One of the things I consistently read is that people have issues finding a good desk. I agree. Finding a desk can be difficult because it can seem like nothing out there is exactly what you are looking for AND is within your budget.
My hope for this guide is to help mitigate the pain of desk shopping a little. There is a lot of useful information here, use the links below to skip directly to a section:
Here are some basic questions we need to get answered to help narrow down the selection:
I know people like to go cheap on a desk but I’d rather budget some extra money and get a better quality desk. Be careful not to go too cheap. I don’t wanna hear about someone’s Linnmon desk crumbling from the weight like a toddler’s happy feet on his newly constructed sand castle.
Determine the dimensions of the area you want your desk to fit in. Obviously you can’t fit something bigger into a space that won’t allow it. Sorry to tell you the bad news…guy who’s still trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.
Whatever area you have to work with, you want to maximize that space. Do you want a normal rectangle desk that fits along one wall, a U-shaped desk, an L-shaped desk or maybe even a corner desk?
4) Sit/Stand Desk
You may also ask yourself if you ever want the option to stand at your desk? I sit most of the day and love that I have the option to raise my desk whenever I need to stand and stretch for an hour or so. It has been shown, standing at your desk is better for your overall health and you will feel and sound more energetic.
Cable management might be of concern to you when your desk goes from sit to stand position. I would use a J Channel Cable Raceway and mount everything under your desk including the power supply and then run that one power supply cable to the wall outlet.
5) Desktop Material
Solid wood is the most expensive material option but can be cost effective if you consider how long it lasts and how often you can refinish it. It is very durable and can be sanded, stained, varnished, treated, painted and drilled into without losing integrity. But they can also be heavy, show wear and tear and are susceptible to warping and stains. Protect it with polyurethane to prevent stains and using coasters and/or sippy cups also helps. 🙂
Laminate is made of synthetic materials, usually plastic and bonded to a composite base. It is easier to care for than wood or veneer and much more stain and scratch resistant while being more affordable. Laminates can’t be sanded or stained and aren’t as strong as solid wood.
Veneer is a thin layer of real hardwood applied to a less expensive material such as plywood. It is cheaper than solid wood but it provides the look and feel of real wood. Veneer can be stained and sanded but be careful to not remove too much when sanding. It is susceptible to water damage as it is glued onto the core material and it can cause the top layer to loosen and buckle or bubble.
Glass can be a nice option because it looks modern and sleek. It also looks really cool when you have lighting effects. The glass lets you view the lighting thru the desk, which opens up the room with its transparency. The downside is that it is hard to keep clean, hard to hide wires for clean cable management, you can’t mount anything under it like a wood top and you have to worry about how much weight you’re putting on it. So why did I choose a glass desk 6 years ago? I was up for the challenge.
Metal desks are heavier but they do provide some good strength and durability. Usually the whole desk isn’t metal but I do remember as a kid, I had a huge all-metal desk that was extremely heavy. The thing was like a tank in my room. A very cold tank.
6) How much weight do you want the desk to support?
Take note of how much you want to put on your desk and the approximate weight of it all. Are you expecting to put your tower and multiple monitors on top of the desk? You don’t want to get a cheap, flimsy desk and throw all of your heavy equipment on it only to have it eventually sag or crumble. See my previous comment on the Linnmon desk. That’s like trusting the plastic lawn chair to support your 300lb cousin Eddie after his 4 hour all-you-can-eat buffet binge.
7) Other considerations
Do you want some storage in your desk? You might want to look at desks that have drawers or anything else to hold your cat pictures, vape pens and your Doritos bags.
Some desks help you with cable management by already providing pre-cut holes or cable trays. Getting a desk that you can cut the holes yourself and not lose any sturdiness will be nice and very important to you too.
ERGOTRON’S WORKSPACE PLANNER TOOL
Check out Ergotron’s Workspace Planner tool: https://www.ergotron.com/tools/workspace-planner. It calculates desk, seat, monitor and keyboard height from sitting and standing, based on your height. It’s good to know so you can properly purchase or adjust your current desk and chair.
In addition to their tool, they sell desks around the world. Check out their full desk selections here.
So now that you probably have some of these basic questions answered, let’s move on to some popular desks and desk components out there.
When choosing a longer desk, support the middle with an Adils leg or something similar. You don’t want it to sag in the middle or give out if you have a lot of weight from a multiple monitor setup.
If you need to raise the desk up a little, try adding some risers in between the Alex Drawers and Desktop. You can get Capita Legsat IKEA or Amazon. Amazon also has some different variations of risers you can use like these:
If you don’t need to raise the desk up and can just drop the desktop or countertop directly on the drawers, you can use the included plastic bumpers, rubber stickies or some Velcro tape to help keep the desktop from sliding.
Below are the different desktops and countertops you’ll find at IKEA:
Use to raise the desk up off of an Alex Drawer if you need the desktop higher
Colors: White & Stainless Steel
Height: 4 1/2 ” (11.4 cm)
Min. height: 4 ” (10.2 cm)
Max. height: 5 ” (12.7 cm)
Maximum load/leg: 275 lb 9 oz (125 kb)
Amazon has a wide variety of desks. I like shopping at Amazon because I pay for Amazon Prime and I definitely get my money’s worth of free shipping. Most of the desks I saw had free shipping but 2 day delivery was not always available.
StandDesk are sit/stand desks and look pretty nice. They can be expensive but if you have the budget for it, take a look at their options. I like that you can build your own and enjoy the option of standing and stretching.
OPSEATS has a nice gaming desk called OPEDGE. I like that it has 2 different sizes: 48″ (121.92 cm) and 72″ (182.88 cm) with multiple colors to choose from. On top of that, OPSEATS has free shipping within the US and the ability to split the payment into 3 making the payments easier. Check it out.
UPLIFT Desk is premium sit/stand desks. They have a wide variety of options, including a design your own desk feature. They even have pre-configured standing desk options that include wire management kit, monitor arms, LED lamp, file cabinet, chair and standing mat!
Evodesk makes very good quality sit/stand desks with very sturdy frames, some supporting up to 500 lbs (226.796 kg). Length extends from 48″ (121.92 cm) to 90″ (228.6 cm). You can customize your desk and some will come with the monitor arms and cable management tray. They’re pretty pricey but if money is no object and you want a good quality desk, check these guys out.
Fully has a nice variety of standing desks that are good quality and moderately priced. In addition to a regular rectangle desk, they have an L-Shaped desk that is a sit/stand and also some that are for small spaces. Check them out.
GeekDesk can be another pricey sit/stand desk. They come in 3 different sizes: 47.25″ (120.015 cm), 63″ (160.02 cm) and 78.75″ (200.025 cm) all with a 31.5″ (80.01 cm) depth. You can choose 2 different frame colors with many different options of laminate, veneer and wood tops. They offer free shipping in the lower 48 states in the US. You can also buy a cord tray and a tower holder to attach to the desk.
If all else fails, you can decide to build yourself a custom desk that fits your needs. If you’re not handy though, this might be a challenge. You also need the tools to build your own desk so if you don’t already have them, borrow them from a friend or neighbor. Going this route might get you what you need and might be cheaper, but it’ll take more time, blood, sweat and tears to build.
Hopefully this will help you find the perfect desk for your sweet setup. Let us know in the comments if you have any other recommendations, especially our international friends.