Many people don’t realize that the size of their computer keyboard can cause significant ergonomic issues resulting in shoulder and arm pain. But there’s a surprisingly simple way to pick the right keyboard for your desk.
Hold It Up to Your Chest
You’re shopping for a new keyboard and curious if it’ll be comfortable long term. Hold it up to your chest.
No really. This isn’t some elementary school-grade prank where you hold a keyboard up to your chest and get punched while somebody yells something mildly insulting. It’s a really simple way to compare the size of the keyboard to the width of your shoulders.
In fact, it’s how I cured my shoulder pain with a new keyboard without even realizing the ratio of the keyboard to my body. The issue I had was mechanically simple, even if it took me a bit to figure it out. My keyboard was too wide, so I had to cock my arm out at a more severe angle to use the mouse. I did it for years, and millions of people with too-big keyboards are still doing it.
My shoulder pain disappeared almost instantly when I replaced my massive full-size 100% keyboard with a more compact 80% tenkeyless keyboard. But it wasn’t until I was on a conference call with some of my fellow writers here at How-To Geek— who were talking about that issue and how to pick out the right keyboard—that I realized there was a ratio at play.
Logitech G413 TKL SE Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
$50 $70 Save $20
This petite but sturdy tenkeyless keyboard is perfect for banishing shoulder pain. The narrower width helps you keep the mouse in tighter and your shoulders in a neutral position.
My old pain-inducing keyboard was wide enough that, when held up to my chest, it covered my entire chest and a good portion of the front of my arms. No wonder I always had to move my arm out a weird angle to use the mouse, the keyboard was almost as wide as I was. But the new tenkeyless keyboard that solved my shoulder pain? It fits neatly between my arms.
So if you’re struggling with shoulder and arm pain related to your computer use, before you run out and buy a premium “ergonomic” keyboard (many of which are absolutely massive) or dabble with really niche designs like split-keyboards, consider simply upgrading to a keyboard that lines up, quite literally, with your body.