Working from your car is rarely, if ever, ideal. But sometimes, it’s your only option. Car desks give you a great solid surface to put your laptop or your lunch on, so you can stop fumbling around and balancing things dangerously. Whether you’re in between meetings and need to use up every minute of your workday or you enjoy eating lunch on your break in your car, a car desk is a great investment.
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With so many car desk options to choose from, how do you pick the one that’s right for you? Here are a few key things to look out for when making your decision.
- Stability: You need a car desk that is sturdy enough to hold your things. A car desk should be able to support a light lunch or a heavy laptop. Of course, if you don’t ever plan to use a heavy laptop with your car desk, you might not need to be as cautious. But for most people working from their car, a laptop is usually in the mix.
- Ease of Use: When you’re working from your car, you might need to stop working every now and then to go get lunch or drive to a meeting. Because of this, you’ll want a car desk that is easy to put up and easy to take down and store when you’re done.
- Desk Space: It’s also important to keep in mind how much space you want for your work. Do you want enough space for just your laptop or do you want extra space for files, a snack, or a drink? How large is your laptop? If you have a smaller laptop, you might consider a more compact desk option. The picks here should fit most cars, but if you drive a very small car that’s also a consideration.
- Where You Want to Use It: This is possibly the most important factor when deciding which car desk to choose. There are steering wheel desks that attach either at the bottom or the top of your steering wheel. There are car trays that can attach to your steering wheel, but they can also attach to the headrest rods from the back seat. Then, there’s even a car desk on this list that sits fully in the passenger seat and gives you a lot more room to work.
The steering wheel desk from Lebogner is perfect for most people. It should fit most steering wheels, though, of course, measure before you buy it. Using it is super simple. All you have to do is hook it onto your steering wheel from the bottom, and it’ll stay firmly in place until you’re done using it.
One side of the tray has a cup holder and a deep flat surface that’s perfect for making sure your food doesn’t get knocked off. The other side of the tray has a large working surface for your laptop or with a pen and paper. There’s even a designated pen slot so you won’t misplace your pen while you’re working in your car.
And when you’re done with it, the Lebogner car tray will fit inside the pocket behind your front car seat.
If you want a simple, no frills car desk at a low price, this one by Cutequeen is the one for you. Similar to the Lebogner car tray, this one by Cutequeen hooks onto the bottom of your steering wheel, has dedicated sides of the tray for lunching and working, and has a slot for your pen.
Cutequeen’s car desk is lightweight and easy to store behind your front seat when you’re done with it. And you can get it for about half the price of the Lebogner tray.
If you work on the go a lot, it might be worth your while to invest in a premium car desk. The AutoExec FileMaster sits in your passenger seat rather than over your lap in the driver’s seat. It’s a car desk, first and foremost, but it comes with a ton of extras that make your life easier.
On the side of the desk, there’s a spot for important files and a few storage compartments for pens and other desk accessories. The desk surface is made of a nonskid material to ensure your electronics stay in place. Then, underneath the desk top, there’s hidden storage for extra office supplies, notebooks, snacks, or whatever else you want to use it for. There’s also a GripMaster AutoExec desk that comes with extra writing space if you want even more room.
All of the extra storage space that comes with the AutoExec car desk is great, but it means it won’t be as easy to store away as some of the other options on this list.
This car desk by Wheeldesk offers a unique over the steering wheel design. By positioning the car desk over the steering wheel instead of under it, you gain more leg room and can put more weight on the desk. It’s strong enough to hold a 39 pound concrete block, though we doubt you’ll ever be putting that much weight on it. Still, it’s nice to know your laptop is really secure on this desk.
On top of that, Wheeldesk’s design allows you to look at your laptop from a better angle, preventing neck strain. If you work in your car for long periods of time and often have a neckache or a headache when you’re finished, you should try out this car desk.
The CPROSP car desk is one of the most compact options you can get. If you’re using a smaller laptop or you want more arm room while you’re working, try out this car desk.
You can hang this desk over your steering wheel with non-slip grips. Or, you can fasten it to the headrest rods and work from the back seat where you have more room. Although the second option takes a bit more setup, it’s easy to fold the desk up when you’re done with it if you want to leave the desk installed long-term.
If you want a bit more desk space in your car but don’t want to shell out for the premium price tag of AutoExec’s FileMaster, try out this car desk from ElfAnt. Similar to CPROSP’s car desk, this one gives you the option of hooking it to your steering wheel or fastening it to the headrest so you can work in the backseat.
What’s unique about ElfAnt’s car tray is that there’s an additional pullout tray if you need more space. This gives you extra room to put a drink, your smartphone, writing utensils, whatever you want. Plus, like many others on this list, ElfAnt’s car desk can easily be folded and stored in the pocket behind your seat.