While working at a desk is not immediately dangerous, you can have long-term damage from repetitive strain injury (RSI) and other similar conditions. This is why making sure your desk set up is ergonomic is so important, as preventative measures now can stop severe problems from rising in the future. And while there are plenty of items in this market that will cost you hundreds of dollars, there are plenty of budget-friendly options as well.
That’s what we’re going to talk about today. We found six products that are relatively cheap but net you huge ergonomic gains. While you may not be able to purchase stuff like standing desks and more ergonomic chairs on the cheap, you can still improve on what you already have.
Lift Those Wrists: Gimars Gel Keyboard and Mouse Wrist Rest
Many have the bad habit of twisting their wrists in strange ways when using their keyboard or mouse. This is one of the largest culprits of RSI and carpal tunnel, but it’s also one of the easiest to fix. When typing, your wrists should be relatively level with your keyboard, which is exactly what a wrist rest achieves.
Mouse wrist rests aren’t as important and are more situational. If you find yourself angling your wrist upwards a lot when using your mouse, then a wrist rest can help. If not though, the rest can actually limit your movement in certain ways, so it’s really just dependant on your setup.
This two-pack from Gimars gives you both a gel keyboard and mouse wrist rest. The anti-slip padding on the bottom will make sure they don’t move around while you’re working, and the curved design makes them that much more comfortable. You can even get them in three different colors: black, blue, and minty green.
The keyboard rest is tailored for a full-size keyboard specifically, but if you have a smaller board we’d recommend Glorious’ wrist rest, which comes in a variety of sizes, including ones for compact and tenkeyless keyboards (it doesn’t come with a mouse rest though).
Gimars Upgrade Enlarge Gel Memory Foam Set Keyboard Wrist Rest Pad, Mouse Wrist Cushion Support for Office, Computer, Laptop, Mac, Comfortable, Lightweight for Easy Typing Pain Relief, Black
Position your arms and wrists in a healthier position with the help of these wrist rests.
Sit Straight: LoveHome Back Cushion
Posture is important when working at a desk—you don’t want to slouch or lean back too much. This is where a back cushion comes in handy, as it will keep your back in a healthier position even when leaning back.
This one from LoveHome can easily strap itself to any desk chair, is made out of breathable mesh fabric, and comes in eight different colors (azure, beige, black, blue, brown, grey, pink, and violet). You don’t need anything more than that.
LOVEHOME Lumbar Support Pillow for Chair and Car, Back Support for Office Chair Memory Foam Cushion with Mesh Cover for Back Pain Relief - Black
Keep your posture in order with this back cushion.
Raise Your Monitor: SimpleHouseware Monitor Riser
The top of your computer monitor should be at eye-level. Sometimes your monitor may naturally line up with that, but other times you’ll be forced to tilt your head up and down to view the monitor properly—and doing that for long periods of time can be really bad for your neck.
That’s when monitor risers, like this one from SimpleHouseware, are vital. This riser raises your monitor by 5.8 inches and even has storage compartments for your various office supplies. It’s also made out of metal, so it feels nice and sturdy when on your desk. It’s available in black or silver for a little additional customization.
If 5.8 inches is too high for you or you have multiple monitors, then Husky Mounts sells a great two-pack of risers that can be adjusted between 4 and 5.5 inches.
SimpleHouseware Metal Desk Monitor Stand Riser with Organizer Drawer
Keep the top of your monitor at eye-level with this desk-organizer plus monitor riser combo.
No Floating Feet: Mind Reader FTREST 2
Not everyone will need a footrest, but it’s pretty easy to tell if you should buy one. If your feet dangle off the ground when sitting, then you need some extra support for them—simple as that. Your feet dangling like that isn’t good, as it lessens support for your lower back.
This footrest from Mind Reader will ensure your feet are firmly situated. You can easily adjust its angle to make sure it’s comfortable for you and the textured surface helps to make sure your feet don’t slip. It also folds flat for easy storage when not in use.
Mind Reader Rest Ergonomic Foot, Pressure Relief for Comfort, Back, and Body, 1-Pack, Black
Keep your feet firmly situated with an adjustable footrest.
A More Ergonomic Mouse: iClever Vertical Mouse
We already talked about this a little bit, but the way many people use their mouse can lead to RSI issues. Vertical mice aim to alleviate this by forcing you to use your entire arm to move the mouse instead of just your wrist.
iClever offers a great budget option here. It has a smooth design and back and forward buttons on the left side (unfortunately, they cannot be reprogrammed). And the mouse is wireless so you don’t need to worry about any annoying cords.
Don’t worry lefties, Perixx makes an almost identical mouse for left-handed users (although it is wired).
iClever Ergonomic Mouse, WM101 Wireless Vertical Mouse 6 Buttons with Adjustable DPI 1000/1600/2000/2400 Comfortable 2.4G Optical Ergo Mouse for Laptop, Computer, Desktop, Windows, Mac OS, Gray Black
Vertical mice aim to alleviate RSI issues by forcing you to use your entire arm to move the mouse instead of just your wrist.
Makeshift Standing Desk: VIVO Standing Desk Converter
Sitting for hours on end can get uncomfortable and even unhealthy. You should take breaks to stretch your legs more—but if you’re in the middle of work, taking a break can be less than ideal. This is where standing desks come in, as the high-end options can easily switch between sitting and standing positions to be as comfortable as possible. Problem is, they are quite expensive, often reaching upwards of $500.
Now a standing desk converter, on the other hand, is much cheaper, usually in the range of $100 to $300. These rest on top of your desk and can (usually) be adjusted to match your height. You can place your monitors, keyboard, mouse, or even a laptop on them so that way you can work while standing.
That’s exactly what VIVO’s converter accomplishes, as it uses a tiered design to give you a comfortable surface for typing and a higher surface for your monitor. It can lift up to 33 pounds and be adjusted within the range of 4.2 to 19.7 inches. It is the most expensive product on this list, but when it comes to stuff like this, it makes sense to spend a little bit more to get something far superior.
You can find converters under the $100 price mark, but they’ll often be limited in size and adjustability. VIVO’s converter strikes a great balance between features and price, and can prove to be a great improvement for your daily workflow.
Of course, standing on a hard floor for many hours can also be tiring, so you’ll probably want an anti-fatigue mat as well. If so, we recommend Gorilla Grip’s mat for its comfort and large selection of sizes and colors.
VIVO 32 inch Desk Converter, Height Adjustable Riser, Sit to Stand Dual Monitor and Laptop Workstation with Wide Keyboard Tray, Black, DESK-V000K, 32"
Turn your normal desk into a makeshift standing one with this great converter from VIVO.