If you find that you type a lot at your setup and you are looking to improve the comfort and ergonomics of your setup, you may have heard of ergonomic keyboards.
Many people consider ergonomic boards to improve comfort, but it is hard to say if they are good or not, as it depends on your use-case.
Ergonomic keyboards are known to improve the typing angle, wrist angle, and positioning of the fingers while typing. However, whether they are effective or not depends on the person using them. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to ergonomic keyboards.
Depending on your workflow and what you are doing, an ergonomic keyboard may be worth it for you.
There is not one single answer when it comes to the question if ergonomics are the best option for everyone. If you work a lot with a keyboard, then investing in an ergonomic one might be an option that you should consider.
If you want to dig deeper to find out if an ergonomic keyboard is worth it for you and how investing in one could help you, keep reading to learn more.
Ergonomic vs Normal Keyboards: Which is Better?
Ergonomic and normal keyboards have multiple differences and are great for different situations. You can’t say one is better than the other as you must look at the individual situations.
Which Is Better For Wrist and Arm Pain
After typing for long periods, you may get wrist and arm pains. One specific issue that you may be concerned about is carpal tunnel. One way to fix or reduce the effects of these problems is by getting an ergonomic board.
Ergonomic boards are specifically designed to help you keep good hand, arm, and back posture. They will reduce pains for all these parts of your body and allow you to type without these issues affecting you as much.
The issue of carpal tunnel is a common topic of discussion when talking about the comfort of keyboards. According to Dr. Francesco Campanile, a renown hand surgeon in Denver, ergonomic boards can greatly reduce the chance of getting carpal tunnel by reducing the strain on your wrists.
As with everything related to the human body, it comes down to preference and whether the ergonomic board is a good fit or not. If you are purchasing an ergonomic keyboard due to health issues, see your local physician and ask to see an occupational therapist for an ergonomics assessment.
Although it may be much harder to get carpal tunnel by using an ergonomic keyboard, it is still possible. Ergonomic keyboards will greatly improve your situation over using regular keyboards, but they will not solve all your problems altogether.
In addition to all the arm and wrist pains ergonomic boards can solve, they can also improve back posture, further improving your health.
The Comfort Level
The main selling point of ergonomic keyboards is the comfort, hence the name. Ergonomic boards are specifically designed with comfort in mind and are the primary selling point of them.
If you type for long periods, this is when ergonomic keyboards are truly worth it.
Over time you won’t get cramps or pains in your hands and arms. Also, your posture will be better as an ergonomic keyboard promotes a better way of positioning your arms to support posture make you more comfortable for longer periods of use.
For gaming, both regular and ergonomic boards can have the same amount of comfort because you can tilt your board. If you only game then getting an ergonomic keyboard may not be the best investment for you as a regular keyboard can have the same level of comfort.
If typing speed is a big priority to you, a regular style keyboard is your best option. Since there is a gap in the middle of the ergonomic keyboard, it is harder for specific hands to move to different areas of the keyboard which results in a sacrifice in speed.
If you would like to compromise between both comfort and speed the unibody style for ergonomic keyboards is the way to go. It is very similar in the way that regular keyboards are laid out and still far more comfortable.
If you have made the switch to an ergonomic board, once you have gotten used to it you can probably type at a similar speed that you once typed at, but usually, you will type a little bit slower.
The fastest typists in the world still use regular mechanical keyboards to break their world record.
You have the option to go with a regular board, the fastest option, or go the route of an ergonomic keyboard and be a bit slower.
Comparing Price Tags
The price of ergonomic boards is more expensive than a regular style keyboard with the same features.
This is because the ergonomic style is a feature in itself, and those ergonomic boards are more expensive to make. Ergonomic boards can cost 25% to 50% more than regular-style boards.
Although ergonomic boards cost more, they deliver a feature of superior comfort. There is value for many in that greatly added comfort as they may be more concerned with posture, have wrist problems, or generally want a more comfortable experience.
Should You Get An Ergonomic Keyboard?
If you spend a lot of time at a computer especially typing, then an ergonomic keyboard could be a great option for you. Although an ergonomic board may seem right for you, there are many other factors that you may want to consider.
There are multiple pros and cons between both regular and ergonomic style keyboards. Ergonomic boards are designed for greater comfort and help solve wrist and arm pain but are usually slower to type on and are more expensive compared to regular style boards.
If you find that you are uncomfortable while typing or are even diagnosed with something such as carpal tunnel, getting an ergonomic keyboard could greatly improve your situation and maybe worth the extra money.
If you prioritize fast typing or you have a smaller budget, then getting an ergonomic board may not be the best way for you.
There are also other methods to increase comfort without investing in an ergonomic keyboard. You can learn a different layout besides QWERTY such as Colemak and Dvorak to improve comfort while still typing incredibly quickly.
You can also get a wrist rest or learn to type while not resting your hands on the desk.
If you prioritize comfort over price and ultra-fast speed, then an ergonomic board is a good investment and worth it. Otherwise sticking to a regular board and finding other methods to improve comfort could be the best option for you.
Difficulty Transitioning From Normal To Ergonomic
Since most people usually use regular style keyboards, it takes time to get used to different hand placement and an altered way of typing when switching.
There are different types of ergonomic boards and depending on what style you get, it may take a shorter or longer time to be able to type as well as you used to. It can take anywhere from a week to about a month to get used to the ergonomic style.
The different types of ergonomic boards have a range of difficulty, but you will probably make more typos as it feels like you are learning a slightly altered layout. The difficulty of switching to this new style is not a factor that you should be worried about as for the most part it is fairly easy,
Although it may take time and you may make mistakes, the effort is definitely worth it for the comfort that you will get as a result.
The Different Types Of Ergonomic Keyboards
There are two different types of Ergonomic Keyboards. Unibody and split.
The Unibody style is the easiest to get used to and usually the cheapest of the two options.
A Unibody type of board, as the name suggests, is just one single board that is together. This design is still ergonomic but is not as complicated as the Split design.
This can help if you are going for a minimalistic or clean look but still are striving for comfort. With this Unibody design, there are fewer cables because there isn’t a need to have a cable between each part and then potentially another cable to connect to the computer.
Unibody boards may not be as ergonomic as the split style but unibody style boards are still more comfortable than a regular keyboard. For many, they are the perfect middle ground between ergonomics but not changing too much from a regular style board.
The other type of ergonomic keyboard type is Split. The Split style is more difficult to get used to and usually a more expensive option.
Sometimes the Split style can be combined back into one regular looking board but always is a style consisting of 2 parts of a board. This adjustability is more complicated but also more personal so you can match the spacing to the amount of space between your arms for better comfort and ergonomics.
The Split style gives the maximum comfort but can sacrifice looks. Often Split boards often have 1 if not 2 cables which make your desk surface more cluttered. This sacrifice in looks allows it to achieve maximum comfort and is the best option if comfort is your main priority and you are willing to sacrifice in other fields for it.
An ergonomic keyboard is a simple fix to improve your comfort while working. It can solve many hand and arm strain problems and also support better posture.
Ergonomic boards provide much better comfort and can reduce the chances of having arm and wrist pains as well as carpal tunnel. In contrast, regular boards allow faster typing speeds and are also cheaper.
There are a variety of styles for ergonomic keyboards that can suit your preferences and the things you do regularly like gaming, typing, or just working. With Split and Unibody boards there are different types to choose from.
For more ergonomic tips, check out some home ergonomic office tips from the America Occupational Therapy Association.