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We interviewed experts in ergonomics and keyboard design to learn what to look for in an ergonomic keyboard. David Rempel, director of the University of California’s ergonomics program, and professor Alan Hedge, director of Cornell University’s Human Factors and Ergonomics Research Group, have extensively researched workplace ergonomics.Their decades of research have helped inform the ergonomic design of workstations, keyboards, mice, and more.
If you’re a touch typist like me who crosses over (i.e., you type the Y key with your left hand and the B key with your right), it might take some time to adjust to a split keyboard—you’ll need to relearn how to press the keys near the middle with the appropriate hand.(To be fair, there’s a learning curve whenever you get a new keyboard of any type, much like switching from a car you’re used to driving to another.) But if you have wrist pain, adjusting your typing technique is a minor hindrance if it might bring some relief.The first step toward understanding what makes a good ergonomic keyboard is knowing how repetitive use can injure our wrists, arms, shoulders, back, and neck.If you have a keyboard you love and you don’t have any pain or discomfort, you don’t need to upgrade.If you’ve been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome or any RSI, you should consult an ergonomics expert or your doctor for advice specific to you.If you’re concerned about ergonomics and strain on your wrists, these are far more important features than backlit keys or dedicated shortcut keys.
In addition to being a comfortable keyboard to type on for hours at a time, our pick wirelessly connects to Windows and mac OS, boasts a sleek and low-profile design, and uses chiclet keys that will be familiar to anyone who’s used a recent laptop.
Standard keyboards force you to hold your wrists and arms at stressful angles, which can cause discomfort or pain over time.
If you do a lot of typing and you’re concerned about your posture or hand, arm, or shoulder pain, an ergonomic keyboard can help you position your body more properly. David Rempel says that if you use a keyboard more than 10 hours a week and already experience this discomfort or pain, you should consider an ergonomic keyboard.
If you must have a wireless, fully split ergonomic keyboard, your best option is the Kinesis Freestyle2 Blue.
As the name implies, it connects to your computer over Bluetooth and can also pair with two other devices, including Android and i OS devices.
There’s no clear evidence that ergonomic keyboards can prevent carpal tunnel syndrome or other kinds of repetitive stress injuries, although these alternative keyboards can help reduce the strain on your body.