One of the most important parts of being productive and happy at work is making sure that you are comfortable. The long hours you spend in front of your computer should be enjoyable and less tiring.
Your hand is one of the most used parts of your body when you are working, and making sure that it sits comfortably is crucial if you don’t want to suffer in the long run.
The benefits of using a keyboard tray are often overlooked since they are not the most common of accessories but experience its comfort and support, you won’t be able to work without one. They’re the not-so-known fix for most problems caused by typing for an extended period, and they are surprisingly cheap.
Here in this buying guide, we will talk about the benefits of having a keyboard tray, what to look for in one, the best options in the market, and some common questions as well.
Why Should I Get a Keyboard Tray?
Working and typing in front of our computers is a big part of our day. Most of us are used to working on desks or tables with fixed heights, and you’re really lucky if your desk perfectly fits your needs. But most of the time, it just doesn’t.
Each of us has different heights and reach, so a desk or table with non-adjustable height won’t always give you what your arms and hands need. Having your keyboard placed too high or too low can cause your arms, hands, and wrist problems. A simple keyboard tray can make any desk work for you.
A keyboard tray can give you not only the ideal height but also the best angle for typing. It may be a simple addition, but adding an adjustable keyboard tray can drastically improve the ergonomics of your workspace.
Not only does this enable you to be more efficient and work faster while being comfortable, but it also prevents potential health problems caused by a wrong typing position. Keyboard trays may not be as flashy and cool as gaming peripherals, but this simple yet effective tool can save you from musculoskeletal disorders and fatigue.
They’re cheap, efficient, and very effective. They have a minimal design, so they occupy little space in your workspace. With the comfort and health benefits, you’ll get, you won’t even count the price for a keyboard tray. So it’s definitely worth investing in one.
What Should I Look For in a Keyboard Tray?
Since keyboard trays are not that common, you may have no idea how to pick one for yourself. But don’t worry, we got you covered. Here are the things you should look at and factors that you should consider when you plan on buying a keyboard tray.
Your keyboard tray would be mounted on your existing workspace. Therefore you have to make sure that you will be able to install it physically. You can mount your keyboard tray on desks that are made of wood using screws.
Wood and other similar materials can accommodate screws, but others like glass don’t. If that is the case, there are keyboard trays that can be fastened using adhesives.
You also have to take into consideration the shape of your workspace and the area where you would attach your keyboard tray. The depth under your desk is also important so that you can determine how long your keyboard tray’s track would be.
The mounting is probably the most important part to consider when shopping for a keyboard tray, so here’s a closer look at the mounting options that you can choose from.
This would allow you to slide your keyboard under your desk when not in use. To be able to do this, you will need to make sure that your track supports the shape of your existing workspace so that you can install it properly. You also have to make sure that your track is long enough.
Even though the track occupies more space in your work area, it also comes with the best adjustability and range of motion that would allow you to work ergonomically and at a farther distance from your desk.
If your desk doesn’t have enough space or depth to accommodate a track, you can use a trackless mount system. This only needs to be attached to the underside of your desk, and you just pull it out whenever you need to use your keyboard.
The good thing about a trackless mounting system is that it occupies less space, but it offers less flexibility and adjustability since it’s fixed instead of being on a track. But if you have limited room in your workspace, this is the best option for you.
A great mounting option, and our personal favorite, is the wall mount. This allows you to attach your keyboard tray to any wall giving you the much-needed space in your working area while also delivering great adjustability.
You can move your keyboard tray side to side or up and down, allowing you to easily move it out of the way when unused and be more comfortable while working.
The next thing you should consider is the type of your keyboard tray’s platform. This is where your keyboard would be sitting and is the biggest part of the keyboard tray.
Choosing the platform would depend on the type of keyboard you’re using, whether you want another platform for your mouse or not, and the amount of space available in your working area.
A standard platform or rectangular platform is a common shape that will work with most keyboard trays. If you decide to get this platform, you need to make sure that your desk would be able to support it.
Also, take into consideration whether you would get a separate platform for your mouse so you can decide on your platform’s size. A bigger one would usually be better since it can accommodate both your mouse and keyboard.
This platform is specifically designed for natural-shaped keyboards since regular rectangular platforms may not work on them. Same as any platform, you should check and measure its size if it can accommodate both your keyboard and mouse.
The material of your keyboard tray determines other important factors such as sturdiness and build quality.
Plastic – These keyboard trays are one of the cheapest and lightest, but they are also less durable than other materials.
Laminated wood – If you want stability and sturdiness, laminated can deliver this with its thickness, and it can also match your desk wooden desk. The downside is their bulkiness that can cause issues with knee clearance.
Metal – If you really want something that would last, get a metal one. It may cost a little extra, but it’s really stable and durable, and it also keeps a minimalist profile.
Your keyboard tray won’t only hold your keyboard. If you’re a busy worker, you would definitely have a lot of items and gadgets that should be within your arm’s reach, from your smartphone, power banks, external hard drives to your cup of coffee.
The height adjustment option of your keyboard tray allows you to change the height of your keyboard’s position, allowing you to sit or stand more comfortably while typing.
Having more adjustment options will allow you to be more flexible and have a better ergonomic approach while working.
The Best Keyboard Trays
Now you don’t have to search the entire internet for a keyboard tray that has all these great features and factors. We already did that for you to save your precious time. Here are 3 of the best keyboard trays that are available on the market.
Vivo Large Keyboard Tray Under Desk Pull Out (Mount-kb05e)
When it comes to keyboard trays, Vivo is one of the most trusted brands. If you want a keyboard tray that can hold as much as you need, then check out the first item on our list. The VIVO MOUNT-KB05E is a large keyboard tray suited for users that want a big platform for their office.
It’s an under-desk keyboard tray that measures 26.8” x 11”. With the space it provides, you can fit your keyboard and your mouse and other accessories under your desktop. This is our best pick when it comes to width and space.
From clamp to clamp, it measures 32.5″, so make sure that your desk has enough space before buying. When it comes to ergonomic features, the tray can extend up to 8.5″ from the edge of your desk. This allows you to have free control over the angle you’ll take when typing.
It has a sturdy clamp for stability and can hold up to 11 lbs. It’s really easy to install, and it comes with a 3-year warranty as well. If you want a spacious keyboard tray that’s sturdy and adjustable, the MOUNT-KB05E is a great pick.
3M Under Desk Keyboard Tray (akt60le)
If you want to focus more on adjustability rather than size, this keyboard tray from 3M offers the best ergonomic features and the best value for money. This simple and lightweight tool will give you an ergonomic workspace that will save your back, neck, and wrists from pain soreness.
This 3M knob-adjust keyboard tray offers ergonomics that allows you to adjust your keyboard to the most comfortable position. You can put it lower by 4-½ inches under your desk, and not only that, but you can also raise it up to 1.25 inches upward.
The 15-degree backward and forward tilt it offers gives your hands and wrists the comfort of a neutral position.
All you have to do is loosen the knob, and you can adjust your keyboard tray to the most efficient position. Another good thing is it’s not too big. With a 17″ track length, it lets straight desks with less room to accommodate it. So if you have a small desk, this is perfect for you.
It also comes with other amazing features like its precise mousing surface with battery-saving design and 3M gel technology that will cushion your wrists. It is made of wood, and you can be sure that stability won’t be a problem with this keyboard tray.
For its price, the 3M AKT60LE offers excellent value. The features, material, build quality, size, and most of all, its ergonomics are nothing short of amazing.
3M Keyboard Tray (akt150le)
Here we have another op pick from 3M. The AKT150LE is for those who want the best keyboard tray, those who require maximum comfort and features. This is our top pick for a high-end keyboard tray. With double the price of other products on this list, you can be sure that this one is a cut from the rest.
It has the best ergonomic features available and premium build quality that makes it worthy of its price. It offers height, tilt, and swivel adjustment to give you the best angle and position for typing. This also allows you to easily stow your platform under the desk when not in use.
The mouse has a separate platform, and both come with leatherette-covered gel wrist rests. At 23 inches, it has just the right size to hold your keyboard, mouse, and other accessories while not taking up too much space. The track comes with a lifetime warranty, and the platform has five years of service warranty.
Overall, the comfort, versatility, and durability it offers are well worth the price tag. If you’re looking for a premium keyboard tray with premium features and looks, then the 3M AKT150LE is exactly what you need.
Now, with everything you learned on this buying guide, you can save yourself the hassle of blindly searching for a decent one on the internet for hours. Each keyboard tray on our list has been proven and tested by thousands of satisfied customers.
What are you waiting for? Be one of them now and enjoy happy, comfortable, and painless work hours.