The 8 Best Drafting Tables

Updated November 18, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

8 Best Drafting Tables
Best High-End
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Best Inexpensive
If your work or hobby requires you to create drawings or designs, one of these drafting tables is likely to come in very handy. They are perfect for architects, graphic artists, illustrators, interior designers and myriad arts and crafts activities. We've included models in various designs to match any decor and at a range of prices to meet any budget. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best drafting table on Amazon.

8. Martin Ashley U-DS92A

You can adjust the height of the Martin Ashley U-DS92A from 26" to 30.5" in its horizontal position, so you should be able to match it with a variety of work stools. It also features four simple leg levelers and has a convenient book holder on one side.
  • one-hand-operable tilt-mechanism
  • a bit small for some projects
  • not the highest quality work surface
Brand Martin
Model U-DS92A
Weight 31.5 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

7. Offex Craft Station

The Offex Craft Station has two side trays with areas for paint, pencils, drawing utensils and whatever else you might need to keep at hand. It features a tempered blue safety glass top that can also be used as a light table to review photographic film or artwork.
  • 3 plastic molded slide-out trays
  • floor levelers for stability
  • insufficiently supported when tilted
Brand Offex
Model OF-SD-10050
Weight 69 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

6. Alvin Onyx

The Alvin Onyx is intended for home offices and features telescoping legs for height adjustments from 30 to 44 inches. It comes with a 23-inch pencil ledge but, unfortunately, doesn't have any additional storage drawers or shelves.
  • collapsible for easy storage
  • assembly is quick and simple
  • may wobble a bit while you work
Brand Alvin
Model ONX40-4
Weight 42.7 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

5. Dorel Living WM3514

The Dorel Living WM3514 looks like a nice piece of furniture, so it makes a great choice for home use. It features a classy wooden construction with a glossy, deep espresso finish, and has two drawers and three shelves for ample storage.
  • works well as a study desk
  • convenient split-surface design
  • many units arrive damaged
Brand Dorel Living
Model WM3514
Weight 63.8 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

4. Safco Products 3965MO

With its split work surface and additional top shelf for storage, the Safco Products 3965MO is a highly versatile choice for a range of uses. It boasts a sturdy, easily adjustable steel frame and a melamine top with a wood-grain finish for a classic look.
  • left side tilts up to 50 degrees
  • can drop shelf for extra desk space
  • instructions are difficult to follow
Brand Safco Products
Model 3965MO
Weight 75.6 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

3. Studio Designs Vision Craft Station 10053

The Studio Designs Vision Craft Station 10053 is a top-rated option with an adjustable tilting safety-glass surface. It has a sleek, modern design that will enhance your work space, and it sits on four rolling casters, so you can easily move it around.
  • handy side trays for storage
  • sturdy powder-coated steel frame
  • good height for children to stand at
Brand Studio Designs
Model 10053
Weight 43.6 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. Alvin WorkMaster WM48-3-XB

The Alvin WorkMaster WM48-3-XB is a no-nonsense option that gets the job done. It has an adjustable surface and a heavy-duty, telescoping frame made out of sturdy square steel tubes. Its laminate tabletop won't warp over time.
  • large 36 x 48-inch work surface
  • built-in shelf for storage
  • tilts to any angle up to 40 degrees
Brand Alvin
Model WM48-3-XB
Weight 86 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

1. Studio Designs 10057 Futura Tower

The state-of-the-art Studio Designs 10057 Futura Tower boasts a modern grey metal and glass design. The worktop can be set to six different angles from 0 to 40 degrees, and it features a 24" slide-out pencil ledge that locks into place when needed.
  • 4 removable trays for art supplies
  • tempered safety glass work surface
  • two cupholders for beverages
Brand Studio Designs
Model 10057
Weight 54.7 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

What Do I Need to Know Before Buying a Drafting Table?

Most people use drafting tables for artwork, architecture, engineering, graphic design, or something in between. This is relevant in that different drafting tables have been designed for different needs. So the first question any person needs to ask before considering a drafting table is, "What exactly do I need this table for?"

If you need a drafting table for business purposes, you may want to consider a model that comes with a detachable set of drawers. In addition to filing space, detachable drawers might also provide a flat surface for setting up any laptop or phone. If you plan on using the table for architecture, film work, or engineering, it's worth pursuing a model that is either backlit or comes with a high-wattage lamp across the top post.

If you're using a drafting table for personal artwork, then you'll probably want that table to feature slide-out trays. Trays will allow you to keep a palette, brushes, markers, and any other art supplies right at your fingertips. In addition, certain drafting tables come with plastic bins built right into the frame. Plastic bins are preferable to the more formal wooden drawers in that marked-up plastic can be easily washed, or - assuming a worst-case scenario - replaced.

Regardless of your needs, you'll want to confirm that a table's dimensions are sufficient. You'll also want to confirm that the table can be adjusted to specific angles, and heights. Does the table come with a built-in well for storing utensils? Does it come with a stool, or will you have to purchase one yourself? Does the table sit firmly, or is there a risk of it sliding? Finally, is the table available in a color that matches everything else?

Some Basic Tips for Setting Up a Drafting Table

OK, so you've found a table that suits your needs. The next step is locating an ideal spot for that table in your work space. Most people prefer to place their drafting tables near a window, where they can get some air, while also enjoying a bit of sunlight. The majority of people also prefer to face a drafting table toward the doorway, so they can engage others without anyone having a clear vantage point of their work.

When assembling a table you'll want to adjust its surface, tilting it at an angle which makes you feel comfortable based on how you sit. In addition, be sure to coordinate any stool's height so your hips are flush with the table's ledge.

Once the setup is complete, it's time to bring in your accessories. Assuming your drafting table comes with drawers, you'll want to fill those drawers based on priority. That is to say, the items that you reach for most should be front and center. Beyond that, you'll want to map out where you can rest your laptop, as well as any mobile devices or tablets. A lot of drafting tables come with slide-out trays, which seem to be almost custom-made for this purpose.

Now you're down to the little stuff, like adding clips (for holding things in place), and finding an appropriate lamp, assuming the table doesn't come with one built in. You can improve the atmosphere by placing a plant along the windowsill, or hanging some inspiring photos along the wall. A work space, by definition, should be a place for you to create. More than anything else, you want it to feel like a home.

A Brief History of The Drafting Table (By Way of Its Names)

Did you know that whenever somebody uses the phrase, "back to the drawing board," he or she is actually referring to a drafting table? It's true. The popular phrase originally appeared in a New Yorker cartoon which was published back in 1941. That cartoon featured a World War II engineer walking away from the wreckage of a fighter plane. "Well, back to the old drawing board," an accompanying caption read.

So why go with the term drawing board as opposed to drafting table? The answer is that up until the mid-18th Century, drafting tables were considered a bit stodgier - the type of antique fixture that might be found inside an aristocratic den. During the Industrial Revolution, however, certain blue-collar workers were afforded their own drafting tables, which they, in turn, began to refer to as drawing boards instead.

Throughout the 17th Century, drafting tables were formally known as mechanical desks. Each mechanical desk was designed to be ornate. The average desk was designed with side panels and pop-out drawers, many of which could only be accessed by a series of levers and gears.

Today's drafting tables go by any number of designations. An art-based table, for example, might be referred to as a crafting station, while a business-oriented table might be referred to as a working station. A tech-savvy table might be referred to as a docking station, based on its ability to charge a PC or a phone. In the end these product names are meant to be a reflection of each manufacturer's marketing, as well as the brand that product represents.

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Last updated on November 18, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

Ezra is a writer, photographer, creative producer, designer, and record label-operator from New York City. He's traveled around the world and ended up back where he started, though he's constantly threatening to leave again.

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