The Best Ergonomic Keyboards -- Here's What They Don't Tell You (2022)

We’d like to propose a law that requires keyboard manufacturers to ensure their keyboards are ‘ergonomic’ before they are allowed to market their keyboards as ‘ergonomic’. It’s a term used so liberally today that it’s become virtually useless when you’re in the market for a truly ergonomic keyboard. But instead of waiting for this law to pass we’re going to fill in all the basics you need to know before buying. Spend ten minutes with this article and you’ll be able to make an informed decision on an ergonomic keyboard that could bring you lifelong benefits.

First, some evidence. Hold your arms straight out in front of your shoulders, parallel to each other, and note how far apart your hands are. Probably around 18-20” apart right? Now put your hands on your keyboard and start typing. Notice what happens when you cram your hands into a narrow 10″ space? Your forearms point in but your hands hinge outward at the wrist so that all your fingers can be on the keyboard.

That unnatural position creates lateral wrist strain. Sustained pressure in this manner can compress the nerve channel that runs through the wrist, sometimes resulting in some extremely frustrating carpal tunnel symptoms. So the first requirement for an ergonomic keyboard should be to address this lateral wrist strain. Do most ergo keyboards on the market today do this? Nope.

Next up is vertical wrist strain. It can be just as troublesome but for some reason it is much less mentioned in the ergonomic realm. Take another look at your hands as they type. Are they ‘reaching up’ to the keyboard? Is there an upward hinge from the wrists? This vertical reach also puts unnatural pressure on the wrist’s nerve channels. Want to guess how many companies address vertical strain in their “ergonomic” keyboards?

The other piece of bad news we need to mention is that most of the scientific research when it comes to carpal tunnel syndrome is inconclusive at best. No one is really sure if sustained pressure on the ulnar nerve causes carpal tunnel, or if carpal tunnel is exacerbated by sustained pressure on the nerve channels. Frustrating to hear right? The good news is that people who address the main causes frequently report a comprehensive reduction in pain. Awareness of lateral and vertical wrist strain are a big part of solving that puzzle.

The other, equally important component is overall body posture. Ever find yourself slumped back in your chair with your hands fully extended to your keyboard? Or sitting upright away from the backrest with your hands close to your body? It’s surprising how easy it is to laze into a position that is really, really bad for our body.

Notice the elbow and wrist compression in this pic? Now compare it to this one where the forearm is below the elbow and the wrist lies at a natural angle. Adding this final bit of info to your arsenal puts you miles ahead of keyboard manufacturers and will help you make an empowered decision on your workstation setup.

Remember, the overall goal is to keep it natural. Hands emanating straight out from forearms with no lateral or vertical strain. No elbow compression, no lower back compression. It’s all designed to keep your limbs in as natural of a position as possible while you sit typing away in a decidedly unnatural environment (at least from an evolutionary perspective).

(Video) why is this weird keyboard so good?

That’s why our final “keyboard” recommendation is not even a keyboard, it’s a tray that offers the option to position the keyboard with a slight tilt downwards. This will keep your hands flush with the forearms and also keep your elbows at a natural angle. This “negative tilt” option has become a popular catchphrase in the ergo world, and when it’s used properly it can quickly eliminate the vertical wrist strain from your setup without having to swap out your keyboard. A very nice option to have for people who are smitten with their current keyboards.

Before taking a look at your best ergonomic keyboard options below, take one last glance at your current setup. Notice any lateral wrist strain? Vertical wrist strain? Where is your keyboard relative to your elbows and body? Keeping these questions in mind will help you decide which areas need immediate solutions.

One last thing, please keep in mind that the slightly unorthodox shape of some of the best ergonomic keyboards will require a bit of a learning curve. You’ve been typing on the same narrow space for a long time. If you make a living on your comp please factor in a transition period that will give any new purchase a bit of time to reap the lifelong benefits.

Keyboards Guide 2014 Best Ergonomic Keyboard

Pic KeyboardFeaturesPricing
The Best Ergonomic Keyboards -- Here's What They Don't Tell You (4)Microsoft Sculpt KeyboardWireless design, addresses lateral and vertical wrist strain$
The Best Ergonomic Keyboards -- Here's What They Don't Tell You (5)Kinesis Freestyle 2Wired split design, addresses lateral and vertical wrist strain (with attachments)$$
The Best Ergonomic Keyboards -- Here's What They Don't Tell You (6)Logitech K350Wireless design, addresses lateral and vertical wrist strain$
The Best Ergonomic Keyboards -- Here's What They Don't Tell You (7)Kinesis AdvantageMechanical keyswitches, addresses lateral and vertical wrist strain$$$
The Best Ergonomic Keyboards -- Here's What They Don't Tell You (8)3M Keyboard TrayKeyboard tray addresses vertical wrist strain, optimizes overall body posture$$

Microsoft Sculpt Keyboard

The Best Ergonomic Keyboards -- Here's What They Don't Tell You (9)One of our top choices and a great transition keyboard for people who don’t want anything too crazy just yet.

The Sculpt has a subtle dome shape puts wrists and forearms in a natural position. Split keyboard on the upper half reduces lateral wrist strain. Spacious, padded wrist rest on the bottom reduces vertical wrist strain. Also comes with a detachable base plate to mimic negative tilt if desired.

Wireless design gives you infinite freedom in positioning the keyboard. Powered by 2 AA batteries and communicates with your comp via USB receiver.

Chiclet style keys with the keys next to the gap being slightly larger to facilitate touch typing.

Also comes with the option of including a wireless mouse in this model.

(Video) Why I Use These Mechanical Keyboards (You Should Too!)

++Discount link to Microsoft Sculpt Keyboard at Amazon++

Kinesis Freestyle 2 with VIP attachments

The Best Ergonomic Keyboards -- Here's What They Don't Tell You (10)Now we’re talking! The Freestyle 2 has a split design that lets you put each half of the keyboard at shoulder width if you want. Adios lateral wrist strain!

The VIP attachments are optional to purchase but are necessary if you want to reap the full benefits of this design. VIP includes wrist pads to reduce vertical strain, and the slope attachments push up the inside edge of each half to this reduce any unneccesary torque from the shoulder all the way down to the wrist.

Wired keyboard via USB to your comp. There is some unorthodox key placement that will take some getting used to.

Max separation on this model is 9″, but they do offer a model with a max 20″ separation. Also availabe in Mac model.

++Discount link to Kinesis Freestyle 2 with VIP attachments at Amazon++

Logitech K350 Wireless Keyboard

The Best Ergonomic Keyboards -- Here's What They Don't Tell You (11)The K350 is a solid entry level ergonomic keyboard from a trusted company.

Contoured wave design addresses lateral wrist strain. Cushioned palm rest addresses vertical wrist strain.

(Video) "Best Ergonomic" Mouse & "Most Ergonomic" Keyboard: Objective Criteria To Evaluate Ergonomics

Wireless keyboard using the USB unifying receiver, powered by 2 AA batteries.

The function keys are programmable using Logitech’s proprietary Setpoint software (included)

5 year limited hardware warranty

++Discount link to Logitech K350 at Amazon++

Kinesis Advantage

The Best Ergonomic Keyboards -- Here's What They Don't Tell You (12)Not for the faint of heart! We include the Advantage as an option for those who make a living on their keyboards and need a permanent ergonomic workstation.

Single-pieced unit with split keyboard that keeps hands close to shoulder width. Elevated base of unit reduces any vertical strain in the wrists.

This is the only fully mechanical keyboard on our Ergonomic list. The Advantage uses Cherry Brown keyswitches. These are popular ‘hybrid’ switches with 45g actuation force and subtle tactile feedback.

Please keep in mind there is a learning curve present given the unorthodox key placement.

(Video) Best Ergonomic Keyboards

Onboard memory allows key re-mapping and up to 48 macros.

++More Kinesis Advantage reviews at Amazon++

3M Easy Adjust Keyboard Tray

The Best Ergonomic Keyboards -- Here's What They Don't Tell You (13)Yes, our final recommendation is not an actual keyboard, it’s a keyboard tray! The real advantage of this keyboard tray is the user customization. You can adjust the height and tilt of the keyboard to minimize vertical wrist strain. It can also keep your hands slightly below your elbows to reduce elbow compression.

Adjustable from 2” above mounting surface to 5” below mounting surface. Tilts from 10 degrees forward to -15 degrees backward (negative).

The all wood construction minimizes instability. Attaches to bottom side of desk with mounting screws included.

Included wrist rest for additional support.

++Discount link to 3M Easy Adjust Keyboard Tray at Amazon++

FAQs

Are ergonomic keyboards really better? ›

Ergonomic keyboards will greatly improve your situation over using regular keyboards, but they will not solve all your problems altogether. In addition to all the arm and wrist pains ergonomic boards can solve, they can also improve back posture, further improving your health.

What is the most comfortable keyboard? ›

The Logitech Ergo K860 is our best pick because it has the most comfortable keyboard with its palm rest and curvy design.

What is so special about ergonomic keyboard? ›

An ergonomic keyboard is a computer keyboard designed with ergonomic considerations to minimize muscle strain, fatigue, and other problems. Ergonomic keyboards for two-handed typists are typically constructed in a V shape, allowing the hands to rest at a more natural angle.

How do I choose an ergonomic keyboard? ›

When choosing an ergonomic keyboard, the more adjustable a keyboard is, the more you'll find a comfortable position for your hands. Thus, an ergonomic keyboard that allows for different angles is the best choice.

Are mechanical keyboards better for typing? ›

Mechanical keyboards are generally regarded as good keyboards for typing. They offer switches under each key rather than rubber membrane like most standard keyboards, which means a superior feeling when typing. Each keypress is tangibly felt, helping users maintain more precise and accurate typing.

Are split keyboards really more ergonomic? ›

The primary reason split keyboards are so comfortable is because they reduce something ergonomists call ulnar deviation. Ulnar deviation occurs when the wrist is bent outward in the direction of the little finger which causes the carpal tunnel in the wrist to constrict.

Are ergonomic keyboards bad for you? ›

Ergonomic keyboards can actually cause certain injuries and fatigue. Because ergonomic keyboards force users to keep their elbows at a wide distance from their bodies, usage can actually cause the elbows to become fatigued. In some cases, this can lead to injury.

Is Apple keyboard ergonomic? ›

There are a lot of keyboards that claim to be ergonomic, and your mileage may vary. I've used a number over the years, but I find that I'm very comfortable with Apple's low-profile Magic Keyboard, but others will benefit from the type of keyboard with a split in the middle, such as this Kineses Freestyle keyboard.

What is the best keyboard in the world? ›

The best keyboards you can buy today in 2022
  • Razer Huntsman Elite. The best keyboard for most people. ...
  • Apple Magic Keyboard. The best keyboard choice for Apple Mac users. ...
  • Logitech MX Keys Mini. ...
  • Corsair Strafe RGB MX. ...
  • Logitech K480 Multi Device Bluetooth Keyboard. ...
  • Logitech Pop Keys. ...
  • Microsoft Modern Keyboard with Fingerprint ID.

What keyboard is good for carpal tunnel? ›

The Curved or Wave-Shaped Keyboard

These are angled keyboards that immediately reduce the repetitive stress on the carpal tunnel. The layout of the letters, numbers, and functions is usually the same as a traditional keyboard. The curved keyframe places your hands, wrists, and forearms in a more natural posture.

Are mechanical keyboards more ergonomic? ›

Heavy typists and gamers love mechanical keyboards due to their overall better responsiveness. The keys on the mechanical keyboards require less force to register, making them more ergonomic for your fingers.

Are chiclet keyboard good for typing? ›

The Verdict: Which One Is Better? If you want a keyboard for daily use without any serious typing work or gaming, a chiclet unit appears to be a better option than membrane models. However, you should still consider the main features of both types before making the final decision.

What is the best keyboard for arthritis? ›

Best ergonomic keyboards
  • Kinesis Freestyle2 Ergonomic Keyboard for PC (9” Standard Separation) ...
  • Dell ML-Ergosecure 2.0 Keyboard. ...
  • Logitech ERGO K860 Ergonomic Split Bluetooth or USB Keyboard. ...
  • Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard for Business (5KV-00001) ...
  • Microsoft LXM-00001 Ergonomic Keyboard.
Jul 29, 2021

What finger should be on the a key? ›

Start with the home row

The fingers of each hand should sit on four keys each. The left hand pinky finger starts things off on the “A” key, the ring finger sits on the “S” key, the middle finger takes the “D” and the index the “F.”

Is 60% keyboard good for typing? ›

Best answer: As long as you don't mind a lack of arrow keys, numpad, F keys, and navigation cluster, a 60% keyboard will save space on your desk, add some style to your setup, and is easier to carry around.

Is it harder to type on a mechanical keyboard? ›

Without tactile feedback it is very difficult to type without bottoming out every keystroke, causing over-exertion and finger/hand fatigue that can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. Mechanical keyboards, however, use a switch underneath every key.

Is mechanical better than membrane? ›

Mechanical switches feel much quicker overall, making gaming and typing faster and more responsive. Plus, because of the intricate nature of a mechanical keyboard's switches, these decks typically outlast their membrane counterparts.

What is an ortho keyboard? ›

Ortholinear keyboards are a unique type of keyboard with a die-hard group of followers within the mechanical keyboard community. The non-staggered keys make for an interesting typing experience that is highly sought after.

Are ergonomic keyboards worth it science? ›

Here's another modern-day belief you can kick to the curb: So-called ergonomic keyboards are no better than regular keyboards for those who have suffered from typing injuries.

What is a Dactyl keyboard? ›

The Dactyl Keyboard

The Dactyl is a parameterized, split-hand, concave, columnar, ergonomic keyboard.

Are mechanical keyboards bad for your wrists? ›

However, mechanical keyboards are actually better than regular keyboards, or membrane keyboards, for other reasons, too. Unlike a standard keyboard, a genuine mechanical keyboard is less likely to cause wrist pain and limb exhaustion.

Are keyboards bad for your wrists? ›

Keyboarding and mousing may not be considered strenuous activities, but if done incorrectly over time, they can damage the wrist and hand as surely as a nasty fall onto concrete. Office workers can spend eight or more hours keyboarding every day and, unfortunately, many of them are doing it wrong.

Are flat keyboards better for you? ›

Flat Keyboard is Better for Ergonomics

The extra stress you put on your wrists can lead to wrist pain and carpal tunnel which are not fun at all. Because of this, a flat keyboard is better in the long run to reduce chance of injury and make typing a better experience.

What is a scissor keyboard? ›

With a scissor switch keyboard, the keys are attached to the keyboard using two plastic pieces that interlock together in an X shape like a pair of scissors, hence the name. The two pieces snap to the keyboard and the key, and when you press down, the two pieces close together like scissors.

Are Keychron keyboards good? ›

"The Keychron Q2 is a great keyboard for programming. The Gateron G Pro Brown switches on our unit help to provide an excellent, light typing experience, and the board itself feels incredibly well-built. "

Is the new Magic Keyboard worth it? ›

In all, the Magic Keyboard for iPad is a worthy upgrade for creatives, but a competing product can do a lot of the same. If you are on the hunt for a quality keyboard case that is also aesthetically pleasing, you cannot go wrong with the Magic Keyboard.

What are the 3 types of keyboards? ›

The different keyboard technologies allow for varying user experiences, such as how hard a key must be pressed to convey the message to type a character.
  • QWERTY Keyboards. ...
  • Wired Keyboards. ...
  • Numeric Keypads. ...
  • Ergonomic Keyboards. ...
  • Wireless Keyboards. ...
  • USB Keyboards. ...
  • Bluetooth Keyboards. ...
  • Magic Keyboards.
Jul 14, 2022

Are Ducky keyboards good? ›

Overall, Ducky produces highly customizable keyboards, and you can purchase them in a variety of color variants, giving your gaming setup a unique aesthetic. They have outstanding typing quality, which is great if you also want to use them for the office, and they're very well-made.

Are mechanical keyboards more ergonomic? ›

Heavy typists and gamers love mechanical keyboards due to their overall better responsiveness. The keys on the mechanical keyboards require less force to register, making them more ergonomic for your fingers.

Are flat keyboards more ergonomic? ›

Flat Keyboard is Better for Ergonomics

The extra stress you put on your wrists can lead to wrist pain and carpal tunnel which are not fun at all. Because of this, a flat keyboard is better in the long run to reduce chance of injury and make typing a better experience.

Do ergonomic keyboards help wrist pain? ›

The Curved or Wave-Shaped Keyboard

These are angled keyboards that immediately reduce the repetitive stress on the carpal tunnel. The layout of the letters, numbers, and functions is usually the same as a traditional keyboard. The curved keyframe places your hands, wrists, and forearms in a more natural posture.

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