laptop on a lap desk or tray

Top 8 Best Lap Trays and Desks for Writers in 2021

Lap desks are the bomb.

I, like many other people, had to work from home for a while (believe it or not, this website is not my day job), so I had to find a good solution to get comfortable.

The wooden chair next to my kitchen table was all I had, and let me tell you, it hurt!

I got so tired of my sore bum that I started working from my couch, but then it became kind of awkward to work, and I started developing some neck pain.

That’s when I finally invested in a laptop desk, and let me tell you, it made things SO much easier. Not only did I have a flat surface, but it also had foldable legs to make it easier to store, adjustable height, and a cooling fan for my computer.

So I thought I’d put together my top list for lap desks/trays, and my picks for different categories.

Oh, and by the way, this article was written on a lap desk.

Let’s get into it!

The Best Lap Trays

First, here’s the complete list if you just want to dive right in. What follows is my breakdown of each item, and why I chose it.

Best Lap Desk Overall – SAIJI Adjustable PVC Leather Desktop Lap Desk

Sale
SAIJI Laptop Bed Tray Desk, Adjustable PVC Leather Desktop Lap Desk, Portable Laptop Table Stand with Storage Drawer, Foldable Laptop Tray for Sofa Couch Floor (Large, Gray)
  • [PVC LEATHER LAPTOP SURFACE]: SAIIJ laptop desks are made by soft material and high...
  • [CONVENIENCE STORAGE DRAWER]: On the left side of laptop bed tray desk have a little...
  • [ADJUSTABLE LAPTOP BED TRAY TABLE]: Two auto-lock buttons on each side can make the quick...
  • [FOLDABEL PORTABLE COUCH DESK]: Light but sturdy, the portable table can be fold flat for...
  • [24 HOURS CUSTOMER SERVICE] - Any question about SAIJI laptop bed tray desk, please...

So I had to put this one first, because it’s the one that I specifically picked out for myself.

I like this one because it is versatile. It works as a lap tray, but also works if I just want to work in bed for a while.

While this one doesn’t sit in my lap exactly, it does have adjustable legs, which allow me to adjust it for a variety of situations, and I’ve already needed to do so.

But one of my favorite features is the use of leather. Because with these lap desks, a lot of things can slide around. That doesn’t happen with the Saiji. Even if it was a problem, there’s a bar at the bottom that keeps your laptop and mouse from falling off.

Plus it’s got a tiny storage drawer and the legs fold up to make it easier to store.

All in all, easily my favorite all-around desk, and the first that I would recommend to anyone.

Best Lap Desk With a Cushion – LapGear Home Office Lap Desk with Device Ledge

LapGear Home Office Lap Desk with Device Ledge, Mouse Pad, and Phone Holder - White Marble - Fits Up To 15.6 Inch Laptops - style No. 91501
  • Compatibility: Fits up to 15. 6" laptops and most tablets.
  • Phone Slot: Holds all cell phones vertically in 5" X 0.75" slot.
  • Comfort: Innovative, dual-bolster cushion conforms to your lap, keeping you cool and...
  • Mouse pad: Work surface includes integrated 5" X 9" mouse pad.
  • Improved Air-flow: Smooth, flat surface allows for proper laptop ventilation, as...

I like this one because it has everything you really need in a lap tray. It’s got space for a 15 inch laptop, and it has a phone slot and a place for your mouse pad.

But let’s talk about the cushion, since this is the category for that.

While this cushion is not memory foam, let me let you in on a little secret: you don’t need memory foam.

In fact, memory foam can get hot, and this lap desk is specifically designed to be breathable. That’s why it’s got a corridor between two cushions. Those cushions easily conform to your lap, making it great for stability and comfort.

It also comes with a little mouse pad as well.

All in all, I love this one because it’s easily the best option for everything in one, especially if you want a cushion.

Best Lap Desk for Bed – Besign Adjustable Laptop Table

Sale
[Large Size] Besign Adjustable Latop Table, Portable Standing Bed Desk, Foldable Sofa Breakfast Tray, Notebook Computer Stand for Reading and Writing – Black
  • Large Size: Besign LT06 Laptop table is 23.62”x12.99”x0.35” (600x330x9mm) of size...
  • Multiple Uses: This multifunctional table will be a perfect addition to your office or...
  • Angle Adjustable: 0°-36° angle adjusting without a pause. Hold and press the two sides...
  • Height Adjustable: Easy Adjustable 5 Height Positions from 9.4” to 12.6”. Simply press...
  • Portable: Retractable legs could fold below the table for easy storage and carry. You...

Let’s face it, sometimes I’m too tired to do anything but work from my bed. I know it sounds super lazy, but I’ll bet you’ve had one of those days before too.

So I had to make a pick for using in bed. While I do recommend my overall pick above, I have to give a slight advantage to this one because it’s big and sturdy.

In order to work from bed properly, you need a good wedge or reading pillow, and that takes up space.

In order to make the best use of the space, I recommend a large bed tray, and that’s why I picked the Besign. It’s the perfect size, especially if you are a larger person yourself.

Best Lap Desk With Storage – Folding Lap Desk With Extra Storage Space

Folding Lap Desk, Laptop Desk, Breakfast Table, Bed Table, Serving Tray - The lapdesk Contains Extra Storage Space and dividers & Folds Very Easy, Great for Kids, Adults, Boys, Girls, (Black)
  • Multi-purpose use - It can be used as a laptop stand, travel desk, breakfast table, bed...
  • Extra storage space under the desk top - Lap desk with storage. Lift the desk top and find...
  • Space-saving folds flat - The collapsible folding lap desk is designed that the legs fold...
  • Durable high quality - Built to hold all your belongings neat inside the great kids desk...
  • 100% Satisfaction! If you are not totally satisfied with your purchase and we promise to...

The one drawback about a laptop lap desk is that they lack space. On a regular desk, this isn’t usually an issue. Typically you’ll have some drawers or at least desk space for everything you need.

And a portable lap desk doesn’t usually have that.

Unless you’re this folding lap desk with extra storage space.

This laptop table has a folding top that provides lots of extra space underneath (although it does give me some weird flashbacks to my high school days).

This gives you ample space to include a notepad, pens, pencils, erasers, cables, and whatever else you might need in this thing.

What’s great about this particular model is that it’s also durable and built for members of the whole family. So while I do have a best laptop tray for kids below, this is another good option.

Best Lap Desk With a Light – Sofia + Sam Multi Tasking Memory Foam Lap Desk with USB Light

Sofia + Sam Multi Tasking Memory Foam Lap Desk with USB Light and Mouse Pad - Portable Foldable Home Working Office Workstation - Bed Table Tray for Eating - Fits Computer Up to 15" - Soft Cushion
  • MULTI-PURPOSE USE: works perfect for laptop computers, tablets, smart phones, etc. Fits...
  • MOUSE PAD: slide out mouse pad that pulls out on either the left or right side of the...
  • MEMORY FOAM COMFORT: cool and comfortable design built with a memory foam cushion, wrist...
  • WORK FROM HOME: the perfect lap desk so you can work or learn from the comfort of your...
  • Large work surface of 18.5" x 14" x 3.5". Patented D772596

One of those “extra features” that I admit I’m a little obsessed over, is the USB light.

So I knew going into this that I had to pick a favorite with a light, and that’s how I found the Sofia + Sam (hey! I’m Sam!) portable lap desk.

But the light isn’t the only nifty addition to this desk. It also comes with an extractable mouse pad and phone stand, as well as a handy wrist pad.

Overall, it’s definitely the best laptop stand if you want a nice light to go with it.

Best Lap Desk for Reading – LapGear Designer Lap Desk

LapGear Designer Lap Desk with Phone Holder and Device Ledge - Aqua Trellis - Fits up to 15.6 Inch Laptops - Style No. 45422,Medium - Fits up to 15.6" Laptops
  • Fits up to 15.6" laptops: 17.75" x 13.75" surface dimensions.
  • Phone slot: Holds all cell phones horizontally and media devices up to 7.9" vertically...
  • Style: Designer fabric cushion and wood-inspired surface will complement any decor.
  • Comfort: Cushion filling conforms to your lap.
  • Improved air-flow: Smooth, flat surface allows for proper laptop ventilation, as...

Most of the options on this list are making the assumption that you need a laptop desk of some kind. But maybe you don’t want one for a laptop.

Maybe you want a stand for reading, or you’re looking for something to simply take notes on, maybe have a small cubby for your phone.

If that’s what you’re looking for, then look no further.

This bed tray from LapGear, has all of that, from the phone holder to a comfortable cushion.

I particularly like the little band across the corner to help hold your documents in place. That’s a nice touch.

Best for Left-handed People- HLead Laptop Lap Desk

HLead Laptop Lap Desk Home Office Portable Laptop Desk for Left Right - Handers with Built in Mouse Pad Wrist Pad Dual Cushion Phone Tablet Slots Fits Up to 17 Inch Laptops
  • LEFT & RIGHT MOUSE PAD: Two built-in mouse pads of computer desk are specially designed...
  • MULTI-PURPOSE USE: This laptop stand can fit up to 17 inches laptop. The office desk also...
  • ERGONOMIC AND ANGLE DESIGN: Sponge-filled double back cushion conforms to your lap,...
  • LIGHTWEIGHT & PORTABLE: The lap desk for laptop is portable because it has a handle....
  • SAFETY AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION: HLead laptop table is made of MDF board. The surface...

Alrighty, for all you lefties out there, I’ve got you covered.

This laptop stand specifically is built for people who are left-handed or ambidextrous.

It’s got all of the features that you might want in a regular portable lap desk, but with space on the left side for a good mousepad.

While there are some desks that are built for either a left or right-handed person, there are, unfortunately, not many for just left-handed people, so you might miss some features here and there.

That said, you’d be absolutely fine with this desk surface.

Best Lap Desk for Kids – LapGear Compact Lap Desk

LapGear Compact Lap Desk - Aqua Sky - Fits Up to 13.3 Inch Laptops - Style No. 43109
  • Fits up to 13.3" Laptops: 13.75" X 10" Surface dimensions.
  • Comfort: Innovative, dual-bolster cushion conforms to your lap, keeping you cool and...
  • Portable: lightweight and compact with reinforced carrying handle.
  • Improved AIR-FLOW: Smooth, flat surface allows for proper laptop ventilation, as...

Okay, so we’ve covered the basics for all the many different types of lap trays. But what about desks for kids?

Because if I’m not mistaken, studying from home is still a big thing these days.

For kids, you might not need the desk for a laptop, but just so you have a surface.

Either way, LapGear’s option is a good and simple desk for kids, and even comes with a nice little pencil holder at the top. It’s ideal for pen and paper, but you can use a laptop on it if you want.

And the best part is, it’s padded and not too bulky, which is a must if you’re working with children.

Why Do You Need a Lap Desk?

Following the year-that-must-not-be-named, many of us found ourselves working from home a lot more.

This is when I first looked into getting a lap desk, and it’s definitely a big reason why lap desks have exploded ever since.

Because guess what, working from home is kind of neat!

Now it may be that you don’t have a desk at home, or perhaps you prefer to work from your couch, or maybe you don’t like to work from home at all, but like to get out to the local Starbucks and work from there.

Whatever the reason, lap desks are amazing if you work from home. They make your life so much more convenient so you’re not tethered to a desk all day.

That said, this really only works for people who use laptops or written materials for their work. If you have a desktop, there’s not much I can do for you.

…or is there…

I’ll go right ahead and say that I love lap trays so much that I would even recommend getting them for people with desktops. Either buy a laptop, or buy a cheaper Chromebook and connect it as a remote workspace for your desktop. That way, you can access everything you need from the Chromebook, which will be on your lap desk, which will be on your lap while you lounge comfortably from your couch.

Sounds like the dream, right?

It’s worth pointing out that lap trays are also useful in other situations, such as if you’re bedridden for any reason, or if you travel a lot.

Whatever the reason, I recommend most people have one on hand. They don’t take up a ton of space and can be really useful in a pinch.

What to Look for in a Lap Desk

So there are a bunch of factors to consider, and you won’t necessarily need everything on this list. However, these are just useful to know.

  • Size and Weight: You don’t want something that’s too heavy, or it will lose that appeal. Remember, you also have to fit your laptop on this thing. You also don’t want a lap tray that is too wide or too narrow. Too wide and it won’t fit in your sitting space, too narrow and you might not have room for something like a computer mouse if you need it (do people say “computer mouse” still?)
  • Comfort: Ultimately, this was a big one for me. If the desk isn’t comfortable, I’m not interested in using it. I’d rather sit in my ergonomic chair at my desk. A good cushion or the proper height adjustment is crucial.
  • Accessibility: I’m not a lefty, but I know a lot of lefties, and I know how difficult it can be to find things that are built for you. That’s why I made sure to include a lap desk specifically for left-handed people, and to make sure some of my other picks could go either way. If you’re left-handed, this is probably a priority for you.
  • Versatility: I like a tool that can do many things in different ways. For example, some desks work on a couch or in bed, also hold phones, have storage, a light, you name it. The more features the desks have (while still maintaining practicality and comfort), the better in my opinion.
  • Stability: Finally, the actual build of the lap tray is important. Having a ton of special features is great, but if it’s wobbling all over the place when I try to type, I’m not going to like it. So I tried to select certain picks that fit this mold. Plus it helps if you need something that can handle that huge gaming laptop of yours.
  • Fancy Features: some lap trays have additional perks, such as storage options, a retractable mouse tray, cooling fans, a cup holder, wrist rest, phone slot, etc. These can sometimes be fun to include.

That should give you an idea of the logic behind my picks, and what you should keep in mind when selecting a lap desk.

Have your own priorities? Sound off in the comments below, as I’d love to hear them.

Health Benefits of Lap Desks

So did you know that lap desks are also great for your health? Who knew that sitting at a boring desk all day could be bad for us?

And I’m not just talking about being comfortable. Sure, feeling less stressed while you work due to comfort will improve your health. But it’s more than that.

For example, the angle in which you place your hands on your laptop keyboard is different when at a regular desk, than on a lap desk. Your hands are typically pointed a little more downward, and your wrists aren’t bent as much. This makes it more ergonomic.

One of the problems with using a laptop in your….well, lap, is that it can lead to shoulder or neck pain, since you’re looking down all the time.

A lap tray helps to mitigate this problem, as it raises everything up a little bit, while still giving your arms more room.

All in all, an adjustable lap desk is much better than the two alternatives: having a laptop directly in your lap, or working at a desk. The only option that I would say is better for your health would be a standing desk, but even that’s not as comfortable.

How to Sit with a Lap Desk

There is a way to sit if you want to maximize the potential of your lap tray. Following these tips will help you stay in a more ergonomic posture, and increase your comfort overall.

Here are some tips:

  • Keep your head centered directly over your shoulders
  • Keep your arms level, so that your hands are inline with your elbows
  • Sit straight and don’t lean to one side or the other
  • Try not to have your forearms raised or lowered. Keep them parallel with the floor
  • Make sure you have some kind of back support

Final Thoughts on the Best Lap Desks

And that should do it! Now you know my best picks for lap trays, why they’re important, what to look for, and how to use them.

Honestly, I can literally say that my life was changed when I got mine. I hope it will be as beneficial for you as it was for me.

Cheers!

Sam

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