The more we get glued to working on computers, the important it becomes to understand our posture. Incorrect postures may lead to Repetitive Stress Injuries and the like. The normal keyboards have simple layout of keys next to each other to optimize space which may not be good for all heavy users in the long run. The idea of ergonomic keyboard is to have such a design that when the user types the strain on their muscles is minimal.
Ergonomic Keyboards ensure that the user’s hands remain in the natural position when using the keyboard and don’t bend unnecessarily. To attain this, some space is left empty in the middle part of some ergonomic keyboards so that the wrists need not be unnecessarily bent and remain aligned with forearms. Some ergonomic keyboards have a rounded base or palm rest to aid in user’s comfort. Generally, ergonomic keyboards come with support for Negative Tilt and Vertical Tenting so that users can customize them and attain the maximum possible comfort.
Let’s have a look at some of the popular ergonomic keyboards out there. Please bear in mind that no keyboard can be perfect for all human beings since everybody has different preferences but certainly one can choose the keyboard which fulfills all her criteria.
Our Top Picks
Adesso Tru-Form Media Contoured Ergonomic Keyboard (PCK-208B)
This is a wired, 105 keys keyboard and is the cheapest one in our review. It has a split design that separates the keys handled by left and right hand providing less strain to the typing experience. Another advantage is that the Arrow and Insert/Edit/Delete/End/Page Up/Page Down keys are in their original order unlike some modern keyboards so you don’t have to get frustrated locating those keys. A regular typist like me can hit these navigational buttons with my eyes closed which isn’t possible with modern keyboards. The keys are less resistant and therefore comfortable but these are average sized keys, I think elongated keys would have done the job better in providing more user friendly touch experience. Another feature which I miss in this keyboard is the height adjustment. You can’t adjust the height after placing the keyboard on your table.
Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000
This keyboard also has a split design with space left in between keys enabling an ergonomic design so that the user doesn’t feel strains on her muscles. Generally, our keyboards have small stands on the base of the front side to tilt it which is not good as per ergonomics. On the contrary, this keyboard comes with negative tilting to ensure that your wrists are not strained. I found the keys arranged in ‘Vertical Tenting’ position for better ergonomics which feels convenient. For the comfort of my palms, this keyboard has cushioned palm support which actually is convenient. However, the space bar was little uneven to press, but there are online solutions to fix this. Also the fact, that you need to ensure that you have ample space on your desk to place this as this is a large keyboard (198 x 103.2 x 32.6 inches).
Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Wireless Desktop Keyboard and Mouse
This Sculpt keyboard has the same split design as that of Microsoft Natural 4000, the difference being the space (between the left and right keys) is hollow. This has cushioned palm support as well and the keys have the scissor switch mechanism which cover less distance to activate and give a solid feedback when pressed. That said, all the keys are silent except the space bar. This keyboard would be of certain interest to people who use the number keypad (located on the right side of a standard keyboard) too often. The number pad is separate from the keyboard and if you don’t use the number pad very often (like me) you can keep it aside and keep the mouse closer to the keyboard. Both the keyboard and the number pad comes wireless.
Kinesis Advantage2 Ergonomic Keyboard (KB600)
This is the costliest keyboard in our review. The placement of keys on this wired keyboard is as unique as its looks. The keys are laid out in a vertical tenting position and the sets of keys are quite far from each other making it very comfortable for the wrists. It took me 3-4 weeks to get a hang of the oddly placed keys, but once I got a hang of it, it was a breeze to type. Going back to the old keyboards meant more pain to my wrists. While typing some text, you don’t need to move your hand to delete something unwanted. Your left forefinger is always places on backspace and the right one is on the space. The keys are mechanical with tactile feedback pressing which is a delight to the fingers. The space bar, Win Key, Ctrl, Page Up/Down, Enter, Alt, Backspace, Delete, Home, End are oddly placed and takes a while to get used to.
Kinesis Freestyle2 Ergonomic Keyboard for PC (9" Standard Separation)
For those who find Kinesis Advantage2 keyboard bulky, here comes its slim cousin. Kinesis Freestyle2 is a split keyboard with the two sets of keys completely separate from each other, except the fact that they are stuck with a cord. So it’s up to me how much far I want to keep my hand or at which angle do I want to keep the two parts of the keyboard. The complete customization is very convenient for me to place my hands and type without straining any of my muscles. Whether the user is small, tall and all body types in between, this keyboard provides maximum flexibility to the user in placing the keyboard. Like Microsoft Sculpt, there is an optional number pad (which you need to buy separately) in case you use numbers too much.
These were the 5 ergonomic keyboards we reviewed. You need to assess your needs and figure out which one to buy. Do let us know if there is any keyboard/feature worth mentioning we missed out.