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What is the Difference Between a Split Keyboard and an Ergonomic Keyboard?

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  • Written By: Dana Hinders
  • Edited By: Lucy Oppenheimer
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  • Last Modified Date: 01 November 2016
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If you spend a lot of time working on your computer, you may be wondering if a split keyboard or ergonomic keyboard is a wise investment. Although these terms are often used interchangeably, they are slightly different.

A split keyboard is either made with a larger space between the middle of the keyboard or divided into two or three separate parts to allow for more comfortable typing and proper wrist support. Because of its innovative construction and contoured design, a split keyboard tends to be significantly larger than a traditional computer keyboard-—posing a potential problem if you’re dealing with a smaller workspace.

One of the most common complaints about a split keyboard is that it can very difficult to operate if you’re not a touch typist. If you’re used to a "hunt-and-peck" typing method, a split keyboard will likely require a substantial adjustment in the way you type. However, there are several websites and software programs that can help teach you how to type on a split keyboard.

An ergonomic keyboard is designed for users who have trouble with pain in their hands, arms, neck, or shoulders. Since there is research to indicate that the use of an ergonomic keyboard can help reduce the symptoms of repetitive strain injuries or carpal tunnel syndrome, physical therapists often recommend ergonomic keyboards for patients suffering from these conditions.

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An ergonomic keyboard often has a split keyboard design, but it typically includes additional features designed to promote a neutral body posture while typing, reduce unnecessary force or vibration, and prevent awkward reaching for the mouse. Higher-quality ergonomic keyboards also offer adjustment options that allow the user to precisely position the keyboard for his or her optimal comfort level. While most ergonomic keyboards use the traditional QWERTY layout, others use the alternative DVORAK layout. You can also find ergonomic keyboards that use the newer vertical keyboard design, although these keyboards can be quite difficult for an inexperienced typist to use properly.

Both the split keyboard and ergonomic keyboard will be significantly more expensive than a standard computer keyboard. However, it may be well worth the expense if you spend several hours each day at your desk.

Since the demand for both split keyboards and ergonomic keyboards is relatively low, you may have trouble purchasing these items at your local electronics store. In this case, you’ll need to order your new keyboard from an online specialty shop.

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anon296976
Post 4

Are there now or any expected split keyboards that will give the user the flexibility of finding the "b" key on the right hand side or having a "b" keys on both the right and left hand sides?

pharmchick78
Post 3

@closerfan12 -- There are actually a lot of benefits to using a split design keyboard.

The main point of a split or ergonomic keyboard is the fact that it puts your hands in a more natural position, which lessens the strain that typing puts on your hands.

You can compare it to an ergonomic chair -- by holding your body in a more natural way, it lessens the strain on your body and improves your health.

Although its possible to type ergonomically without a split design keyboard, split and ergonomic keyboards make it much easier, and allow you to type ergonomically naturally, rather than having to make an effort to do so.

Finally, a split keyboard means the mouse is much closer to your hand, which again lessens the strain on your hands and wrists.

Potential long term health benefits of a split keyboard include preventing repetitive strain injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, and finger tendinitis.

closerfan12
Post 2

What are some of the health benefits of using a split computer keyboard or ergonomic computer keyboard?

Does it really make that much of a difference to your health to have the keyboard spaced like that, or is it just a marketing thing?

I mean, I can understand using an ergonomic mouse, I suppose, but it seems to me that split keyboards and ergonomic keyboards aren't that much different than a regular one.

Can anybody clue me in?

rallenwriter
Post 1

I work a lot at the computer, and I don't know what I would do without my split keyboard. I learned to type as a touch typist, so I didn't have any problem finding the keyboard keys when I changed over, although it does feel a little weird for the first few days.

I happen to use a Logitech split keyboard, but I don't think that the individual brand matters so much as using one that you're comfortable with.

For example, I have a friend who uses a bluetooth split keyboard and absolutely loves it.

So I think that the best advice that you can have when buying a split keyboard is to test-drive it first.

Although all of them are going to feel a little weird, there's usually one kind of keyboard that will feel more suitable to you and your typing style, and that's the one you should get.

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