An estimated 80% of jobs require people to sit in front of a desk during the day. Many of these people are required to work with a computer. These devices rely on input from a mouse and keyboard, allowing you to compile documents, enter figures on an accounting suite, or type articles.
When working on a computer all day long, comfort is key while using the mouse and keyboard – which is why a tray may be a convenient addition to your office setup.
Finding the best adjustable keyboard tray would give you an opportunity to adjust the position, height, and other elements of your keyboard’s position. Different types of these trays exist, with some providing specific functionality. We’ll help you choose one that fits your needs more effectively in this post.
Adjustable Keyboard Tray Under Desk
When looking at changing the position of your keyboard, it is important to note that different types of trays exist. Some adjustable keyboard tray types are made for specific desks or assemblies, while others provide a universal solution. Under desk, adjustable keyboard trays are quite common.
These trays are made to provide a better position for your hands when typing – which also contributes to an improved posture in the process. Whether you are using closed captioning software or editing documents in Microsoft Word – the goal should be to maximize the efficiency of your keyboard position.
The tray will mount underneath your desk. Some of these trays will feature a clip. The clip simply attached to the edge of the desk and then keeps the tray in place. Others may rather require some manual labor during the installation process. In these cases, you may need to drill holes into the surface of your desk. The tray is then mounted using a set of screws.
Apart from standard arm mounts, there are a few of these adjustable keyboard trays that use a rail for mounting instead. If this is the case, then the tray will usually be mounted to the sides of the table.
Adjustable Height Keyboard Tray
Adjustability is a key factor to consider when buying a keyboard tray. Some trays are installed at a fixed position – which means you are not given an option to adjust it according to the height of your chair or how long you are.
An adjustable-height keyboard tray will give you an option to change the height at which the keyboard sits while you are typing. There are a variety of adjustable keyboard tray types that gives you an option to adjust the height.
These can be mounted below the desk, through a sliding rail, or on top of the desk. Always take the height of the desk you use into account when buying this type of tray. You do not want the tray to add too much to the height of your keyboard.
Pull Out Keyboard Tray
In terms of popularity, pull out keyboard trays are often considered to be at the top of the list. This is because they offer a compact solution for storing a keyboard and provide an ergonomic location to rest your wrists.
A pull out tray will mount at the bottom of your desk’s surface. The tray comes with two sliders, which are mounted at the sides of the table. In some cases, the tray rather uses a system that mounts to the top of the desk. These trays will have a durable and strong frame, ensuring it can support the lower level of the tray.
Compatibility can sometimes be an issue when looking at a pull out keyboard tray. When the tray mounts to the sides of the desk, you need to ensure there is adequate room for the system. Some desks have legs that are spaced far from each other. This means there will be too much open space. You will need to get a tray that mounts to the top side of the desk surface in this situation.
A pull out keyboard tray is a good option if you use a laptop or Chromebook. You can simply pull the tray out when you are working at the desk, and push it back in if you are taking your laptop with you.
What Is An Articulating Keyboard Tray?
Many keyboard trays come with an articulating function. This is an added benefit in ergonomic keyboard trays, as it gives you more versatility when adjusting the system. You will find that most articulating keyboard trays have an arm that mounts to the lower side of the desk’s surface.
These trays can then be rotated toward certain angles.
When looking at the best ergonomic keyboard tray, an articulating function is generally a feature that will be listed. The angled rotation offered by the tray helps you find a position that improves comfort and reduces wrist strain more effectively.
How Do I Choose The Best Adjustable Keyboard Tray
When looking at keyboard trays, the wide variety of options makes it more difficult to choose a specific option for your desk. Understanding what to look for ensures the keyboard tray you buy will provide you with the expected functionality.
To help you choose the right tray for your keyboard, we are going to share a few tips. Take each of these tips into consideration when buying a tray – as they will improve your comfort while typing and reduce the risk of complications associated with wrist strain and poor posture.
Start by considering the type of mount used by the keyboard tray. Different mounts are used to provide compatibility with a variety of desks. Thus, you need to find a mount that will work with the desk you use.
Arm and rail mounts are most commonly used among adjustable keyboard trays. Each of these provides adequate support for a tray, but compatibility with desks differs.
Measure the distance between the two legs of your desk. If there is a wide gap, then you will need to consider a keyboard tray that uses an arm mount. These mounts are attached underneath the main surface area of the desk. They are usually fastened with screws, which ensures the tray can offer adequate support for your keyboard.
When the gap between the legs is narrow, you can consider a tray with sliding mounts. These mounts generally allow you to push the tray underneath the table when you are done working. By pushing inward, you get to save some extra space in front of the desk. This function also helps to keep your desk more organized. A sliding mount needs to be installed to the inner sides of the legs.
If your desk has a wide gap underneath, but you still prefer a sliding option, there are still a few options available. Look for a tray with an arm mount that comes with a strong frame – these frames sometimes have built-in sliders that allow for a similar experience.
These are not the only mounting options that are available. There are trays with clips that simply attach to your desk. This is a great option if you prefer not to drill into your desk. They can also be removed with ease, allowing you to switch the tray between tables quickly.
Chair and wall-mounted trays are also available. A chair-mounted tray will be installed at the side of your chair. When you sit down, you can swivel the tray toward a position in front of you. This is a great option if you use a wireless keyboard. A wired keyboard may, however, become a nuisance. Wall-mounted trays are good for desks that are situated close to a corner. These trays are mounted to the wall and will have a swivel function. The swivel can be used to get a position that you feel comfortable with.
Most of these mounts can be used with standing desks too. There has been an increased interest in the use of standing desks. If this is a desk type you prefer, ensure the mount will not affect your posture while typing.
Materials And Design
The materials used in the design of ergonomic keyboard trays should be taken into account too. Different materials are used to make keyboard trays – with some being more sturdy and durable than others.
Metal frames are known to be durable. The entire frame should be made from metal in this case, as well as the mount used to fasten the tray to your desk. Some trays use plastic frames instead, but this generally means you won’t get the same level of durability.
Aluminium is a good material choice when it comes to finding a lightweight tray. Alloy steel is also used in some cases. When metal materials are used, opt for one with a rust resistant design. Some trays may have a powder coating on the frame, which can also add resistance to rusting over time.
The panel that mounts the keyboard can be made from wood, metal, or plastic. Wood is generally a popular choice for both aesthetic and durability purposes. Again, try to avoid buying one with a plastic panel – except if the type of plastic used can provide adequate durability.
Do not only focus on durability when looking at the materials. Look at the design of the actual tray. You want to double-check to ensure it is a sturdy option. The last thing you want is a wobbly keyboard while typing, as this will have an impact on your performance and productivity.
Just because a keyboard tray is adjustable does not necessarily guarantee it will fit your needs and demands. With this in mind, take a moment to consider the specific adjustment settings that are available in a tray.
Most trays will allow you to make minimal adjustments to the mounting system. This can help you get a specific height below or above the level of your desk, for example.
For added convenience and comfort, it is a good idea to look for keyboard trays that allow you to make adjustments even after it has been mounted. An articulating tray allows you to rotate the angle of the tray – which provides a more personalized position for your keyboard. Some trays have a height adjustment system. This helps you find the right height for your hands – reducing strain while maximizing overall comfort.
There’s no use in buying and installing a tray only to find it does not provide a good fit for your keyboard. With this in mind, look at the size of the panel where the keyboard will be mounted. You do need to consider the size of your keyboard too. Some people prefer to use compact keyboards, while others rather opt for full keyboards with an extra Numpad on the side. If you buy a compact tray, it may only provide a fit for smaller keyboards. There are, however, also trays that can mount a keyboard and mouse – something to consider if you are looking to keep both at the same level.
Buying an ergonomic keyboard tray is not cheap, but should also not be too expensive. You should make sure to consider the price of the keyboard tray too. Prices tend to differ significantly between the models that are available. Some mounting options may cost more, such as those that attach to your chair. Consider how much money you are willing to spend on an adjustable keyboard tray, then choose one that fits within your budget.
Are Keyboard Trays Necessary?
A keyboard tray is not a necessity. It is possible to continue typing and working with a keyboard without installing one of these trays on your desk. The addition of keyboard trays can, however, offer you access to numerous benefits.
Whether working with a mechanical keyboard, wireless option, or any other type, there are benefits to the installation of a tray. It is important to understand these benefits – as this would allow you to determine whether you need to equip your office setup with a keyboard tray.
A good way to determine if you need a keyboard tray is to consider symptoms that you may experience. If you experience pain or discomfort in your wrist and hands, it might be a sign that your current computer setup is adversely affecting these parts.
When you find that your neck and back hurt after a day at the office, it could mean that your current setup is affecting your posture.
Two particularly common conditions associated with typing and other activities on a computer include tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Let’s take a closer look at these two conditions:
- Tendinitis: This condition refers to an inflammation that affects the tendon. When you develop tendinitis, you may notice some swelling at your wrist or parts of your hand. This condition is common among people who type. You may experience pain when you have tendinitis. The symptoms may interfere with your ability to perform certain tasks – such as to continue typing.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Another condition that is relatively common among people who type a lot. Tendinitis is actually often confused with carpal tunnel syndrome. There are some symptoms that may be similar, but the cause and effects differ. When you have carpal tunnel syndrome, it means your median nerve is compressed. Pain is a common symptom among people with this syndrome, but you may also find that your fingers are weak. A tingling sensation may also be experienced in your fingers.
If you experience these symptoms, it might be a good idea to invest in an adjustable keyboard tray. In particular, look for an option with an ergonomic design. These designs focus on providing a more comfortable position for your hands while typing.
Note that it may be a good idea to get a tray even if you do not have such symptoms. The use of a tray helps to reduce pressure and strain on the wrists. In turn, you would reduce your risk of developing tendinitis and other conditions related to frequent typing.
Typing and other desk jobs that require the use of a keyboard can be tiring on the hands and wrists. The addition of adjustable keyboard trays helps to reduce strain on the hands. These trays come in various shapes and sizes, and there are a few specialty designs available.
To make the process easier, on this article we shared some of the best adjustable keyboard tray types that you should consider. We also looked at additional factors for you to consider when searching for that perfect keyboard tray. Let us know if we helped you!
Pilar is an on-the-road Editor from Brazil living in Bali. On Geeqer she covers phones, tablets, wearables and devices. She is one of those minimalists that likes to buy the best to buy only once.