Whatever your gaming rig looks like, whichever consoles you might own, you need a cozy nook for those lengthy sessions with your favorite game. A word of advice, though: don’t just buy the first gaming desk you find. Do you want an adjustable desk with lots of bells and whistles—a keyboard tray, cup holders, a headphone hook, and so on? Or are you looking for something extra comfy and easy to assemble, with space for a monster-sized gaming PC? Maybe you can have it all. Whether you’ve got a spacious home office or need something small you can use with your gaming laptop in the corner of the room, we can help you make the right call.
We spent the better part of a month building and testing as many gaming desks as we could get our hands on—taking availability and popularity into account—and spent at least 16 hours or so playing games and working at each one. If you’re in the market for a gaming desk, you’ll be glad to hear you don’t have to spend a ton of cash to get something really great—like the Mr. Ironstone(available at Amazon), which nabbed our top spot. Not only is it super comfortable, but it's also very stable and durable. If you're looking for something else, we've got plenty of other options, like simpler rectangular models and L-shaped gaming desks.
These are the best gaming desks we tested, ranked in order:
Mr. Ironstone Deep Gaming Desk
MOTPK L-Shaped Gaming Desk
Arozzi Arena Gaming Desk
Eureka Ergonomic Gaming Desk
Eureka Ergonomic L-Shaped Gaming Desk
Walker Edison Ellis Modern Glass-Top Gaming Desk
Walnew Y-Shape Gaming Desk
Mr Ironstone GT01
It pained me to have to give this one up. The Mr. Ironstone looks unremarkable at first glance, and you’d probably expect our top pick to cost a little more, but this was far and away my favorite of the bunch. It’s as comfortable to work at as it is to play games, read a book, or browse the internet. The cup holder and headphone hook are both conveniently placed, though the metal cup holder does bend more easily than I’d like. The smooth black surface doesn’t call attention to itself, but it looks really nice.
If you’re of average height, the minimal adjustability shouldn’t be an issue, as it’s just shy of 31-inches tall. It’s among the most sturdy and stable of the desks we tested, with steel legs and a laminated surface, and felt like something that ought to last at least a decade. And if for some reason you want a little extra space for your gaming setup, you could always add a CPU stand to keep the workspace nice and clean.
The thing that sets this desk apart the most, arguably, is the gradient along the edge where your arms rest. It’s a subtle touch that makes a world difference in terms of long-term comfort and none of the other desks had anything quite like it. If you’re fine with a traditional rectangular shape and a less-than-flashy design, you won’t believe the value here.
I’m Alex Kane, an editor at Reviewed and the author of the Boss Fight Books volume on Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Before coming to work here full-time, I spent five years covering pop culture and video games for publications like Fangoria magazine, PC Gamer, Polygon, Rolling Stone, StarWars.com, and Variety. I work from home in west-central Illinois.
Focusing on just one product at a time, I assembled and tested each desk in my home. For a minimum of 16 hours apiece (often a lot more), I used them as workstations for my normal day-to-day duties, taking extensive notes about my experience with each one. I also spent a lot of time playing computer games like Magic: The Gathering Arena, listening to podcasts, and reading comics the way I would if I’d purchased the desk myself.
Perhaps most importantly, I filled out spreadsheets with answers and ratings for various subjective and objective criteria—such as assembly time and comfort level—and used those to score each product as accurately as possible. I factored in my own personal preferences, too.
What to Consider When Buying a Gaming Desk
What Is a Gaming Desk?
A good gaming desk is one with ample space for you, your gaming rig, and anything you might need to facilitate your video-game habits. Do you want space for two monitors? Three? Are you playing on a large gaming PC or a small console? Consider what decorative items or accessories you might want close at hand. The right gaming desk will look like a reflection of your gaming life but also feel invisible when you’re focusing on a heated multiplayer match or gripping story. If you get one that doesn’t suit your habits and preferences, it could put a serious damper on your gaming life—and leave you with a case of buyer’s remorse.
Types of Desks
There are two main types of gaming desk: traditional, standard desks and L-shaped ones. L-shaped desks can be symmetrical or simply offer a little extra space on one side—which makes a great place to put a CPU, for example, if you prefer to keep it up off the floor. And every desk will have slightly different dimensions and geometry, so you’ll want to read reviews to get a sense of how people are using a given desk, how comfortable it is, and so on.
Size and Shape
Before you pull the trigger on a new gaming desk, take some time to consider your posture. How do you tend to lean for comfort during long sessions at a desk? How do you position your arms, elbows, and wrists? Believe me, a sharp edge digging into your wrists gets old fast. Ask yourself whether you want the desk to have an L-shaped design, a deep central work surface, or a particular texture. The slightest variation in shape can make a real difference. How might the desk you’re considering accommodate your keyboard, mouse pad, and gaming rig? And the bigger your desk, the more likely you’ll need help transporting it and putting it together.
Adjustability and Usage
There are three main ways that the popular gaming desks let you adjust for comfort and usability. If you’re not of average height, for example, you may want one that lets you increase or decrease the height of the work surface; this feature isn’t as common as you might expect. Second, different flooring types or rooms can cause issues with stability. If your desk is wobbling or sliding around, a good product will usually let you tighten or loosen the pads under the legs to level things out.
And, finally, some desks offer special monitor stands or other optional accessories to help you get the most out of your space without giving up the parts of your setup that matter most. You’ll probably want a desk that offers at least one of these conveniences.
Other Gaming Desks We Tested
Motpk 51" L Shaped Desk
If you’re interested in an L-shaped desk for the corner of your office, a dual-monitor setup, or just some extra space, we’d recommend MOTPK’s popular model. It’s a breeze to put together; the parts never felt cheap or misaligned to me. It’s got a nice carbon-fiber texture, some red accents (with optional red-and-white decals), and has a fun yet clean aesthetic overall. It comes with a useful monitor stand, but its two main surfaces aren’t super deep.
It doesn’t take up a ton of space in a room, but the tradeoff there is that some users have complained about the legroom—though I didn’t find that to be an issue in my time with it. The legs are somewhat adjustable for stability’s sake, it makes a good first impression, and generally feels like a sturdy, quality piece of furniture. User reviews have warned about leg pieces breaking occasionally, but it does come with one or two replacements, so I don’t consider that a major concern unless you plan on moving it a ton.
Among the handful of L-shaped desks we tried, this one scored the highest.
This Arozzi Arena desk is spacious, heavy-duty, and has a splash of hardcore-gamer flair to it. Its assembly time is comparable to that of an L-shaped desk, but don’t let that deter you. This thing weighs over 85 pounds and feels like it would last forever, plus—with the included full-surface, water-resistant desk mat—it’s the most comfortable desk on the list outside of the Mr. Ironstone.
You can also find it in blue, green, red, white, and all-black variants. This one comes with two big warnings: You might want someone to help you carry it inside and put it together. And you’ll want to read the instructions extra carefully, because it can end up very wobbly if you don’t assemble it perfectly.
If you want something extra wide that announces your competitive spirit to the world, this beast will certainly do the trick.
This traditional desk from Eureka has some nice accessories like a cup holder and a headphone hook, and is fairly comfortable to use for extended periods. But it’s a little small—a lot less spacious than the L-shaped Eureka—and didn’t leave me with a very strong impression. If you can only have one desk, and you’re in a tiny apartment or dorm room, this might be a good compromise.
It’s sturdily made, but has a tendency to slide, so it would probably work best in a carpeted room. If you need a little extra space, you can add on an optional keyboard tray or CPU stand for an extra $135 or so. Again, I found it comfy enough—mainly because of the giant “tailored” mouse pad that comes with it. But it’s a little unremarkable next to the competition.
Eureka’s L-shaped model is a solid, nice-looking desk with plenty of space and support. I found it to be among the hardest desks to assemble, though many user reviews suggest having a second person around to help you, so that’s worth keeping in mind. Once you’re through the agony of putting it together, it does feel like a heavy, long-lasting product. It should have space for your entire gaming rig without any issues, and I never found it to be wobbly (some users have complained about that, however).
My major concern here is comfort; the edges where your arms rest are sharp, ninety-degree angles, and that alone left me unimpressed after hours of use. With that in mind, I’m just not a fan of this particular shape.
Walker Edison Ellis Modern Metal Glass Corner Computer Desk
This glass-top desk from Walker Edison Ellis just didn’t win me over—but that’s not to say it wouldn’t be a good fit for the right person. It’s a quality piece of furniture with some interesting features, and you can join two of them together to accommodate multiple monitors. From a distance, it’s a beautiful desk, as it blends into almost any space due to the glass and lack of color. Some folks say they’ve had the desk for four or five years and love it; others have had theirs suddenly explode into a thousand pieces while cleaning. There are some horror stories out there, but user ratings skew overwhelmingly positive.
It’s a breeze to assemble, but I’m not a fan of the glass for a couple reasons. First of all, it shows smudges, moisture rings, and fingerprints really easily, which is something that would annoy me to no end. It’s also just not comfortable for leisurely purposes. As a writing desk—a place to do homework, perhaps—it might do the job. But it’s not my idea of a gaming desk.
Walmart’s 55-inch Walnew Y-Shape desk is, unfortunately, not one we’d recommend. The instructions are confusing; the accompanying illustrations are unclear; some pieces don’t line up well, adding a lot of extra fiddling time to the assembly process. If you have to remove a screw for any reason, there’s a good chance you’ll end up stripping it.
I found it to be flimsy, wobbly, and unreliable—not something I’d trust with an expensive gaming PC. It doesn’t look terrible, and there are some nice touches, but we feel you can do much better at this price point.
Alex Kane is a senior editor at USA Today’s Reviewed and the author of the Boss Fight Books volume on Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. He has written for Fangoria, PC Gamer, Polygon, Rolling Stone, StarWars.com, and Variety. He lives in west-central Illinois.
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