How to Select an Office Keyboard for Your Home
If you’re looking for a keyboard for your home office, there are a few things to consider to make sure you choose the right one for your needs.
You probably use your keyboard for several different things at home, but now is a good time to take a few minutes and think about what you spend the most time doing on your keyboard. This will give you a good idea of what type of keyboard you should get.
Let’s explore why you need a good keyboard for your home office and the different functions you might want.
Why You Need a Keyboard for Your Home Office
A good keyboard is worth the investment. Getting a keyboard that’s comfortable to use and meets all your basic needs will make a big difference in your daily productivity and reduce your stress level.
Most importantly, you need a keyboard that does not put any strain on your hands or wrists. You will not be able to do anything with a keyboard that causes pain or discomfort, though the good news is that using a keyboard probably won’t give you carpal tunnel syndrome.
Other factors to think about are the layout of the keyboard, such as the keys and how much space it takes up, and what functions it offers you.
At the end of the day, the best keyboard for your home office is one that makes it easy for you to type naturally and comfortably for long periods of time.
A keyboard’s design makes all the difference. A design that works for one person won’t work for another, which is why it’s good to know what your options are.
The four main types of keyboard designs include the following:
Most keyboards are standard keyboards. If you use your home office for work only, then you can probably get away with a standard keyboard.
These keyboards have 104 keys on them, usually in a QWERTY format.
Standard keyboards are suitable for home offices that are used to do short periods of work, and where users have no pain or numbness in the hands or wrists.
Ergonomics means choosing items and a layout that are made to fit the person using the office – you.
It’s a personalized approach to a home office, and it has been proven to minimize injuries and pain, enhance productivity and engagement, and offers greater work satisfaction.
Choosing an ergonomic keyboard can help you reap all of these rewards.
Ergonomic keyboards are designed to keep your hands in a natural position when typing, and they support the wrists. They are also the best choice for those who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome or repetitive stress injury symptoms of pain and numbness in the hands.
Split design keyboards are very comfortable to use, but other ergonomic keyboards can give you a wrist pad for extra support, or even angles that are adjustable.
Choose an ergonomic design for a home office that’s used for a lot of typing work, especially if the work is done for many hours in single sittings.
Those who love gaming and spend hours playing on a keyboard should get a gaming keyboard. These keyboards have the multimedia keys and special keys needed to play games.
Gaming keyboards also offer the option to change the keyboard’s settings, so you can customize your keyboard in a way that you can’t with standard keyboards.
Gaming keyboards are great for home offices that are used for gaming.
Typewriter keyboards make a similar clicking sound that the old typewriters used to make, before keyboards were around. These keyboards also have the same feel as the old typewriters, with heavier keys than standard keyboards.
But it’s not just the sound that people want – it’s all the great options to personalize these keyboards with regard to color, layout, programmability, materials, and design.
Here’s an in-depth video that details all the reasons why you should get a typewriter keyboard:
It seems that those who move over to typewriter keyboards never want to go back to standard or gaming keyboards for a reason. The only downside to typewriter keyboards is that they can be quite chunky, but manufacturers are working on streamlining the keys so they take up less vertical space.
If you do decide to get a typewriter keyboard, make sure that it will work with your devices, such as your tablet, desktop computer, laptop, and/or phone.
Typewriter keyboards are best for home offices that want a modern yet retro feel, with comfort and personalization at the top of the list of requirements.
Filter Based on the Type of Work
Now that we’ve considered the types of keyboards available and in which home office they fit best, we need to think about the type of work being done on the keyboard.
Different jobs have different needs, so you will have to make sure before you buy a keyboard that it fulfills those needs and has all the keys you want.
All keyboards have numbers near to the top of the keyboard, above the letters. But if you work with numbers, you probably need a number entry pad to the side of the keyboard, to make your work easier.
A number entry pad has all the numbers from zero to nine, arranged in four rows and three columns. This pad makes it much easier to type in numbers and work with numbers in spreadsheets than using the keys along the top of the keyboard.
If you don’t work with numbers much, then you can choose a keyboard without a number entry pad to save space.
If you play games in your home office, then it is a good idea to choose a gaming keyboard.
These keyboards have special gaming keys on them and are designed for control, durability and responsiveness. Many come with backlighting for better night play and a fun user experience.
Wireless vs. Wired
Keyboards come in two options: wireless and wired.
Wireless keyboards work with Bluetooth or USB, and they have no cable to plug into your device to work (and the newer models work with most devices, including phones). This minimizes clutter in the home office.
- No Issues with Cable Management
- 2-3 Year Battery Life is Typical
- Ensures Portability at an Affordable Price
Wired keyboards have a wire that is plugged into the device you are using it with. Wired keyboards have benefits in that they don’t have any lag time, they never get a flat battery, and they never interfere with other wireless devices in the home like some wireless keyboards might.
Type of Keystrokes (Switches)
Before buying a keyboard, consider the type of keystrokes you want. These change the way a keyboard feels, its sensitivity, its durability, and even the way it sounds when you use it.
There are three types of keystrokes or switches, namely rubber dome, scissor, and mechanical. Each type gives you a different feel when you press the keys.
Standard keyboards usually come with rubber dome keystrokes made from silicon layers. Once you press a key and let go, it bounces back to its original shape. Your keyboard is essentially a grid of rubber bubbles, and you need to press the keys in completely when typing. But, over time, these switches can lose their elasticity and responsiveness, or get stuck.
Scissor keystrokes have a mechanical stabilizer under them, to make each stroke feel the same when you type. This gives the keyboard a very uniform feel to it. You don’t need to press the keystrokes as hard as with rubber domes, so your typing can be much lighter and softer.
Mechanical keystrokes are a lot like the old typewriters with a heavy feel, but each keystroke can be weighted according to your personal preference. These keystrokes are raised, curved, and fairly bulky – all designed to cup the fingertips – and they give the user a great solid feel when typing.
Having Keys with Extra Functions
When choosing a keyboard, check if there are keys with extra functions and where these keys are placed.
Larger keyboards usually offer multimedia keys and more functions, but smaller keyboards may combine or eliminate keys to save space. For example, on the keyboard I’m typing on, the function keys (F1, F2, F3, etc.) do two things: The F1 key is also a help key, marked clearly with a question mark on it.
Check that the keyboard has arrows on it, home and end keys, volume control, track change keys, and play and pause keys, if these are keys you often use.
Extra function keys and easy access in terms of where they are placed can increase your productivity when working, as you won’t spend time looking up how to do things that you can do with a few simple clicks on your keyboard.
You may even want a keyboard that has a mousepad in it… if you find it makes your work easier and saves space.
Select a Keyboard Based on Price
Finally, it’s a good idea to compare the cost of several keyboards as their prices vary based on what they offer and how new the technology is.
If you use your keyboard for many hours a week, you might want to invest in a premium keyboard in the upper price range of around $100, which should last for many years. Alternatively, if you are on a tight budget, there are more cost-effective standard keyboard options available for $25 that are of a good quality.
Working in your home office should be a pleasure and a hub of productivity. Choosing a keyboard that fits your needs will go a long way in making that a reality.
There are several simple factors to look at before making your final keyboard purchase:
- The keyboard design is based on what you will be using the keyboard for: standard, ergonomic, gaming, or typewriter
- Whether the keyboard has all the keys you need to perform your work, such as a number entry pad or gaming keys
- If you want a wireless keyboard or one with a cable to plugin
- The type of keystrokes you prefer: rubber dome (soft feel), scissor (all keys feel the same), or mechanical (heavy, but keystroke feel can be personalized)
- And if the keyboard has all the functions you need, such as arrow keys and volume control
Choosing a keyboard that is comfortable to use, within your ideal price range, and that you enjoy using will make your home office a wonderful place to spend time in and get things done.