2021 is upon us, and it’s a safe bet to say we’ll be spending more time than ever on our keyboards in the coming year. With the keyboard inching ever closer to to become another extremity of our body, having the best ergonomic keyboard is no longer a matter of desire, but necessity.
In this comprehensive buyer’s guide, we review and handpick our choices for the best split ergonomic keyboards for Windows, Mac, and Android devices, which is considered the pinnacle of ergonomic keyboard design.
|Logitech Ergo K860||Wireless/ 2.4 GHz and Bluetooth||Best "Conventional" Split Ergonomic Keyboard for average user||$$$||Check Price|
|Microsoft Sculpt||Wireless/ 2.4 GHz Radio Frequency||Runner's Up for Best "Conventional" Split Ergonomic Keyboard||$$||Check Price|
|Kinesis Advantage2||Wired||Most Cutting Edge Ergonomic Keyboard for Heavy Typists like Programmers and Writers.||$$$$||Check Price|
|Logitech K350||Wireless/ 2.4 GHz Radio Frequency||Decent Ergonomic Keyboard with Excellent Battery Life.||$||Check Price|
|Goldtouch GTP-00844||Wired||Wide Degree of Angle Adjustments for People that Need It.||$$||Check Price|
|iClever Wireless Folding Keyboard||Wireless/ Bluetooth||Great Portable Ergonomic Keyboard for Tablets and Smart Phones||$||Check Price|
Best Overall Ergonomic Split Keyboard
Logitech Ergo K860 Wireless Ergonomic Keyboard
Bottom line: The best “conventional” split ergonomic keyboard in 2021
The Logitech Ergo K860 finally dethrones the Microsoft Sculpt as our pick for the best overall ergonomic split keyboard. It improves upon everything that made the MS Sculpt so great, creating something that is highly ergonomic yet still accessible to even newcomers to the form factor.
The moment I took the Ergo K860 out of the box, I knew the MS Sculpt was in trouble. The K860 just feels more premium and solidly built.
But the main focus here is ergonomics and comfort, and the K860 overall delivers on both fronts as well – in some cases better – than the MS Sculpt.
The keys on the Logitech K860 are positioned in a reverse “V” shape, converging towards the end. The keyboard is also raised at the center like a dome. These two aspects help protect your wrists from unnatural twisting as you type, by reducing radial deviation and forearm pronation, two known contributors to carpal tunnel syndrome.
Like the MS Sculpt, the K860 keyboard also supports optional negative tilting, by raising the keyboard at the front to create a downwards slope. However, the execution is better than Microsoft’s keyboard in my opinion. It uses two built in kickstands that elevate the keyboard by either 4 or 7 degrees, versus a single elevated angle with the Sculpt. Negative tilting again plays a role in good typing ergonomics, by eliminating wrist extension when you type.
Finally, I’d be remiss not to mention the wrist rest that’s built into the K860 keyboard. It’s around 3.5” deep, and does a good job of cushioning your entire wrist as you rest on them. The only concern is how to clean it when it gets dirty.
For years the MS Sculpt has been the gold standard on conventional ergonomic keyboards. That all changes with the Logitech K860 keyboard.
- Scientifically proven to reduce unhealthy wrist bending
- Supports two levels of negative tilting
- Low force keys and thick wrist rest
- Can be simultaneously used with three devices
- No backlit keys
- Expensive compared to regular keyboards
Runner’s Up for Conventional Split Keyboard
Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard for Businesses
Bottom line: The second best”conventional” split ergonomic keyboard you can buy. Cheaper than the Logitech K860.
We’ve been a huge fan of Microsoft’s sculpted ergonomic keyboards for years, and are happy to say the Sculpt Keyboard for Business represents the very best of that lineage.
Typing on this keyboard is an absolute dream. I handed the keyboard over to a friend that’s coming from an old Logitech keyboard for 1 week, and long story short, he’s not giving it back.
What makes the MS Sculpt keyboard so comfortable to type on? It’s all in the negative tilt and inward angling keys, which automatically guides your hands into the most natural, downward “V” shape as they rest on the keyboard. It’a amazing how little changes in your posture can have on your body over time.
Speaking of rest, the large padded wrist pad of the Sculpt is another welcomed addition. The pad measures almost the entire width of the Sculpt keyboard, and cushions your wrists more than adequately as you type. It works particularly well, and probably even more so for people with existing wrist problems. A removable, magnetic (how cool is that) riser can also be attached to the keyboard that allows pushing wrists up even farther.
Micosoft spent years perfecting the Miscrosoft Sculpt’s design for ergonomics, and as mentioned, this is in our opinion the best version yet. It falls short of the Logitech K860 above in some areas, though makes it for that by being around 30% less expensive.
- Ultra comfortable with its reverse-tilt and inwards angling design
- Comfortable wrist pad and magnetic riser underneath keyboard
- Separate/detached numpad
- Wireless using a USB Dongle and 2.4 GHz Radio Frequency
- Tiny function keys
- Requires some time to get used to
- A little expensive
Best Ergonomic Keyboard for Heavy Typists like Programmers and Writers
Kinesis Advantage2 Ergonomic Keyboard
Bottom line: What may look like as a peripheral from another galaxy is a carpal tunnel keyboard that works great for heavy typists or people showing early signs of RSI and CTS.
For those of us that are surgically attached to our keyboards, or are showing early signs of RSI, inflammation, and CTS, the Kenesis Advantage2 is THE keyboard to get.
The patented Contoured keyboard uses low-force mechanical switches that make typing absolutely effortless and precise. Each hand is separated and gets its separate area, allowing shoulders and wrists to stay in an unbent and a neutral position.
Advantage 2 uses mechanical Cherry Browns mechanical switches, which is something mechanical KB enthusiasts would appreciate. The smart placement of the keys means if you mistyped anything, you can undo that using your left thumb by hitting the backspace key, while your fingers stay in their original position.
The onboard remapping and macros lets power users create shortcuts and customized keyboard layouts that take efficiency to new heights.
If you’re a developer, blogger, freelancer writer, or in any profession where typing is your livelihood, it’s worth shelling out the extra bucks Kinesis Advantage2 commands. The long term health and productivity will more than pay for the keyboard many times over.
Watch a video review of this bad puppy:
- Separate keywells for each hand
- Minimizes risk of CTS and RSI, backed by years of research
- Less reaching around, multiple keys accessible by thumb
- Highly programmable
- Works on Windows, Mac and Linux
- Stands firmly, no unwanted movements
- Bulkier, limited portability
- Not wireless
- Steeper learning curve
- Function keys have a different feel to them
Best Budget Ergonomic Keyboard
Logitech K350 2.4Ghz Wireless Keyboard
Bottom line: Easy to recommend if you are looking for a reasonably priced ergonomic keyboard that provides decent ergonomics and lasts for years without changing batteries.
Logitech is a brand well known for its innovative products and its K350 ergonomic keyboard is no exception. Its signature Comfort Wave Design comprises of a wavy-curvy design and a palm rest. The cushioned palm-rest is designed to comfortably rest your hands when you are not typing. The wave-shaped gradual contour supports the different lengths of our fingers and reduces the points of discomfort without slowing the user down.
Compared to more radically shaped split-type ergonomic keyboards, K350 takes the conservative approach, while still offering many of the benefits of such keyboards. Consistently-sized keys and a familiar shape means users don’t have to re-learn typing and can get started in no time.
The Logitech Unifying Receiver ensures effortless connectivity and supports connecting up to 6 supported Logitech devices simultaneously. This feature is especially useful for people who have notebooks with limited USB ports or already own other Logitech devices such as mice. The small plug-and-forget dongle supports most Logitech keyboards and mice and ensures strong wireless connectivity.
Instant Media Access Keys provide one-touch control over the most commonly used functions such as volume control and media playback. The programmable F keys can be customized using the Logitech software, which allows customizing the keys to open applications, shortcuts, folders and more. For Apple fans, however,The K350 is probably not the best ergonomic keyboard for Mac as the software does not support all of the customization options for the platform.
Logitech claims that the keyboard lasts for up to three years without changing batteries, which means you’ll eventually forget that it uses batteries. This is as good as it gets in the world of wireless keyboards.
- Comfort wave design
- Cushioned palm rest
- Consistently-sized keys, very little learning curve
- 3-year battery life
- Adjustable keyboard height (three-step)
- Instant Media Access buttons and programmable keys
- Conservative split pane design may not help users already developing RSI related issues.
- Limited customization options on Mac OS
Best Keyboard for Reducing Wrist Rotation
Goldtouch GTP-0044 Adjustable Ergonomic Keyboard
Bottom line: A great option if you prefer softer keys and want to have complete control over the angle of the two split panes.
The Goldtouch keyboard allows users to adjust from 0-30 degrees on both horizontal and vertical planes, thanks to the patented ball-and-lever locking design.
Being able to make precise angle adjustments on your own makes the Goldtouch a superb ergonomic keyboard for people that just can’t find the desired level of extended comfort with premolded ergonomic keyboards.
The soft keys require lower activation force while still managing to provide full travel distance and enhance the typing experience. However, mechanical keyboard enthusiasts won’t find much to like about the response and tactile feedback of the keys. It also lacks a dedicated numpad so it’s not ideal for accountants and excel bosses.
The keyboard seamlessly works on both Mac and PC so users don’t have to worry about anything when switching between platforms. The compact design allows you to store the keyboard in limited spaces when not in use.
- 0-30 degree adjustability on both horizontal and vertical planes
- Soft keys require lesser activation force
- Works seamlessly on both Windows and Mac
- Compacts design, saves space
- Relatively stable in different configurations
- Lacks dedicated numpad
- Size may be too small for people with large hands
- Relatively pricy
Great Portable Ergonomic Keyboard for Tablets and Smart Phones
iClever Wireless Folding Keyboard
Bottom line: Great option for those looking for a portable wireless keyboard with near standard-sized keys for your portable devices
iClever keyboard offers an excellent blend of ergonomics, portability and wireless connectivity for almost any Bluetooth enabled device such as tablets and smartphones, and your TV sets.
The fact is, when it comes to mobile devices such as your iPad or iPhone, attaching any external keyboard is a huge ergonomic win compared to using the default touch screen interface for an extend period.
iClever is highly portable, thanks to its foldable design that lets you carry it around with ease while protecting the keys inside from debris and impact. When unfolded, the keyboard expands to a hefty 10.3 inches by 3.5 inches. The slight “V” shape of the layout forces your hands to angle inwards for a more comfortable wrist position.
We love the near standard-sized keys that feature a sloped “U” shape design for great grip and tactile feedback.
The integrated Boradcom Bluetooth chip offers fast connectivity, improved response time and lower power consumption. Bluetooth connectivity is widely present on most portable devices these days, making the iClever keyboard a great companion for all of your mobile devices big and small.
iClever comes with a rechargeable battery that is rated to last for 40 days in standby mode and can survive nearly 40-hours of continuous use. This roughly translates into a full week of battery juice,
- Highly portable, foldable design
- V shape layout and U-shaped keys creates more comfortable typing experience
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Near Standard-sized keys
- Decent battery life, rechargeable batteries
- iOS, Windows, and Android compatibility
- Scratch resistant, housed with soft PU case
- No built-in phone/tablet stand
- Main focus is on portability and compatibility than ergonomics
Why You Need an Ergonomic Keyboard
The first keyboard came out in the early 70s, with conventional keyboards still based largely on this antiqued design and layout. Back then the notion of ergonomics and productivity with regards to input devices were pretty much non existent. It’s almost impossible to type on standard keyboards without experiencing some degree of discomfort over time. Consider the skyrocketing cases of tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome. in today’s population as direct evidence of this.
Modern day science and research have settled on the split pane design as the most optimal configuration for typing with a keyboard. This design puts your hands and wrists in a natural, injury free posture while you type for hours on end. These expertly designed keyboards can also significantly boost your productivity, with programmable and well placed keys that help you type faster.
Which Split Ergonomic Keyboard Should I Choose?
Those who want to prevent CTS/RSIs or are already suffering from it should consider investing in Kinesis Advantage2 Ergonomic or Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard.
Logitech K350 is a great option for people who want a plug-and-forget wireless ergonomic keyboard that offers a typing experience most of us are already familiar with.
The Goldtouch V2 with its wide degree of angle adjustments will appeal to users with ultra wide or narrow shoulders who need a more customized keyboard design.
And last but certainly not least, if you spend any prolonged periods of time inputting text on your portable devices such as a iPad or Android device, we highly recommend the iClever keyboard.
How is it possible that absolutely none of these reviews mention the fact that most of these “ergonomic” QWERTY keyboards are not designed for “true” touch typing? Have none of you noticed that the number 6 key is on the wrong side of the split? Do you just not care because you don’t use the number keys frequently in your day-to-day keyboard use? This needs to be mentioned, and highlighted!, because I have just spent over $100 on the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic, only to immediately realise that “something” was really, really wrong, and then to eventually realise that the problem was that a touch typist strikes the number 6 key with their right index finger, and that is impossible on this keyboard. An ergonomic keyboard should not be forcing me to change more than 2 decades of muscle memory! How is this poor placement so prevalent in split keyboards? I initially thought, “Well, Microsoft has really screwed up here!”, only to go looking and discover that nearly all split keyboards put the 6 on the wrong side! Seriously?
Joe Blake says
Over the past half century or more there’s been a rather pointless debate about whether the venerable QWERTY keyboard was “designed” to slow the typist down. I say “pointless” because regardless of the intent of the original design, there is no doubt that it DOES slow the typist down, causing stress on tendons and muscles, wear on joints and fatigue. This follows from the excessive movement, as well as unnecessary “hovering” of the hands and arms created by using this device. There’s even an acknowledgement of this built into the original design with the necessity to use TWO thumbs to operate the space bar. EVERY word we type requires insertion of a space, so it’s probably in the top 2-3 most commonly struck keys on the QWERTY keyboard, yet because the operation requires “hurdling” from the bottom key row to the top and back down, the hands can be so far from the space bar that it is necessary to use the “free” hand to strike the space bar.
Every keyboard “tested” here uses the QWERTY layout which immediately makes a mockery of any claim to be “ergonomic” simply because of the inescapable extra work involved with QWERTY.
To be sure we are here comparing Oranges with Oranges, but beside QWERTY, there are three other (major) keyboard layouts, each of which can claim to be more “ergonomic”. Dvorak, Colemak and Maltron.
In testing there’s no point in using the metric of “typing speed” unless you are comparing like with like. To me one of the most discriminating ways of measuring “ergonomics” is the work done. I mentioned moving hands/ arms to “hurdle” from bottom to top keyrow and back. The simplest metric I can think of is counting the number of (English) words which can be keyed WITHOUT moving the hands from the “home” keys ie the only energy expended is that of striking the keys. I found a “Scrabble” list of 172,807 words on line, and using a series of simple macros in the wordprocessor I created four lists, one for each key layout mentioned above. Each list contained ONLY words that could be typed without the hands leaving the home row.
QWERTY – 198 different words can be typed without taking the fingers from the home row keys.
Dvorak – 3126 different words can be typed without taking the fingers from the home row keys.
Colemak – 5963 different words can be typed without taking the fingers from the home row keys.
Malt – 7639 different words can be typed without taking the fingers from the home row keys.
The figures speak for themselves.
Jeremy Sacco says
Worth mentioning, the Sculpt doesn’t work with modern OS X. Not sure where the cutoff is, but Sierra won’t recognize it.
I have been using the Logitech K350 for a while now, and it’s pretty cool. My wrists don’t hurt by the end of the day, and I found the keyboard to be quite versatile with all the adjustments that are available.
However, I am searching for a portable keyboard for my iPad and phone. I travel a lot and end up typing quite a bit on my mobile devices.
With that in mind, I am totally digging the iClever. I love how it opens up to an almost standard sized keyboard. Although you mentioned that it has a long battery life for itself, my one concern is about its effect on the phone’s battery. Bluetooth does lead to extra consumption, so do you think long-term connectivity between the keyboard and the phone will drain out the phone battery?
Thank you for such an informative post, especially the pros and cons of each keyboard. As someone who writes a lot, I am already starting to suffer from wrist pain. Although it is not severe, I have been on the lookout for a good ergonomic keyboard to help me with this, before it becomes a problem.
After reading the post, I am confused between the Microsoft Sculpt and the Goldtouch GTU. I am leaning towards the Sculpt, because of the number pad, cushion support and overall design, but I love how versatile the Goldtouch is when it comes to adjusting it according to my preference.
Is it possible to add a separate number pad to the Goldtouch? Also, in terms of writing, which of the two will be better since I am moving for the first time from a standard keyboard to an ergonomic one? Thanks for your help.
Jon Muller says
If you’re coming from a standard keyboard, the MS Sculpt will have the lowest adjustment curve for you. The Goldtouch is a better choice if you already suffer from wrist pain due to the more pronounced “tented” design, but otherwise the Sculpt is a more refined and feature rich keyboard all around.
Working for quite a few hours every day on the computer, I wanted to invest in an ergonomic keyboard, but I never really looked into it until now.
First of all, the iClever Folding Keyboard is heaven sent. I had no clue about it, and since I type on my phone a lot, and suffer from aching thumbs, this is perfect.
For my desktop, I couldn’t get used to a full split keyboard in the past, so I’m curious what would be better between the Logitech K350 and the Microsoft Sculpt? I could use the Logitech as a transition keyboard and then try the more ergonomic ones later. I particularly like its cushion support, but what are your thoughts about the size? Doesn’t it look a little bulky with the media buttons on top?
Jon Muller says
I would recommend the Microsoft Sculpt, as it strikes the best balance between a traditional keyword and one that adopts the more radical split design. It took me just 30 minutes to get used to the Sculpt when I transitioned from my old rectangular Logitech keyboard.