It’s been a long time since automobiles have become an integral part of modern people’s life. In addition to their main role (convenient means of transportation), for many people nowadays they are now like a small home: a sleeping and a dining room together, a waiting room, even an office. For some, it could even be shocking to accept the fact how much time is simply wasted behind the wheel today, whether in heavy traffic or at a parking lot while waiting for someone like your kids after classes. Or we’d rather say could be wasted, if it wasn’t for a simple but useful little invention to allow working in comfort without any minute wasted in idle waiting.
Today we’ll take a look at three examples of such invention – TOP-3 steering wheel desks with which it’s possible to arrange a small diner on the front seat of your car – or at least an office desk. Light and compact, they easily fit in any trunk and may become an indispensable part of your car’s furnishing.
Things to Watch Out
The idea is quite simple, but even being as simple as it is, it requires checking some technical characteristics first before making a purchase.
There are so many questions asked about whether a particular steering wheel desk will fit this or that auto model. Of course, you may even get a clear answer from manufacturers, but seriously – isn’t it easier to measure your steering wheel size first and then check it against parameters of the product you lay your eyes on?
In many cases, it’s actually the same type of steering wheel grip, although with some brands there may be variations either allowing the use of car desks by backseat passengers, or, on the contrary, limiting their functionality to the role of a document holder.
Surface texture and material it is made of
Plastic, plastic, plastic. It can be cheap plastic with chemical stench, or you may come across higher quality solutions from esteemed producers. Well, any textured surface may spoil all the fun with writing/drawing unless the car desk wasn’t specially designed for that particular purpose. Say, hard/soft plastic types determine durability as well as how fast you’ll start leaving scratches on it.
Well, with a device that easy, there aren’t too many. What really matters is:
- Size. There were confirmed cases when purchased car desk just couldn’t get on the wheel too big or too thick for it.
- Weight. Important if on-foot transportation and use outside an auto are your big concerns.
If it is possible to learn some information on what type of plastic it’s made of, and whether it contains carcinogenic components – this information might be useful, although it is rarely indicated in the product’s description.
Types of Steering Wheel Desks
When it comes to the common types are wheel-attached car desks, although there are other types attached to front seats at the back for passengers’ convenience, and even small artificial ashtrays attached to both sides of the front seat. Technically speaking, they aren’t steering wheel desks at all.
Among steering wheel desks we’ve come across most common are the ones which, when attached, form horizontal tray for dining or holding a mobile electronic device, but there are other desk types as well which are just positioned tightly on the steering wheel for easier writing/drawing or reading of paper documents. The latter usually come with a paper clip.
The idea has earned deserved popularity, which is why (even being as simple as it is) it gave birth to a variety of different brands of steering wheel desks. Stay with us to have a look at the three best car desks which we’ve sorted out to make your choice easier.
1. CUTEQUEEN Black Car Laptop/Eating Wheel Desk – Editor’s Choice
The first one is a China-produced car desk from Cutequeen
- Made of light black plastic, it definitely won’t make a heavy addition to your baggage – it weighs only 0.32 ounces. There is also a light grey solution for best matching with your car’s interior.
- Compact size (11” x 16.5” x 0.79”) is a good advantage when it comes to arranging an ergonomic but still functional desk. It is easily mounted on the bottom part of the steering wheel, and not much harder stowed in the pocket behind the front seat.
- The car desk has two types of hollowing ornaments on both of its surfaces: one is for eating, as the name suggests (there are clearly visible spaces to put a cup, a lunchbox or something of a similar form), and the other is for a laptop, a document folder, and there is even a prolonged deepening to the right for writing tools.
- It is also a #1 Bestseller on Amazon!
To see how it all works in practice, we’ve checked a couple of videos. One of them demonstrated some of the features not clearly visible at first glance.
- Like many goods from China, this car desk is relatively cheap. The price isn’t even indicated on Amazon, but we’ve managed to check it out on different websites: about $12, depending on who you are buying it from. This has its own implications, though, and the first one to notice is packing of the steering wheel desk: no box whatsoever, it is simply wrapped in plastic.
- It does feel like the car desk is so light that it could probably be thrown like a Frisbee without breaking – but it also feels like it could be scratched easily not only with car keys but even with sturdy fingernails, so pretty soon it may all be in scratches.
- The car desk fits Ford’s steering wheel and holds there tightly even with the slight turning of the wheel (it also fits nicely Mercedes’s steering wheel on the second video). There is a feeling, though – maybe a bit subjective, but there is – that it’s better to be watchful not to overthrow it accidentally with all the stuff on it because it detaches with the slightest push from below. Just a piece of advice, it’s better to push the driver seat back a bit further to leave more space for your belly.
|• Cheap price for a good and functional steering wheel desk|
• Very light and ergonomic
• Serves both as a dining table and an office desk
|• It feels like it can be scratched easily|
2. ROADPRO RPO-24DT – Solid
Here’s a presumably more serious (as it seems) proposal from a large family of brands working under the umbrella of “ROADPRO”. In its turn, ROADPRO Brands is a division of DAS Companies. May you not be confused by the complex corporate structure of the American producer, though – it is not what matters. What matters is the quality and reliability of various car accessories offered by the esteemed producer with a sound reputation for more than 30 years already. Steering wheel desk is one of them – what about it?
- Despite a seemingly higher price, this car desk (13.5” x 15.5” x 1.9”) loses to its Chinese competitor in terms of functionality. No matter how smooth is its surface for writing (we believe it truly is, just as it’s stated in the written description), it only serves as a paper folder for more convenient work with documents.
- On the other hand, if working with papers is everything you need it for, then this car desk indeed offers unmatched convenience: it is attached to any imaginable steering wheel, laying safely on it (although we’re not sure if there’s enough space left for it to keep the car horn undisturbed), plus there is a supporting lip on the bottom to keep documents and writing pens from falling. On top of it, there is a secure clip to keep documents together.
- This car desk doesn’t make a tray and can’t be put to a horizontal position – unless your steering wheel, on which it just rests firmly, is itself horizontal. Plus, if it wasn’t for the supporting lip on the bottom, we would hardly imagine even a notepad safely placed on it.
- It is very light, though – only 0.16 ounces. Put it in your suitcase when on foot and forget about it!
|• Great for writing and examination of documents – maybe this car desk is even the best of all others for that purpose|
• Its fixing principle actually keeps it very stable on the wheel
• An esteemed brand from a whole family of American brands with sound reputation
|• Sadly, it’s not good for any other purpose, except maybe for putting a notepad there, or playing cards on it|
3. LEBOGNER Auto Steering Wheel Desk – Best Value
Here we have a solution that greatly reminds of the first product reviewed here: it is also a two-sided tray, easily attached to the bottom of your steering wheel, although a bit more expensive. Even its height and width are the same, but it is a bit thicker (1 inch) and definitely heavier (7.4 ounces).
- It could be that precisely because of its physical characteristics this one is sturdier as compared to the Chinese product and can’t be accidentally overthrown with the slightest push so easily.
- A review video by the “Old Nerd” guy which we’ve founded also demonstrated a plausible packaging choice: unlike the first steering wheel desk, it is at least packed in a carton box. Sadly, it could be the case that this car desk only comes in black color even if the picture on the packing box clearly shows blue color! For the reviewer on the video, it didn’t matter, but this could be important to you.
- The steering wheel desk fits most wheel types perfectly and holds there tightly. Hollowing ornaments on both of its sizes, very similar (if not identical) to the ones provided in the first product’s case, allow safe placement of a cup, a tray, or something else you need for a lunch. The surface on the other side is designed to keep a notepad, an iPad, a paper document, or something of a similar size to work with safely in place. LEBOGNER’s wheel desk on the video we mentioned earlier was a bit loose on the wheel initially, but according to the reviewer, the more you use it – the tighter becomes the grip, so in general, it was ok with functionality.
- LEBOGNER’s ratings on Amazon are almost the same as with CUTEQUEEN, but with a smaller number of votes – this makes them a bit less reliable.
- As a potential advantage – it is said to be made to a “Very High Standard”. Although it isn’t clear which one exactly, there is hope that this car desk is more resistant to scratching.
- If you’re not satisfied with the quality, you’ll get your money back – that’s guaranteed!
|• A multi-purpose wheel tray, good for dining and for office work|
• Looks very sturdy, more resistant to scratches
• A money-back guarantee
|• Paying a bit higher price for the product which has almost perfect but cheaper substitute|
Our best choice is obviously CUTEQUEEN Black Car Laptop/Eating Wheel Desk. It is a compact dining table and a laptop holder that keeps steady on the wheel and can be stored in a backseat pocket when not in use. The product is produced in China – yes, but you’re also paying a bit lower price for all non-unique multifunctionality which may be a witness with other brands at a bit higher price.
With a car accessory as simple as steering wheel desks, it’s a bit hard to distinguish one from another. Unfortunately, it is impossible to determine whether the chemical stench of plastic is bearable without actually buying one of those, so it only remains to hope that it’ll fade away eventually even if there is that smell instantly upon unpacking.
- Apart from that, the first thing to think of is what exactly you need a car desk for. If your work is associated with frequent business trips (consequently, working, eating and drinking in the car is what you usually do a lot) – that’s one thing. If, on the other hand, your car is more like an office (or a business meeting room), all you need is just to keep all the documents from falling.
- Secondly, it’s advised to always check physical characteristics. “Lighter” not always means “better”. It is true that lighter plastic material implies less weight, but it could also mean vulnerability to scratching.
- It’s not like producing a company’s reputation matters a lot in this case, but at least you may find pleasant bonuses in a form of “100% satisfaction guaranteed – or we’ll give you money back”. That’s far not always the case with third world producers.
- Finally, with this type of product, the price may be especially meaningful precisely because all other characteristics look so similar.
We wish you comfortable and easy road trips!
Will they hold at the top (not at the bottom) of the steering wheel?
Yes – no problem with that. It is thus possible to position the tray a bit higher for your convenience.
Is it safe to drive with a tray still on the wheel, even if there's nothing on it?
It is definitely not recommended due to safety reasons!
Is it strong enough to hold a laptop?
Probably. If it isn’t too heavy – most likely yes.
Many questions were asked on particular types of containers used to store drinks - whether they’ll fit in the tray and stay there safely
With a plastic surface of many car desks, it is generally not advised to use them with glass bottles as they tend to slide on plastic easily and are definitely not stable. On the other hand, it’s safe enough to put a paper coffee cup or a metal beer can in the hole, if it is provided there (but there is positively no holes for a square whiskey bottle of Jack Daniels, for example). In any case, alcohol consumption behind the wheel is still your top concern!
It there any chemical plastic smell coming from it?
Nope, no one ever noticed.