The Best Split Keyboards for Programmers

Looking for a split keyboard for work and play? We’ve scoured the Internet and rounded up some of the best so you can focus on the buying.

Published Categorized as Gear & Guides

As a programmer, typing is an integral part of your work. And although tools like Github Copilot can do most of the typing for you, whether you’re coding, debugging, or just writing documentation, you still spend most of your time typing. Alas, that typing can put a lot of strain on your wrists and hands.

That’s where split keyboards come in. Split keyboards allow you to type in a more natural position, with your hands separated and slightly angled. This is said to help reduce the strain on your wrists, fingers, and forearms — making typing more comfortable and potentially reducing the risk of repetitive strain injuries.

But with so many split keyboards on the market, how do you know which one to choose? And that’s where we come in. We’ve taken a look at some of the best split keyboards for programmers, and in this post, we’ve rounded them up for you. We’ve examined features, comfort, and typing experience, to help you find the perfect split keyboard for your needs. Read on for our picks.

Best Split Keyboards for Programmers

Top pick
Mistel MD600RGB v3 Split Keyboard
  • 40/60% split mechanical keyboard
  • 62 RGB LED-backlit keys with double-shot keycaps
  • Tactile, light-clicky Cherry MX brown and blue switches
  • Windows-compatible with USB-C connector
Image credit: Amazon

After extensive research, our top pick for the best split keyboard for programmers is the Mistel MD600 v3 Split Keyboard. This 40 to 60% split keyboard keeps your wrists at a comfortable angle, reducing strain and fatigue during long typing sessions.

This is a Windows-compatible USB-C keyboard with 62 RGB LED-backlit keys. The double-shot keycaps and Cherry MX brown and blue switches create a tactile, light-clicky typing experience — registering your typed words quickly and providing excellent feedback even when you’re typing code out like a champ.

This keyboard comes equipped with preset Dvorak and Colemak layouts, as well as three fully customizable layouts. The entire keyboard is programmable, allowing you to create the perfect typing experience for your needs. It’s worth noting that the Mistel MD600 v3 is not hot-swappable, meaning you cannot easily switch out individual switches without disassembling the keyboard.

At 29.5 cm long x 12.5 cm wide x 4 cm high, the Mistel MD600 v3 is compact and convenient to take with you when traveling. But don’t let its small size fool you; this keyboard is built to last. Customers rave about the quality of the materials, the sturdy build, and the ergonomic design of this keyboard.

Yes, our top pick comes at a steep — and we mean steep — price tag. However, if you’re looking for the best of the best when it comes to split keyboards, we believe it’s absolutely worth the investment. Its ergonomic, customizable design and high-quality construction make it a top choice for programmers looking to improve their typing experience.

KINESIS Freestyle2 Split Keyboard
  • Split keyboard with 9-inch link cable
  • Rubber-dome, membrane switch type
  • Light and effortless typing
  • Layouts for Windows and Mac
Image credit: Amazon

Our runner-up for the best split keyboard for programmers is the KINESIS Freestyle2 Split Keyboard. This keyboard offers an adjustable split of up to 9 inches, allowing you to find the perfect distance between the two halves of the keyboard for your needs. For those willing to invest in their typing setup, KINESIS also offers a pricier option with an impressive 20-inch split.

The adjustable tenting on this keyboard is a standout feature, with angles of 5, 10, and 15 degrees available to help reduce forearm pronation, a common issue caused by flat keyboards. The zero-degree slope and optional palm supports make typing on this keyboard a breeze, while the compact size of 15.4 inches wide and 7.1 inches deep (with a maximum height of 3 inches at 15 degrees of tenting) make it easy to transport.

The KINESIS Freestyle2 is available in layouts for both Windows and Mac computers, making it a versatile choice for programmers no matter what operating system they use. And at just 2.5 lbs, it’s lightweight enough to take on the go.

This keyboard’s adjustability and ergonomic design make this keyboard a close second to our top pick. And at a slightly lower price point than our top pick, it’s an excellent choice for those looking to improve their typing experience without breaking the bank. Overall, the KINESIS Freestyle2 is a reliable and comfortable split keyboard that is sure to make typing easier and more comfortable for programmers.

Why Use a Split Keyboard?

Using a split keyboard can offer a range of benefits, particularly for programmers, who spend long hours typing. One of the main advantages of a split keyboard is that it allows you to position your hands at a more natural angle, reducing strain on your wrists, arms, and shoulders.

When typing on a traditional keyboard, you hold your hands parallel to each other, which can lead to unnatural wrist and arm positioning. This, in turn, cases discomfort and potentially leading to repetitive strain injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

A split keyboard, in contrast, allows you to position each half of the keyboard independently, meaning you can adjust the distance and angle between your hands to better suit your body’s natural alignment. They also help you maintain proper posture and reduce problems associated with slouching.

Split keyboards can also offer other ergonomic features, such as built-in palm supports, adjustable tenting, and slopes to reduce forearm pronation, reducing strain on your body even further. This can help you improve your posture as a whole and reduce the risk of developing repetitive strain injuries.

In addition to the ergonomic benefits, split keyboards are touted to help improve typing speed and accuracy. By allowing you to use your hands in a more comfortable and natural way, you may find that you’re able to type more quickly and with fewer errors. Still, not every split keyboard user feels this way, and some return to conventional keyboards after a few months of using split ones.

Split Keyboard Buying Guide

If you’re thinking about buying a split keyboard, there are a few important factors to keep in mind.

Firstly, pay attention to the distance between the two halves of the keyboard, and make sure that the home row is at shoulder width. This will help you ensure that you can maintain a comfortable and natural typing position that reduces strain on your wrists and arms.

Another important consideration is the ergonomic design of the keyboard. Look for a model that allows you to keep your wrists straight and your elbows rotated out. This will help reduce strain on your joints and muscles, and can help prevent the development of repetitive strain injuries.

The layout of the keys is also important to consider. Different models of split keyboards may have different key arrangements and thumb clusters, so it’s worth doing your research to find a layout that suits your typing style and preferences. Additionally, consider the type of switches used in the keyboard, as different switches can offer different levels of tactile feedback (and noise).

Finally, be sure to research different brands and models of split keyboards before making a purchase. Some models may offer additional features such as programmable keys, backlighting, or adjustable tenting, which can further enhance your typing experience.

By considering these factors and doing your research, you can find a split keyboard that offers both ergonomic benefits and a comfortable, efficient typing experience.

Image courtesy of OLHA TOLSTA /Shutterstock. No use without permission.

By Dim Nikov

Editor of Maker's Aid. Part programmer, part marketer. Making things on the web and helping others do the same since the 2000s. Yes, I had Friendster and Myspace.

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