The 6 Best Keyboard Trays
6. Uncaged Adjustable
- helps to promote wrist health
- comes with a 30-day return window
- comparatively expensive
|Rating||4.2 / 5.0|
5. Fellowes Professional
- slim design to maximize desk space
- bumper prevents mouse from falling
- instruction guide may seem confusing
|Rating||4.4 / 5.0|
4. 3M Easy
- locks into place easily
- gel palm rest is leather covered
- tilt knob may knock against knees
|Rating||3.8 / 5.0|
3. Pitstop Spoiler
- perfect for any home-office desk
- measures 26 inches in length
- affordably priced
|Rating||4.6 / 5.0|
2. Humanscale 500
- track length is adjustable
- measures 19 inches wide
- compatible with most desks
|Rating||4.6 / 5.0|
1. Mount-It Underdesk
- constructed out of steel alloy
- can be extended nearly 6 inches
- mouse tray rotates 360 degrees
|Rating||4.6 / 5.0|
Choosing The Best Keyboard Tray
Buying a keyboard tray seems like an upfront choice, but there are a few things to consider to be sure the tray is a sound investment.
The first thing to consider is how the tray will affixed to the desk. They are attached in many different ways, often using permanent options like screws or semi-permanent methods like clamps. In a desk that belongs to the office rather than the individual, screws may not be permitted. For more permanent desks like those found in a home office, screws can be more desirable. Once the tray is set in place, it can be seen as a permanent addition to the desk.
Of course the tray should be big enough to fit the keyboard it will support, but another thing to consider is its size when compared to the desk. Some desks do not provide much in the way of leg clearance, and adding a keyboard tray to the mix is only going to make the problem worse. Luckily there are many models which bring the tray even with the desk itself, and even those that allow the user to extend them above the desk for workers looking to reduce their sitting time throughout the day. For trays which store under the desk and slide out, it will also be important that the desk is both deep enough and wide enough to comfortably fit the tray when it is not in use.
Having the ability to adjust the height and angle of the keyboard tray is also an important factor for many people. As the average worker's seated position can change throughout the day, the ideal height of the keyboard and mouse shift along with them.
The deciding factor for many people are the features their tray has. A standard tray is convenient enough as it is, but the added features will usually mean the difference between a satisfied purchase and a return. For instance, trays which offer integrated mouse support pads are better for the wrists, especially for people using an ergonomic mouse to keep the wrists healthy and relaxed. Certain units also offer resting pads for the wrists and separate trays for both the keyboard and mouse to reach the user's desired heights.
Health Benefits Of Keyboard Trays
Keyboard trays actually provide many health benefits to the body when in use. For many workers, this revolves around the effects of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). Carpal tunnel syndrome is also known as a repetitive stress injury. It is a fault in the transmission of the nerve signal of the wrist to the brain which is caused by a repetitive action done in an ergonomically incorrect way, such as typing or using a mouse for hours a day. This causes the tissues around the median nerve in the hand to swell and press down on it.
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome usually progress over time, becoming worse as months or years of the same motion go on. Luckily, in the early stages, the process is reversible by changing the way the habit is carried out. For office workers, this usually means switching to an ergonomic mouse and keyboard, and placing them in a better position using a keyboard tray.
The same applies for cubital tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome is well known, but cubital tunnel syndrome affects many of the same workers without their awareness. The cubital tunnel is the tube containing the ulnar nerve, which runs from the shoulder to the wrist but is most delicate near the elbow. Cubital tunnel is often caused by leaning on the elbows for long periods of time, or bending the elbow back and forth repeatedly. These are both movements done often while sitting at the computer. Reaching for the mouse or keyboard repeatedly can influence cubital tunnel syndrome. The symptoms can often be eased and the damage reversed by switching to a keyboard tray to keep the elbows and shoulders in a neutral position while typing.
A properly placed keyboard tray can also help the user correct their posture. Constantly leaning forward or reaching for regularly used items on the desk can promote a hunched back. This forward slump begins in high school students, and if left uncorrected causes back pain and sometimes even nerve damage. Over time this position promotes lazy back muscles, meaning it is difficult and even painful for the body to sit correctly. Using a keyboard tray can be seen as a small step towards correct seated posture and spinal health.
Who Are Keyboard Trays Designed For?
The use of trays for keyboards is most obviously geared towards office workers and computer typists. These are people who use keyboards so often, studies have been designed to accurately determine aspects of their personalities based on their keyboard and mouse use. It is obvious that they would be the primary targets of keyboard trays. The trays keep a typist's elbows from stretching unnecessarily throughout a full day of typing reports. They also support an upright, relaxed posture that is necessary to keep the workplace stress of an office job from becoming too much on the body.
Trays designed for keyboards create a small, clutter-free work space that is perfect for all types of users. For people who prefer to write with a pen and paper, this provides a great platform to do so that can help prevent hunching over the desk. This is great for writing memos, adding notes to the calendar, or even supporting a book to read during free time. This is also a great space for artists who feel inspired to doodle at their desk to make use of while also supporting a healthy posture.
The extra surface area of a keyboard tray is also perfect for anyone with a small desk space who need to clear their area in order to work properly. Moving the keyboard and mouse to a tray frees up a lot of otherwise unused space.