An ergonomic keyboard tray is an adjustable device that attaches to your desk and holds your keyboard and sometimes your mouse for ease of use. Keyboard trays come in many varieties and can suit a range of office needs.
Should you invest some money and purchase an ergonomic keyboard tray? If you raise your hands, lift or extend your arms in order to type, you are a candidate for a repetitive strain injury. Your upper arms should hang straight down from your shoulders when you type. Otherwise, you are putting unnecessary strain on your shoulders and neck. Also, you should not lean foreword, or tilt your wrist or forearms up in order to type; this action will strain the upper body. By giving you options on how and where to place your keyboard, a keyboard tray can help you maintain good posture while typing, and minimize the risk of injury.
A good keyboard tray can reduce your chances of injury and provide ease and comfort. There are four features to look for when buying an ergonomic keyboard.
- Adjustable height - This is the most important feature of the tray. The keyboard height is determined by your chair height, the distance between your knees to the tray and your arm length. The tray arm should be easy to adjust for your position.
- Keyboard tilt – The keyboard should be reclined at a negative angle (keyboard sloping towards you) to support the natural wrist position.
- Wrist support - A padded wrist rest will provide support by keeping your wrist straight. Do not rest your wrist on the padded section while typing. These padded sections are designed to provide support during typing breaks.
- Adjustment mechanism - Make sure the tray locks into position without having to tighten knobs. It's possible to tighten knobs too much and strip them.
Not all keyboard trays have the same functionality or quality. You need to do research on the manufacturer, warranties, and the keyboard tray features before making a selection. Expect to spend at least $80 for a bare-bones ergonomic keyboard tray. A high-end keyboard tray with a mouse pad support may cost up to $500. Most models will fall somewhere between these numbers. The benefits of a solid ergonomic keyboard tray are clear: it can provide wrist support, minimize injuries and increase your productivity.