Buying Guides

We've put together easy-to-read buying guides on dozens of products to help make your shopping experience a little easier. Still have questions? Don't hesitate to call our knowledgeable sales team at 1-800-260-2776.

School Desks Buying Guide

There's a lot to think about when shopping for just the right school desk. Here's some information to help make searching easier:


Open Front Desks feature a rectangular top with a book box underneath for storage. This style is great for younger students because it's easy to access materials and has no lid to bang or slam.

Lift Lid Desks give access to a book box through a hinged top. These are not as convenient as open front desks but limit access to materials and keep them entirely out of view.

Tablet Arm Desks feature a chair with a desktop attached to an arm. These are popular in high schools and come with an L-shaped "tablet arm" or trapezoid-shaped top that serves as a writing surface.

Combo Desks are similar to chair desks but have two legs attached to the chair and two attached to the desk. Combo desks usually feature larger writing surfaces and have more tummy room. Unlike chair desks, combo desks are equally suitable for right- or left-handed students.

Multi-Student Desks accommodate two students, sometimes more. These desks have a roomy top, so each student has space to get their work done. Many two-student desks have open-front book boxes for storage.

Group Learning Desks are also known as collaborative desks and come in a variety of shapes. These shapes include shapes made to group together, such as trapezoid desks that fit together in groups of six or eight. Activity tables can even double as group learning desks.

Top – School desk tops are made of either solid plastic or fiberboard. Solid plastic is more durable, but fiberboard is less expensive and holds up nicely as well.

Book box – Desks without chairs attached have a metal or plastic book box. Metal holds up longer under heavy use, but a plastic book box still provides years of service. Combo desks and chair desks usually have a steel rod book basket underneath the chair.

Frame – Most all desk frames are made from tubular steel. Steel strength is measured by gauge; the lower the gauge, the stronger the steel.

Seat (if included) – Combo or chair desk seats are made from hard or soft plastic. Hard resin plastics are firmer but more likely to crack. Soft plastic polyethylene and polypropylene chairs are still very durable and less expensive.

Seat Height
If you've opted for desks with chairs attached, make sure kids can sit comfortably with feet flat on the floor and knees bent at 90°. Seat height usually ranges from 13 to 17 inches. If you're ordering chairs and desks, keep in mind that there should be about 8 to 10 inches between the seat and the desktop in order to provide enough leg room.

Desk Height
Standard desks measure about 30" high. Many have adjustable height legs so that students of different ages and sizes can work comfortably.

Top Size
Be sure to consider all situations in which your desk will be used. For example, a tablet arm chair desk might not be big enough if students use laptops along with textbooks or notepads.

Most desks include finish choices. Be prepared to specify a frame, top and seat color.

Check out our selection of classroom desks. If you're still not sure which type to order, call us at 1-800-260-2776. One of our friendly sales consultants is happy to help.

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