- Your wrists and hands both suffer strain and pain from extended periods spent sitting in front of a computer, but an ergonomic keyboard can provide much-needed relief and prevent injury.
- The Microsoft Sculpt aligns your hands, wrists, and fingers in a neutral and natural position, covering all three ergonomic essentials, making it our best ergonomic keyboard overall.
It’s no secret that working for hours at a time on the computer, as millions of us regularly do, gradually takes a toll on our bodies. Your neck, shoulders, back, eyes, and — just as importantly — your wrists and hands all suffer stress from extended periods spent sitting over a keyboard, so you might want to consider an ergonomic keyboard.
If you think about how your standard flat, rectangular keyboards are designed, then ergonomic alternatives make sense. These special keyboards prevent your hands, wrists, and fingers from resting at odd angles, putting pressure on your nerves and blood vessels, which can cause problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
A decent ergonomic keyboard solves these alignment problems, and owing to their increasing popularity, there are a number of different designs available today from curved one-piece keyboards to unique two-piece models that separate the keys into two “islands.” We’ve done the research to pick out the best ones below, with our picks covering a wide variety of needs, designs, and price points to offer something for virtually every user.
Here are the best ergonomic keyboards you can buy
- Best ergonomic keyboard overall: Microsoft Sculpt
- Best gaming ergonomic keyboard: Razer Ornata Chroma
- Best two-piece ergonomic keyboard: Kinesis Freestyle2
- Best ergonomic keyboard and mouse combo: Logitech MK550
- Best anti-microbial ergonomic keyboard: Fellowes Microban
Updated on 2/6/2020 by Joe Osborne: Refreshed language for timeliness and accuracy and updated prices.
The best ergonomic keyboard overall
If you’re typing at a computer all day and need the absolute best ergonomic keyboard that money can buy, then the Microsoft Sculpt — which fully addresses three key hand alignment issues — is the one.
In contrast to standard keyboards, most ergonomic keyboards work by setting up the keys so that your wrists are positioned more comfortably and your fingers rest on the keys in a more natural way. Our top pick, the Microsoft Sculpt, takes this a bit further.
It solves the problem of wrist alignment and finger positioning with its curved design, cushioned palm rest, and wave-like vertical shape, but the Sculpt adds a third dimension that many other ergonomic keyboards lack: wrist rotation.
Rather than just positioning your wrists at a more natural angle, the Sculpt’s domed shape also raises the keys in such a manner that your wrists are rotated slightly outwards and not simply lying “flat” on top of the keyboard. This relieves pressure on the ulnar nerves, preventing discomfort as well as other more serious long-term problems like ulnar deviation that can occur when the wrist is forced into unnatural angles for extended periods of time.
Along with this three-factor ergonomic design, the Microsoft Sculpt features an attractive aesthetic and comes with a separate number pad. Having the number pad separate from the rest of the keyboard is useful for data entry tasks, as you can move it around and place it where it’s most comfortable for you.
The Sculpt also connects wirelessly to your PC with excellent battery life, although since it’s made for Windows — being a Microsoft product and all — it’s not available with a Mac-friendly key layout.
The Sculpt also has a couple quirks, namely its lack of a dedicated Fn/function key (although there’s a workaround for this) and F-keys that are buttons rather than actual keys, but as these are hardly the main focus when selecting an ergonomic keyboard, they’re relatively small drawbacks.
What’s important is that the Microsoft Sculpt is, simply put, the best ergonomic keyboard out there today, and it’s the safest way to type at your computer for hours at a time.
Pros: Cushioned palm rest, curved split-key shape aligns wrists more naturally, raised wave-like vertical design positions fingers comfortably and rotates wrists outward to reduce ulnar compression, sleek modern aesthetics, and it’s not too expensive
Cons: Lacks a Fn key, F-keys are small buttons rather than actual keys, and no Mac layout model
The best ergonomic keyboard for gaming
The Razer Ornata’s comfortable leather wrist rest and unique mecha-membrane switch design make it an excellent pick for gamers who spend hours at their battle stations.
Gaming is one of the most common ways people spend hours at a time on their computers, and any gamer can tell you the difference that effective peripherals make. From gaming mice to keyboards, there is a huge market for PC accessories built specifically for playing video games, but most of these tend to focus on precision and performance rather than ergonomics.
Our favorite ergonomic gaming keyboard, the Razer Ornata Chroma, splits the difference between a gaming and an ergonomic design right down the middle. First, it’s got a very durable and comfortable padded wrist rest which attaches to the keyboard body via magnets.
This unique magnetic connection precludes the need for any tabs, notches, or other attachment methods that can be awkward to use or can break, although it does shift around slightly during extended periods of use (hardly a huge issue, but something to be aware of).
Secondly, and what’s really unique about the Ornata, is its hybrid key switch design. These “mecha-membrane” keys utilize a soft rubber “dome” membrane like those found on most modern keyboards, yet maintains crisp tactile feedback similar to that of traditional mechanical key switches.
It’s not quite as clicky and precise-feeling as a true mechanical (nor is it nearly as loud, thankfully), but it works well, and the soft membrane and mid-rise key height are very comfortable to use.
People have strong opinions about mechanical versus membrane keyboards, but the bottom line here is that the Ornata’s mecha-membrane switch design strikes an excellent balance between the two, Medium says. The keys are easy on the fingers yet clicky and responsive — a must for accurate inputs while gaming — and the keyboard also features anti-ghosting technology, which means that rapid key presses (and up to 10 simultaneous presses) will be read accurately and in order.
You’ve probably noticed that the Ornata looks more or less like a regular keyboard. Razer didn’t try to re-invent the wheel here, according to Destructoid, and this is ideal for gaming, as the standard layout means that the keys are right where your fingers remember them (no need to completely re-learn all or your hotkeys and macros). But this trade-off means that the Ornata is not ideal for people who specifically need something to alleviate wrist pain — gamers with carpal tunnel or other strain injuries would be better served with something like the Sculpt.
Pros: Soft padded wrist rest, mecha-membrane hybrid switch design is easy on the fingers yet tactile and precise, anti-ghosting keys for accurate simultaneous inputs, and Razer’s RGB Chroma backlighting looks great
Cons: Not the best ergonomics for users suffering from wrist pain, and the magnetic wrist rest attachment has a tendency to shift during extended use
The best two-piece ergonomic keyboard
If “one size fits all” ergonomic keyboards aren’t a good match, then the two-piece design of the Kinesis Freestyle2 could be a versatile and effective alternative.
Ergonomic keyboards solve a lot of problems, but there’s no such thing as a “one size fits all” typing solution. Not only are everyone’s hands different, but your height, arm length, shoulder width, and other factors can all affect how your hands, wrists, and fingers interface with your keyboard. This simple fact has led to the growing popularity of customizable ergonomic keyboards like the Kinesis Freestyle2.
Kinesis all but pioneered the split keyboard with its Freestyle lineup, and it remains at the top of the heap. Having your keys separated like this does admittedly take some getting used to, but being able to position the keyboard’s two “islands” how you like goes a long way towards alleviating wrist pain and general arm discomfort. The Freestyle2’s keys also sit low and feel very responsive without being mushy or requiring too much force to press, so it’s easy on your fingers.
Aside from its unique two-piece design, however, the Freestyle2 doesn’t feature a lot of other ergonomic features when compared to other keyboards like the Sculpt. To get the most out of the Freestyle (such as wrist-rotating tenting, tilting, and a supportive palm rest), you’ll need to shell out some more cash for the VIP3 riser kit, which adds to the already fairly steep cost of the keyboard itself.
The riser kit offers a lot of customizability, though, and you can even adjust both the tilting and tenting with it, something you generally can’t do on one-piece ergonomic keyboards.
This cost factor is really the only thing that kept the Kinesis Freestyle2 (with the riser kit) from being our top pick. If you add the risers, this keyboard actually offers ergonomics that are just as effective as or even better than the Sculpt, plus the additional customizability of the split form factor, but it’s twice the price.
If you don’t suffer from serious wrist pain, though, you probably won’t need the riser kit, and if you’ve gotta have a two-piece ergonomic keyboard, you’ll find the Freestyle2 to be worth the price.
Pros: Split design lets you place the two halves of the keyboard in the best position for your hands, tactile and responsive keys, wireless Bluetooth connectivity, and solid build quality
Cons: It’s fairly expensive (even more so if you add the riser kit), and the number pad is sold separately
The best ergonomic keyboard and mouse combo
For a solid ergonomic keyboard that’s paired with a slick wireless mouse, the Logitech MK550 bundle including the curved Logitech Wave keyboard, is a value that’s hard to beat.
If you’re at all familiar with PC peripherals, then you’ve almost certainly heard of Logitech, and you may have used accessories from this maker. Logitech offers a myriad of no-nonsense, well-made, and budget-friendly computer gear, including some of the best ergonomic keyboards and mice on the market.
The Logitech MK550 bundle, which includes the Logitech Wave curved keyboard along with the MK510 optical mouse, has you covered if you came here looking to grab both in one swing without dropping a ton of cash.
In a somewhat similar fashion to the Microsoft Sculpt, the Logitech Wave keyboard aligns your hands comfortably in several ways: It props up your wrist via the built-in palm rest, positions your hands at a more neutral angle with its curved design, and lets your fingers sit more naturally on the keys thanks to their wave-like height profile (from which the keyboard gets its name).
The Wave’s curvature isn’t nearly as pronounced as that of the Sculpt, though, so it doesn’t rotate your wrist outwards as Microsoft’s keyboard does. It’s nonetheless very comfortable to use for extended periods of time, according to Top Ten Reviews, and it’s a wireless unit with an incredibly generous battery life. The keyboard can run for up to three years and the mouse for up to two years, each on two AA batteries, which sweetens the package a bit.
The included MK510 mouse, while a fine device in its own right, isn’t quite as ergonomically pleasant-feeling as the Wave keyboard. It has a hand-filling palm swell and curvature for your fingers, but doesn’t put your wrist in a neutral position.
If you’re specifically looking for an ergonomic mouse then there are better options available, and you can buy the MK550 keyboard alone for $32.50 if you want. But for an extra $12, the complete bundle is a serious value and the best pick if you’re looking for a decent ergonomic keyboard and wireless mouse in one package.
Pros: Comfortably supports your hands and wrists, curved design aligns your wrists in a neutral position, wave-like key positioning lets your fingers rest more naturally on the keyboard, very generous battery life, and it’s an excellent value at only $44 for the bundle (or $32.50 for the keyboard itself)
Cons: The mouse isn’t quite as ergonomically sound as the keyboard
The best anti-microbial ergonomic keyboard
With a generously curved body and split-key alignment, the Fellowes Microban is a solid ergonomic keyboard that has the added hygienic bonus of an anti-bacterial coating to ward off germs.
Ergonomic keyboards come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, as you’ve surely noticed while perusing our picks. Yet curved keyboards like the Fellowes Microban remain the standard shape for a reason, and the Microban itself is a long-time champ in the world of ergonomic PC accessories owing to its simple yet effective design and a unique anti-bacterial coating.
You can probably tell that the Fellowes Microban has been around for a few years given its ’90s-era wired design — it’s not even available in a wireless configuration — which is admittedly rather dated. None of the Sculpt’s sleek modern curves or the Ornata’s RGB backlighting are to be found here. Although it might not look like much, the Microban is nonetheless very comfortable to operate for extended periods of time.
Fellowes definitely subscribes to the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” design philosophy, and aesthetics notwithstanding, the Microban is extremely ergonomic and easy to use after a brief learning curve. The rounded shape and split key design align your hands and wrists in an anatomically correct position while the bulbous curvature of the palm rest rotates your wrists slightly outward (although this rotation isn’t quite as noticeable as that of the Microsoft Sculpt).
What earns the Fellowes keyboard a unique spot on our roundup, though, isn’t its straightforward-yet-effective ergonomic design — it’s the anti-bacterial coating on the keys from which the Microban derives its name.
This makes this keyboard the best pick for use in a common space where germs are abundant, such as an office where people may be sharing work stations, although it’s also a fine choice for really any germ-conscious individuals out there.
Pros: Comfortable curved profile with split key alignment that lets your hands and wrists rest naturally, anti-microbial coating wards off bacteria, and it’s a solid value at around $40
Cons: No vertical key curvature, and somewhat dated aesthetics