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How Do I Choose An Ergonomic Keyboard Tray?

by Mitch M on April 4, 2012

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Selecting the correct Humanscale Keyboard Tray can seem like complicated business. There is an array of options. Mechanism? Track length? These mean nothing to the average person. Give us a call anytime at 800-531-3746 and we can guide you through the process. But just in case you prefer to figure this out on your own, here’s a quick primer.

Humanscale Keyboard Tray Systems are comprised of three distinct parts. The “Track,” the “Mechanism” and the “Tray.”

Track:
The track is the part that mounts underneath your desk. The track requires an uninterrupted length of solid wood, laminate or particle board under your desk into which you will mount the screws.  (This means no lip, no crossbar, no glass countertops.)  The track can be ordered in lengths ranging from 11” to 27”.  When measuring your desk, make sure to add about 1” to 1 1/2” of leeway to your measurement.  For example, if you have 14” of uninterrupted space, we recommend the 11” track as opposed to the 14” track.  Why would someone want a longer track instead of a shorter one?  The answer is that you will need a 22” track in order to fully stow away your keyboard tray.  With a longer track, you will be able to stow your keyboard tray even further under your desk.  With a shorter track, the tray will protrude slightly, which is really not a big deal.  For reference: I use a pedestal style desk with a large crossbar underneath, so I use an 11” track.

Mechanism:
The mechanism is an easy call.  It may seem like there are a few choices but we recommend the 6G mechanism to almost everyone because it offers the widest range of adjustments and doesn’t cost more than any of the others.  The 6G and 5G are essentially the same; 6G has about 1’’ of additional adjustability and is slimmer in design.  (Really, there isn’t any reason to consider the 4G or the 2G unless your company or agency requires that mechanism).  If, however, you would like your mechanism to bring your keyboard tray further above your desk, you should think about getting an AD (“above desk”) or 4GAD mechanism.

Tray:
The final component is the tray.  Humanscale trays are identified by a three-digit number. For example, when we recommend the Humanscale 900 Keyboard Tray System, the 900 refers to the rectangular shape and dimensions (19” W x 10.625” D).  This 900 tray and the Humanscale 500 Keyboard Tray are our two most popular options because they work for most workstation setups, but there are a variety of others.  If you have a non-standard desk setup or you aren’t thrilled about either of these options, we’re happy to discuss and help you decide on another.

The important thing to remember is that these keyboard trays are extremely configurable and modular, and we’re here to answer your questions.  If you would like to hear specific recommendations, fill out our Keyboard Tray Selector Tool and one of our experts will get in touch with you.  Good luck and happy typing!

Got a question for the ergonomic experts at The Human Solution? Email us. We’ll answer your question directly, and we might even answer it in a blog post.

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Written by Mitch M

Mitch was a neophyte to ergonomics two years ago, but he quickly graduated to “ergo expert” status. He enjoys keeping his monitor arms at eye level, his keyboard tray in his lap, and because he is tall, he tends to lean back in his chair while working. He specializes in keyboard trays and finding the solutions for his fellow tall folk. Outside of the office, he enjoys film, reading, writing and eating healthily most of the time, so he can gorge himself on enchiladas and hot wings some of the time. He attempts to live by Ralph Waldo Emerson’s advice that, “A foolish consistency is hobgoblin to little minds,” but not always, because that would also be foolishly consistent.

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