Typing on a keyboard can be physically uncomfortable and hard. Some people find it uncomfortable to bend their wrists when using conventional, straight keyboards, especially when using them for a long period of time.
Fortunately, a lot of manufacturers are taking risks and trying new things to make typing more comfortable. These keyboards might be just what you’re looking for, even though they look unusual and require some getting used to. To assist you in selecting the ideal alternative for your needs, we take into account a keyboard’s size and profile, incline settings, wrist rest, general comfort level, and pricing.
Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard
An ergonomic mechanical keyboard is a specialized type of keyboard designed to provide a more comfortable and natural typing experience, reducing the risk of strain and discomfort associated with prolonged keyboard use. These keyboards are engineered with ergonomic principles in mind, aiming to minimize the physical stress on the hands, wrists, and arms of users.
Key features of ergonomic mechanical keyboards may include:
- Split Design: Most ergonomic keyboards have a split or separated layout, where the keyboard is divided into two halves. This allows users to position their hands in a more natural and relaxed position, reducing the need for extreme wrist and arm extension.
- Tenting: Some ergonomic keyboards offer tenting options, allowing users to angle the keyboard halves upward and outward, mimicking a more natural hand position. Tenting helps reduce wrist strain and maintain a more neutral wrist posture.
- Palm and Wrist Rests: Many ergonomic keyboards come with integrated palm and wrist rests to support the wrists and promote a comfortable typing angle. These rests can help prevent wrist extension and improve overall typing comfort.
- Mechanical Key Switches: Ergonomic mechanical keyboards often feature mechanical key switches, which provide a tactile and responsive typing experience. Users can choose from various switch types based on their preferences, including clicky, tactile, or linear switches.
- Customizable Layouts: Some ergonomic keyboards allow users to customize the key layout, key remapping, and even the shape and size of keycaps to cater to individual needs and typing preferences.
- Programmable Keys: Many ergonomic keyboards have programmable keys or macro support, enabling users to create shortcuts and streamline their workflow.
- Wireless Options: Some ergonomic keyboards are wireless, offering flexibility in terms of placement and reducing cable clutter on the desk.
Ergonomic mechanical keyboards are often favored by professionals, programmers, and individuals who spend extended periods typing and want to minimize the risk of repetitive strain injuries (RSI) or carpal tunnel syndrome. While they may come at a higher price point than standard keyboards, the ergonomic benefits they provide can make them a worthwhile investment for those who prioritize comfort and health during their work or gaming sessions.
7 Best Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard
The Logitech ERGO K860 stands out as an excellent choice for the best ergonomic keyboard. It excels in various categories, with high scores for office use, programming, and exceptional ergonomics. The keyboard’s design includes a plush wrist rest and a wave-like shape, creating separate key clusters for each hand. This innovative design aligns hands, wrists, and elbows neutrally, promoting comfort during extended typing sessions.
Despite its plastic construction, the Logitech ERGO K860 feels robust and of high quality. The switches are light, making typing effortless and reducing finger fatigue. Additionally, the keyboard operates quietly, ensuring a disturbance-free environment in shared spaces. Its wireless connectivity options, including Bluetooth and a USB receiver, enhance flexibility and convenience for users. Overall, the Logitech ERGO K860 is a top recommendation for those prioritizing ergonomic features in a keyboard.
The Logitech K350 stands out as the best budget ergonomic keyboard, combining affordability with solid performance. As one of Logitech’s earlier designs and an earlier version of the Logitech Wave Keys, it offers a compelling option for those new to ergonomic keyboards or seeking a more budget-friendly choice.
Despite its age, the Logitech K350’s design features curved rows of keys and a wave-like shape that raises slightly in the middle. This configuration ensures a more neutral and comfortable wrist position during extended typing sessions. The integrated wrist rest further enhances comfort and support.
While the keyboard’s sizeable integrated wrist rest may occupy a significant amount of space, it provides added support for users. However, it lacks Bluetooth connectivity, unlike its newer successor, the Logitech Wave Keys. Despite this limitation, the Logitech K350 boasts dedicated extra keys, including media keys, making it a feature-rich and cost-effective option, especially when priced around $35.
The Matias Ergo Pro stands out as a split keyboard featuring Matias Quiet Click mechanical switches, providing users with a comfortable and quieter typing experience. Its ergonomic split design allows users to position the two halves according to their natural hand and shoulder width, aiming to reduce strain and enhance overall typing comfort.
The fully programmable nature of the Ergo Pro enables users to customize key mappings, macros, and functions, supporting efficient workflows and personalized configurations. Additional features include integrated tenting and negative incline for ergonomic adjustments, dedicated multimedia controls, a separate function row, and a built-in USB hub to reduce cable clutter.
While the split design may pose a learning curve, and the keyboard is considered bulky with a higher price point, the Matias Ergo Pro caters to those prioritizing comfort, quiet switches, and customization, making it a suitable choice for users valuing ergonomic features and a quieter typing experience.
The MoErgo Glove80 stands out as the top choice for ergonomic enthusiasts and those seeking a customizable split keyboard. It excels in various categories, making it the best split keyboard we’ve tested. Boasting versatile ergonomics, this keyboard features a split design with dedicated thumb clusters, a detachable wrist rest, and a concave key well with a columnar key layout.
The design aims to minimize the distance fingers need to travel while typing, ultimately reducing strain and fatigue. Its wireless connectivity, supported by Bluetooth, allows the two halves to be paired simultaneously with up to four devices, providing flexibility for different setups.
Furthermore, users can take advantage of customization options offered by the ZMK firmware and MoErgo’s web-based layout editor, allowing for personalized layouts and complex macro recording. While it comes at a higher price point, the MoErgo Glove80 stands as a standout option for true ergonomics devotees.
The Logitech Wave Keys is our recommendation as a mid-range ergonomic keyboard, excelling in various categories. With commendable scores for office use, programming, and exceptional ergonomics, this keyboard is an excellent choice for users seeking a balance between features and affordability.
Featuring a compact design with a smaller footprint than other options, the Logitech Wave Keys retains all the essential keys of a full-size keyboard, resembling the Logitech ERGO K860. Its curved key layout, though not as radical as a split key cluster, provides a neutral typing posture and minimizes the need for steep wrist angles.
The integrated wrist rest adds to its comfort, although it makes the keyboard less portable. However, the wireless connectivity options, including a USB receiver and Bluetooth compatibility for up to three devices, enhance versatility for users on the move. While its compact design may take some adjustment, the Logitech Wave Keys is a versatile choice suitable for various environments, such as home or shared office.
The Kinesis Advantage2 is a renowned ergonomic keyboard celebrated for its distinctive design aimed at reducing strain and discomfort. Featuring a unique concave key well and contoured key layout, it promotes a more comfortable typing experience, potentially minimizing the risk of repetitive strain injuries.
The split keyboard design encourages a neutral hand position, with mechanical key switches providing a tactile and responsive typing feel. Customizable key remapping through the SmartSet Programming Engine allows personalized configurations, and additional features like thumb clusters, integrated palm supports, and adjustable angles enhance ergonomic comfort. Despite a learning curve and bulkier design, the Advantage2 caters to those prioritizing ergonomic considerations, offering efficiency and comfort for extended typing sessions, though it may not be the ideal choice for gaming.
7. ErgoDox EZ
The ErgoDox EZ stands out as a customizable split keyboard, offering a high degree of personalization with options for mechanical switches, keycap materials, and layout preferences. Its ergonomic split design accommodates natural hand and shoulder widths, aiming to minimize strain and enhance typing comfort.
The keyboard’s fully programmable nature allows users to customize key mappings, macros, and layers for efficient workflows. Additional features include customizable RGB backlighting, hot-swappable switches for experimentation, thumb clusters for alternative input, and integrated tenting and negative incline for ergonomic adjustments. While the unique layout presents a learning curve and the device is considered bulky, the ErgoDox EZ caters to enthusiasts prioritizing comfort and customization, making it a premium choice for those seeking a personalized and ergonomic typing experience.
How to choose the best ergonomic mechanical keyboard?
Choosing the right ergonomic mechanical keyboard involves considering various factors to ensure that the keyboard meets your individual needs and preferences. Here are some steps to help you make an informed decision:
- Determine Your Needs: Consider your specific requirements and use cases. Are you a typist, programmer, gamer, or a combination of these? Your needs will influence the keyboard features you prioritize.
- Understand Ergonomic Features: Familiarize yourself with common ergonomic keyboard features such as split design, tenting, and palm/wrist rests. Decide which features are most important to you.
- Switch Type: Mechanical keyboards offer a variety of switch types, each with its feel and sound. Experiment with different switch types to find the one that suits your typing style and comfort level.
- Key Layout: Decide on your preferred key layout. Most ergonomic keyboards use a standard QWERTY layout, but some offer alternative layouts like Dvorak or Colemak. Choose the layout that you’re most comfortable with.
- Customization: Look for keyboards that offer customization options, such as programmable keys, keycap replacement, and layout adjustments. Customization can help you tailor the keyboard to your exact needs.
- Size and Form Factor: Consider the size and form factor of the keyboard. Some ergonomic keyboards are compact, while others are full-sized. Choose one that fits your workspace and typing habits.
- Tenting Options: If tenting is important to you, look for keyboards that provide adjustable tenting angles to match your wrist comfort.
- Build Quality and Materials: Pay attention to the build quality and materials used. Mechanical keyboards come in various designs and build materials. Choose one that matches your aesthetic preferences and typing feel.
- Compatibility: Ensure that the keyboard is compatible with your operating system (Windows, macOS, Linux) and any specialized software or devices you use.
- Budget: Set a budget for your purchase. Ergonomic mechanical keyboards can range in price, so knowing your budget will help narrow down your choices.
- Read Reviews and Seek Recommendations: Read user reviews and seek recommendations from others who have similar ergonomic needs. Real-world experiences can provide valuable insights.
- Try Before You Buy: If possible, try out the keyboard in person at a store or through friends who own it. Physical comfort and typing experience can be highly personal, so hands-on experience is beneficial.
- Return Policy: Ensure that the retailer or manufacturer has a favorable return policy in case the keyboard does not meet your expectations or comfort needs.
- Consider Wrist Health: If you have pre-existing wrist or hand conditions, consult with a medical professional or ergonomic specialist for advice on the best keyboard to support your health.
Remember that choosing the right ergonomic mechanical keyboard is a personal decision, and what works for one person may not work for another. Taking the time to research and consider your specific needs will help you find the keyboard that best suits you and promotes comfortable and efficient typing.
Difference between Wireless and a Wired ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard
The choice between a wireless and a wired ergonomic mechanical keyboard depends on your specific needs, preferences, and how you plan to use the keyboard. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages:
Wired Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard:
- Stability and Reliability: Wired keyboards offer a stable and reliable connection. They don’t suffer from interference or signal drops, ensuring consistent performance.
- Latency: Wired keyboards typically have lower input latency compared to wireless ones, making them a better choice for gaming and tasks where low latency is crucial.
- No Battery Concerns: Wired keyboards don’t require batteries, so you don’t need to worry about recharging or replacing them.
- No Wireless Interference: In environments with multiple wireless devices, a wired keyboard can avoid potential interference issues.
- Cable Management: The presence of a cable can lead to cable clutter on your desk, which can be a minor inconvenience.
Wireless Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard:
- Flexibility and Mobility: Wireless keyboards offer the freedom to position your keyboard wherever you like without being restricted by a cable. This can be particularly useful in minimalist or adjustable desk setups.
- Clean Desk Aesthetic: Wireless keyboards can contribute to a cleaner and clutter-free desk setup since they don’t require cables.
- Portability: Many wireless ergonomic keyboards are compact and easy to transport, making them ideal for on-the-go use.
- Reduced Cable Strain: For ergonomic purposes, a wireless keyboard eliminates cable tension, which can be beneficial for your hand and wrist comfort.
- Battery Life: Wireless keyboards are powered by batteries, and you need to ensure they are charged or replaced when they run out. This can be an occasional inconvenience.
- Latency: While modern wireless keyboards have reduced input latency, they may still have slightly higher latency compared to wired keyboards, which could be a concern for fast-paced gaming.
- Potential Interference: Wireless keyboards can be susceptible to interference from other wireless devices or physical obstacles in your workspace, although this is becoming less of an issue with advanced wireless technology.
Ultimately, the decision between a wired and wireless ergonomic mechanical keyboard depends on your specific requirements, the importance of factors like cable management or mobility, and your tolerance for potential inconveniences such as battery management or latency.