The best ergonomic keyboards look strange, but depending on how much and how often you type, they may just be the right keyboard style for you. Anyone who works in front of a computer screen knows how tiring it can get. Replacing your keyboard with an ergonomic one can go a long way in reducing overall strain on your wrists, your neck, and even your back. These designs may appear unusual, but there’s no denying the health benefits of tapping into one of the best ergonomic keyboards on the market right now.
— Best Overall: Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard for Business
— Best Wireless: Logitech ERGO K860 Wireless Ergonomic Keyboard
— Best Backlit: KINESIS GAMING Freestyle Edge
— Best Wired: Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard
— Best Budget: Logitech K350 Wireless Wave
How We Picked the Best Ergonomic Keyboards
What makes for a good ergonomic keyboard? In many ways, the rubric is not much different than shopping for a regular keyboard. Here are the aspects we took into consideration:
Ergonomics: What features make the ergonomic keyboard in question better than a regular old typing device? The deviations from the norm can be simple or complicated, subtle or in-your-face, and each of these styles has its place. But do these additions actually provide any of the health benefits that an ergonomic keyboard should provide? They better. There’s no sense in buying a specifically designed ergonomic keyboard that fails completely when it comes to ergonomics.
Size and Shape: Considering that many of these keyboards are intended for folks who do a lot of typing, they should be able to work with your current workstation, in either a professional or home office setting. A small desktop footprint is always great, and clunkier, unnecessary features are not. In general, a good ergonomic keyboard shouldn’t have to occupy more desk space than a regular one.
Wrist Rest: Just about every ergonomic keyboard comes with a wrist rest which helps turn up strain relief. But how good is the wrist rest? Is it cheaply built, the kind that cakes after continuous use? If it attracts dust or falls apart before you even get used to your new keyboard, it might as well not even be included in the ergonomic keyboard package. The best offerings will also be detachable, for further personalization.
Design: When it comes to computer tech, in many cases, good design sense means a device will work the way you want it to. Of course, as these are ergonomic keyboards we’re considering, design sense is half the battle. A sleek build almost always ensures good performance, especially as far as long-term usage is concerned.
Reliability and Responsiveness: A good ergonomic keyboard shouldn’t compromise when it comes to performance. Slapping keys should have no noticeable delay, or worse, lag. This of course is doubly important if you plan on using an ergonomic keyboard for gaming where lag times can cost you seconds, which can cost you victories on the battlefield.
Best Ergonomic Keyboards: Reviews and Recommendations
Best Overall: Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard for Business
Why It Made The Cut: An ergonomic keyboard split in two, for the best and most customizable desktop layout.
— Dimensions: 9 inches H x 16 inches W x 2.48 inches D
— Weight: 2 pounds
— Connectivity: Wireless
— Number of Buttons: 107
— Domed angle easy on the digits
— Cushioned palm rest
— Separate number pad
— Lacking some media and function keys
Occasionally, the best offering isn’t the most expensive, and the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard for Business is both great and affordable.
The strange futuristic look of the keyboard is form and function idealized. Since the keys are lifted, it keeps your hands and arms in an incredibly relaxed position. Expect your wrists to feel far more refreshed after a long day of typing compared to a regular keyboard. By splitting the keyboard in two, the ergonomics become just a little more advanced, especially considering that not everyone needs a number pad. The arc layout follows your body’s natural lines and curves in your fingertips, so you don’t have to worry about forcing any weird uncomfortable positions when typing. Better yet, the cushion palm rest provides even more support, keeping your wrist cozy all day, and free from strain should you decide to pull an all-nighter. That said, the keyboard doesn’t come without its compromises. For one, it’s lacking some dedicated media keys and the function keys row is tiny. If you don’t touch these keys too often, it’s a fair trade-off, because the value is truly one of its best features.
Best Wireless: Logitech ERGO K860 Wireless Ergonomic Keyboard
Why It Made The Cut: ERGO provides a near-perfect ergonomic keyboard experience, as long as you don’t mind that massive price tag.
— Dimensions: 9.17 inches H x 17.95 inches W x 1.89 inches D
— Weight: 2.56 pounds
— Connectivity: Wireless
— Number of Buttons: 109
— Thick pillow rest provides optimal comfort
— Adjustable palm lifts
— Built sustainably
Logitech ERGO K860 Wireless may qualify as the best ergonomic keyboard available right now, but its price point is borderline obscene for a device that doesn’t have mechanical keys. Still, depending on your budget, it may be more than worth the splurge.
Plenty of ergonomic keyboards come with wrist rests, but ERGO K860’s is thicker and better than the rest of the pack. The surface layer is a knitted fabric, which is smooth to the touch and stain-resistant. Just under that is a support layer of high-density foam for a firm feel that disperses pressure. The bulk of the wrist rest is memory foam with just the right amount of give. Plus, just under the wrist rest are palm lifts so you can try out different angles on the inspired curved keyframe. On average, you can get 54 percent more wrist support using this keyboard compared to a regular one. It’s no slouch on performance either, and you can set your watch to the effortless precision on keys with a gorgeous matt finish. And like many of Logitech’s products, it’s Climate Pledge-friendly, so you know it's manufactured sustainably.
Best Backlit: KINESIS GAMING Freestyle Edge
Why It Made The Cut: KINESIS GAMING Freestyle Edge backlit keyboard is easy on the wrists even when gaming sessions get intense.
— Dimensions: 10.3 inches H x 15.5 inches W x 1.3 inches D
— Weight: 2.8 pounds
— Connectivity: Wired USB
— Number of Buttons: 95
— Gorgeous, colorful backlighting
— Split keyset
— Four mechanical switch types to choose from
— Very pricey
Sometimes, playing on a keyboard can be as hard as working on one, especially if you’re competitive. KINESIS GAMING Freestyle Edge is great for gamers looking for a device that’s a little easier on the wrists.
This split keyboard design provides avenues for personalization, and you can keep both halves close or far apart, depending on your preferences. If you want, there’s space for a mouse between these two halves, making it perfect for first-person shooters or any game that requires steady aim. The backlighting not only provides more than 16 million colors which can be customized across 10 different lighting effects. Unlike many other ergonomic keyboards, the keys are fully mechanical and available in four popular switch types. As with any great keyboard, you can customize key inputs and save up to nine profiles on the keyboard itself. Then you can access these profiles from simple button clicks on the left side of the keyboard on the fly. And while most games are on Windows, the keyboard is also completely compatible with Mac, Linux, and even Chrome devices. The palm rests are also pretty solid and are even detachable from the device.
Best Wired: Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard
Why It Made The Cut: If you don’t mind wires, Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard is one of the most comfortable and responsive available.
— Dimensions: 10.33 inches H x 19.2 inches W x 2.39 inches S
— Weight: 2.25 pounds
— Connectivity: Wired USB
— Number of Buttons: 126
— Premium fabric wrist rest
— Built-in shortcuts
— Great speed and accuracy
Nothing beats the response and reliability of a wired keyboard, and this Microsoft offering packs serious ergonomic comfort.
It’s built to use for hours on end with minimal discomfort. The wrist rest provides support to both your wrist and your palms to help keep your hands in a natural posture and minimize short- and long-term damage. Its slightly curved design further bumps the ergonomics up a notch. As with any great keyboard, there are plenty of built-in shortcuts with dedicated keys that work great with Microsoft Office 365, access search bars, adjust media controls, and even swipe through popular emojis. An integral number pad makes this a productivity workhorse, with the kind of speed and accuracy you can typically depend on with a wired keyboard. Just make sure that you have the space to dedicate to it on your desktop. This wireless keyboard is huge, even by ergonomic keyboard standards.
Best Budget: Logitech K350 Wireless Wave
Why It Made The Cut: It’s not much to look at, but the Logitech K350 Wireless Wave is likely easier on your wrists than your average keyboard.
— Dimensions: 10.44 inches L x 19.69 inches x 3.09 inches H
— Weight: 2.2 pounds
— Connectivity: Wired USB
— Number of Buttons: 120
— Curved layout provides some support
— Dedicated media keys
— Bulky build
— Out-of-date aesthetics
Logitech K350 Wireless Wave is a great entry point for those looking to see what an ergonomic keyboard can do for their health.
The name is incredibly apt here. Its wave-shaped form works with the size and shape of your fingers so you don’t have to strain to reach keys. It works in conjunction with a breathable palm rest, so your hands don’t wear out after long typing sessions. The palm rest also helps position your hands in such a way that’s far more comfortable than usual. Like many keyboards at this price point, it does run on batteries. However, you can expect up to three years of life on two AAA batteries. There are even adjustable legs on the back should you need a lift, or if you type better at an angle. That said, the keyboard was made in 2004. It’s also one of the bulkier models on the market. However, considering it’s pretty reliable, has dedicated media keys, fairly good ergonomics, and has a tiny price tag, it still qualifies as one of the best ergonomic keyboards. Besides, looks are fairly relative.
Things to Consider Before Buying an Ergonomic Keyboard
Benefits of an Ergonomic Keyboard
Do ergonomic keyboards really work? For the most part, yes, so long as you don’t expect these keyboards to perform miracles. Like many things built to relieve strain, there are simply too many variables for all experiences to be good ones, but in general, ergonomic keyboards provide some serious health benefits if you do a lot of typing. Here are a few of them.
— Better Posture: Take a quick moment to consider how you’re sitting right now. There’s a good chance you’re hunched over like Quasimodo about to ring out the bells. You can’t help it, after all, posture isn’t just about how you position your back. Arms, shoulders, and even your wrists and hands all play their part in getting you to sit up straighter. An ergonomic keyboard doesn’t force your fingers, palms, and wrists into positions they’re not naturally in, so in turn, you can expect at least some relief on your back. Of course, this may take some practice to get your posture correct and keep it correct for hours. It helps if you spend at least some of your typing sessions on your feet.
— Easier on the Wrist: Any ergonomic keyboard worth its salt comes with a solid wrist rest for you to park the back of your palms, and of course, your wrists. The best ones provide a little gravity on the keyboard, so your forearms are just above the keyboard. This makes typing easier, and a little lighter on your wrists and even your digits. Doing this also makes it so you don’t bend your wrist as much, which also adds up to less strain to contend with once you’re done typing. This includes reducing the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome too, which may be worth the price of admission alone.
— Productivity Bump: In general, the easier activity is, the longer you’ll be able to do it. Using an ergonomic keyboard may mean that you can type for hours on end without having to take a Bengay break. And once you’re used to it, the reduced strain may also bump up your WPM a bit too.
Pratfalls of an Ergonomic Keyboard
Despite the countless benefits, ergonomic keyboards may not be right for everyone. Aside from their typically muted design, there are other reasons you may not want to replace your regular or mechanical keyboard with an ergonomic one. Here are some things to consider
— Price: The parts inside an ergonomic keyboard are usually the same ones you find in a standard keyboard. Ergonomic keyboards just arrange keys a little differently to make them easier on the wrists, arms, and back. That said, many of the better ergonomic keyboards come with higher price tags. Both the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard for Business and the Logitech ERGO K860 Wireless Ergonomic Keyboard, two of our best picks, require at least a modest investment. And these are plain old keyboards, not mechanical. For a mechanical offering like the KINESIS GAMING Freestyle Edge, you can expect to drop more cash.
— Learning Curve: If you took a typing class in high school, it’s likely that you haven’t deviated too far from the typical QWERTY layout on every keyboard since then. Even on laptops, keyboards are more or less the same. Throw ergonomics into the mix and the experience can feel almost brand new. If you’re a fast typer now, there’s a good chance you’ll face an adjustment period until you grow those ergonomic keyboard callouses. This may be enough to turn you off immediately. Granted, once the muscle memory is in place, you may get a speed boost in your typing. Life’s all about tradeoffs.
— Key Placement: Relearning typing is one thing, but considering that keys can sometimes be placed in wildly different places on an ergonomic keyboard, it may be impossible for some to adjust. Gamers, for instance, swear by the near-universal WASD control scheme, which may not translate on to other keys. Of course, higher-end ergonomic keyboards like KINESIS GAMING Freestyle Edge let you remap buttons at will.
Alternatives to an Ergonomic Keyboard
Despite the clear health benefits, you may already have a keyboard you own and adore, especially if you’re a gamer. Some hardcore keyboard fanatics even take their keyboards to the office, saving profiles on them for both work and play applications. Aside from buying an ergonomic keyboard, there are ways to set up your current workstation more ergonomically. Here are a couple of accessories that may help relieve strain.
— Wrist Rest: Adding a wrist rest to the keyboard you already own helps reduce strain almost immediately. If you’re not currently using one, it’s one of the easiest, not to mention, most affordable ways to relieve strain during hours of typing. There are plenty of options available, but we recommend the Razer Ergonomic Wrist Rest Pro, because of its innovative cooling gel center.
— Keyboard Stand: An easy way to make a keyboard more ergonomic is to get it closer to your fingers. Some keyboards come with built-in lifts, and using them in conjunction with a wrist rest will pay off almost instantly. If your computer doesn’t have one, we recommend the ESC Flip Pro, which fits plenty of popular keyboards out there. Its minimalist design and near-universal compatibility make this a pretty fantastic ergonomic accessory.
Along with these accessories, you can give your keyboard an ergonomic boost by taking into consideration where it lives on your desktop. Make sure the keyboard is placed right in front of you, at elbow height, and as near the edge of the desktop as possible. This may require you to play with your desktop layout or the height of the chair you sit in while typing to get right. For more information on ideal workstation keyboard ergonomics, consult this guide made by Posturite, a leading workplace ergonomics company.
Q: Which keyboard is most ergonomic?
The most ergonomic keyboard for the price is Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard for Business, but the Logitech ERGO K860 Wireless Ergonomic Keyboard provides even more if you don’t mind the massive investment.
Q: Are ergonomic keyboards really better?
Ergonomic keyboards may provide some relief, but no matter what keyboard you use, you can expect at least a few adverse effects on your overall wrist and arm health, especially in the long run. An ergonomic keyboard will help, but will not treat chronic conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
Q: Are low-profile keyboards more ergonomic?
Because smaller keyboards make it so you don’t have to constantly reach for keys, they are typically more ergonomic than full-sized keyboards.
Q: How much do ergonomic keyboards cost?
The cost of an ergonomic keyboard runs anywhere from $30 to a few hundred dollars. Our Best Budget offering, the Logitech K350 Wireless Wave is the most affordable device featured here, with the KINESIS GAMING Freestyle Edge being one of the priciest on the market right now.
Q: What is the best ergonomic keyboard?
The best ergonomic keyboard is the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard for Business for its competitive price point and excellent ergonomic design.
Q: Can I use an ergonomic keyboard with a Mac?
Yes. Plenty of ergonomic keyboards are fully compatible with Mac desktops and laptops including the KINESIS GAMING Freestyle Edge and Logitech ERGO K860 Wireless Ergonomic Keyboard.
Final Thoughts on Ergonomic Keyboards
Does wrist pain have you looking at your keyboard like it’s a torture device? The relationship with your computer accessory doesn’t have to be a complicated one with one of the best ergonomic keyboards. Our overall favorite, the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard for Business, is affordable enough and comes with serious strain-free features including its inspired design and low-profile build. Gamers and backlight fans will be at home with the KINESIS GAMING Freestyle Edge which is as premium as ergonomic keyboards come. For a good entry point, Logitech K350 Wireless Wave is a steal and should provide some serious support.
This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.