When you’re typing at work, is your keyboard positioned at a height that keeps your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle? If not, your keyboard could be too high or too low. The best way to get your keyboard and mouse at the right height is to install an underdesk keyboard tray. No matter how short or tall you may be, you’ll be able to move your keyboard and mouse into a more ergonomic position with an underdesk keyboard tray.
There are many underdesk keyboard trays on the market, built to meet a variety of needs. To achieve the most ergonomic position for you, you’ll want to find a keyboard tray that has a wide variety of adjustments—not just height.
The ability to tilt the keyboard tray forward at a negative angle will help you keep your wrists in a neutral position for typing. But since a mouse could fall off a platform tilted at that angle, you’ll want the ability to adjust the mousing platform separately—especially if you use the mouse with your left hand.
Most keyboard trays slide under the desk for storage when not in use, and slide out to a distance that’s comfortable when you sit a few inches away from the desk’s surface. And, depending on your work surface, you might need to swivel your underdesk keyboard tray left or right to move it into the right position for you.
All these adjustment points are important considerations when looking at a keyboard tray. Below, we compare two popular underdesk keyboard trays to our KT-1 model.
|Platform Depth 1||8.75||9.5 in.||8.9 in.|
|Platform Width 2||18.5||20 in.||26.9 in.|
|Track Length 3||16 in.||19 in.||16.5 in.|
|Arm Extension 4||12 in.||10-3/8 in.||10-3/4 in.|
|Height Range 5||4-1/2 in.||8-3/8 in.||6 in.|
|Tilt Options 6||0 to -15 degrees||0 to -15 degrees||0 to -15 degrees|
|Mouse Platform Position 7||
left or right mount
left or right mount
|Mouse Platform Dimensions||7 in x 8.75 in.||9.5 in. round||Integrated|
|Warranty||90 days||5 years||3 years|
No matter which keyboard tray you choose, be sure you take all the measurements you need before your purchase. You’ll want to be sure your underdesk keyboard tray not only fits in your space, but will be able to adjust to the position your body needs.
- Choose an underdesk keyboard tray that is deep enough to fit your keyboard.
- You’ll want to make sure the platform is wide enough to fit your keyboard.
- The surface you mount your underdesk keyboard drawer to will need to be at least this deep.
- This is the distance the keyboard tray will come out from under your desk. You’ll want to be sure you have enough room in your space when it’s fully extended.
- The height adjustment range makes an underdesk keyboard tray ideal for most users. Measure to find out where you need your keyboard to be, and make sure the product you choose is capable of moving to that height.
- Research indicates that for optimal wrist health, we should type with our wrists neutral (level) or even better, drooping down naturally with a negative tilt. The ability to adjust your typing angle to fit your physique and optimize typing ergonomics is a key feature you should look for in a keyboard tray.
- The main purpose of an ergonomic keyboard tray is to properly position your body for typing. While much attention is focused on the keyboard’s position, the mouse is often overlooked—adjusting your mouse’s position can make a world of difference on your posture.
Three main mouse pad adjustments should be considered when purchasing a keyboard tray:
- Angle: Changing the mouse pad’s angle ensures your mouse is always level. This is especially important if you’re typing with a negative tilt or elevate your keyboard tray.
- Distance: Adjusting the lateral distance between your keyboard tray and mouse pad ensures that you can position your mouse in front of your arm and helps prevent unnatural inward shoulder rotation.
- Side: Mouse pads connecting to both the right and left sides accommodate left- and right- people—and allow you to easily switch sides to boost ambidexterity.