Buying an Overbed Table - All You Need to Know

Posted by Essential Aids ( Limited on February 25th, 2020

Anything from a minor illness to severe accident may render a person bed-bound.

An overbed table is one of the few disability aids that might make performing daily routine activities easier for bed-bound people. It fits over your bed and lets you do your work while at rest. Just like many disability aids, this equipment also has several variations.

Let's understand these and how you can choose the right one for your use.

Types of Overbed Tables

The purpose of use and construction design are two main criteria for the classification of this type of tables.

A. On the Basis of Purpose of Use

  • Inpatient
    Inpatient overbed tables, as the name indicates, are for care centres, clinics and hospitals. Bed-ridden seniors or recovery patients may find them useful for dining, reading, etc.

    Generally, they can bear a weight of over 100 pounds. A patient can dine, read or write on them. Doctors can even put heavy medical equipment on their surface.

  • Bariatric
    Bariatric overbed tables are similar to inpatient overbed tables in function and appearance. The difference is: a larger table top to support larger patients.
  • Paediatric
    These type of tables are especially for kids. A variety of colours and kid-friendly designs can make the environment cheerful for kids.

    You can feed them or let them enjoy activities like reading, writing, painting, etc. on them. They might also be useful in paediatric hospitals as hospital trays to cater to sick kids in an efficient way.

B. On the Basis of Construction Design

1. Adjustable Tilt Top

As the name indicates, these tables have adjustable table tops. You can easily tilt them to some degree for optimal use. This may prevent your neck or back from straining.

They again are of two types:

  • Single Surface
    They have a single resting surface. Generally, they come in handy to serve food to patients in bed. They can also support other activities like reading or writing, but only one at a time.
  • Dual-Surface
    They have tabletops in two sections, one larger and the other smaller. Easy tilting of the table-top makes them highly useful and versatile.

    The larger section is useful for putting a laptop on, eating, reading, writing, etc. The smaller section is to accommodate the things you can't afford to tilt like drinks. Slip guards on the edges prevent objects from rolling off.

2. Non-Adjustable Top

They can be a good option for patients with mobility restrictions. As they are light in weight, they can be more convenient to use. Generally, you can adjust their height as per the height of your bed.

They are comparatively less versatile due to their non-adjustable tilt angle.

3. Folding

They are lightweight yet durable and strong. They are ideal for a variety of activities like eating, drinking, reading, or working on a laptop.

They are foldable, adding to their ease of use and storage. Raised edges around their top surface prevent things from falling off.

Things to consider when picking an Overbed Table:

It is important to consider the factors in your particular situation before making your choice. There are several that can help you select the right one:


The dimensions of the overbed table you pick should fit your requirements. Consider the framework of your bed and the space you have. Make sure that your bed has enough clearance space beneath it to let you roll the wheels freely.


The adjustable tilt top variant can be the right choice if you want support for performing multiple activities besides dining like writing or reading. However, for a single activity at a time or minimal use like dining, a non-adjustable variant may be more suitable.


The heavy duty variant can be the right choice for hospitals and health care centres. For home or for greater accessibility and ease of use and storage, folding overbed tables can be ideal.


Most of these types of tables have adjustable heights. This feature makes them adjustable for different bed heights. You can set them in a position and lock them. The height-adjustable variants are also useful for wheelchairs and recliners. Therefore, going for the adjustable height variants always can be useful.

To Wrap Up

Disability aids might help make a person's life better post an injury, illness or accident. An overbed table also makes a great difference for a patient with mobility restrictions.

Analyzing all the types of overbed table available before choosing the one that suits you the best is crucial. Besides your own analysis and assessment, consulting an occupational therapist is a good idea before making a choice.

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Essential Aids ( Limited

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Essential Aids ( Limited
Joined: February 2nd, 2019
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