If you are at your computer for multiple hours a day, whether that be at the office or gaming, you may have felt pain in your hands from the repeated motion of your hands and fingers on the keyboard. By using an ergonomic keyboard, you can reduce the strain unnatural hand placement puts on the tendons and ligaments of your wrists.The best ergonomic keyboard should make typing and using a keyboard a more natural fit for the curvature of your hands.
Although the best ergonomic keyboard can be a bit pricier than traditional keyboards and take a little time to adjust to, they can provide enormous health benefits and increase your productivity.
The Problems With Traditional Keyboards
When using a traditional keyboard, your hands twist toward the outside of the keyboard without the wrist moving when your fingers are placed on the home row of keys. This twisted hand position is unnatural and puts strain on your wrists. Additionally, when placing your hands on a standard keyboard, the wrist tends to fall lower than the fingers. When the hand-forearm plane is disrupted, pressure is put on the fingers, which makes it harder for them to move.
Some keyboard users also have to stretch their fingers unnaturally to reach certain keys, like function or hot keys, or try to move only one finger in isolation from the others, leaving the rest on the “home” keys. All of these motions, when done over and over, can lead to Repetitive Stress Injuries.
Ergonomic Keyboard Functionality
Keyboards can be manufactured in multiple ways to provide relief for hand and wrist pain. Some elements that are often integrated into the best ergonomic keyboard design include:
- Split Keyboard. Often manufacturers will split the keys into two distinct sections to allow hands to be spaced wider apart and therefore more naturally aligned with the shoulders. Keyboards like the Kinesis Freestyle2 Adjustable Split Keyboard can be separated up to 9 inches.
- Centralized Function Keys. Instead of having popular shortcut or hot keys beyond the natural extension of the fingers, some designers will place them in between the two sections of the split keys. Having centralized function keys reduces overuse of weaker little fingers and prevents over extension.
- Tenting. Split keyboards will often have adjustable tabs beneath the inner section of the keyboard allowing the user’s thumbs to be slightly elevated. Elevating the thumbs increases blood flow and reduces strain on the wrists. The Goldtouch GTU-0088 V2 Adjustable Comfort Keyboard will allow the user to adjust the tenting from 0 to 30 degrees.
- Wrist/Palm Support. Wrist or palm supports provide stability for the wrist and prevent it from dropping lower than the rest of the hand. Wrist support material, shape, size, and durability vary widely between best ergonomic keyboard models.
Best Ergonomic Keyboard Top 10 Comparison Guide
Reviews of the Top Rated Ergonomic Keyboards
The Logitech Wireless Wave Keyboard is a solid choice for the user who wants an easy transition to an ergonomic keyboard. This best ergonomic keyboard, which also comes with an ergonomic mouse, has only slightly ergonomic features that would not take as long for the user to adapt to as a split keyboard. Instead of being split and tented, the keyboard is built in a wave design to provide some relief to the hands and wrists. The keyboard also features a padded wrist support and soft and responsive keys to make typing for long hours at a time comfortable.
This version is wireless and Logitech claims the battery will last at least two years with typical office environment use. The wireless feature is helpful in integrating the keyboard into a fully ergonomic office space; with a wireless range of up to 30 feet, you could easily move the keyboard to accommodate a standing desk, higher or lower platform, or other ergonomically designed work environment.
Overall, the Logitech Wireless is a good choice for the avid computer user looking for an upgrade. It is easy to use, easy to set up, and versatile to incorporate into any work or home office.
This keyboard is the ultimate for the user who wants a truly adjustable experience. The split keyboard design is spaced wide enough to allow for a clean path between shoulder and hand, but it is compact enough to prevent you from moving too far to access your mouse.
The keyboard itself is versatile in its tenting capabilities: it can be adjusted up to 30 degrees both horizontally and vertically. This is a nice addition for users currently using a vertical mouse. Having the unique capability of the two directional tilt can really reduce stress on your wrists. If you have never used one of the best ergonomic keyboard models, you can even access the Goldtouch website for tutorial videos on how to get the best fit for your hands.
What makes this keyboard even more user friendly is that it is both Mac and PC compatible. All you have to do is flip a switch on the back of the keyboard to transition between the two platforms. While the shortcut keys are programmed for a PC user, you can modify the keys to match the layout of a traditional Mac keyboard. Since there are not as many keyboard options for Mac users, the Goldtouch is a great option.
The Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 is the best choice for PC users who want comfort, versatility, and ease of use. Unlike the GoldTouch V2 or the Logitech Wireless Wave, this keyboard has both a curved layout and a split design to best suit the natural fit of the hands. A palm rest is also included in the keyboard so there is no need to buy any additional equipment.
The placement of the Zoom Slider and commonly used symbols are a unique and helpful feature of this keyboard. The Zoom Slider is cleverly placed in between the two sections of the split design, allowing you to quickly and easily zoom in when looking at images, documents, or webpages without having to move your hand away from the keyboard to the mouse. Commonly used symbols like parentheses and the equal sign are placed above the number pad, so there is no need to overextend your fingers to reach them.
While this keyboard is not Mac compatible and is not the most plush of keyboards, it is a good keyboard for computer users who want functionality and comfort.
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