Suffering from painful wrists or muscle strains from long hours typing on your keyboard? It's time to find the best ergonomic keyboard and switch over.
According to this chart shared by Quartz, respected Internet analyst Mary Meeker highlighted that the average American spends 103 minutes on the computer daily. Office workers and others in similar fields spend around six to seven hours in front of the computer.
Spending this much time on the computer bring about certain problems such as muscle strains, carpal tunnel syndrome, headache and the like. But, computers and other handheld devices are basically part of our lives already. We have to find ways to avoid these health problems.
An ergonomic keyboard is a computer keyboard developed to avoid carpal tunnel syndrome, muscle strain and other repetitive stress injuries. These keyboards are specially shaped to minimize the strain and stress on the muscles of the hand.
An ergonomic keyboard can be split, contoured, angled and V-shaped. There are also less conventional ergonomic keyboards like the ‘AlphaGrip’ handheld keyboard, keyer and keyless keyboard.
Reviews of the Best Ergonomic Keyboard 2017
Wired / Wireless
Kinesis Freestyle2 Blue
Adesso Tru-Form Media
Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard for Business (Editor's Choice)
This keyboard is designed to keep the hands and arms in a resting and relaxed position. The natural arc of the keyboard copies the shape of the finger tips.
The sculpt keyboard’s cushion palm rest protects the palm from repetitive stress injury and inflammation. Additionally, the domed keyboard corrects and reduces keyboard pronation that causes pain and immobility.
The Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard is a wireless keyboard set. It requires 2 AAA batteries.
The Number pad is a separate keyboard that requires a watch battery. Although the main keyboard and the number keyboard are split, it only requires a single USB connection.
The keyboard is compatible with almost all versions of Windows. It is limitedly compatible with Mac OS 10.7, Mac OS 10.8, Mac OS 10.9 and Mac OS 10.10.
It has limited functionality with Android 5.0, Nexus 9, Android 4.4.4, Nexus 5, Android 4.2 and Android 3.2. However, the keyboard does not work with iOS 6 and iOS 7.
What We Don't Like
- It does not have a ‘CAPSLOCK’ key.
- The wireless capability of the keyboard is a bit short.
- It is a bit hard to clean.
Unlike other ergonomic keyboards that have a 10 degree positive slope, the Kinensis Freestyle2 Blue has no degree slope. The 10-degree positive slope design bends the wrists. A zero degree slope would minimize the height of the keyboard and reduces wrist extension.
It is also a split keyboard. Imagine a standard keyboard cut into two, that’s how the Kinensis Freestyle2 Blue looks like. The keyboard is wireless and has a 30 feet range.
The keyboard can also be connected and switched instantly between three Bluetooth devices. It uses a rechargeable lithium polymer battery that, unfortunately, is not included. It is compatible with Linux, Windows and Android Bluetooth devices.
What We Don't Like
- It could not be connected to any Apple products
- The batteries are not included.
- We hope that the cord in between the two keyboards would be longer.
Like the previous Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard, the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard has a split design. The design encourages natural positioning of the hand, forearm and wrists.
In the long run, this would prevent future occurrence of carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive muscle injuries. Aside from the natural positioning of the hands, the palm rest also helps prevent muscle strains.
It is USB compatible. It requires the following operating systems: Windows 10, Windows 7, Microsoft Windows 10 phone, Windows Vista, MAC OS X version 10.7 to 10.10 and Android version 3.2 to 5.0.
Aside from the aforementioned features, it also has customizable hot keys. This allows easier access to one’s important and favorite applications on the computer and websites in the internet. It also boasts of a zoom feature, improved number pad, and long keyboard cable length.
We give the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard a rating of eight (8) out of ten (10).
What We Don't Like
- It is not compatible with iOS.
- It is a little bulky.
We are in love with the Logitech K350. Its wave shape design is made to support the different lengths of the fingers.
The positioning of the arm rest is perfect for people with small hands. However, some of us with big hands found it to be too small. Additionally, its height is also adjustable.
The unit is wireless and has a ‘unifying receiver’. To those new to the technology, the dongle of this keyboard can also be used to receive signal from other Logitech devices! We tried it on a mouse and it worked perfectly!
This means less dongles to plug in! However, it only works for newer Logitech accessories. The manufacturer says that the keyboard’s battery has a life span of three years.
We haven’t got that long to test that claim, though. But according to previous purchasers, it does really last that long.
What We Don't Like
- The ‘unifying receiver’ feature does not work with older Logitech devices and accessories.
- It does not have an indicator that the Caps lock is on.
The Adesso TruForm Media Contoured Ergonomic Keyboard has a split and wave design. The keyboard’s gently sloped shape is a good support for the wrists and forearms.
Aside from that, it also has a built-in wrist support. It also has a trackpad under the space bar. This means that you will no longer need to have a mouse.
It has eight hotkeys placed cleverly on the top of the keyboard. Additionally, it has wake, power and sleep keys placed on the far right hand side.
It is a USB and PS/2 connection which works great with Windows. It can also be used on Mac. However, the hotkeys are not customizable when using it on a Mac. Another downside of this keyboard is the incline is located at the space bar.
What We Don't Like
- It does not have an adjustable feet. It is already tilted on its own, which means you can’t have a flat keyboard.
- The keys are a bit noisy when typing.
- The hotkeys are not customizable on a Mac.
As its name implies, this keyboard from Fellowes has a split design. It is a USB connection that no longer needs any software to be installed.
It is the best choice for people with big hands. But because of its size, some may find it a bit bulky. It has 16-character buffer made for those typing dashers.
What we truly love about this product is the Microban antimicrobial protection. When we first read about the antimicrobial protection feature of this keyboard, we thought it was just one of those promotional gimmicks. The keyboard actually doesn’t get dirty as much as the other keyboards tested.
What We Don't Like
- It is quite bulky.
- It does not have a kickstand.
Why We Need An Ergonomic Keyboard
Standard keyboards cause injury to our hands because they force our wrists to bend and hands pull closer. When typing, our hands are in a bent position, causing repetitive stress injury on our wrists.
The elbows are also bent. In theory, ergonomic keyboards require less movements and angling of the fingers and the hands.
According to the Cornell University Ergonomics, the ideal typing position is when the keyboard is located below the elbow height and tilted away from the user. In this position, the elbows, arms, shoulder and neck are relaxed.
The lower back must also be resting against the chair for lumbar support. The feet must also be on the floor. This position will not only relax the body but will also promote blood circulation.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
In a Cornell research study, it was found that the repeated wrist extensions pose too much pressure on the median nerve. This would impair nerve function and later on may cause injuries such as the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS).
The Carpal Tunnel Syndrome takes place when the median nerve is squeezed or pressed at the wrists. The thickening and swelling of the carpal tunnel causes the nerves to be compressed.
This causes weakness, tingling sensation, numbness and pain both in the hands and wrists. It is caused by a myriad of reasons.
However, research suggests that there has been a steady rise of individuals affected by this condition. Those individuals engaged in fields with constant and repetitive hand use are most affected.
The syndrome can be treated surgically or non-surgically. For earlier stages, affected individuals are only advised to avoid strenuous work.
Splints can also be placed on the hands during nighttime. For more serious cases, surgery is recommended.
For office workers, investing in a good ergonomic keyboard is one of the ways to avoid developing the carpal tunnel syndrome. But what should you be looking for in an ergonomic keyboard?
Choosing the Best Ergonomic Keyboard for You
The following are some of the factors to consider when purchasing an ergonomic keyboard:
1. Design of the keyboard
Experts recommend that the best ergonomic design is the split type because it puts the hand and wrists at the most natural position. The ultimate goal is to have your hands in a straight position, your wrists are not be bent, and elbows are straight.
The elevated rest should be used to rest the wrists and the meaty part of the hand. Look for a keyboard with adjustable tilt and height. This way, you could adjust the keyboard to the right level according to the way you sit.
2. Responsive and clicky keys
Look for a keyboard with responsive and clicky keys. Some ergonomic keyboards may have hard keys. This would not be an ideal keyboard because it would make you just press harder on the keys.
Look for a keyboard that would also not be too ‘loud’. We all hate the clacking typing sounds a keyboard makes.
3. Compatibility with hardware of your device.
The compatibility of a keyboard to the device is also a very important aspect. Determine whether or not the keyboard is compatible with your device. Compatibility issues are more of a problem with wireless keyboards.
Before purchasing a keyboard, or any computer accessory for that matter, take note of its compatibility with your device.
4. Size of the keyboard
You also have to take into consideration how the keyboard would fit into your workstation. Ergonomic keyboards are often larger and bulkier than the standard keyboards.
5. Other Considerations
Aside from the aforementioned factors, the following features are also important in an ergonomic keyboard:
Look for an ergonomic keyboard which has customizable hotkeys.
The shape and size of the keys is also an important factor to consider. Check if the shape and size of the keys are right for the size of your hand.
How much force do you need to type in the keyboard? This force is called the actuation force. Do you have to exert a lot of effort for the key to be recognized? If a keyboard requires you to use a lot of effort to type, then it is not the one for you. According to experts, actuation force should only be around 45 to 60 grams.
Backlighted keys are now also a popular feature. This would be a handy feature to those who work late at night.
Because of the unconventional design, ergonomic keyboards may take a little getting used to. Look for a keyboard that you feel you can get used to easily.
Also look for a keyboard with a good tactile feel and resistance.
Screens and keyboards have become an important part of our lives. There is no denying that they are really of great help. However, we might unknowingly be adversely affected with the constant use of such devices.
In this review, we declare the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard for Business as the winner. It has an elegant and flawless split design. The keys have a good tactile feel.
There is also minimal actuation force needed. Furthermore, typing on it is pretty quiet. It also works on most devices. It costs half the price of the leading ergonomic keyboards on the market.
If you have to do a lot of typing, purchasing a good ergonomic keyboard is a good investment. It will save you the money for treatment of muscle strains and repetitive stress injuries.