Last updated: Tuesday, February 13, 2018
A wrist rest rarely comes to mind when putting together the ideal gaming setup. They are not exciting and flashy like a new mouse or keyboard, nor are they a necessity such as a desk or office chair. However, the fact remains that humans are spending more time than ever before in the sitting position. Whether for work or play, hours on end in front of the monitor can have consequences for our bodies. In this article, we take a look at the best wrist rests — both keyboard and mouse — that help mitigate some of the risk.
Our Top 9 List of the Best Wrist Rests
In this wrist rests review section we are going to take close look at the best wrist supports available for purchase.
The Bailey Wrist Rest by Castle is a sleek leather rest that is gunning for the title of the best keyboard wrist rest. Featuring genuine leather, this one is sure to get better with age and be resistant to all manners of wear and tear. This is one of the best wrist rests for carpal tunnel as its rigidity supports wrists helping them maintain an elbow level height. Furthermore, it is a bit wider than most which offers more surface area for resting lower arms in addition to the wrists. This model is available in brown, gray, and the black pictured above.
Castle also offers this wrist rest in a compact, TKL version (about 14 inches long). For owners of mechanical keyboards and enthusiasts, it is nice to have a matching size for these new keyboard lengths. It is also offered in three colors and you can see the gray pictured below.
This wrist rest is designed for supporting the mouse hand (that’s going to be the right hand for most folks). It is the brother to the Bailey keyboard wrist rest featured above. You get the genuine leather material but this time in a compact wrist rest made for placing on a mouse pad or desk by your wired or wireless mouse.
Another idea for wrist support for the mouse hand is purchasing a brace for rigid support. Those already suffering from a lot of pain may want to go this route. The Mueller Fitted Wrist Brace is considered the best wrist brace for carpal tunnel and is around $10 bucks.
The Fellowes Wrist Rest is one of the best keyboard wrist rests available. The memory foam does an excellent job of redistributing pressure away from high risk areas. The price is right on this one. Furthermore, you’re getting something that is fairly durable with its jersey cover. The nonskid backing keeps it in place even when you’re in a heated debate typing 200 WPM to that asshole on the other side of the country. The soft pillow of memory foam embraces your wrists in its loving embrace, and never forgets.
Innovera claims their softskin material is softer than any fabric and smoother than other wrist rests that use gel. Truth be told, the softskin is nice and the wrists like it. In addition, this outer shell material is highly resistant to staining and water. Quite innovative of Innovera we do say.
We are generally really big fans of ROCCAT products around here. Their gaming wrist rest pad is definitely one of the best wrist supports out there in terms of craftsmanship. The gel infused cushioning and outer cloth material we are particularly fond of. However, the length of this wrist rest is a little awkward. It is a little too large for one wrist but a little too small at 8ish inches for both wrists.
Overall we’d recommend using it as a spacious wrist rest for the mouse hand placed on the mouse pad or desk surface. The grippy backing ensures it won’t move much even during vigorous mouse swiping in the heat of the 30th round in a CS:GO match.
If you’re looking for a standard black, no frills wrist rest 3M has you covered. The leatherette material they’ve used with this wrist rest is highly durable and wears well. Another thing to note about this wrist rest is that it comes in four variations: 7, 18, 19, and 25 inch options. Those on the hunt for the best wrist rest for typing will appreciate the gel like material.
Are you in the ranks of the elite? What better way to show it than a couple wrist rests of the chosen ones. This in our opinion is one of the best gaming wrist rests out there. With many size options for different types of keyboards and even a mouse wrist rest option, you can find exactly what you’re looking for. Stitched edges, rubber bottom, foam interior, and a smooth cloth surface round these wrist rests out nicely.
Those of us in pursuit of the best wrist pad for the mouse may find the WaveRest from Belkin a great mouse mat wrist support solution. As far as pricing goes, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better offer. This wrist rest is also great for those who use calculators and other types of desktop machinery often. The WaveRest contours to your wrist’s curve and helps reduce pressure that potentially could lead to a repetitive motion disorder.
This is one of the best mouse wrist rests on the market. It uses the same soft skin material that Innovera’s keyboard wrist rest uses (featured at #3 in this list). The non skid backing keeps it in place when in the mousing hand is clicking away.
General Thoughts on Office Ergonomics & Wrist Rests
A move towards ergonomics in the office and at home has been an ongoing trend for some time now but it has been gaining steam in recent years. According to the Washing State Department of Labor, Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD’s) account for over 60% of office workers’ compensation claim costs. Some companies even have HR employees dedicated to the task of applying ergonomic principals to keep the rest of their staff healthy and happy. With more of the world jumping online and moving into technology related jobs everyday, it is unlikely that this trend or these musculoskeletal disorders will go away.
Neck Strain, lower back pain, hand and wrist tendinitis, and carpal tunnel being among the most common reported injuries. It may seem silly when comparing injuries such as these to a construction type job related injury such as a broken arm but frankly can still cause a lot of pain (a recent study found lower back pain the #1 ergo issue worldwide). Whereas once a broken arm is mended and heals the pain typically subsides altogether, there is no easy fix for musculoskeletal disorders. It’s an ongoing battle.
Good posture can go a long way towards preventing back pain and wrist pain. Monitor arm’s length away, don’t crane your neck, eliminate excessive reaching, hands at or below elbow level, rest your eyes periodically, and don’t forget to take stretch breaks and get up and walk around every so often. This is just a fraction of the advice we receive. The problem is it can take an ungodly amount of discipline to maintain a regime like this over the course of the day, particularly in the afternoon or at night when your body is tired.
The concept of setting yourself up for success can go a long way here. By putting together the right office environment your body will be nudged towards better habits and ultimately a healthier posture. In turn this reduces risk for developing one of these pesky (or even debilitating) aches and pains. One of the big wins in setting up an ergonomic space is getting a keyboard wrist rest and mouse wrist rest. Just like a high quality office chair (my Steelcase Leap did wonders for my lower back pain) will go a long way to cure back pain, wrist rests help alleviate lower arm and wrist troubles.
Do Wrist Rests Help Prevent Problems?
You don’t want to make matters worse rather than better. It’s certainly important to consider if ergonomic gizmos are even worth the trouble. One thing wrist rests are very good at is support the wrists and keeping them in a straight, neutral angle. Problems arise when a wrist rest is too bulky and puts too much pressure on the underside of the wrist. Another possible issue to look out for is when a wrist rest forces the user to bend their wrists sideways to reach the keys.
Wrist rests aid in keeping the wrists straight. Instead of having a gap between the keyboard and your body where the wrists ‘sink’ to touch the desk, you have a safe zone with the right wrist rest. While typing this will support the wrists and keep them in a neutral position as well as supporting the hands so they are at the correct elbow level height. Furthermore, between bouts of typing you’ll have a place to rest your palms and wrists so they are not making contact with the hard surface of your desk.
Problems arise when the wrists stay in a non-neutral posture for too long. Picture being too far below your keyboard or too far above it, this would force the wrists to take an awkward angle to engage in typing on the keyboard. This would cause localized pressure on the nerves or tendons in the wrist (where there are many) and could cause damage. Even a slight angle over a extended periods can cause havoc in this part of the body that is susceptible to injury.
The two most common musculoskeletal wrist issues are tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome. Tendinits is the inflammation of tendons (tissues that connect muscles to bones). It is generally caused by the overuse of certain muscles, which as one could imagine, happens to hands and fingers of gamers and office workers. Untreated tendinitis can actually lead to carpal tunnel. Carpal tunnel syndrome is the result of a compressed nerve in the wrist. Once tendons become inflamed, they cause the carpal tunnel (wrist area) to narrow which then can press on the median nerve. That can be really painful or at the very least lead to some tingling and burning.