Are under desk keyboard trays good?

In the sphere of ergonomic office furniture, under desk keyboard trays have been subject to debate. This article aims to ensure a comprehensive understanding and answer your query, "Are under desk keyboard trays good?" The specialists at Desky delve into the pros and cons, including the most ergonomic position for your keyboard providing enlightening insights on the matter. 

How To Make Keyboard Ergonomic

What you want is to minimise strain by locating your devices comfortably. Have your keyboard and mouse close to you, avoiding unnecessary stretching when you use them.

Your keyboard's ideal position is approximately 5 cm from your desk's front edge, with your mouse in line with it. This positioning provides sufficient space to support your wrists.

Defining A Good Ergonomic Keyboard

When comparing ergonomic keyboards with traditional flat ones, the former's defining benefit is a gentle curve that allows natural hand alignment. Most ergonomic models come with a wrist rest which provides added comfort while typing.

Most Ergonomic Angle For Keyboard

Accommodating diverse user needs, the ISO standard (ISO 9241‐410) necessitates the back of a keyboard to be adjustable. This standard dictates an adjustable range of 0 to 15 degrees, yet angles between 5 to 12 degrees often yield optimal comfort and productivity.

Most Ergonomic Position for Typing

Ergonomic position in typing

When setting up an ergonomic workspace, ensure your keyboard's height permits your elbows to bend around 90 degrees and stay close to your sides. Many ergonomic keyboards come with wrist supports that facilitate neutral and slightly straight wrist positioning.

If your keyboard lacks this feature, consider acquiring an adjustable tray or a wrist rest. Setting the right height is a critical aspect of ergonomics. For more on this, you might want to check out our article on, What is the Correct Height For A Desk?

Why You Should Use Keyboard Trays

Absolutely. Under desk keyboard trays are ideal for those who spend long hours at their desks. An improperly positioned keyboard may be harmful to your arm, wrist, and hand health, particularly if you have a non-adjustable desk.

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Keyboard trays embrace catered ergonomics, adjusting according to different user heights, making fixed-height desks a comfortable work station. No matter your height, keyboard trays enable a tailored workspace, minimizing discomfort and reaching optimal positioning for your arms, wrists, and hands while typing.

Optimal Keyboard Tray Height

When considering the height of your keyboard tray, especially if you are using a fixed-height desk, it's important to have a tray that offers vertical adjustment.

The adjustment range should ideally be between 56 and 71 cm from the floor, providing apt flexibility and adaptability for your unique work setup with adjustable standing desks and comfort needs. This accommodation prevents limb discomfort and promotes an ergonomic workspace.

Recommended Height Of Desk For Keyboard Tray

An essential facet of keyboard tray placement lies in its height. According to Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, your arms should remain at your sides with elbows bent at a 90-degree angle. This rule means your keyboard tray should be elbow-height, allowing your hands to rest leisurely on the keyboard.

Adjusting Keyboard Tray

Using a Desky Keyboard Tray, you can adjust it by following these steps:

  • Loosen the knob under the tray to unlock the tilt mechanism.
  • Tilt the tray to your desired angle and tighten the knob to lock it in place.
  • Slide the tray in and out along the rail to adjust the distance from the desk edge.
  • Use the lever on the side of the rail to release the tray and store it under the desk when not in use.

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Desks With Keyboard Trays: Better?

Ergonomists unanimously agree that a well-placed keyboard tray enhances the ergonomics of a workstation. The benefits range from added comfort, reduction of fatigue to decreased risk of musculoskeletal disorders.

The key is to ensure that the tray is adjustable to suit individual needs, promoting an optimal typing experience in any kind of adjustable sit stand desk. While not necessary for everyone, they can greatly improve comfort for many.

Standing Desks And Keyboard Tray

Standing desks integrated with keyboard trays are a beneficial combination. This liaison allows you to fine-tune both the monitor and keyboard heights, leading to better ergonomic posture and an enhanced work experience.

Choosing the Right Keyboard Tray

Choosing a keyboard tray depends on several factors, including the type of keyboard you use, mouse choice, desk shape, and spatial constraints of your workstation.

A standard rectangular-shaped platform usually caters to most keyboards. However, dimensions should be compared to the individual's equipment to ensure compatibility and the best ergonomic results.

Disadvantages of Keyboard Trays

While providing many benefits, keyboard trays can harbour their own inconveniences. Top among them is reduced leg space, the primary issue for taller individuals or those who prefer abundant legroom. A keyboard tray, due to its under-desk placement, might compromise knee space, especially when bulky.

Why Don't Desks Have Keyboard Trays Anymore?

Modern-day advances have led to more streamlined designs where keyboards find their ergonomic positions on the desks themselves, eliminating the need for separate trays.

Some studies indicate concerns that keyboard trays might lead to an undesirable typing position, causing awkward wrist angles.

How To Install Keyboard Tray Under Desk

As an ergonomic study suggests, placement of a keyboard greatly impacts typing comfort and overall posture. Aligning a keyboard tray under your desk becomes easy when you follow a simple method.

Firstly, choose a drawer that's conveniently located and has enough space for your keyboard. Then, remove the drawer and detach its sliders. You will need to install these sliders under your desk, where your drawer initially was.

Make use of screwdrivers, and drills and once completed, the main part of the desk drawer functions as your new keyboard tray.

Remember, making sure your keyboard is in the central position ensures that your hands align with your forearms directly. This positioning lessens fatigue as well as potential strain injuries.


Weighing the benefits and drawbacks, it's clear that under-desk keyboard trays carry their own merits, bringing a tailored ergonomic experience to your workspace. Obstructed leg space is an unfortunate downside, yet this largely relates to your personal preferences and comfort levels.

Modern desks and standing desks cater to keyboard comfort already, making trays unnecessary. However, the convenience a keyboard tray offers in terms of adjustability is undeniable.

Each individual workspace is unique, and so it becomes a question of balance between personal comfort and ergonomic adjustments. At Desky, we believe the best selection is the one that aligns with your optimal comfort and productivity demands.

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