What to look for when buying an office desk for gaming

office desks vs gaming desks
(Image credit: Future)

It can be hard to determine exactly what you need from an office desk for gaming, especially if you're looking to save cash by moving away from a gaming-specific product. Purpose-built desks can be very expensive and not everyone has the cash to splash out on the best gaming desk. Some may just not like the aesthetic that comes with buying one. Whatever your reason is for avoiding them, you can be sure that there are plenty of options for alternatives. 

When looking an office desk for gaming there are multiple aspects that you may consider. These can include size, material, price and assembly. We're running through all these decisions, and what to look for to meet your gaming needs in particular right here.

We won't dive into the world of standing desks here - just because the process for choosing the best standing desk is a different one altogether so bare this in mind if that's what you are after. 

Whether you purchase a gaming-specific desk or opt for an office desk for your gaming will essentially be down to your needs. You can find some great options in both categories, so there's a lot to unpack here.

blue desks

(Image credit: Future)

What size desk should I get?

  • Is it small enough to fit in your space?
  • Is it big enough to hold all of your things?

One essential factor when considering what desk to buy is how big or small you need it to be, which will likely be your starting point before looking. Most of the time before going out and buying a desk, you know where in your house or office you will need it to go. Measuring out this space and considering things near it like plug sockets, doors and other access points is essential. 

Once you know how big your space is, you also need to consider how much room you will need on the actual tabletop for all of your stuff. If you're just using a laptop and mouse you will need considerably less space compared to someone with a gaming pc, three monitors and a keyboard. 

You need to find a desk which will be able to accommodate both of these factors - small enough to fit where it needs to be while remaining big enough to carry all of your things. 

For gaming there are many things you need to consider when determining the size of your required desk. For example, how many gaming monitors do you have and how big are they? Will you have your monitors on stands on your desk or will you be clamping them to your desk via a VESA mount? If you have them on stands you need to consider the shape and size of the stands and how much extra room on your desk you may need. If you're planning on clamping them then consider the thickness of your desk - some clamps need desks to be a specific size to clamp on. 

If you're running your setup off of a gaming laptop consider the footprint of this (or any riser you may have it on) on your desk. Consider how you may need this to sit in relation to your monitors if you're also using it as a screen. 

Alongside all of these you still need to ensure you have space for a gaming keyboard. Some of these can be very large depending on what size you opt for. A full size one, along with a wrist rest is quite large in both length and width so needs to be taken into account. You also need to ensure you leave a reasonable amount of space for your gaming mouse, this may depend on what games you play and what mouse sensitivity you use. 

Once considering all of these aspects you can then begin to think about what else you may want on your desk, whether they're more functional aspects like computer speakers. Or something more for aesthetics, like some figures. These types of extras may often be overlooked but be sure to consider them so you are really able to make your desk feel like your own. 

office desks

(Image credit: Future)

The height of your desk is also something to consider when looking at the size. Will it be high enough to allow for your monitors to be eye level? Is there enough leg room and space for you to comfortably tuck in your gaming chair?

Below is a table of some recommended desk width's you may want to consider. I have determined this by using a standard monitor size of 27" and curved monitor size of 35", however you can still take these into account if you have a smaller monitor than this. If you have larger monitors then make sure you adjust accordingly. I have also used the sizing of a standard mid tower for PCs. 

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Set upRecommended Desk Width
PC with one 27" monitor 35-45 Inches
PC with one 35" curved monitor45-55 Inches
PC with two 27" monitors60-70 Inches
Laptop with one 27" monitor45-55 Inches
Laptop with two 27" monitors70-80 Inches

office desks

(Image credit: Future)

What material should my desk be made from?

  • How long will the desk last?
  • How easy is the material to clean?
  • What does each material look like?

Another important aspect to consider is what material you want your desk to be made from. There are countless options out there regarding what material you want your desk to be made from meaning its much easier to find something to suit your needs. 

There are many different things to take into account when picking what material you want your desk to be made from. They can include how heavy it is, how easy it is to clean and the aesthetic of each material. 

One of the most popular materials for desks is just plain old wood, it can come in different finishes and looks very aesthetically pleasing in any room. It is typically quite heavy, which can be a positive in the sense it is heavy duty and will last longer, but also a negative if you ever need to move your desk around. Depending on the finish, wood can sometimes be harder to clean, if you spill a dark liquid on your desk you will never be able to forget. Another popular option is laminated wood. It usually has all the benefits of wood with a protective layer on the outside to make it easier to clean and to allow for the desk to come in any desired color or pattern. 

The material a gaming desk is usually made from is metal, this is because it is more resilient to every day wear and tear - suggesting it will last longer no matter how many hours you spend gaming. It is also easy to clean and provides a certain aesthetic. 

Before buying any desk ensure you know what material you'd want it to be made of and why, there are a whole host of positives and negatives to each option so weigh them up carefully. 

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Row 0 - Cell 0 PositivesNegatives
WoodHeavy duty so more likely to withstand long gaming sessionsHarder to clean if there is no finish
LaminateEasy to clean, come come in a range of colours and patternsUsually much lighter in weight so may not hold as much or last as long.
MetalCool to touch to keep components cool.Easier to create long lasting dents and marks.
GlassAesthetically pleasing.Harder to create cable management hubs as you cannot screw into it. Harder to hide poor cable management underneath.

putting a desk together

(Image credit: Shuttershock)

How hard will it be to put my desk together?

  • How many people are needed?
  • Do I need any extra tools?
  • How long will it take?

Ensure you consider how hard it'll be to put your desk together and whether or not you are able to commit to it. 

Some desks are super easy to construct, just a few screws and you're done - whereas others may require drilling to make holes in the tabletop to attach the legs. If you're not keen on getting the power tools out, it's worth crossing that desk off of your list. 

If you live alone and a desk suggests it will require two people to build maybe watch a video on it to see how hard it'll actually be before convincing yourself you can do it alone. Trust me on this, when I ordered my desk it said it would take two hours to build it and there I was 10 hours after starting with it fallen on top of me, I wish this was a joke, L-shaped desk truly are hard work to put together. 

Be realistic with yourself, your ability and your time. If you don't mind spending an entire day putting a desk together then go for it. If you know you can't even hold a screwdriver, maybe find out if some friends or family can help you before jumping straight into purchasing a flat pack. 

If you don't have the time or resources to put a desk together yourself there are plenty of options for desks which are already made and delivered to you ready to use so be sure to consider this. 

gaming desks

(Image credit: Future)

How much should I spend on a desk?

  • How much am I willing to spend?
  • What features would I like?

How much you spend on a desk will depend on all of the above factors. If you want a giant desk, made from hardwood which is preassembled then it'll cost you a lot more than a small desk, made from fiberboard which is flat packed. 

If you're looking to spend as little as physically possible then you are able to buy yourself a cheap table top at Ikea, along with four legs. You then screw the legs on and there you have it, a desk. This will come to a total of less than $/£30 and still allows you to choose what color you want your tabletop and your legs to be. 

If you have a bit of a higher budget you could potentially start looking at larger desks, such as L or U shaped ones so you can really take advantage of the space you have available. I picked up my L-shaped desk around a year ago for £60/$70 on Amazon and it's made of wood with a laminate coating. I've never had any issues with it, other than trying to build it on my own and being absolutely owned by it. But it just goes to show that you really can stretch a small budget quite far by just shopping around. 

Another thing you may have to consider here is whether or not you'd want any other features such as shelves or draws. These will likely come at an extra cost. Many gaming desks come with extra shelves or cubbies to keep your consoles or PC in. Some also come with cupholders and headset holders. These are all extras you may have to consider. 

A major component to gaming desks which are usually not included with regular office desks are ways to manage your cables. This can include cages, raceways for cables and ties. As office desks often don't offer this there are still ways to add this feature to your set up. You can buy external cages or other cable management products and attach them to your office desk. You can find some of our recommendations below.

Under Desk Cable Management Tray 2 Packs | $28.99

Under Desk Cable Management Tray 2 Packs | $28.99
These cages can be attached to your desk without drilling - allowing you to then keep extension cables and wires all in one place. 

EVEO Cable Management 96'' J Channel-6 Pack Cord Cover- Cable Raceway | $19.97

EVEO Cable Management 96'' J Channel-6 Pack Cord Cover- Cable Raceway | $19.97
These cable covers allow you to run all your cables through a neat tube which can be attached anywhere on your desk.

HMROPE 60PCS Fastening Cable Ties Reusable | $6.99

HMROPE 60PCS Fastening Cable Ties Reusable | $6.99
These reusable cable ties can allow you to tie cables to your desk to keep them in one place or tie them together so they can all be together. 

Today's best deals on office desks for gaming

You can take a look at a range of office desks for gaming below which is automatically updated daily with the best deals on these products so you know you've got the best price. 

If you're on the hunt for more than just a desk then you can take a look at some of our best gaming chairs to go with your upgraded set up. If you're looking for more than just furniture then you can also take a look at getting yourself ones of the best gaming laptops

Jasmine Mannan
Hardware Editor

Currently a Hardware Editor at GamesRadar+ and in charge of all things PC after graduating from University with a degree in Politics and International Relations in 2022. During my time at University I managed to obtain a platform on social media - specifically TikTok - where I reviewed tech and gaming hardware and produced creative and innovative gaming content. My platform allowed me to be an advocate for females in gaming and within the tech industry as a whole. I'm primarily a PC gamer and have been for over 8 years now and with no specific genre I enjoy, I have been able to play and love many titles from the past decade. I would label myself as a Nintendo Fanatic and also am extremely interested in VR and hoping to follow it closely in upcoming years.