Consumer Reports: Keyboard and mice that fight fatigue

Consumer Reports

CONSUMER REPORTS — How many hours a day do you spend using a computer? Consumer Reports says an ergonomic keyboard and mouse may just be what the doctor ordered to take some of those aches and pains away.

Consumer Reports recently tested ergonomic keyboards and mice and revealed which did the best.

Ergonomic keyboards and mice might 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.

CR found in its keyboard testing that you get what you pay for. The models priced under $100 don’t do nearly as well as those priced over $100.

CR recommends the Kinesis Freestyle 2 Keyboard. It splits in two, so each half can be positioned in line with your shoulders. That eliminates some stressful rotating and bending in your shoulders and wrists.

To get the greatest ergonomic benefit, CR also recommends buying the option palm rest and tenting accessories for the model. The PC version costs $100 and the Mac version costs $110.

The Logitech ERGO K860 Ergonomic Keyboard costs $130 and also did well in CR’s tests. It has a split, splayed and tented design meant to take pressure off your wrists. The keyboard comes with a palm rest and flip-out front legs, which help your wrists stay in a neutral position.

When it comes to ergonomic mice, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a good one. CR recommends the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Wireless Mouse, which costs $50.

It’s a battery-powered model from Microsoft. This model is a hybrid of the typical horizontal form and the more ergonomic vertical form. But lefties take note: Like many ergonomic mice, the Microsoft Sculpt is available only in a right-handed version.

The wired Adesso iMouse E1 Optical Mouse, which costs $35, comes in left and right-handed models.

CR’s tests show that 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.

CR said that, no matter what keyboard or mouse you choose, it is important to take breaks and stretch often.

One other thing to keep in mind: Consumer Reports said these keyboards and mice take some getting used to, so maybe don’t toss your old hardware until you’re comfortable with the new stuff.

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