Best Desks of 2024 – CNET

Testing desks is something of a subjective game. Much like office chairs, the tests are based on comfort, reliability and ease of setup rather than things you can test in electronics such as wattage and battery usage. I still tested each one rigorously however, and will continue to test them for longevity in the coming months.

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

A busted up box containing a desk

James Bricknell/CNET

Setup time and package quality

Building desks can often be difficult and time-consuming. For each desk, I timed how long it took to unpack and assemble, and I noted if the manual was easy to follow or not. I followed the instructions as closely as possible so that each build was performed as if I had never built one before. I also thoroughly checked the packaging, to make sure it wasn’t damaged, and if it was secure enough to carry the desk it had in it. Any damage was noted, and images were sent to the manufacturers for review.

Structural integrity

Modern desks need to be able to hold a good 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 likely has two monitors and a giant gaming PC as well. For each desk, I checked the maximum load specification, and I tried to match that with the materials we actually use on our desks.

I used:

  • A heavy gaming PC tower
  • Two 27-inch gaming monitors on a dual monitor arm
  • A MacBook Pro
  • Two different keyboards and assorted mice and trackpads
  • My Oculus Quest 2
  • My phone stand and USB hub
  • A podcasting mic and headphones

Depending on the length and weight capacity of the desk, I mix and match these items, then check for any bowing of the top or inconsistencies in how the desk felt as I worked.

Giant black standing desk with rainbow lights

James Bricknell/CNET

The wibble-wobbles

This is a bit of a throwback from when my dad used to make furniture. Anything my dad built would be critiqued by my mum, and if it didn’t pass muster, she would say, “It’s a bit wibbly-wobbly, isn’t it, dear?” Once I’ve built each desk and loaded it for normal use, I would check it for the wibble-wobbles. This means rocking it from side to side and forward and backward to check that all the screws, bolts and fixtures kept everything rigid.