When people ask you what you do for a living, and you say that your entire work revolves around a desk and a computer, they immediately assume that you have it easy. After all, sitting in front of a computer all day is effortless, right? They couldn’t be more wrong. No job is easy, and whoever thinks that is on the verge of being called an ignorant.
Sitting all day comes with its risks. You are prone to developing back issues, the lack of movement can cause sore legs and feet, and not to mention what it’s doing to your metabolism. It’s not as easy as people may think. Of course, there are a few precautions you can take, like purchasing a lumbar support cushion or reminding yourself to get up once every hour, but your hands still suffer from typing all day. And it’s not the typing that gets you, but the same repetitive moves every day.
Fortunately, there is something you can do for your hands as well. If your job requires you typing all day, you can buy yourself a keyboard tray. It has been developed to decrease the level of discomfort computer workers have, and so far, studies have shown that keyboard trays indeed work.
The benefits of using a keyboard tray
If you work on a computer all day, chances are that you already have some issues with your hands, arms and posture. Placing the keyboard on your desk is wrong for more than one reason, but the most important of them all is the stress exerted on your wrist. Just look at your wrists right now. What do you see? You see your wrists positioned on the surface of the desk, don’t you? That is not very healthy. The blood supply to the hands is restricted, for one, and there is simply too much pressure on them.
A keyboard tray has a lot of benefits for your hands’ health. Not only that, but your posture will improve as well. Just take a look at the advantages if using such a device.
- ü It improves overall comfort – it’s not news that a correct posture has the ability to improve your comfort. A keyboard tray will keep your hands at a proper level and distance from your body. The elbows will sit at an angle of at least 90º, which will allow the blood to flow as it’s supposed to. There will be no pressure whatsoever on your arms. Of course, it may take some time getting used to, but in the end, you will notice the improvement. It’s just like when you try to teach yourself to sit up straight. It’s tiring in the beginning, but once you get the hang of it, you won’t keep your hands any other way.
- ü No more muscle strain –keeping your hands too high exerts pressure on your muscles. It’s like holding your hands in an uncomfortable position all day long. They eventually get sore, and you end up with aches that are difficult to get rid of, especially when you are required to keep holding them like that 5 days a week. Resting them on the desk is not a viable option because you can interrupt the blood flow. As a result, you will get numb hands. Either way, you cannot win. Using a keyboard tray, however, will eliminate both possibilities. Your hands will be in the right position, the blood flow will not be restricted, and your muscles will enjoy a well-deserved break.
- ü Eliminates the occurrence of carpal tunnel syndrome – this condition is the most common among computer workers. It’s also called repetitive stress injury, and it’s caused by doing the same thing with your hands every single day. It progresses over time, and in some cases, it can be severe. Ignored, it can lead to having your hand put in acast, but if caught early, you can reverse it. A keyboard tray will eliminate its occurrence entirely, so you don’t have to worry about changing your habits once in a while.
Apart from the advantages I mentioned above, using a keyboard tray can also keep you away from developing cubital tunnel syndrome and improve your posture. You no longer have to lean forward everytime you need to use the mouse or write because the tray will be at a perfect distance. All you have to do is sit up straight and do your job.
What to consider when looking for the best keyboard tray
You wouldn’t believe how many options you have. However, that doesn’t mean they are all right for you. Some models work for some people, but that doesn’t apply to everyone. When looking to make a purchase, there are a few things you should consider. Establish your criteria and take it from there. Here are the most important aspects.
- ü Adjustability – it goes without saying that not all people have the same height. When you buy a desk chair, you buy an adjustable one so it can fit you perfectly. It’s the same with a keyboard tray. It should be positioned in a certain way, and for that to be possible, it needs to be adjustable. Otherwise, you buy it for nothing. And height is not the only thing you should be able to adjust. Angle is just as important. During an 8-hour period, your position may shift several times. The tray should adjust accordingly.
- ü Size – for you to enjoy all the benefits of a keyboard tray, the device should be big enough to accommodate both the keyboard and the mouse. Otherwise, what is the point of keeping one on the tray while you stress one of your hands using the other? However, make sure that the trayisn’t too big. It can cause you to sit uncomfortably.
- ü Padding – wrists are the ones you should take care of the most. A soft padding will do the job. That is why I recommend you choose a model that comes with wrist support. However, the support is not meant to keep your wrists on it while you are typing. They are designed for breaks.
- ü Attachment options – you have several options when it comes to fixation. You can go for a permanent solution, or for a semi-permanent one. Each has its pros and cons. The permanent solution involves screws, but I don’t know to what extent you can use one at the office. It’s not your desk to make holes in it as you like. On the other hand, this kind may seem more stable. The semi-permanent solution involves a clamp. It leaves no trails, but it may not be as stable as the previous one.
What are the best keyboard trays?
The best way to find out whether a product is as advertised or not is to read some keyboard trays reviews you can find online. Paying customers are the most qualified to have an honest opinion about a particular product. So, if you have seen something that you like, read about it before buying it. It can make the difference between a satisfied purchase and a return.
Vivo Adjustable Computer Keyboard and Mouse Platform Tray
The keyboard tray from Vivo has an ergonomic design that is meant to improve the quality of the time you spend at your desk. You will no longer have bad posture issues, and your wrists will cease to be sore. The tray enhancesyour posture while you type, and the plush padding provides support while you take a break. If you like, you can remove the padding entirely.
This keyboard and mouse tray mounts under your desk. It comes with simple instructions and installation hardware. Mounting it is quite straightforward. However, the screws are about 1 inch long, so if your desk is thinner than that, you may want to buy shorter screws. You don’t want them to penetrate the surface of the desk. It doesn’t look very nice, and you can hurt yourself.
The size of the tray is 25ʺ x 10ʺ. It should accommodate most keyboards and mice. The device rotates from side to side and can be adjusted according to your height. The adjustment range is 5ʺ. The construction is sturdy, and the tray is stable enough to support the weight of your hands. The price-quality is ratio is the best you could possibly ask for. Click here to read more reviews and buy on Amazon.
3M Tool Free Installation Knob Adjust Keyboard Tray
If the previous model required screws and holes for mounting, this keyboard tray can be installed without any tools whatsoever. All you need to do is tighten the knob, and you are good to go. The knob also controls the height and the tilt of the tray. Just loosen the knob, make the properadjustments, and then tighten it back.
The 3M tray adjusts to 1ʺ above the mounting surface and 4.5ʺ below. The mounting surface must have a thickness that varies between 3/4ʺ – 1 1/2ʺ. The width of the surface has to be at least 26 inches. The design is very simple and elegant. As long as the measurements are in order, this product goes very well with any desk you may have. When you don’t use it, just slide the tray under the desk.
This keyboard tray is made of wood to minimize bouncing, which makes it very stable. It is equipped with a gel pad that provides support for your wrists. The pad is covered in antimicrobial leatherette. The Precise mouse pad can be placed both on the right and on the left, so it doesn’t matter that you are left-handed or right-handed.
If you want to remove the tray, you should know that there will be no damage left behind. The desk will look just like before you installed it. That is possible thanks to the Command Strips you apply when you mount the device. Their purpose is to fixate the tray, as well as protect the desk from scratches. Click here to read more reviews and buy on Amazon.
Fellowes Professional Series Compact Keyboard Tray
The Fellowes keyboard tray is designed to provide comfort and maneuverability for small workplaces, but it will still meet the purpose for which it was created. It will help you maintain a healthy posture while your hands sit comfortably in the proper position.
This tray is suitable for both left and right-handed people. The mouse pad can be placed either way. The warning Trak will not let the mouse slide off the pad. The product features a lift-and-lock system that allows you adjust the height of the tray with a single hand. All you have to do is tilt the tray, reposition, then straighten it back to lock in place.Adjusting its position may prove to be tricky at first, but after you get the hang of it, you should have no issues doing it.
The wrist support is made of Healthy-V memory foam and has a Microban antimicrobial protection. Not only that it will stay clean, but it is also ideal for preventing carpal tunnel syndrome and cubital tunnel syndrome.
The installation is simple, the instructions are clear, and you don’t need much experience to do it. The difficulty of inserting the screws depends on the material of which your desk is made. Just make sure to do the proper measurements so the screws won’t penetrate the superior side of the mounting surface. Click here to read more reviews and buy on Amazon.
I spend quite a lot of time writing, so I am all for keyboard trays. Finding the best one may be a bit confusing, but as long as you know what you want and what you need, it should be a piece of cake. With that in mind, my number one recommendation is the Fellowes Professional Series Compact Keyboard Tray. I like practical things, but I also like compact devices. As long as they are useful, they can be as small as they can be. This tray is precisely that. It will do its job, it’s compact, and according to customers’ reviews, it’s one of the best keyboard trays on the market.
Every job has its risks. Some are more prone to injuries than others, but that doesn’t mean some of them have to be underestimated. People do that all the time when it comes to desk workers. They think it’s easy and safe. In reality, things are different. Carpal tunnel syndrome is painful and takes a long time to heal. Not to mention that there is always the chance of reoccurrence. That is why a keyboard tray is advised. Choose one of the above, and your hands and posture will benefit a great deal in the long run. Click here to buy on Amazon
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