I recently decided that I wanted to redo my whole home study. I was looking forward to a new look. I wanted something that creates a positive frame of mind when I enter the office so I could be productive and say good-bye to procrastination (who has been my best friend since before I can remember).
As I browsed Pinterest and Google for ideas, I came upon a home office image, and the desk just stood out for me. It looked big enough (I always seem to work on more than one thing at a time), there were plenty of drawers (yay! so I could finally store my stuff and get rid of clutter), and it seemed really sturdy.
It was a tanker desk.
I fell in love with the strong lines, but I could still make my office a feminine space filled with positivity. Next came the age-old question: What is the best tanker desk, and how do I know I’m buying quality?
Well, that’s why I decided to draw up this buyer’s guide to guide you toward the best tanker desk, so you don’t have to go through the same trials and tribulations as I did. Plus, as a bonus, I included some of the best tanker desks you can buy.
Spoiler Alert: What Is the Best Tanker Desk?
The best tanker desk for me is the Monarch Specialties Dark Taupe Reclaimed-Look/Silver Metal Office Desk. It features a modern design with a floating work surface and two drawer pedestals. It’s sturdy as it’s supported by a metal frame, which adds chic to the look.
The 7 Best Tanker Desk Ideas
Here’s my list of the best tanker desks currently available:
Monarch Specialties Dark Taupe Reclaimed-Look/Silver Metal Office Desk – Best Overall Tanker Desk
I guess this is confession time. The Monarch Specialties Dark Taupe Reclaimed-Look/Silver Metal Office Desk isn’t a full tanker desk because the pedestals don’t rest on the floor as normal pedestals do.
However, I really, really like this desk, and for me, it’s a modern interpretation of a tanker desk. I could just see this in my study, even though I did consider the other options on my list carefully.
I loved the finish of this tanker desk. It is dark taupe driftwood that almost looks gray. It features a floating worktop, which added to that modern look. There are 3 drawers (one pedestal). On one side of the desk, there are 2 shallower drawers and a deeper drawer that’s ideal for files on the other.
The legs of the desk are metal, and they are open. It reminds me of an open square. There is also a modesty panel, but it is located in between the drawer pedestals and only covers about a third of the front of the desk. For hot summers, this is ideal, so there is room for ventilation.
- Desk is supported by a sturdy metal frame
- Classy dark taupe driftwood finish
- 3 drawers with metal handles in one pedestal
- Floating worktop looks super cool
- Desk dimensions: 60” x 23.75” x 30.25” (L x W x H)
- Drawer dimensions: 13.5” x 15.25” x 3.25” (L x W x H)
- Desk weight: 96 pounds
- Reviewers found the assembly unnecessarily confusing; me being me, read all the instructions and it assembled fine
COASTER Contemporary White Writing Desk with File Drawer and Reversible Set-Up: Best Budget Tanker Desk
The COASTER Contemporary White Writing Desk with File Drawer and Reversible Set-Up is another great tanker desk option.
I really like this tanker desk in white. It only has a pedestal with drawers – 2 shallower and one deep – on one side, and the other desk leg is an open metal frame, which is classy, modern, and great if you want ventilation along the underside of a desk.
It also sports a floating desktop, so it is very reminiscent of tanker desk #1 on my list.
- Modern, chic-looking desk
- Available in 3 color options: white, cappuccino, and weathered gray
- Desk dimensions: 23.5” x 47.25” x 30” (D x W x H)
- Desk weight: 73 pounds
- Reviewers say it isn’t easy to assemble (pictures only), plus all the Styrofoam from the box it is delivered in makes a real mess
Norma Desk – Best Small Footprint Tanker Desk
The Norma Desk by Laurel Foundry Modern Farmhouse is another tanker desk that is supported by a metal frame. This pedestal desk has a small footprint, a smooth work surface, 2 open side shelves, and a large file drawer.
The square metal legs ensure ventilation, and the modesty panel only covers the top ¼ of the desk below the work surface. The pedestal, which is located only on one side (the right side), doesn’t go all the way to the floor.
- Available in 2 color options: black/black and medium brown/black (top/frame colors)
- Small footprint, so it won’t look bulky in a small office
- Sophisticated tanker desk with a textured distressed finish
- The back of the desk is finished, so you don’t need to place it against a wall to hide ugly paneling
- Desk dimensions: 45” x 30.1” x 19.5” (W x H x D)
- Shelf dimensions: 4.66” x 14.5” x 18.5” (W x H x D)
- Drawer dimensions: 9.3” x 12.2” x 13.2” (W x H x D)
- Desk weight: 67.7 pounds
- Some customers complained that the drawer is a bit crooked
Sariyah Desk – Best Rustic Tanker Desk
The Sariyah Desk by Rustic Union sports a modern, yet rustic look – only if you opt for the brown wooden tanker desk. The white option is all sleekness and modernity.
The desk is supported by square metal legs, and the drawer handles are made from metal too. There is a pedestal on one side of the desk. It has a drawer, a larger shelf, and then a large file drawer. On the other side of the desk, where you would sit, there is another drawer.
- Available in 2 color options: brown and white
- Ideal for a small office space
- Desk dimensions: 30” H x 47.24” W x 18” D (H x W x D)
- Desk weight: 71 pounds
- 1-year warranty
- Assembly is time-consuming
Martin Furniture Hartford Double Pedestal Shaped Desk – Best Vintage-Looking Tanker Desk
The Martin Furniture Hartford Double Pedestal Shaped Desk is a great option if you want your tanker desk to look more like the original pedestal desks.
This one has pedestals on both sides. Each pedestal features 2 shallow drawers and two file or deeper drawers. The 2 file drawers can lock, so you can keep private documents and files here.
There is also a middle drawer in the center of the desk. This is ideal storage space for your keyboard or laptop when it isn’t in use.
A modesty panel covers the area from the working surface up until about ¼ from the floor. The desk’s finish is an espresso (gray) or distressed white color, so it will fit any decor scheme. You can also place the desk anywhere in your office, with the modesty panel facing a wall or the doorway.
- 2 color options: two-toned espresso or white
- Plenty of storage with 7 drawers
- Has a wire management system featuring 2 grommets
- Comes fully assembled, but you need to make sure it can fit through hallways and doorways
- Desk dimensions: 31” x 30” x 69.5” (W x D x H)
- Desk weight: 289 pounds
- 5-year manufacturer warranty
- Pricey, but looks like an original tanker desk
- Espresso desk is more gray than brown
Martin Furniture Fulton 61″ Space Saver Double Pedestal Desk – Best 7-Drawer Tanker Desk
The Martin Furniture Fulton 61″ Space Saver Double Pedestal Desk is a wooden pedestal desk that resembles the original tanker desks made from wood. It looks very similar to product #5 on my list, except this one doesn’t have a two-toned finish and it only comes in espresso, which, this time, is browner.
The tanker desk has 2 pedestals with 2 shallow, office supply drawers each. There is also 1 file drawer in the one pedestal that can lock, while the other pedestal features a cabinet door with two shelves. This is ideal if you need to store your CPU or a printer here.
The middle drawer in the center of the desk can drop down and hold your keyboard or laptop. The modesty panel on this pedestal desk drops down fully onto the floor for that closed-in original pedestal desk look.
- Great classic wooden finish
- 2 pedestals with drawers and cabinet and a center, drop-down drawer
- Full modesty panel
- Comes fully assembled
- Desk dimensions: 61” x 30” x 23.25” (D x W x H)
- Desk weight: 193 pounds
- 5-year manufacturer warranty
- Not all printers will fit in the cabinet storage
- A pricey tanker desk, but worth it
Scranton Executive Desk – Best White/Mahogany Tanker Desk
The Scranton Executive Desk by Laurel Foundry Modern Farmhouse is made from manufactured wood and solid wood and comes in only one color option.
The bottom of the desk with the pedestals is white, while the top is a dark mahogany. It is classic and vintage looking, and this pedestal desk fits in with any contemporary or vintage decor style.
There are 2 pedestals, with 7 drawers in total. There are 3 shallow drawers – one in each pedestal and one in the center of the desk. Below the 2 shallow drawers in the pedestals are slightly deeper drawers, and then at the bottom, there are 2 file drawers that can lock.
The modesty panel drops almost completely to the floor.
This desk needs to be assembled, but you can opt for Expert Assembly, which is a good choice, especially considering how heavy this desk is.
- Distressed finish
- Locks for storage
- Cable management
- Desk dimensions: 31” x 66” x 32” (H x W x D)
- Desk weight: 281 pounds
- 1-year warranty
- A pricey option but worth the vintage look
Buyers Guide: What Do You Need to Know Before Buying the Best Tanker Desk
For any product you buy, there are always key considerations you should keep in mind.
These help you choose the best product on the market AND the best product that suits your needs.
Here’s what I looked at when I was shopping for a tanker desk for my home office:
What Is a Tanker Desk?
The first step to buying a tanker desk is knowing what kind of desk this is. Also called a pedestal desk, a tanker desk is a kind of executive office desk.
Typically, these desks have pedestals on either side of the desk, and this can be small file cabinets or 3-5 drawers. There is sometimes also a center drawer that you’d find in the middle of the desk, where you sit and work.
In 18th century England, this type of desk was quite popular, and it became even more popular in other countries during the 19th century. These days, there are various types of tanker desks, and they are essentially variations of the traditional design.
The height of a tanker desk is 29 inches, and the desk may be 45-72 inches wide. The writing surface is generally 30-36 inches deep. How much the tanker desk weighs depends on the material it is constructed from.
Types of Tanker Desks
Tanker desks fit in the mid-century style of office desks.
However, there are various types of tanker desks available:
- Double tanker desk: These desks have pedestals with drawers on both sides of the desk. Optional is a drawer in the middle.
- Single tanker desk: These desks only have one pedestal. It may be on the left or right side of the desk.
- With a modesty panel: These tanker desks have what is called a modesty panel in front of the desk. The panel hides your legs.
- Without a modesty panel: With these tanker desks, the front of the desk underneath the worktop is bare. Standing in front of the desk allows you to see one or two pedestals, the person’s legs (who is sitting behind the desk), and the worktop.
- Closed or open sides: Tanker desks with one pedestal may have a closed panel on the other side, or the desk may be open.
There is also the option to make your own tanker desk. In this case, any desk, like the CubiCubi Computer Desk 55″ with Splice Board, can work.
Then you can buy the pedestals, like the YitaHome 3-Drawer Rolling File Cabinet or the Winsome Halifax Storage/Organization if you want a black/white combination table and pedestals, separately or move them on either side under the desk.
Tanker Desk Durability
The original tanker desks had a working surface that was made from steel, sheet metal, or wood. Sometimes, the whole desk was made from steel. If you do manage to get your hands on a vintage tanker desk, then you can renovate it, and you’ll have a desk for always.
These days, most tanker desks are made from wood, so they are very durable, and your investment will pay off.
You should ensure you have enough space to accommodate the tanker desk you want to buy. This means you have adequate space in your actual office, and the desk can fit through the doorway (or be assembled inside your office).
I made sure to look at the desk dimensions as I was looking at the best tanker desk ideas. I also measured my office doorway for those desks that are delivered assembled and my office area so it doesn’t feel cramped and claustrophobic.
Another key consideration when you buy a desk is how comfortable it is. Consider:
- Do you want to be able to push your chair in?
If you can push your chair, even partly, under the table, then the office looks neat when you aren’t there working. And while you are working, you can sit and work close to the desk surface.
In this case, take note of the under desk dimensions.
- Is the desk the right height for you?
For this, you need to consider whether your chair is height adjustable and the height of your computer monitor so you work at the correct eye level and to avoid straining your desk or compromising your posture.
- The comfort of the tanker desk is also related to the size. So, is your desk the right size so you can work comfortably?
Is there enough space for your computer monitor and/or laptop, paper and pens, and a coffee mug? Can you reach all areas of your desk comfortably? Are you worried you will accidentally bump over your cup of jo as you reach for the highlighter? If you are, the desk might be too small.
My Criteria for Choosing the Best Tanker Desks
I made sure to only choose the very best tanker desks, and I’d have happily bought any of these on my list. I went for the best overall tanker desk because I really liked the look, and if I had the money, I’d have opted for number 5 or 7 on my list.
I choose the best tanker desks according to these criteria:
A tanker desk is known for how functional it is. It offers you enough working surface so you can work in comfort with your PC, pen and paper, and there should even be space for a lamp or a nice, small pot plant.
The other crucial factor with pedestal desks is the storage space. There should be at least one pedestal with 2-3 drawers. Other options include 2 pedestals and/or a middle drawer.
I made sure that all the tanker desks I chose for my best tanker desk list have a minimum of one pedestal, but at least half my list has 2 pedestals.
Style is so important. I mean, you want your study to look pretty and be a productive environment. I looked at the style of each tanker desk and chose a variety of styles – from modern and chic to rustic and vintage.
This is such an important factor so I made sure to choose a variety of tanker desks to fit any budget. Some of the options are less pricey, while others are really a worthwhile investment.
I used this price scale and added it to the products for easy reference. Kindly note I didn’t factor in any discounts currently on offer (Black Friday and Cyber Monday are nearly here, so maybe you can pick up a tanker desk and get a nice fat discount?)
- $ – Under $200
- $$ – Between $200 and $499
- $$$ – Between $500 and $999
- $$$$ – Between $1,000 and $1,999
- $$$$$ – Between $2,000 and $2,500
Customer reviews tell you how happy every person who bought the tanker desk was with their purchase. It also provides aspects they don’t like. I ensured that for each product the majority of the customer reviews are highly favorable, and I made note of the common dislikes or issues in the cons section of each tanker desk.
All the products on my list also have a satisfaction rating of 4.5 stars out of a maximum of 5.
FAQs About Tanker Desks
Question: Why Are Tanker Desks Called Tanker Desks?
Answer: A tanker desk is essentially a pedestal desk, or what is nowadays referred to as a type of executive desk.
In 1946, these desks were made from steel sheet metal, and since they were used in businesses, governments, and schools, they came to be known as tanker desks since they had to be tough and withstand all types of use. As such, these tanker desks were made from metal.
Question: What is the Top of a Tanker Desk Made Of?
Answer: The top of the tanker desks that were popular from 1946 to 1970 were made from steel. Today, the steel top gives this desk a vintage look, but modern tanker or pedestal desks are mostly made from wood.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, these desks were made from wood, and some of the writing surfaces were reinforced or covered with leather.
Question: How do You Clean a Tanker Desk?
Answer: How you clean your tanker desk depends on the material it is made from:
- Metal: Use a degreasing household cleaner, and with a scrub sponge, thoroughly scrub away to remove dust and debris. This is especially true if you have “an original tanker desk” that was manufactured in the mid 20th century. Clean out the drawers after removing them.
- Wood: With a microfiber cloth that is damp, gently wipe down the wooden surfaces of your desk to remove dust. Ensure you don’t saturate the wood with a too-wet cloth. With a hand-held vacuum that has a soft brush attachment, vacuum the inside of the drawers before you wipe them with a damp cloth. Rinse your cloth often and when needed. Let the wood air dry, and then protect the wooden finish by applying a furniture paste wax or similar product that is suitable for the wooden desk.
Question: What do You Call a Desk With Two Sides?
Answer: A desk with two sides can be an executive desk, a pedestal desk, or a tanker desk. These are desks that have columns of drawers that act as the legs for the desk.
These drawer columns – or pedestals – can be located on either side of the desk, in which case it is a double tanker desk, or they may be located on just one side, in which case it is called a single tanker desk.
Question: What Part of a Desk is the Pedestal?
Answer: The pedestal of a desk is located to the side, and usually, this is a column or small cabinet with drawers that are attached to the desk. This pedestal of drawers is part of the legs of the desk. If it is a double desk, then there may be a pedestal in the middle of the double desk.
The Best Tanker Desk Verdict
Buying any desk for your office is a big decision. It is such an important piece of furniture (together with your office chair) that you don’t want to go wrong. And sometimes, looking at the price, you can’t afford to go wrong.
A desk is supposed to be sturdy, comfortable, and last you years and years.
That’s why tanker desks are such a great option. They are sturdy with their built-in pedestals. And what I get really excited about is the storage and organization space with the drawers in the pedestals and the middle drawer some tanker desks feature.
My top choice and the one I got for my study is the Monarch Specialties Dark Taupe Reclaimed-Look/Silver Metal Office Desk. The finish fits in perfectly with the decor I ended up with – a pink office chair and decor in silver and light turquoise.