Best Gaming Desk for Your PC Battlestation
Every hardcore gamer knows you need the right gear to game comfortably for extended periods of time. You need a high-performance rig with a dedicated GPU and fast CPU to handle your games at the appropriate settings, a mouse with the good DPI, and sometimes you even use multiple monitors to follow several screens of action at once.
Mechanical gaming keyboards, gamepads, high refresh LCD monitors with fast response times and other gaming peripherals are all vital to putting in your best performance, but what about your desk? The desk is the unsung hero of the gamer's arsenal, because it's what physically holds everything together. But what is the best desk for PC gaming? The best gaming desk for your PC setup needs to provide a smooth plane for your mouse, enough surface room for your monitors, and ample compartments and storage space to hold essential gear and accessories.
Desks for PC Gaming: Scratching the Surface
There are many different styles and construction materials to choose from when deciding on the best gaming desk for your setup. Some gamers prefer a more minimalist approach, so that they have nothing that could possibly get in the way of their hand movements. Others prefer more elaborate desks, some of which include their own cable management systems for power cords, and even desks that offer USB hubs built in.
Whichever you feel is best, one thing that any gaming desk needs is space. The ideal amount of clearance for a mouse pad should provide at minimum 12" of movement so your hand isn't bumping into objects during a sweeping pull or push of the mouse. Keyboard length also needs to be taken into consideration, as some gamer-targeted keyboards are longer than standard models due to additonal macro keys, meaning you probably need a longer than average keyboard tray so it fits comfortably.
Your desk should offer you, at the very least, two and a half to three feet of desktop surface space for your keyboard and mouse pad alone. If you prefer to have your case on top of the desk, then you should add another foot and a half of clearance to allow for proper circulation and stability. Smart gamers know that they need room for their peripherals, so depth is also important. The depth of the best gaming desk should be around two feet or so, at least. It can be longer, depending on whether or not the desk includes a separate stand for your monitor. Ideally, it should have a shelf-like platform for one or more monitors, which can also provide you with space for cable management.
Height Adjust for Comfort
Whereas older desks were pretty rigid and standard in their dimensions, newer computer desks, and ones aimed at gamers in particular, offer a lot more ergonomic design and flexibility. This can include changing the height, depth, and angle of your monitor stand, adjusting the height of the desk, or just changing the total length of the desk surface area with folding or sliding panels. Some desks also offer swinging compartments and platforms for keyboards, so that you can continue to game head-on while sitting sideways.
Height adjustable desks are increasing in popularity among many PC gamers. Recent studies have shown that standing at a desk for long periods of time is healthier than sitting and it increases circulation. And you never know, that extra circulation may just improve your reflexes enough to give you an advantage in game. Of course you will not always need to be standing at your disk. Sometimes you just want to lay back, relax, and be as comfortable as possible. That is where the advantage of having a desk with height adjustment comes in handy over a fixed position desk made just for one configuration.
The more adjustable the desk is, the easier it will be to stay comfortable regardless of your height and seating position. You also want a desk that gives you four inches or more of clearance for your legs. Why? Well, more leg room is never a bad thing and the last thing you want to do is knock your knees into the bottom of the desk during an intense gaming session. Not only would that be uncomfortable, but you risk toppling over and damaging any equipment you have on the desk.
As ergonomically sound and beneficial to a persons health as they can be, height adjustable desks do suffer from one big problem. Price. Even the simpler, low-end models with limited features start at several hundred dollars. A bigger, solidly built, and more complex desk with a height adjust feature could easily cost a couple grand or more, so the average gamer will probably not be willing to part with that much money for a gaming desk.
Desk Storage Space and Shelving
Another aspect of the desk to consider is your compartment, shelving and storage space. Most gamers need at least a few drawers or shelves. You may have peripherals that you do not use for every game, or you may want to keep other devices or games handy nearby. Your drawers are going to be what keep your desk neat; you can choose a desk or table that has few to no drawers, but you're much more likely to stack your items on the desk's surface if you do.
A messy desk is less optimal for gaming. You should have at least one drawer or shelf within arms reach of your gaming desk for the sake of convenience. Just think about all the items you may need to keep handy for your gaming PC on a regular basis. It probably includes many peripherals, charging cables, headsets, game cases and remotes. All that stuff has to go somehwere.
Don't forget about any documentation or warranty information for your PC hardware. A gaming rig can run you roughly $600 to $3000 depending on the amount of power you're investing in. Even the economy rigs have parts that can cost as much as $200 alone. If one of those parts malfunctions, your warranties will have your back for a refund or a replacement. If possible, you should keep them in a safe place within the desk for easy access, where they are unlikely to be lost.
Mobility in Gaming Desks
A computer desk doesn't have to be the static piece of furniture in the corner of your room that's too heavy or cumbersome to ever be moved or relocated. Many desks come with casters that provide easy mobility. Those casters make common tasks such as cleaning, cable management, PC upgrades and hardware maintenance quick and easy. These types of mobile desks are also a fantastic option for LAN parties and other events where many PCs need to be setup temporarily, for only a short period of time.
Build Quality of a Gaming Desk
It goes without saying as a gamer, but a higher quality desk built with stronger materials is always the best choice. That doesn't have to mean the most expensive desk you can find, but don't cheap out if you can afford it. I have had some terrible, cheaply made desk in my time. Most notably one with a desktop surface that was literally nothing but a wood grain sticker poorly placed over a sheet of particle board. It began peeling and bubbling up after just a couple months. That was no fun and I wound up buying a new desk shortly after, so I didn't even save any money. Take the time to research, test and hopefully find the best gaming desk for your specific needs.
If you're buying from a store, take the time to pull a chair up and see how comfortable it is for yourself. Make sure what you're buying is a well constructed, properly designed piece of furniture. If ordering online, read reviews exhaustively, find lots of pictures, and pay close attention to reviews from desk owners that are commenting after having spent long periods of time gaming with their desk. You want to know your desk will still be standing years after you buy it.
Top Rated Desks for PC Gaming
Most computer desks you come across will be multipurpose. In other words, they will be targeted for general use, with no additions custom designed for gaming. However, there are a few companies who take the time and design desks built mainly for gaming that have features only a gamer could appreciate. Here are a few of my personal favorite and best desks that are gamer friendly:
Gaming Desk By Atlantic
This Atlantic gaming desk has everything a gamer could want for a battlestation, and maybe even a little more. Constructed of PVC laminate with a steel rod frame, it offers plenty of durability and a monitor stand capable of holding a display of up to 40 pounds. Some of the most prominent features for gaming include: Two hooks for controller storage, headphone/headset holder, charging station, speaker trays, storage for DVD, Blu-ray, CD, and game cases, system for cable management, and even a cup holder large enough for your 32 ounce big gulp. Not only does this desk have a ton of features specifically targeted at gamers, it's also very affordable at barely over $100.
Possible Cons: No height adjustment. Non-mobile, though it should be lightweight enough to be easily moved.
L-Shaped Desk with Black Glass By Walker Edison
Ok, so this l-shaped desk is not exactly designed specifically for gamers. But that doesn't matter. It can still accommodate plenty of devices and displays while fitting snuggly into a corner for maximum use of space. With its L-shape design giving you two seperate desk areas, you could even have your gaming PC setup on one side and consoles on another with enough room left for a large LCD TV. The main reason I am intrigued by this desk is because two of them can be combined to create the ultimate U-shaped gaming setup with twice the space and relatively little cost (only about $150 per desk). But if that is something you don't have room for or just doesn't interest you, this desk still functions reasonably well solo as a basic L-shaped gaming desk. Also, it's all black with a glass surface and looks fantastic!
Possible Cons: Similar to the Atlantic desk in that it has no casters for mobility and can not be height adjusted. Also has no storage compartments or holders for peripherals. Black glass desktop surface is very attractive visually, but tends to collect fingerprints.
GALANT Corner Desk (A-Leg Type)
To all you gamers out there looking for a height adjustable desk that won't cost as much as an entire PC, your search has ended. At only $160, the GALANT from Ikea is one of the cheapest desk on the market with a height adjustment system. It doesn't have a wide range of height adjust (around 24 inches at the lowest point and 36 at the highest), so it can't really be used as a standing desk, but for a sitting desk the GALANT is near perfection for this price range. The GALANT comes with a 10 year warranty and it's available in four colors: Birch veneer, black-brown, gray, and white.
Possible Cons: The GALANT has optional addons, but no casters so it's not a mobile desk. Has no built in shelving or storage in default configuration (there is an optional shelf at extra cost). Better hope you have an Ikea store nearby, because the shipping fee for buying online is more than the desk!
Ergotron WorkFit-D Height Adjust Sitting/Standing Desk
The Ergotron WorkFit-D is a sitting/standing desk, meaning it can be adjusted to a height that is optimal for a standing work environment and low enough to sit at as well. If you want an ergonomical gaming desk this is the place to start. It allows for extended periods of use with less mental and physical fatigue. The desk is 47.6 inches in length and has a depth of 23.5 inches, so it has plenty of surface area to fit multiple monitors and devices. The range of height adjustment starts at 30.6 inches at the lowest position and extends to 50.6 inches at maximum height.Possible Cons: The WorkFit-D is a very expensive system. The desk alone retails for around $600. With the optional keyboard tray and LCD mount arm you're looking at $800+ for the complete setup. No casters are included and this disk is a heavy steel construction, so very little mobility. The supported weight is lower than you might expect for such a sturdy desk (65 pounds) because of the height adjustment system.
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