Last Updated on December 17, 2021
Being a programmer, there is no doubt that you would have your hands on the keyboard all the time writing codes.
Unfortunately, prolonged usage of a keyboard can result in discomfort, which can eventually lead up to pain and soreness. This is because the common flat keyboards do not facilitate the natural position of your wrists. Instead, they force your wrist to bend and your hands to close in thus bringing them to an unnatural position.
That is precisely what the weirdly shaped ergonomic keyboards tend to improve. Ergonomic keyboards are designed to create a comfortable coding experience.
Hence if you are looking for the best ergonomic keyboards for programmers, then this guide will certainly help you out.
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Ergonomic Programming Keyboards Compared
| Microsoft |
1. Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic – Recommended Ergonomic Keyboard for Programmers
A popular mid range ergonomic keyboard with an arc.
When we talk about a comfortable ergonomic keyboard whether it is for office or for programming, then Microsoft Sculpt is certainly a name that often comes up.
If you suffer from any kind of strain injuries and you believe that injury originates from the use of your keyboard, then this is an option you can look into – after consulting with your doctor of course.
But besides its potential in helping ease your repetitive strain injuries, this is a comfortable keyboard through and through.
The ergonomic split arc design of this keyboard is intended to mimic the natural position of your wrist. Along with that, the keyboard offers a soft palm rest which can further add to the comfort factor.
A few important aspects of this keyboard include it wireless connectivity. However, note that this is a battery powered keyboard. Furthermore, this keyboard comes with a detached numpad. This allows you to choose the position of the numpad to your liking.
You can place it on the left, right, close to the keyboard or far away from it.
Unfortunately, though, like most ergonomic keyboards, this is a not a mechanical keyboard. It is a membrane based keyboard with dome shaped keys which are generally preferred for accuracy of typing- albeit they may have a deeper actuation points compared to a scissor-switch keyboards.
As far as the price is concerned, this is a mid range keyboard and thus should not set you back a lot. The build quality of this keyboard isn’t the best, but should suffice for the price.
So in short, the ergonomic function on this keyboard include a comfortable palm rest, a split arc design, incline riser and the detached numpad for preferred placement. Given all this, it is safe to say that this is the best ergonomic keyboard for programmers with a mid range budget.
2. Logitech Ergo K860 – Premium Ergonomic Keyboard
An expensive high quality ergonomic keyboard for power users.
Next up we have one of the most premium ergonomic keyboards out there. If you are looking for the epitome of keyboard comfort, then this could be the best ergonomic keyboard for programmers for you.
However, it is also an expensive piece and can thus set you back a bit financially.
For starters, like the Microsoft Sculpt above, this keyboard also offers a split design with an arc in the middle. This then mimics the natural position of your wrists.
What truly separates this is its construction quality and its key design. Not only is this a sturdy keyboard, it offers keys that are particularly designed to improve speed and accuracy.
The keyboard features shallow scissor-switch. The shallower the keys, the faster would be your typing speed. However, this also negatively affects your accuracy.
This keyboard tackles the issue of accuracy by having scooped keys that act as grips for your finger tips.
Furthermore, the keyboard offers a very comfortable cushioned palm rest along with a adjustable risers. A key point to note here is that the riser not only offers inclination angle but also declination angle for the keyboard.
This is a full sized wireless keyboard but unlike the Microsoft Sculpt above, it not only connects via the USB receiver, but also via Bluetooth. Hence, if you ever loose the USB receiver, you would still be able to use this with your device.
Unfortunately, like most wireless keyboards, this too uses batteries (2 x AAA) to operate instead of rechargeable batteries. On top of that, it does not feature backlighting despite the hefty price tag.
3. Perixx Periboard-512 – Budget Ergonomic Keyboard for Programmers
One of the most affordable ergonomic keyboard out there
If you are looking for the cheapest possible ergonomic keyboard, then this is something that you can look into.
The first thing to note is that this is one of the most popular ergonomic keyboards out there with a huge number of satisfied customers particularly due to its affordable price tag.
However, while this is an affordable keyboard, it may not be the best if you suffer from pain, discomfort or injuries.
This keyboard does have a split design and that can help with the shoulder width and the positioning of your wrist. However, it does not offer a very pronounced arc in the middle and hence it may not mimic the complete natural position of your wrist.
Furthermore, you have to note that this is an affordable keyboard. It will not have the same feel or the durability as that on Logitech Ergo K860 above. But for the price, you can’t really ask for more.
This a membrane keyboard with dome switches. Also, this is a wired keyboard.
So all in all if you are looking for an affordable wired option, then this is one of the best ergonomic keyboards for programmers.
4. Kensington Pro Fit – Wireless Budget Option with Shallow Keys
A recommended ergonomic keyboard with shallow chiclet keys.
When it comes to budget ergonomic keyboards, this is our personal favorite. We believe that this keyboard offers a phenomenal value for very little.
For starters, this is a rare budget keyboard that features wireless connectivity not just via the USB receiver but also through Bluetooth. Hence, this is highly appreciable.
Another important aspect is that being a new ergonomic keyboard, it ditches the old dome keys for chiclet style keys.
Again, these are shorter, and have shallower actuation points as compared to the large dome keys.
As far as the ergonomic features are concerned, this does offer a split design with an arc in the middle. However, like the Perixx Periboard-512, the arc isn’t too pronounced and thus may not give the best of the wrist position particularly for keys on either of the far ends of the keyboard.
Fortunately, the keyboard does offer inclination and declination and offers a very comfortable palm rest.
Again, while this may not have the best of the typing feels, given its price range and wireless connectivity, this is certainly the best ergonomic keyboard for programmers on a budget.
5. Kinesis Freestyle 2 – Separate Split Design – Wired
Kinesis Freestyle 2 takes the idea of ergonomic keyboards and adds a unique touch of innovation to it.
While the rest of the ergonomic keyboards above offer a single body split design. This keyboard offers a true split design / adjustable split where two halves of they keyboard are completely separated.
The keyboards comes in two separation option i.e 9″ separation or 20″ separation. Depending upon your shoulder width or whether you want to pinch them in a bit or relax them to a wider distance, you can choose the separation distance.
As for arc in the middle goes, while this does not have an arc, it offers a better solution. Both halves of the keyboard are tilted down and thus provide you with a better experience than a mere arc.
The layout of the keyboard is a bit unique too. The keyboard ditches the numpad. Instead, on the left hand side, it features an array of short cut keys for cut, copy, paste, undo etc. This may or may not appeal to programmers.
The numpad has to be bought separately.
While the keyboard has an innovative design, there are a few drawbacks the biggest of which is the price tag. This is not a cheap keyboard.
Furthermore, it lacks a cushioned wrist rest which is generally expected from all ergonomic keyboards. Finally, despite its price, this is a wired keyboard.
However, if you are sold by the idea of having true split option, then this is be the best ergonomic keyboard for programmers.
Are Ergonomic Keyboards Good For Programming?
That depends upon your preference of the features and switch type.
If you are used to working on mechanical keyboards with a certain switch type, then you may be disappointed as there aren’t many ergonomic keyboards out there with mechanical switches.
Secondly, if you like a keyboard that adds macro functionality with programmable keys, then again you will be disappointed.
However, if comfort is your primary factor and you are looking for ways to correct your posture on the computer, then the ergonomic keyboard can help.
As for the typing experience, choosing a membrane keyboard is not the same as choosing a mechanical keyboard.
With mechanical keyboard, you can know the feel of the keyboard without ever touching it. For instance you can know that if a certain mechanical keyboard has Cherry MX Red switches that it will have a light touch and quite keys.
With the membrane keyboards you have the option of going for dome or scissor switches. The feel may differ from model to model
In the end, a good quality ergonomic keyboard can be a blessing for your hands, which in turn could certainly improve your programming productivity.
How to Choose the Right Ergonomic Keyboard for Programming?
There are a few key aspects you should look for when purchasing an ergonomic keyboard that’s specifically suited for programming.
These are as follows:
Different Types of Ergonomic Keyboards
As you see, an ergonomic keyboard is designed for ease of use, reduced strain and pain and increased comfort on the user. The goal is to make the typing process efficient and more intuitive.
As a programmer, your keyboard must meet these goals so that you can work productively. When looking for an ergonomic keyboard, three types are frequently found:
1. Split-Arc Designed
This is the most common type of ergonomic keyboards. It has a split design from the middle as well as an arc that lifts the keyboard up from the center.
This in turn promotes a natural shoulder and wrist position. They also almost always comes with a padded wrist rest.
For most programmers this would be the go to choice. These are tried and tested since many keyboard generations.
2. Split Keyboard
This type of keyboard has a noticeable split in the middle. As a result, the two sides angle away from each other. This helps in hand spacing and wrist support.
These are relatively new in the market but popular among those who want the option of adjusting the split.
Kinesis Freestyle 2 is an example of a split keyboard.
Also Read: Best Keyboards for Data Entry
3. Contoured Keyboard
This keyboard has a wave-like or concave shape that is slightly peaked in the middle. It has the appearance of a wavy pathway when observed from the above.
If you suffer from serious injury and having consulted with a doctor, you can look into these type of ergonomic keyboards.
Form Factor and Layout
We recommend you to get a full-sized keyboard that has 104 keys including the number pad. It makes you available all the keys you need.
Chances are as a programmer you seldom use the number pad.In that case, you may be tempted to look into TKL or Ten Key Less keyboards, but these are rare in the ergonomic category.
A keyboard like Microsoft Sculpt that offers a separate numpad could be a good option for your if you are looking for a smaller ergonomic keyboard.
We endorse the layout which you are most used to for typing. Note that most keyboards today in the market have Qwerty layout.
When buying an ergonomic keyboard suitable for programming, the palm rest is almost as important as the form factor.
The palm rest allows for keeping the wrists in a healthy posture i.e. they are in line with the forearm. This is important as your hands “float” over the palm rest.
The palm rest in some keyboards are pillowed or cushioned. The soft material used in them provides additional support for floating your wrists and hands comfortably.
You will find two choices in connecting your keyboard to your PC: wireless or wired.
The connection options are generally correlated with the budget of the keyboard. Expensive keyboards generally tend to feature wireless connectivity, while those on the budget are wired.
There are exceptions.
Those who type really fast and cannot handle the input lag may prefer looking into wired connection. However, a good quality wireless keyboard can have very minimal input lag too.
Another important thing to note regarding wireless keyboards is that while all of them come with a USB receiver, some also offer Bluetooth connectivity.
The redundant connectivity option is safer because if the USB receiver were to get damaged or lost, you could still connect the keyboard via Bluetooth.
Albeit, Bluetooth keyboard connectivity often brings input lags.
Being a programmer, you can have a healthy and enjoyable computing experience by using an ergonomic keyboard.
It has somewhat become a necessity today due to the demanding nature of your work. So, investing in such a keyboard would be a clever step.
We hope that this article on the best ergonomic keyboard for programmers would be helpful to you to work with full attention and enjoyment.