Overbed tables are among the simplest and most affordable assistive products, but they’re close to the top of the list when it comes to making everyday life easier, safer, more convenient, and more comfortable.
For people who spend prolonged periods of time in bed or who have limited mobility, common activities like eating, writing, and even reading can be a frustrating challenge. Overbed tables provide a sturdy, stable surface that eliminates the need to juggle plates and dishes, balance a tray or hold a heavy book.
Though they’re often thought of as hospital equipment, overbed tables made for home use are readily available and many offer a variety of enhancements including storage space, tilt-tops, casters for easy moving, and more.
The basic overbed table design is fairly standard, consisting of a rectangular table tray supported by a bracket-shaped frame with a base that slides under a bed or chair. Most overbed tables are height adjustable and many can be used in bed, in a wheelchair, or in an ordinary chair. But though most overbed tables look similar, they offer a wide variety of options; here are some tips on finding the one that’s best for you.
Measure before shopping
Measure before shopping – Overbed tables come in a range of sizes, so it’s important to take some measurements before you start to shop. Start with the bed or chair where the table will most often be used; how high does the table need to be in order to be functional? This measurement is particularly important if the table will be used with a hospital bed, which may be somewhat higher than a standard bed.
It’s also a good idea to know what tabletop dimensions will serve the user best and fit most comfortably into the space available. Overbed tabletops range in size, with depths starting at 15″ and widths that start at 20″ and go to 30″ or more. A too-small tabletop won’t give the user the room they need, while a too-large top will be awkward and impractical in a small space.
Another important measurement is the space available under the bed or chair, where the base of the overbed table will go. Keep in mind that casters require additional clearance and may not be suitable if the table will be used a chair or sofa that has only an inch or so of space between the bottom of the seat and the floor.
Consider the various ways the table will be used
Consider the various ways the table will be used – Will it primarily be a dining table, or will it also serve as a desk, a reading table, a computer desk, and a games surface? Overbed tables are generally multi-purpose products, but many offer special features that are particularly well suited to certain uses.
Keep special needs and situations in mind
Keep special needs and situations in mind – Does the table need to be suitable for use in both a bed and a wheelchair? Is the user large or heavy? Is the bed particularly high or low, or is there little to no clearance for the base? There are so many options available that it’s possible to find an overbed table for just about any special need, but not all tables will work in all situations.
Budget Range Overbed Tables
NRS Healthcare M15691 Portable Overbed/Chair Table - Tilting, Adjustable & Wheeled
- NRS Healthcare M15691 Portable Overbed/Chair Table Wheeled
- Height adjustable table for use over a bed or a chair, portable with four castors to roll into position
- Tilts up to 45 degrees for use when reading. Wheeled Table Height Adjustable: 520-820mm (20-32"),Table top: 530 x 400mm (20¾-15¾"),Footprint:565 x 435mm (22¼ x 17¼"),Maximum tilt: 45 degrees,Wheeled clearance required 80mm (3¼")
- Constructed with a powder coated steel frame
- Flat packed for easy self assembly
One of the best picks in low-cost overbed tables is the NRS Healthcare M15691 Portable Overbed/Chair Table – Tilting, Adjustable & Wheeled. As the name suggests, this model offers a lot of options. The laminated tabletop, a compact 21 by 16 inches, can be used flat for dining but tilts up to 45 degrees for reading or writing.
Aidapt Canterbury Static Multi Table
- Fine angle adjustment from flat to 45 degrees and Easiglide braked castors
- Attractive beech effect top and genuine hardwood upstands
- Chrome plated table support for longevity
- The easy to clean, wipe down surface makes this item ideal for meals
- 15 kg (2 stone) weight limit
If lack of clearance for the base is a problem, the Aidapt Canterbury Static Multi Table could be the solution. The base of this model is flat, so it fits under furniture too low to accommodate a base with casters.
The beech-look laminate tabletop is about 16 by 24 inches and can be used flat or tilted up to 45 degrees. The white metal base adjusts from 24.5 inches to 38.5 inches. It’s well-made and durable, and its price of just under £30 makes it a great budget buy.
Over bed table with 4 castors and height adjustable top - raises with 1 finger ECOBT
- Table top can be raised with just 1 finger by simply pushing the table top upwards. To lower the table lift the black handle up while guiding the table top downwards. Now with upgraded assembly instructions and packaging.
- The table has a large table top 76cm x 38cm which easily and safely goes over a bed or chair. Please compare with some of the other tables advertised which have small tops and dont raise high enough.
- Over bed table ideal for use in the bedroom or the lounge. Swivel castors allow easy positioning and moving.
- Easy maintained wipe clean top and frame. The over bed table also has brakes fitted onto 2 of the castors.
- Will fit under chairs or bed with a clearance underneath of 9cm / 3.5" Please consider the postition of the legs on your bed/ chair when checking if this product will fit. Table is supplied flat packed for home assembly a cross headed screwdriver and 16mm spanner will be required.
For ease of use at a budget price, the Over Bed Table With Castors and Height Adjustable Top by Elite Care is hard to beat. Sturdy, stable, and built to last, this table is priced at about £65 and is specially designed to make height adjustment a breeze.
The top can be raised with just one finger by simply pushing the table top upwards, and lowering the top is simply a matter of lifting a handle and guiding the table down to the desired height. The top does not tilt but swivel castors make it easy to position and brakes on two of the castors make placement secure.
Deluxe twin top adjustable mobile over bed table
- Single handed, angle adjustable table top Adjustable in height, width and angle
- Please select whether you would like the standard table option or with the extension piece so the table will go over a 5ft wide bed.
- Reversible side table for right or left handuse Fitted with four locking brake castors
- Safety locking device to avoid over extension Attractive laminate top with beech finish
For users who want even more flexibility the Deluxe Twin Top Adjustable Mobile Overbed Table by Fenetic Wellbeing is a good choice. This model has supports on both sides and can be adjusted to fit over an ordinary lounge chair, wheelchair, or a bed up to 5 feet wide.
With a price that starts at about £100 this table is at the top end of the budget price range, but it offers so many options (height and width adjustable, tiltable, extendable table top, split table area with fixed section that can be placed on left or right, castors for easy moving, and more) that it is an excellent value for the price.
Mid-Range Overbed Tables
For users who need maximum positioning flexibility, the Drive Medical Deluxe Pivot and Tilt Overbed Table by Drive Medical could be the solution. this table is built with an adjustable pivot and tilt arm that provides for maximum height, angle and tilt adjustments.
The “U” base and pivot arm make this table equally usable in a bed or a wheelchair, and the pivoting table mast can be securely locked so the table top remains flat no matter what the position. This model also folds flat for easy storage. Priced at about £280, this amazingly versatile table is an excellent value.
NRS Healthcare M20273 Height Adjustable Overbed Table - Heavy Duty
- NRS Healthcare M20273 Height Adjustable Overbed Table - Heavy Duty
- Everyday heavy duty table for use when in bed, wheeled base
- Ideal for mealtimes, hobbies, reading, writing, crafts, keeping objects close to hand etc
- Height adjustable between: 69cm (27") - 105cm (41 ¼")
- Easy to clean, smooth table top
If you’re looking for a heavy duty overbed table that’s built to last, the NRS Healthcare M20273 Height Adjustable Overbed Table – Heavy Duty is an excellent choice. Thick steel tubing construction and chrome plating on the adjustable section make this table exceptionally tough and durable.
The tabletop is PVC laminated and has molded safety edges to control spillage and keep items from rolling off. The unit has a wheeled base that’s height adjustable from 27″ to 41″ and the table top is a generous 15.5″ by 35″. At just under £350, this table is a heavy duty bargain.
Top Range Overbed Tables
Bariatric Heavy Duty Overbed Table
|Catalog Number List||494; 13080|
|EAN List||0811032483941; 0822383133942; 0087014771850|
|Item Dimensions||Height: 650; Length: 4200; Weight: 324; Width: 2050|
|Package Dimensions||Height: 800; Length: 4200; Weight: 8530; Width: 2100|
|Product Group||Health and Beauty|
|Product Type Name||HEALTH_PERSONAL_CARE|
|Title||Bariatric Heavy Duty Overbed Table|
|UPC List||811032483941; 822383133942; 087014771850|
Users who are large or heavy will be well served by the Drive Medical Bariatric Heavy Duty Overbed Table. Generously sized at 18″ deep and 40″ wide, the table is height adjustable from 30″ to 45″ and the table can support up to 500 lbs. in locked position.
The reinforced steel-welded frame is powder coated for easy care and swivel casters allow for easy maneuverability. Priced at about £1400, this overbed table is an excellent value in the bariatric range.
For the ultimate in luxury accommodation, the Executive Split-Top Overbed Table Gunstock Walnut Split-Top with Vanity, priced at just over £2550, fills the bill. The tabletop is a spacious 18″ x 32″, which provides ample space for eating, reading or light therapeutic activities and supports up to 100 lbs. of evenly distributed weight. And when even more room is needed, a 17″ x 26″ lower top can be activated allowing the top tray to lock forward or backwards.
Constructed of powder coated tubular steel, the frame is height adjustable from 30″ to 45″ and an automatic gas cylinder lift mechanism makes the unit responsive to the lightest touch. A heavy duty “U” base provides plenty of clearance for use with wheelchairs, and twin wheel casters offer smooth maneuverability.