Best desks of 2024 – CNET

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Testing desks is a subjective game. Like office chairs, tests are based on comfort, reliability, and ease of setup, not things you might test in electronics like wattage and battery usage. Still I tested each one rigorously, and will continue to test them for longevity in the months to come.

I tested these desks by asking three people to try each one out. Each of them used the desk for at least 16 hours and then told me their thoughts. The three people were 6 feet, 1 inch tall, 5 feet, 8 inches tall, and 5 feet, 4 inches tall, respectively, giving me a good cross-section of the average user’s height.

A broken box containing a desk A broken box containing a desk

James Bricknell/CNET

Setup time and package quality

Building a desk can often be tricky and time-consuming. For each desk, I timed how long it took to disassemble and assemble, and I looked at whether the manual was easy to follow. I followed the instructions as closely as possible so that each build was done as if I had never built a desk before. I also checked the packaging thoroughly, to make sure it wasn’t damaged, and whether it was safe enough to transport that desk. Any damage was noted, and images were sent to the manufacturers for review.

structural integrity

Modern desks need to be able to support a considerable amount of weight. If you’re at a writing desk you might only have a small laptop, but if you’re using a gaming desk, it will probably also have two monitors and a huge gaming PC. For each desk, I checked the maximum load specification, and I tried to match it to the materials we actually use on our desks.

I used:

  • A bulky gaming PC tower
  • Two 27-inch gaming monitors on a dual monitor arm
  • A MacBook Pro
  • Two different keyboards and different mouse and trackpad
  • My Oculus Quest 2
  • My Phone Stand and USB Hub
  • Podcasting Mic and Headphones

Depending on the length and weight capacity of the desk, I mix and match these items, then check as I work to make sure there’s no tilt in the top or any inconsistencies in the desk.

Spacious black standing desk with rainbow lights Spacious black standing desk with rainbow lights

James Bricknell/CNET

Wibble-Wobbles

This was back when my father was a furniture maker. My mother would critique anything my father made, and if it wasn’t built right, she would say, “It wiggles a bit, doesn’t it, son?” Once I had built each desk and loaded it for normal use, I would check it for wiggle. This meant shaking it from side to side and back and forth to check that all the screws, bolts, and fixtures held everything rigid.

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