By Nicole Tinkham
Ever sit down at someone else’s computer and feel completely awkward typing on their keyboard? You may have struggled with the keys not registering easily, the layout being difficult to navigate, or maybe you were uncomfortable compared to what you normally use. Ideally, when shopping for a new keyboard, you’re looking for an exact match of one you’ve used in the past. However, as most of us know by now, technology is always changing and so are the products we use. New products are here one day and gone the next. If your favorite keyboard model is no longer available, you will have to face the difficult decision of finding a new favorite. Here are a few tips for choosing one that you’ll love.
The first question to ask yourself is whether or not you want to go wireless. While more pricey than wired, wireless keyboards have many benefits including less clutter and more placement options, not to mention they’re high tech, sleek and convenient. These are ideal for larger workspaces where the keyboard has to be further from the computer. Once you decide to go wireless, pay attention to the battery life. They will either run on built-in rechargeable batteries or batteries that will need to be replaced.
If leaning more toward wired keyboards, you must consider the connectivity. Keyboards connect to the computer with either a USB or PS/2 port. Some can connect to either port while others are limited to just the USB port. You will have both of these ports on your computer but check to see if they are already being used. If you don’t have the space for one more cord, a wireless keyboard may be your best option.
Not all keyboards are built the same. For example, some have a sensitive touch while others require more pressure like typewriter keys. Here are some of the many options you will encounter when shopping for a new keyboard.
- Combo packs: There are combo packs for both wired and wireless keyboards which include a mouse.
- Illuminated: Keys adjust to the brightness of the room for easy typing night or day. Keys are back-lit to reveal the characters only for less distraction.
- The wave: Instead of the straight edge rectangular keyboard, these have a curved layout for comfort – the wave shape supports the different lengths of the fingers.
- The Slimline: These are 60% slimmer than typical keyboards. With a fast key response time and quick keys (launches most used programs like e-mail, Word and Excel), the Slimline makes typing and completing tasks faster and easier. Also consider the Slim Type wired keyboard.
- Washable: It’s easy for keyboards to collect dust and germs but sometimes it’s hard to get a deep clean – unless you have a washable keyboard. These keyboards have a coating that protects against the growth of mold allowing it to be washed with soap and water.
- The Keyboard for Life: Are you accident prone? Then this keyboard is for you! The Keyboard for Life is sealed to resist spills, allowing liquid to run through the keyboard without damage.
- Comfort Type: You will notice that the keys on this board are shaped differently from most keyboards. They are designed to encourage proper wrist position in a standard layout (not split-style).
- Quiet: These keys don’t make the clunking sound that most keyboards make. You will find many types of these available.
- Split-style: This keyboard splits the standard keys in half and positions the two halves to conform to the natural positioning of the hands.
- Dvorak: You are probably most familiar with the QWERTY keyboard layout but there is an alternative layout available called Dvorak. This layout is often preferred by programmers and network administrators. Once familiar with the layout, many feel that Dvorak makes typing faster than QWERTY.
Keyboards range in price depending on the features they come with. Wireless keyboards typically run a bit more than wired but come with many advantages. Going with a combo pack is a great idea if you also need a mouse. This will definitely save you a little cash. When choosing a keyboard, keep comfort in mind first. Many keyboards are reasonably priced so you can most likely find one you love and can afford.
How to Clean Your Keyboard
Now that you’ve found the perfect keyboard, it’s important to keep it clean and germ free! Here are some keyboard cleaning supplies available at Keeton’s:
- Compressed air: These dusters are great for removing dust between keys on a keyboard and other devices such as printers, copiers, computers, etc. The compressed air is able to blast away particles that are normally hard to reach.
- Wipes: These pre-moistened wipes are great for cleaning any hard surface including keyboards and telephones. Not for use on screens.
- Anti-Static Electronics Cleaner: This product is made for cleaning any surface in the office (even screens!). This foaming cleaner leaves surfaces streak-free and is anti-static.
- KeyKleen: These pre-moistened swabs allow you to deep clean your keyboard by reaching the hard to reach crevices.
Even if you have a comfortable keyboard, you may want a little extra comfort. Wrist rests are available for your keyboard, mouse, and even laptop. One of the main things to consider is whether to go with gel or foam. When choosing a wrist rest, we suggest trying a few out first. If you don’t have access to borrow one, many times the packaging allows you to feel the product before making your purchase. Below are some of your wrist rest options.
- Laptop: This wrist rest is made to be placed on laptops to protect from uncomfortable laptop heat and it reduces pressure which helps prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Keyboard Palm Support: Fellowes has a keyboard support with contoured shape which encourages correct positioning and helps prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Microban protection: Wrist rests with Microban protection keep the product cleaner.
- Platform: This platform style wrist rest allows tilting for the most comfortable positioning.
- For ergonomic keyboards: These wrist rests are designed for use with wave and split keyboards (mentioned above).
- Fun designs: Instead of getting the ordinary black wrist rest, why not go with something a little more fun? There are a few designs available including a beach scene, daisies, and sunrise.
- Softskin: These are very smooth and softer than fabric covering providing all-day comfort. Being stain and water resistant, they clean easily.
- Extra cushioned: This wrist rest helps distribute wrist pressure with extra support.
- PlushTouch: With new Foam Fusion Technology, this wrist rest is known for its softness.
- Memory foam: This soft foam wrist rest responds to body weight and warmth without losing shape.
- Wrist cushion: This one conforms to ANY keyboard.
- Squeeze Therapy: This may look like an ordinary wrist rest but it doubles as a stress reliever. Just remove the wrist rest and squeeze in your hand!
If you get anything out of this post, it’s this-consider comfort when purchasing any new keyboard or accessory. A comfortable workspace can help increase productivity and reduce stress, which is why we’re giving away two Fellowes PlushTouch FoamFusion wrist rests (shown below) to two lucky winners.
All you have to do is subscribe to our blog post. Not sure how to subscribe? No problem! Follow the instructions below.
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We will randomly select two winners that have subscribed to our blog on Monday, July 1st at noon. The winner will be announced on our Facebook page, Twitter, and the Keeton’s blog. We will also be contacting the winners via email with details about receiving their prize. Good luck to all participants!