Three Things to Consider Before Buying a TV Tray

How to pick the right tray for your room, your furniture, and your lifestyle.

Burger and fries on plate on TV tray.
A reliable TV tray also makes for a solid, yet mobile, workstation.Brandon Morgan

The TV tray has been around for nearly as long at TVs, because they let you sit a comfortable chair or on a couch and have a meal or while watching TV. And like TVs themselves, TV trays have evolved. The best TV tray to get depends on where you’ll be sitting, what you want to do on the tray, and whether you want the tray to fit in with the rest of your furniture. Here are three points to consider about TV trays before you buy.

Winsome Wood TV Tray Set
A walnut finish gives this model a classic look.Winsome

The classic wooden TV tray, with a large finished top and sturdy folding legs, has made a comeback. Part of the reason is that it looks good in a retro way. Another is that you can get several of them and keep them stored in your family room or den on an attractive stand. The TV trays become part of your décor, rather than something you stash in a closet when you’re not using it.

Table Mate II Folding TV Tray Table and Cup Holder with 6 Height and 3 Angle Adjustments the Original TV Tray (Black)
You can slide this model close to you and raise or lower the height to accommodate the height of your seat.Table-Mate

Conventional TV trays don’t let you stretch your legs widely, because the tray legs are in the way. They also put the tray portion in front of the seat, so you have to lean forward a bit in order to eat over the tray. Modern TV trays solve that problem by having only one pair of legs, which you can slide close to or underneath a seat. That provides more legroom and puts the tray portion closer to you, eliminating the need to bend. Such trays are ideal for working on a laptop since it puts the computer at your fingertips. A few even come with cup holders, eliminating the worry of knocking over your drink.

Able Life Universal Swivel TV Tray Table, Work from Home Computer Desk, Compact Laptop Desk Station, Adjustable Bamboo Side Table
You can change the height and the depth of this model to match any chair or couch you own.Able Life

Some TV trays have long legs and feet that tuck underneath the seat, with a height-adjustable top that can swivel 360 degrees. That means you can place the tray table directly above your lap no matter where you’re sitting—and even if you’re stretched out on the couch. You simply swing the top out of the way when you want to get up, though considering what you can do with such a TV tray/lap—deskwork, email, eat, drink— you won’t have to very often.

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