• Karen O'Keefe OTR/L

Desk Accessories: What is Helpful and What is Not


What are the best desk accessories?

If you search Amazon for Best Desk Accessories, you will get over 7,000 results. If you don’t know what you are looking for, that is a ton to sort through. Honestly, the only way to know what the best desk accessories are for you is to have an ergonomic assessment performed at your workstation.


But, even then you have to sort through some helpful and not so helpful products on the market. Today we will review some of the best desk accessories that you may want to consider and ones that you may want to stay away from.


Best Desk Accessories


Finding the best desk accessories will depend on your workstation, either a sitting or standing desk.


If you are at a desk with a computer screen, look for an ergonomic keyboard, mouse, and monitor stand or arms.


Best keyboards for sitting / standing at a desk


  • Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000

  • Comes with padded support for your palm.

  • Curved key bed with an ergonomic arc, and reversed slope.

  • A few customizable keys.

  • Zoom slider in the middle of the keyboard to allow a quick zoom in and out function.

  • Less expensive, $50 range.



  • Kinesis Freestyle2 Ergonomic Keyboard For PC

  • Similar to the Ergodox Ez with a true, split keyboard.

  • But less than half the price.

  • Zero degrees slope, minimizing the height of the keyboard to improve wrist positioning.

  • Can separate the keyboard up to 20 inches.

  • Customizable keys.

  • Requires 25% less force to tap the keys.

  • Ergodox EZ

  • Takes some getting used to.

  • Customizable to your ergonomic requirements.

  • Customizable keys.

  • It is split in half, with the ability to independently change the angle of either half of the keyboard.

  • Start with the keyboards in line with either shoulder and adjust from there as needed.

  • Spendy, but could be well worth your money, $300 range.



One of the best desk accessories to spend money on and time finding the best one for you is the keyboard.


Why? Because the keyboard typically requires constant, repetitive use of both hands.


The most important part of the keyboard is finding one with an angle that allows you to have a neutral and comfortable wrist position. And, if it does not come with padded support for your palm, you may want to look into getting one.


A neutral wrist position means your hand is in line with your forearm. There should be a straight line from your elbow, through your wrist, and into your hand.


This position minimizes stress and strain to your fingers, wrist, and forearm.


Padded palm support should still allow you to keep a neutral wrist position. This support should also be soft and rounded.


Best mouse for sitting / standing desks:


If you haven’t yet, you may want to try a vertical mouse. This upright mouse, allows you to keep your whole arm in a neutral position, think of it like a handshake. It also reduces pressure through the wrist and palm.




  • Or the Logitech Mx Vertical

  • Wire and wireless options.

  • 4 months of battery life.

  • Claims it can reduce muscle strain by 10%.

  • $100 range.


If you just can’t get used to the idea of a vertical mouse, then look for a horizontal mouse that has comfortable, full hand support, and one that is designed for your dominant side.


Logitech MX Master 3

  • Large thumb rest and keeps your wrist in a neutral position.

  • 70 day battery life.

  • Can recharge for a full day in 3 minutes.

  • $100 range.


  • Microsoft Sculpt

  • Bulbous shape lifts your wrist off of the table to decrease pressure.

  • Minimalist design.

  • $30 range.


Best Monitor Accessories for Sitting or Standing Desk


When it comes to picking out a monitor, style is only half of the battle. You also need to consider the height and depth of the monitor. These 2 variables are best modified with use of stands or monitor arms.


Monitor stands provide an easy way to elevate a monitor screen, whether you are at a sitting or standing desk. An ergonomic assessment will best tell you what height your monitor should be at, but aim to have the top of the screen at your eye level.


You should also take into consideration how many monitors you have. If needed, pick out a stand that can accommodate many monitors or one that can handle more weight than single monitor stands.



  • FITUEYES, single monitor stand

  • 2 tiered so you can store items such as your keyboard, mouse, phone, etc.

  • Fits most monitors, lap taps, televisions, and printers or fax machines.

  • They also have double monitor stand options.

  • $30 range.



If you have a sit-stand desk, you may need an adjustable stand, or better yet, an adjustable arm. An arm will clear up desk space and allow more customization which comes in handy when going back and forth between sitting and standing.



  • Jarvis Monitor Arm

  • Supports monitors up to 19.8 pounds.

  • Accommodates screens up to 32 inches.

  • 360 degree swivel.

  • Can upgrade to support 2 monitors.

  • $100 range.


  • LX Desk Monitor Arm, Tall Pole

  • Great for people over 6 feet tall.

  • Support up to a 25 pound monitor.

  • Accommodates screens up to 34 inches.

  • In the upper $100 range.


While you could use less expensive, basic accessories, all of the above “best desk accessories” will allow you to feel better, be more productive, and enjoy your work more.


You could opt for a plain and simple mouse, keyboard, and maybe even use a 3 ring binder to elevate your monitor. But these really are not good long term solutions.


Now to answer the question, what is helpful and what is not.


What is Not Helpful


First of all, avoid using anything homemade, these do not make the best desk accessories. Home made accessories are not helpful, even if you think this “quick fix” will save time and money.


Just like the 3 ring binder should not be a permanent monitor stand, a folded towel does not count as palm padding. And don’t even think about using a box to elevate your screen.


A folded towel may feel good for the first few minutes, but it is not padded or cushioned enough to support your wrist or palm for a full work day. This support should be soft and maintain a depth of 1.5 inches


A box, or 3 ring binder, will not work as a monitor stand because it is simply not sturdy enough to hold up the weight of a monitor over time. This may work for the first week or so, but eventually these objects will break down. Plus, one bump into your desk and the monitor may topple over.


Whether it is your keyboard, mouse, or monitor stand or arm, you will get the quality you pay for. While you want to avoid spending too much for unnecessary features that are not helpful, you also want to watch out for buying something too cheap and dealing with poor quality and design.


This could ultimately compromise your ergonomics and have negative consequences.


What is Helpful


Work with your employer to have an ergonomic assessment at your workstation. This assessment will give you the exact specifications to look for when designing your station.


You can then use the above recommendations for the best desk accessories to ensure you are buying good quality and well rated products.


 

Karen O’Keefe, OTR/L has combined her passion for Hand Therapy with the rewards Ergonomics can bring to her clients over the past 32 years. Co-founder of Exeter Therapy Associates and now Access Sports Medicine, she has specialized in Ergonomics in the workplace, along with musculoskeletal and neurological injuries.

Karen is equally passionate about hiking, biking and cooking. She lives with her husband in Kittery, Maine.

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