How To Choose A Drafting Table

For those who work in creative or engineering professions, drafting tables are as common to their workspace as a desk is to a business professional's office. To help you discover the ideal drafting table to fit your requirements, the information below will guide you.

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Originally known as a drawing board with an adjustable base when first created in the pre-industrial era, today's drafting tables have evolved to include high-tech mechanisms. They are available with a much more comprehensive range of features.

What is a drafting table?

A drafting table is a worktable made with an expansive adjustable top (varies in size) that can be slanted at different degrees to match the comfort of the user's reach and visual perception. On some drafting table models, the base height can also be adjusted to suit the user, whether standing or sitting at drafting height (37 inches) or office height (30 inches). With its large top, a drafting table enables the user to work on oversized documents, drawings, and projects such as blueprints, mechanical drawings, artwork, and more.

Wooden Rectangular Puzzle Drafting Table
Adjustable Rectangular Puzzle Drafting Table
Tilt Top Standing Drafting Table
Adjustable Puzzle Drafting Table
Glass Drafting Table
Solid Wood Drafting Table

What are the benefits of drafting tables?

  • Offers a large surface to work on oversized documents, so they are not torn or wrinkled.
  • Can hold the document you are working on in place.
  • Allows you to position your body so you can reach the document you are working on efficiently.
  • Adjusts so you can sit or stand to work.
  • Provides a firm surface for drawing and writing on paper.
  • Well-made drafting tables last for decades.

How much space do I need for a drafting table?

Drafting tables and the work done there can take up quite a bit of space. To make sure your table can be used flat or angled and standing or sitting, you'll need 3 feet between the front edge of the table and the wall or other furniture and another 3 feet between the back of your drafting stool and the wall when seated.

What size tabletop do I need?

Determining the size of your drafting table's top will depend on what you will primarily use it for. If you are using it to view and work on blueprints and mechanical drawings, you'll want a top wide enough, so they won't roll up and fall off the edge. If you illustrate books, then a small drafting table should accommodate your needs.

Drafting tabletops come in standard sizes including:

  • X-Large-37.5" x 72";
  • Large-37.5" x 60";
  • Medium-37.5" x 48;
  • Small-30" x 42";
  • X-Small-24" x 36.

Custom sizes are also available.

Do I need an adjustable height drafting table?

If you plan to stand or use a bar height stool while using your drafting table, you'll want to get one with an adjustable height base. These bases come with an electric or manual mechanism to adjust to the desired height. Adjustable height bases are most commonly pedestal style but can be adjustable from the top section of a four-leg base as well.

What are the styles of drafting tables?

Drafting tables come in common décor styles as you find most furniture and correlate with the materials and finishes, they come in such as:

  • Traditional: Fine-grained wood tops; four-leg bases; dark to med finishes.
  • Contemporary & Modern: Wood or glass top; wood or metal four leg or pedestal base; light or med finishes.
  • Industrial: Wood or glass top; raw steel base; pedestal or four-leg base.
  • Rustic: Wood top; wood base; four-leg base; natural or raw wood finish.

What are the types of drafting tables?

The type of drafting table you choose will determine if you can move it around quickly, if it provides enough stability for your intended tasks and if it will accommodate your daily needs. Below we've provided a breakdown of the pros and cons of each type.

Four-Leg Drafting Table

These are the sturdiest drafting tables available and come in a broader range of top sizes. Additionally, they often come with storage drawers or compartments under a lift top lid. They tend to be more expensive than other tables and are bulky and weigh a lot. Most of these tables do not come with adjustable height bases, and the tops do not tilt as much as other drafting table types.

Computer Aided Drafting Table
Deluxe Drafting Table
Drafting Table
Solid Wood Drafting Table
White Modern Metal Drafting Table
Brown Simple Wooden Drafting Table

Pedestal Drafting Table

The pedestal drafting table offers the most flexibility in tilt range 0 – 90 degrees. It also allows for easy height adjustment from sitting position to bar height or standing. The pedestal base takes up less room than the four-leg base. Electric adjustment models can be expensive.

Height Adjustable Drafting Table
Tilt Top Glass Drafting Table
Glass Top Drafting Table
Height Adjustable Drafting Table
Black Modern Manufactured Wood Drafting Table
Black Modern Metal Drafting Table

Foldable Drafting Table

The foldable drafting table is the lightest weight option for those that need to move work locations often. However, in terms of stability, it does not come close to the four-leg or pedestal bases. The folding base table does take up less space and can be folded to approximately five inches wide to store in the closet or under the bed. It is much lower in price than the other two types. The smaller tabletop will work for light artwork and less intricate tasks.

Lift Height Adjustable Standing Desk
Black Height Adjustable Manufactured Wood Standing Desk
Lift Standing Drafting Desk
Silver Lift Manufactured Wood Standing Desk
Height Adjustable Drafting Table
Black Height Adjustable Drafting Table

What type of chair do I need for a drafting table?

A drafting stool is most often the seat of choice for use with a drafting table. This special stool is made to swivel and typically measures 37 inches tall but is usually height adjustable. Most often, they are armless and backless to allow the user to work over the table without restriction.

Best Tips & Ideas for Choosing a Drafting Table

  • Choose an adjustable height table if you want to stand while working.
  • Allow three feet between the back of your stool and the wall when seated for optimal comfort.
  • Get a large tabletop if you work on oversized documents.
  • Drafting tables are great for budding artists too.
  • Pedestal base drafting tables allow for the most tilt range (up to 90 degrees) of the tabletop.