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If you type a lot or play videogames extensively on your PC, there’s a chance you’ve suffered from some form of discomfort in your hands, wrists, palm, and/or fingers. A great solution to this problem is investing in a viable ergonomic keyboard, which is specifically designed to minimize the stress your hands’ experience during extensive typing or gaming hours.
Best Ergonomic Keyboards Reviewed
There are a lot of options on the market for those looking for an ergonomic keyboard, but not all of the choices are equal. Making an ergonomic keyboard is a design challenge, and as a result, many manufacturers make quirky decisions that can render an otherwise great concept completely unusable.
We’ve filtered things for you and have reviewed the 4 best ergonomic keyboards on the market right now. Before that, it’s important to know what makes a great ergonomic keyboard, and what to consider when purchasing one.
Ergonomic Keyboard Buyer’s Guide
Normally, when you think of ergonomic keyboards, you think of the split design type that separates the keyboard into two, either with a giant space of plastic containing nothing in the middle of an actual physical separation.
Truth is, there are multiple types of ergonomic keyboards. The most popular ones are the arced type, made famous by Microsoft. The arc can be either vertical or horizontal, or both. Generally, the purpose of the arc is to have a keyboard that caters to the most natural position of your fingers, hands, palms, wrists, and forearms as possible. This way, your fingers don’t have to be constantly in an awkward position, and your wrists don’t bear the brunt of the weight.
There are also ergonomic keyboards that have a very standard design but are split into two. These keyboards offer the user to align the two halves according to the shape of their hands and comfort.
Finally, there are ergonomic keyboards that have a very standard setup but have a very elaborate solution to the palm and wrist rest so you don’t constantly have your wrists on a hard surface.
Although the layout of the keys and the design of the keyboard are the main focus for manufacturers designing ergonomic keyboards, one of the underrated parts is the switch design. While typing, your fingers will be doing the bulk of the work, particularly your fingertips.
To ensure a comfortable feel, there have been countless solutions on the market. Softer, longer travels, for example, are easy on the fingers and require little force to press. Other solutions on offer on ergonomic keyboard keycaps are an arced design that caters to the natural roundness of your fingertips.
It’s up to you to decide what type of keys and switches you require. Mechanical switches are highly popular because of their feedback, comfort to type on, and deep travel. However, there are many great membrane ergonomic keyboards available as well.
The palm and wrist rest is where most problems occur for many gamers and writers. It’s the area of the hand that takes the most load, as often it rests on hard surfaces and gets fatigued with the subtle yet constant movement of your fingers.
To address this issue, manufacturers often design comfortable palm rests that extend beyond the active area of the keyboard (the part of the keyboard that has keys). These rests are made of a variety of materials, but we find that soft material like leatherette that provides cushion is by far the best. It lets your wrists and palm sink into the cushion. Once you try it, you won’t go back to placing your wrists on a hard surface while typing.
Number Keypad – Good or Bad?
The numbers keypad can be invaluable for accountants and bookkeepers, but they’re one of the biggest culprits for wrist pain and fatigue, particularly in your right hand. If you use the numbers keypad section of your keyboard very frequently, you’ll likely face a lot of problems.
This is because the right wrist has to stretch to a very unnatural position to reach the keypad. To address this issue, many ergonomic keyboards come without a keypad and encourage buying one separately. Others, like our top pick, offer a separate numbers keypad altogether so you can keep it in the most comfortable position possible.
Finally, there’s the price. Ergonomic keyboards are thoughtfully designed, and special techniques have to be used to manufacturer some of them. Furthermore, the use of a cushion for your palm rest also adds to the cost.
On average, you should expect to pay a bit more for an ergonomic keyboard than you would for a regular one. The benefits are worth it though, so we don’t advise being skimpy. Of course, this doesn’t mean you need to be profligate with your spending. There’s no point in spending excessively on an ergonomic gaming keyboard if you’re not going to play videogames and only need one for typing, for example.
Best for Most
Your hand feels right at home even when typing with the Logitech Ergo K860, the keyboard with a curve that falls naturally under your most comfortable hand positioning.
First let us talk about how great this keyboard looks, it is amazing, the positioning of the keys is perfect. The slight curve in the middle serves two purposes, one it helps wires pass under it if you are wearing wired headphones, you do not have to move the wires around a lot. The second is that it keeps your hand in the perfectly natural posture that helps you work on it for more hours.
The wrist rest on the Ergo K860 is so comfortable, it is triple-layered so you get the maximum amount of comfort on your wrists and another feature this palm and wrist rest has is an adjustable lift. You can tilt the palm rest so your hands glide over the keys and fall over them without effort.
It is wireless, so you do not have to worry about wires with this thing, uses 2AAA batteries that can last months before you need to change them. The body is super light, made of plastic with a metal cover on top to provide support. Even though the body is made out of plastic it is still durable enough.
It is slightly expensive, but then again, when it matters, people do not compromise on comfort and it gives you a lot more than you have to pay for. This keyboard is literally certified by ergonomists for comfort.
Microsoft Surface Ergonomic Keyboard
Gorgeous Alcantara and Arced Design
The Microsoft Surface Ergonomic Keyboard is a wireless keyboard with a highly ergonomic design. This keyboard has an arced design without any split or cutout, making it a unibody setup. It is fully wireless and utilizes Bluetooth Low Energy for long-lasting battery life.
Stylish, elegant, and very comfortable, the Microsoft Surface Ergonomic Keyboard is a great addition to your existing Microsoft Surface ecosystem.
The structural and ergonomic design philosophy of the Microsoft Surface Ergonomic Keyboard is quite similar to the Microsoft Sculpt which is our top pick. There are quite a few notable differences though which increase the price of this keyboard.
Firstly, it doesn’t have the egregious cutout that can be quirky and visually unappealing for many. Secondly, its keys and palm rest are covered with Alcantara, which is what you’ll find on the Microsoft Surface Laptop as well. In our opinion, the Surface Laptop has the best keyboards you can find on a laptop for content writers and typists, so it’s obvious we’d love this Surface keyboard as well.
The Alcantara combines with the cushioned palm rest exceptionally to provide a really comfortable feel. The palm rest double-cushioned too for added wrist comfort. Alcantara is extremely durable and stain-resistant, so you won’t have to worry even if you have sweaty palms and wrists.
Furthermore, the arc design is not only stunning to look at, but it also makes the keyboard very comfortable. Microsoft keeps the keypad with this keyboard instead of splitting it from the main keys, so it’s a larger keyboard than the Sculpt.
Because of its Bluetooth 4.1 Low Energy compatibility, the keyboard consumes very little power. Using three AAA batteries, this keyboard has a rated lifespan of 12 months, which is phenomenal. The range of the keyboard is 32 feet, though we don’t expect anyone to fully utilize this range at all.
The expert build quality, great design, and emphasis on comfort make this a great buy if you’re willing to dish out around $100 for an ergonomic keyboard.
Best Mechanical Keyboard for Writers
The Mistel Barocco provides a great balance between long typing sessions and gaming with its Cherry MX Brown/Blue keys. It doesn’t have an arced design, which might make it appealing for users looking for a more traditional feel.
If you were to glue together the two pieces of the Mistel Barocco, it would turn into a regular keyboard. This is distinct from the curved and arced design of the Microsoft ergonomic keyboards. This does mean that the Mistel Barocco isn’t as ergonomically comfortable for your wrists and forearms as the Microsoft keyboards above, but it offers a few more perks that you can’t find on them.
The most obvious perk is that due to the split design, you can place the two halves anyway you like, adjusting to the shape of your wrists and forearms and their natural positions. There is an awkward cable that will run from one part to the other to electronically connect the two. It does look strange and isn’t the most elegant solution, but you’ll soon forget about it after a few minutes of use.
The biggest appeal of the Mistel Barocco though is that it offers this ergonomic split design with mechanical switches, namely the Cherry MX Brown or Blue. Cherry MX Blue has a more tactile feel and is noisy – perfect for those who want to hear satisfying clicks and need good resistive feedback. Cherry MX Brown offers a softer sensation but are still tactile, making them ideal “middle ground” switches.
The Mistel Barocco has no palm rest though, which can be a bit annoying for those who want some cushion for their wrists. Still, we think this is a great option for users who want a more traditional layout instead of the curved design of other ergonomic keyboards, and the tactile Cherry MX switches are great for gamers and writers too.
Best Ergonomic Gaming Keyboard
Game hard with the Freestyle Edge RGB Split by Kinesis Gaming that has a split design to adjust the keys to your hands, while not compromising on quality by using the best switches available.
Gamers spend hours in front of their computers on their keyboards playing games, they do not even take breaks, which is why comfort matters most to them. Keeping that in mind, the Kinesis Gaming Freestyle Edge RGB Split is designed with one of the most comfortable wrist rests we have tested in keyboards.
Now we know gamers do not compromise on quality and that is why this keyboard has a variety of Cherry MX Switches available, from brown, red, blue, and the uncommon silver for great speed. The Cherry MX Silver switches might cost you a bit extra though, so keep that in mind.
The keyboard’s split design is made with hand positioning in mind, both these are attached by a wire on the top which connects the split keyboard. With enough wire extension so that you can place your hands as you wish, the Kinesis Gaming Freestyle Edge RGB Split will help you, where other keyboards tire you out.
The RGB on the keyboard is amazing, you get various effects with per-key RGB lighting. It does fall a bit heavy on the pocket, but when you game you game hard, almost all gaming peripherals are expensive, so why not spend a little more for comfort sake and game for hours more than you are used to?