Like with other ergonomic desk accessories, you might not realise you need a keyboard with ergonomic design until you start using one. But if you type a lot, are worried about your posture, or experience arm, wrist, or shoulder pain, it’s the upgrade you desperately need.
Researching and testing the best ergonomic keyboards made to lessen strain and keep your arms in a more natural position may be overwhelming. The market is simply abundant! That’s why we created this comprehensive guide; it’ll give you insight into all the crucial ergonomic features of a keyboard that’ll also feel good to type on.
The Different Types of Ergonomic Keyboards
While browsing for ergonomics keyboards you’ll come across various designs that can fit your preferences and the activities you frequently do, such as typing, gaming, or just working. Regarding their style, there are unibody and split keyboards. Regarding type positions, there are flat and angled models. Here’s a quick glimpse of each of them.
The unibody style is the more user-friendly ergonomic keyboard and frequently less expensive of the two choices. As the name implies, a board of the unibody type consists of only one board. Even though it’s less intricate than the split design, this layout is still ergonomic.
The unibody ergo keyboard is for you if you want to be comfortable while maintaining a minimalist or clean aesthetic. Due to the lack of a cable between each component, and possibly another cable to connect to the computer, unibody boards have fewer cables than other designs.
Even though unibody-style boards may not be as ergonomic as split-style boards, they’re still more comfortable than a standard keyboard. They offer the ideal compromise between ergonomics and maintaining a traditional style board.
Split is a different style of keyboard, typically more expensive and more challenging to adapt.
This style always consists of two parts of a board, though it occasionally combines back into one regular-looking board. For better comfort and ergonomics, you can match the spacing to the distance between your arms by using this more complicated but more individualised adjustability.
The split style provides the most comfort, but it may compromise appearance. Split boards frequently have one or even two cables cluttering up your desk surface. If comfort is your top priority and you’re willing to make other concessions for it, this model helps you achieve maximum comfort.
Flat Vs. Angled
Using an angled keyboard is the more natural choice for many people since it makes it easier to see the keys. It’s more challenging to see the key legends and fingers when we type on a flat keyboard.
However, angled keyboards have a significant drawback. Typing on one puts a great amount of stress on your wrists. Your wrists should be neutral while you type, and the moment you introduce an angle to your keyboard, they stop being neutral. That can cause wrist pain and carpal tunnel syndrome, which aren’t enjoyable. In the long run, a flat board is the better choice to decrease the risk of injury and improve the typing experience. That’s why most ergo keyboards come flat.
What to Look for When Choosing an Ergonomic Keyboard?
According to experts in ergonomics, these are the crucial features to look for in an ergonomics keyboards:
Key Feel and Well-Functioning Keys
How comfortable your hands will be after a long day of typing depends on various factors, including the size and shape of the keys, the amount of pressure required to press a key before it registers (known as actuation force), and the amount of tactile and auditory feedback you receive. How you type also affects how the keys feel.
Opt for relatively light-touch keys with an actuation force between 45 and 60 grams. Consistent force and haptic feedback are signs of good quality. A key with a click about halfway through the stroke is typically a good feel. The keys should be simple to press to ease the strain on your fingers while you’re typing. Mechanical switches are more responsive and comfortable to type on than membrane keys, which are more expensive and less durable.
Number or No Number Pad?
Most keyboards have an integrated numeric keypad on the right side, which takes up more space on a desk. A large keyboard can strain your right arm because it forces you to extend it to use the mouse, which is more significant if you use a mouse with your right hand, as most people do. Even many left-handed people use the right side of the keyboard for their mouse.
Users can keep their arms closer to their side when using a keyboard without a number pad, which eases the strain on the arm and shoulder. Because of this, keyboards without integrated num pads are preferable. If you require a number pad, we advise purchasing a stand-alone model that you can move into a comfortable position and tuck out of the way when not in use.
To help your hands rest in a more neutral position, most ergonomics keyboards raise the centre of the keyboard slightly (the result looks like a tent, hence the name). Your wrists will naturally bend outward when you rest your hands on a keyboard, so a keyboard with tenting will be more comfortable for you.
Most new mechanical keyboards introduced in recent years have been designed specifically for keyboard enthusiasts opting for different layouts for their keyboards. If you’re one of them, you should look for customisable keyboard ergonomics.
Do Ergonomic Keyboards Really Help?
While standard keyboards require you to hold your wrists and arms at awkward angles, which may result in pain or discomfort in your hand, arm, or shoulder, an ergo keyboard can help you better position your body. So, if you use a keyboard more than 10 hours per week and already experience this discomfort or pain, you should make the switch. That can be an investment in your well-being, similar to buying an ergonomic chair or standing desk.