Keyboards and mice that fight fatigue
VANCOUVER -- How many hours a day do you spend using a computer? And now that you've been working from home for months, you may be realizing your home office setup is causing aches and pains, all the way from from your neck to your wrists.
Ergonomic keyboards and mice may look a little weird, but that's intentional. They're designed to put less stress on your wrists, forearms, and even your shoulders and back. To see which work best, Consumer Reports tested models at every price point.
"What we found in our keyboard testing is that you get what you pay for," says Dana Keester, the Consumer Reports ergonomics expert. "The models we tested priced under $100 didn't do nearly as well as those priced over $100."
Like the Kinesis Freestyle 2, a keyboard split in two so each half can be positioned in-line with your shoulders. It sells for about $128.
"That eliminates some stressful rotating and bending in your shoulders and wrists," Keester says. "To get the greatest ergonomic benefit, we also recommend buying the optional palm rest and tenting accessories for this model."
The Logitech ERGO K860 ergonomic keyboard costs $150 and also did well in testing. It has a split, splayed and tented design, meant to take pressure off your wrists. It comes with a palm rest and flip out front legs, which help your wrists stay in a neutral position.
And for even more wrist relief, try an ergonomic mouse. You don't have to spend a fortune to get a good one, like the Microsoft Sculpt, which costs $80. It's both wireless and battery-operated.
"This model is a hybrid between the typical horizontal form and the more ergonomic vertical form," Keester says.
But if you're left-handed, you're out of luck. Like many ergonomic mice, the Sculpt is only available in a right-handed version.
Instead, try the Adesso iMouse E1 optical mouse for $45. It comes in both left-handed and right-handed models, and the vertical form reduces forearm pronation, the motion you make when giving a thumbs down. That makes it a good choice for people who experience pain when using a horizontal mouse.
But no matter what keyboard or mouse you use, it's still important to take breaks and stretch often. And don't throw out your old equipment right away – ergonomic options take some getting used to, so wait until you're comfortable and committed to the new products.
With files from Consumer Reports