If you work in an architectural, engineering, or creative field, drafting tables are likely part of your work space. They differ from your standard desk or table in that they’re specially designed to have their flat surface slanted toward the user at an angle, usually between 30 and 50 degrees. This angled surface creates an ergonomic position, helping to decrease the back, neck, and wrist strain that can occur after hours of working hunched over a flat desk.
While traditionally used by architects and illustrators, drafting tables can be used for a variety of tasks, including sketching, crafting, painting, reviewing large documents, or writing. While all feature a flat drafting surface, different drafting tables offer different features, including adjustable height options, multiple working surfaces, storage options, and more. Take a look at the top products below to get an idea of the features you need in the best drafting table for your studio, office, or work space.
- BEST OVERALL: SD Studio Designs 10053 Vision Craft Station
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: OneSpace Craft Station, Silver with Blue Glass
- MOST VERSATILE: YAHEETECH Height Adjustable Drafting Draft Desk
- BEST PORTABLE: Lucky Crown US Art Adjustable Wood Desk Table
- BEST HEIGHT-ADJUSTABLE: ZENY Height Adjustable Drafting Draft Desk Drawing
- BEST 42-INCH: SD STUDIO DESIGNS Vintage Rustic Oak Drafting Table
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Drafting Table
While shopping for a new drafting table, you’ll want to consider some critical product features, such as adjustability, portability, size, construction, and extra storage space. You’ll also want to think about what you’ll be using the drafting table for. Will you need extra space for reviewing large blueprints, or will it be more important to you to have a secondary surface built in for your laptop or a desk lamp? Considering your needs and priorities will help you find the right drafting table.
When you are looking for a new drafting table, you will want to consider how you will be using it. Some tables come with a fixed height and angle to the table surface, which increases the durability but limits the range of uses. If multiple people will be using the drafting table, or if you will want to use it for more than one purpose, you will want to find a more versatile product.
Drafting tables may have wheels for portability, allowing you to move them around the room. Other portable options include desk toppers that can be used on top of a flat surface, such as a table or desk. Some tables also give you the ability to adjust their angle, ranging from 0 to 90 degrees, so you have the ideal ergonomic angle for a variety of activities. Another feature to consider with a drafting table is a secondary surface that will give you more than one surface to work on.
The size of the drafting table should be determined by how you will be using it and the amount of space you have available in the room where it will be used. It’s always a good idea to measure your space before buying a large piece of furniture, and drafting tables are no exception. You don’t want to choose a table that’s too big for your work space. Keep in mind that as well as having enough room to work comfortably, you will also want to account for a chair or stool.
Drafting tables range in size from small, portable desk toppers that can be used on any flat surface of appropriate size to large, solid tables that give you ample room to work on more than one project at one time. Also consider whether your table will have a secondary surface that may require additional room to move, adjust, and properly operate.
One of the main purposes of using a drafting table is to help improve your posture while you work and reduce the strain on your muscles. In order to do that, you must use a drafting table that has the correct working angle and height. Keep in mind that because each person is different, a table suited to one individual may not work for another.
To help account for any differences among the people using the drafting table, you can invest in a product with adjustable features. Some tables allow you to not only change the angle of the table surface but to also change the height of the entire table or even just the height of the working surface. A slight adjustment can mean the difference between an aching back and comfort.
Drafting tables can be completely plain, affording you a broad, blank surface to work. However, many tables come with built-in or included accessories that can help keep you organized and improve your work spaces, such as storage spaces, an adjustable drafting lamp, or a matching stool.
- Storage spaces can range from simple pen or pencil holders to full drawers that slide out from the bottom or side of the table, allowing you to keep all of your work instruments organized and in one place.
- Adjustable drafting lamps can be built into the table so you always have the optimal lighting for your projects, no matter the time of day or angle of the table.
- Stools and other appropriate chairs may be included with a drafting table. These seats are typically designed to fit the appearance and measurements of the table they come with, meaning you won’t need to worry about whether you will be able to work comfortably in your office chair.
When choosing your new drafting table, you will want to decide on whether the table surface should be made of glass or wood. While both materials provide you with a hard, flat surface to work on, you’ll want to consider your own writing or drawing style before making your decision. If you push down hard on your pencil or pen, you will want a more absorbent wooden table surface. A glass surface is less forgiving, and you run the risk of driving the tip of your writing or drawing tool through the paper. However, if you have a gentle touch, then a glass surface may be preferable.
The legs and frame of the drafting table should also be noted. Choose a durable material like wood or steel that will be able to absorb the regular motion and force of your writing or drawing movement without shaking or swaying. This will help you ensure that your lines are as straight as possible and that a shaky table doesn’t ruin a masterpiece.
Our Top Picks
The top-of-the-line products below were chosen for quality, efficacy, and price to help you find the best drafting table for your needs.
The sleek design of this drafting table’s silver and blue tempered glass tabletop and powder-coated steel frame will give your art room or office a clean, modern aesthetic, allowing you to focus your creativity on the project at hand. This drafting table can be adjusted from 30 inches to 49 inches in height, making it versatile enough to serve as a surface for a range of projects—or occupants. It can also be set between 0 degrees to 70 degrees, depending on the project you are working on and your personal preference.
The tabletop measures 40.75 inches by 25.75 inches, which includes a 23.75-inch pencil storage ledge and four removable brush and pencil trays, with two on either side of the working surface. To help you move the table easily, it comes with four wheels, with two that can lock in place when you want to work. If you choose not to use the wheels or don’t plan on moving the drafting table, it also has rubber adapters or feet that can be used instead.
The OneSpace Craft Station is an affordable option that takes the strain away from your back and neck while you work. It has a wide size that gives you ample space for your projects, with a tabletop that measures 41.25 inches by 24 inches. The tabletop can be adjusted from completely flat at 0 degrees to 62.5 degrees for optimal comfort while you work.
The tabletop is made of blue tempered safety glass and sits on a heavy-duty steel frame. Along the side of the tabletop are storage compartments for keeping your writing and drafting tools within reach, and two drawers are suitable for storing any other necessary items, such as stationery, paper clips, sticky notes, or chargers.
If your drafting table will be used for a variety of needs, consider this adaptable, adjustable option. In addition to adjustable height and tabletop, this drafting table features a slide-out secondary tabletop, giving you another 23.6-inch by 15-inch surface to help facilitate your work and keep the main working area free and clear of electronic devices—or clutter. The height of the table can be adjusted from 25.6 inches to 35.6 inches, and the main tabletop angle can be adjusted between 0 and 60 degrees.
The main tabletop measures 38.7 inches by 23.6 inches and includes a pencil ledge at the bottom and multiple storage locations along the right-hand side where you can keep your writing tools. Alternatively, you could use either of the two front drawers on the table to hold your papers, assignments, and writing tools. This drafting table comes with a steel stool that has a cushioned seat for added comfort while you work.
When you can’t head to your office, or if you don’t have the space to set up a full drafting table in your home or work space, invest in this 17-inch by 13-inch portable drafting table. The surface can be set to one of three fixed positions so you can find your ideal working angle. It also includes a lip on the bottom of the table surface that helps keep your papers and writing tools in place when the table is set at an angle.
Be sure that you have a flat surface that measures at least 20 inches by 18 inches for this drafting table. This will give you enough space to comfortably position it so that you won’t have to worry about it slipping off the edge. When the solid wood table is folded down, it can easily be stored under or beside your bed, couch, or even out in your workshop, without taking up a lot of space.
You shouldn’t have to settle for a desk that doesn’t sit at the correct height. With this ZENY drafting table, you won’t need to; each person can easily adjust the height from 28 inches to 35.8 inches, making for a perfect work surface no matter who uses it. This table comes with a sturdy stool and has two front drawers that can be used to store papers, documents, assignments, scissors, glue, markers, and any other items you may need for your next project.
The tabletop is made of durable MDF wood, and the legs and frame are designed with powder-coated iron to give you a firm base while you work. This drafting table has a main working surface that can be adjusted from 0 degrees to 45 degrees, while a second working surface can slide out from the side to allow you to work on multiple projects simultaneously.
While you will need to make some room in your home for this drafting table, it provides ample space to work on a variety of projects, ensuring that you even have enough room to fold out detailed blueprints. It measures 42 inches in width by 30 inches deep and sits at a fixed height of 36 inches.
This poplar wood drafting table has a rustic oak finish, and a solid base and strong supports prevent it from moving, shifting, or shaking while you work. It has a built-in pencil groove and a 24-inch ledge that can be used to hold your papers, documents, pencils, or other writing utensils. If the angle isn’t right for what you are working on, you can adjust it in a wide range, from completely flat at 0 degrees to standing upright at 90 degrees.
FAQs About Drafting Tables
Continue reading below to find the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about drafting tables.
Q. Can I use a drafting table as a desk?
It depends on the specific product, but in some cases, the drafting table will be able to fold down and form a flat surface that can be used as a desk. Just keep in mind, if you elevate the angle of the tabletop, there is the risk of heavier items, like computer equipment, sliding off of the edge.
Q. Do architects still use drafting tables?
Yes, architects still use drafting tables. While Computer-Aided Design (CAD) technology has replaced much of the time an architect previously spent working at a drafting table, these tables are still used regularly to update printed designs, take notes, and work out creative ideas by hand.
Q. What angle is a drafting table?
The ideal angle of your drafting table is dependent on your personal preference, but the angle typically ranges from 30 degrees to 45 degrees. Some drafting tables allow for adjustments between 0 degrees and 90 degrees.