When it comes to streaming, the foundation of your workspace is your desk.
After a year or two of creating, streaming, and editing content. I came to the conclusion that not all desks are created equal.
I was using an old thick desk from my student days. As I started to accumulate different gadgets for streaming, I realized my desk wasn’t made for this line of work. How did everybody else manage to do it?
I found my answer, some desks are made for streamers. So my next question was:
What are the best desks for streaming? You need to look for the largest surface you can afford within your budget. Streaming involves using a lot of workspace. Your streaming desk will quickly fill up with multiple screens, capture cards, streaming decks, and other gaming peripherals. Also, a streaming desk needs to be thin enough to work with multiple boom arms, for your microphones, cameras, and lights.
I still remember discovering that most streamers had their microphone on a boom arm. Unlike me, who like an amateur, still had my microphone sitting on my desk.
So I set out to quickly fix the situation, which led me down the desk rabbit hole.
I remember when I first got my microphone arm, it was a really expensive one. I had saved up money from Christmas and a few odd jobs I did around the area. When I had the money, I ran down to the local store and bought a new boom arm.
I was ecstatic.
Unfortunately, my dreams of streaming with my new mic boom arm melted away like that poor sod’s face at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark (Eww!).
I discovered that the clamp on the bottom of the boom arm didn’t fit on my desk. Rookie mistake!
Every time I looked at that desk, all I could focus on were the scars left by me trying to force the boom arm onto my desk.
I needed a new desk, a thinner desk, a streaming desk.
Now that streaming is becoming a fully-fledged industry, manufacturers are making tailor-made desks just for streamers.
How are they different from office desks? What features should you look for in a desk made for steaming? How can you go about buying a desk that when set up with your gear, will give you that professional studio rockstar feeling?
Read on to find out…
What should you look for in a new desk for streaming?
This is going to sound silly but you need to ask yourself what you need your future desk to do.
“Well, it’s just a desk”, you might say to yourself. “I will just put my computer on it. What else is there to think about?”
This is where a lot of people make the biggest mistake when it comes to buying a new streaming desk. They think about what their current desk is capable of and just want a newer cooler version.
A good desk will last you a lifetime. It is the foundation of your streaming empire.
It will pay in the long run to invest in the best desk you can afford. By doing this you are investing in yourself and your commitment to a future of streaming.
The trick is to imagine your dream setup. The one you would want if you were to win the lottery. Ask yourself how big would the monitors be. What microphone would you use? Which camera and where is it going to be placed, on the desk, or on a boom arm? You need to build up a picture in your head of the workspace you want in the future.
You might have a long way to go until you’re a superstar streamer. But, there’s nothing stopping you from taking steps to getting there.
After all, every big goal is just the culmination of lots of tiny goals. Just as a huge tower made from concrete is the culmination of lots of little stones cemented together.
Your first consideration should be your comfort.
If you aren’t comfortable you are less likely to be successful. You will not enjoy streaming if you are unable to get into the zone when streaming.
Think about how much legroom you need. Don’t buy a desk that will in some way limit your movement. It might box you in or have an annoyingly placed leg or strut. Heaven forbid you have a desk that has drawers. Which pushes you off to one side. Drawers are great for organization, but not if you have to sacrifice comfort and flexibility.
Don’t just think about if your current chair is compatible with your desk. You should also be asking if your dream chair is compatible. For example, does your dream chair have armrests? If so do they fit under the table?
Ok. So there might be a few more things than you thought to consider. I have broken it down into the seven things you need to think about when buying your Ideal desk for streaming.
If you are too impatient then skip down the article to where I recommend a fantastic desk for your budget.
These are the 7 factors you need to consider when buying a desk for streaming:
- Weight capacity
- Frame and Height
- Sitting or standing
- Style and finishings
Everybody is going to have their own requirements when it comes to the size of a desk.
For example, you might be limited with the space in your chosen room.
The mistake I made with my first desk is that I didn’t take into account the amount of space available with all my streaming infrastructure and gadgets. Don’t underestimate how quickly desk space gets filled up.
I needed to fit my two monitors, my primary 32-inch screen and my smaller secondary screen which comes in handy when editing video. On top of that, I use a small laptop for mid-stream chat and a streaming deck. By the time you start to add in your microphone (if it is not on an arm), keyboard, mouse, phone, and other little useless gadgets, your workspace can start to feel cramped.
Just make sure you have enough space to feel comfortable while streaming.
I would recommend buying some graph paper with 1 CM squares. Then draw out the shape of the desk, using each 1cm square to represent 10cm.
Then draw in everything you would like to go on your desk. Measure the size of your Keyboard and draw that in. Your mouse too. Do the same for your monitors. Then draw in all the things you’d like to add to your streaming set-up in the future.
This will give you a good idea if the desk you are looking at will be big enough.
If you are short on space, having a deep desk instead of a wide desk can give you back much-needed space. You still need to make sure you can fit everything on the desk. You can add a stand to raise your monitors, giving you extra space.
A deeper desk also gives you more space to help you stay organized. Think of it as dividing your desk into the front half is the area that is easily accessible because it is in reach. With the back half giving you room to store items that are not being used often.
The thickness of a desk is the one element that catches most people out.
The thickness of the top of the desk is the thing that most people equate with buying a sturdy desk. It can be a sought-after requirement. This is not really an issue with modern desks. Thin desks can be just as sturdy due to being reinforced with modern building techniques.
For example, the Excellent Blue Compass Premium Tube-Style Broadcast Boom Arm has a maximum clamping width of 2.5” (63.5mm).
So if you focus on getting the thickest desk possible then it might not be compatible with essential streaming items.
Make sure you can clamp your arm to the desk of your choice. This will save you a lot of hassle in the long run, by planning ahead when purchasing your desk for your streaming business.
Not as much of an issue as it used to be. I’m giving away my age by telling you that when I first went to college I had one of the colorful iMacs. Not only was it the envy of my friends but it was a beast of a monitor too. It weighed tonnes!
When my dad and I finally hauled it up onto the desk, the slab of wood bowed a bit and, I swear, the desk let out a wheezing sound as if struggling under the weight!
Fast forward to the 21st century and we mercifully no longer have to contend with muscle-maker CRT screens. The Monolithic iMac of old is a thing of the past, replaced with supermodel thin LED screens.
Weight capacity isn’t really an issue, even if you decide to keep your tower PC on your desk.
Pro tip: you shouldn’t because of the noise it generates.
5.Frame and height
How adjustable are the feet of the desk?
Your floor might be ‘true level’ according to Rick from Rick and Morty, but mine certainly isn’t.
I need to make sure that I have a good amount of freedom when setting up my desk. There’s nothing worse than placing a pencil on a table and having it roll away from you.
The height of the desk will certainly affect your seating position and legroom. If you are pursuing a career as a streamer your seating position is going to be crucial for your long-term health.
6.Sitting or standing
This topic could be a whole article on its own. The ‘medical news bulletin’ reports that you can lose 12% more calories by standing than sitting.
When your career is sitting down, every little helps. Believe me, my engorging waste line can attest to this.
Plus research shows you are more productive and less likely to develop bad posture habits.
Now, this isn’t to say that you have to, or need to be standing when doing your streams. I have found that I do a lot of work at my computer and the ability to mix it up could come in handy.
7.Style and finishings
Style and finishing are subjective. If you think it’s cool then it’s cool. Your audience won’t be judging you on your choice of desk.
When it comes to finishing, think about how easy it would be to clean the surface if it were made out of your chosen material.
Also, do you want built-in cable and power management?
It is the little things that can sometimes make the biggest difference.
What is the best desk for streaming for my budget?
In an ideal world, cost wouldn’t really come into this, but the world isn’t ideal. You have to play the financial cards you are dealt with. If that means buying a cheaper desk now then upgrading later, then so be it.
Commit yourself to the streaming cause: Save up enough money to buy a high-quality desk.
The act of saving money will show you just how much you really desire to become a streamer.
However, I do understand that to grow as a streamer you might have to put your money into other areas that may yield better short-term results.
It might pay to upgrade your sound or your ability to capture and upload footage. So just buy the best desk you can even if it doesn’t have all the features you want.
Taking into account the steps on what you should look for in a desk for streaming, I have Recommended a fantastic option for most budget ranges.
Best desk for streaming that cost between $100 – $200
This is a tricky price range because, for the sort of money we are talking about, you want a good desk… Not some shabby plank of wood with IKEA stamped on it.
The price range isn’t high enough that you can demand high-end features, but boy, have I found a real gem.
The Designa computer gaming desk gives you a 60-inch work surface for a great price. And, when it comes to streaming, size does matter.
I have seen it as low as $160, which makes it a solid investment. The ‘I’ shaped legs give you stability with a clean design. It includes premium features such as cable management and a large silky smooth padded mat.
This area is ideal for people that like a lot of mouse space.
Easy to put together, The two-piece desk top fit together with ease, making it a great addition to any setup. Being made from two pieces the desk is designed to work with the large mouse pad.
- Easy to put together, one person can do it
- All tools needed come with the desk
- Solid and sturdy
- Great size and depth
- Cable management
- Uses a metal brace to join the two pieces of desk together, if you don’t use the mat then you will have a seam down the middle
Best desk for streaming that cost between $300 – $400
Now I am talking about higher prices, the type of money that could get you a new console or a new graphic card.
If you think that spending $400 on a gaming desk is not for you, there is nothing I can say to convince you otherwise. You are either prepared to invest in your set up or you aren’t. If you are looking for a serious upgrade to your streaming business then I would look no further than the Arozzi arena gaming desk.
The desk comes with a full-size, heavy-duty water-resistant surface mat. The mat has slits to allow for access to cable management holes hidden in the desk.
The desks shape has a contour, allowing you to sit closer and have more economic access to the whole tables’ workspace. Ideal for multi-screen setups.
It uses a sturdy metal bar to join the three-piece wood to form the desk surface. This allows the desk to fit in a small box, something ‘Doctor Who’ would be proud of.
This makes delivery more streamlined, especially if you live in a studio or high rise apartment.
- Easy to put together, one person can do it
- All tools needed come with the desk
- The metal beam makes the desktop solid like a rock
- Great size and depth
- The heavy-duty gaming mat fits the whole desk
- Cable management works through the mat
- The desk is designed to use the mat, if you don’t then you will have seams
- Doesn’t come in many colors
Check out the stunning Arozzi Arena Gaming Desk, and its 1500 5-star reviews (seriously, it’s that good.), here.
Should I buy a standing desk for streaming?
The Designa and the Arozzi are two great desks designed for the needs of streamers.
In their price brackets, they are top of their class for a fixed desk. By fixed I mean that they are designed not to move.
Standing desks have started to grow in popularity for all types of computer work.
Desks that can be converted into standing desks offer a different working philosophy. I am not saying you have to do all your streaming standing up, that would be ridiculous.
But take a moment to think about all the different types of work you’d need to do as a streamer to be a success. It’s not just gaming. For example, I do a lot of editing, making icons, and generally doing a lot of planning and business-related work.
The back end work, the stuff your audience never sees can all be done standing up.
Sitting down all day will lead to bad posture, not to mention other habits like snacking. I put my hands up, I don’t always sit with my shoulder back. I get drawn in and end up leaning forward, or I am in a more relaxed sitting position. Even though I really try to sit better I will often catch myself sitting badly subconsciously.
Film editors like Walter Murch stand when working, his name might not be familiar but the films he’s edited certainly will be. Films Walter has worked on include ‘Apocalypse Now’ and ‘Godfather Part 3’.
He believes that standing allows you to be more creative and productive.
If changing my work environment could increase my productivity each day by 5%, the desk would pay for itself in a few months. That’s not even taking into account it’s health benefits.
Standing desks are always more expensive because they often include a motor to convert them from a sitting to a standing position. These types of desks are only just offering a big enough surface area to satisfy the needs of streamers.
I would recommend the Caesar hardware ergonomic 57-inch desk. It offers a large width without sacrificing too much depth. It uses a single piece wooden top with ergonomic features to allow you to sit closer to the desk.
- Singel piece worktop
- Electronically adjustable height
- Cable management holes
- Wood finish
- Ergonomic shape
- Health and productivity benefits
- Need to make sure your cables are long enough
- Not as deep as more traditional desks
Check out the Caesar Ergonomic Standing desk here.
Buying a new desk for streaming isn’t an everyday purchase. It is something you should invest in after you have discovered that streaming is going to be a career, not just a hobby.
Desks are a lot like cameras, the best one is the one you have with you. But when you are looking to upgrade then you should always try and get the best you can afford within your budget.
Remember that you are not just buying a desk. You are investing in your future.
You are going to be spending a lot of time at your desk, you need to feel comfortable. A great desk should fade away into the background letting you focus on your content creation.
Should I get a standing desk topper for streaming? This is going to come down to you Personally. It might sound like a great idea on paper but the reality of the situation is you will lose space on your desk. Offen, they are not big enough to support all of your monitors, and mouse space is limited. As more and more different types are released there might be one we could recommend, but not yet.
What if I want to spend less than $100 on a streaming desk? I can’t recommend a desk option under $100. This is because you will not find a suitable desk for this price range. Unless you are working from the floor or a sofa you are not going to get any real benefit from using a cheap desk. You would be better off saving for a year to get a better one.
What is the difference between an office desk and one designed for streaming? It comes down to size and functionality. Both careers use a computer but in different ways. For example, gamers need more space. Think of all the items currently on your desk. Items such as multiple monitors, external hard drives, cameras, lights, microphones, keyboard, mouse, etc. Office desks might prioritize a set of drawers for example, which would push the streamer to one side.