One of the latest trends in the gaming industry is the development of “gaming desks” that are either specifically built just for gaming or, at least, cater to the needs of gamers through multiple features.
Gamers and game streamers have very specific needs in a desk that don’t always coincide with what’s offered in an ordinary office desk. On the other hand, the needs and preferences of gamers themselves can vary quite a bit, so this isn’t a one size fits all desk we’re talking about.
GameAuthority’s guide on the best gaming desks will give you the kind of in depth analysis you need to comparison shop the most popular desks on the market today. What we intend to do here, however, is to cover the basic features and functions that you’ll likely want in whatever gaming desk you decide on.
Here are some of the most important factors to consider when shopping for a gaming desk:
The single biggest problem gamers have with many desks is that there is no convenient way to manage the numerous cables and cords to their PCs, laptops, keyboards, joysticks, gamepads, and other accessories. Enter “grommets.”
Grommets are just strategically placed holes (often lined with protective plastic) that let cords slip through them to more easily reach the desired outlet. Some desks go further, and let you plug the desk itself into the wall, plus add grommets.
Good cable management of some sort is the key to easy, fast set up for gamers and to gaming in a uncluttered environment where you don’t have to constantly worry about tripping over a poorly placed cord.
A second major consideration in choosing a gaming desk is that of air flow. Gaming for 5, 10, 20 hours on end can put a lot of pressure on your machines and risk overheating. And computer compartments that are meant to be convenient can lend themselves to overheating under such extreme usage.
Backless cubby holes, ventilation under where the PCs would sit, and convenient, built-in locations for fans are all key features to look for.
Keeping up good ventilation in your gaming room in general will help, but additional and strategic ventilation right at your gaming desk is going to make a huge difference.
Here is where gamers will differ on what they want and need. Some will want a desk, for example, with a huge amount of surface area to accommodate multiple monitors and other equipment. More modest gamers might be more concerned about compactness to save room space.
Strength is key if you are going to pile up multiple PC towers on your desktop. Adjustability of height and ergonomic design are key comfort factors for all. Storage space is a major concern for some, while other gamers are content to store their game cases and other accessories elsewhere.
Here are some of your basic overall design options:
- Standard “executive” desk. These are the most affordable and most popular option. They aren’t fancy, but for many, they are fully adequate.
- L shaped and corner desks. Saving space with a corner-placed desk and gaining more counter space at the same time are the major draws to L-shaped and other corner desks.
- U shaped desks. A full U gives you the maximum amount of space and makes it easy to whirl around in your gaming chair to access each monitor. But of course, this desk takes up a lot of space and may not fit well into every room.
- Multi-tier desks. To gain space and avoid the extra weight, expense, and space consumption of L or U desks, going multi-tier is a viable option.
- Stand up desks. Some desks require you to stand up to game instead of sit down. Others can convert between stand up and sit down modes. Standing can be a healthy and interactive gaming posture, though it may not be everyone’s preference.
Just like gaming chairs, gaming desks take a lot of wear and tear, so durability of material and build is crucial. There is a good variety of materials popular with gamers for their desks. Here are the most common ones:
- Wood. Wood is one of the strongest and most durable desk materials. It can take the force of impacts well (in case some gamers have anger management problems!). It’s normally the only material available for L and U shaped desks. Expect to get 10 years or more of use out of a wooden gaming desk.
- Glass. This is a more expensive (and fragile) options than wood, but it is eminently “classy” and with tempered glass and strong support, a glass desk top can work quite well.
- PVC. PVC plastic desks come in numerous attractive colors, are cheaper than wood (but not as durable), and are lighter and thus more portable.
- MDF. An MDF desk is made out of wood chips, but it’s much more affordable than a wood desk. It’s not quite as durable as wood, but it is certainly a viable option.
Your gaming desk should not only be set at the right height so you can use it to the full from your chair with upright (not arched) back – and without having to stand up, but it should have a layout that makes everything easily accessible.
There should be a place to put your keyboard, mouse, PC tower, controllers, and all other needful equipment within easy, unobstructed reach. There should even be a handy spot for your beverage/snack of choice and to stash a few commonly used game cases.
A better layout is going to let your movements be more natural and have a positive impact on your game play, so it’s not a peripheral matter.
While there are certainly other factors like brand, warranty, aesthetics, and ease of assembly (for example) to consider in buying a new gaming desk, the five outlined above are key and will do the most to improve your gaming experience.