Guide to Buying Overbed Tables

Overbed tables are commonly used by those who like working from bed or enjoying their meals in bed, as they can make things much more comfortable and convenient. However, while it might be a convenience for a lot of people, some find it a necessity. If you have senior loved ones at home who are unable to leave bed for meals, an overbed table is one of the things that can help them enjoy their meals more comfortably. With overbed tables, they no longer have to leave their beds or chairs when it is time to eat.

If you are planning to buy an overbed table for your senior loved one, it is important to find one that offers plenty of surface area and is easy to move around. There are actually many options to choose from when it comes to overbed tables. In fact, some even have smart features that make them more convenient. But you also have to note that not every overbed table is suitable for every different type of bed or chair. If you need help choosing one, we are here to help you. In this article, we are giving you a guide to buying overbed tables.

What is an Overbed Table?

an overbed table in a room

An overbed table is a rectangular table that is designed to fit over a bed. They are commonly made for hospital patients, seniors who have limited mobility, and those who live at home and are confined to their beds. It can be used either with a bed or a chair. These types of tables are often designed either so that the legs go underneath the bed or chair, or that the table legs go around the bed or chair.

They usually consist of a flat surface supported by a sturdy frame, which can be adjusted to different heights and angles. They are specifically designed to provide a convenient and accessible surface for people who are bedridden, have limited mobility, or spend extended periods of time in a seated position. The main purpose of an overbed table is to enhance the comfort and convenience of people by offering a stable platform for different activities, such as eating meals, reading books, writing, and more.

Benefits of Using an Overbed Table

woman in a hospital eating on an overbed table

There are a range of benefits that overbed tables can provide to seniors and patients who need a convenient and accessible surface while in bed or sitting in a chair. Below are some of them:

Increased Independence

Overbed tables can help individuals with limited mobility to do different tasks independently. These may include eating meals, writing, reading, or using electronic devices. These tables bring their needed workspace or surface closer to them, reducing the need for assistance, which enhances their self-sufficiency.

Comfort and Convenience

With the use of an overbed table, individuals are able to enjoy enhanced comfort and convenience. They do not have to strain or adapt to awkward positions while reaching for things or doing certain tasks. Most overbed tables can be adjusted to their desired height and angle, ensuring optimal ergonomics and minimizing discomfort.

Support for Healthcare Needs

When it comes to meeting healthcare needs, overbed tables play a vital role. It’s because they provide a stable surface for medical procedures, such as giving medications, dressing changes, or physical therapy exercises. These tables can hold medical equipment and devices, making them easily accessible for both the user and healthcare providers.


Overbed tables can be used in different situations and can be utilized by individuals of all ages, whether in hospitals, nursing homes, or home environments. They serve as multipurpose surfaces for different activities, such as writing letters, reading books, working on laptops, or enjoying hobbies.

Improved Social Interaction

Overbed tables can also facilitate social interaction by bringing the activities of the user to a more accessible and comfortable level. They allow patients to engage in conversations, eat meals with others, or participate in leisure activities while seated or lying down. This promotes a sense of connection and inclusion even for patients with limited mobility.

Assistance for Caregivers

Caregivers may also benefit from overbed tables by using them as a practical and efficient solution for assisting individuals with daily activities. The tables help reduce strain on caregivers by minimizing the need for constant physical support or repositioning, enabling them to focus on other aspects of care.

Things to Consider When Buying an Overbed Table

man eating on an overbed table

An overbed table is mainly used to make the patient or individual feel more comfortable and independent while in bed. Therefore, if you are going to buy one, you need to find a table that is durable, adjustable, and easy to use. To further help you, below are some of the important things that you need to consider in order to find the best overbed table for your needs:


All available overbed tables have an option for a flat tabletop that offers just a hard surface for books or food trays. But if you need something that is more flexible, there are also overbed tables that feature a tilt-top surface, which can tilt at an angle to make it even easier to eat, read books, write, and do other things. There are also some overbed tables that can move up and down or swivel for added convenience.

In addition, most tabletops come in a U-shape, C-shape, or H-shape. For individuals who use a wheelchair, using a U-shaped or a C-shaped tabletop is the best option. To be sure, examining the different shapes of tabletops is important to know which is going to be the best for your needs.


Overbed tables are available in many different styles and aesthetic options. Therefore, picking one mainly depends on your or the patient’s personal preferences and taste. Some overbed tables are medical-grade and look like any standard hospital overbed table, while others may have a more sleek and sophisticated design or style.


The size of the overbed table is one of the most important when choosing one. You need to make sure that you find one that fits in your bedroom area without taking up too much space. But note that both small and large overbed tables have advantages and disadvantages. For instance, while a smaller table is easier to fit in the home, it is less sturdy and will have a smaller top surface size. On the other hand, a larger table is bulkier but will also be sturdier and less likely to tip over.


It is important to find an overbed table that is adjustable so that it will allow users to have more control and a sense of autonomy when using it. For seniors, you should try to find overbed tables that have a wide range of mobility and can be easily adjusted to their needs. It is very important to pick an overbed table in which height and angle can be adjusted.

Also, if the patient or senior will adjust the table himself or herself, you need to ensure that the specific knobs or levers are easy to use and do not need much strength. The ability to adjust the height is essential as it provides the table more range. It better accommodates different bed heights, and can be lowered to rest on a patient’s lap, which is the most comfortable.


An overbed table should ideally be easy to move around the room or house as needed. The majority of overbed tables in the market have wheels, making them easier to move around when the user is in a seated position. When buying one, you need to make sure that you look for wheels that can lock. If the wheels of the overbed table can’t lock, the table can easily slide and become a safety hazard to the patient, leading to falls and injuries.

Special Features

If you are looking for more than just a standard flat tabletop for an overbed table, then you may look for certain features that can make the patient or senior more comfortable. For example, you can choose to buy an overbed table that features molded cups or utensil holders, which can help prevent spills and can hold cups and other items. There are also some that come with spill guards, which are great for seniors who have stability or balance issues.

Some overbed tables also feature slide-out trays, shelves, or drawers, which can provide more surface area and a good spot to store smaller items to keep them organized. It is also best to choose a table with a plastic laminated surface as it is easier to clean and more lightweight. Try to find special features that will suit the needs of your patient or loved one.

Different Types of Overbed Tables

patient using an overbed table while eating

If you are going to buy an overbed table soon, there are different types available in the market that you can choose from. You have to remember that not every overbed table is suitable for every different type of bed or chair. Therefore, you have to pick one that will match the type of bed that you have, and of course, will meet the needs and preferences of the user. To help you choose, below are the different types of overbed tables:

Divan Overbed Tables

Divan overbed tables are made to be used with a divan bed, whose base is made to the same measurements as a mattress. These overbed tables often have a flatter base to allow the legs of the table to fit snugly beneath the bed. Some of them do not have wheels so that they can fit beneath the bed frame. They are often adjustable, allowing you to set them to the right height. There are times when they feature tilting table tops with a lip along the edge to stop things from sliding off.

Also, if your bed and the floor do not have any gap, you also have the option to choose overbed tables that have a wheeled frame that fits over the top of the bed, rather than underneath it. Before buying a divan overbed table, you have to ensure that there is clearance at all under the bed. Also check the weight limit of the table, especially if the design does not have legs that slide under the bed.

To help you pick, below are some examples of divan overbed tables:

Wheeled Overbed Tables

The most common type of overbed tables are wheeled ones. They can fit under most types of beds and chairs. They are easy to maneuver so that an individual can move them easily from their bed or chair or so that caregivers can attend to their patient as fast as possible. Some wheeled overbed tables feature tabletops that can tilt. They may also have a lip along the edge to help stop things from sliding off.

The wheels of overbed tables make them easier to use, but they are generally only suited for use with chairs and bed frames that are not flush with the floor. Most wheeled overbed tables are also height adjustable, and some are even width adjustable, too. There are some available with U-shaped bases, which are great for people who use wheelchairs as it allows them to go near the table.

Below are some examples of wheeled overbed tables to help you choose:

Automatic / Electric Overbed Tables

Automatic or electric overbed tables feature a one-button lift to make it easier for the senior, patient, or caregiver to adjust the height of the table. The frames on these tables usually have more substantial vertical arms to accommodate the mechanism. These tables also have larger, molded tabletops to prevent spills.

Most automatic or electric overbed tables also have wheels, making them easier to move from one place to another. However, some of them might not be suitable to be used for divan beds. There are also some variations of automatic or electric overbed tables that are suitable to use with wheelchairs.

Below are a few examples of automatic or electric overbed tables to help you pick:


Overbed tables are indeed valuable items that can help enhance a patient’s or senior’s independence, comfort, and convenience, particularly for those who have limited mobility or those who spend a lot of time in bed or in a seated position. These tables provide a stable and adjustable surface for different activities, such as eating, writing, working, or engaging in hobbies.

By choosing the right overbed table, you’ll be able to improve the independence, quality of life, and overall well-being of your patient or loved one as they can contribute to a more comfortable and convenient daily experience both at home and in healthcare settings. We hope this article helped you learn more about overbed tables and how to choose the best one to suit your needs and preferences.