Lap desks are how I escape insanity working from home

Lapgear Lap Desk Lenovo C340 11 Couch Pov
Lapgear Lap Desk Lenovo C340 11 Couch Pov (Image credit: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

I know that many of you aren't used to working from home. I've been doing it for almost two years, and it still feels weird sometimes. The biggest adjustment that I had to make when my work followed me home forever was not getting my home office set up a particular way or getting that one perfect accessory for my desk. I mean, I love my IKEA standing desk, and my uni 8-in-1 USB-C hub is the best super-compact docking station a girl could ask for, but the biggest lesson I learned in my first few months of working at home was when to get away from my home office in the name of sanity.

Typically, when I need a break from my home office, I pack up and head to Walt Disney World so I can type for a few hours at Epcot's concerts, sitting in front of the Millennium Falcon, or while waiting for fireworks in Fantasyland. It beats the hell out of going to a coffee shop, and it also adds some magic and some truly unique people watching to my day. Alas, I can't do that right now, so instead, I take my trusty Chromebook and use it on my lap desk while I kick my feet up on an ottoman and enjoy the plush couch that serves as my second office.

This was actually my only real "work from home" purchase once the stay-at-home orders came down. I had a Brookstone e-Pad lap desk that I absolutely adored when I was still in Texas; it had a small circular hole to the top right corner that was perfect for slipping a cable through or hanging my phone from it by the phone grip. Alas, that was actually my little sister's, and I had to give it back before I left for Orlando. For the last 18 months, I have spent hours upon hours searching for a replacement since Brookestone doesn't sell that one anymore.

Bad posture equals bad work

Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central Bad posture equals bad work. A lap desk fixes both. (Image credit: Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

I finally bought the LapGear Designer Lap Desk, and good lord, how I've missed this experience. Just curling up on the couch with a laptop forces me to crane over it, but once I pair a lap desk with it and prop my feet up, it gets the laptop in a comfy place for my neck and back. It also keeps me from overheating when using one of my more powerful Chromebooks on my lap with the vents trying to push hot air into my yoga pants. Keeping cool is enough of a challenge as it is, since I keep my apartment at 78 during the day in a vain attempt to keep my electric bill in check in the crazy Florida heat.

The bottom of this lap desk is essentially a bean bag. This means that it can alleviate the biggest problem I usually have when using my Chromebook in bed or on the couch: the uneven nature of crossing my legs or sitting with one or both of my legs curled under me. Being able to shift how I'm sitting and still keep my laptop stable as I pound away at my overdue articles (hi, boss, sorry) is invaluable. Plus, the angle at which it puts my keyboard is more comfortable for typing late into the evening after getting sucked into the black hole of reddit again.

Lap Desk Lip with the Asus C436

Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

The ledge at the front is perfect for laptops with a flat edge or a low point such as the Pixelbook or the ASUS Chromebook Flip C436 I just reviewed, but my beloved Lenovo Chromebook C340-11 has just enough of a slope to try and slip off once I get the lap desk on a real incline. The elastic strap going across the top left corner is useful for holding notes — or some tissues, if your spring allergies are as bad as mine.

The phone slot in the top right is fine for holding a phone if you scoot a laptop to the left, but the problem is that the groove is too deep, having been designed for the bygone era when phones had more prominent chins. So long as I'm staying in the same app, it's easy enough to use a phone in the grip here, but once I need to hit the back button or the home button — since Samsung still doesn't let you use third-party launchers with Android 10's gestures — I have to pick my phone up to reach the navbar.

I absolutely adore using a lap desk, but if you're going to grab one for yourself, do yourself a favor a get the Cup Holder Lap Desk instead. Not because you should ever actually put your Coke in one of these while you're working unless you're out in the backyard and there's literally nowhere else to put it, but because just as a good coffee mug with a microfiber cloth in the bottom makes for a great DIY phone stand, the cup holder is a better phone holder on a lap desk than the slit on the Designer model — and on most competitor models, too.

If you don't have a home office — or if you're just feeling cooped up in there — consider getting a lap desk for you and your family to share. Whether you're stuck in bed recuperating, bored on the couch, or just bringing your laptop out onto your balcony chaise for some sunshine as you listen to the weekly Zoom meeting, a good lap desk is a worthy investment in your sanity.

Ara Wagoner

Ara Wagoner was a staff writer at Android Central. She themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing about cases, Chromebooks, or customization, she's wandering around Walt Disney World. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.