If you work in an office, or any job that requires long hours on a computer, you know important trivial things like posture and wrist position can be. Over extended periods, bad posture and lots of typing can create lots of problems with your muscles and tendons. In the worst cases, these can lead to conditions that can gravely and permanently affect your well-being.
For posture, there are lots of things you can do on your own to prevent injury, such as stretches and muscle strengthening. It’s not always as easy with wrist position. Usually, you need the help of a wrist rest.
Luckily, wrist rests are inexpensive, very easy to use, and extremely effective. Do you ever feel tingling sensations in your fingers? How about any persistent numbness in your hands? If you work long hours with a keyboard, these could be signs of tendinitis or carpal tunnel, and you definitely want to consider getting a wrist rest.
A wrist rest is a very straightforward product. It simply a pad (or multiple pads), usually made from memory foam or gel, designed to rest under your wrist while you are typing. They help to keep your wrists in the right position to avoid tension on your muscles and tendons. By extension, a wrist rest can prevent tendinitis and carpal tunnel.
If your work space involves extended periods of typing, it is very important to have a work space that is both comfortable and functional. For the sake of your health, it also needs to be ergonomic and supportive. Everything from the right chair down to the right wrist rest can greatly improve your overall long term health.
What can happen if you get the wrong wrist rest?
As simple a concept as a wrist rest may be, it is also important that you find the right one for you. Many problems can arise from having no wrist rest, or even from having a wrist rest that isn’t quite right. If your wrist rest is poorly made, it is prone to wearing out or “deflating”, which can make the product counter intuitive to your wrist posture and health. If made the wrong material, a wrist rest can also become dirty and sweaty or even cause sores on your skin.
These are all issues that arise from the kind of long term use required from a wrist rest, which is why it is so important to get a good quality product. To fully demonstrate the importance of this, it is also crucial to understand the negative effects of a poor wrist rest, or no wrist rest at all. The worst case scenarios are tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Tendinitis is a common condition among office and computer workers, even though it is completely preventable. Tendons are tissues that connect your muscle tissues to your bone. They are very important for your limbs to function comfortably properly.
Tendinitis is the inflammation of a tendon. It can be very painful, and is caused by bad posture and improper, overuse of certain muscles. Tendinitis often require medication or immobilization of the affected area for extended periods of time, which can greatly interfere with some people’s work schedules. In worst case scenarios, untreated tendinitis can lead to carpal tunnel.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a progressive condition that is caused by a squished nerve in the wrist. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway located at the base of the hand that houses the median nerve, along with some important tendons.
When these tendons become irritated or inflamed, they cause the carpal tunnel to narrow, which compresses the median nerve. Carpal tunnel can be extremely painful. The squashed nerve can cause tingling, burning, itching and excessive numbness in the palm and fingers. Like tendinitis, it also requires medication and time off work. The bright side? In most cases, it is completely preventable. All you need is the right wrist rest.
To avoid tendinitis and carpal tunnel, there are 3 important rules that need to be followed while engaging in any repetitive, hands on activity. The first is the correct alignment of your fingers, hands and forearms.
Second, all of these component need to move together as a unit and not individually. Finally, there cannot be any restriction of movement. Breaking either of these rules can cause tension on your muscles and tendons, which will likely lead to tendinitis or carpal tunnel if the problems persist. For people who spend a lot of time typing, a wrist rest makes it easy to avoid breaking these rules.
A wrist rest positions your wrists and forearms so that they move in unison with your hands and fingers. It aligns them with the keyboard so that no component is forced to work independently, and if the proper wrist rest is used, it prevents any obstructions that can restrict movement in subtle ways. We have narrowed down the 3 best wrist rests so you can start your journey to preventing unnecessary tendon and muscle conditions.
Kensington Duo Gel Keyboard Wrist Rest
The Kensington Duo Gel Keyboard Wrist Rest is composed of two gel pillows that are ergonomically designed to match the natural curve of the user’s wrist and hands. It’s wider on the ends where your wrists are most likely to rest as you type, and narrower in the middle so there is less bulk where your wrists spend less time. It has a ventilation channel through the center to allow air flow, which can prevent sweatiness and skin irritation.
The gel pillows are extremely comfortable. They are sturdy enough to remain comfortable throughout the day, but soft enough to allow natural movement of your wrists. It is 1.2 inches thick, making it most comfortable when used with a mechanical keyboard because it will be better aligned with one of a thicker height. This is crucial for the proper alignment of your forearm, hands and fingers.
The Kensington Duo Gel Keyboard Wrist Rest is easier to use clean than most wrist rests, because it has a soft plastic covering rather than fabric. This helps with durability because it can simply be wiped clean, with no long term wear and tear resulting from scrubbing.
It’s designed to run the length of a standard keyboard, which is ideal for the proper positioning of the forearm, hands and fingers while typing throughout the day. Gel wrist rests are often prone to warming up more than foam ones, which has two negative side effects.
One is the potential cause sweat and sores on your hands. The other is that the gel might warm up a bit too much, becoming soft and thus reducing its effectiveness and keeping your wrists in position. This makes the ventilation channel a highly functional component, because it addresses a common problem with gel wrist rests.
Many gel wrist rests are much shorter than a keyboard length and highly prone to excessive warming. Neither of these are issues with the Kensington Duo Gel Keyboard Wrist Rest. It is the ideal wrist rest for thicker keyboards, such as gamer keyboards, because it is 1.2 inches thick. As far as gel wrist rests go, the Kensington Duo Gel Keyboard Wrist Rest is the cream of the crop.
CushionCare Keyboard Wrist Pad
The CushionCare Keyboard Wrist Pad is the standard oblong rectangle shape, but it is designed with more than just the standard support in mind. It’s ergonomically designed to support both your wrist and hands depending on your activity. The shape of the foam helps to reduce the weight put on shoulders while typing, and offers additional support the palm of your hand during periods of inactivity. This is a wrist rest designed with multi-functional ergonomics for optimal effectiveness.
The CushionCare Keyboard Wrist Pad is made from premium quality foam that is both lightweight and durable. The foam and fabric covering are breathable and firm, so you will hardly notice it’s there. The only thing you will notice is that your hands, wrists and shoulders are not burning or aching at the end of the day.
It’s made from durable foam and fabric that is designed to last for long periods of time without wearing down. It comes with a non-skid backing so it will remain in place, meaning less movement around the desk that can cause wrist rests to wear out faster.
The CushionCare Keyboard Wrist Pad is designed for thicker keyboards, such as those used by gamers, or at offices with mechanical keyboards. The non-skid backing is great feature because it keeps the wrist rest firmly in place, allowing it to function properly for the whole time it’s in use. If your wrist rest slides around, it might cause poor positioning of your wrists which can then lead to an inefficient wrist rest.
This is an excellent wrist rest than any mechanical keyboard user or gamer can trust. It has all the features you need in a functional wrist rest, and it comes with a risk free 3-year warranty. Even without the warranty, the price is hard to beat considering all the benefits the CushionCare Keyboard Wrist Pad offers. Plus, it comes with a free mouse pad!
Fellowes Memory Foam Wrist Rest
The Fellowes Memory Foam Wrist Rest is ergonomically designed for thinner keyboards, such as those found on laptops. It is only 0.9 inches thick, which makes it ideal for laptops but perhaps a tad thin for mechanical or gamer keyboards. It is designed to run the length of a standard keyboard so you don’t have to position your hands differently when you type, as you might with a smaller wrist rest.
The Fellowes Memory Foam Wrist Rest is, as the name implies, made with memory foam, making it one of the most comfortable foam wrist rests you can find. It molds to your wrist perfectly without losing shape or sturdiness. It retains body heat and improves circulation without causing sweating or chafing on the skin.
Some foam wrist rests have a cheap fabric covering that is highly prone to wearing thin and becoming holey. The Fellowes Memory Foam Wrist Rest comes with a durable jersey cover that can endure daily wear and tear for extended periods of time. The memory foam is also more long lasting than some other types of foam because it tends to retain its shape longer.
At only 0.9 inches thick, the Fellowes Memory Foam Wrist Rest offers ideal functionality for laptop or thin keyboard users. With an added non-skid backing, it won’t slide around on your desk so there is no constant adjusting.
For such a comfortable, functional wrist rest, you might be surprised that the Fellowes Memory Foam Wrist Rest is the least expensive option on our list. While it’s not the best wrist rest for users with mechanical or gaming keyboards, it is absolutely ideal for laptop users or anyone with a thin model keyboard. Plus, the memory foam and jersey cover are a great combination that offer comfort, durability, and optimal functionality.
Which Wrist Rest is Right for Me?
Each of these wrist wrests has its own set of pros and cons. Some may be better than others depending on how you intend to use it and what your own individual needs are. We’ve broken these wrist wrests down into usage scenarios so you can select the one that works for you.
For Casual Users
Gel is the perfect material for users who are not going to be on the computer for more than a few hours at a time. The very clear option for anyone who prefers gel over foam is the Kensington Duo Gel Keyboard Wrist Rest. This gel wrist rest is best suited for mechanical and gamer keyboards. It is optimized for comfort and functionality by addressing the problems usually associated with gel wrist rests, namely over-warming. The ventilation channel means you’ll never have to worry about such issues.
For Long Term Users with Large Keyboards
We found the The CushionCare Keyboard Wrist Pad to be the best foam wrist rest, because it has the best ergonomically design and functionality. The palm rest is a great addition to the ergonomics, and the non-skid backing is an absolute must-have feature. While this wrist rest is too thick to work properly for most laptop users, it is perfect for mechanical and gamer keyboards. The three-year warranty and the free mouse pad are just the cherry on top!
For Laptop or Thin Keyboard Users
Everyone loves memory foam, which leaves no question as to which wrist rest is best for laptop or thin keyboard users. The Fellowes Memory Foam Wrist Rest is the most comfortable wrist rest on our list, and the least expensive! Plus, it also has the non-skid backing and it extremely durable with the jersey covering.