Traditional keyboards come with some serious problems. People who use them frequently report cramps in their hands, wrist pain, and reduced productivity due to having to stop typing to rest.
If you do a lot of typing, then there’s a good chance that you’ve experienced some of these negative side-effects. And you’ve probably wondered if there’s anything you can do about it.
Enter Ergonomic Keyboards. These are keyboards designed specifically with the way people actually type in mind. Whereas normal keyboards are stiff and force your body into odd positions, ergonomic keyboards are curved to suit the natural way in which you type.
There’s a lot of debate as to whether Ergonomic keyboards actually improve your position. But, I can say that from personal experience, I know a great number of people who have gotten rid of wrist pain caused by typing by switching to an Ergonomic keyboard.
They haven’t just saved my friends’ pain. But in many cases have saved their careers.
That’s why I endorse them whole-heartedly.
We’ve been looking at a bunch of Ergonomic Keyboards this week. And after a thorough review we’ve come to the conclusion that the Logitech Mk550 Wave Wireless Keyboard is the best ergonomic keyboard.
How we chose the best Ergonomic Keyboard
It’s so important when reviewing products to know what your audience actually wants.
So often reviewers just talk about what they like about a product, without thinking about what their readership is actually interested in.
In order to not make the same mistake, we got some customers together for focus groups and they told us the features they’d appreciate most in an ergonomic keyboard.
I also spoke to some of my friends who had actually swapped to ergonomic keyboards and had benefited massively. They told me what things made ergonomic keyboards better than standard ones.
From these conversations we came up with a list of the 5 most important features for Ergonomic Keyboards. They are ranked in order.
- Comfortable hand positioning
- Palm rest
We determined this final list by listening to our focus groups talk about what they thought were the most important features.
We then combined this with what we were told by our friends who use ergonomic keyboards, and created this list of the 5 most important features.
The five best Ergonomic Keyboards
Here’s a list of the five best Ergonomic Keyboards:
The most important consideration when choosing the best Ergonomic Keyboard is Comfortable Hand Positioning
We touched on this above. But the reason that so many people experience pain when typing is because of the position that traditional keyboards force your hands into.
If you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance you’re reading it on a computer.
If you are, then do something for me now.
Put your hands onto your keyboard and start typing.
If you’re using a traditional keyboard, then you’ll notice that you have to bend your wrists in order to type properly. You can’t keep your hands in line with your forearms because the keys are facing straight. Your body gets in the way.
This means that you’re actually forcing your hands into an unnatural, and uncomfortable position, just to type.
Now, if you do this for just half an hour a day, then no big deal. Your body’s pretty durable and half an hour of being in an awkward position isn’t going to hurt.
But what if you work at a desk for a living? What if you’re a writer and are expected to hit a daily word count?
Well, if you’re spending more than a couple of hours daily typing. Then doing so in a bad position is going to potentially cause all kinds of long and short term issues.
You’ll probably experience pain and cramp in your hands (often on your weaker side), you might end up with carpal tunnel syndrome.
Most Doctors will tell you that the solution to these ailments is to stop doing the activity that caused them. But if you use a keyboard for a living, what kind of advice is that?
I am certainly not a doctor and this should in no way be considered to be medical advice.
But I have numerous friends who write 1000s of words daily who have told me that using Ergonomic Keyboards saved their writing careers.
Make of that what you will.
All said that the main benefit of Ergonomic Keyboards is how they enable you to position your hands.
Because of how they’re shaped (with the keys angled towards each hand) you’re able to type in a far more natural position than you are on a normal keyboard.
This saves you from wrist pain, cramps and all those other problems associated with traditional keyboards.
All the keyboards we recommend here have angled keys that provide comfortable wrist positioning.
Some are more sharply angled than others, and which you prefer will depend on how exactly you type.
But every single one of them is a marked improvement in positioning over traditional keyboards.
Other considerations when choosing the best Ergonomic Keyboards
Having a palm rest can improve comfort when typing dramatically.
Obviously it does depend on your style of writing. But a good number of people very much prefer typing with a palm rest to typing without one.
What a palm wrest does is support your wrist in a good position.
This way you don’t have to hold your hands in the air constantly while you’re typing.
Generally, this means you can type for longer without stopping and won’t experience nearly as much discomfort either.
Even though the main feature of Ergonomic Keyboards is definitely the hand positioning, having a good palm rest is a very close second, and provides a big advantage over traditional keyboards.
All the keyboards we look at here have some kind of palm/wrist support which allow you to type in a more comfortable position than otherwise.
Having a natural hand positioning makes using a keyboard so much more comfortable, so does a palm rest.
But what’s also important to ensure maximum comfort is adjustability.
This is because different people type differently, hold their hands differently and use keyboards in different ways.
Therefore, there’s no exact, one size fits all fix. So adjustability is highly rated attribute because it enables you to max out your comfort and work in the ideal position for you.
Price is always going to be an important consideration for anyone buying a peripheral.
Ergonomic Keyboards aren’t overly cheap, but they don’t have to be massively expensive either.
The groups we surveyed definitely regarded price to be an important consideration, but felt that things that actually made the keyboard more comfortable and effective (like the hand positioning and palm rest) were more important.
So they placed price at the number 4 spot in terms of importance.
To reflect this, we’ve made sure that all the keyboards we recommend here are of the highest quality, even if some of them are a little pricey.
However, we’ve made sure not to include any keyboards that are unnecessarily pricey and only included more expensive options if they added something extra.
I don’t care much about how my peripherals look.
So for me this isn’t a big deal.
But the focus groups we surveyed were concerned about how their keyboards looked.
As such, we included on this list.
As a good number of people use Ergonomic Keyboards for work, we picked out keyboards that didn’t look too silly or ridiculous. All the ones we look at here are attractive models, but won’t draw massive amounts of attention either.
So you can feel free to use them in the office.
The Best Ergonomic Keyboard
Our number 1 pick for the best Ergonomic Keyboard was the Logitech MK550 Wave Wireless Keyboard.
We picked the Logitech as our favorite for a number of reasons:
Firstly, it puts your hands into an extremely comfortable, naturally angled typing position.
This is an absolutely huge improvement over traditional keyboards which can be very awkward to type with.
What’s notable is that the angle on the MK550 isn’t actually that strong. A lot of Ergonomic Keyboards have the keys set at almost 45 degrees. Not so with the Logitech.
Whether users prefer this setup, or one with the keys placed at a further angle, is a matter of personal preference.
Having said that, everyone in the office thought the Logitech was extremely comfortable, and overall me and the other testers felt that the MK550 was the most comfortable and easy to type on, keyboard we’d looked at.
It also comes with a soft, cushioned palm rest. This protects your hands when you’re not typing and makes using the keyboard a whole lot easier.
The height and angle of the MK550 is adjustable, which improves comfort by allowing you to find your optimal position.
It’s excellent value for money, and just as good as other keyboards which can cost 3 or even 4 times as much. It comes with a wireless mouse thrown in too, so in terms of value it’s pretty ridiculous.
We all agreed that it looks pretty great as well. The keyboard is black, and the letters pad has a slight upward curve to it. It has extra silver buttons attached to the top and side.
Anyone who sees the ‘wave’ design will almost certainly think it looks cool. It’s a much better looking keyboard than a standard office model.
As you might be able to tell, we loved the Logitech and definitely considered it the king of the keyboards we looked at.
The Four other Ergonomic Keyboards we tested
Microsoft Natural Keyboard Elite
This keyboard has some fantastic features, and some that aren’t as good too.
The Natural is sensationally comfortable, the type pad is split into two sections that angle off of each other like a pyramid.
This slopes gently downward and is combined with a palm rest. This gives you somewhere to rest between typing.
The legs are also fully adjustable allowing you to choose the angle and height you wish to type at.
To be honest, the natural might be the most comfortable keyboard here. It’s very close between this and the Logitech we looked at above.
But the Logitech comes out ahead in terms of price and look.
Depending on when you buy, this is normally somewhere between 3 and 4 times more expensive than the Logitech.
And I don’t actually think it is better.
Also, I don’t really like the color. Obviously this is down to personal preference, but that shade of white strikes me as very Windows 95.
I much prefer the color, and overall look of the Logitech.
There’s no doubt that this is an excellent keyboard. But it loses out slightly to the MK550.
Mostly due to being vastly more expensive and not looking quite as good.
- Keyboard features ergonomic design for comfort
- Multimedia controls for easy access to music and video files
- Enhanced F-key commands for customizable shortcuts
Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000
We liked the 4000 too.
It’s a large, good-looking keyboard, with a sizable palm rest, and a split down the typing pad just like the Natural Elite we looked at above.
Unfortunately, despite being better looking and far better priced than its more expensive cousin, the 4000 just isn’t as comfortable as some of the other models.
I’m not sure exactly why this is, and when you start using it you don’t immediately experience discomfort.
But after 15 minutes of use, most of our team agreed that this model definitely wasn’t as comfortable to type with as either the Natural Elite or the Logitech.
That’s not to say it’s painful to use. Not by a long shot.
But the main criteria here is comfort. That’s the reason people buy Ergonomic Keyboards, and the 4000 just isn’t quite as comfortable as the other two.
Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard
The Sculpt is pretty easily the coolest looking keyboard I’ve ever seen.
It’s designed with a weight-saving gap where the letter pad is separated in the middle.
This doesn’t do anything practical, and is purely an aesthetic addition, but it is cool.
Another nice feature is that the number pad can be removed. While this won’t be useful to everybody, some members of our team found this a really handy feature, and some will definitely find use for it.
In terms of comfort it’s pretty good. It comes with a palm rest which you would expect, however I still don’t think it was as comfortable as either the Logitech or the Natural Elite.
So while it’s a great keyboard, and looks spectacular, it only comes in at 4 in our list.
- Split keyset design helps to position wrists and forearms in a natural, relaxed...
- Cushioned palm rest provides support and promotes a neutral wrist position
- Domed keyboard design positions wrists at a natural, relaxed angle
Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Desktop 7000
This is another model from the Microsoft Natural Series. The 7000 comes with everything you would expect, it has an angled number pad, a palm rest, and is adjustable as well.
It’s also an attractive looking keyboard, coming in black with silver effects.
I was slightly disappointed to find when testing the 7000 that it seemed quite cheaply made.
The plastic seemed flimsy and very breakable, and a couple of the keys would stick when we pressed them.
Admittedly, I had no problems with comfort when using it. But the seemingly poor build quality did put me off a little
So overall, it was ok, but definitely surpassed by the other options we looked at.
- High Definition Laser Technology gives the Mouse more precision, more...
- Mouse & Keyboard 2.4 GHz Wireless Technology connects wirelessly right out of...
- Advanced Ergonomic Design promotes a more natural hand, wrist, and forearm...
The bottom line
Of all the Ergonomic Keyboards we looked at, the Logitech Mk550 Wave was definitely the best.
Although other models were comparable (and a couple maybe even better) in certain areas. The Logitech combined overall comfort with adjustability and value, as well as looking good.
The final thing I’d say is that if you’re suffering from wrist pain, you would do well to consider an Ergonomic Keyboard. They worked wonders for several of my friends, and they might just do the same for you.