15 Best Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboards

Dactyl Keyboard
Ergonomic Keyboards Guides

Updated November 2022

What’s the difference between a standard keyboard and an ergonomic mechanical keyboard, and why should you invest in the latter? Not only will you type (or game) faster, but a good quality ergonomic keyboard will keep your wrists healthy for longer if you spend hours every day on the keyboard.

Imagine the difference between playing an old piano that hasn’t been serviced in years compared to a brand new, high-quality electronic piano. Both types will require a certain amount of pressure and give you a ‘response’, but how it feels and the amount of force you need to use will be very different.

In this article, we will share with you the 15 best ergonomic mechanical keyboards on the market.

Quick Look At My Top Picks

  • You can add programmable foot pedals

  • Smaller footprint than a traditional keyboard

  • Split keyboard design for more comfortable typing

  • Tactile keystrokes

  • Integrates with other gaming hardware and software

  • Fully programmable keys

Why An Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard?

While there’s lots of variation within, there are basically two types of keyboards: membrane and mechanical.

Membrane keyboards are a one-piece design where keys press down onto a membrane and make electrical connections, which trigger when a key is pressed. Meanwhile, mechanical keyboards have a switch for each key.

In theory, this makes mechanical keys feel more like an old typewriter than a modern keyboard, but in practice, the modern design switches are highly responsive and there are different options that can have different effects.

While you can get a clacky, typewriter-style keyboard if you prefer, you can also get more sensitive keys, and keys that provide a more tactile feedback when you hit them so you know they have connected. This is why mechanical keys are preferred by gamers, who appreciate both the responsiveness and the tactile feedback.

But, as well as looking for something that provides a good tactile experience, gamers should also be looking for ergonomic keyboards. Traditional keyboards were designed long before we knew much about ergonomics, and they can cause both posture issues and wrist pain when used for extended periods, like gamers tend to do.

So, in our list of the best mechanical keyboards, we have also chosen models that are ergonomically designed. Key features include split keyboards that reduce hunching, tilts and wrist rests that reduce wrist strain, and key placement design that make them easier to reach.

15 Best Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboards


1. The Ultimate Hacking Keyboard

The Ultimate Hacking Keyboard

 

Read our full review of the Ultimate Hacking Keyboard. The UHK is a 60% keyboard, which means that only the alphanumeric block is available. The keys are the same size as a normal keyboard but uses layers and additional keys to allow for things like escape, F-keys, and navigation keys. While it’s much more compact than a standard keyboard, you still have all of the functionality of a full-sized keyboard and can access all of the full keyboard keys without leaving your normal typing position.

You can order the UHK in one of 240 variations. Seems like overkill but it’s really just picking a key switch from six options, one of two layouts, one of four keycap printing options, and one of five case colors. We got the Kalih Brown switch, ISO layout, Mac keycap printing, and blue case. Color options also include black, dark red, orange, navy blue, and—for those that can keep it clean—white. Switch options also include Kalih Blue/Red/Black or Cherry Clear/Green.

The UHK is ergonomically comfortable, has mechanical keys, is entirely open source, and repairable. Built like a tank, it will have 12 layers (see this Github thread) that, if mastered, can tackle the bulk of computer interaction from one typing position. It looks stunning, has three tent/tilt options, and is compact without being squished in any way. The UHS is also a keyboard that will get attention forcing ergonomic conversations wherever you type.

2. Kinesis Advantage2

Kinesis Advantage2

 

We’ve reviewed the Kinesis Advantage (not the Advantage2). Our summary of that review: If you’ve tried some ordinary ergonomic keyboards with poor results, the Kinesis Advantage is a step up that you may need to take. The price tag is high, there is an adjustment period, and some elements of the design may annoy you; however, if it helps your typing-related pain, those other things are insignificant by comparison. Also, after a while, you will most likely learn to work around the annoying features of the keyboard and begin to enjoy some of its more subtle and efficient benefits.

The Advantage2 adds more features that take things to the next level. Key remapping and macros creations can be done via text editor so it’s less fiddly, and you can add programmable foot pedals too! The rubber function keys from the previous model have been replaced by low-force tactile mechanical keys. All the keys are also scooped into a concave shape to reduce the required finger extension.

The new model adds some of the most used keys, such as Enter, Space, Backspace, Delete, and the Control-Alt combo, into the thumb keypad. The split keyboard lets you type at shoulder width, and the keywells are tented at an optimal 20-degree angle to raise the thumb side of the hand. An integrated palm support reduces stress on the wrists.

3. Perixx PERIBOARD 512W Ergonomic Split Keyboard

Perixx PERIBOARD 512W Ergonomic Split Keyboard

 

This keyboard from Perixx offers all the benefits of a split keyboard without the irritation of having your keyboard split in two. The two sides of the keyboard are separated and slightly angled in, so they align more with how we naturally use our hands. This means hours of typing with less wrist strain, which is also aided by the integrated pal rests, which are often absent from mechanical keyboards.

The only downside with the keyboard not actually being split is that gamers will not be able to put their mouse in the center of their keyboard, if that’s their gaming style.

This is a bit different from your average mechanical keyboard, as instead of using blue or brown switches, it uses rubber dome switches for an even smoother typing experience. You can bang out letters with barely any force at all, but the tactile keystroke feedback will help you keep track of what you’re doing.

The laser printed keys also mean there is no chance of the lettering wearing off your keys, no matter how much you use them. There are also seven fully programmable keys.

While we would have liked this to have been wireless, the Perixx Periboard comes with six feet of cable, so you still have a lot of flexibility. It’s compatible with Windows (only), and is a matter of plugging in the USB and it is ready for use.

4. Cloud Nine C989M Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard

Cloud Nine C989M Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard

 

This mechanical keyboard uses top-of-the-range Cherry MX brown macro-capable mechanical switches for responsive keystrokes and program functions. It also features a smart control wheel for the thumb for elements such as scroll, volume, brightness, and applications.

The ergonomics of this keyboard starts with the split design, which allows you to separate the two halves by up to eight inches since, unfortunately, this keyboard is not wireless. Next, built-in tenting of seven degrees keeps your hands at an ideal natural angle.

For fun, the keyboard is RGB backlit. Customize it yourself or choose from 15 pre-programmed light flows.

5. Eagletec KG011-RGB Mechanical Keyboard

Eagletec KG011-RGB Mechanical Keyboard

 

This mechanical keyboard uses its own custom blue switches in order to provide both sensitivity and longevity. The keys are highly responsive and precise but with a medium resistance so they don’t feel too light for gamers who like to hit their keys. They also give an audible click and tactile bump feedback so you can be sure these light keys are doing what is expected of them.

The keyboard is also durable, made from Aircraft-Grade Aluminium and ABS with plate-mounted mechanical keys. This means these keys should not give up on you, no matter how much time you spend gaming or even if you decide to use the keyboard for work as well. This makes it great for gamers who like to hit their keys quite hard, though this is the type of behavior that ergonomic keyboards are designed to discourage.

While the mechanical keys and built-in tilt make this keyboard easier on the fingers and wrists than most options, we would have liked to see some more ergonomic features included. In particular, we would like some waving of the keys to make them more easily reachable.

6. Redragon K556 RGB LED Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Redragon K556 RGB LED Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

 

This gaming keyboard starts with state-of-the-art brown switches, which offer a good tactile feeling so you know when you have hit with certainty, but they aren’t clicky. This means they are extra quiet and you won’t be disturbing the rest of the household as you play into the wee hours.

This keyboard is highly durable, made from full metal with matte finish. Nevertheless, it does come with eight spare switches, in case any overly enthusiastic use does mean you need to swap some of them out a bit earlier.

Redragon uses customer-designed keycaps that reduce the amount of time it takes for the keys to register your actions, though they are removable if you prefer something different.

However, we would like to have seen some more ergonomic features incorporated into the design. In particular, we would like to have seen some waving of the keys to make them more reachable. The keyboard also does not come with any palm or wrist rests—this needs to be purchased separately.

The RGB LED backlighting is completely customizable, and you can easily switch between settings to change the ambiance of your gaming space. But we would have preferred it if this option was available as wireless.

But, this is still our top choice for silently gaming into the evening, with no hand pain and cool backlighting.

7. Moonlander Mark I

Moonlander Mark I

 

The Moonlander Mark I is the latest keyboard from ergonomic experts Ergo Doz EZ. The Moonlander is a mechanical keyboard with old-fashioned switches that give great feedback and are built to last.

It is a split keyboard, so you can type at shoulder width, which is much better for your posture and allows you to open your chest while you work. The keys also appear in direct columns rather than staggered like on a standard keyboard. The manufacturers argue that this is more ergonomic than standard staggered keyboards.

The entire keyboard is modular, and every part can be removed or swapped out so that you can customize your own. Choose from 10 types of manual switches. The keyboard is fully backlit with RGB LEDs with smart animations. The left side can function separately, which is something gamers will appreciate. You can use just the left side and give your mouse space to roam on the right.

The Moonlander keyboard is made to last, with uncompromising build quality, a housing that’s reinforced with metal where it meets the tilt/tent kit, and a generous two-year warranty.

8. Logitech G910 Orion Wired Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Logitech G910 Orion Wired Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

 

This mechanical keyboard uses Romer G switches, which are about 25% faster than most other keyboards on the market, so we’re already very interested! The keys have mid- to short throws, which means they make contact sooner than other keys, but they aren’t overly sensitive. Nine of the keys are customizable and all are backlit with RGB illumination.

The keyboard also features Arx control integration so you can connect your smartphone and use it to display in-game information.

The non-removable wrist rest is comfortable, but we would like to be able to take it off for some activities. The height also adjusts. This is a good balance between ergonomics and traditional keyboard design for those who don’t want to make too many changes to the standard keyboard setup.

9. Razer Ornata Chroma Keyboard

Razer Ornata Chroma Keyboard

 

Some of you might consider it a cheat adding this one to the list as it uses high-performance mecha-membrane switches, which feel like mechanical keys but offer a more cushioned feel of a membrane. All keys and key-press combinations can be remapped.

The Razer focuses on just a few top-tier features when it comes to ergonomics rather than trying to reinvent the wheel. There are the soft mecha-membrane keys and anti-ghosting feature to limit errors. The frame is lean and has large wrist rests that will still feel comfortable after hours of gaming.

Then there are fun features such as individually backlit keys that support 8 million colors.

10. Esrille New Keyboard − NISSE

Esrille New Keyboard − NISSE

 

This keyboard was designed by a Japanese company based on the research of a Japanese professor and sized for the Japanese market. This is the only keyboard in this guide that factors cultural differences into the design. The company notes on their site that ergonomic keyboards designed in countries other than Japan are sometimes a bit larger for users in Japan. Research showed the 89th percentile Japanese adult male middle finger length corresponds to the 58th percentile U.S. adult male. This suggests that the standard QWERTY keyboards might be too large for people with smaller hands.

The Esrille three-dimensional, tented design was created so that average Japanese adult fingers would reach up to the number key row from 1 to 0 while leaning the entire forearms on the table. The idea is based on research by Professor Masaru Nakaseko. He showed research that verified that leaning forearms on the armrests while typing helps to reduce muscular tension. He also suggested using the desk surface for resting the forearms by reducing the heights of the keyboard front edges and minimizing the steps down to the desk surface. Maybe if you have smaller hands this may be an interesting option.

11. Eagletec KG010 Mechanical Keyboard Blue Switch

Eagletec KG010 Mechanical Keyboard Blue Switch

 

This mechanical keyboard uses dust-proof blue switches for satisfying, clicky gaming that won’t get sticky or disrupted when you fall behind on the vacuuming and dusting. They offer medium resistance, so you don’t need to apply excess pressure but still feel like you are doing the work, which is reinforced by the nice clicky sound and tactical feedback bump.

The keyboard also uses anti-ghosting technology on all 104 keys so there is never any conflict and your game always responds in the way you would expect.

This keyboard is extremely durable, made from aircraft-grade aluminum ABS, so it shouldn’t start to wear out no matter how hard and how often you hit the buttons. It’s nice and wide with lots of space for the keys and a separate number pad, so even big hands shouldn’t feel cramped.

However, we would have liked to have seen some more ergonomic features incorporated into the design, such as a moderate split or some waving of the keys.

This keyboard is a simple wired, plug-and-go design, which works well with pretty much all computer brands from Dell to XBox One as long as they are using Windows. However, Mac OS keyboard support is limited.

Regardless, this keyboard is a great choice for the heavier-handed gamers who like to feel they’re really hitting the keys when they play. Plus, the blue LED backlighting is effortlessly cool.

12. Razer BlackWidow TE Chroma v2 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Razer BlackWidow TE Chroma v2 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

 

Serious gamers who want their keyboard to integrate seamlessly with the games and other game hardware will love this mechanical keyboard from Razer. It fully syncs with most popular games, as well as all other Razer hardware and hardware from Philips Hue and 30 other partners. So, basically, never worry about compatibility problems again!

All the keys and keystroke combinations are also programmable for a fully customized experience.

With this keyboard, you have your choice between three types of mechanical switches: tactile and clicky (green). tactile and silent (orange), and linear and silent (yellow).

Because, let’s admit it, we all have our preferences. All of the above are designed for lighting-speed reaction and comfort. Also, the manufacturer is so confident in the durability of their keyboards that they offer a 2-year, 80 million click warranty.

We were pleased to see that this keyboard includes a magnetic leather palm rest that can easily be attached, but we would also like to have seen a little bit of curvature worked into the keyboard for more comfortable typing. We would also have liked for this keyboard to be wireless, but hey, you can’t have everything.

Added bonus: The keyboard supports 16.8 million color options on its individually backlit keys. We know that it is not about function or ergonomics, but it sure is fun.

13. Keyboardio Model 01 Keyboard

Keyboardio Model 01 Keyboard

 

This keyboard started out as a Kickstarter project and is now one of the most popular ergonomic mechanical keyboards on the market. The company bills this as a keyboard for uncompromising typists and is heirloom-grade constructed. They mill the Model 01’s enclosure from two blocks of solid maple and use mechanical key switches similar to those found in the original Apple II.

They note that they have custom-sculpted this keyboard and each of the 64 individual keycaps guide fingers to the right keys. The base keyboard can be laid flat, split, tented, or set up tripod style. Other features include fully programmable LEDs, true N-key rollover (NKRO), which is for folks who need to chord more than 6 keys at once, and application-specific macros.

As they age, most keyboards get dirty and stained. Having a wood base may make this one age gracefully and add amazing character. Being solid wood and having mechanical keys, this is one of the heavier keyboards on our list.

14. Kinesis Edge

Kinesis Edge

 

This is another keyboard model that started on Kickstarter before hitting the mainstream market. Designed specifically for gamers, it features a 20″ adjustable split, onboard programmable, Cherry mechanical switches, LED backlighting, 10 layouts, macro speeds up to 150 APS, no-install programming app, detachable palm supports, an optional lift kit, and optional palm pads. If you’re a gamer, this looks like an incredible setup! See gaming.kinesis-ergo.com for more info. Most of the last decade I’ve spent typing on Kinesis keyboards.

15. X-Bows Ergonomic Keyboard

X-Bows Ergonomic Keyboard

 

We were fortunate to get an early release sample of a new ergonomic keyboard: X-bows, which launched via Kickstarter. See our review. The X-Bows is a USB ergonomic keyboard with mechanical keys. It’s compact but offers a full keyboard experience and works across Macs, PCs, Chromebooks, and Linux machines.

What’s unique about this keyboard is what the company calls a “crossbow radial design” where the keys are arranged in a pattern to reduce the amount of lateral movement your wrist and fingers need to travel to type. If you use this keyboard properly, you can do the vast majority of your typing without needing to move your wrist side to side.

Overall, I can tell the company that makes this keyboard spent a ton of time in meetings working out details. They created a unique design with enough attention to detail to show they wanted to balance ergonomics with cool design, like the font choice on the keys and the standard USB-C connector port.

FAQs

What is an ergonomic keyboard?

An ergonomic keyboard is designed to better fit you as a human user. We have learned so much about ergonomics since the first keyboards were designed and now know that some of the features of classic keyboards can cause posture and wrist issues when used for extended periods of time. Ergonomic keyboards redress some of these issues with features such as split keyboard and improved wrist rests.

Do ergonomic keyboards really help?

Long-term studies on the effects of ergonomic keyboards on reducing issues such as carpal tunnel syndrome are not yet available. But users of ergonomic keyboards tend to report that they feel comfortable for longer periods and find movement around the keyboard easier.

Do ergonomic keyboards improve typing speed?

Ergonomic keyboards do improve typing speed as the keys are easier to reach. But your speed will drop initially as you become accustomed to the new setup.

What are the disadvantages of ergonomic keyboards?

The main disadvantage of ergonomic keyboards is that they take a period of adjustment. You will notice that your typing speed drops at first, as you become accustomed to the slightly different configuration. You may also find slight back strain as you become accustomed to sitting with broader shoulders, but this will be better for your posture in the long run.

Are split keyboards better for ergonomics?

Split keyboards are better for ergonomics because they allow you to keep your shoulders, elbows, and wrists aligned, rather than curling them inward to reach the keys. This can cause strain on the elbows and wrists as well as affect your posture, encouraging you to hunch forward.

What is the best keyboard for carpal tunnel?

A split keyboard with about a 7-degree tilt and comfortable wrist rests can do a lot to reduce the likelihood of developing carpal tunnel syndrome and other wrist issues. But taking regular breaks, and stretching and strengthening your wrists through exercise, are still the best preventative measures.

Are ergonomic keyboards good for gaming?

Gamers should certainly consider ergonomic keyboards, since they spend a lot of time using them! Split keyboards are considered particularly good for gaming as they allow you to position your mouse in the center of the keyboard, which makes it more accessible in fast gaming situations.

The Verdict

Mechanical keyboards tend to be more responsive, more durable, and provide better feedback, which is why they are preferred both by gamers and those who spend a lot of time in front of the computer.

But if you do spend a lot of time on a keyboard, then you should also be considering ergonomics. Hours typing away on a traditional keyboard can do damage to your wrists and affect your posture, and you are forced to hunch in to access the keys.

But choosing a keyboard with a few important ergonomic design features can make a big difference. In particular, split keyboards tend to be the best choice as they allow you to keep your shoulders, elbows, and wrists aligned, rather than hunch over. You should also choose a keyboard with a tilt, preferably adjustable, and good wrist rests.

You will also come across many keyboards with wave designs and columns rather than staggered keys, which the manufacturers claim are much better for your wrists and fingers. The evidence is not yet in on these features, but they are certainly worth experimenting with if you spend a lot of time on your keyboard.

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