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How To Install A Keyboard Tray

These instructions apply to the vast majority of adjustable keyboard tray systems available. This guide will help provide some information that is useful to know when attempting to install an articulating keyboard tray, or when thinking about buying one and how it will work with your computer workstation, desk or other work surface. Most systems will come with the following items: 1) a keyboard platform (sold in a wide variety of shapes and sizes), 2) a mechanism or “arm” that attaches the keyboard platform to the desk (multiple models are usually available to accommodate almost all computer setups), and 3) a mounting track (usually metal/steel) that attaches the arm to the underside of the work surface (sold in various sizes). Depending on how versatile the system you choose to purchase is, and how you configure it, there may also be other items included in the system like a palm rest (sometimes called a wrist rest), a separate mouse platform (usually attaches to keyboard platform), cable managers (plastic guides to hold the wires for the keyboard and mouse) and other miscellaneous pieces.

Before you even buy a keyboard tray system you need to take some measurements of your desk to make sure you have enough room to install it. The real important measurement is for the steel mounting track. The average size of mounting tracks is approximately 22 inches long and 5 to 6 inches wide. It needs to be screwed flush to the underside of your work surface so you need at least this amount of flat unobstructed space. Mounting the track is the hardest part of installing an adjustable keyboard tray system but it really isn’t that difficult if you use a power screwdriver. The screws used are around 1 inch long so your desk needs to be at least 1.5 inches thick. If you don’t have 22 inches of space smaller tracks are usually available, but the system won’t fully retract under your desk when not in use with tracks shorter than 22 inches. The other obvious thing you need to check before buying a system is that your desk is made of a material that can accept screws (preferably wood). If you use your computer on a work surface made of things like plastic or glass you won’t really be able to install a standard system and you’ll need to find a custom solution which can be a pain. Contact us and let us know if you’re in this kind of situation and we may be able to help.

After your mounting track is installed you can start piecing together the keyboard platform and arm (adjustment mechanism). These two parts are usually connected with four screws. Don’t be alarmed if the mechanism looks like it’s broken or defective in this stage because they are designed to only function properly once fully installed, which in this case is after you connect the arm to the mounting track. Attaching the keyboard tray and arm to the track is usually just a matter of sliding it into place, which is easier to do with two people so ask for help before attempting to install it if you can. Once the three main parts are connected (the keyboard platform, arm and track) you may need to install a few stoppers (usually rubber or plastic) to prevent the system from falling off the track. At this point you can also attach the wrist rest and mouse platform (if any) to the keyboard tray and test the movement of the complete system.

That’s really all there is to installing an ergonomic keyboard tray system. These guidelines will be most accurate for systems manufactured by Humanscale, Intellaspace and WorkRite, but they apply to many other models as well including the budget systems we feature. Always remember that each individual product may vary slightly in the specs and dimensions of its parts, but these are readily available before you make a purchase so you can be sure you’re getting the right system for your specific application.

Humanscale Keyboard Tray Systems

Humanscale keyboard trays have historically been the most popular systems out of every brand that is available. It’s a combination of a quality product and really good marketing that make Humanscale the well-known brand that it is.

Just to reiterate, an adjustable keyboard tray is something that attaches to your computer desk (or whatever worksurface you use, not glass though) and allows you to place your keyboard and mouse on it to accomplish two main things: to reduce desktop clutter by freeing up a bunch of space, and most importantly allowing you to adjust the position of your keyboard and mouse for optimum ergonomic placement and enhanced comfort.

Many people develop various conditions and ailments after working on a computer every day for years on end. An ergonomic keyboard tray is important to help reduce the chance of developing such a condition and preventing the pain and strain most people are accustomed to feeling when working on the computer.

There are four main components to a Humanscale keyboard system: 1) The tray your keyboard goes on, 2) the tray your mouse goes on, 3) the arm, or mechanism, that attaches the keyboard & mouse trays to your worksurface allowing adjustment of both trays, and 4) the steel track that is mounted on the under-side of your worksurface and holds the arm/mechanism in place.

Humanscale offers a bunch of variations of each of the main components, so it is fairly easy to build your own keyboard tray system that will fit your specific situation perfectly – and they are simple to install as well.

The different keyboard platforms that Humanscale offers are: Standard (for regular keyboards), Curved (for ergonomic keyboards), Combo (can be used with standard or ergonomic keyboards), Big Board (a wider board that you place both the keyboard and mouse on, so there is no separate mouse tray), Radiused (has a curved edge to fit desks with a, you guessed it, curved edge), Extender board (for corner workstations where you need extra length to bring the tray out far enough), and Diagonal Big Board (same as regular Big Board but with cut corners), Goldtouch (specifically designed to fit the famous Goldtouch Split Keyboard).

The different mouse trays available are: Swivel (slides under keyboard tray if you take your mouse off), Clip (this one is cool, you can adjust the mouse platform into four different positions and also on the right or left side), and M2 (just like the Swivel but with a slightly larger mousing area).

The arms or mechanisms available are: 6G, 5G, 5GSM (same features as standard 5G but with a short mechanism for narrow work spaces), 4G (a step up from the 2G, but not as good as the 5G), 4GAD (same features as 4G but can be adjusted for use above the work surface), 2G (original arm that started it all), SM (short mechanism), AD (same features as 2G but for working above the worksurface), DS (double swivel provides additional pivot point), and KM (preset tilt and more knee clearance).

Wall Mount Keyboard Trays – Which Are Best?

At this point you’ve started your search for a new keyboard tray system and have probably realized how many options you now have to choose from. Well, if you are specifically looking for the best wall mount keyboard tray then you’ve stumbled upon the right article. We know all the ins and outs of computer keyboard trays and we’ve been selling them long enough to know which brands are the best, and which models are the most ergonomic and longest-lasting. When we make our recommendations for the top products we are basing them on years of experience which includes sales numbers as well as customer feedback & reviews, and defective/return rates.

With that said, Ergotron is the brand to choose for this type of system. The Ergotron LX wall mount keyboard tray is the most popular and best-selling wall-mount option by far. They are very well-known for their extensive line of LCD monitor arms and their keyboard arms are made of the same high-quality materials and same superior construction over the cheap, no-name items out there. The LX Keyboard Tray can be mounted to any wall and provides smooth vertical and side-to-side motion. It is designed to hold standard-sized computer keyboards and it features a slide-out mouse platform that can fit a variety of mousing devices. This system allows you to effortlessly adjust your input devices on-the-fly to the most comfortable typing position, while seated or standing up.

This model has other desired features as well. In its stored position this system folds to within 4.6″ of the wall, making it ideal for limited-clearance installations. It can fully extend to approximately 25.6″ from your wall and it allows for about 11.5″ of height adjustment. The tray also tilts back at a -5° angle to ensure proper, ergonomic data entry. Reducing tension in your shoulders, arms, wrists and hands is an excellent way to enhance your comfort while computing and increase your productivity. Another great bonus is that the built-in mouse tray slides out to the left or right side of the keyboard tray, accommodating a wider base of possible users. A good ergonomic practice you can try with this product is alternating the hand you mouse with when one begins to feel fatigue. It may take a short while to get used to but many people have reported decreased symptoms of muscle and/or joint pain after adopting this practice. A few other features include integrated cable management (to keep cumbersome cords out of the way) and a gel wrist rest. There’s also a 5-year warranty in the extremely rare case you receive a defective or improperly functioning unit.

All in all, Ergotron can be considered a high-end manufacturer to anyone’s standards. Their products are very well made, affordable, and sure to please even the most critical of aesthetic tastes (they have a cool, modern look). Give them a try today and we’re sure you will not be disappointed.

Corner Keyboard Tray Systems

Finding an adjustable keyboard tray that fits a corner workstation can be a bit of a pain. When we say “corner” we are referring to a desk that is setup with the computer in a 90-degree or L-shaped corner. Most standard articulating keyboard trays will not fit in this type of area properly and if you try to make it work it will leave you very frustrated.

Luckily, there are many options that DO work. For a keyboard tray system to fit in a corner desk properly there is one extra part that is required – a “corner sleeve”. We will discuss the three main manufacturers who offer corner sleeve options with their systems. Other terms may be used to describe this extra part but they all basically mean the same thing. It’s an extra piece to the keyboard system that allows it to protrude from the desk an extra few inches to provide the clearance necessary for use in a corner workstation.

The Slimline Dual-Swivel Lever-Free Corner keyboard tray is a great system that is easy to install and is priced right. The unique feature with this system is that you can mount the keyboard arm off-center, under either side of an L-shaped corner workstation, and still position your tray in the middle of the corner. You do not need a corner sleeve with this model.

Another option is to buy a WorkRite keyboard tray system and add on the 179ACD corner sleeve option. The system is about $220 by itself and the sleeve is $50 extra. WorkRite makes VERY high quality keyboard trays and the specific model we are linking to has the corners of the tray cut off to further enhance the fit of the system. This product measures 28″ wide by 11.5″ deep and fits both the keyboard and mouse on one platform. With the addition of the corner sleeve this system will fit virtually any corner desk and will allow you to fully retract the tray underneath the work surface when not in use. So you can hide it when you’re not using it, and you can effortlessly pull it out to the perfect position for a corner application without the edges of the tray hitting your desk.

Humanscale also manufactures some amazing systems and they too offer a corner sleeve option that you can add on to any of their trays. The most popular Humanscale keyboard tray is their standard 900 platform with the Clip mouse option. They offer even more customization by offering five different corner sleeve options. You can find a sleeve to fit any width desk of any thickness. Like the WorkRite systems, Humanscale provides ones of the best solutions for a corner keyboard tray, it just costs a little bit more at about $280 for the basic system with the sleeves starting at $39.

A fourth option is to go with a system made by Intellaspace. They run about the same price as the WorkRite’s ($220 + $50) and they offer a variety of boards and mouse platforms. They call their add-on a “corner shaper” but it means the same thing as the other brands. Intellaspace makes really great products that customers always love and almost never return.

Under Desk Keyboard Tray Buying Tips

Buying an under desk keyboard tray system for a computer workstation may seem overwhelming at first, but do not worry my friends because the tips and advice found here will lead you straight on your way to choosing the best product for your specific application. When you start searching for adjustable keyboard trays online you soon realize that the options and styles available are endless. This article will focus on “ergonomic” systems which attach to the underside of your worksurface, not the trays or drawers that sit on top of your desk. While those models are useful to some (and usually much less expensive) you really need a full system that you connect to your existing furniture to enhance your comfort while working on the computer (which increases productivity) and also keeps your shoulders, arms, wrists and hands in a more natural (neutral) position, thereby decreasing the risk of developing serious muscular conditions over time. If you’re the type of person who has a hard time seeing the long-term benefits of a product it is OK, because with the right system you’ll immediately feel less strain and fatigue while typing and using a mouse. So, in essence, a high-quality underdesk keyboard platform pays you now AND pays you later.

Tip #1: Measure the dimensions of your computer keyboard and mouse area so that you know how much space you need on your new tray(s) to work comfortably. This will correlate to what size trays you need to buy. Most systems include one platform to hold your keyboard (whether it be a standard or ergonomic split-key model) which usually measures approximately 19″ wide and 7″ to 9″ deep, and a second connected mousing platform that varies in size and shape (8″ to 10″ diameter circular trays are common). There are also other systems that are simply one large keyboard and mouse platform (one single tray, usually rectangular in shape measuring approx. 27″ wide and 7-9″ deep). Properly determining how much surface area you need before buying will prevent you from ordering the wrong size and having to exchange.

Tip #2: Measure the amount of flat, unobstructed space you have on the under-side of your desk. Keyboard systems are attached to desks via steel mounting tracks that are usually 5″ to 7″ wide. Multiple track lengths are normally an option to accommodate for varying furniture builds. Generally, mounting tracks are available in various lengths between 14″ and 27″, with the general standard being between 21″ and 22″. The reason track length is important is because it affects the position of the system when stowed away (retracted under the desk).  For most keyboard trays to fully retract underneath your desk when not in use they require a 21-22″ track. Short tracks are usually available (under 21″) if you don’t happen to have enough clearance with your chosen furniture, and longer tracks (up to 27″) are also sometimes offered if you have the extra space and wish to push your system far under the work-surface when stored.

Who Makes The Best Keyboard Trays?

If you’ve already come to the conclusion that you need a computer keyboard tray system you may now be wondering which one to buy. Chances are you have a specific budget in mind, so lets take a look into what you can get for what you want to spend. For the budget-conscious consumer there are a few good options. Comfort Keyboard Co. offers two systems that are around $100; one that is the width of a standard keyboard with an attached articulating mouse tray, and a “big board” which utilizes a single tray design while providing enough usable surface area for both the keyboard and mouse. 3M and Kensington also make a few decent ergonomic keyboard tray systems in the same price range. The value brands give you a functioning product without breaking the bank. However, if quality is what you’re after than you’re going to need something a little better. If you want a nice sturdy system made of high-quality, long-lasting materials than you’re going to have to spend more. For $250 to $300 one can attain a premium adjustable keyboard tray made by Humanscale or WorkRite, which will look nicer, last longer, and feel sturdier and more luxurious. These two brands have been making keyboard systems for a very long time and their products are immensely popular among the corporate world. This is largely due to the higher price of their items because a system like this would fare just as well in your home as it would at your office. At the time of this writing the best and most popular Humanscale keyboard tray system model is the 5G mechanism with the standard keyboard platform (model 900) and clip mouse tray (models 90 & 91). WorkRite’s most popular system has been the banana board for many years, but they offer a great selection of keyboard platforms and mouse trays in various sizes and styles. WorkRite keyboard trays use a ball-bearing mounting track (with the standard Pinnacle 2 arm) which is the primary difference between their system and Humanscale’s. This small design touch results in smoother action when adjusting the system and greater ease of use. These brands also use different materials in their components but both are generally equal in quality.

Why Do I Need A Keyboard Tray?

The reasons for buying and installing a computer keyboard tray are numerous. Anyone who uses a computer on a daily basis can benefit from using this piece of ergonomic furniture. Computers are everywhere and almost everyone uses them, either at the office or in their own homes. Thinking about your body and your health makes you a responsible and intelligent computer user, and your long-term safety and comfort should be a priority. An adjustable keyboard tray system is one of the many “ergonomic” devices you can utilize that can help prevent common injuries and conditions resulting from daily computer use. Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is the most common and most often diagnosed computer-related condition people face. One of the more well known repetitive stress injuries is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, which effects your hands, wrists and forearms. Frequently repeated tasks, like typing on a keyboard or using a mouse, are the root cause of these types of ailments, and installing a high quality tray is a surefire way to reduce tension in your shoulders and arms.

Preventing any such conditions from becoming a problem in your life is a great reason to buy an ergonomic keyboard tray, but what about the present? I mean you’re spending all that money on a new system now right? Besides keeping you safe, keyboard trays can greatly increase your comfort and productivity at the computer. Studies have proven that the introduction of ergonomic products into the home or workplace can have positive effects on work performance and can allow your body to use the computer longer before feeling fatigued.

Another popular reason for installing a keyboard tray is to reduce desktop clutter and create more work space on top of your desk. Moving your keyboard and mouse off of your worksurface can open up previously unused areas and also add some style to your computer setup. Overall this little piece of furniture is a smart investment for anyone who is serious about their comfort, health and safety.

What Is A Keyboard Tray?

A keyboard tray is a piece of ergonomic computer furniture that is designed to hold your keyboard and mouse and is generally used to move the location of such input devices, either moving to a fixed position or being on-the-fly adjustable. Keyboard trays attach to your desk or work surface and allow you to easily change the position of your keyboard and mouse so that it is safer and more comfortable to work on the computer. There is a wide variety of keyboard trays on the market but most of the popular systems attach to the underside of your desk or worksurface.

Each manufacturer and distributor may use different terminology to describe their products. Most often the keyboard tray names will include the words “ergonomic”, “adjustable”, “articulating”, “platform” and “system”. For the most part these words can all be used to describe the same thing. Some vendors sell the parts of these systems individually in which case you may find the terms “tray” and “platform” used to describe a single part of a complete system, so be sure to use your due diligence when shopping around.

“Ergonomic” is a term used to describe a product that is designed to help relieve discomfort and prevent serious long-term injuries related to daily computer use. Almost every keyboard tray system that is marketed as Ergonomic will bring the keyboard and mouse closer to the user and this allows their hands, arms and shoulders to be in a more relaxed, neutral typing posture.