Keyboard Trays – How To Find The Right One?

If you happen to work or play at a desk that doesn’t already come with a built in keyboard drawer or you’re looking to maximize desktop space by having your keyboard and mouse in a separate area, you may decide to invest in an under the desk keyboard tray. These either attach to your desk by means of clamps or by drilling and fastening permanently.

Ergonomics plays an important role in preventing fatigue and injury when spending long hours at your desk. For this reason, there are many keyboard trays to select from that you can adjust the settings to your personal preferences.

The type of keyboard tray you will choose will depend on your desk and its dimensions, as well as how you choose to sit, stand and position yourself at your workstation comfortably.

It is important that you find an ergonomic keyboard tray that will accommodate your neutral zone. The idea is to minimize your need for unnecessary movement and reaching for your mouse, keyboard or any other peripherals that you’re trying to access while you’re working at your station. Everything is within reach while in a comfortable seated/standing position.

What makes up a keyboard tray?keyboard tray components

The five components of a keyboard tray include:

1. The track. It mounts underneath of your desk and is what you use to attach the mechanism to the desk (adjustable railing or arm). A little work is required involving Drilling and possibly screwing the track into your desk.  *Note: In the case of a sliding drawer style keyboard tray, many times the rails and bracket are all one piece that is attached to the underneath of the desk. (See the selection below)

2. The mechanism. If you choose a keyboard drawer with gliding track, you will have the option of sliding it in and out, but may be limited when it comes to making major height adjustments compared to an arm-like articulating keyboard shelf. These will provide your adjustment for height and tilt for the best possible posture for your size and sitting position.  In many cases you can find trays that will also swing from side to side. Usually, these will come in 2 parts: Half of the mechanism will attach itself to your tracking which is attached to your desk itself. The other end will hold the keyboard platform you choose.

3. The keyboard platform. Depending on your personal preferences like the space you require. Some will choose a larger platform that can hold your keyboard and mouse on one level. Others like to have a compact space for the keyboard with a slide out or attachable mouse tray. Check the dimensions before purchasing to match your present equipment (keyboard & mouse).

4. The Palm rest. Typically, made of foam gel cushioming for absorption and support. Covered in synthetic leather, nylon, or synthetic knit for a smooth and cool surface for resting your wrists on.

5. Mouse platform. Some keyboard trays are laid out in a combo system, with dimensions that meet your typical set up for a keyboard and mouse. Others focus on a separate mouse tray that can clip to the railing or a slide in and out.

The Video Below Shares Some Helpful Tips

5 Benefits Of Having A Keyboard Tray: 


 1. Customizable. Depending on your size and the way you comfortably sit, you can adjust the settings of your keyboard desk tray to match. Even if you share a desk, it is quick and easy to find your sweet spot again.

2. Ergonomic.  Promotes proper typing posture for the shoulders, and arms, and encourages good wrist health, when used with the correct settings. Choosing a keyboard tray with a negative incline can help avoid needless strain and possible carpal tunnel issues.

3. Space Saver. Great for compact workstations. If you have limited space on your desk, it can be a huge advantage to have a keyboard tray that will slide under the desk or easily removed when not being used.

 4. Compatibility.  There are a variety of options when finding a keyboard tray that will best suite your desk as well as your mouse and keyboard, so that you have a place for everything and tuck it away when you want to. In the event that you do not enjoy drilling and fastening, perhaps a clamping style keyboard shelf could be an alternative. 

 5. Sitting or Standing Flexibility.  Finally, you can switch from a sitting or standing position, if you prefer doing a little of both throughout the day. By the push of a bottom, you can seamlessly change your working position.

Important features to look for when choosing the best keyboard tray include:

Height adjustment. Especially when locating the setup specific to your workspace needs, both articulating and keyboard drawer styles can be height adjustable. Note that drawer style platforms on rails have a limited range of height adjustment compared to other models.

Clearance – If you are concerned about having enough room to fit your lap underneath, look for a low profile design that maximizes knee clearance and keeps you comfortable while typing and mousing in the proper posture. You could measure the distance from your lap to the bottom of your desk and compare it to the depth of space required of your computer keyboard tray.

Track length options.  Depending on whether you have a wide desk or narrow desk, you will find multiple track length options for a variety of desks. Make sure to measure the track length so that it is a good distance under the depth measurement of your desk. Otherwise, it could be too long and stick out the front. A very uncomfortable situation.

Ergonomic control: If you plan to get a lot of use out of your keyboard like typing, you’ll want to consider the ergonomic advantages of the various settings that make you more comfortable and help lessen the wear and tear on your muscles and tendons. Having a wider range of motion and using a negative tilt, for example, can be of benefit.

 Mouse tray mounts. When included with the keyboard tray, they will either be a slideout or attach by means of a clamp. In some cases they are reversable for left and right handed people alike.

Metal clamp system the entire tray attaches itself onto your deskstop by tightening the clamps, as a great alternative to having to drill holes in your desk without the need for tools when fastening to your desk.

Made for corner desks. There are a variety of adjustable keyboard trays that are built specifcally to fit on L-shaped computer desks including corner maker keyboard trays with a smaller track that can seamlessly work on difficult angles.

Watch the short video below to see the functions available in a quality keyboard tray

4 Sliding Keyboard Drawers


Kensington Underdesk Comfort Keyboard Drawer

The Kensington underdesk has been on the Amazon #1 bestseller list for good reason, as it its very popular and fairly simple to install.

This particular keyboard drawer provides you with plenty of space for your keyboard and mouse all on one level area with its extra wide tray.

This will provide you with a comfortable and organ ahmic work environment with its three setting adjustable height and easy Glide drawer that can be mounted at any one of three customizable heights.

Features of this pull out keyboard tray include:

  • Extra Wide Tray: 26 inches of space to accomodate a standard size keyboard and mouse sie by side.
  • Simple Setup & Installation. This keyboard/mouse pull out tray can be easily mounted at to the bottom of your desk for customized comfort.
  • ​SmartFit(TM) system lets you quickly and easily set your optimal viewing height. 
  • ​Cable management system. Helps keep cords from your mouse and keyboard out of the way.
  • ​Mouse pad and wrist rest are included with the tray so it is ready to use after installation.

Most users agreed that this is a good inexpensive keyboard drawer for basic needs while siting at a desk.

Made of fairly sturdy plastic. Middle flexes a minor amount when you rest your hands on the keyboard.  It slides out easily, with a positive lock when pushed all the way in under the desk. 


Fellowes Office Suites Underdesk Keyboard Drawer

Are you looking for a cheap alternative desk surface that can be tucked away under when your not using? The Fellowes gliding desk tray is a decent option.

If you have a desk with a crossbar running across it that prohibits you from installing a standard ​under-desk keyboard tray with a rail, this tray may be the solution. In some cases, the rails install "over" (i.e. out of the way) of certain desks with a crossbar.

Features if this office keyboard tray include:

  • Drawer with glide track. Comes ball-bearing glide tracks that ensure the drawer slides smoothly. Also, a keyboard stopper that holds the keyboard securely in place while you work .

  • ​Height adjustable that allows you easily place your keyboard in your ideal position with your choice of 3 different height settings (2-1/2, 2-1/8, or 1-3/4 inches below track)
  • ​Ecofriendly. Made with from 100{72efb0c32e43f5bdedbae15851376fd4ecf028e81305272a05daa31b373c7d97} recycled materials.
  • Mouse Platform. Comes with a stow away mouse platform that can be used on either the left or right side of the tray.
  • Durable: This keyboard drawer's sturdy and impact-resistant.
  • Dimensions: 11.6 x 22 x 2.3 inches

The instructions are fairly straightforward and comes with a template. Basically, screw the brackets into the sliders,  mark the template, and screw the brackets into the desk.

​Some concerns with this keyboard tray included the fact that it is made of hard plastic without padded support. Also, the mouse tray has a tendency to let the mouse fall and may not be the best ergonomic position for your hand.


Bush Business - Universal Keyboard Shelf

The Bush Business keyboard platform is another great choice for a wider keyboard tray that will accomodate both a keyboard and mouse on one flat surface.

​It has been said that this happens to be the perfect size for a gaming keyboard and mouse if you need the extra room.

 Unlike some plastic keyboard trays, being metal, it has a solid feel. It is solid, sturdy, and glides nicely back and forth.

The glides have a "snap" out in a fixed position, which is far superior to many other keyboard shelves that seem to move while typing.

​Overall this ubder the desk keyboard shelf is a fairly decent option as relatively easy to assemble.

Features of this ​sliding keyboard shelf include:

  • Holds Keyboard/mouse combo. This shelf has plenty of room for both a mouse and keyboard.
  • Height adjustable to 2.5" from the bottom of the desk to the shelf.
  • Soft Touch painted surface that is both slip resistant and a  mouse track pad.
  • ​Safety and performance. Meets required ANSI/BIFMA standards.
  • ​Assembly required. Take the time to carefully follow the clear and accurate instructions. Mark the position of the holes, and drill, so that mounting is made fast and easy.
  • Dimensions: 30.12W x 16.58D x 3.97H
  • Compatible with Quantum desks. If you you currently have or are in the market for a Quantum desk, the predrilled holes in the tray are a match.

If you need quick and easy access to your mouse and keyboard, you can stay organized with its smart design. 

​Many have commented on its sturdy and durable build, although you may need to invest in a wrist pad.


3M Adjustable Under-Desk Keyboard Drawer

Built for smaller workstations with minimal surface space due to it's adjustable keyboard management system. Finally, a comfortable and roomy adjustable desktop keyboard drawer that can fit both keyboard and mouse together.

​It comes with 3M's own anti-microbial leatherette gel wrist rest that is firm enough to provide the support you need, but soft enough for optimal comfort.

​Features of this 3M keyboard desk drawer include:

  • Versatile: Fits many standard keyboards.
  • Extra wide platform for mouse and keyboard.
  • Mousing surface can be used to the left or right of the keyboard. 
  • An integrated cable management to keep cords from getting tangled in the track.
  • Limited height adjustment. Set the track up to 3 different positions.
  • ​Smooth gliding action due to its steel ball bearings within its tracking.
  • Dimensions: 25 x 16.4 x 2.4 inches

​A couple of potential issues that were mentioned about this computer keyboard tray were that sometimes the left side locks early and the right remains free, which can be annoying when gaming.

For the price this would be considered a good quality tray as many users have reported their collective satisfaction.

5 Articulating Keyboard Trays


Kensington Modular Keyboard Platform 

Kensington is a well-known name products that promote office ergonomics. In particular you will be discussing Kensington under desk drawers.

Reduce stress injuries by promoting the correct typing angle which allows you to say much more comfortable when spending many hours typing at a keyboard whether it is for work or play.

​These articulating under the desk platforms come with a smart fit system. This allows any user to find the ultimate level of comfort by matching your hand size with a color diagram.

Simply find the color setting in your keyboard tray to the color code that matches your hand size. This will allow you to set the better height and tilt angle for for an optimum typing position.

Features of the Kensingtion K60718US include:

  • Versitile platform.  It's low profile articulating arm, allows you to make it adjustable up to 6" in height and has a tray that swivels side to side.
  • SmartFit Sytem. Easy color-coded window lets you easily adjust the unit to your recommended settings.
  • 3 Unique modular platforms that attach together for a large keyboard and mousing area or you can remove  platforms to fit small desks in order to match with the different size keyboarding surfaces.
  • ​Tracking. Comes with a 19" track that attaches underneath of your desk, which in turn fastens to the arm and platform.
  • ​Tilt function. Has a positive and negative tilt setting to help you find the most comfortable typing angle. (+/- 15 degrees tilt)
  • Keyboard wrist rest to provided needed support for your hands and wrists while typing for long periods of time.
  • Dimensions: 20.8 x 6.1 x 11.2 inches


Waterloo Premium Arm - Keyboard & Mouse Tray


Uncaged Ergonomics Ergonomic  Keyboard Tray 


3M Keyboard Tray with Sturdy Wood Platform


Bush Business Furniture Articulating Keyboard Tray