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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best Microsoft ergonomic keyboards

Last Updated September 2019

With the increasing amount of time people spend in front of computer screens, the demand for ergonomic keyboards rises as well. If carpal tunnel syndrome plagues you, or you simply want a comfortable keyboard that fits the natural shape of your hands, you’ll definitely want an ergonomic keyboard.

Microsoft has put the research into creating ergonomic keyboards for both the professional and private user. If you’re not sure which model is right for you, you’ve come to the right place. Our shopping guide takes you through the features to watch for and suggests a few considerations to think about before you buy. Be sure to check out our favorites, too.

Customizable shortcut keys enable you to tailor your keyboard to your preferences. Once you’ve programmed the keys, you can reduce the number of keystrokes it takes to get your work done.

Key considerations


Wired vs. wireless

Wired or wireless is one of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make when it comes to buying an ergonomic keyboard.

Wireless: These keyboards prevent cord clutter while increasing your freedom of movement in the workspace and your choices in arranging that space. However, these keyboards run the risk of losing the connection and can suffer a lag in reaction time, though this is uncommon.

Wired: These keyboards provide the quickest reaction times but can be bulkier. The cord adds clutter to the desk and can limit how you arrange and use your workspace.

Types of ergonomic keyboards

Microsoft makes two types of ergonomic keyboards: contoured and split.

Contoured: These keyboards are designed to curve and slope to accommodate the natural position of the wrists, hands, and fingers, but all the keys are together as on a standard keyboard.

Split: These keyboards divide the arrangement of keys down the middle, angling each section toward the natural position of each hand. This allows you to sit with your elbows away from the body and maintain a straight angle from the elbow to the fingertips. Split keyboards may come with a separate number pad that can be placed wherever is convenient for the user. These keyboards are more ergonomic than contoured keyboards but may require you to adjust your typing style.

Size

Do you have limited workspace? Keyboards come in different sizes depending on the design – split or contoured – and the size of the keys and the board itself. Microsoft’s split keyboards tend to be more compact than its contoured models.

Your hand size will also help determine the right keyboard size for you. People with large hands may have trouble typing on a compact split keyboard, while someone with small hands might have trouble reaching some keys on a large contoured model.

​​Key sensitivity​​​​​​​

The amount of pressure it takes to press the keys can contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome and overall discomfort. Keys that respond to a light touch and little pressure put the least amount of stress on the fingers, hands, and wrists.

CAUTION

We’ve all been known to snack while typing, but you should try to avoid it. Regularly clean your keyboard to remove crumbs from between the keys and kill germs.

Microsoft ergonomic keyboard features


Wrist support

All Microsoft ergonomic keyboards have either a plastic or cushioned wrist support positioned below the keys. A wrist support puts the wrist in a neutral position, so the fingers do all the moving and reaching. Cushioned wrist supports are the most comfortable because they have some give and conform to the shape of the wrists. Microsoft makes cushioned supports covered in leather or Alcantara, a combination of polyester and polyurethane. Plastic wrist supports may be slightly less comfortable, but unless you’ll be using the keyboard all day, you probably won’t notice the difference.

Bluetooth

Not all wireless keyboards are the same. Some use a dongle to connect the keyboard to the computer, while others use Bluetooth technology. The dongle fits into a USB port on the laptop or computer. Bluetooth-capable keyboards connect directly to the computer without a dongle, leaving the USB port free. If you've got a long list of devices connected to your computer, an extra USB port is incredibly valuable.

Keys

Backlighting: Gamers aren’t the only ones who appreciate backlit keys. The LED lights in these keyboards make the keys visible in the dark. If you work at night or if you simply want keys that are easier to see, backlit keys should be on your list.

Arc: Concave keys that fit the fingertips reduce the amount of pressure it takes to press the keys. Consequently, they can reduce instances of carpal tunnel syndrome as well.

Noise: For some people, a noisy keyboard is a deal breaker. Keep in mind that the more sensitive the keys, the quieter the keyboard.

Number pad

Some split keyboards have a separate number pad that can be adjusted and placed anywhere near the keyboard. While this type of number pad offers amazing versatility, it can take some getting used to.

Color

Microsoft only makes keyboards in two colors: black and gray. Standard black disappears into the background and complements any computer or office setup. The gray keyboard has a modern look and feel that fits in with some edgier décor, but it can be harder to keep clean.

Mouse

Some Microsoft ergonomic keyboards come with an ergonomic mouse. Both devices are either paired with the same dongle or use Bluetooth, so you won’t have to use up another USB port for a wireless mouse. Buying the two together can save money as well.

EXPERT TIP

Regular maintenance will keep your keyboard running for years – in fact, it could outlast your computer. Keep liquids away from it and clean it every few months. For wired keyboards, check the cords every so often for any crimps or kinks.


Staff  | BestReviews

Microsoft ergonomic keyboard prices

Inexpensive: Microsoft ergonomic keyboards start at around $35. At this price, you’ll find wired, split keyboards with Alcantara wrist supports. These keyboards may also have extra perks that don’t have anything to do with ergonomic design, such as keys to control media, music, and volume. You’ll also find wireless contoured keyboards with customizable shortcut keys at this price.

Mid-range: These keyboards cost from $60 to $80. They have a streamlined design that cuts down on bulk for a smaller footprint. These models also have a separate number pad that can be placed according to your personal preference.

Expensive: At the high end of the price range, at around $100, are split keyboards with Bluetooth capabilities.

Your fingers should be comfortably bent while typing to prevent undue strain and pressure on the joints.

Tips

  • Sit so your elbows are at a 90° angle to your body. Whether you’re using an ergonomic keyboard or not, you should sit with both feet flat on the floor and keep your back straight. Adjust the chair height so your elbows stay at a 90° angle with your arms close to your sides.
  • Type using as little pressure as possible. It puts less stress on the fingers, wrists, and forearms.
  • Keep your keyboard clean. Turn off the keyboard and turn it upside down to remove any debris or crumbs that have fallen between the keys. You can use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to clean the surface and in between the keys.
  • Take the time to get used to your ergonomic keyboard. If you haven’t used one before, using a contoured model is a good way to get started because it feels similar to a standard keyboard. However, if you have carpal tunnel and you’ve used an ergonomic keyboard before, a split keyboard is the more ergonomic of the two options.
Adjust the position of your ergonomic keyboard with a keyboard tray attached to your desk. Some of these trays raise, lower, and/or swivel the keyboard to help you achieve a comfortable typing position.

FAQ

Q. Is it hard to keep Alcantara clean?
A.
Alcantara has a textured surface that can attract dirt and oil from your hands. Just dust off the surface and run a damp cloth over it if necessary.

Q. Can a Bluetooth-capable keyboard be paired with more than one device?
A.
At this time, the Microsoft keyboards can only be paired with one device. If you want to switch between devices, you’ll have to pair the keyboard each time you switch.

Q. What kind of batteries do wireless keyboards use?
A.
Wireless keyboards run on either AA or AAA batteries, depending on the model. Wireless keyboards are pretty energy efficient, so you don’t have to replace the batteries often.

Q. Does the height of the keyboard add to the ergonomic benefits?
A.
Ergonomic keyboards usually have feet that can be adjusted to a height that comfortably fits the user. Split models have a raised center portion that tilts the keys toward the hands so there’s less need to reach. If you’re concerned about the height of the keyboard because you have a keyboard tray, look for the height in the product specifications.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Enid
    Enid
    Editor
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Stacey
    Stacey
    Writer

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