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What to Look for in a School Desk

No matter what kind of learning you're doing, a classroom isn't complete without school desks. Nowadays, there are a wealth of different kinds of school desks available, and whether you're planning a new educational building for an established school or just adding a small classroom to a community center, choosing the right desks matters. Here are the main types and the pros and cons of each:

  • Classic "combo" desks – Also known as a "chair desk," a combo desk is what most people picture when they think of a high school or college classroom. It's a chair that has the desk built right into it. There's normally a book rack underneath the seat, but the desk is a simple writing area without any in-desk storage. Thus, the combo school desk is ideal for classrooms that are used for multiple classes with different groups of students. Advantages include lower costs for buying chairs and desks together, the greater ease of moving desks and chairs around the room, and no chance of chairs being taken from desks and absconded. Note that standard combo school desks are designed for right-handed writers, which can make it more difficult for left-handers.

    • Lift-lid desks – These desks are more common in grade schools in which students have the same desks in the same classroom, all day, every day. The desktop lifts up to reveal a handy storage area for books and supplies. Students can then store all their materials in their desk, which is great for environments without lockers. However, these school desks are rarely used for upper level classes, and it should be noted that lift-lid desks are heavier than plain desks of the same size.

      • Two-pupil desks – Some types of classes work better when students share a school desk. More and more, classrooms are experimenting with two-pupil desks, which allow two students to work collaboratively more easily, or to share a single laptop or tablet screen. Two-pupil desks are ideal for situations where students work in pairs or groups, as well as lab work and artistic situations where more desktop space is desirable. Larger lab desks are also available for larger groups of students. Shared desks do make it important to watch students carefully during exams, however.

      • Teacher desks – When planning a classroom, don't forget that a teacher's desk is just as important as the student desks. Many varieties of teacher's desks are available, some with more drawers and storage space, and some optimized for the use of electronic devices.

      • What kind of school desk do you think is the best all-around pick?
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      Virco 9400BR - Combo Desk with 18" Seat, 18" x 24" High-Pressure Laminate Top w/ Bookrack (Virco 9400BR) Virco 878 - Double Student Desk, Dual Open Front Book Boxes, 24" x 48" Top, Adjustable Cantilevered Legs  (Virco 878) Virco 751MBBM - Student Desk with Lift Lid and Metal Book Box, Hard Plastic 18" x 24" Top  (Virco 751MBBM)
      A popular Virco item: Part of the 9000 Classic Series Chair Desks, the Best-Selling 9400BR offers a hard-working high pressure laminate study top.  The underseat steel-rod bookrack is standard on all Chair Desk models.  A great value for both a student desk and a chair.  Good for grades 4 to adult. Reliable? Durable? Absolutely. The Virco 878 is a two-student desk that has delivered years upon years of tradition. This heavy-duty desk comes with twin book boxes, a unitized square frame and a high-pressure laminate particle board top with cantilevered adjustable height legs.  The Virco 878 readily accomodates two students and dual independent plastic book boxes. Need quiet? The 751M Lift-Lid Student Desk will answer your prayers. The rubber bumpers and dual closing devices ensure smooth and quiet operation. This upgraded model features the scratch resistant Martest 21 hard plastic work surface and offers colorfast durability.