best-car-trays

Some people use their car for more than getting from place to place. If you’re looking for a way to make meals or work more enjoyable while behind the wheel, you should consider one of the best car trays on the market.

Whether you need to grab a meal on the go or get some work done from your car, there are a variety of products available to make the experience as convenient as possible. The best car tray for you will depend on what purpose you need it to serve in your vehicle.


In this article:

 


 

5 Best Car Trays

 

Our Review And Testing Process

The car trays in this article went through two rounds of reviews. We started by searching Amazon for top products, looking at factors like Prime shipping eligibility, customer ratings, Amazon superlatives, and price.

After considering many products, our team ordered the five car trays that best met these standards for testing. A team member tested each product in a car, taking note of the car tray’s stability, ease of installation, durability, and holding capacity. Each tray was given a rating based on this criteria.

For this review, we tested capacity by purchasing a standard combo meal at a fast food restaurant and seeing if the tray could hold the entire meal. That included a sandwich, fries, and a beverage. For trays that are able to remain installed while driving, we performed a car ride test that included sharp turns, sudden stops, and various road conditions like speed bumps.

 


 

#1 Best Overall: Stupid Car Organizer

stupid-car-tray

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The Stupid Car Organizer shoots for simplicity with a design that works for all types of travel, from long road trips to a short commute. To install the tray, all you need to do is place the footed end within the fold of the seat to create a level surface, and then loop a seatbelt through the strap on the side to secure it in place.

We awarded the Stupid Car Organizer the designation of Best Overall because of the product’s incredibly easy installation and its solid performance during testing. Note that it is one of the more expensive products on our list, costing over $30 on Amazon at the time of testing.

Key Features

  • Silicone grip mat
  • Velcro cargo straps to secure items
  • Multiple locations to hold cups, pens, wallet
  • Hooks for hanging bags, face masks

Our Experience

stupid-car-tray-test

Our team had a positive experience testing the Stupid Car Organizer. It held the most food of any tray we tested, and the adjustable straps were convenient and effective at securing items in place. During our driving test, we drove over multiple speed bumps and no food fell off the tray.

Because the Stupid tray takes up an entire seat, it doesn’t provide an experience similar to eating at a table. As long as you don’t mind reaching over to the passenger seat while eating, this tray offers a comfortable and stable dining experience in your car. Plus, the tray can be stored very easily when you need to make room for passengers.

  • Stability: 4 out of 5
  • Ease of Installation: 5 out of 5
  • Durability: 5 out of 5
  • Holding Capacity: 4.5 out of 5

What Customers Are Saying

Simplicity serves the Stupid Car Organizer well, as it has an average rating of 4.4 out 5.0 stars from more than 1,300 Amazon reviews. Many customers applaud how easy it is to clean and its overall stability. Some customers say they find the tray less useful than they anticipated, and others complain that it does not firmly attach to the seat.

 


 

#2 Best For Food: 2Cups Car Cup Holder

2cups-car-tray

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Easy to install and even easier to use, the 2Cups Cup Holder delivers plenty of functionality in a small amount of real estate. We chose the 2Cups Cup Holder as the Best for Food since it proved to be the most meal-friendly product we tested.

Using the device involves inserting it into your car's existing cup holder and tightening an expandable base until it is secure. From there, you can place items in the two cup holders or use a removable tray for greater capacity.

Key Features

  • Dual cup holder with multi-tier design 
  • Attachable, 360-degree rotating tray
  • Base expands from 2.7 inches to 4.0 inches

Our Experience

2cups-car-tray-test

We found the 2Cups car tray easy to use and install, but we did have an immediate issue with construction quality. One of the rubber pads attached to the expandable base fell off during installation. This didn’t impact the performance or the detachable tray, as the items we placed on the cup holder did stay in place during the driving test. Overall, the product was pretty sturdy and did a good job of keeping the food secure, even when driving over speed bumps.

That said, the 2Cups car tray had the smallest tray of all the products we tested. In our experience, we had difficulty fitting a full meal into the limited space that the tray provided. However, despite the small tray, the 2Cups Cup Holder was the most food-friendly of all the products we reviewed. The functionality of having a cup holder built into the tray and the ability to use it near the driver’s seat offered a good dining experience in the vehicle.

  • Stability: 4.5 out of 5
  • Ease of Installation: 4 out of 5
  • Durability: 3 out of 5
  • Holding Capacity: 3.5 out of 5

What Customers Are Saying

With about 1,600 reviews, Amazon customers gave the 2Cups Cup Holder 4.2 out of 5.0 stars. Positive reviews mention how sturdy the product is and that it’s great on long car rides. Other customers report the device not fitting their car’s cup holder, especially in vehicles with shallow cup holders.

 


 

#3 Best Multi-Use Tray: ElfAnt Car Steering Wheel Seat Tray

elfant-car-tray

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The ElfAnt Car Steering Wheel Tray is a good option for customers who value adjustability and functionality. In addition to the equipment to secure it inside your car, the product comes with an expandable tray that can be raised or lowered to suit your needs. It’s also our choice for the Best Multi-Use Car Tray.

What separates this product from the rest of the pack is the ElfAnt tray’s ability to be mounted to a car’s steering wheel or headrest. The manufacturer bills the product as a travel lap tray suitable for both eating and working. One downside is that if you primarily use this from the driver’s seat, you’ll have to uninstall the tray whenever you need to drive.

Key Features

  • Expandable tray
  • Adjustable tray height
  • Can be attached to steering wheel or headrest
  • Tightness is adjustable 

Our Experience

elfant-car-tray-test

The ElfAnt Car Steering Wheel Seat Tray provided an easy and secure experience when the car wasn’t in motion. It offers a good amount of space with the tray size, and we found the overall stability of the ElfAnt tray to be good when the car was parked.

However, if you choose to leave it installed on a headrest for use in the back seat while the car is moving, anything on the activity tray runs the risk of spillage since there aren’t any features designed to hold items in place. One feature the ElfAnt tray lacks in comparison to some of the other products is substantial storage space.

Another concern we had was with the quality of the expandable tray. It was far less secure than the rest of the product, so customers may want to place only lighter items on the expandable surface.

  • Stability: 3 out of 5
  • Ease of Installation: 3.5 out of 5
  • Durability: 3.5 out of 5
  • Holding Capacity: 4 out of 5

What Customers Are Saying

Over 1,700 Amazon reviews rate the ElfAnt steering wheel tray 4.2 out of 5.0 stars. Reviews mention the ElfAnt tray’s ability to fit multiple types of steering wheels, but others complain it is too small to work on and that items aren’t stable.

 


 

#4 Best For Passengers: Tsumbay Car Backseat Organizer

tsumbay-car-tray

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The Tsumbay Car Backseat Organizer is a good product for rideshare drivers or parents who want to keep older kids occupied. It wins our Best for Passengers designation because it has the most storage options of any product we tested.

Included in the design is waterproof polyurethane (PU) leather and multiple storage compartments that can hold everything from tablets and coloring books to stuffed animals. 

The Tsumbay also has a foldable tray that can be used for food, a book, or other items.

Key Features

  • PU leather construction
  • 9 storage pockets
  • Collapsible activity tray

Our Experience

tsumbay-car-tray-test

Although the Tsumbay Car Backseat Organizer offered the most storage options, it falls short in the ease-of-installation category. It attaches to the back seat via straps that wrap around the chair and the bottom of the seat, which makes for a more involved installation than some of the other products we tested.

The foldable tray did fit our combo meal but offered less space than some competitor trays. It also did not perform as well in our road test when taking sharp turns. We did like the tray’s lip feature that keeps items from spilling for those enjoying the product while the vehicle isn’t in motion.

  • Stability: 3.5 out of 5
  • Ease of Installation: 3.5 out of 5
  • Durability: 3.5 out of 5
  • Holding Capacity: 4 out of 5

What Customers Are Saying  

The Tsumbay car organizer earns a rating of 4.2 out of 5.0 stars on Amazon from more than 4,000 reviews. Happy customers write about the premium build and wealth of storage options the Tsumbay offers. Those dissatisfied with the product mention durability issues like the PU leather tearing quickly.

 


 

#5 Best For Easy Installation: Cutequeen Trading Steering Wheel Desk

cutequeen-trading-car-tray

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You’ve probably come across the Cutequeen Trading Steering Wheel Desk if you’re looking for a car tray under $20. Made of heavy-duty plastic, the Cutequeen conveniently attaches to the bottom of the steering wheel for an easy installation process. The two-sided design offers one surface meant to hold food with a dedicated cup holder, and the reverse side is meant to act as a work surface.

Key Features

  • Reversible tray
  • Cup holder and pen holder
  • Simple, ergonomic design
  • Easily stored

Our Experience

cutequeen-trading-car-tray

The Cutequeen car tray was among the easiest to install – it simply hooked on to the bottom of the steering wheel and was ready for use. We appreciated the tray’s simple, lightweight design, and it offered a good amount of space for either working or eating.

While it held all the items we placed on it without fail, the Cutequeen tray did not feel especially stable. There was plenty of observable motion once it was attached to the steering wheel. One additional downside is that this is a product you cannot use while driving.

  • Stability: 3 out of 5
  • Ease of Installation: 5 out of 5
  • Durability: 4.5 out of 5
  • Holding Capacity: 4 out of 5

What Customers Are Saying

The Cutequeen is one of the more well-reviewed car trays on Amazon with nearly 26,000 ratings and 4.3 out of 5.0 stars. Most customers enjoy how easy it is to install, clean, and store. One issue we saw in reviews is the tray did not fit every steering wheel, and some customers report the plastic damaging their steering wheel’s leather.

 


 

Car Tray Buying Guide

Finding the best car tray will depend on factors like how you plan to use it and your driving habits. Here are a few things to consider in your search for a car tray to suit your needs:

Installation Point

While there are travel lap trays designed specifically for children, most car trays for adults will be installed in one of a few places: the steering wheel, a cup holder, the passenger seat, or the back of a seat.

Car trays that are installed on the steering wheel are more geared toward drivers with limited storage space. Those designed to fit on the back of a car seat are good options when more space is available or for use by passengers.

Keep in mind that not all of these products will have universal fit. Some may only attach to seats with adjustable headrests, and others may not be able to latch on to certain steering wheels.

Work Vs. Food

It’s pretty clear that you’re not getting a 5.0-star dining experience in the front seat of your car, nor will your vehicle replace your home office. If you’re someone who takes a lot of breaks or you often eat in your car and want to make it a more enjoyable experience, then finding a car tray that’s easy to install and store when not in use is probably your priority.

If you often work in your car, we should mention that none of the trays we tested had ample workspace for the average laptop. The ElfAnt and Cutequeen trays could support a small notebook or serve as an iPad or tablet holder, but you’ll often find that space dictates function.

It’s also important to note that it’s safest for you to use these products while the car is parked.

Trays For Kids

If you have young children, specifically kids that still use booster seats, you may want to look into kids’ travel trays. They usually strap on to the back of a toddler’s car seat and include mesh pockets for things like crayons or a play tray to keep little ones occupied.

 


 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I drive with a car tray installed?

Being able to drive with a car tray installed depends on the device, but if it attaches to your steering wheel or impedes your driving in any way it should be removed before operating the vehicle. Car trays that attach to the back seat can remain installed while driving.

What is the best car seat travel tray?

We named the Stupid Car Organizer our best overall pick for a car tray due to its easy installation and capacity. It would be a great pick for anyone from a delivery driver to someone looking for more functionality in their vehicle.

Is a lap desk a travel tray?

Lap desks are trays that usually sit in the lap and don’t attach to the back of a car seat.