Switching from a conventional to an ergonomic keyboard is, quite frankly, a bit of a leap. It can take several weeks to reacquire the muscle memory needed to type quickly on one, whether you buy a curved unibody model or a two-piece split keyboard. Aside from a couple of notable exceptions, ergo keyboards also tend to be considerably more expensive than the average office-focused model.
If you regularly spend extended periods of time typing away at your keyboard, you could be at risk of injury. Using a standard keyboard puts your wrists and hands at an unnatural position that can lead to chronic pain — even in your back and neck.
While ergonomic keyboards can’t cure wrist problems, they can certainly help prevent them. If you expect to be at a computer keyboard for more than 30 minutes each day over the long-term, do your hands a favor, and pick out a solid ergonomic keyboard. Your fingers will thank you for it.
To buy an ergonomic keyboard now, see our top picks. Read on to learn more about ergonomic keyboards and best practices.
Do ergonomic keyboards really help?
They aren’t a blanket solution for preventing wrist problems, but on an individual basis, they can help reduce strain for some users. Don’t buy an ergonomic keyboard expecting it to be the perfect answer — instead, talk to your doctor if you have long-term typing pain, and always try out an ergonomic design before you buy it. If it makes your wrists feel better, it’s a good purchase.
Ergonomic Keyboards Features
In order to stand out from the crowd, most ergonomic keyboards include additional features, which may or may not be useful to you. They often add to the price, so it’s good to only buy ones with features you want.
- Wireless connectivity: A wireless keyboard can go a long way toward keeping your workspace clutter-free. Most wireless keyboards connect to your computer using an included USB adapter that attaches to an available USB port. Other ergonomic keyboards feature Bluetooth connectivity, which can really make a difference if you don’t have an available USB port.
- Backlit keys: Some ergonomic keyboards include backlighting, which makes the keys light up in one or more colors. Backlit keyboards can be handy for poorly lit environments, and many computer gamers enjoy customizing their keyboard backlighting to match the rest of their gaming equipment.
- Dedicated function buttons: Most ergonomic keyboards include their own buttons in addition to the standard keys on the keyboard. These buttons are typically dedicated to a single task – for example, some have Volume Up and Volume Down buttons to make it easier to make audio adjustments, or a Print button to send whatever is on screen to your printer.
Before buying an ergonomic keyboard, consider these tips:
- Test your keyboard for actual ergonomic benefits. There are no official standards for classifying keyboards as “ergonomic,” which means that for some keyboards it’s simply a marketing term. Once you’ve purchased an ergonomic keyboard, as you try it out, pay attention to how your wrists and hands respond.
- Remember that ergonomic keyboards are a preventative measure and not a standalone solution for wrist problems. Ergonomic keyboards are intended to reduce the wear and tear on your hands, and are not a form of physical therapy or rehabilitation.
- Give yourself time to adjust. Most ergonomic keyboards are a little bit funny feeling at first and can take some getting used to. Whether it’s acclimating to non-uniform keys, getting your wrists accustomed to having a pad to rest on, or just remembering where all of the non-standard keys are, getting a new keyboard can tough.
- Get a can of compressed air and a vacuum. Most ergonomic keyboards have bigger nooks and crannies than typical keyboards, and that means there’s a lot more room for dust, crumbs, hair, and dirt to slip through the cracks.
What to Look for in an Ergonomic Keyboard
- Usage – Where will you be using this keyboard? Is it mostly for personal use, or will you take it to the office? Do you need an ergonomic keyboard made specifically with gamers in mind? While you can use a keyboard for multiple purposes, you may enjoy customizing which one you buy based on how you’re going to use it the most.
- Mac vs. PC – Do you have a Mac or a PC? While it seems like keyboards should be usable with both, that’s not always the case. You need to make sure whatever keyboard you buy is compatible with your system (this is usually a bigger problem for Macs rather than PCs).
- Keyboard size – Do you need a full-size keyboard, complete with a number pad? If you’re inputting a lot of numbers, you probably find the number pad vital. But if you’re used to typing on a laptop, it’s likely you barely use it.
10 Best Ergonomic Keyboards of 2021:
Most ergonomic keyboards work by setting up the keys so that your wrists are positioned more comfortably and your fingers rest on the keys in a more natural way. Our top pick, the Microsoft Sculpt, takes this a bit further.
It solves the problem of wrist alignment and finger positioning with its curved design, cushioned palm rest, and wave-like vertical shape. The Sculpt then adds a third dimension that many other ergonomic keyboards lack: wrist rotation.
Rather than just positioning your wrists at a more natural angle, the Sculpt’s domed shape also raises the keys in such a manner that your wrists are rotated slightly outwards and not simply lying “flat” on top of the keyboard. This relieves pressure on the ulnar nerves, preventing discomfort as well as other more serious long-term problems like ulnar deviation that can occur when the wrist is forced into unnatural angles for extended periods of time.
Along with this three-factor ergonomic design, the Microsoft Sculpt boasts an attractive look and comes with a separate number pad. Having the number pad separate from the rest of the keyboard is useful for data entry tasks, as you can move it around and place it where it’s most comfortable for you.
- Cushioned palm rest
- Curved split-key shape aligns wrists more naturally
- Sleek modern aesthetics
- Not too expensive
- Lacks an Fn key
- F-keys are small buttons rather than actual keys
This latest ergonomic workhorse from Logitech has pulled out all the stops. Featuring much of the tech used in their vaunted wireless MX Keys keyboard, the MX Ergo K860 looks set to become the front runner for wireless workplace keyboards. The split layout of this particular keyboard can present a slight learning curve for users who aren’t fluent touch-typists but is easily one of the most comfortable, and sleek keyboards available.
The keyboard has both Bluetooth and 2.4Ghz connectivity for either Windows or Mac OS, and can reportedly operate for up to 2 years on just a single pair of AAA batteries. The long battery life is certainly a plus, but the lack of backlighting is a bit of a drag.
The K860 features an integrated wrist rest that is among one of the most comfortable we’ve used. While it does provide excellent support and is something of a necessity with ergonomic keyboards, the inability to separate the wrist rest from the keyboard itself could present a problem if it ever wears out, forcing you to buy a new unit altogether.
The price may be a bit steep, but wireless connectivity and extensive battery life make this ergonomic keyboard one of the best wrist-friendly options available.
- Excellent ergonomic design
- Awesome battery life
- Wrist rest is second to none
- No backlighting
- A bit pricey
Many people assume that only those with Carpal Tunnel or some other injury should be using ergonomic keyboards, but that is far from the truth. It is commonly known that prevention is better than cure and as such, joining the ergonomic keyboard bandwagon early in the game could save you from worlds of pain. If you are in the market for something effective and efficient, the Logitech K350 2.4Ghz Wireless Keyboard is right up that alley.
This wireless keyboard comes with a wave design that is fitted with a Constant Curve layout; so, since your fingers vary in length, this keyboard is designed to support the varied length of your fingers. With this much-needed feature, your hands will be placed in the most suitable position so as to avoid any long-term complications.
But that is not nearly everything that this wireless ergonomic keyboard has to offer. It also comes with a cushioned palm rest that helps to position your hands comfortably on your keyboard. This well-thought-out space is not only meant to be used while you are typing, but it is also a great place to rest your palms while you are not typing. This can go a long way in making your work process a lot easier and more fun. Even more for your comfort, you have the option of adjusting the height of your keyboard to the point that it feels most suitable for you and there are three options for you to pick from.
- It is easy to use
- Makes minimal noise
- The position of the keys is very comfortable
- It is not durable (with no extended warranty)
- The keyboard sags in the center when the palms are rested on it
The best ergonomic wired keyboard we’ve tested is the Kinesis Freestyle Edge RGB. This mechanical TenKeyLess model is an outstanding choice for gamers thanks to its light and responsive feel. It has a sturdy build that doesn’t show any signs of flex, and the stable keycaps are an improvement over the Kinesis Freestyle Pro. Each key is backlit, and you can control the brightness of the RGB lighting directly on the board.
The model we tested uses Cherry MX Brown switches, which offer small tactile feedback over a small bump. If you don’t like the feeling of Brown switches, you can also get it with Cherry MX linear Red, clicky Blue, or linear Speed Silver switches. Typing quality is great overall, plus the split design and plushy wrist rest allow for a very comfortable typing experience. It’s also compatible with the RGB SmartSet software, which allows you to program macros and customize the RGB backlighting.
Unfortunately, due to the unconventional split design, typing may feel awkward at first. Also, there are no incline settings, but you can buy a ‘Lift Kit’ separately if you want to adjust the height. Also, while all of its keys work on Windows and Linux, the Pause Break key doesn’t work on macOS.
- The keys are very pleasant to type on
- Reduces fatigue
- It is durable
- It does not come with any built-in stands
- There are no extra USB ports
5. ErgoDox EZ
If you want the most adjustable and customizable ergonomic keyboard and don’t mind paying more and dealing with a steeper learning curve, we recommend the ErgoDox EZ.
It meets all of our ergonomic criteria: responsive keys with great feedback, a fully split design, and support for both tenting and negative tilting. It’s available with 12 different switch types, including Cherry MX Browns—you can even swap out the switches yourself without a soldering iron. But the unique layout takes more time, effort, and patience to get used to, even with the convenient configuration options.
The little legs on the ErgoDox are infinitely adjustable to any angle—for both tenting and negative tilting—so you can set this keyboard up exactly to fit your posture needs. It takes experimenting to get the angle just so, but once you do, you might feel like this keyboard was built for you.
- High quality Cherry mechanical switches
- Excellent backlighting
- 8 programmable macro keys
- Angle cannot be adjusted
- Angle cannot be adjusted
The Kinesis Advantage two is the first keyboard on our list that might look truly foreign to some people. The keys feature a wide split layout and are recessed into a deep keywell. This allowed Kinesis to integrate a considerable curvature into each side of the keys which helps angle your hands into a more neutral position.
While this layout is objectively better from an ergonomic perspective, it can certainly take some getting used to. Most people experience a significant reduction in typing speed when they first adopt this keyboard, but can get back to their former speed after a week or so of regular use.
As we mentioned with the first keyboard we looked at from Kinesis, they seem to be the only ones using high-quality mechanical switches from Cherry in their designs. This particular model comes with several options including either Cherry MX brown or red switches, and either standard QWERTY or the more unique Dvorak layout that puts the most commonly used keys into the home row.
- Highly ergonomic design
- Quality mechanical switches
- Significant learning curve
- Very expensive
If you’re looking for the most ergonomic keyboard possible that completely eliminates all of the negative posture effects of typing, then this is the keyboard for you. The Safetype keyboard takes the split keyboard design to the extreme and puts the two halves of your keyboard completely vertical.
This orientation entirely eliminates extension, deviation, and pronation at the cost of taking quite a while to learn to use. In this position you cannot see the keys you are typing on easily, which is why it comes with mirrors that let you see where you hands are. You know you’ve reached the peak of usability when your keyboard comes equipped with rear view mirrors.
For most people it can take a couple of weeks to a month to adjust to this keyboard, but you will regain most of your typing speed by the time you’ve gotten used to it. If you have a nagging repetitive strain injury, then this could really help you out.
Despite the steep price and initially awkward layout, you’ll find very few people online saying they didn’t get their money’s worth from this keyboard, or that it didn’t help with their wrists and tendons. In fact, this is a great keyboard for those who have just had a shoulder surgery or other surgeries that interfere with typing and posture.
- As ergonomic as possible
- Long learning period
- Very expensive
It uses Logitech’s unique constant curve layout to make hitting the keys more comfortable. Standard keyboards don’t recognize the fact that all your fingers are different lengths and that the reach of your middle finger and your pinky are very different (does anyone actually use their pinky to hit the delete button anymore?).
This keyboard waves the keys to fit with the natural differentiation of your fingers. There is also a nice padded palm rest for when it is time for a break.
The leg height of the keyboard is adjustable so you can tailor it to your needs. You can also use the caps lock to switch a variety of keys, which is ideal if you use a lot of complex functions. There is no set up when using Windows, just plug in the USB and go. However, it is not Mac compatible.
- Waved keyboard design
- Padded palm rest
- Long battery life
- Not fully compatible with Macs
- Loud while typing
Considering how thin and sleek it is, the MoKo keyboard’s size alone could likely qualify it as the most portable on this list. But when you factor in that this ergonomic keyboard is foldable, things look even better.
Weighing only 6.2 ounces and sporting dimensions of 6.2″ x 4″ (with an unbelievable thickness of only half an inch), the tech accessory feels more like a Kindle than a full-sized keyboard when stowed in your bag. It connects via Bluetooth and is laid out into two key sections to support the standard two-hand ergonomic feel.
The 110 mAh rechargeable lithium-ion battery takes about two hours to charge, but that’ll give you up to 30 days of standby time and 40 hours of continuous type time. The company also promises about a 3 million keystroke lifespan, so this keyboard will be kicking for a while. To round out its collection of neat features, this intuitive gadget automatically powers on and off just by opening and closing it.
- Compact, without sacrificing functionality
- Clever, intuitive design
- Dense key placement leads to typing errors
- Limits typing speed
It really does not matter how many minutes, hours, or even days you spend clacking away at the keys of your computer, an ergonomic keyboard is something every individual and business should aim to own. Provide yourself with all the equipment you need to make your work easier as well as to prevent complications that may arise. The Perixx PERIBOARD-512 Ergonomic Split Keyboard is a great option for you, whether you are an extreme typist or not.
With its split key, 3D curve design, this natural keyboard conforms to your natural arm for the most comfortable typing position. It is also fitted with an integrated palm rest design that supports your wrists with a split key design to correct your work posture altogether. This will naturally prompt you to adopt a straighter posture rather than bending your wrists to the side as you type.
This product has been tried and tested by a large chunk of customers suffering from repetitive strain injuries who have come back to report a reduction in muscle stress and a more comfortable typing experience. Some of this can be credited to the integrated palm rest on this device that helps users to explore it more effectively and in a way that doesn’t add unnecessary stress on the muscles.
- Keystrokes are quiet
- It is comfortable
- The keys are quite sturdy
- Not compatible with MAC OS
- It takes a while to adjust to the shape