There are many Adjustable Keyboard Tray (AKT) options to choose from today, making it difficult to determine which is the best solution for your situation. This quick guide will help explain the features that end users and specialists in the field find most important.
Stability, or rather instability - the degree of "bounciness" or "slop" in an AKT - impacts typing and mousing comfort. Minimizing this instability is essential for workplace productivity and is driven by the quality of the keyboard tray's construction.
All Adjustable Keyboard Trays from 3M™ meet the ANSI/BIFMA x 5.5 - 1998 standard for stability and safety.
Ease of Adjustability
AKT height and tilt adjustability is essential for workstation ergonomics. Generally it is more advantageous for the height and tilt control mechanisms to be independent of each other. This way, the height of the keyboard can be adjusted without losing the tilt angle, and vice versa.
There are typically three types of height adjustment systems:
- Lift and lock, the easiest of the three, works by simply tilting upward to unlock, then back down to lock in place.
- Lever arm mechanism works by engaging and disengaging a hand-held lever.
- Star-knob mechanism works by loosening and then tightening a knob on the side of the arm. Typically, star-knob systems do not have separate controls for tilt and height adjustment.
Mousepads on AKTs are generally available in two forms:
- Not adjustable - integrated as part of the keyboard platform
- Adjustable - mouse platform is separate from the keyboard platform and has varying degrees of adjustability
Range of Adjustability
Adjustable Keyboard Trays feature many degrees of adjustability, including height, tilt, lateral sliding and swivel.
- Height -
- While seated at a standard 29" high desktop, AKT height will rarely need to go above the desktop. Many ergonomists recommend sit/stand capable workstations in which the worker can alternate throughout the day between sitting and standing at the workstation. This is beneficial because it varies the muscle groups used, increases blood flow and reduces the risk of repetitive stress injuries. AKTs with sit/stand capability enable this behavior and will typically rise several inches above the desktop.
- Tilt -
- Keyboard platforms should offer tilt adjustment in order to keep one's wrists in a neutral position. The greater the degree of negative tilt, or forward tilt, the more ergonomic the AKT is.
- Lateral Sliding -
- This feature enables users to adjust the left/right position of the keyboard to fit exact workstation configurations.
Swivel. A common feature that enables users to adjust the position of their keyboard relative to the workstation.
Track & Arm Length
AKTs generally feature either a short (less than 17") or long (more than 21") track and arm length, each with unique benefits.
- Long tracks and arms are compatible with corner workstations where the keyboard must extend beyond the edges of the desk. They will also work on regular straight-on workstations providing there is ample depth underneath the work surface.
- Short tracks and arms are generally less expensive and perfect for regular straight-on and especially shallow workstations. They are not suitable, however, for corner workstations where a longer length is required.
Wrist Rest Construction
Wrist Rests for both keyboard and mouse are essential to encouraging a neutral, ergonomic wrist position. Wrist Rests are made out of many materials including gel, foam and hard plastic. Gel-filled wrist rests provide the maximum comfort level, and all 3M™ AKTs feature gel-filled wrist rests for both keyboard and mouse.
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