  • Can also hold a laptop
  • Small storage rack underneath

Cons

Space can be at a premium in a child’s room, but this folding computer desk makes the most of it. Inspired by Minecraft, this chair and desk combo is lightweight and easy to stow. With a sturdy steel frame, this set also comes assembled. It can double as a workdesk for a laptop or an iPad so your child can play and practice coding. It’s also great for arts and crafts or for eating. Plus, it features a small rack below for books or other items. If your child isn’t a Minecraft fan, Idea Nuovo also makes versions for kids who like L.O.L Surprise! or Spiderman.

Most sustainable: Eccostyle Solid Bamboo Style Folding Desk

Why it made the cut: Keep your footprint small with this desk that’s made with an environmentally friendly bamboo frame. 

Specs

  • Weight: 16.3 pounds
  • Dimensions: 29.5 inches H x 31.9 inches W x 22.1 inches D
  • Materials: Bamboo, MDF

Pros

  • Made from sustainable materials
  • Affordable
  • Fits in small spaces

Cons

If sustainability is your aim when shopping for furniture, this modern-looking bamboo folding desk could fit the bill. The bamboo legs support an MDF workspace with room for a laptop and a few accessories or even a sewing machine. And this small foldaway desk is easy to store. That said, the workspace is somewhat small.

Best dropleaf: Nathan James Kalos Dropleaf Folding Console Table

The Nathan James Kalos Folding Desk is the best option that's dropleaf.

Why it made the cut: This wooden desk is designed with a drop leaf that lets you use it as a desk or a small dining table.

Specs

  • Weight: 51 pounds 
  • Dimensions: 43 inches L x 40 inches W x 31 inches H
  • Materials: Wood

Pros

  • Easy to assemble 
  • Generous workspace 
  • Comes with a dropleaf for extra room

Cons

If you’re looking for a desk that can do double duty, the Nathan James Kalos Dropleaf Desk is an attractive choice. This rustic wooden desk provides a workspace of 40 inches and has a dropleaf construction that allows it to be a fold-down desk or a folding desk table. You can also choose from a brown desk with white legs or a walnut desk with black legs. This versatile piece also doubles as a dining table that can seat six. Plus, it’s easy to assemble and perfect for small apartments or dorms.

Best for small spaces: 4NM Small Folding Computer Desk

The 4NM Small Folding Computer Desk is the best folding desk for small spaces.

Why it made the cut: This easy-to-assemble desk computer desk looks modern, comes with seven colorways, and stores easily. 

Specs

  • Weight: 20.9 pounds 
  • Dimensions: 31.5 inches L x 17.72 W x 29.72 inches H
  • Materials: Engineered wood, metal

Pros

  • Works in many homes
  • Easy to assemble
  • Multipurpose

Cons

This modern desk is designed for small spaces. Made of metal and engineered wood, this small folding desk provides a workspace of about 31 inches across, which is plenty of room for a laptop or sewing machine. It’s available in eight colorways to suit your space best. You can also order a version that allows for a hanging folder for storage and comes with hooks for earphones and cords.

Best wall-mounted: Haotian Drop Leaf

The Haotian Folding Desk is the best folding wall desk.

Why it made the cut: Built-in shelves and a fold-down design make this desk blend into your home like a fly on the wall.

Specs

  • Weight: 28 pounds
  • Dimensions: 18.9 x 35.43 x 14.17 inches
  • Materials: Engineered wood

Pros

  • Saves space
  • Stylish and functional
  • Sturdy

Cons

  • Needs hung properly
  • Assembly required
  • 44-pound load limit

If you’re looking to hold on to every inch of space you possibly can, the Haotian folding desk is a good choice. Since it mounts to the wall, you don’t have to worry about taking up too much room on the ground, and there’s the added bonus of having multiple shelves to keep your work tools neat and organized. At 28 pounds, this small foldable desk is on the heavier side, so you should ensure you hang it properly and securely, or else it will end up on the floor. Instead of folding up, which would hide the shelves, it folds down to moonlight as a piece of decor. The desk has a 44-pound load limit, so don’t overload it with monitors or heavy decorative knick-knacks. Assembly is required, and it takes around 1-2 hours to build, per shared user experiences.

Best for laps: SAIJI Lap Desk

The SAIJI Adjustable Lap Dest is the best folding lap desk.

Why it made the cut: Work from your bed, couch, or floor with this handy adjustable lap desk. You can also use it to transform your current desk into a standing desk.

Specs

  • Weight: 10 pounds
  • Dimensions: 23.62 x 17.72 x 11.02 inches
  • Materials: PVC leather, steel, aluminum alloy

Pros

  • Easy to adjust
  • Incredibly storable
  • Lightweight to take anywhere

Cons

  • Latch on left side that locks the tray tilt blocks drawer from opening

Whether you’re lounging at home or on the go, the SAIJI Lap Desk makes working much more comfortable with its ergonomic features and stylish design. The desk also features a foldable bookstand, a storage drawer ideal for your mobile device, and a non-slip textured design to keep your laptop in place. It’s also height-adjustable and features two auto-lock buttons on each side to seamlessly switch between five different height levels to find your ideal viewing angle. You can also use it as a cost-effective way to turn your current sit-down desk into a standing one. Simply stow it under your couch or in a closet when you’re done using it for the day. The latch on the left side of the desk that locks the tray tilt also blocks the drawer from opening, reviews note. If this desk doesn’t tickle your fancy, check out our other laptop-friendly desk recommendations.

Best budget: Cubiker

The Cubiker Folding Desk is the best budget pick.

Why it made the cut: This desk is easy to assemble, easy to transport, and easy on your wallet. Talk about a triple threat.

Specs

  • Weight: 23.6 pounds
  • Dimensions: 20 x 40 x 30 inches
  • Materials: Wood; metal

Pros

  • Easy assembly
  • Lots of color options
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Tabletop doesn’t attach to metal frame

The Cubiker folding desk will give you everything you need without emptying your wallet. Although you won’t get extra features, you will get a well-built, collapsible desk that’s easy to set up and store when not in use. The desk also comes in four color options, including black, brown, and white. Plus, it takes less than 5 minutes to assemble—all you need to do is open the frame and plop the tabletop on top. Because of its weight and transportability, this desk is a great option for college students hopping from one on-campus living situation to another, or for transient working post-grads. However, if you’re worried that the tabletop will fall off the frame, or want to use this desk in your permanent workspace, you might need to attach Velcro strips or something to secure the tabletop to the frame. Here are more narrow desks to consider.

What to consider when buying the best folding desks

Once you’ve established that folding furniture is the way to go for your small space, there are a few factors to consider when choosing the ideal model for you. First of all, be realistic about just how much space you have. Is there enough to comfortably fit a standing desk, or would a portable desk work better? Next, think about your budget. Can you afford to splurge on something like the aforementioned Hoek Home tabletop, or are you looking for a less expensive option? What about a desk that requires little to no assembly? Is the ability to quickly set up or store away your desk important? Keep reading to find out our top choices.

Easy assembly

At first glance, the Sleekform Folding Desk is beautiful, with its rustic tabletop and hairpin legs, but what really makes it special is its no-assembly required design. The fold-out desk comes ready to use straight out of the box. All you have to do is carefully unfold the four metal legs and flip the table over, then fold up and slide it into storage when you’re done. That’s it, no tools or heavy lifting required.

Computer desk or a writing desk

A huge part of finding the best option is knowing exactly what you’ll use it for once it arrives. If you’re looking for a great folding computer desk, look no further than the Elephance Folding Computer Desk. Meanwhile, the Tangkula Folding Writing Desk is great for literary types.

Space

Another great way to maximize space is by picking up a small, wall-mounted folding model. Consider desks that screw into the wall and fold up. This desk is mounted to the wall by two large brackets. You’re still getting a lot of real estate, as well as integrated shelves for plenty of extra storage space. Plus, when the desk isn’t being used, you can fold it flat onto itself while still keeping the shelves on display.

Portability

Lap desks offer the best of both worlds in a sleek and stylish form. As the name suggests, you can use this model while lounging on the couch, but it can also be a great travel desk to take with you. The ability to customize the height and viewing angles makes the desk more ergonomic—which is always a plus when working long hours. Finally, this folding lap desk takes up very little space and can easily be stored in a closet or under your bed until the next time you’re ready to use it.

Price

When you hear the term “budget-friendly,” you might quickly assume that the item will be poorly made and you’d be better off with a more costly option. However, there are quite a few decent budget-friendly folding desks on the market, like the Cubiker folding desk, which is also easy to assemble.

When selecting a budget folding desk, you shouldn’t expect too many frills or extra features compared to a folding computer desk. These cheaper desks are usually fairly simple in design and offer basic functionality. Another drawback with a desk in the lower price range is that you may not get the best quality wood. However, if you’re careful and don’t plan on using the desk outdoors, you should be fine with a less expensive model.

FAQs

Q: How much is a folding desk?

Our picks start at about $60 and range up to $230 for a combination folding desk and bookshelf. The materials used, features, and the size of the desk are some of the main factors in the prices of the best folding desks.

Q: How do I choose a folding desk?

Choosing a folding desk comes down to your personal preference and lifestyle needs. Take a moment to consider how you’ll be using your new piece of office furniture and how much space you have to accommodate, then make your decision based on those main factors.

Q: What material is best for a folding table?

Hands down, the best material for a folding table is wood. This could be high-quality hardwood or something more affordable, like particleboard. One thing to keep in mind: If you’ll be using your folding table outside, you’ll want to stick with a solid wood, as particleboard is susceptible to moisture.

Q: How much weight can a folding desk hold?

The weight a folding desk can hold will vary depending on the type of desk and the material used to make it. For example, a solid wood desk, like the Sleekform option listed above, can hold over 100 pounds.

Q: What are the benefits of foldable furniture?

Foldable furniture is ideal for people who live in small spaces, who like to move their workspaces around, have limited storage, and who are not looking to spend a lot of money.

Final thoughts on the best folding desks

There is no one-size-fits-all approach when choosing the best folding desk. It all comes down to what you’re looking for and how it can best fit into your lifestyle and routine. Ideally, you want your folding desk to enhance your overall work experience without adding extra clutter in your space—whether that’s reducing neck and back pain or allowing you to relax on the couch during your next Zoom meeting.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.



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