Feeling some strain in your shoulders, arms, and wrists? You’re not alone. Many of us type on desks that are way too high for good posture, straining our muscles and leading to significant discomfort. But before you rush out to buy a new desk, why not try out one of the best keyboard trays instead?
Keyboard trays and drawers can improve ergonomics by lowering your mouse and keyboard, which can help compensate for improper desk height. Not everyone gets along with them, but those that do will never go without one. Let’s get started.
- Best Keyboard Tray Overall: VIVO Keyboard Tray has an above-average tilt range, stable frame, and good overall quality for less than $100.
- Best Premium Keyboard Tray: Humanscale Keyboard Tray is smooth, stable, and built to last. Great height adjustment, a clip-on mouse tray, and a 15-year warranty justify the high price.
- Best Budget Keyboard Tray: Fellowes Underdesk Keyboard Drawer is a basic keyboard drawer without many adjustment options, but it comes at a very affordable price.
- Best Keyboard Tray for Standing Desk: iMovR SteadyType Exo has a huge tilt range, intelligent design choices, and high-quality materials, all backed by a lifetime warranty.
- Best Keyboard Tray for Standing Desk Alternative: Uncaged Ergonomics KT1-b is a relatively affordable articulated keyboard and mouse tray perfect for standing desk users.
- Best Gaming Keyboard Tray: Eureka Ergonomic Mouse and Keyboard Tray has an extended 28.5-inch width, positive tilt, and a built-in mousepad perfect for gaming.
- Best Clamp-On Keyboard Tray: Kensington SmartFit Clamp-On Keyboard Drawer has an easy-to-install C-clamp mount and the company’s SmartFit adjustment system for easy setup.
Our Favorite Keyboard Trays
The VIVO Keyboard Tray isn’t nearly as fancy as the high-end examples costing hundreds of dollars, but you wouldn’t expect that at its sub-$100 price. Nevertheless, it’s an impressively sturdy under-desk keyboard tray that should be perfect for a majority of users.
The VIVO tray is a combination mouse-and-keyboard tray 25 inches wide and 10 inches deep, enough for a full-sized keyboard and mouse. It’s arguably a bit tight, but it’s more than enough for work and desktop use. We like the integrated mousing surfaces on both sides of the tray; they’re a nice touch and eliminate the need for a separate mousepad to cover the otherwise bare tray surface.
Adjustability is one of the VIVO’s more impressive features. It has an extended tilt range of +23 to -18 degrees, making it slightly more versatile than your average keyboard tray. You get 360-degree swivel (perfect for L-shaped desks), 12 inches of extension, and 5 inches of height adjustment. These aren’t ground-breaking specs, but they’re adequate for an under-desk keyboard tray and should fit most users’ needs.
Wrist rest fans will also be happy with the VIVO, as it includes a gel wrist rest that runs the length of the tray. It’s a solid example and should work perfectly to support your wrists when typing and mousing. The wrist rest also doubles as a lip to stop your mouse and keyboard from slipping off when set to a positive tilt.
One downside to the VIVO that users have pointed out is its relatively stiff mechanism. It takes a bit of effort to adjust the tray, more than pricier and smoother mechanisms like the Humanscale. It’s a slight issue, but acceptable considering the huge price gap between the two products. The warranty is also relatively short compared to the mega-bucks trays, but three years is still great in a market segment where 90 days seems more common.
If you want a sturdy, adjustable product that won’t fail you, check the VIVO Keyboard Tray out. It’s not perfect, but it gets most things right and will be perfect if you seek to improve your ergonomics without busting the bank.
Humanscale is almost a household name in ergonomic chairs and desks, so it’s no surprise that the company also has a top-notch under-desk keyboard tray ecosystem. The Humanscale Keyboard Tray—in particular, the 6G System with Clip Mouse—is a high-end, no-expenses-spared product that exudes durability and quality with a price to match.
The Humanscale Keyboard Tray may appear mundane to begin with: you get the typical 0 to -15 degree tilt and a solid seven inches of height adjustment. Where it excels, though, is in the sheer quality, stability, and smoothness of the whole assembly.
Height adjustment, for example, is as simple as lifting the front edge of the tray and moving it to the desired height, after which the mount self-locks without needing any awkward levers or knobs. It’s confidence-inspiring in the way many cheaper trays aren’t, with none of the flimsiness of similarly-designed under-desk keyboard trays.
The Humanscale Keyboard Tray is 19 inches wide, perfect for a standard full-size keyboard. The mouse sits on a dedicated clip-on mouse tray that moves independently of the keyboard platform. You can adjust the height and position freely, which can come in handy depending on your ergonomic preferences. For instance, you may like a negative tilt on your keyboard but prefer a flat mouse to avoid sliding issues; that’s possible here, but not with a combination keyboard and mouse platform.
Humanscale also equips its keyboard tray with a gel wrist rest. It’s a high-quality product, the synthetic leather cover giving it a premium feel that fits the $300+ price. It’s not a game-changer, but it’s a welcome value-add that competes with some of the best wrist rests on the market. We also like the impressive 15-year, “24/7” warranty, which speaks volumes about Humanscale’s confidence in the quality of its product and the materials used.
Overall, Humanscale’s keyboard tray ecosystem has the versatility and quality to make them some of the best keyboard trays money can buy right now. They’re not cheap, but those who want a premium keyboard tray for the long haul would do well to start here first.
Humanscale also lets you customize your own keyboard tray if the ready-to-ship “quick buy” options don’t work for your needs.
If you’ve always been curious about keyboard trays but have never been willing to fork out the cash, Fellowes’ keyboard drawer may just be the product for you. It’s far from the fanciest keyboard tray out there, but its sub-$35 price makes it an affordable way to try a keyboard tray out.
The Fellowes is a 23.5-inch wide drawer that attaches via an under-desk screw-on mount. It takes some time to install, but it’s a straightforward process with clear instructions. The keyboard tray width is reasonable at around 20 inches, but the roughly 7-inch depth may be an issue. It’s likely fine for a basic office keyboard, but those with extravagant mechanical keyboards may find it a bit tight.
You also don’t get any tilt with the Fellowes. It works for lowering your keyboard and mouse to a more comfortable height, but that’s about it. If you’re after an articulated keyboard tray, you’ll have to spend more money than this.
The Fellowes drawer has a separate mouse tray that attaches to either side of the main keyboard tray to suit left- and right-handed use. You can even install it underneath the tray if you prefer having your mouse in the center.
Overall, the Fellowes Underdesk Keyboard Drawer is a fine budget product that performs adequately for the price. It doesn’t feel as sturdy as pricier products, but it does the job and is a great way to dip your toes into keyboard trays without committing to a high-end option.
If you’ve moved over to a standing desk, then your requirements for a keyboard tray will differ from those on a conventional sitting desk. That’s where the iMovR SteadyType Exo comes into the picture. It offers unprecedented adjustability and versatility that more than justifies its high price.
The SteadyType Exo’s standout feature is its vast tilt range. Unlike most ergonomic keyboard trays that only go between 0° and -15°, the iMovR has an essentially “unlimited” range, tilting up to 90 degrees in both directions. While you’re unlikely to use the entire range, the option for a steeper negative angle means that you can opt for almost-straight arms when working or gaming at a standing desk. This puts even less stress on your joints and arm muscles than the standard -15° tilt.
IMovR also equipped the SteadyType Exo with a clever set of pins and bumpers that helps keep your peripherals in place and stops them from constantly sliding forward at steep angles. You get four bumpers that fit into seven slots across the 28-inch tray, designed to keep your keyboard in place. Four extra pins create a “cradle” for your mouse, and these fit into the 3×3 grids on either side of the tray.
The SteadyType Exo’s installation method also makes it perfect for standing desks. Most keyboard trays require you to install long braces or runners under the desk, but that won’t work with standing desks that have a long cross-member in the middle. The iMovR SteadyType Exo attaches to the front of your desk, with a couple of arms that you tighten underneath.
One aspect of the iMovR SteadyType Exo worth pointing out is the visuals. The 3D-laminated tray comes in 24 colors that run the gamut from solid options to textured wood grain and even mineral-effect finishes. While we wouldn’t recommend buying a SteadyType Exo just for the finish options, they’re certainly a nice touch that rounds things off perfectly.
No discussion of the iMovR SteadyType Exo would be complete without mentioning the warranty. The company offers a class-leading lifetime warranty on the metal frame and a five-year warranty for the keyboard tray. This is as close as you’ll get to a keyboard tray for life.
If you’re a standing desk user looking for the absolute best of the best in keyboard trays, then this is it. The iMovR SteadyType Exo’s $300-plus price tag is out of reach for many users, but it’s a strong choice if you’re after the very best.
If you haven’t dropped a ton of money on a high-end standing desk, then spending $300 or more on an ergonomic keyboard tray may feel disproportionate. Thankfully, there’s a cheaper alternative that should work decently enough: the Uncaged Ergonomics KT1-b.
The KT1-b is a low-profile, minimalist ergonomic keyboard tray that may seem unimpressive at first glance. However, the KT1-b packs several features that help it stand out in the sub-$100 market segment it occupies. For one, the KT1-b is technically two trays: the keyboard and mouse tray are separate, allowing you to adjust each independently to suit your needs.
The Uncaged Ergonomics KT1-b has the standard array of articulation that you’d expect from a decent keyboard tray. You get 360-degree swivel, 0 to -15 degrees of tilt, and a decent 3.75 inches of height adjustment. These aren’t as good as the high-end models, but they’re acceptable in the sub-$100 price bracket.
You get 4.5 inches of height adjustment and 16 inches of front and back movement, which should be more than enough for most setups. The long rails mean you can store the tray under your desk when you’re done for the day, too, which is always welcome.
The primary issue with the Uncaged Ergonomics KT1-b is how the mouse platform attaches to the main tray. It connects via a large, protruding mechanism on the underside that’s perfectly placed for your right knee to bang into when sitting. You can shift over to avoid it, but that may put extra strain on your mouse arm due to having to stretch further to reach your mouse.
The warranty is also surprisingly short at 90 days, which may not inspire confidence in the product. Unfortunately, it’s something you’ll have to live with if you’re not willing to spend the big bucks.
If you spend a lot of time working on your feet and want the best adjustable keyboard tray for your setup under $100, then the Uncaged Ergonomics KT1-b is a no-brainer. Those who primarily work (or game) sitting down, though, will want to look elsewhere.
Most ergonomic keyboard trays focus on ergonomically-minded office workers, with just enough room for a standard keyboard and mouse combo and not much more. Many don’t offer enough positive tilt for an engaging gaming experience, either. Eureka Ergonomic’s keyboard tray solves both problems, and it’s the tray you want if you’re a gamer looking to improve your ergonomics.
The Eureka Ergonomic under-desk keyboard tray is 28.5 inches wide and 10.2 inches deep, noticeably larger than the average keyboard tray or drawer. You can easily fit a full-size keyboard and gaming mouse on it, although a TKL or smaller keyboard is ideal for giving you as much mousing room as possible. Low-sensitivity FPS players still won’t have enough room even then, but most other playstyles should be fine here.
Another crucial gaming-friendly feature is the Eureka keyboard tray’s tilt range. It tilts up to 15 degrees in both directions, which is ideal for the positive tilt that can work better when gaming. It’s also retractable, handy if you like gaming up close to your monitor. Of course, the usual height adjustment is present, as is a 360-degree swivel.
The Eureka Ergonomic keyboard tray also ships with a full-length mouse surface attached. It’s a decent enough mousepad, although hardcore FPS players will likely find it inadequate. That said, serious FPS gamers probably won’t be considering a keyboard tray for gaming anyway.
One noticeable issue here is the wrist rest. While it does its job fine, it’s unfortunately slightly narrower than the total width of the tray. This means that your wrists may end up slipping off the wrist rest, especially if you move your mouse toward the edges during a heated match. Something to watch out for if you make large mouse movements in-game.
Despite some minor misgivings, the Eureka Ergonomic Mouse and Keyboard Tray is a solid product perfect for an ergonomic gaming setup. Its increased width, built-in mousepad, and positive tilt range make it the keyboard tray to check out first if you’re looking to improve your battlestation’s comfort.
Most of the best ergonomic keyboard trays require some DIY, attaching to your desk with a metal bar or frame that you have to drill holes into your desk to mount. If that doesn’t appeal to you, Kensington’s clamp-on SmartFit Keyboard Drawer may be the product you’ve been seeking.
This Kensington clamp-on tray is 27.5 inches wide and 12.2 inches deep, so it has enough room for a full-sized keyboard and mouse with room to spare. It attaches to your desk via two C-clamps on each end, making installing and removing it a breeze. The clamps fit desks up to 2.28 inches (58 mm) thick, so you shouldn’t have compatibility issues with most modern computer desks.
But there’s more to the Kensington SmartFit Clamp-On drawer than its ease of installation. We also like the company’s color-coded SmartFit system, which helps you set the SmartFit’s height. You get three sets of screw holes corresponding to three different hand size ranges; setting the height involves screwing the tray to the clamps in the suitable holes. It’s not super convenient, but SmartFit at least takes most of the guesswork out of the process.
Unfortunately, the installation method means you don’t get any adjustments beyond height and depth. The clamp-based install essentially locks the drawer in place, so tilt and swivel aren’t possible here. Height adjustment also takes a bit of time, as you’ll have to unscrew the tray and move it up or down to change it. It’s essentially a “set and forget” system.
On the positive side, Kensington supports the SmartFit Clamp-On Keyboard Drawer with a three-year warranty. That’s admittedly nowhere near the high-end trays, but it’s more than the 90-day warranties you more commonly see for trays at this roughly $50 price point.
Overall, the Kensington SmartFit Clamp-On Keyboard Drawer is a great option if you want something removable that won’t permanently damage your desk. It doesn’t have the tilt and swivel of “proper” keyboard trays, but that’s a sacrifice you’ll have to make if you want the convenience of a clamp-on installation.
Before You Buy
Firstly, ensure that the under-desk keyboard tray you’re considering is wide and deep enough for your keyboard and mouse. Ideally, you want a bit of extra width and height to give you room to shift your peripherals around throughout the day. Of course, you also want enough space to move your mouse without falling off the edge.
Extra room on your tray also lets you keep a few more things there, which can be useful for items you prefer to have close to hand. Whether it’s thumb drives, stationery, or a controller, ensure your tray has enough space if you want them right next to your mouse and keyboard.
Mounting and Installation
Your keyboard tray of choice doesn’t just have to accommodate your peripherals, though. It also has to fit your desk, which is something that may not be immediately obvious when you’re just looking around.
Most screw-on under-desk trays will take up a lot of space underneath your desk. Some trays have extended tracks that let you move the tray backward and forward, while others use a long mounting bar for added stability. Most desks won’t have issues here, but horizontal cross-beams (like on sit/stand desks) will likely run afoul of these mourning systems and stop you from installing them.
But suppose you’re using a sit/stand desk or have a desk frame with a cross-beam and want a keyboard tray. In that case, you’ll want to either get a clamp-on tray or one explicitly designed for use with a sit/stand desk, such as the iMovR SteadyType Exo.
Note that you won’t be able to tuck these clamp-on trays underneath your desk, which may be a downside for some of you. However, the bigger issue is that many affordable clip-on drawers don’t offer any ergonomic adjustments. Let’s look at those next.
Articulation and Adjustment
The best under-desk keyboard trays will offer a range of adjustments to allow you to set it up for maximum comfort. If you’re buying a keyboard tray to improve ergonomics, look for an articulating keyboard tray that lets you quickly adjust its height and tilt. Swiveling is a nice feature too, but not always necessary.
Most good ergonomic keyboard trays will offer five to seven inches of height adjustment, which should be enough to find a comfortable position. An easily-adjustable tray height is essential if you use a sit/stand desk, as a tray height that works when sitting may not be suitable when standing (or vice versa).
You can probably get away with a fixed-height tray if you work at a fixed-height desk. Still, an adjustable tray lets you raise or lower it freely depending on your tasks or how you’re feeling at a given moment, so we recommend going for one anyway.
Tilt is the most essential ergonomic adjustment on an under-desk keyboard tray. Most trays go between 0° to -15°, with some offering more in either (or both) directions. A negative tilt, where you tilt your keyboard towards the floor, is often cited as the most ergonomically sound setup. It keeps your wrists in a neutral position, reducing strain and stress. As a result, most decent keyboard trays will accommodate some degree of negative tilt.
The usual -15° is likely enough for sitting desks, but those on standing desks may want a steeper incline for more comfort. A dedicated standing desk tray like the iMovR SteadyType Exo tilts up to 90 degrees in both directions, letting you experiment with different angles to maximize comfort.
Since positive tilt is bad for your wrists, many keyboard trays max out at a flat 0°. However, gamers may find a positive angle more enjoyable, primarily if they game while leaning back in their chair. If that sounds like you, make sure you opt for a keyboard tray that you can adjust to a positive tilt.
We’ll admit it: buying the best keyboard tray isn’t a very cool way to spend your hard-earned cash. However, keyboard trays can be worth trying out if you struggle with shoulder and wrist pain when using the computer. While we can’t claim that they’ll totally resolve your issues, they’re something every computer-bound worker should try out at least once.
The VIVO Keyboard Tray is a great general-purpose keyboard tray choice that should fit the needs of most users. It’s not the most premium option out there, but it does everything you need a good keyboard tray to do for less than $100. If you have the cash to splash, however, Humanscale’s keyboard tray system’s smooth mechanism, high-quality materials, and amazing warranty make it a brilliant premium choice.
All the best!