5 Best Laptop Lap Desks for Students

chrisAbout the Author: Hi, I’m Chris Drew, a university professor, and I run things around here. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Quick Answer: Best Quality. 

My favorite lap desk for students is the Songmics Bamboo Laptop Desk. It’s sturdy, adjustable, and comes with storage space.

In my opinion, the best lap desks for students are:

  • Bamboo Laptop Desk (by Songmics).
  • Folding Lap Desk (by Mavo Craft).
  • Memory Foam Lap Desk with USB Light (by Sofia + Sam).
  • Adjustable Laptop Bed Stand (by Nearpow)
  • Magnetic Dry Erase Lap Desk (by EZDesk)

Best Lap Desks for Students

1. Bamboo Stand with Drawer (by Songmics)

Quick Review: Sturdy and adjustable. I love the drawer and dedicated flat table section for holding drinks.

Benefits for Students:

  • Comfort: You can adjust the height of the legs. Plus, you can tilt the laptop tray up to your preferred settings. I love just how adjustable this is.
  • Storage Drawer: Store your pens, utensils and phone in the awesome built-in drawer.
  • Build Quality: The bamboo structure beats plastic competitors as a more durable option.
  • Prevents Overheating: The holes under the laptop tilt tray provide ventilation so your laptop doesn’t overheat.
  • Environmentally Friendly: Bamboo is way better for the environment than plastic.

Things to Consider:

  • Left-Handers: You can’t move the tilt tray – it’s always on the left of the desk. So, it’s ergonomically designed for right-handed people. As a left-hander myself, I’m not really fussed by it.
  • No wrist rest: I like wrist rests to make typing more comfortable. This one doesn’t come with a wrist rest.

2. Folding Lap Desk (by Mavo Craft)

Quick Review: An affordable lap desk for students that has plenty of storage space.

Benefits for Students:

  • Affordable: This is my top pick for affordability.
  • Great Storage Space: There is a ton of storage space under the lid for you to store your paper, pens and pencils, graphing calculators, etc.
  • Packable: I like that you can pack the legs on this lap desk so it’s compact for transportation and storage.
  • Sturdy: The plastic is quite thick and sturdy. The only thing to remember is to click the legs into place before use or else they collapse.

Things to Consider:

  • Legs Not Customizable: The legs cannot be lengthened or shortened.
  • No Tilt Tray: There is not a tilt tray to adjust the angle of the laptop either.
  • Environmental Considerations: The plastic design is not as environmentally friendly as the bamboo design of other options on the market.
  • No wrist rest: I like wrist rests to make typing more comfortable. This one doesn’t come with a wrist rest.

3. Memory Foam Lap Desk with USB Light (by Sofia + Sam)

Quick Review: A really classy lap desk with a USB light and memory foam based for sitting on your lap. I strongly considered this as my top pick.

Benefits for Students:

  • Ergonomic: The wrist support is great for students spending all day writing papers.
  • Built-In Lamp: I love the lamp! You can work away all night long.
  • Cushion Base Sits on your Lap: Instead of legs, this one works by resting the cushion base on your lap while you work. I find this works well if I want to lie on the couch and work on my lap top.
  • Tablet Slot: Stand your tablet upright in the tablet slot and use it as a screen for watching videos.
  • Slide-out mouse deck: The slide-out mouse deck slides out left and right. You can also fit your phone into the phone slot located on the mouse deck.

Things to Consider:

  • Batteries: The lamp requires either 4x AA batteries (not included) or to be plugged into the laptop’s USB port.
  • No Legs or Tilt Tray: Unlike the first two options, this lap desk does not have legs. You rest this lap desk on your lap.
  • Size: Recommended for 15 inch laptops and smaller. If you own a 17 inch laptop, consider getting the larger size for 17 inch laptops instead.

4. Adjustable Laptop Bed Stand (by Nearpow)

Quick Review: A quality build and very adjustable. My only complaint is that you have to tilt the whole desk, not just the laptop.

Benefits for Students:

  • Good for 17 inch Laptops: It’s a big desk that would easily it a large 17 inch laptop.
  • Comfortable Height Adjustment: You can adjust the legs to get the desk to the perfect height for you.
  • Compact: You can fold the legs in for easy storage and transport.
  • Ledge to Hold your Laptop and Mouse: I like that the ledges that prevent your laptop and mouse from falling off the desk are movable for left- and right- handed people.
  • Also use as Standing Desk: You could also use this lap desk as a standing desk that you can place on top of your regular table / desk so you can work while standing

Things to Consider:

  • Tilt Tray not Split: While the tilt tray on this lap desk is great, you either have to tilt the whole table or nothing. I prefer the tilt tray on the Hankey lap desk (#1 on this list) which still allows table space for holding drinks.
  • No wrist rest: I like wrist rests to make typing more comfortable. This one doesn’t come with a wrist rest.

5. Magnetic Dry Erase Lap Desk (by EZDesk)

Quick Review: The tray is a whiteboard so you can write notes and do your math on it – then erase the working when you’re done!

Benefits for Students:

  • White Board: Your lap desk doubles up as a white board so you can take notes and do your rough working on the white board while you study.
  • Cushion Base Sits on your Lap: Instead of legs, this one works by resting the cushion base on your lap while you work.
  • Adjustable Stand for Personal Devices: There is an adjustable stand that can hold tablets and phones (visible in the image above – back right corner of the lap desk).

Things to Consider:

  • Personal Preferences: My personal preference is for a classier-looking lap desk. This whiteboard marker is fun but I’d prefer a wood or bamboo surface. Another issue with the white board is (perhaps because I’m left-handed), I’d constantly be getting ink on my hands.
  • No wrist rest: I like wrist rests to make typing more comfortable. This one doesn’t come with a wrist rest.

What to Look for in a Lap Desk for Students

Tilt Tray

A tilt tray allows you to tilt your laptop up to a comfortable spot. I prefer tilt trays that only operate on part of the table, so you can keep the rest of the table flat to hold drinks. I also like to see a tilt tray that can be slid across the desk so that it’s good for left- and right-handed people.

Storage Space

I’m a HUGE fan of the first two lap desks on this list because they have storage space to keep your pens, pencils, calculators and anything else you need to study.

Adjustable Legs vs. Cushion

This is a matter of personal preference. Do you want the lap desk to rest on your lap or stand on adjustable legs? The adjustable legs give you a little more airflow and space, but the cushion can be really comfortable when you’re working while laying down. It’s your choice!


Only one lap desk on this list has a lamp – but I love that extra feature! It’s perfect when you’re working away and suddenly … it’s night time! Just flick the lamp on and stay in your flow state of work.

Why get a Lap Desk as a Gift for a Student?

If you live with a student, you know how much time they spend working on the computer and watching TV, lazing around on the couch, and lying on the floor. A lap desk lets them study in their own way in their own space. Get the lap desk as a gift when they get accepted into college, as a gift when they’re heading off to their dorm, or as a birthday or Christmas present!

Final Thoughts

I hope this list of the best lap desks for students has been helpful for making up your mind.

If you’re considering getting a lap desk as a gift for a college student, have you considered some other gift ideas as well? Consider, for example, getting a vacuum for a dorm room, a student backpack or a tote bag!

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Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

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