Is The Right Spot for Your PC On Top or Underneath the Desk?

Where to place your computer on your desk is a pretty big decision. There is a lot to think about, from aesthetics, desired space, convenience, and much more. 

Some people like to place their computers on top of their desks to show off their custom gaming build. Others might be tight on space and would consider placing it elsewhere. 

We’re going to make this decision easier for you today by breaking down all the pros and cons of each of these setups. Let’s get started.

Key Takeaways

  • The main benefits of keeping your computer on top of your desk include showing it off, convenient access to ports and buttons, and being in a less dusty environment. 
  • The reasons people decide to place their PC underneath their desks include making more space and chasing a minimal desk setup appearance. 
  • What you want to avoid doing at all costs is placing your computer directly on the floor. This ruins ventilation and increases the dust and debris build up in your computer. 

Keeping Your Computer On Your Desktop

BenQ ScreenBar Monitor Light Review (17 of 21)

Here are the summarized pros and cons of keeping your computer on top of your desk.

PC On Top Of Desk PROSCONS – PC On Top Of Desk 
-Shows off your sweet PC.

-Convenient access to connections and power button.

-Easy maintenance access.
-Knocking over your PC is a huge risk to your investment.

-Beefy PCs will need a sturdy desk for peace of mind. Less desk space available.

Benefits of the Computer On Your Desk

If you built your gaming PC from the ground up, chances are you added some aesthetic features or some high-performance RGB. This will make you much more likely to place your PC on your desk. 

Even if you just purchase a pre-built PC like most people, it might just be a good-looking PC, showing it off means keeping it on your desk for you to see every day. 

When I first built my own gaming PC, you bet that thing was on my desk on day 1! 

Another benefit is that you don’t have to reach very far if you want to power up your rig. A PC on your desk in the most convenient location. 

The connections are readily available such as your USB slots, headset jack, etc. If you have to connect something to the backside of your computer, that is easier too if your computer is sitting on your desk. 

Drawbacks of a PC Sitting on Your Desk

Now there are some inherent issues with placing your PC on your desk. 

First of all, when you put your computer on anything elevated, it now has the potential to fall over. If your PC is right on the very edge of your desk, you have to be pretty cautious. 

Also if you have a huge or heavy PC, you need to have a pretty solid table as well. Placing an expensive and heavy PC on a rickety table is a recipe for disaster. 

If you are in the beefy PC crowd, a huge drawback (no pun intended) is the amount of desk space this will take up. You will have less room on your desk which can easily lead to a crowded/cluttered desk depending on your desk size. 

Keeping Your Computer Underneath Your Desk

Benq e-reading lamp - on desk with desk clamp

Because there is no right answer, here are the pros and cons of placing a computer underneath your desk. Keep in mind that this doesn’t necessarily mean on the floor. 

PROS – PC Underneath Desk CONS – PC Underneath Desk 
-Gain back a ton of desk space.

-Boost aesthetics with a more minimal look.
-The closer you are to the floor, the more dust your PC will see.

-Accidents like spilling a beverage onto your computer are easier to make. 

Benefits of the Under-Desk PC Setup

The main benefit of moving a computer off of your desk is the desk space gain. That is exactly why I did it. We have a dedicated article on how to hide your PC, just as I did.

I have a 60″ x 30″ desk, so it’s not super small. I also have an SFFPC (Small Form Factor PC, it’s an NR200 for the PC builders out there). 

So it was smaller than the typical computer tower, and I still felt like it was taking up way too much desk space. This was my main motivation for going this route. 

How To Hide Your Computer Tower

I now don’t have to worry about bumping into my computer, placing stuff against it, etc. It’s out of sight.¬†This is one way to prevent computers from falling off your desk.

Right after I moved my PC under my desk, I noticed a big bump in my desk aesthetic. Everything looked a bit more roomy and airy. It was a more minimal desk setup. This is why it made my ultimate guide to a minimal desk setup

Drawbacks of a PC Underneath Your Desk

Now this is not without consequences, there are some major drawbacks to this approach. 

First and foremost, the closer your PC gets to the floor, the more dust your PC will see. Dust and debris are always floating around in the air. 

It could be your own dead skin (gross), random loose carpet fibers, or even dust from outside from an open window. Dust and dirt are everywhere, and most of it lands on your floor. It’s a big old landing pad. 

Avoid Placing Your PC Directly On The Floor!

This is a problem because your computer has a bunch of fans that intake cool air from the bottom and exhaust the warm air up top. That means if you place a PC at a lower level where there is more dust present, you will send more dust into your computer. 

Clogging up your PC with dust is a sure way to reduce your performance dramatically. It makes your computer components work harder to function efficiently. This can reduce your computer’s life dramatically if you don’t clean it often enough

Hidden Computer Behind Drawer

Another potential issue with placing your computer under your desk is the potential of dropping other things on top of it. This includes beverages and such. If you are a bit of a clutz, this can be a big added risk. 

There are ways to position your computer such that nothing can fall on top of it. If you plan on placing your computer under your desk, keep this in mind. 

PC Placement Solutions

Now that we have all the benefits and drawbacks of each placement location ironed out, let’s talk about some solutions! 

Under Desk PC Placement Ideas

Use A Computer Riser

A computer riser is exactly what I use to keep my PC off of the floor, but still underneath my desk. This is a perforated little shelf that is affordable and can be placed anywhere around your desk. 

It can be spaced pretty far from the floor such that dust is less of a problem. It is still relatively close to the floor, so the fans could pull up some of that dust. 

JOIN IRON Computer Tower Stand, Mobile CPU Stand with 4 Caster Wheels Fits for Most Computer Tower, Gaming PC

If you live in a place with a very dusty floor, use one of the risers that don’t have a perforated bottom. Your computer’s feet will elevate it so it can still pull in air, just from the sides instead of from directly below. 

Here’s an example of a riser without bottom vents for dusty floors. 

JOIN IRON Computer Tower Stand, Mobile CPU Stand with 4 Caster Wheels Fits for Most Computer Tower, Gaming PC
  • CPU Stand Size - Length 15.7inch/40CM, width 11inch/28CM. Fits for most computer tower, air purifiers, printer, plant pots. CPU stand for carpet and under desk.
  • Load - This is a very good computer tower stand. Load capacity can reach 32KG (70 pounds). Suitable for any kind of floor.
  • Mobile Design - 4 swiveling casters of our computer rolling cart built to improve mobility and stability, easier access to back of the computer, and it's convenient for...
  • Stability - This heavy duty wooden CPU stand can protect your computer well from accidentally collisions with its reinforced shelves, makes your computer CPU safe.
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Use A Computer Tower Cart

Height Adjustable Computer Tower Stand

This Height Adjustable Tower Stand is a multi-functional, sturdy design with a 2-tier structure. It has a manual height adjustment range from 23 1/4'' to 33 1/4'' and can support most computer cases on the market. The bottom shelf stores the PC tower, while the top shelf holds printers, plants, documents, and more.

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If you want few more usage benefits of a computer riser, consider these PC tower carts that have a usable top surface. You can place anything on top, like a printer, spare headphones, anything!

The one linked above actually has an adjustable height top shelf so it can fit underneath your desk, or right next to your desk! 

Use An Under Desk PC Mount

VIVO Under Desk and Wall PC Mount
  • Supports up to 22 lbs.
  • Swivels for easy backside port access
  • PC width range: 3.5 to 7.8 inches
  • PC height range: 11.5 to 20.5 inches
  • Does not support small form factor computers
  • PC can interfere with standing desk frame
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If you want your computer to be secured right under your desk, that has a couple of benefits. First, it will be much harder to spill things on top of your computer because it’s snugly under your desk. 

Second, if you have a standing desk, your life will be so much easier if your computer is actually attached to your desk. All of your computer cables don’t need to be loose to stretch and collapse with your table. They can just move together.

This makes standing desk cable management much easier. You can find all of our standing desk cable management tips here. 

Ideas For a PC on Top of Your Desk

Placing your computer on top of your desk is pretty simple and doesn’t require any accessories really. However, if you want the benefit of more desk space, consider investing in a storage solution that can sit next to your desk. 

If you have a drawer set or something similar next to your desk, you can gain all the convenience benefits of having a top-of-desk PC while freeing up desk space at the same time! 

White Winsome Halifax 5 Drawer Storage

This cabinet is versatile and can be used to create a work table by placing a tabletop over two units, with an overall size of 19.21"W x 15.98"D x 26.30" H. The casters provide 2.16" clearance between the floor and bottom of the cart, and assembly is required.

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For example, you can use an IKEA ALEX drawer set which is similar in height to most desks. You simply place your PC here, and you have a handy storage area as well! 

I know not everyone is close to an IKEA nor wants to pay the IKEA shipping costs, so we have a list of the ALEX drawer alternatives here. 

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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!

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