The Best Ergonomic Keyboard Options
Are you spending most of your time on your keyboard? Do you always feel discomfort or pain in your wrists after typing for extended periods? Then you might require an ergonomic keyboard.
Using the standard keyboard for extended periods could be doing you more harm than you realize. The placement of the keys on a standard keyboard forces you to place your wrists at unnatural positions. This can lead to discomfort and even chronic pain in your neck and back.
One way to solve this discomfort could be by simply shifting to an ergonomic keyboard. With the various models and designs available in the market today, however, it can get difficult knowing which option to go for.
Choosing Your Ergonomic Keyboard
By design, ergonomic keyboards limit the damage to your wrists, hands, and shoulders that come from years of using a standard keyboard. Switching to an ergonomic keyboard is a health investment you should make. Doing so will go a long way toward helping you avoid repetitive stress injuries.
This type of keyboard reduces the chances of stress injuries by eliminating some of the strenuous and unnatural movements associated with typing and other standard keyboard uses such as gaming. Before taking the leap, however, be sure to consider the following factors.
Ergonomic keyboards come in different configurations and shapes. Each one factors into the cost, adjustment period, and any structural changes you’ll need to make to create a more supportive experience. For the most part, ergonomic keyboards come in two major category models: single-piece and split-chassis.
Single-piece keyboards are curved to help reduce wrist twisting. They also have other features aimed at reducing the strain on your arms. Single-piece ergonomic keyboards are often less pricey and offer a relatively short adjustment period because their typing experience closely resembles that of standard keyboards.
On the other hand, split-chassis keyboards are ideal since they put all the keys you need at fingers’ length, making it easy for you to type without bending your wrists, twisting your arms, or curling your shoulder blades. When your keyboard is split in two, you control its shape and width, allowing you to reposition it in a way that suits your body.
The model you choose will depend on your needs. If you are currently experiencing numbness or pain after typing for long periods, then a split-chassis model will offer you the most relief. If you don’t feel any weakness or pain when you type, then the single-piece model should work perfectly for you.
The keyboard’s design and intended use will heavily determine how long it will take for you to adapt to it. A single-piece model will take less time to learn. On the other hand, the learning curve in a split-chassis model will be longer and will vary depending on your typing skills and how much the keyboard’s design affects your muscle memory.
Some of the training tricks you might try when using a split-chassis model would be pushing the two halves together in the beginning, then slowly pulling them farther apart as you become more comfortable and proficient. If the model you choose includes the adjustable reverse tenting or tilt feature, then start on the lowest incline and work your way up as time progresses.
With this overview of the variations of ergonomic keyboards and the critical factors to consider when choosing one, let’s look at some of the best ergonomic keyboard options that are worth examining.
The best ergonomic keyboards at a glance:
- Microsoft Sculpt
- Logitech Ergo K860 or K350
- Kinesis Freestyle2
- Fellowes Microban
- Adesso Tru-Form 150
- Microsoft Surface
Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard
The Microsoft Sculpt addresses three key hand-alignment issues. Yes, ergonomic keyboards redesign the keys in a way that allows you to position your wrists and fingers more comfortably and naturally, but this option takes it a notch higher.
While the Microsoft Scuplt’s curved design, wave-like vertical shape, and cushioned palm rest resolve the finger positioning and wrist alignment issues, one additional design feature solves a problem that most ergonomic keyboards do not.
The keyboard’s dome shape raises the keys in a way that positions your wrists slightly rotated outwards instead of lying flat on top of your keyboard, solving the wrist rotation issue. This also relieves pressure placed on the ulnar nerves, which prevents the development of ulnar deviation—a condition that can occur when your wrists work at unnatural angles for long periods.
This keyboard arranges the keys to emulate the curvature of your fingers. It includes a separate number pad, which reduces travel distance, along with an ergonomically designed mouse allowing for maximum comfort during rodent-pushing.
While it may lack customization options and an Apple-compatible option, the Microsoft Sculpt is a reliable, straightforward keyboard that should easily fall within your budget.
Logitech Ergonomic Keyboard
Though Logitech might be a familiar name to many, considering the amount of budget-friendly and well-made computer gear it offers, you might not know that it also produces some of the industry’s leading ergonomic keyboards.
The Logitech ergonomic keyboard features a curved design that allows you to position your hands at a more neutral angle. It also comes with a built-in palm rest made of three layers of materials that prop your wrists up—and a wave-like height profile that allows your fingers to sit on the keys more naturally.
With this cozy palm rest and comfortable design, Logitech has made one of the most comfortable ergonomic keyboards you may ever get your hands on. The Logitech Ergo K860, for instance, employs a split curved-keyframe design, elevating the keys at both the front and back ends. Furthermore, the keyboard is compatible with multiple platforms.
With the K350, another Logitech ergonomic keyboard option, you get a keyboard that has wavy keys that gently cradle your hands, as well as a cushioned palm rest. The keyboard also has well-appointed function keys. To top it all off, this keyboard option has a sturdy construction, so it can withstand the bumps and bruises that come with travel.
The Freestyle2 is one of the best split-chassis ergonomic keyboards on the market today, offering efficiency and versatility. Each of us differs in height, shoulder width, and arm length—and these factors affect how our hands, wrists, and fingers interact with a keyboard.
Such factors have led to an increased demand for customizable ergonomic keyboards, allowing options such as the Kinesis Fresstyle2 to flourish. This model offers a single nine-inch cable to connect the two split halves, though you can opt for a 20-inch cable.
Being able to position the keyboard’s two sides according to your preferences goes a long way toward alleviating discomfort and wrist pain. The Freestyle2’s keys are tactile and quite responsive, their pow positioning reducing the stress and making it easy on your fingers.
Opting for the riser kit offers you more customizability and adds the supportive palm rest, tilting, tenting, ergonomics, and wrist-rotation features found in other popular options. The riser kit also makes it possible for you to adjust the tenting and tilting, a feature that single-piece models do not have.
The major downside of this option is its high cost, especially if you include the riser kit and the number pad, which are sold separately. Its uniqueness and ability to support both Windows and Mac, however, make its high price worth every penny.
Are you an avid gamer? Then you will know how, up until recently, most of the gaming PC accessories have focused primarily on performance and precision. With this ergonomic keyboard, you now have an accessory that focuses on ergonomics.
The Razer’s unique hybrid mecha-membrane switch design will make those long hours you spend gaming more comfortable on your hands and wrists. Another feature is its supportive and durable leather wrist-rest attached to the keyboard via magnets.
The keyboard’s mecha-membrane switch design implements a soft rubber dome membrane that maintains a crisp tactile feedback and also includes a mid-rise key height that makes the keys very comfortable to use.
Its close resemblance to the regular keyboards further makes it a favorite among gamers because the keys are right where their fingers are accustomed to being. The downside to this, however, is that the Razer is not the ideal option for those looking to alleviate current wrist pain or other strain-induced injuries. The magnetically attached wrist rest also tends to shift during periods of extended use.
There is a reason why the Fellowes Microban has remained a fan-favorite in the world of ergonomic accessories. It has a simple and effective ergonomic design and, to top it all off, a one-of-a-kind anti-bacterial coating, which is what inspires the Microban’s name. Though it might not look like it, this ergonomic keyboard is actually very comfortable to operate even after long extended periods.
The keyboard’s split key design and rounder shape align your wrists and hands in an anatomically correct position. Also, the model slightly rotates your wrists outward thanks to the bulbous curvature of its palm rest.
The icing of the cake is the keyboard’s unique anti-bacterial key coating, making it the perfect choice for germ-conscious individuals or for use in places where germs are abundant, such as in common spaces and offices where people share work stations.
While others might find its simple design and aesthetics a bit dated, the Fellowes Microban is a great option that offers terrific value for money and the added bonus of anti-bacterial coating.
Adesso Tru-Form 150
Are you looking for some color to go along with your comfort? Then the Adesso Tru-Form 150 is an option to consider. While some might find colored keys unnecessary, a considerable number find it appealing.
This backlit ergonomic keyboard is perfect for the dimly-lit conditions in which video editors, photo editors, and gamers work, helping them avoid the painful and often stressful key-hunting process. The Tru-Form 150 comes with blue, green, or red backlighting options making it possible for you to adjust the brightness to a level with which you are comfortable.
In terms of ergonomics, the keyboard’s curve helps keep your wrists in a neutral position and has special function keys meant to adjust the volume or perform other vital functions. The downside of this option is the lack of a cushioned palm rest.
Microsoft Surface Ergonomic Keyboard
The Surface is another ergonomic keyboard developed by Microsoft. This model stands out because of its modern design and affordability. It employs a natural slope and arc and has a two-tone grey palm rest.
Its slim design further makes it ideal for those looking for a portable and lightweight option to use for travel. It also has additional features such as USB or Bluetooth connectivity, 128-bit AES encryption, and multimedia keys. The 10-million-presses key-switch lifespan further highlights this model’s durability.
The Right Ergonomic Keyboard Is What You Say It Is
Although the keyboard models reviewed above are some of the leading options in the market today, the right ergonomic keyboard ultimately depends entirely on you. Keep your goals and desires in mind when shopping for the option that will help you to optimize the ergonomics in your home or office.
Fortunately, the diverse range of designs, features, and prices increases your chances of finding the option that will enable you to achieve whatever you require from your ergonomic keyboard.
While ergonomic keyboards do help to reduce the chances of repetitive stress injuries, be sure to consider other additional steps you could take. Once you get the keyboard that you feel would offer you the comfort you desire, consider going a step further and acquiring an ergonomic mouse to minimize the stress to your hand.
A chair with lumbar support and a desk with an appropriate height for your body can further help to promote good posture. All these combined will limit the damage done to your body during those extended periods spent in front of your computer.