The 9 Best Ergonomic Keyboards of 2021
Reduce strain with these typing alternatives
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Sitting in front of a computer all day can be physically exhausting and even painful. If you’re suffering from hand, wrist, forearm, and overall upper body discomfort, the Occupational and Safety Health Administration suggests trying ergonomic keyboards that promote a more natural wrist posture.
While there isn’t enough research to prove that these alternative keyboard designs are a cure-all for things like carpal tunnel or neck pain, millions of users have made the switch, prompting others to give them a try. As such, we researched the top brands and various keyboard types to help you find the best ergonomic keyboards to match your style and needs.
Best Overall: Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard
A popular choice for years, the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard uses a split, domed design to create a more natural resting position for your wrists and forearms. Every detail—from the cushioned palm rest to the curved keys that mimic your finger shape—promotes comfort for those long workdays on the computer. Plus, the number pad is separate so you can position it in a comfortable spot depending on how long you’re typing for.
Because using an alternative keyboard can be a bit of a learning curve, the Microsoft Sculpt is a solid, affordable choice for anyone new to ergonomics.
Best Wireless: Logitech Ergo K860 Wireless Ergonomic Keyboard
If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line wireless ergonomic keyboard, the Logitech Ergo connects via Bluetooth technology from up to 10 meters. You’ll also get up to 24 months of use on two AAA batteries, and it works with both Mac and Windows computers.
Standout features include the adjustable tilting legs (at 0, -4, and -7 degrees), the pillow-like wrist rest, and the sloped keyboard design. Each of these helps reduce strain by allowing you to customize the typing experience so that your wrist is in its perfect, natural position. The adjustable legs are particularly helpful if you use a standing desk or you switch between different office chairs throughout the day. Even more, it’s perfect for anyone who prefers quiet keys and a soft keyboarding experience.
Related: The Best Wireless Keyboards
Best Budget: Perixx Periboard-512 Ergonomic Split Keyboard
Like other ergonomic keyboards, the Perixx Periboard has a split-key design and palm rest to promote a more relaxed position when typing. Still, its affordable price tag sets it apart. Other ergonomic features include tactile keystrokes, which means you won’t have the “clickiness” that some other mechanical keyboards have. This can be a plus or minus depending on your preference, but many users appreciate that softer feel.
While this wired USB keyboard is designed for Windows, it can also be used with Mac computers. And though you might not get the add-ons that more expensive keyboards offer, the seven “hot keys,” which allow you to perform common functions like launching your email program in one click, are a nice touch.
Best for Programmers: Kinesis Advantage2 Ergonomic Keyboard
If you spend hours toiling over code, you’ll want to invest in a high-quality keyboard that won’t wreck your limbs. Enter the Kinesis Advantage2, with its very unique design and versatility as a plug-and-play keyboard that works with all major operating systems. It’ll cost you, but there’s a three-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Similar to other keyboards, it has palm support and cushioned pads, but the Kinesis Advantage2 stands out for its unique layout—specifically its thumb keys and the 20 degrees of tenting (which means that the keyboard can be raised).
Keyboard enthusiasts will also appreciate the Cherry MX Brown mechanical switches, which are tactile, quiet, and durable. Plus, they require a lighter touch to activate, which is important for prolonged typing. What’s more, programmers will find all of the customization and programming tools helpful for productivity.
Best Keyboard and Mouse Combo: Logitech MK550 Wireless Wave Combo
Logitech’s MK550 keyboard and mouse combo has a “Constant Curve” layout, which uses a wave design to reduce stress and allow for an easier typing experience. You’ll still get lots of ergonomic features including the integrated palm rest and adjustable leg height. And, it comes bundled with a precision laser mouse, making for a great deal. Both items are wireless with long battery lives–the keyboard gets up to three years, and the mouse gets about two years. Note that this Logitech keyboard and mouse combo is designed for Windows-based PCs.
Related: The Best Wireless Mice
Best Foldable: iClever Bluetooth Keyboard
The uniquely designed iClever Bluetooth Keyboard works with up to three devices at a time that support Bluetooth, including desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. It uses a split design with a 166-degree angle to better match the natural alignment of your hands.
As for portability, it folds up and weighs a very light 6.2 ounces. Its leather case not only looks good, but it’s scratch resistant and anti-skid. The keyboard is also reliable as you’ll get 40 hours of work time on one charge, and it powers off automatically to preserve battery life.
Best Split Keyboard: Kinesis Freestyle2 Ergonomic Keyboard
There are split keyboards and then there are split-in-half keyboards. This Kinesis Freestyle2 model designed for Windows splits the keyboard in two, giving you more control over how to angle and rotate each half. You can separate the key modules up to nine inches to find the most comfortable positioning. You can also choose between 5, 10, or 15 degrees of tenting.
The keyboard also features integrated cushioned palm supports. This may be ideal if you prefer a membrane keyboard over a mechanical one. Better yet, all the keys are in their traditional places, so getting used to this keyboard may be a bit easier than some others.
Best Backlit: X-Bows Ergo Backlit Sculpt Keyboard
If you’re looking for something different or like to work in a dimly lit or dark room, a keyboard with backlighting is a must. The X-Bows Ergo gaming keyboard is a sleek-looking selection that combines programmable lighting settings with a wrist-friendly ergonomic layout.
It uses a cross-linear design so that your wrists feel relaxed as you type. The designers also moved some of the most frequently used keys to the middle of the keyboard. This way, you won’t have to shift your hands or stretch your fingers as often when you hit the “backspace,” “enter,” “shift,” or “control” keys. That will take some getting used to, but while you’re learning, you’ll still find the duplicate keys on their usual right side as well.
Best for Mac and PC: Goldtouch GTU-0088 V2 Keyboard
When switching your keyboard between different operating systems, this Goldtouch V2 keyboard makes it a seamless process. Just flip the switch on the back to PC or Mac mode, plug your keyboard into an open USB port, and it will automatically install the necessary drivers.
As for ergonomic features, it’s highly adjustable from zero to 30 degrees for both the horizontal angle and the vertical tilt. The Goldtouch also has soft keys, meaning it requires a low activation force, which is easier on your hands over several hours.
Need some more help finding what you're looking for? Read through our best business laptops article.
Good to Know
No matter which keyboard you use, experts from Johns Hopkins recommend breaking up long typing sessions with frequent rest breaks or other non-computer tasks.
Meet the Expert
This roundup was written by Dawn Papandrea, a personal finance reporter who covers career and small business topics. As a freelance writer who works mostly on a laptop, she can attest to wrist discomfort, forearm pain, and neck and shoulder tightness after a long day of working on stories.