Do you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome or do you simply hate the wrist fatigue after long hours of typing? Then you should consider getting a split mechanical keyboard. The best split mechanical keyboards are designed to make typing for long hours more bearable. These keyboards are also useful in gaming, programming, and other professional work.
Split mechanical keyboards are quickly becoming popular among office workers, journalists, gamers, students, and other individuals who do a lot of typing. The use of this kind of keyboard can help keep your hand in its natural posture while minimizing the chances of experiencing pain in your hands or wrists.
What are Split Mechanical Keyboards?
As you can deduce from the name, a split mechanical keyboard can be split into halves. Separating the halves or panels gives you more customization options as you can dictate how your wrists and fingers would line up or be positioned when typing.
Mechanical keyboards also have actual, physical switches below each key. When you press a key, you are also pressing down the switch underneath it. This characteristic makes a mechanical keyboard stand out because it leads to less failure aside from being more comfortable and responsive to use.
Mechanical keyboards differ in the switches used, with the Cherry MX the most popular. It’s also considered by many to be the gold standard of switches.
Switches range from linear, tactile, and clicky. Clicky switches make an audible click when you depress the keys above them. Tactile switches won’t click but you’ll feel a little bump upon pressing them. Linear switches, on the other hand, combine the characteristics of clicky and tactile; these don’t click or offer a bump upon pressing the keys above them.
With their unique qualities, switches can appeal to certain types of users. Linear switches, for example, are great for gaming. People who type a lot say find tactile switches more suited for their work.
How are Split Mechanical Keyboards Beneficial?
Health Benefits of Split Mechanical keyboards:
Split mechanical keyboards can help in alleviating pain and relieving discomfort associated with long hours of typing. The unique feature of being able to be split in half and adjust the space between the panels also means that this kind of keyboard can improve your posture while in front of a computer.
Think about, we are all different sizes and shapes. Therefore, we must force and contort our bodies to adjust to traditional keyboards. However, with a split keyboard, you can adjust the spacing to acquire your preferred position to better accommodate your body’s posture.
This not only benefits your posture, but also helps the fingers, wrists, and back as you type. Since you can separate the halves according to your preference, you can type at shoulder width. This lets you keep the chest open, leading to a more relaxed sitting position. You no longer have to hunch over a keyboard when using a split mechanical keyboard.
The use of a split ergonomic mechanical keyboard will help prevent typing-related injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome, minimize strain, and fatigue while typing. Split mechanical keyboards also offer greater flexibility in positioning the wrists and fingers unlike traditional keyboards, where the wrists have to be close to one another. They can minimize the pressure on the nerves and tendons of the wrists as well as prevent constriction of the blood vessels.
Productivity Benefits of Split Mechanical keyboards:
Split mechanical keyboards are not only beneficial in terms of health. There’s also the productivity aspect. The fact is, ergonomic split keyboards are easier and more comfortable to use compared to a regular inline keyboard. They can also contribute to the improvement of your typing speed and accuracy.
Mechanical keyboards require minimal or low actuation force to register a keystroke. In a mechanical keyboard, you only need to press a key halfway to register. Critical to this is the switch of the keyboard– Cherry switches, for example, are known to facilitate key register even with a slight press of a key resulting in less work for your fingers, faster and more accurate typing. These benefits are particularly important for writers, programmers, and even gamers who count on every keystroke to register.
Comparison Table of the Best Split Mechanical Keyboards:
Best Split mechanical keyboards:
Kinesis Freestyle Edge RGB Split Gaming Keyboard
Kinesis is a company known for designing the first ergonomic keyboard in the ‘90s. This keyboard is based on a design that the company first released in 2007. However, it has been redesigned as a mechanical keyboard with new features.
The Kinesis Freestyle Edge RGB split mechanical keyboard features 3 Cherry MX Mechanical Switch options. It also comes with a couple of detachable palm (wrist) supports that will help spare your hands from fatigue even after hours of continuous typing.
This keyboard can be split into two halves with up to 20 inches of separation. One half of the keyboard has 10 extra keys—eight are for macros while the other two are for advanced commands. This makes the Kinesis Freestyle split mechanical keyboard great for almost any use. Including productivity, gaming, and streaming as you can easily place a steaming mic, stream deck, or another component in between the two halves.
The Kinesis Freestyle Edge keyboard features a lift Kit allowing each half to tent. This tilt mechanism allows each half to tilt towards the hands of the user. There are also thick rubber feet integrated into both panels to prevent it from moving.
This keyboard has adjustable blue LED backlighting with 9 Brightness Levels and 10 customizable effects. Lastly, it doesn’t require software for installation as it is fully programmable with a SmartSet engine.
- Cherry MX Mechanical Switches
- Up to 20 inches of separation
- 100% plug and play, no software for installation
- Compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chrome
Much like the other split mechanical keyboards of Kinesis, the Kinesis Advantage 2 is purposefully designed for minimizing the chances of injury resulting from incorrect hand posture and prolonged finger strain. The layout of the keys is specifically designed so that each finger has a set of keys assigned to it. This minimizes fatigue, especially after typing for many hours straight.
The genuine Cherry MX Brown mechanical switches only serve to make the Advantage2 more comfortable to type in. The low activation force and tactile feedback of the switch aren’t as strenuous compared to other switches. At the same time, each switch has been rated for 50 million key presses to ensure that it will last for years.
The Advantage2 is also fully programmable using the Driverless Smart Set engine. This feature allows users to customize the keyboard layout (QWERTY or Dvorak) and for real-time macro recording. Other features include one-touch key remapping, as well as separate modes for Windows and Mac. Users can also save their customized settings on the keyboard’s onboard 4MB flash memory.
Lastly, the Advantage2 features plug-and-play compatibility with major operating systems and is backed by a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty.
- Cherry MX Brown Mechanical switches
- 100% plug and play
- 3-year manufacturer’s warranty
- Patented design for added comfort and increased productivity
Kinesis Freestyle Pro Ergonomic Keyboard
The Kinesis Freestyle Pro ergonomic mechanical keyboard builds upon the success of its predecessor, the Freestyle2. This keyboard is easy to install as it can be plugged into the USB port of Windows or Mac.
It is a fully-programmable keyboard with Cherry MX Brown mechanical key switches with tactile response, meaning there is reduced impact to the fingertips.
The two sides of the keyboard are separated by a 12-inch cable. In case you need more space between the two sides, you can adjust it by using the extra cable stored in a secret compartment at the back of the left half of the keyboard. The maximum space between the two halves is 20 inches.
Just like the Freestyle2, this keyboard has a zero degree slope starting from its front to the back. This is designed to provide maximum comfort to users as the wrists are forced to remain in a neutral position and thus preventing painful extension. Its design is contrary to most keyboard designs featuring a 10-degree slope.
It also supports tenting accessories to minimize the pronation of the forearms– the VIP3 Pro and the V3Pro can easily attach to the underside and provide adjustable settings of 5 degrees, 10 degrees, and 15 degrees. These accessories should aid in reducing arm discomfort.
- Cherry MX Mechanical Switches
- Up to 20 inches of separation
- Comes with a hidden cable compartment
- Supports VIP3Pro and V3 Pro accessories to prevent arm discomfort
- Zero degree slope designed for maximum user comfort
Koolertron Programmable Split Mechanical Keyboard
The Koolertron ergonomic split mechanical keyboard features 89 keys that a fully programmable giving you the power to take full command of your PC with relative ease.
You will also find its ability to create eight complex macros very useful in creating different characters. This unique customization characteristic makes this two-piece mechanical keyboard great for gamers, designers, and even video editors. However, this customization is only available with Windows computers.
This keyboard also has its own built-in MCU. Once you have set up the keyboard keys, these will be automatically stored in the MCU of the keyboard. This is a great feature as you no longer have to reset the Koolertron keyboard in case you replace your PC.
While it uses lesser-known Gateron Red Switches, you can expect this keyboard to help improve your typing speed and accuracy with its full anti-ghosting features. The Gateron Red switches are also smooth and responsive.
This keyboard also comes with a one-meter long detachable USB cable as well as a link cable and mini USB cable meaning there are different ways to connect it. This keyboard weighs around 3 pounds which may be a bit heavy for some people. However, the weight also means that the keyboard is sturdy enough for intense gaming sessions.
- Has 89 keys that are fully-programmable
- With a built-in MCU where the keyboard keys are automatically stored
- Cherry MX or OEM Gateron Mechanical Switches
- Can be connected to a computer through USB and mini-USB
- Supports 9 key program types
Mistel Barocco Split PBT Mechanical Keyboard
The Barocco split PBT mechanical keyboard from Mistel is an ergonomic keyboard that comes with numerous Cherry MX switch options. This includes Cherry MX brown, black, blue, clear, white, red, and silver switches. Which makes this keyboard well suited for both gaming and professional use. It also doesn’t make the audible click or noise that clicky switches are notorious for; making it ideal for use in the office as well.
This keyboard comes in two panels or halves. On the right panel are three LEDs providing information on the typing and programming mode. Both panels are made of matte black ABS plastic and feel quite dense.
Additionally, Its smaller form factor is great for desks with limited space. This allows you more room to position your mouse according to your body type and helps to prevent you from hunching over. This keyboard is also compact enough to travel with. It weighs around a pound and thus should be easy to carry around.
There is no need to download and install software for programming the layouts as well as macro keys of the keyboard because all customization is performed with its bindings.
It comes with a mini-USB cable and a micro-USB cable. There is also a key puller capable of extracting up to 3 keys for quick and convenient removal and cleaning.
- Cherry MX Switches ideal for both typing and gaming
- Two built-in preset layouts and three fully programmable layouts
- LEDs that indicate typing and programming mode
Koolertron Macro Split
Every so often, an interesting product comes along from a relatively obscure company that delivers a lot of what most conventional products do at a more attractive price point. The Koolertron Macro Split mechanical keyboard is a good example of such a product.
You can literally split this keyboard in half. This allows you to use it to type at a neutral angle for minimal pressure and strain. At the same time, the keyboard doesn’t sacrifice functionality to achieve this. In fact, all 62 keys of the keyboard are programmable. The right keyboard also integrates seamlessly with arrow keys for added convenience.
The keyboard also comes with a combined total of 24 macro function buttons (12 advanced and 12 quick). These buttons support up to as many as 792 key commands. This allows you to program them for both basic and complicated usage scenarios. The keyboard is also capable of supporting 4-layer configurations and store it in the keyboard’s MCU.
Lastly, the combination of the Doubleshot PBT keycaps and classic gray white layout, along with the white backlight, helps create a beautiful keyboard. It’s available in OEM Blue and Red switch options too in case you want to choose.
- OEM Blue and Red switch options
- Built-in MCU with support for 4-layer custom configurations
- 62 programmable keys
- Unique splitting design
Mistel MD650L Ergonomic Split Mechanical Keyboard
Rounding out our list of the best split mechanical keyboards is the MD650L split mechanical keyboard from Mistel. It inherits the popular split design of Mistel keyboards but is unique from its other cousins as it has 7 additional keys for a total of 69 keys. The seven additional keys are found on the left half for increased function without sacrificing the arrow keys and improving the typing speed and accuracy in the process.
This mechanical keyboard is equipped with Cherry ML switches that have a force operation comparable with the Cherry MX Brown. Cherry ML switches are known for their low audible feedback making this keyboard ideal for use in the office environment. It also has a lighter tactile bump compared to the Cherry MX Brown.
Gamers will also find this keyboard very easy to use not only because of the shorter distance that their fingers have to travel but also because it is macro programmable. Its remapping function allows users to customize it according to their preferences. It is great for designers, video editors, and even Reddit users, too.
There are other features of this keyboard worth mentioning such as its anti-ghosting program. It can minimize errors and improve typing speed of users. It also has convenient multimedia keys and switches for easy customization.
- Uses Cherry ML /ML1A Switches
- Lightweight and portable
- Macro programmable
- Anti-ghosting feature
- Lockable Win key