Do you have repetitive strain injury (RSI) from constant and repetitive typing? Believe me, you're not the only one. Many heavy typists go through this pain when their fingers start to hurt because of consistent motion.
No need to worry though, as I'll cover this topic in detail today and suggest which switch is best to avoid RSI.
The best switch to avoid RSI is the mechanical switch as they have light actuation force and a tactile bump. Key switches like Kailh Box Whites can be a great option for those having finger pain. They have a short pre-travel of just 45 g and also have haptic feedback.
Also, a good practice to avoid RSI is simply to press the switch up to the actuation point without pressing it to the end to register the keystroke. This will require less force and ultimately reduce your hand strain.
Now there are hundreds of mechanical switches out there. So much choice can make a naive buyer confused. Have no fear, as I have done extensive research and found the best three switches to avoid RSI.
Best Switches For RSI
Let me clear something up first. Different people will prefer different mechanical switches. For instance, someone who wants a light switch will go for linear.
Whereas, a person who doesn't mind a tactile bump will opt for tactile switches. And don't forget the noisy clicky switches. People love them as well.
So, I have picked the best switch from each category that will get rid of RSI and give pleasure to your fingers while typing.
Cherry MX Red - Linear
There are no surprises as Cherry MX Red makes the list. You won't find many better linear switches than this. Firstly, it is light as a feather. And secondly, it has swift actuation.
The pre-travel is the standard 2 mm, while the force required is just 45 g.
If anyone is struggling with pressing keys on membrane keyboards, then these switches will make your life much easier. They don't even have any tactile feedback and are as smooth as butter.
Cherry MX Brown - Tactile
Many users like me don't prefer a completely silent switch or one with no tactile feedback. So Cherry MX Brown jumps in and solves the problem.
It not only gives pleasing tactile feedback but also keeps your fingers from straining. The actuation force is a bit more than the MX Red at 55 g.
However, you don't need to bottom out the switch. Only press it until the actuation point to register the keystroke.
Kailh Box Whites - Clicky
Kailh Box White is an excellent choice if you're looking for a light-clicky switch. It has that pleasing sound and fine actuator feedback.
The actuation force is just 45 g, which is pretty low considering it's a clicky switch.
Moreover, the bottom-out force of the switch is 60 g. So, you don't have to press the switch in its entirety.
As soon as you hear the click sound, it indicates that the key has been pressed. It'll save you from putting extra strain on the fingers. So yeah, this switch is definitely one of the best out there to avoid RSI.
What Keyboard Is A Kind Of Keyboard Used To Avoid RSI?
A split mechanical keyboard is excellent for avoiding RSI. Now there are two kinds of split keyboards. The first type won't let you move any parts since they are fixed. The second type is movable, and you can position them according to your preference.
I like the second category more and thus recommend the KINESIS Advantage360.
Kinesis is known for making keyboards with excellent ergonomics, and Advantage360 is no different. Its splits can be rotated and separated. Also, there are three typing angles to adjust your keyboard accordingly.
The board comes with an integrated cushioned palm support, which is really soothing. As for the layout, it's Tenkeyless.
The keyboard is designed in such a way that it will reduce any pain you have while typing for long periods of time. It has a short key reach and no over-extension.
It's a bit expensive, but it will remain by your side for many years to come.
Are Mechanical Keyboards Better For RSI?
Yes, definitely! Mechanical keyboards have all the ergonomics checked. They have a comfortable typing angle, excellent design, light key switches, multiple layouts, a long lifespan, and more. All of these factors combine to make mechanical keyboards better for people going through RSI.
Having said that, getting a mechanical keyboard won't necessarily solve all of the problems. There are different aspects of why you have RSI.
It can be because of:
- Not having a good sitting posture.
- Overstretching the fingers.
- Not having an ergonomic setup.
- Not typing at a comfortable angle.
- Exerting too much force to press the keys
So, do get a mechanical keyboard, but also keep the other factors in mind.
Psst! Want to dive further into this topic? then read my article on: Are Mechanical Keyboards Good or Bad for Your Fingers?
Does Touch Typing Cause RSI?
Touch typing does not cause RSI. If you don't know, touch typing is basically typing without looking down at the keyboard. Many expert typists who type a lot daily use this technique. However, it is not the reason why your fingers hurt.
The main reason for RSI is pressing the keys harder and typing at an awkward angle.
It doesn't matter if you touch type or type while looking at the keyboard, if your ergonomics are correct, there won't be any RSI issues.
Do Split Keyboards Help With RSI?
For example, a narrower person can keep the split parts close while a broader user can keep them afar. Your wrists will be at a relaxed angle, and the fingers won't feel any strain due to mechanical keys.
Furthermore, you can play around with the positioning of split keyboards to avoid repetition. What do I mean? Well, you have to keep a normal flat keyboard at its original angle since it can't be adjusted any further.
Contrarily, split keyboards are adjustable at multiple typing angles, and you can change their angle every now and then to give a new feel to your fingers and avoid repetitive stress.
Is Vertical Mouse Better For RSI?
A vertical mouse is recommended to overcome RSI. It's not always the keyboard that'll strain your fingers and wrists, it can be the mouse too. However, with a vertical mouse, you can keep your wrists in a more comfortable and natural position.
Besides, your hand posture will be perfect as well.
It might take you a week or two to get used to a vertical mouse. Anyway, it's worth an investment for your own safety, comfort, and efficiency.
I believe now you know which switch is best to avoid RSI. Mechanical switches and keyboards should be your main priority if you have finger pain or your wrists hurt while typing. These mechanical switches require less actuation force and have a short pre-travel distance.
In the end, it's your preference if you want to go for clicky, tactile, or linear switches.
I personally prefer tactile because they are soft, brisk, and also have a little haptic feedback. The latter helps with pressing the key only to the actuation point and not bottoming out.
For more guides like this, keep a check on TheTechSetup. You'll find all you need to know about keyboards and switches here.