7 Best Ergonomic Keyboards | April 2017

We spent 34 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. If you are a serious data cruncher, writer, editor, programmer, or intense gamer who spends hours at your keyboard, there's no doubt that you've suffered with wrist or forearm pain at some point. Give your body a well-deserved break without sacrificing your productivity by investing in one of these ergonomic keyboards that will take the pressure off your aching joints. Skip to the best ergonomic keyboard on Amazon.
7 Best Ergonomic Keyboards | April 2017
Overall Rank: 4
Best Mid-Range
★★★★
Overall Rank: 1
Best High-End
★★★★★
Overall Rank: 5
Best Inexpensive
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7
The Microsoft Surface 3RA-00022 has a double-cushioned palm rest made from a uniquely durable Italian material called Alcantara. Its curved shape rolls your wrists into a comfortable typing position, but the unit is only compatible with branded tablets.
  • connects via bluetooth
  • attractive metallic grey colors
  • led indicators are too dim
Brand Microsoft
Model 3RA-00022
Weight 3.8 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0
6
The Perixx Periboard-512II B has an extended integrated rest to support the palms and the lower portion of the wrist, promoting proper positioning and preventing discomfort against a desk. It connects to your computer via USB.
  • seven hot keys for multimedia
  • three-dimensional design
  • buttons' proximity may cause errors
Brand Perixx
Model 10925
Weight 2.3 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0
5
Thanks to its improved split design, the Microsoft Natural 4000 encourages better hand, wrist, and forearm positioning during long working hours. Its integrated zoom slider allows you to get close-ups of web pages and images with just a simple touch of your finger.
  • five custom favorites keys
  • number pad is easy to access
  • very noisy keystrokes
Brand Microsoft Natural 4000
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 3.9 / 5.0
4
Designed with the knowledge that no two sets of human arms are set at identical widths and angles, the Kinesis Freestyle2 Blue Wireless uses a board that's completely divided in half. You control the distance between the two halves, allowing for custom comfort.
  • multichannel bluetooth
  • tactile keystroke response
  • poorly integrated function key
Brand KINESIS
Model KB800MB-BT
Weight 1.9 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
3
The split keyset design of the Microsoft Sculpt 5KV-00001 helps to offset your hands at angles appropriate for long-term typing. It's exceedingly slim, and its number pad sits off to the side for more flexibility in your setup.
  • domed central bump
  • promotes a neutral wrist position
  • connects wirelessly
Brand Microsoft
Model 5KV-00001
Weight 2.8 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0
2
The Logitech Wireless Wave MK550 gives you up to a 30-foot operating range, allowing you to comfortably type from almost anywhere in your computer room. The included contoured laser mouse with rubber grips also ensures precise cursor control as you work.
  • up to 3 years of battery life
  • powerful wireless connection
  • cushioned palm rest
Brand Logitech
Model 920-002555
Weight 3.9 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0
1
The Kinesis Advantage2 KB600QD is compatible with PC, Mac, and Linux operating systems, and offers instantaneous configuration and setup capabilities. Its unique shape provides an elegant, sleek complement to your workroom decor, while maximizing comfort.
  • onboard dvorak layout
  • blue home row keys
  • human interface device drivers
Brand KINESIS
Model KB600QD
Weight 3.5 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

The Woes Of Long Term Typing

The use of the computer and keyboard has dramatically increased the speed at which a person can accomplish almost any task, including writing, researching, accounting, and so much more. And of course that's to say nothing of the myriad activities that didn't even exist before the computer, such as programming, computer game play, and many types of graphic design work, to name but a few.

However, with the many benefits of modern hardware and the software with which we interact using our keyboards, mice, and joysticks come a host of issues, as well. The anatomy of the human hand and wrist was not designed for hours of repetitive minute motions, such as those involved with typing for hours on end, day in and day out. Far too many writers, programmers, gamers, and other regular computer users can attest to this physiological reality.

The most common issues associated with protracted typing and mouse clicking are Repetitive Strain Injuries, often referred to in their abbreviated form as RSIs. Just as a Major League pitcher can damage his shoulder after throwing too many fastballs in too many games, so too can you damage your fingers and wrists by too much use of hardware.

One of the most common specific maladies caused by extensive computer usage is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. The Carpal Tunnel is a narrow passageway in the base of the palm formed among the ligaments and bones therein. Through the tunnel runs the median nerve, a nerve that connects the forearm to the palm and to every finger except the pinky. Extended pressure, such as that caused by a wrist resting on a desk or keyboard, can cause the carpal tunnel to compress, which therefore puts pressure on the nerve.

The symptoms can be as mild as a faint tingling in the hands and wrist or as acute as a painful burning sensation accompanied by a lack of full fine motor control of the hands. Advanced Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can even make it hard for the fingers to properly perceive certain sensations, such as hot and cold.

While all people are at risk of developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome under the right circumstances, women are more likely than men to be afflicted with the condition. Treatment for advanced cases can involve everything from pain management and physical therapy in hopes the condition mends itself to surgical intervention. The best move, though, is to avoid this and any other RSI in the first place by practicing proper posture, correct hand positioning, and by using hardware designed with ergonomics in mind.

Why An Ergonomic Keyboard Makes Sense

Ergonomic keyboards come in many shapes and sizes, which should come as no surprise to the thoughtful consumer, as hands and wrists come in all shapes and sizes, too, and what is comfortable for one might not be so for another. All ergonomic computer hardware shares the same underlying design inspiration, however, and that is to help a user maximize their working (or playing) efficiency while minimizing the amount of strain put on their bodies.

A good ergonomic keyboard makes it easy for you to reduce the pressure put on the base of your palm and your wrist, the very spot of that Carpal Tunnel discussed above. By easily allowing this overworked joint area to remain stabilized and straight, an ergonomic keyboard reduces pressure on the median nerve.

Ergonomic keyboards also reduce the side to side shifting of the hands caused by most standard keyboards, which can further reduce wrist strain, as well as easing the pressure put on the refined but tiny muscles and tendons in your fingers themselves.

There is an irony at play with most typing that an ergonomic keyboard helps to overcome. The irony is that the less your hands move, the less strain they suffer, unless in fact your hands, wrists, and arms are remaining largely immobile while your fingers are doing the moving, straining to reach keys. By placing more keycaps in easy reach of a still, supported hand, ergonomic keyboards rectify this dilemma.

Be prepared for an awkward period of adapting to an ergonomic keyboard, as their use initially feels highly unusual -- know that with patience, these units will come to feel not only comfortable, but natural.

Choosing The Right Ergonomic Keyboard

When choosing an ergonomic keyboard, first assess the current condition of your own body. If you already suffer from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, tendonitis, or any other type of Receptive Stress Injury, the time to buy an ergonomic keyboard has ling since arrived, and you should consider top of the line models that can almost entirely curtail hand movement. You owe it to your future health to invest in a piece of hardware that will preclude any further damage and that will help allow your body to start healing itself.

If you are considering an ergonomic keyboard more as a preventive measure, hoping to prevent future damage and to make your day to day computer use more comfortable and potentially more efficient, you have multiple designs at your disposal, including models that look and feel almost like standard keyboards. Of key importance is making sure your wrists and hands are properly supported and not bent when you are using your keyboard.

As for other considerations, go ahead and look into ergonomic keyboards that are backlit for convenient use at night or in low light conditions, and don't be afraid to indulge yourself with a dramatically colored or patterned keyboard. Your computer and its hardware are often a veritable extension of your self, and should reflect your style and personality.



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Last updated on April 23 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.