How Thick Should A Desktop Be? A Quick Guide

A desk’s thickness can impact everything from its weight capacity to just how good it looks. 

Whether you’re shopping for a new desk or simply curious about what should determine a desk’s thickness, this article will tell you everything you need to know. 

Choosing the right thickness ensures you have a sturdy desk that can comfortably support your typical desk setup, and hopefully a little bit more. 

Key Takeaways

In general, a desk made of plywood or fiberboard should have a thickness of at least 0.75 inches (19 mm) to provide generally good support and stability while in use.

A wood desk with a thickness of at least 1 inch (25 mm) will be a robust solution and is what I currently use myself.

However, the ideal thickness may vary depending on factors such as the length and design of the table, as well as the materials used in its construction.

weight capacity of desks

The Importance of Desk Thickness

Desk thickness – why do we even care?! Well, turns out there are a bunch of reasons this actually matters. If you’re reading this, you probably agree it’s important.  

Here are the main features that will be affected when you change up your desk thickness. Keep in mind that desk thickness alone is not the determining factor for all of these, material plays a part as well. 


A super thin desk is more likely to cave in than a thicker desk. Obviously, this is material dependent, but you get the point. 

Your tabletop is the largest structural element of pretty much all desks. It’s a huge uninterrupted surface. This holds your desk legs together and everything else. 

Having a tabletop that is too thin will result in stability issues. You no longer have the robust core of your desk with a super thin tabletop. 

This depends on the type of desk legs you use as well. But if your desk legs are plenty strong, your desktop might be the cause of the stability issues. 

Weight Capacity

Thin desks can carry less than thicker desks. You probably knew that. If you want to have a monster desk setup with ten monitors and an oversized gaming computer, you need a robust desk. 

As we touched on before, a thicker desk leads to a stronger desk. It can carry more while being more stable. Again, this also depends on other things like your desk legs and such. 

hide wires under your desk


In some cases, thicker desks can be much more durable than others. This highly depends on the material.

For example, if you are using a thick glass desk, that surface will be much more durable than a thin glass desk. If you are using a thick wood desk, scuffs and gouges can actually be sanded away to reveal a fresh new layer. 

This doesn’t apply to desks that have a very soft core like IKEA’s paper-filled desks. Those are plenty thick but are hollow and not very durable. 


A thin desk might be the light and airy look you always wanted. Thicker desks will give off a more robust vibe and show that heavy work can be done.

Everyone has their own aesthetic goals. The material of your desk plays more of a role in desk aesthetics compared to thickness, but they both count! 

Factors That Should Drive Desk Thickness

Now we know how desk thickness will affect your desk setup, let’s talk about what factors should actually drive your thickness.

In other words, these factors will help you determine exactly what thickness your desk should be. 

Desk Material

Different materials will result in different required thicknesses. Stronger materials won’t need as thick of a desk. Weaker materials will need to be thicker. 

That’s why IKEA’s paper-filled desks are 1.375 inches thick and glass desks are closer to 0.3 inches thick like this one:

Contemporary Home Office Computer Desk

This modern computer desk has a glass top and is quick and easy to assemble. The table measures 51" x 27.5" x 29.5" and features an 8mm tempered clear glass top.

Check Price on Amazon

Different materials = different thickness recommendations. 

The most popular option for a strong and durable desktop is wood. Wood offers the best durability for computer desks and comes in a ton of very aesthetic flavors. The types of wood come in different colors, and prices.

We have a dedicated article on desktop materials here.  If you have a fancy splice board desk, learn more about those here.

Plywood and particle board are also common choices as they are much less expensive and get the job done.

In terms of thickness, in general, I recommend a desk with a minimum thickness of 19 mm (0.75 inches) for good support with typical desktop materials (engineered wood, real wood, etc.).

Again, the thickness requirement may vary depending on the length and design of the desk.

Desk Size

If you have a super huge desk, you either need a thicker table top to ensure it is stiff, or you need more support along the bottom of the desk. We talk more about desk supports in our article on the cost of DIY desks

All really long desks supported on the far ends will have some sag in the middle. What you want to think about is how much sag is acceptable. Sometimes it will be barely noticeable, other times, not so much. 

If you have a larger desk, consider the material and consider increasing your desk thickness. Smaller desks will be much more flexible with the thickness and material choice as the supports will naturally be closer together.  

Desk Purpose

Think about what you actually do at your desk and what that means for your desk material and thickness.

If you have a small house and need your desk to be very adaptable, you want a thick and robust surface that can handle anything.

Do you only plan on placing a laptop on this desk and nothing more? A very simple and thin desk will get the job done and won’t require the budget a robust desk would.

Check out this video where Greg Salazar builds a solid wood desk with a thickness of 1.5 inches. This tabletop was off the shelf which is great!

Photo of author


I'm a big time workspace enthusiast who is constantly experimenting with my setup. Sharing along the way to help people make their own desk setups more functional and inviting, whether it be for productivity or play!