3 Best Ergonomic Keyboards in 2023: A Range of Price Points and Purposes
Several factors come into play when choosing a keyboard, like size, functionality, and comfort. The latter may weigh heavily on your decision to purchase an ergonomic keyboard instead of a traditional flat model. Ergonomically designed keyboards are styled to make your work day easier, more comfortable, and ideally better for your physical health. They’re shaped to fit the natural, offset positioning of your hands while typing, instead of forcing you to angle your wrists inward to reach the keys straight ahead of you. This cuts down on joint strain, and even posture and back pain, especially for those of us who spend many hours each day at a desk.
In this article, we’ll look at three of the best ergonomic keyboards from different price points, with features ideal for different purposes. When choosing which to include, I factored in Amazon ratings, my own previous experience with ergonomic keyboards in general, and whether each model was still available directly from the manufacturer. I did not consider any that have been discontinued, even if they’re still sold through Amazon’s resellers, or any models older than five years.
Best All-Around Workhorse: Logitech ERGO K860
The first spot on our list of the best ergonomic keyboards goes to the Logitech ERGO K860, which is the most recently released in 2020, the most generally useful for the widest customer base, and sits comfortably at the mid-range price of $129.99. The key array is split down the middle and splayed to the sides for more natural hand positioning, and also curved along the rows of subtly scooped keys, to flow with the shape and arc of your fingertips. The base is sculpted with an arch in the center where the keys split, to conform to the natural tilt of your wrists, and the triple-layered, memory foam-cushioned wrist rest itself is curved for maximum fit and comfort, placing your forearms just above the edge of the keys. Add in the adjustable palm lift, to customize the backward sloping angle of the keyboard across three height settings, and you’ll be typing in total personalized comfort. All together, these comfort features provide 54% more wrist support than a traditional keyboard, reduce wrist bending by 25%, and lessen muscle strain in the upper trapezius by 21%, the primary back muscle responsible for shoulder and neck movement and stabilization.
The ERGO K860 is wireless up to 33 feet, running up to two years on two AAA batteries, making it great for customizing your ideal office setup without the hassle of being tethered to your desk by the length of a cord. It can connect with up to three devices via Bluetooth or USB dongle, and works with Windows, macOS, iPadOS, ChromeOS, and Linux, making it our most widely compatible model on the list. Rounding out the features, you can customize shortcut keys through the Logitech Options software, to assign frequently used functions to the most convenient Fn keys to suit your preferences. With these customization options and unique comfort features, which have been certified by United States Ergonomics, as well as the 4.6 customer star rating on Amazon, I’m sure you can see why this model made the list.
Best on a Budget: Perixx Periboard-612
Taking the second spot on our best ergonomic keyboards list is the Perixx Periboard-612, a general purpose model on a budget, which debuted in 2019, and retails at a low $69.99. It’s a bit clunkier than our Logitech pick, with fewer customization options, but with a customer star rating of 4.4 on Amazon, it’s the best of the more basic options that sit in this price range. It has the typical split key design, with the two keyboard halves arranged at comfortable angles on either side of a gentle convex slope in between. The palm rest on this model is built-in, not detachable, but still provides cushioned comfort and support to relieve pressure and tension on your wrists and forearms. The keys have a tactile response mechanism, and a long travel time between key and keyboard base, aiding in typing accuracy while minimizing the required force and repetitive hard impact on your fingertips.
This model is wireless, runs on two AA batteries, and can easily switch between connecting via 2.4GHz Wi-Fi or Bluetooth 4.0, by flipping a toggle on the underside of the keyboard, right next to the nano receiver storage compartment. It’s compatible with Windows or macOS, and includes convenient built-in shortcut keys, and four separate interchangeable keys for OS-specific layouts. This compatibility with both Windows and macOS systems is the only reason this model just edged out the Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard, which is only compatible with Windows, but comparable in all other regards, including its Amazon rating.
Best for Gaming and Fun: Kinesis Freestyle Edge RGB
I’ve saved the final spot on our best ergonomic keyboards list for the highest priced, yet most fun and feature-rich model. The Kinesis Freestyle Edge RGB was released in 2019, is a great option for pro-gamers, but will set you back $219. Anyone can find value in this model, even if just to add some colorful flare to your desktop, but there’s a lot of added functionality geared specifically towards pro-gamers that you can’t find in other ergonomic offerings, and will make it more worth the higher price point. The 4.5 customer star rating on Amazon supports this as well, and might make you more confident in spending that little extra.
The keyboard is split into two free-moving pieces, connected by a braided tether, allowing you to position your left and right hands at any angle on your desk, at any distance up to 20 inches apart. This gives you flexibility of positioning incomparable to other ergonomic keyboard models that choose the angle and distance between left and right sections for you. You can even bring the two halves together to create a standard straight keyboard, until you grow more accustomed to typing in an ergonomic layout. To add even more comfort, connect the optional lift kit to raise and tilt each side to the perfect angle for your wrists, and the detachable, foam-cushioned, sweat-resistant palm supports to elevate your wrists and forearms to the best position for avoiding joint strain. Beneath the surface, the low-force mechanical key switches reduce impact at your fingertips, reducing strain and fatigue during extended sessions.
Extra Features for Gamers
For gamers, the benefits of this keyboard don’t stop at the basic ergonomic comforts. The physical separation of keyboard halves allows you to set aside the right half of the keyboard and position your mouse directly next to the left side, which is where most of the keys for pro-level games are located. If there’s some right-side keys still needed, you can remap them to the nine conveniently located Game Keys on the left side. In fact, all 95 keys on the Freestyle Edge are fully customizable, and easily remapped via the keyboard itself or through the SmartSet app, with nine available save slots for customizing your key configuration profiles for different games or users. Even when using both sides of the keyboard together, perhaps with a microphone in between for convenient audio streaming, with the absence of a number pad to the right, you’ll still be able to bring your mouse in close enough for comfort.
Gamers and non-gamers alike will enjoy the attractive, fully customizable RGB backlighting. Use the ten cool preset effects, including wave, spectrum, pulse, and rain, or individually assign colors to each of the 95 keys for a totally personalized colorscape, which is extremely helpful when remembering which keys you’ve custom-assigned certain functions for different games or applications. One other type of key customization can be made when ordering your Freestyle Edge, and that’s choosing the model of Cherry MX mechanical switches, which are the trigger mechanisms beneath each key. There are four options, each giving a slightly different feel to the keys, with varying levels of tactile feedback. For most users, the brown type sounds most suitable, but it’s really down to personal preference. Finally, being compatible with Windows, macOS, Chrome OS, and Linux, this keyboard would be a great accessory to any desk, with the caveat that you’ll pay a pretty penny for the fun aesthetics and added gaming features.
Which Will You Choose?
That wraps up our brief list of the best ergonomic keyboards on the market right now. Considering how many jobs transitioned to remote work over the last few years, I was surprised that there weren’t more recently released models since 2020 to choose from, but despite being several years old, any of these three models would be a great addition to your office setup, depending on your personal budget and feature needs. Not sure if you’re ready to make the switch to an ergonomic keyboard just yet? Check out Nerdable’s recent list of five of the best mechanical keyboards, for a range of more traditional options. If you’re still longing for keyboard-related content after that, spend some time marveling at a few of the most expensive keyboards in the world, another great article from your friends at Nerdable.