What is the best wrist rest material? Gel, memory foam, or others?

Give it a rest.

Screengrab via KBDfans

Wrist rests provide extra support for keyboard users to help them feel more comfortable when spending hours in front of their PC. They can also reduce fatigue and pain in the wrists caused by long-term keyboard use. Some people also believe wrist rests prevent ailments associated with long-term keyboard use, such as Carpal tunnel syndrome.

Many keyboards, like the Corsair K95 and Razer Huntsman V2, come with built-in wrist rests, and it’s also possible to buy standalone wrist rests, like the HyperX Wrist Rest and Aidata CGL006B. Users are spoiled for choice when it comes to wrist rests, and there are many options to choose from in different sizes and materials. Many wrist rests come in materials like plastic, resin, memory foam, gel, and even wood. Not all these wrist rests have the same benefits, and some provide more support than others. 

This article dives into the world of keyboard wrist rests to see which material is the best for you.

Memory foam wrist rest

Image via HyperX

Memory foam is a soft material made from polyurethane. It’s known for being soft yet durable and is used for supportive products, such as mattresses, sofas, and car seats.

There are different types of memory foam, including the traditional and gel-infused types. Traditional memory foam retains heat from the user’s body and molds to its shape. Memory foam wrist rests provide ample cushioning and sometimes conform to the shape of the user’s wrists. 

Gel-infused memory foam has better cooling properties than traditional memory foam. This type of memory foam is infused with heat-resistant gel beads or liquid to absorb body heat. When this technology is applied to wrist rests like HyperX’s, it offers the same comfort as traditional memory foam but stays cool after long use. 

Memory foam wrist rests are common among high-end gaming keyboards because of their comfort and support. The soft memory foam absorbs the pressure of the hands to provide more comfort. Its softer feel is also generally preferable to the hard surface of a desk.

There are also a couple of disadvantages to memory foam wrist rests. Some versions can be expensive, especially if they are gel-infused. Other memory foam wrist rests can absorb sweat and odors and may need regular cleaning.

Wood wrist rest

Image via Glorious

Companies like Glorious sell wood wrist rests as an alternative to memory foam and gel options. Wooden wrist rests are harder than memory foam alternatives and don’t have a soft-touch feel to them. They provide firmer support and often have a smoother surface with less friction. Unlike memory foam wrist rests, wooden alternatives don’t get worn out as easily and are resistant to sweat and odors. They are also easy to clean, only requiring a wipe down with a damp cloth.

Wood wrist rests have a couple of major disadvantages. Many users don’t like the hard feel of wooden wrist rests and find them to be uncomfortable. This type of wrist rest can also be more expensive than memory foam alternatives, depending on the make and model.  

Most wood wrist rests are aftermarket products. It’s not common at all for keyboards to come from the factory with a wooden wrist rest, and users have to purchase them separately. 

Gel wrist rest

Photo via Kensington

Wrist rests like the 3M WR305LE and Kensington 62398 have a soft gel interior with either a plastic or leatherette exterior. Gel wrist rests are soft and offer ample support, making them very comfortable. Instead of molding to the hand’s shape like memory foam, they have a bouncier feel and return to their usual shape as soon as the user lifts their arm.

One of the benefits of gel wrist rests is that they don’t retain heat like memory foam options and stay cooler for longer. Gel wrist rests are also less susceptible to absorbing sweat and odors compared to memory foam alternatives. Like wood alternatives, gel wrist rests are typically easier to clean, but it depends on whether the exterior is plastic or fabric.

Similar to all the other wrist rest types, gel products have some drawbacks. Some users don’t like the feel of plastic-coated versions because it isn’t soft like fabric. Another concern is durability. If gel wrist rests get punctured, they can potentially leak and damage other peripherals or components, although this is unlikely.

Plastic wrist rest

Image via Steelseries

Some gaming keyboards like the SteelSeries Apex 7 and office keyboards, like the Logitech K350, have plastic wrist rests. Plastic wrist rests are hard, like the wood options, and don’t feature a soft touch. They are often flatter than gel and memory foam options and offer minimal support compared to the other types.

The main benefit of plastic wrist rests is their low price. They are easy to manufacture and cost less than the other wrist rest types. Many manufacturers integrate plastic wrist rests into their designs for this reason. While plastic wrist rests aren’t the softest, they have less friction, and it’s easier for users to slide their wrists along them. Plastic wrist rests don’t absorb moisture and are easy to clean compared to memory foam and some gel options.

While plastic wrist rests often come as standard with certain keyboards, there aren’t as many aftermarket options as the memory foam and gel alternatives. Most buyers prefer investing in memory foam or gel options rather than buying cheaper hard plastic wrist rests.

Resin wrist rest

Image via KBDfans

Resin wrist rests often come in a range of stunning colors to brighten up a setup. This type of wrist rest is made from clear epoxy that can contain wood or other materials. The exterior is often transparent, with a glossy feel. While there are plenty of resin wrist rests available for purchase, there are also many molds available online to help users to make their own.

This type of wrist rest has a lot in common with wood alternatives. Both types aren’t often sold together with keyboards and are aftermarket upgrades. Resin wrist rests also have a hard feel like wood with low friction. The hard surface provides good support but isn’t as comfortable as gel or memory foam.

Many of the benefits of resin wrist rests are also similar to the wood options. Resin wrist rests are resistant to sweat and odors and are easy to clean. Another huge benefit is that users can make their own wrist rest at home and customize it to their tastes.

When it comes to choosing the best material for a wrist rest, the two most beneficial options are memory foam and gel. These types of wrist rests are supportive and have a softer touch that’s comfortable for hours of use. Some users may prefer looks to comfort and opt for the elegance of a wood or resin wrist rest, while budget-conscious buyers may sick with a plastic alternative because it provides basic support at a low price. Users looking for a colorful wrist rest to stand out can consider resin options as long as they don’t mind its harder surface.

There’s no right or wrong answer when choosing a wrist rest, and the decision comes down to personal preference and budget.

This article includes affiliate links, which may provide small compensation to Dot Esports.