What Is the Best Position For A Desktop Tower?

Most clients I visit have their desktop tower positioned on the floor, mainly because the computer desk is not large enough to accommodate the tower on top. Placing the tower on the floor is not ideal but will suffice under certain circumstances.

Types Of Floor

If the floor is a hard floor, as opposed to carpet, that is preferable to placing the tower on a carpeted floor. Either way, because of the low position, the tower is far more susceptible to gathering dust than if placed in a higher position. Dust will penetrate a tower no matter where it is positioned but it will suck in more dust when placed on the floor and require more regular cleaning inside and out. Placing a tower on a carpeted floor also adds the potential for carpet fibers to enter the tower causing even more damage. And, if the tower comes with vents underneath, placing it on a high pile or shag pile carpet should definitely be avoided.

Types of Desks

I cringe inwardly whenever I see a desktop tower positioned inside an enclosure at the bottom of a computer desk, as per the following image:

Computer Desk Wrong

As far as I am concerned, this is an absolute no-no. It is a very poor design that restricts airflow causing the potential for overheating issues. Plus, it turns accessing the rear connections into quite the ordeal. Fortunately, this type of desk is now quite rare as desk manufacturers have become aware of the potential issues caused by the design. More modern computer desks have remedied this situation with a much more practical design:

Computer Desk Correct

Note how the tower is up off the floor but in an open space not restricting airflow and with much easier access to rear connections.


I wouldn’t generally recommend placing the tower on the floor if there are other options. However, if you have no other choice, you should avoid carpets and ensure the tower is cleaned on a regular basis.

I have a large L-shaped computer desk with both my towers sitting on top and, as far as I am concerned, this is the ideal location. Less dust, great airflow, and easy access — both to rear connections and inside the tower.

Of course, everyone’s situation is different and the position of the desktop tower will be largely dictated by circumstances. However, I hope there are some ideas in this article that help you decide the best place to position your desktop tower. Bearing in mind that ease of access and airflow, in particular, are important considerations.

Where is your tower positioned? Let us know in the comments.

12 thoughts on “What Is the Best Position For A Desktop Tower?”

  1. Totally agree with your comments, Jim. Like in your picture where the desktop is in a well ventilated spot, if space is the problem, then a platform like an empty flower box can support the desktop. On a personal note, I prefer a table over a desk. Why confine oneself to limited legroom? If there is a need to store certain supplies, there are clear bins which can be used onto of the table and also serve to elevate the monitor. I cringe when I see the way people have their monitor not at eye level, Mindblower!

  2. My simple solution to desktops on the floor is to use a phonebook (remember those) under the desktop to elevate it about 3-4 inches off the floor. This seems to reduce the amount of dust sucked into the computer dramatically, and it gives some use to the now totally useless phonebooks.

  3. My desktop is located under the desk. The desktop system sits atop and within an open wooden cradle, which sits about 2-3 inches above the floor. The cradle has rotatable castors (which are lockable) located on the bottom of it, which makes it easy to move and position the desktop. I use a powerful electric air blower once a week to shift/clear dust and debris from both the under desk area and around the cradle/desktop. I have used this cradle for many years and has given sterling service.

  4. I just re arranged my very small office space. While I had all unplugged and undone I took the opportunity to clean inside of my tower, with the canned air, sure glad I did. I thought for a few hours about how and where I wanted the tower to be. It had been on the floor. I am taller 5’11, and I don’t like looking down at a monitor so usually have it propped and stacked up. Well guess what? I got the idea to place my tower on my printer stand and put that directly in front of my desk & then took my monitor and placed it on top of the monitor. It is a win win. Monitor is at a great height, tower won’t be getting as dirty or dusty,

  5. I put 4 wheels on a plank to create a ‘skate-board’ for my desktop. I can pull it forward to access the rear connections, and it is a few inches above the floor. My table (not desk) has lots of room so I could fit the computer on it, but I worry that the constant stream of vibrations from activity on the desk would shorten the life span of the internal hard drives. Is that a valid concern?

    1. A desktop tower on a skateboard. Well, Peter, I think I’ve now heard it all. 🙂

      Seriously though, not a bad idea. To answer your question; what on earth are you doing on the desktop to create a “constant stream of vibrations”? If it’s just normal use, as I suspect, it shouldn’t harm the drives at all, provided they are securely fixed inside the tower. My two towers have been on top of the desk for years without suffering any harm.

  6. Strange enough I’m seeing more laptops than desktops now, so the tower is a non-issue. But I’ve seen desktop towers in all different positions, including some towers lying on their sides and acting as the base for the monitors. (Just in case my memory was failing me, I Googled it to see photos of what I vaguely recollected from a previous office).

    1. Hey Tony,

      Laptops have one huge advantage over desktops… portability. Other than that, desktops have a lot of advantages over laptops – much more configurable, much easier to work on/repair, and less expensive.

      including some towers lying on their sides and acting as the base for the monitors“.

      Wow, that is awful, just awful.

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