Are gaming keyboards ergonomic? This question can spell the difference between a winning streak and aching wrists.
Gaming keyboards differ in terms of ergonomics. It depends on the specific keyboard. Some prioritize ergonomics, while others don’t. The gaming keyboards labeled as “ergonomic” often incorporate elements like wrist rests, split/curved layouts, adjustable feet, and mechanical switches to align with natural hand positions and minimize stress on muscles and joints.
Additionally, programmable keys and customizable profiles can further optimize the typing experience.
In this post, we’ll cover what to seek in a comfortable keyboard and the repercussions of not having an ergonomic one. In addition, we’ll mention a bunch of gaming keyboards with comfortable features as well. But first, are ergonomic keyboards better for gaming? Let’s start from there!
- Making Sense of Ergonomics in Gaming Keyboards
- 8 Elements that Make a Gaming Keyboard Ergonomic
- Balancing Ergonomics with Gaming Performance
- 5 Best Ergonomic Gaming Keyboards on the Block
- What Happens If Your Gaming Keyboard Is Not Ergonomic?
- Does a Gaming Keyboard Have to Be Ergonomic?
- Are Split Keyboards Suitable for Gaming?
- How Do I Know If a Gaming Keyboard Is the Right Fit for My Hand Size and Playing Style?
- Are There Any Downsides to Using an Ergonomic Gaming Keyboard?
- Are 60% Keyboards More Ergonomic?
- What Is the Most Ergonomic Keyboard Position for Gaming?
Making Sense of Ergonomics in Gaming Keyboards
Ergonomics is all about making things that fit your body and keep you comfy while using it. And when it comes to gaming keyboards, it’s a big deal because you’re likely to be glued to that thing for hours on end.
Think about it. If the keyboard is not ergonomic, you might end up with sore wrists, cramped fingers, or even severe discomfort after a gaming marathon. Therefore, comfortable gaming peripherals like keyboards are designed to match the natural position of your hands. So you don’t have to strain your wrists.
This means less stress on your muscles and joints, which is better for your comfort and reduces the risk of repetitive strain injuries (RSIs). Other than improved comfort, the benefits of ergonomic keyboards also include a better focus on your game. You can enjoy gaming more and perform at your best, as you won’t tire out quickly.
8 Elements that Make a Gaming Keyboard Ergonomic
Making a gaming keyboard ergonomic is a bit like cooking – everyone’s taste is different. Factors like how big your hands are, how you type or game, and what you like really matter in finding your comfort level.
So, try out different keyboards and setups till you find your sweet spot. Now, here are eight things that can help make a gaming keyboard more ergonomic (read: comfortable):
1. Split Design
Some ergonomic keyboards come in a split design where the keys can be separated into two sections. This setup stops your arms from twisting awkwardly and your wrists bending inwards, eliminating strain.
As a result, this lets you keep your keyboard at a comfortable shoulder-width distance and allows you to accommodate a natural hand position. You can even angle the halves like an upside-down V for extra comfort, keeping your wrists straight and elbows slightly out.
2. Curved-Contoured Layouts
Another element that makes a keyboard ergonomic is its curved-contoured layout designed to match your fingers’ natural curves. This can ease muscle strain, reduce tiredness, and make typing comfy and efficient.
What’s more, this layout helps cut down on how far your fingers have to travel when typing. The keys are set up to be easier for your fingers to reach so you can type more smoothly.
3. Integrated Wrist Rest
Keyboards with a built-in or detachable wristrest offer a comfy spot for your wrists while typing. They keep your wrists in a neutral flexion/extension posture and support your forearms. This can reduce tiredness and improve your posture, which is a plus, especially during long gaming sessions.
Research shows that using a wrist rest with your keyboard can ease the strain on your arm muscles, neck, and shoulders while also reducing Ulnar Deviation.
Ulnar deviation, or ulnar drift, is when your fingers start leaning towards the bone on the outer side of your forearm, called the ulna bone. It occurs due to repetitive stress (typing or gaming for long) on the tendons and ligaments that support your wrist joints.
4. Adjustable Tilt
Ergonomic gaming keyboards often come with adjustable feet, allowing you to tilt and customize their angle to your liking. You can tilt it up or down to find the most comfortable position that suits your hand shape and typing style.
This customization can reduce strain, improve your typing and gaming experience, and keep your wrists in a more natural and relaxed position. Ultimately, this makes long gaming sessions much more comfortable.
5. Programmable Keys
Programmable keys on a gaming keyboard also make it ergonomic in two ways. When you set your most-used commands to programmable keys, you won’t have to move your hands and wrists as much to use them. This eases the strain, especially during long gaming sessions.
Furthermore, customizable keys can make your keyboard more comfortable by letting you personalize it to your liking. You can set these keys to execute tricky tasks with macros or assign functions you use a lot in easier-to-reach spots, like the function or arrow keys.
6. Mechanical Switches
Mechanical switches in a gaming keyboard provide enhanced gaming performance through ergonomics. They offer tactile feedback and greater actuation force, making typing and gaming more accurate and responsive. This feedback ensures you press keys fully, reducing typing errors and the need to hit more keys.
Moreover, mechanical switches also require less effort to press than regular membrane switches, reducing fatigue during long gaming or typing sessions. Plus, you can pick from various switch types for your preferred feel and sound.
7. Wireless Connectivity
Keyboards with wireless connectivity offer flexibility in positioning, freeing you from cable constraints. They make your gaming setup tidier and more ergonomic, which is especially handy for small desks or if you like shifting your keyboard often.
Plus, you can place a wireless keyboard wherever you like, ensuring a comfy typing position and potentially better posture, thus reducing neck and shoulder strain.
8. Lighting and Visibility
Gaming keyboards with backlit keys and customizable lighting can do wonders for your eye comfort, especially in dimly lit gaming setups. They make key labels clear and easy to read, sparing your eyes from unnecessary strain.
Less eye strain means less fatigue, which is fantastic for marathon gaming sessions. Besides, this improved visibility by backlighting helps you type and game more precisely, which is a real boon if you struggle with low-light vision.
Balancing Ergonomics with Gaming Performance
When picking a gaming keyboard, finding the right mix of comfort and gaming prowess is crucial. Some keyboards use fancy lighting and super-fast keys, possibly sacrificing ergonomics. Others prioritize comfort but might have only some of the gaming bells and whistles. The key is to match your keyboard to your own needs and preferences.
If gaming is your top concern, choose one with ultra-responsive switches and customizable keys. But if comfort matters most, opt for features like a split design, wrist support, and adjustable tilt.
Also, consider keyboard size – whether to get a full-size, tenkeyless, 75%, 65%, or 60% based on the size and ergonomics of your gaming setup. Ultimately, the trick to finding your dream gaming keyboard is to test a bunch and see which one clicks with you.
Don’t forget to peek at a gaming keyboard buying guide to determine what’s crucial when shopping. If you’re eyeing an ergonomic keyboard, see what kind of comfort features it packs to suit your needs. And just to make things easy, we’ve cherry-picked five comfy options for you to mull over. Check them out below:
5 Best Ergonomic Gaming Keyboards on the Block
As mentioned earlier, getting an ergonomic keyboard doesn’t mean giving up on gaming perks. It’s all about finding that sweet spot between comfort and performance.
You can even pick one ergonomic feature over another if that’s your thing, like going wireless instead of compact. That’s why we’ve gone for a range of ergonomic keyboards in different categories:
● Kinesis TKO – Best Compact: Kinesis TKO is one of the best compact gaming keyboards with an ergonomic 60% layout, perfect if you’re tight on gaming desk space. It’s easy on the wrists, and you can tilt it up or down.
A left-right tilting also means you can give your thumb side a break during marathon gaming sessions. The keycaps are doubleshot PBT, which makes them easy to press, and the Kailh Box switches don’t wobble.
The keyboard has lubed stabilizers for accurate and smooth typing and a HyperSpace split spacebar to program actions for your thumbs. Plus, it’s got handy key remapping, and you can control your media through the FN layer.
- PROGRAMMABLE 60% LAYOUT: Ultra-compact aluminum keyboard with standard 60% layout and modular triple-space bar. Maximum portability and closer mouse placement.
- HOTSWAP MECHANICAL SWITCHES: Premium Kailh Brown mechanical switches with tactile feedback and low-force. Switches are plug-and-play so you can customize the feel of WASD or swap out the whole board.
- DUAL-ZONE RGB LIGHTING: Customize the per-key RGB lighting with 12 customizable modes and edge lighting with underglow.
- UNMATCHED ERGONOMICS: Zero-degree slope with pop-up feet for front and back tilting. Optional Left and Right tenting for high-performance gaming. Customize triple-space bar 2 extra thumb activation actions for gaming, typing or coding.
- PREMIUM MATERIALS: Double-shot PBT Keycaps, Aluminum Plate, Hard-shell Travel Case.
● Asus ROG Claymore II – Top Wireless: The Asus ROG Claymore II is one of the top-notch wireless gaming keyboards, featuring a detachable numpad and wrist wrest. Typing feels sturdy, with no hollowness, and the tactile switches make for a smooth keystroke.
You can tweak the hotkeys as you like, and the Numpad can double as a macro keypad for complex in-game moves. The keyboard also has a wireless 2.4 GHz RF mode with a lightning-fast 1ms response time.
- VERSATILITY EVOLVED – With the ROG Claymore II, you can create your ideal gaming setup by placing the new detachable numpad on whichever side you prefer; then choose between wired or wireless mode and light it all up with Aura Sync. Assume full tactical control with ROG RX Optical Mechanical Switches and customizable hotkeys.
- PLAY IT YOUR WAY - The detachable numpad can be attached on either side of the keyboard, or it can be removed entirely if you prefer to use ROG Claymore II in TKL mode (80%). It can also be programmed to be used as a macro keypad for complex in-game commands. This flexibility gives you various combinations to suit your play style and gaming setup.
- ROG RX OPTICAL MECHANICAL SWITCHES - ROG RX Red and RX Blue Optical Mechanical Switches offer consistent, wobble-free keystrokes with a superfast 1 ms response and 100-million-keystroke lifespan. These premium switches have a hollow-square stem design and they feature embedded RGB LEDs providing all-round per-key lighting.
- LAG-FREE CONNECTION - Play in wired or wireless 2.4 GHz RF mode, with a superfast 1 millisecond response time.
- FAST CHARGE OR USB PASSTHROUGH - 30 minutes of USB-C fast charging* allows ROG Claymore II to be operated for up to 18 hours (lighting off). The fast-charge function can be switched off to use the provided USB passthrough for convenient connection to other devices.
● Perixx Periboard-512 – Best Budget: If you’re on the hunt for an ergonomic keyboard that won’t break the bank, the Perixx Periboard-512 is the way to go, and it’s under 50 bucks. The keys have a nice tactile feel, so you don’t have to slam them, making typing smoother.
It’s designed with a split-key and 3-D setup that follows your natural arm and hand positions. Plus, there’s an integrated palm rest to keep your wrists comfy. It’s a USB keyboard with seven handy multimedia hotkeys built right in.
- ERGONOMIC DESIGN - Split-key and 3-D design matches with to your natural arm and hand positions Integrated palm rest to support your wrists in a comfort position
- TACTILE KEYSTROKES - Keystrokes are tactile in order to reduce pressure when you press the keys and to give you a more comfortable typing experience
- PLUG AND PLAY FEATURE - Just plug your keyboard in your computer and use it It uses a USB interface and has 6 0 Ft cable 7 Multimedia Hot keys built-in
- NEW WAY OF TYPING - The ergonomic split keyboard is different from the traditional desktop keyboard and it will take you a few days or weeks to get familiar with it
- SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS - Windows 7, 8, 10 and 11; Wired USB connection via USB 2 0 Package includes 1x PERIBOARD-512
● Logitech ERGO K860 – Top Split-Design: It is a full-size keyboard that is ergonomist-approved and certified to improve your posture and reduce muscle strain. The scissor switches are tactile, and the ABS keys are specially shaped to match your fingertips, making typing easier.
It’s got two incline settings and a curved, split keyframe that reduces strain on your wrists and forearms. The wrist rest is curved and padded with memory foam, giving you more support and less bending.
Plus, you can adjust the palm lift to keep your wrists comfy whether you’re sitting or standing. The keyboard also has customizable Fn keys.
- Wireless range:10 m (33-ft) wireless range
- Improved Typing Posture: Type more naturally with a curved, split keyframe and reduce muscle strain on your wrists and forearms thanks to the sloping keyboard design
- Pillowed Wrist Rest: Curved wrist rest with memory foam layer offers typing comfort with 54 per cent more wrist support; 25 per cent less wrist bending compared to standard keyboard without palm rest
- Perfect Stroke Keys: Scooped keys match the shape of your fingertips so you can type with confidence on a wireless keyboard crafted for comfort, precision and fluidity
- Adjustable Palm Lift: Whether seated or standing, keep your wrists in total comfort and a natural typing posture with ergonomically-designed tilt legs of 0, -4 and -7 degrees
- Ergonomist Approved: The ERGO K860 wireless ergonomic keyboard is certified by United States Ergonomics to improve posture and lower muscle strain
- Familiar Features: Conveniently connect with the USB receiver or Bluetooth, customise Fn key use, and enjoy the quiet keys, full-size layout and CAPS LOCK indicator
- Sustainability: Plastic parts in ERGO K860 Graphite include 71% certified post consumer recycled plastic; uses FSC-certified paper for responsible packaging.
- Powered by Logitech Options: Customise Fn Keys, create custom shortcuts and get battery-life notifications via Logitech Options computer software
● Kinesis Gaming Freestyle Edge RGB – Intense Gaming: This keyboard’s got a tenkeyless layout to prevent stretching out and split design. You can spread the two halves up to 20 inches apart for comfy typing and more space for your other gadgets.
Plus, it rocks Cherry MX Blue switches for a satisfying click and durability. A cushy support and zero-slope allow your wrists to stay in a natural position.
You can even attach the Lift Kit or V3 Pro accessory for adjustable tenting to ease forearm strain. The keyboard can also store up to nine user profiles onboard for added convenience.
- Versatile split design great for typing and gaming: move the right module out of the way and bring your mouse in close for improved endurance and more precise aim (eSports proven). Rotate the left module for optimal key coverage or to squeeze into a tight space at a LAN. Or split the modules up to 20 inches and put your stream mic, HOTAS, or mouse in the middle for easy access. Separate the modules to shoulder-width for an ergonomic typing posture and add the lift kit tenting accessory to reduce forearm strain. The detachable Palm Supports now include all-new thick cushioned palm pads for even more comfort.
- 100% Mechanical switches for maximum performance: genuine Cherry MX Blue mechanical switches (clicky, tactile feedback) offer professional-grade responsiveness and unmatched durability (50M clicks). Choose the switch that's right for you.
- Immersive RGB lighting for a signature look: 16.8M Color per-key RGB Backlighting with 10 customizable effects like wave, spectrum, rebound, pulse, rain and much more. Install lighting expansion pack 1 to add Dual layer lighting and two-tone effects.
- All 95 keys are fully programmable for complete customization: Use the dedicated SmartSet key for convenient on-the-fly Remaps and macros, or use the all-new SmartSet app for special actions or to customize lighting effects. 9 available profiles with dual layers, powerful macros, quick Remaps, 9 game keys, 1ms response time, NKRO, game mode, & much more. All profiles and settings save directly to the keyboard's 4MB onboard memory for Tournament play.
- 100% plug-and-play: Compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, and chrome (1 full-size USB port required). No special drivers required. Rgb SmartSet app for Windows and Mac available for download.
What Happens If Your Gaming Keyboard Is Not Ergonomic?
If your gaming keyboard isn’t ergonomic and you’re gaming for long hours, you could run into health, gaming performance, and work productivity issues. These might involve:
1. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)
Using a non-ergonomic keyboard for a long time can lead to a painful condition called Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). This happens when your wrist’s median nerve gets squeezed due to repetitive movements and uncomfortable hand positions, which are more likely with non-ergonomic keyboards.
2. Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)
RSI is like a catch-all term for different muscle and bone issues caused by doing the same movements over and over. Gamers can feel pain, numbness, or tingling in their hands, wrists, and arms because of using non-ergonomic keyboards for extended periods.
3. Poor Posture
Non-ergonomic keyboards usually don’t have adjustable height and wrist supports, so it’s tough to keep a good posture when gaming. This can gradually build up back, neck, and shoulder pain.
If your gaming keyboard comes with non-ergonomic membrane switches instead of mechanical ones, pressing them really hard can tire your hands and arms. This fatigue can make you lose steam during gaming sessions and make the whole thing less enjoyable.
5. Long-Term Health Issues
Using a non-ergonomic gear like a keyboard for a long time can cause problems like joint issues, tendonitis, and muscle imbalances. These issues can stick around even when you’re not gaming.
6. Decreased Gaming Performance
It’s tough to stay focused on your game when you’re in pain or uncomfortable. Plus, non-ergonomic keyboards might not respond as well or have user-friendly key layouts, making your gaming experience even worse.
7. Work Productivity
If you’re using your gaming keyboard for work or non-gaming stuff, the discomfort and potential health problems can negatively affect your productivity and overall well-being.
Does a Gaming Keyboard Have to Be Ergonomic?
A gaming keyboard doesn’t necessarily have to be ergonomic. However, having one with ergonomic perks can make long gaming sessions much comfier. A split layout, wrist support, curved-contoured design, and adjustable tilt can stop you from having joint and muscle health issues later on.
Still, it’s up to you. Some gamers might care more about speed and accuracy, but finding a sweet spot between comfort and performance is smart to keep your gaming fun and healthy.
Are Split Keyboards Suitable for Gaming?
Yes, split keyboards can be suitable for gaming, especially for individuals who prefer a more natural hand position. They allow your hands to be in a more relaxed, shoulder-width position, potentially reducing strain and discomfort.
How Do I Know If a Gaming Keyboard Is the Right Fit for My Hand Size and Playing Style?
To determine if a gaming keyboard fits you, consider its size and the games you love. Gaming keyboards come in different sizes, from full-sized to compact 60%. Full-size ones have all the regular keys, while smaller ones might combine some.
Pick a size that suits your hand and lets you reach the keys you need. Also, consider the games you play and what features matter. For FPS games, you might want programmable keys for crucial commands. On the other hand, MMORPG players prefer keyboards with lots of keys for easy access to abilities and spells.
Are There Any Downsides to Using an Ergonomic Gaming Keyboard?
Yes, ergonomic gaming keyboards, even though they’re comfy, have some drawbacks. They often cost more than regular gaming keyboards.
Moreover, getting used to their ergonomic features might take a while, especially if you’ve been using the traditional layout for ages.
Are 60% Keyboards More Ergonomic?
Whether or not 60% keyboards are ergonomic depends on your hand size, typing style, and what you like. On one hand, 60% keyboards are small and compact, so it’s easy to reach all the keys without straining. They also have a minimalistic design suitable for an ergonomic gaming setup.
On the other hand, they leave out keys like function, arrow keys, and the number pad, which may not suit your style. A 60% keyboard might also feel cramped if your hands are big. The best way to know if it’s right for you is to try it. If it feels comfy and efficient, great. If not, you might prefer a bigger keyboard.
What Is the Most Ergonomic Keyboard Position for Gaming?
The most ergonomic keyboard position for gaming is to set up your keyboard so your elbows are bent at 90 degrees and your wrists stay straight. You might need a tray or stand to get the right height. This eases fatigue, especially during marathon gaming. In addition, tilt the keyboard a bit downward so your fingers naturally curve over it.
Some keyboards have adjustable feet for this. Having a wrist rest, either built-in or detachable, can also support your wrists and keep them in a neutral position. Center your keyboard in front of you, and put your mouse to the side of it so you can easily reach these peripherals without stretching.
Gaming keyboards aren’t automatically ergonomic, and this fact may go unnoticed. That’s why, in the post above, we’ve delved into the crucial elements to consider for your comfort when seeking an ergonomic keyboard for gaming marathons.
An ergonomic gaming keyboard not only prevents discomfort and long-term health issues but can also enhance your gaming endurance and performance. So, get one for yourself and enjoy a pain-free gaming experience!