After suffering some problems with my hands and wrists a few years ago I decided to look into ways to improve my ergonomics when it came to using my laptop.
One of the tools I decided to upgrade was the keyboard and so began my hunt for the best ergonomic keyboard that I could use with my home office.
I headed online and once I was finished searching through all of the different options available I eventually settled on the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard (which also comes with a wireless mouse) as my final choice for the best ergonomic keyboard.
I really like it and I would recommend trying it out if you’re suffering from any hand or wrist pain and you’re looking to improve your ergonomics while you are typing.
One of my favorite features of it is that it allows for the hands to be in a much more comfortable position while typing.
There is even a split in the middle that offers and vertical tenting and there’s even a small add on piece that can be used for a negative tilt so that it’s possible to find the most ideal and comfortable typing position for your hands to be in.
For a wireless keyboard it’s also quite solidly built and it even comes with a separate number pad.
Overall, this is the keyboard that I used that has helped me the most and I find that the keys are quite satisfying to press down on and I’ve never experienced any issues with wireless connectivity.
The Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard
Depending on your budget this is quite an inexpensive option if you’re looking to pick up a new economic keyboard if you want to keep your wrists in a suitable typing position for doing a lot of typing.
When you are using the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard properly you’ll notice that your arms and wrists are kept in a relaxed and neutral position because of the negative slope attachment, the split design, and the comfortable curve of the keyboard itself.
Unfortunately, while this option doesn’t come with backlit keys or dedicated shortcut keys it’s very comfortable to use for the long term and it can be used to wirelessly connect to both Windows and the Mac operating system.
The wrist pad is soft but not too spongy so it keeps the wrist supported without adding any additional strain on to them and it boasts a very streamlined and slimmed-down design so it’s quite portable as well whether you want to use it at home or bring it with you to the office.
Speaking of the design, I noticed that the keyboard feels quite sturdy, isn’t too flexible, and the keys are those Nifty Chiclet keys that I find are much easier and more enjoyable to use.
The Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard would be my first recommendation if you’re someone that spends a lot of time at the computer every day, you’re doing a lot of typing, and you want to improve your overall ergonomics and comfort while you’re getting your typing done.
If you’re a dedicated Mac user then you might not be as accustomed to this keyboard as it doesn’t come equipped with the standard key layout but there are some other options I would recommend for that although I would still suggest making an effort to get used to using this one.
There are actually two different versions of this keyboard to choose from, one that comes with a mouse and one that doesn’t.
Personally, I would recommend going with the option that doesn’t come with the mouse since there are plenty of other ones to choose from if you’re looking for the best ergonomic mouse and it’s really the keyboard that’s worth it.
The Best Ergonomic Keyboard: My Other Recommendations
While I recommend the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard as my top choice there are still a few other options that I would suggest taking a look at.
Before I dive into some more recommendations I want to go over some info on why you should consider using a dedicated organ on the keyboard and what to do if you’re already suffering from wrist, hand, or finger pain.
Why Use an Ergonomic Keyboard
The reason why it’s a good idea to consider using an ergonomic keyboard is because the standard ones cause your arms and wrists to be held at stressful, and potentially injury inducing, angles.
You might have noticed that you’re suffering from discomfort or unusual pains while you were doing a lot of typing on a standard keyboard and this is because your posture and positioning of your hands, arms, and shoulders isn’t as ideal as it could be.
If you’re someone that’s suffering from any pain or regular discomfort then you’ll also want to consider using a laptop stand for better neck posture as well and possibly even look into ergonomic chairs and standing desks.
One thing I want to mention is that there isn’t any concrete evidence that proves that these ergonomic keyboards are able to prevent repetitive stress injuries or carpal tunnel syndrome, although it’s important to remember that these keyboards are able to reduce the strain that you’re putting on your body and can potentially lead to less pain and less discomfort.
From my personal experience I was able to alleviate the symptoms that I had and both my hands comma wrists, and even my neck by using a dedicated laptop stand, ergonomic keyboard, and even a better mouse.
If you’re someone that has been diagnosed with a repetitive stress injury such as carpal tunnel syndrome then I would definitely recommend consulting an ergonomics expert and speaking to your doctor to see if they have any specific advice that they’re able to provide you with.
Unfortunately, should you already be suffering from a lot of pain, numbness, and any other more serious symptoms then it’s possible that you’ll need medical treatment rather than just switching up the devices that you’re using regularly.
Many of the different economic keyboards will take some time to get used to and you’re going to have to spend some time practicing with the positioning of the keys, especially if you’re using one that’s a split in the middle.
The good thing is that it’s much easier to learn how to use a new keyboard properly than continue to suffer from wrist, finger, and hand pain.
Good Keyboard Ergonomics
Before you pick out a new typing device it’s a good idea to understand the features that make a good ergonomic keyboard and learning the details of how repetitively using something incorrectly can lead to injuries in the shoulders, back, neck, arms, rest, and hands.
The posture that you have when you’re using the keyboard as well as its overall design are the two most important factors when it comes to providing a comfortable typing position.
The more standard and common keyboards that you’ll find make it so that the wrists bend unnaturally and they keep the hands much closer together while typing.
What happens in this case is that when the wrist is bent inwards the little finger actually becomes bent away from the wrist end since the arms are coming in from other side, rather than coming from the middle, there is an ulnar deviation that’s caused.
This is basically a compression on the ulnar nerve and this also causes some compression of a few of the tendons that are used for flexing fingers.
This is where ergonomic keyboards come into play and the way they work typically is by splitting the layout of the keyboard and making it a better angle so that the hands are able to rest straight on the keys without any pressure points or awkward bending.
Funnily enough, there isn’t an optimal and most ideal ergonomic design for keyboards that everyone will benefit from but a split keyboard with a tented angle helps to prevent any ulnar compression and deviation and are typically much more comfortable for extended use.
The trick here is to find a keyboard that you’re comfortable using that ensures that your hands and wrists are in the best possible ergonomic position.
The Best Typing Position
Once you’ve figured out the proper way to use the keyboard there are still a few other things to consider.
The posture and positioning of your body while you’re typing also matters and it’s important that your shoulders remain relaxed, your upper arms stay close to your body, and that your forearms are kept level with the floor.
This position helps to keep your shoulders from hunching forward while you’re typing and it also reduces the strain that’s put on your arms and upper back from having your arms turned inwards.
This is in stark contrast to when you’re using a conventional keyboard where the keys are close together and cause your hands to angle inwards, pushing your elbows out, and leading to your hunching your shoulders and placing unnecessary strain on your upper back.
With a split keyboard it’s possible to keep the upper arms at a comfortable position right by your side and the spread out layout allows for the keys to be centered with your torso rather than forcing your hands towards the left because of an unnecessary number pad.
Have you noticed those keyboards or mouse pads that come with the built-in wrist pads?
These are actually supposed to be used for your palms and the entire pressure of your wrists is not meant to push onto them.
Many of the economic keyboards come with a large palm rest that is meant to support the meaty part of your palm right by your thumb and pinky and they help to keep you from overextending your hands while you’re typing.
It’s a good idea to avoid the area between your wrist and approximately 3-inches below your elbow from coming into contact with any sharp or hard edge such as the desk or keyboard.
You’ll definitely want to use the meaty part of your forearm or your palm if you need to rest your arms for support.
Kinesis Freestyle2 Keyboard
The Kinesis Freestyle2 Keyboard was one of the top options I came across when I was looking for the best ergonomic split keyboard.
Rather than having a completely single design like the Microsoft, the Kinesis Freestyle2 is actually completely split and offers 9 inches of separation between each keyboard piece.
The two different pieces are attached by a cord and allow for the hands to be positioned over each half in a comfortable and ergonomic position.
With this keyboard it’s possible to choose a separation space that’s the most comfortable for you personally and it also allows for the arm to be kept in a straight position without any pressure points at the wrist which helps to reduce any repetitive strain injuries.
With the split design it’s possible for the arms to rest in a natural position without turning inwards, although if you have a wider torso you might want to consider the longer cord option.
There’s also an accessory available that can be added onto the keyboard that allows for it to be tented rather than laying flat on the ground.
The VIP Accessory Kit comes with a lifter and integrated palm supports where it’s possible to take advantage of a slope of 5, 10, or 15 degrees for reduced tension in the forearms and a more natural overall positioning of the hands and wrists.
There’s even a Kinesis Freestyle2 available for Mac.
Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000
The Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 is another option that I kept coming across during my search for the best keyboard for carpal tunnel and ergonomics.
This option also takes advantage of a split design layout and allows for the hands, arms, and fingers to be placed in a much more natural position while typing.
The built-in wrist guard is soft and is a comfortable spot to rest your palms while you’re typing for extended periods of time.
Not only are the keys easier to reach thanks to a curved key layout but there’s also a zoom slider that can be used for quick zooms of websites, documents, photos, and anything else you want to zoom in on without needing to reach over to the mouse.
Depending on your preferences and need for customization there are five “My Favorites” keys that can be customized for quick access to any of the websites, folders, files, or any other area on your computer that you use most often where you’ll want to quickly reach.
The overall design and durability is quite solid and the keys feel firm to the touch while not being too hard to push down on.
The Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 is another great option that I would recommend checking out if you’re looking to improve your typing posture and hoping to alleviate any pain or discomfort caused from repetitive and extended use of a keyboard.