9 Mechanical Keyboards To Instantly Reduce Carpal Tunnel Pain
Life tends to get in the way when we attempt to address our body’s aches and pains.
We don’t intentionally avoid trying to fix the problem, but at the same time never really dig too deep to search for a perfect solution. Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is one of those aching conditions that it is possible to ignore for a little while, during the early stages of its onset, but if left unaddressed for too long can quickly escalate into a searing and occasionally chronic pain.
As many CTS sufferers will attest to, sitting in front of a computer typing away all day can become a bit of a physical and mental battle.
When your job means you can’t really entertain the idea of stopping typing altogether (or certainly not long enough to allow adequate rest and recovery), then opting for a better designed keyboard is one significant step towards reducing the severity of pain experienced.
We explored the reasons why mechanical keyboards are the best type of keyboard for reducing the impact of carpal tunnel syndrome here, and so this article does the legwork to find worthy models to compare and contrast.
There’s a few ergonomic design features that compliment the positive effects of mechanical keys and help improve biomechanics to a point where protection against wrist fatigue and CTS pain becomes really noticeable.
Here’s our rundown of the best keyboards for carpal tunnel syndrome and why…
Best Mechanical Keyboards For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome At A Glance
- Logitech G613 Lightspeed Wireless Mechanical Keyboard – Best Overall Mechanical Keyboard
- Logitech K350 Wireless Wave Mechanical Keyboard – Best Budget Mechanical Keyboard
- Cloud Nine C989 Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard – Best Designed Mechanical Keyboard
- Perixx Periboard 612 Wireless Ergonomic Split Keyboard
- Kinesis Freestyle 2 Ergonomic Split Keyboard
- Razer BlackWidow Elite Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
- MARVO Scorpion Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
- Logitech MK345 Wireless Combo
- Keychron K2 Wireless Mechanical Keyboard
Logitech G613 Lightspeed Wireless Mechanical Keyboard - Best Pick Mechanical Keyboard
- Lightspeed: Wireless technology for super-fast 1 ms report rate
- Romer G mechanical switches deliver quiet, precise mechanical performance and 70 million click life for incredible feel and durability
- 6 programmable G keys put custom macro sequences and in app commands at your fingertips. 1 Customize G key profiles individually for each app
- Bluetooth: Bluetooth enabled device with Windows 8 or later, Mac OS X 10.12 or later, Chrome OS, or Android 3.2 or later, iOS 10 or later
The Logitech G613 has a number of features that make it especially useful for those suffering from the pain and discomfort brought on by carpal tunnel syndrome.
Firstly the raised mechanical keys have a smoother travel, and a less resistance than keys found on a common membrane keyboard. This means you don’t have to move your fingers as far, nor press down as hard to register a keystroke. Overall this puts less wear and tear on your wrists.
Six programmable ‘G-Keys’ allow multi-stage tasks to be programmed for completion with just single press of a button saving you time and wrist movements every day. With a little planning you can use this feature to effortlessly complete tasks that might otherwise require typing, scrolling and mouse movements.
The G613 is wireless thanks to Bluetooth pairing capabilities, and requires nothing more than 2 x AA batteries (supplied) to keep the board powered for up to 18 months! Being unrestricted by wires means the it can be moved to your ideal positioning without any compromisation.
Unlike many other keyboard designed with gaming in mind, the switches beneath the G613 keys are deliberately quiet rather than clicky. Being tactile, you’ll still be able to feel the moment the key stroke registers, but you won’t have to worry about creating a nuisance at home or in the office.
Finally, not really CTS mitigation but worth a mention in any case. The moniker ‘lightspeed’ given to the G613 is certainly well deserved as it has only a 1ms delay between keystroke and registering on screen. This latency is even faster than many hard wired keyboards.
Overall, if you want a remedy to CTS but don’t want to settle for anything other than a high quality, great looking addition to your desk set-up then the Logitech G613 is certainly worth considering.
Budget Pick - Logitech K350 Wave Wireless Mechanical Keyboard
- Wave design with Constant Curve layout: Curved layout guides hands into just the right position
- Ease and comfort: Cushioned palm rest makes work easier and fun more fun
- Longer battery time: This feature gives you up to three years of battery life. (Battery life based on a calculation of an estimated 2 million keystrokes per year in an office environment. User experience may vary.)
- Logitech Unifying receiver: The tiny Unifying receiver stays in your notebook, so there's no need to unplug it when you move around. And you can easily add compatible wireless mice and keyboards to the same wireless receiver
When you’re seeking relief from CTS pain, you would almost be happy to trade a certain amount of functionality to feel true comfort once again.
Fortunately the trade off between comfort and functionality isn’t necessary with the Logitech K350.
It starts by getting down to desk level to see the undulating shape that inspired the ‘wave’ element in the name. The varying height of each key is designed to cater for different finger lengths thus minimise finger curl.
The full length cushioned palm rest help support the wrists and take the pressure off forearms.
The vast array of buttons (120 in total!) create added functionality including dedicated media buttons that even feature a zoom in/out switch.
Wireless connectivity is obtained by a reliable by a USB receiver, and with the in-built battery able to store enough charge to last 3 years(!) you’ll find none of the common complaints of wire free keyboards here.
Although the K350 isn’t the lowest price point amongst our budget units, the over 5,000 positive reviews on Amazon certainly justify its position as the best value for money.
Also Great - Cloud Nine C989 Wireless Mechanical Keyboard
- SPLIT KEYBOARD DESIGN - Helps ELIMINATE Wrist and Shoulder PAIN while you type. By keeping your hands and arms properly aligned, this ergo keyboard helps provide PAIN-FREE typing for 8+ hours day.
- BUILT IN-TENTING (& palm support) - Your hands stay COMFORTABLE all day with 7 degrees of angle built into the tented palm supports. The FULL SIZED molded wrist rests keep your hands in TYPING BLISS because they stay in a NATURAL position.
- Do you suffer from SORE WRISTS, RSI Symptoms, CARPAL TUNNEL, or ARTHRITIS? This keyboard can HELP! It can be separated up to 6 INCHES keeping your arms & wrists ergonomically aligned. This reduces the pain & stress you feel after typing for long periods.
- CHERRY MX BROWN SWITCHES - These professional-grade switches provide low-activation force with tactile feedback. RGB backlit keys ensures all characters are illuminated and easy to read. Each back light color is easily selectable with the included app.
Cloud Nine have opted for the C989 to be entirely designed around providing a remedy to sore wrists.
The split keyboard design permits two tethered modules to separated by 6 inches, allowing forearms and wrists to return to being naturally straight.
The low resistance of the Cherry MX Brown switches is sumptuous to press, whilst each can be reached easily via the support of a full length palm rest and tenting (elevating the centremost keys to create an angle).
This full sized board does no half measures. Two whole columns of keys on the left module are dedicated to macros, which can be customised to execute whichever tasks you find yourself repeating the most, whilst a full size number pad on the opposite side means no features have been sacrificed in the pursuit of comfort.
The C989 bills itself as also being able to bridge the gap between business and gaming needs. RGB lighting, a USB pass through and a media dial front and center keeps gamers happy whilst rubber feet prevent the modules from slipping and sliding under rapid fire keystrokes.
The unit does operate on both Windows and Mac machines however the software that programs lighting and macros is only available for Windows. Pleasingly the CloudNine team have provided up to date (mid-2020) video tutorials on YouTube to show this is done.
Perixx Periboard 612 Wireless Ergonomic Split Keyboard
- ERGONOMIC SPLIT-KEY DESIGN: Integrated palm rest supports your wrists, releases median nerve pressure and reduces forearm tension; Natural arm and hand position while typing minimize chances of RSI, and carpal tunnel syndrome
- WIRELESS 2. 4 GHZ AND BLUETOOTH CONNECTION: Switch between two connection options at the bottom of the keyboard; nano receiver is stored safely in the compartment at the bottom of the keyboard
- DUAL OPERATING SYSTEM: Compatible with Mac and Windows including shortcuts and function keys; 4 additional switchable keys for Mac of Windows key layout and a key puller is also provided in the box
- TACTILE RESPONSIVE KEYS: with long travel distance that gives a satisfying typing feeling and decreases mistyping
The immediate standout feature of the Perixx Periboard 612 is the split keyboard and raised centre console.
Designed to prevent torquing your arms into an unnatural position and thus causing forearm tension, the split board design is rimmed with a full length fixed palm rest support your wrists.
Tactile keys help reduce the pressure required to register a keystroke whilst decreasing typing inaccuracies usual experienced by a membrane keypad.
Also available in a slightly less expensive wired version, the wireless connectivity of our model is provided by a choice of either a micro-USB receiver or Bluetooth.
Handily, the Periboard 612 is designed to integrate with both Windows and Mac, and has spare keys included to allow the changeover to a Mac keyboard layout if desired.
Kinesis Freestyle 2 Ergonomic Split Keyboard
- AWARD-WINNING SPLIT DESIGN: Unlike fixed ergonomic keyboards, the Freestyle2 allows you to rotate and separate the key modules up to 9" to achieve natural hand, wrist and forearm positions for your specific body type and preferences.
- STANDARD WINDOWS LAYOUT: The Freestyle2 for PC features a standard Windows layout with hotkeys like Cut, Copy, Paste, multimedia keys, and an embedded numeric 10-key to boost your productivity. No software or special drivers required.
- LOW-FORCE KEY SWITCHES: The Freestyle2 uses a custom membrane key switch that features a low-activation force and tactile feedback to reduce finger fatigue, impact and strain.
- WHAT'S IN THE BOX: Freestyle2 USB Wired keyboard with a standard Windows Layout, detachable pivot tether for adjustable splay, and Quick Start Guide. Plug-and-Play for Windows 7-10.
The Kinesis Freestyle2 has almost a cult following of CTS and RSI sufferers who swear by the instant benefits that this board can provide.
Like the CloudNine C989, the key design feature is a board that is divided into two equally sized modules and connected by a flexible tether. This allows the ability to create up to 9″ of separation between the keys operated by the left and right hand. This helps CTS sufferers as it allows the forearms to be placed straight out in front of the body, shoulder width apart as opposed to being angled inwards to a single board.
The connecting wire is fixed and not interchangeable so keep this in mind if the 9″ separation is something you feel like stretching to a longer length.
The low profile means there’s no wrist extension required to reach the upper keys and as a result the design forgoes the need for a wrist support.
Even the tactile keys have been considered in the Freestyle2 with an actuation force of only 45g needed to register a keystroke. This is one of the lowest forces of all the units that made it onto our shortlist.
An angle inducing kit (VIP3 tenting) is available as an extra option to tilt the keyboard to point keys outwards to further improve ergonomics, but unfortunately this small add-on costs almost as much as the board itself.
To create the unique design two columns of keys have been added to the left edge of the left module. This outer key placement means the positioning of your hands for usual no-look functions performed by shortcut keys (Ctrl + C etc) will have to be re-learned.
Razer BlackWidow Elite Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
- The NPD Group, Inc., U.S. Retail Tracking Service, Gaming Designed: Keyboards, Mice, PC Headsets, and PC Microphones
- Signature Mechanical Switch for Gaming: Razer Green switch technology provides a satisfying clicky sound with 50 G of actuation force, ideal for typing and gaming requiring the highest accuracy
- Ultimate Personalization & Gaming Immersion with Razer Chroma: Fully syncs with popular games, Razer hardware, Philips Hue, and gear from 30+ partners, supports 16.8 million colors on individually backlit keys
- Fully Programmable Macros: Razer Hypershift allows for all keys and keypress combinations to be remapped to execute complex commands
When CTS is at its worst, minimising the number of repetitive actions that you undertake, even by just a few keystrokes, is worth aiming for.
Using the much loved and free iCUE software, the Razer BlackWidow keyboard allows you to do this by assigning macros (automated sequences) to absolutely any button on the board.
The same software allows up to 5 different profiles to be saved and stored on the onboard memory so that switching between users or work/play can be accommodated easily.
The mechanical keys have been designed to meet the incredibly demanding needs of gamers, so you know the durability and stability of each key, as well as the travel motion will be to the highest standard. Just be mindful that gamers like to have the choice of ‘clicky’ switches beneath the keys so opt for the linear or tactile switches if noisy keyboards aren’t your thing.
A full length palm rest is also fixed into this board (be careful when shopping around as the same model is available without the palm rest) to support wrists.
Bonus features of the BlackWidow include dedicated media buttons on the top right of the board including a scroll wheel to control volume, and impressive RGB backlighting should you wish to use color to your advantage whilst working.
MARVO Scorpion Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
Another candidate in the budget section, the MARVO Scorpion will guaranteed you longevity thanks to its robust and sensible design.
Billed as a gaming keyboard the Scorpion also offers durability as a business keyboard by having all the basic features to help combat CTS pain.
Smooth mechanical keys are the main feature to look out for in a keyboard intended to provide relief from sore wrists and the Scorpion provides just that with keys that only require an operating force of 55g and a travel of 3.6mm.
Be aware that as a gaming keyboard first and foremost there are options for how noisy you like your switches beneath the keys to be. For MARVO models, blue switches = very noisy.
If you’re not quite ready for full flashing RGB lighting that’s included don’t worry. A simple command (Fn + Up) will cycle through the lighting effects and bring back a subtle ambient back light perfect for the office.
Logitech MK345 Wireless Combo
- Full-size keyboard layout: Comfortable, quiet typing on a familiar keyboard layout with generous palm rest, spill-resistant design and easy-access media keys like mute, volume and play
- Comfortable right-handed mouse: Hand-friendly contoured shape for smooth, precise tracking
- Advanced 2.4 GHz wireless connection: Delivers the reliability and speed of a corded connection
- Extended battery life: 3-year keyboard and 18-month mouse battery life virtually eliminates battery changes. Mouse battery life may vary based on user and computing conditions.
The Logitech MK345 Keyboard and Mouse Combination would go down in the mechanical keyboard hall of fame if there was such a thing, and not always for the right reasons.
The MK345 has sold extremely well…..11,000+ ratings on Amazon well!
The value price point has been the main driver for its popularity but to be fair it is backed up by some solid features including quiet mechanical keys, a large selection of media buttons and a generous full length palm rest.
Batteries come pre-installed and without the need to install any drivers this unit is a genuine case of plug and play straight out of the box.
The right handed mouse is an added bonus although it’s considered by most to be on the small side and a little plasticy to the touch.
Other than that, this keyboard and mouse are fairly unremarkable. A good entry level package might be the best way to describe the MK345 combo.
Keychron K2 Wireless Mechanical Keyboard
- A 75% layout (84-key) RGB backlight compact Bluetooth mechanical keyboard. The ultimate tenkeyless keyboard that retains shortcut and arrow keys. Aluminum frame.
- Connects with up to 3 devices via Bluetooth 5.1 and switch among them easily. With high reliable and broad compatibility Broadcom Bluetooth chipset, the K2 is best to fit home, office and light gaming use while connecting with your smartphone, laptop and iPad. It also has wired mode with USB Type-C connection.
- With a unique Mac layout, K2 has all necessary Mac function keys, while compatible with Windows. Extra keycaps for both Windows and Mac operating system are included.
- K2 can last up to 72 hours typing, or up to 7 days normal use (count 8hrs per day) with a 4000 mAh big battery, which is one of the biggest in mechanical keyboard. N-key rollover (NKRO) on wired mode or 6KRO on wireless mode.
As a TKL design (ten keyless design) the Keychron K2 is far more compact than a full size keyboard.
Arguably this feature alone make it not great for CTS sufferers as your wrists and arms are forced into adopting a less than perfect angle to reach the keys.
Although it’s fairly low profile, it stands just tall enough to warrant the consideration of a wrist pad. Without one, straight out of the box the K2 might induce a lot of pivoting and wrist movement to reach each all of the keys.
So not great so far for carpalites. In fact, knowing this, the sole reason the Keychron K2 is included here is to give an honorable mention to the exceptional quality of its key switches.
Firmly fixed and without wobble the smoothness of the key travel is almost unmatched. The tactile keys (although on the loud side) offer exactly the resistance and feel that makes mechanical keyboards great to help with CTS.
Other features include a full metal body, backlighting and up to 80hrs of charge time coming from inbuilt batteries.
Why are mechanical keyboards better at preventing carpal tunnel?
Mechanical keyboards provide a whole host of features which make them better for carpal tunnel syndrome sufferers. In a quick summary these feature make them…
- More responsive
- More accurate
- Smoother to use
- Prevent wrist tilt
How can I prevent carpal tunnel on my keyboard?
Start being aware of the twist in your forearm and the angle of your wrists when typing. The earlier you can correct the unnatural angles and contortion, the sooner you’ll start to feel relief and the better you’ll be protected from long term health issues.
The quickest fix would be to pick up a better designed keyboard but other adjustments could be made by considering the ergonomics of your chair, desk and mouse.
Another fix would be to reduce the volume of typing undertaken, and increase the periods of rest between sessions.
Hopefully the above round-up has given you a few ideas on how to beat CTS by introducing a keyboard might best for you and your pain-free office environment.
If you’re not concerned about functionality beyond pure ergonomics then the budget winner, the Logitech K350 Wave, would be a very safe place to start.
If you don’t want money to stand in the way of pain free typing then either the Logitech G613 or the CloudNine C989 would mitigate against carpal tunnel syndrome without compromising on productivity nor gaming capabilities.
We’d encourage you to be mindful of each and every element given a place on your desk set-up, but especially so if you begin to feel pain in your wrists.
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