Best Wrist Rest of 2021
The top spot for the best overall combo in our review goes to the HandStands Beaded Keyboard & Mouse Wrist Rest Combo. The outside covering is made from a poly/cotton blend, and the inside is beaded, so it's not only comfortable, but it breathes well too. Cleaning is a cinch with a quick toss into a front-loading washer or a good old-fashioned hand wash. Since the keyboard rest doesn't have a rigid shape, it and can adjust well to almost any keyboard or wrist shape.
However, we do have a few bones to pick with the HandStands Combo. To begin with, the keyboard rest doesn't stretch the full length of a standard keyboard, so if you use the number pad regularly, it's a bit awkward. We also found the mouse rest to be a bit overstuffed, so getting our wrist in a comfy position wasn't the easiest. Using a lower profile mouse was also a challenge. Even with these gripes, we still think the HandStands Beaded Keyboard & Mouse Combo is a great choice for most people.
The Razer Ergonomic Wrist Rest earned very high ranks on our comfort scale, thanks to its angled profile. A plastic frame holds together the leatherette covering, serving as its bumper. This gives protection to prevent fraying against continuous bumps to the keyboard, bracelets, watches, etc.
The leatherette covering on the Razer might not be the best choice for anyone in hot climates, as it isn't very breathable. As the day would start to warm up, we found it wasn't too long till our wrists would start to sweat and stick to the pad. To be honest, this was still experienced in cooler climates too. This discomfort could have been mitigated if the inside material incorporated a cooling gel. Some of our judges didn't like that you could feel the hard plastic underneath since the padding isn't super thick. Despite these shortcomings, this offering from Razer still comes highly recommended by our test team.
For those living in warmer climates, the HyperX Wrist Rest would be a great choice. When first placing your wrists on this model, it feels like the cool underside of your pillow that you flipped over in the middle of the night. It took much longer to heat up than any of the other models that we tested. We appreciated the symmetrical design that provided equal comfort for our palms/wrists. While there may not be a plastic bumper covering the seams of the fabric, it is wrapped around a stiff plank and stitched in on itself, which keeps it from fraying easily.
The covering is soft and comfortable but also very stretchy. When going from mouse to keyboard or to and from the number pad, the fabric tends to bunch up and would get uncomfortable resting our wrists on the folds. Over the long haul, we believe that this will form creases and cause the covering to stretch and become looser than it already is — potentially compounding the problem. The pad doesn't sit at an angle and is on the wider side, putting a little more pressure on our wrists than we would have liked. All in all, the HyperX Keyboard Rest is an exceptional keyboard rest for most people.
If you are looking for a memory foam keyboard and mouse rest, then the Gimars Memory Foam Keyboard and Mouse Wrist Rest Set is a solid option. The outer cover is constructed of a Lycra blend fabric that wicks away moisture and dries quickly. More importantly, the soft foam padding provides ample comfort and support. Additionally, the rubber bottom grips most surfaces but isn't so sticky that you can't easily adjust it.
The biggest downside of the Gimars Memory Foam Set is a lack of protection for the seams. The covering is only glued down to the foam, leaving it at high risk for peeling. Further, the fabric tends to collect dust and debris. This model isn't symmetrical, having a cutout where the logo is printed. This cutout yields uneven comfort and support for your hands. Aside from these flaws, the Gimars Memory Foam Set is a comfortable set of pads at a great price.
The Kensington ErgoSoft Mouse Wrist Rest is our top pick for a firm mouse rest. Its gel-cushioned padding keeps its shape over time, giving you continued support. The leatherette-like covering is easy to wipe clean and dries out quickly. Not to mention, the underside is a non-skid rubber that keeps the mouse rest in place while typing away or simply browsing the web.
We found that this model is comfortable with a standard or low-profile mouse but didn't work as well with vertical or oversized mice. The leatherette-like covering is soft and comfortable to the touch, but it doesn't breathe well and gets sweaty fairly quickly. Moreover, this model doesn't offer top-notch seam protection. The covering is glued to a hard rubber bottom — which has a leg up when compared to a cover glued to foam — but still has the potential to get nicked and begin peeling away. Regardless of these minor shortcomings, we were able to comfortably use the Kensington ErgoSoft day after day and highly recommend this for anyone looking for a firm mouse rest.
If you're searching for a wrist rest that feels like a hard surface but is raised to relieve a sharp angle, then we recommend the Castle Bailey Leather Keyboard Wrist Rest. The company uses recycled material for its packaging. This model has a rectangular and symmetrical design offering equal comfort to each wrist. The leather covering is folded and stitched into place, virtually removing any risks of peeling or fraying.
There are downsides to the Castle Bailey. It is on the expensive side for a keyboard rest, potentially costing much more than some of the competition. Also, this model is wide, coming in at around four inches, and can be a literal pain for people with small hands. This model is constructed with leather covering that, while technically breathable, gets sweaty rather quickly. Still, we recommend the Castle Bailey Leather Keyboard Rest for anyone looking for an extra firm keyboard rest.
The BRILA Mouse and Keyboard Wrist Rest is another excellent option for a foam-padded set. It has comfortable memory foam padding with "massage holes" — though we aren't exactly sure of their purpose. The fabric is relatively breathable and comfortable to rest your hands on. Both pieces have a rubberized bottom helping keep them in place and can easily be cleaned with a little bit of soap and water.
We did find some flaws with this model. We didn't feel the build quality was on the same level as some of the competition. The mouse rest covering didn't meet the rubber bottom, exposing the foam inside, and there isn't any seam protection. The cover is glued onto the foam and the rubber bottom, leaving the keyboard and mouse rest open to start peeling or fraying. The BRILA Mouse and Keyboard Rest Set isn't the best but is a decent option if you find it on sale.
The Fellowes Memory Foam Wrist Rest uses a narrow design and is an excellent option for folks with limited or crowded desk space. This model also features a sticky backing that grips most surfaces and is easy to clean with a damp cloth — the outer covering is just as easy to wipe down and get rid of dust. The narrow profile and breathable fabric also help keep your wrists cool.
Regrettably, it has a crescent shape that makes the portion for the right wrist stick out a bit more than the left side. It is tough to find a comfortable position while still being able to reach all the necessary keys. The fabric covering and rubbery bottom are glued to the foam, leaving them susceptible to peeling and fraying. This model is a little on the long side, sticking out on either side of our standard full-sized keyboard. Overall, the Fellowes is a decent keyboard rest if you are looking to save space.
The Kensington Duo Gel Keyboard Wrist Rest is super easy to clean. Its plastic covering and base can quickly be wiped dry after washing, eliminating any lengthy drying times. On a clean surface, this model grips tightly, keeping it firmly in place. The big gel pockets are comfortable to rest on as well as a lot of fun to squish, poke, and pinch.
The Kensington Duo Gel's all-plastic body does come with a significant downside. It gets sweaty even with the built-in ventilation channel. This vent channel causes some problems as well. The big gel pads on the ends are higher up than the center — where the vent channel is — making typing uncomfortable and a little awkward. The gel pads are also much wider than the vent channel area, making it difficult to get your wrists into a good position for typing. The gel filling of the Kensington Duo Gel is comfortable, but it's hard to look past the unbalanced comfort between wrists.
Why You Should Trust Us
Taking the lead in this review is Austin Palmer. He has over two decades of experience using and building computers. In 2009, Austin was diagnosed with a repetitive strain injury (RSI) in his wrists. Ever since then, he has been a big supporter and advocate of ergonomic practices. He brings a critical and empathic eye — or wrists — when it comes to evaluating keyboard and mouse rests.
We spent many hours laying our wrists on the line to provide a comprehensive, side-by-side comparison of these products. We thoroughly examined the design and construction quality of each wrist rest. Additionally, we used each of the keyboard and mouse rests for up to 12 hours a day to compare their overall comfort.
Analysis and Test Results
We divided our testing into two main focal points — Comfort and Craftsmanship — each composed of different side-by-side tests. We used our keen eye and expansive general knowledge to evaluate the composition and construction of each keyboard and mouse rest. We typed, browsed, and gamed extensively with each model to assess their level of comfort (the keyboard and mouse rests were rated separately).
Keyboard Rest Comfort
Being comfortable and supportive are the most important things a keyboard rest can do. To ensure we collected a good set of data, we rallied the help of family, friends, and co-workers to assist in judging these products. When it comes to comfort, we believe that padding and shape are crucial, followed by the material used as the covering.
The Handstands and Razer earned the highest scores of the entire group. The majority of our testers scored these rests equally, with the Handstands pulling slightly ahead due to its breathable plush fabric and bead filling. The Razer isn't very breathable with its leatherette covering and all-plastic body, but overall this wasn't too much of an issue. Giving the Handstands another slight advantage over the Razer is its bead filling. You can move the beads around and tie off an end with a rubber band to customize your level of comfort. This technique works best if you don't use the number pad often. Both of these models use a symmetrical layout, ensuring equal comfort.
Following the top models are the HyperX and Gimars. Overall, our judges were happy with these models, but some negative aspects didn't go unnoticed. While both models have a soft foam cushion, the HyperX stays cooler longer with gel-infused foam. Our smaller-handed testers felt the HyperX was slightly too wide, feeling a bit of discomfort on their tendons. Most of our testers weren't fond of how loose the covering was, despite it being plush. It tended to bunch up with repeated movement from the mouse, or number pad, back to a typing position. The Gimars, on the other hand, has fabric that is glued to the foam and an odd asymmetrical shape with a curved cutout where you rest your right hand. Most judges felt annoyed at the differing wrist comfort and felt the manufacturer should have picked one width and stuck with it. This model was also on the short side, making it awkward to use the number pad.
Lastly, we have the BRILA, Castle Bailey, Fellowes, and Kensington Duo Gel Keyboard Rest, making up the least favorites of the group. Each model provides a unique flavor of comfort, from soft to extra firm. On the softer end of the spectrum, we have the BRILA and Fellowes. Most of the panel didn't like the higher profile and crescent shape of the Fellowes. Additionally, we didn't find this model comfortable with low-profile keyboards. The BRILA has a similar crescent shape but is much wider. Most judges felt this keyboard rest worked well with different keyboard types — both low-profile and standard. A few of our testers noted a slight hump when resting on the BRILA, but others didn't seem to notice. Both of these models have breathable fabrics and stay relatively cool. More testers preferred the jersey material of the Fellowes over the spandex blend of the BRILA.
The Castle Bailey is the firmest keyboard rest we tested. While a few judges thought this was too firm, most complaints were that it was too wide. It wasn't easy to use with a standard keyboard but seemed to work ok with a low-profile keyboard since your hands are positioned at a different angle. It has a leather covering that we found to get rather sweaty at times. The Kensington Duo Gel, on the other hand, isn't very breathable with its plastic outer shell. Most of the judges didn't find the non-traditional design, which resembles a yin-yang, very comfortable. The ends are noticeably higher and wider than the middle section.
Mouse Rest Comfort
Taking the top spot overall, the Gimars is our favorite when it comes to mouse rest comfort, with the majority of our judges praising this model. Its soft padding gently cradles and supports your palm and wrist. It has the same breathable, comfortable Lycra blend fabric as its keyboard counterpart. This model worked well with all types of mice and hand sizes.
Following the Gimars, the Handstands and Kensington ErgoSoft both received high marks from our panel of judges. Most judges agreed that the Handstands was super comfortable, but not the most versatile when it came to mouse choice. It feels overfilled and favors large or vertical mice. The Kensington ErgoSoft, on the other hand, doesn't work well with vertical mice and is better matched with a lower profile mouse. The Handstands mouse rest has the same composition as its keyboard rest — both being very breathable. The Kensington ErgoSoft's fabric isn't as breathable, but the gel padding stays relatively cool.
Bringing up the back of the pack, we have the BRILA. We wouldn't go as far as to say this model is uncomfortable — it is more or less basic without a "WOW" factor like the rest of the group. The wrist-shaped groove in the middle creates small humps on either side. Our larger-handed judges felt some relief from this groove but thought that the humps pushed up too much on their palms. Our smaller-handed testers didn't feel quite the same comfort with the wrist channel. Their hands were not large enough to sit on the humps.
For our next round of tests, we closely scrutinized each model to evaluate each wrist rest's craftsmanship and construction. Of all the models tested, we feel the Razer Keyboard Rest, the Castle Bailey Keyboard Rest, and the Handstands Combo will stand up the best to the tests of time. The Razer's covering is encased in a plastic frame, helping protect the edges from fraying or peeling. Its leatherette covering isn't as durable as the genuine leather of the Castle Bailey but seems suitable for normal use. The Castle Bailey's leather covering is folded in on itself and stitched to a durable leather base. The Handstands Combo pieces, on the other hand, aren't attached to a base, and the seams are hidden inside themselves, like a throw pillow.
A trio of close runners-up in this category — the HyperX Keyboard Rest, the Kensington Duo Gel Keyboard Rest, and the Kensington ErgoSoft Mouse Rest — all received solid scores from our judges. The HyperX got bumped down a tier due to its covering but redeemed itself with its outstanding seam protection. The cover is loose and likely to stretch over time. Both Kensington models have solid covers and good seam protection. The Kensington ErgoSoft fabric is glued to a thick piece of rubber, giving it an edge over the lower tier models, but not quite as good as the — what appears to be — seamless Kensington Duo Gel. What keeps the Kensington models from the upper tier is that they are gel-filled. If they get punctured, then you're out of luck.
The BRILA Rest Set, Fellowes Keyboard Rest, and Gimars Rest Set give us the most cause for concern. This trio uses durable fabric covers but doesn't provide adequate seam protection. The covers on these models are glued down to foam, leaving them susceptible to peeling and fraying. The BRILA mouse rest arrived with the cover already separating from the rubber base.
Using a Wrist Rest
When typing on a keyboard, your wrists and palms ideally shouldn't be touching your typing surface. Your hands should be raised off the surface, free to move around. This position can be difficult to achieve all day, and many people, including ourselves, are guilty from time to time of resting our hands on our desks while typing, putting unnecessary strain and pressure on our wrists. Enter the wrist rest, or should we say, more appropriately, the palm rest. When using one of these gadgets, resting your wrist on the pad can put unneeded stress on the ligaments, increasing the risk of pain or discomfort. We've found that gently resting the heel of your palms on the pad when not typing can be the most comfortable position. Before purchasing a keyboard or mouse rest, we highly recommend consulting your physician or other professional if you are currently experiencing pain, tingling, or numbness in your hands or wrist.
We want to reiterate that while typing, your wrists ideally should be raised and be able to move about freely. When taking a break, the heel of your palms, not your wrists, should gently rest on the pad. If you start to experience any pain, tingling, or numbness using any of these products, discontinue use and evaluate the situation.
With proper use, wrist rests are an easy and cheap way to potentially help relieve and prevent wrist pain. It can be tough to comb through all the available information and models to find the perfect keyboard or mouse rest. Hopefully, this article has narrowed down your search and helped you decide which keyboard or mouse rest is right for you.
— Austin Palmer