Are ergonomic keyboards worth it?

When you’re looking for a new wireless keyboard, it isn’t easy to find the right one for you. They come in varying different sizes and types too, with varying mechanisms for the keys themselves.

You’ll also sometimes see some models labelled as ergonomic keyboards. They’re supposedly much better for long term use, and if you spend a lot of time on your laptop or computer, they can be very appealing.

But are ergonomic keyboards actually worth their premium price? That’s what we’ll be considering and looking at today.

Are ergonomic keyboards worth it?

The truth is that no matter what the description may say about a keyboard, there’s no concrete proof that an ergonomic one will be better for you than a standard keyboard. However, many users do find that they prefer ergonomic keyboard designs over a standard one.

This is why it’s pretty important for you to try a keyboard out for a while before deciding it. If you order one, use it regularly for a week or so before deciding whether it’s right for you, but bear in mind they do have a pretty steep learning curve. Some ergonomic keyboards will prove to be a little better than others.

Muscle strain, tension and pain are pretty common problems that most computer users will face at some point throughout their career. This is usually why people look at getting a specialist keyboard in the first place.

Advantages of ergonomic keyboards

For those still trying to figure out whether a specialist keyboard is the right move for you, here’s a couple of the main reasons why they’re worth considering.

They’re more comfortable

Often, people look at ergonomic keyboards when they’re starting to have problems with their wrists whilst typing. But, there’s no reason why you should wait until you have pain in your wrists to invest in a good keyboard.

Most people prefer to use an ergonomic keyboard to a standard one. There’s usually a specific style or type of keyboard that you’ll find is better for you personally. Whether this is a contoured keyboard or a split keyboard, it really depends on the individual.

As well as having better wrist rests, often ergonomic keyboards are laid out in different formats. For example, a split keyboard may be a wise choice if you find your wrists bending outwards when you’re typing. This can make it much easier and more comfortable when you’re using your keyboard.

Avoiding carpal tunnel and wrist problems

Carpal tunnel syndrome is probably the greatest enemy to the computer typist and those that spend a lot of time working online.

I’ll repeat again that there’s not really any scientific evidence that backs the idea of using many ergonomic keyboards in the long term. Whilst we do know that computer work can have an effect on your health, it’s no surprise that there’s not much on ergonomic style products.

However, many people do find that switching over to an ergonomic keyboard can help to relieve their carpal tunnel and wrist pain symptoms. The plush cushioned design of an ergonomic keyboard gives your wrist a lot more support, which is why they’re so popular.

But it’s still a good idea to do a thorough search of your keyboard online before you commit to investing in it. Read the reviews and what other users say beforehand to ensure that it can help with your condition.

Better design

Not only are ergonomic keyboards usually made to a much higher standard than a normal one, but they also are better designed too.

This can include having additional hotkeys around the board which can make it easier for you to navigate around your computer without having to use your mouse. They often have programmable keys so you can add shortcuts to your most used programs.

Having extra keys for you to use is one thing, but there are many different types of ergonomic keyboard too. Between handheld, split, contoured or another form of keyboard, you’re very likely to find something more comfortable than what you’re using.

You can find ergonomic versions of both membrane and mechanical keyboards, so it doesn’t matter your preference here either. But, not everyone is a fan of these sculpted peripherals.

Cons of using an ergonomic keyboard

Whilst there are a lot of good things about an ergonomic keyboard, there’s also some potentially negative things to think about too.

Expense

Probably the biggest criticism that most people tend to have of ergonomic keyboards is that they’re overpriced for what they are.

If you think that they actually help you a lot when you’re typing, then you really can’t put a price on that. But as there’s not really any hard proof that they’re any better for you than a standard keyboard, some people think that they’re just a marketing ploy.

Whilst they are pretty expensive for the most part, it’s worth trying one out for yourself before making a judgement.

You get used to them

If you do decide to opt for an ergonomic keyboard, then it’s great when you’re using it. After months and years, you’ll be accustomed to using this specific style of keyboard more than others.

That means that when you’re using a different keyboard, it can start to feel very uncomfortable. This might be the case if you use a different keyboard at work or in a public place.

Whilst ergonomic keyboards can be good for your wrists, it can create problems when you stop using them. You become so accustomed to the design that it becomes a real chore to go back to using a standard keyboard instead.

It takes time

Whilst in the long run switching over to an ergonomic keyboard will likely speed up your typing, it will slow things down for a while.

You need time to get used to using a different style and layout of keyboard. Most of them have quite high keys with a larger travel depth. This is different to many cheap keyboards that are very shallow, with keys that can be tapped very easily.

This is especially true if you’ve been working at a computer for a long time. Those that have spent many years typing with a standard keyboard will likely find the switch pretty tough at first.

After a few months of using an ergonomic design, you’ll likely find your typing speed increase a little bit. But, getting there will take time for you to adjust.

Conclusion

Overall, it’s fair to say that ergonomic keyboards aren’t for everyone. If value for money is your most important concern when looking for a new keyboard, then you’ll likely want to avoid going for one.

They tend to command a higher price than your standard model. You may be better off just looking for a cheap wrist rest first to see if this improves your typing experience. However, wrist rests can come with their own problems too, potentially providing too much support.

So, the truth is that many people find an ergonomic keyboard works a little better for them. If you spend a lot of hours at your desk, getting one could be a wise investment, and it’s probably worth trying for a few weeks at least.

About Steve

Hi, I'm Steve. I've worked for the past 8 years in a major furniture retailer in the UK, so I know my way around a desk or two. On the weekends, I spend time with my kids or I'm probably outside in the garden doing something or other!

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