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The more you work at a computer the greater you risk damaging your wrists and fingers, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Ergonomic keyboards that have been designed with your bones, muscles, and nerves in mind. An ergonomic desk setup starts with centering the keyboard with your chest and keeping your arms level and elbows relaxed. While typing, make sure your hands remain parallel to the desk without leaning forward or compressing your wrists. Regardless of how late a project is, make sure to take a break every hour to give your hands and fingers a rest.
When looking for the right keyboard, consider one that breaks the keys into two groups that are splayed apart so that your hands are separated and your forearms level without pressing your wrists. According to Abigail Overduin, ergonomics program lead at The University of British Columbia, “hand pain is a warning; listen to your body.”
Professor Emeritus Alan Hedge of Cornell University advises, “to eliminate the risk of an injury, you should be able to comfortably type on the keyboard with your hands at flat level (not bend up or down). You should be able to comfortably press the keys (not too stiff, not too little resistance). The keytop design and keytop spacing should feel comfortable to you.”
The overriding goal is to get the keyboard to fit the user, not the other way around. To do this, we found the best ergonomic keyboards that will promote healthy work habits and make typing as painless as possible.
Best Overall: Microsoft Surface Ergonomic Keyboard
Microsoft’s Surface Ergonomic Keyboard takes the company’s popular Sculpt keyboard and makes it better. It provides a new look but has the same wrist-friendly features, from the keypads splayed at a 20-degree angle to its raised center that lets the fingers drop gently onto the keys without stressing the forearm, elbow, or wrist. At 18.2 x 9 x 1.4 inches, however, it may be big for a typical desk but its wrist rest has two layers of padding under its soft Alcantara fabric. Plus, rather than having the Sculpt’s separate numeric keypad, the Surface Ergonomic Keyboard has it thoughtfully at your fingertips.
The silver keyboard connects with a computer via Low Energy Bluetooth signal, has a range of 30 feet, and requires a pair of included AAA batteries. In addition to the expected letters, numbers, and symbols, the Surface Ergonomic Keyboard has handy media control keys but lacks a way to program macros or shortcut keys. Keep in mind that it works with Windows 10 systems, but the keyboard’s compatibility can be a hit or miss with Macs, iPads, and Androids.
Best Wireless: Logitech Ergo K860
While it excels at providing an ergonomic design, the Logitech Ergo K860 keyboard can clean up your desk by doing away with clunky USB connection cables. It even offers users the choice between using the keyboard’s Bluetooth technology (for a tablet or notebook) or plugging in the included USB transmitter (for an older desktop). Powered by a pair of included AAA batteries, this dark gray keyboard can stay online at up to 33 feet, and its row of Function keys can be programmed as shortcuts to streamline your workflow.
At 18 x 9.2 x 1.9 inches, the K860 may overwhelm the typical desk, but its center slopes up, the individual letter keypads are splayed at a comfortable angle, and the keyboard has a split spacebar. Even more, the three-layer padded wrist rest not only gently supports the hand but also reduces painful wrist bending. The entire keyboard can also be angled by 0, -4, and -7 degrees of tilt to promote wrist health.
Best Keyboard and Mouse Combo: Logitech MK550
A quick and easy way to create a tidy desktop is to get Logitech’s Wireless Wave Combo MK550 keyboard and mouse kit. The K350 keyboard’s central hump rises slightly for maximum comfort, and its soft, perforated palm rest provides more than enough support to keep you from pressing onto the keyboard. The M510 mouse is just as well designed and engineered, with a sculpted shape that matches the inner contours of the palm. The optical mouse also has a pair of activation buttons, a scroll wheel, and two handy thumb buttons. Better yet, it’s just as comfortable for lefties as it is for righties.
Best of all, the MK550 does without USB cables by using Logitech’s single USB Unifying transmitter that provides a range of more than 30 feet. It also comes with four AA batteries (two for each product) that should last for two years (for the mouse) and three years (for the keyboard), according to Logitech.
Best for Programmers: Kinesis Advantage2
It may cost as much as a basic computer, but the Kinesis Advantage2 is worth it for those who spend all day pounding away on the keyboard. That’s because the keyboard’s split design has concave key wells that keep the hands, forearms, and fingers relaxed. Plus, rather than the typical staggered key design, the Kinesis Advantage2’s keys are arranged vertically for maximum comfort and typing efficiency. Kinesis also offers the choice of its standard MX Brown mechanism that requires 55 grams of force to activate a key or the MX Quiet Red that only needs 45 grams and is quieter. Regardless of which you choose, the mechanisms are rated to last 50 million presses, likely making the Advantage2 the last keyboard you’ll need.
Available in both the Dvorak and QWERTY key formats, the Advantage2 offers a big differentiator for programmers: Kinesis’ SmartSet programming engine. This software not only lets you add macros and shortcuts, but it also quickly remaps any key. Unlike other keyboards, the Advantage2 has 4MB of internal flash storage space for a variety of those tasks. The Advantage2 also works well for both Macs and Windows 10 PCs.
Best Split Design: Matias Ergo Pro
Instead of a single unified keyboard with split sections for the different letters, the Matias Ergo Pro is made into two pieces with the “A”, “S”, “D,” and “F” section on the left and the “J”, “K”,” L,” and “;” on the right. And, rather than being set to about 20 degrees, they can be arranged at any angle that works for you. In addition to a removable palm rest, the Ergo Pro has an adjustable profile that can range from flat to angles of 4.5 or 9 degrees. The keys are also thoughtfully designed with tactile feedback that can make typing more efficient and pain-free.
For those who need to work fast, the Ergo Pro has dedicated hotkeys for instantly performing popular tasks, like undo, cut, copy, and paste. The 12 Function keys, spacebars, and several other keys are also programmable to whatever you need. The wired keyboard comes with 3.3- and 6.5-foot USB cables as well as two bridge cables for connecting the right and left sections. Even with a built-in three-port USB hub, the Ergo Pro is one of the smallest ergonomic keyboards available at 14.5 x 9.1 x 1.4 inches.
Best for Sharing: Fellowes Microban Split Design Keyboard
Sharing a keyboard with a co-worker may be unsanitary, but the Fellowes Split Design Keyboard has an invisible coating of Microban that claims to act as a self-cleaning oven for your keyboard. The coating can reportedly kill a variety of bacteria and viruses, though you’ll likely still have to clean out crumbs.
The black keyboard is no slouch when it comes to ergonomic design, either. The split key layout promotes good posture and hand health by positioning the arms and hands above the keys for added comfort. In addition to a 16-character buffer that should keep up with even the fastest typists, the Fellowes Keyboard has seven hotkeys in an arc across the top for everything from multimedia controls to instant Internet access. It also connects with a USB cable but is compatible with Windows computers only.
Best Backlit: Adesso Tru-Form 150
If you work a lot at night, an ergonomic keyboard with backlit keys may be right for you, like Adesso’s Tru-Form 150. It has split keypads that are raised in the middle and an integrated wrist rest, all of which promote the natural and comfortable placement of the fingers on the keys. The Tru-Form 150’s best feature, however, is the red, blue, and green LEDs under the surface. Each key’s letter, punctuation, or symbol lights up in a single color that can make the keyboard more efficient and entertaining to use. In addition to the expected characters, the Tru-Form 150 has 20 integrated hotkeys for things like email, Internet access, multimedia controls as well as picking the LED color and brightness. The membrane keys themselves are quiet and provide good tactile feedback for efficient typing; they’ve even been tested to withstand 5 million keystrokes. Powered by a USB cable, keep in mind that the Tru-Form 150 only works with PCs.
Best Budget: Kensington Pro Fit Ergo Keyboard
Kensington's Pro Fit Ergo Keyboard is for those who want an ergonomic keyboard but aren’t ready to take the plunge on a split keypad design. In essence, this keyboard is a more conventional approach to ergonomics that doesn’t require retraining yourself to type. The black design includes a softly padded wrist rest, rounded spacebar, and responsive keys that provide lots of feedback. With adjustable fold-out feet in the front and back, the Pro Fit keyboard yields nine different typing angles—from -8 degrees to flat to 8 degrees—to suit the pickiest typist. The keyboard’s 10 pre-programmed hotkey shortcuts also put any task at the user’s fingertips, whether you’re watching videos or checking email. Powered by a USB cable, it works with Windows-, Mac-, and Chrome-based computers, and the keyboard can even stand up to the occasional coffee spill. Built for the long run, the Pro Fit keyboard comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
Best for Windows and Macs: Jelly Comb KE68
With the ability to accommodate the needs of just about any computer platform, the Jelly Comb KE68 stands head and shoulders above other ergonomic keyboards. It works well with Windows (versions 8, 10, or higher), Macintosh (with OSX 10.12 or higher), and Android (version 4.3 or higher), though its Chromebook compatibility can be spotty.
In terms of ergonomics, it has a split keypad design that has a pronounced tent peak in the middle to reduce discomfort for wrists, hands, and neck, while keeping your elbows parallel to the desktop. Its pebbled leather wrist rest is soft and sturdy, and the keyboard can be set to three different angles to suit any typing style.
The Jelly Comb KE68 can also connect with three separate devices over an auto-adapting Bluetooth link, as it includes a transmitter that establishes a 2.4GHz connection. Powered by an internal 280 mAh battery pack, this keyboard can reportedly run for more than a week at a time and charging it requires using the included USB cable.
Best Portable: ObVus Solutions minder Ergonomic Keyboard
If you travel frequently for work, make sure to pack the ObVus Solutions minder Bluetooth Keyboard. The black and silver keyboard has a conventional layout, yet its full-size keys provide smooth action and tactile feedback with even the lightest touch. A bonus is the keyboard’s built-in 3-inch touchpad, which works with a variety of finger gestures from starting the web browser to opening a search window.
This sturdy aluminum device folds up to a 7- by 4.5-inch package that easily slips into a backpack pocket and weighs a travel-friendly 8 ounces. Instead of having cables in the way, the keyboard can use Bluetooth to link with three different devices, like a notebook (Windows, MacBook, and Linux), phone, or tablet (Androids, iPhones, and iPads). This allows you to quickly move between devices on a plane or in a hotel room at the press of a key. Powered by a 140 mAh battery, the keyboard operates for 40 hours at a time and is charged with the included USB cable.
While each ergonomic keyboard attacks the problem of hand health from a different perspective, only Microsoft’s Surface Ergonomic Keyboard puts it all together in an elegant package (view at Amazon). In addition to the keyboard’s supportive wrist rest, its split keypads are arrayed at an optimal 20-degree angle and its raised center means that fingers will naturally fall on its keys. Plus, the keyboard is not only cable-free but also has lots of hotkey shortcuts.
How do I optimize an ergonomic keyboard?
The keyboard needs to be centered on the user and be placed on a desk that’s 29 inches above the floor. Posture is just as important so you are neither leaning forward nor backwards. Above all, take frequent breaks.
Do wrist rests help?
They can be a way to help maintain proper hand position, which is why keyboard palm rests are often removable. Look for a wrist rest that is padded but firm enough to support your hands. If it doesn’t help, remove it.
How long does it take to get used to an ergonomic keyboard?
It probably will take a few weeks of trial and error before the muscle memory of your fingers and wrists adapt to the new mechanics. Expect to fix a lot of typos before using it becomes second nature, but it should be just as easy to type on.
Why Trust Investopedia?
Choosing these ergonomic keyboards was based on the author’s expertise and more than 40 years of reviewing computers and tech accessories. A freelance writer based outside of New York City, Brian Nadel has covered all aspects of desktop technology, like keyboards, mice, and more.
To put together this list, he looked at the industry’s top players and identified selections based on their ergonomic design, like whether they had split keyboards, wired versus wireless, and the force needed to type. Then, he went about rating hundreds of keyboards to find the best ones available.