Is one of the best ergonomic mechanical keyboards worth it? If you spend a lot of time at your computer, you’ve likely explored (or even purchased) a handful of ergonomic equipment. Popular upgrades include chairs that encourage better posture, adjustable standing desks that keep your muscles fresh, even ergonomic mats that eliminate foot pain. But what about your keyboard?
It’s probably an area you haven’t thought much about. Most keyboards seem reasonably comfortable, and if you drag your extra-large mouse pad under your wrists, that’s enough support… right? I’m sorry to say that you’re sorely mistaken, and your aching hands and wrists will soon make that apparent.
Who Is an Ergonomic Keyboard For?
If you’re actively typing away, whether for work or while gaming, you need to support your hands. If you don’t, you’ll quickly develop chronic wrist, finger, and even shoulder pain due to your poor posture and consistent level of impact. Which is why an ergonomic keyboard may be worth investing in.
Luckily, the developers of ergonomic keyboards know that, like chairs and desks, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, most brands have multiple options that vary in keyboard layout, comfort features, and compatibility.
While you may think that you’ll have to sacrifice tactile responsiveness for ergonomic features, that’s simply not the case. There are plenty of mechanical ergonomic keyboards available that balance satisfying input with health-oriented design.
Not sure where to start searching? Check out our list of the top 5 best ergonomic mechanical keyboards available to you in 2021.
Zoom In: 5 Best Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboards
To help you navigate the broad keyboard landscape, we’ve put together the top 5 options, each with a distinct benefit or ergonomic design focus.
1. Kinesis Freestyle Edge
The best ergonomic mechanical keyboard for gaming
Manufacturer: Kinesis Gaming | Weight: 2.5 lbs | Connectivity: USB | Design: Split | Price: 💰💰💰
If you’re looking to make the switch to a fully ergonomic keyboard, you might as well go all in. And if you opt for the Kinesis Freestyle Edge, you can do so with flexibility and style.
The Kinesis doesn’t shy away from being a gaming keyboard. Even with the split design, the Cherry MX mechanical switches operate and register keypresses (up to 50 million) as well as any high-end mechanical option out there. Throw in the quick and easy button remapping and RGB customization, and you have yourself a high-quality gaming keyboard straight out of the box.
But the Kinesis doesn’t stop there. It features many more ergonomic features. To help find your ideal resting position, you can tent the keyboard to 5, 10, or 15-degrees. Combine that with the sweat-resistant and cushioned palm supports, and you can say goodbye to wrist and shoulder pain for good.
All in all, the Kinesis is the best option around if you’re committed to blending a high-functioning gaming keyboard with versatile ergonomic features. Sure, it’s a bit pricey, requires some add-ons for full functionality, and will take some time to get used to. But if you’re committed, it is worth the investment.
- USERS LIKE
- Cherry MX Switches
- High-quality wrist-pad
- Versatile RGB and key customization
- USERS DISLIKE
- High price point
- Can be difficult to adjust to
- Lift kit (provides interior pitching) costs extra
2. Razer Ornata Chroma
The best ergonomic mechanical keyboard for typing
Manufacturer: Razer | Weight: 2.1 lbs | Connectivity: USB | Design: Full | Price: 💰
Let’s be honest: the split keyboard design can be daunting, no matter how ergonomic it is. Sometimes all you need to create healthier habits is a keyboard with just a few top-tier features. And the Razer Ornata Chroma offers just that.
This keyboard was designed with performance in mind. Sporting mecha-membrane switches, it provides a tactile and responsive feel that ensures you’re able to make purposeful key presses quickly and easily. Throw in the incredibly useful anti-ghosting feature, and you have a keyboard that doesn’t allow you to make mistakes.
And just because performance is first and foremost doesn’t mean comfort and ergonomics were disregarded. With the lean frame and massive wrist rest, you’ll feel comfortable playing or typing for hours. Indeed, this keyboard serves as a nice half-step for those beginning to explore what they need.
Lastly, with this being Razer, you can’t count out personalization. Entirely remappable keys and RGB customization means that you can change the Ornata to look and play however you’d like.
- USERS LIKE
- Comfy wrist pad
- Effective anti-ghosting
- Satisfying mechanical feel
- USERS DISLIKE
- Half-step ergonomic design
- Customization software is lacking
- Key and wrist pad coating wears off quickly
The best ergonomic mechanical keyboard for programming
Manufacturer: ErgoDox | Weight: 1.6 lbs | Connectivity: USB | Design: Split | Price: 💰💰💰
If you plan on using your keyboard for more than gaming — possibly to code or program — you’ll want to check out the ErgoDoxEZ. While there are plenty of good out-of-the-box ergonomic options out there, you can’t beat building your own keyboard. And the folks at ErgoDox make it incredibly easy, with the result being a high-quality mechanical keyboard that’s built to last.
With the ErgoDoxEZ, you get full control over what goes into your keyboard. From the switches to the color, to the angle of the pitch, it’s all up to you. And here’s the thing: if you realize down the road that you want to change something (e.g., swapping out switches), you can. It’s fully upgradeable!
Customization aside, any option you build has the quality and features that make the high cost worthwhile. Moreover, the split design and long connector cord mean you can place each half wherever you’d like for full ergonomic support. And with the incredibly versatile tilt system and fully isolated wrist pads, you’ll get the ideal support to fit your typing or playstyle.
What really makes this keyboard so unique, and useful for programmers, is the fact that it is entirely open-source. Like the design, you have full control over the firmware, and you won’t even void the warranty if something goes wrong, and you need a reset. While the EZ is not a beginner’s keyboard, it’s fully worth exploring if you want a versatile, comfortable, and personalized experience.
- USERS LIKE
- Open source firmware
- Versatile ergonomic features
- Fully customizable and upgradeable design
- USERS DISLIKE
- High price-point
- Parts can take a while to ship
- Extremely difficult to adjust to
4. Velocifire VM02WS
The best wireless ergonomic mechanical keyboard
Manufacturer: Velocifire | Weight: 2.68 lbs | Connectivity: USB/BlueTooth | Design: Full | Price: 💰
Strangely enough, it’s difficult to find wireless ergonomic mechanical keyboards. When I came across the Velocifire VM02WS, I was pleasantly surprised (and somewhat relieved).
Similar to the Razer model on this list, the Velocifire serves as an ergonomic half-step. That’s because it doesn’t have all the additional comfort features or split keyboard design that elevates truly ergonomic keyboards. But it makes up for it with wireless and wired compatibility, quiet tactile switches, and RGB effects all for an incredibly low price.
After reading a handful of reviews for this keyboard, you’ll find that most buyers find it to be just above average. The keys themselves are off-brand (but easy to switch out), and it lacks true customization of any kind. But what really sets this keyboard apart is the wireless feature. At a full-charge in the non-backlit mode, it can last up to 150 hours and retains a strong signal from up to 26 feet away. Not that you’ll ever play from that distance, but it’s still impressive. The wireless functionality of this keyboard is ergonomic in and of itself: you can position this anywhere and at any angle you want without the limitations of a cord.
Wireless capabilities aside, the keyboard is average. It lacks any true ergonomic customization, and while the build is solid, it’s nothing to write home about. But for those looking for an inexpensive, wireless starter keyboard, it may be a good fit.
- USERS LIKE
- Wired option available
- Inexpensive starter option
- Long battery life and wireless range
- USERS DISLIKE
- Keys and build are average
- Lacks customization options
- Lacks true ergonomic features
5. GameSir VX2
The best ergonomic keyboard for small hands
Manufacturer: GameSir | Weight: 2.55 lbs | Connectivity: USB Dongle | Design: Single | Price: 💰💰
If a split keyboard is going all-in on ergonomics, a one-handed option is like reaching ergonomic enlightenment, right? Well… maybe not. But the GameSir VX2 is still a reliable keyboard that simplifies everything down to just one hand. Which, for those with smaller hands, may find to be a relief.
Now you may be thinking: there’s no way a small keyboard like this could operate as a full-fledged mechanical keyboard. Well, the 29 programable Cherry MX Red key switches, customizable RGB lighting effects, and ultra-low wireless latency would beg to differ. The VX2 is built to last and provides a competitive experience in the palm of your hand.
It also comes equipped with a switch receiver, which allows you to use the VX2 with your PC, as well as PS4, Xbox One, and the Nintendo Switch. It’s also plug-and-play, with virtually no setup as you switch between devices. And as a bonus, it comes with a decent gaming mouse, so you’ll be ready to go right out of the box.
The drawback here is that you don’t get access to a full keyboard. But if you’re looking for a high-quality, ergonomic solution that’s perfect to take with you, you may want to grab a VX2.
- USERS LIKE
- Tactile and programable keys
- Compatible with multiple devices
- G-Cruz app for easy troubleshooting and customization
- USERS DISLIKE
- Odd form factor
- Short attachment cable
- Latency varies depending on the device
Buyer’s Guide: Mechanical Ergonomic Keyboards
Even with a shorter list of options, it can still be challenging to find the best mechanical keyboard for your physical needs. To help narrow down your choices, keep the following points in mind as you look through this list.
1. Keyboard Design
Not every ergonomic keyboard is designed for everyone. Some are standard single panel models, others provide an optional split, and a few boast keypad form factors.
If you don’t feel comfortable learning a new keyboard layout, stick with a traditional model. But if you’re willing to sacrifice a bit of time in favor of a more versatile option, you suddenly have far more options to consider and choose from.
2. Comfort Features
Design isn’t everything. When it comes to ergonomics, comfort features are typically the first thing to look for. But when you’re trying to find a robust blend between performance and comfort, you usually have to make concessions.
The best thing you can do is identify why you’re looking for an ergonomic keyboard. Do you have chronic finger or wrist pain? Are your shoulders and forearms feeling tight? Figure out what matters to you and your needs, and then research what would help alleviate them. You may only need an adjustable keyboard or wrist pad, versus a fully split keyboard.
As always, price is a factor with high-quality peripherals. It’s up to you to decide how much comfort and specific features are worth to you. Additionally, if you’re simply testing different options, it may not make sense to shell out a bunch of money quite yet.
Set a budget and decide if you’re investing in a long-term device or not. That will help narrow down your options.
For this guide on ergonomic mechanical keyboards, our writers spent 4 hours researching over 65 of the most popular options from brands big and small. After comparing this data, we then read over 135 user reviews and narrowed our list down to the top 5 ergonomic keyboards on the market. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.
We hope you’ve found the perfect model for your setup. Happy Gaming!