Raised vs Flat Keyboards (Pros and Cons)

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When it comes to computer use, the most important input device is the keyboard. This means that finding an ergonomic keyboard that is comfortable to type on is so critical for productivity. Ergonomics in typing is extremely important as it practically defines when the user will be strained while using their keyboard. Thus, the right placement and inclination should not be neglected given that both attribute to our hand’s comfort while in front of our computer.

Whether or not you should type in a raised or flat keyboard is subject to your personal comfort and circumstances. While ergonomics scientifically defines where a component should be placed for optimal comfort, the same is only a guide on which our personal preferences, such as desk space and the height and size of your keyboard, cannot be neglected.

In this article, we will discuss fundamental knowledge that you need to know about typing on a raised or flat keyboard. This shall also serve as a guide for first-time users on when to use the adjustment tools on their keyboard.

How Do Manufacturers Integrate Ergonomics Into their Keyboards?

Redragon Karura K502

In summary, keyboard ergonomics are considered in all factors such as the keyboard’s height, form factor, keycap profile, etc. If one underlying principle tops above premium features and construction, it is the user’s personal comfort. 

Comfort in typing and gaming is above all else as no one wants to adapt to a certain typing experience that affects our productivity or mechanical skills. Even if you have the money to buy an expensive keyboard, but the same does not provide you comfort, it is almost certain that you will not opt for that one

Typing in An Inclined Keyboard 

Cannonkeys Savage65 with GMK Red Samurai Keycaps

There are two ways manufacturers provide an inclined profile to their keyboards. One is through fixed inclination wherein the keyboard is constructed in such as way that it has an increasing height from bottom to top. The other is by adding adjustment feet, which basically raises the top portion of the keyboard, providing for that much-needed inclination for the user’s comfort.  

Typing on an inclined keyboard is not necessarily the best way there is. Again, several factors must be considered, such as when and where you are using your keyboard. Take, for example, someone traveling through the plane on an Economy ticket. Surely, you will be limited to the amount of space you can use for your laptop, effectively limiting you from typing on a flat surface. 

Taking ergonomics as our guide in this discussion, using an angled keyboard is optimum if you are sitting lower than the height of your desk. The keyboard’s inclined profile makes it easier for your wrist to maintain a neutral position from a lower chair height. 

What Contributes to the Inclined Profile of the Keyboard?

Angle Adjustment Feet

Filco Keyboard Legs

Angle adjustment feet are those on the top portion of your keyboard’s bottom. These are used to provide a slight inclination to your keyboard to better suit your comfort. This feature is common to pre-built keyboards. Unfortunately, custom kits or custom mechanical keyboards are rarely equipped with adjustable feet. Amends by some manufacturers are made through the keyboard’s construction, which effectively gives the keyboard its fixed inclined profile. 

Keycap Profile

Image Credit: Fadi Albouni via Creative Commons

Keycap profile also contributes to the inclination of your keyboard. Some keycap profiles, especially those high-profile ones, are constructed with a relatively tall height. As a result, you are constrained to type in a certain height profile that is incorporated with the keycaps. 

Typing in a Flat Keyboard / Flat Surface

Flat keyboards sit parallel to the surface they are sitting on. This is commonly known as the default stance, given that it is not affected by any adjustment made by the end-user. In some ways, typing in a keyboard flat on your desk is optimal if its height, notwithstanding the height of your keycaps, is not that tall. 

However, one may be constrained to use wrist rests, especially if your keyboard is so tall that it would need some serious effort for your wrist to type. For example, the Cyberboard, which is relatively tall from top to bottom. In this case, using a wrist rest will effectively reduce that unwanted stress your wrist is feeling while you are gaming or doing productivity tasks. 

When to Use a Wrist Rest for Your Keyboard

To avoid having to rest your wrist against the hard surface of your desk, place your keyboard near the edge of your desk whenever possible. When that isn’t possible for your workflow, you’ll want to add a wrist rest to your desk. 

Your wrist rest should be situated just next to your keyboard, with the slope’s height and angle as close as feasible to your keyboard. Remember that you do not want your wrists to be at an angle different from your hands, so choose a wrist rest that matches your present keyboard the best.

Which is Better? 

There is no precise way to answer which is better between the two, given that, as mentioned above, it is subject to the end user’s personal preferences. However, one should take note of the benefits brought about by perfectly aligning what modality you should type with to your personal comfort. 

Increased Productivity

Comfort has a direct relationship with productivity. Your productivity will be improved if you are more comfortable when working or playing a game. When it comes to comfort, typing in a flat keyboard is objectively better than in an inclined one, especially if your keyboard sits perfectly perpendicular to your sitting position. As a result, it allows you to work for longer periods of time and produce greater results. 

Natural Wrist Position

Natural wrist position refers to the position of your wrists wherein it is perfectly aligned to your hand. In essence, these can be achieved through typing on a keyboard with an average height on a flat surface or using a wrist rest to adjust the position of your wrist slightly above your keyboard and in line with your hands. 

If you spend a lot of time working on digital projects or playing computer games, ergonomics and natural wrist position should be a top priority. Consideration must be given to this factor, given that it may affect our typing speed, accuracy, and, more importantly for gamers, their mechanical skill. 


Ducky One 3 SF Adjustable Keyboard Feet

If you are looking for an answer on whether you should type in a flat keyboard or an inclined one, it is better to trust your instinct or where you are most comfortable with. Again, Ergonomics is only an effective guideline for you to consider to achieve that optimum comfort for long working or gaming sessions. 

In other words, its scientific approach may provide for ideal placements of your peripherals, but that is in a perfect setting wherein everything is placed as perfect as it could be, which is not, if not never, the case for all of us. Personal comfort can easily be achieved through trial and error. Ergo, the answer lies in whether you are comfortable typing on a flat keyboard or an inclined one. 

Consider, however, that the characteristics of your keyboard may effectively leave you with no choice but to type on a flat or inclined profile. Be that as it may, there are tools such as wrist rests to help you in typing in a more natural position which ultimately translates to your personal comfort.