Find Your Type: 11 Keyboards You’ll Love
You spilled something on your keyboard, didn't you? It's okay, it happens to the best of us, and clearly you don't want to go back to what you had before.
Keyboards are literally known as peripheral accessories, but we decided to put them front and center. You can choose from precision-oriented mechanical keyboards, affordable wireless keyboards, or even a glass keyboard, if you're ready to turn your desk into spaceship.
We narrowed down the field so you could find the best computer keyboard that's right for your typing needs, budget, and design preferences.
If you're ready for a new keyboard, don't be intimidated by this Vader-esque, mechanical keyboard The Das 4 Professional Keyboard is our top pick because it offers a superior typing experience, flexibility on how loud the keys are, and stylish, media-specific controls.
- Typing experience and key feedback
- Dedicated media controls
- USB 3.0 ports
- Not backlit
Don't want another wire cluttering up your desk? Logitech offers two keyboards that will work with just about any operating system that allows Bluetooth connections. We recommend the Easy-Switch Keyboards because they are backlit, well-designed, offer layouts specific to Windows and Mac, and have reliable Bluetooth connections.
- Strong Bluetooth
- Switches easily between Bluetooth devices
- No battery indicator
- Doesn't turn off automatically
This wireless keyboard is great for tablets and smartphones, but can work with larger devices if you don't mind that it's 2–3 inches shorter than typical 13 inch laptop keyboards. We recommend the Arteck Wireless Keyboard for its weight, compatibility (it even works with Amazon Fire sticks!), and backlight.
- Compatible with all major operating systems
- Smaller than average keyboard
- Keys stick over time
Not too expensive, not too cheap, and not overflowing with features, the Logitech G413 Keyboard is the Goldilocks gaming keyboard. If you want extra bells and whistles like a wrist pad or multicolored LED backlighting, upgrade to the Corsair K95.
We recommend the Logitech G413 for your general gaming needs because of its mechanical Romer G switch, customizable keys, and anti-ghosting protection.
- Programmable and swappable keys
- 26-key rollover
- Mechanical switch
- Only for Windows
- One backlight color
Whether you just want better posture or you need a keyboard that gives you a greater range of movement, separated ergonomic keyboards can help. We recommend the Kinesis Freestyle 2 Keyboards and VIP3 accessory kit for their comfort, wireless connectivity, and the range of mobility they offer.
- Separated keyboard halves
- Pairs with three devices
- For full ergonomic benefit, need accessory kit
- Learning curve
If you're always zooming in on web pages and documents, it might be time to zoom in on your keyboard. We recommend the Azio Vision Keyboard for its large font, backlit keys, and durability.
- Large font on keys
- Wrist pad
- Durability issues
- Loud keys
Yearning for the good ole days, when keyboards were loud and tactile? When you typed at blistering speeds? When you put your wpm on you resumes? Whether or not you fell in love with IBM's keyboards in the 1980s, we recommend the Unicomp Ultra Classic Model M Keyboard for the hardcore typists out there.
- Buckling spring keys
- Mac and Windows versions
- Adjustable angle
- No backlight
Don't quite want the thunderous sound of a typewriter, but love the aesthetic? Azio understands and made this great mechanical keyboard. We recommend the Azio MK Retro Keyboard because of its sleek design, typewriter-like key switches, and multi-operating system functionality.
- Cherry MX Blue switches
- Works with Windows and Mac
- No backlight
- Keys are fingerprint magnets
You might be surprised by how many features can get packed into a keyboard, but we believe you ultimately make four choices: wired or wireless, membrane or mechanical, chiclet or standard, and backlit or not backlit.
Here's what we considered and why you should think about them too.
Wired vs. Wireless
Wireless keyboards are becoming increasingly popular, but you might not want to ditch wired keyboards just yet.
If you need your keystrokes to reach computer as fast as possible, such as when gaming, wired keyboards are generally better than wireless. Whether connected by Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, wireless keyboards will have a slight delay.
Wireless keyboards also need to be charged on a regular basis. On the plus side, they reduce wire clutter and give the keyboard more mobility.
Membrane vs. Mechanical Keyboards
There are two kinds of people in the world: people who know a lot about mechanical keyboards and people who've never heard of them. As Apple computers and laptops become increasingly popular and laptops from other companies get thinner, chiclet (see below) membrane keyboards are becoming the default keyboards.
Membrane keyboards are generally cheaper, quieter, and sometimes thinner than their mechanical counterparts. Beneath these keys are layers of plastic that trigger circuitry on the board, giving them a somewhat mushy feel. These keys generally don't provide as much feedback, leading to more aggressive typing.
Mechanical keyboards use a variety of different switch technologies to provide tactile and/or auditory feedback when you type. This trains you to type with more precision and to avoid bottoming out (pressing the keys all the way down into the circuitry). By having a lighter touch, the internals of your mechanical keyboard last longer, justifying their higher cost.
The most popular kinds of switches are linear, tactile, and clicky. Cherry MX switches are the current gold standard, but some companies make their own switches that blur the boundaries.
Linear switches are the most similar to membrane keys while tactile switches provide some physical and auditory feedback. Clicky switches are the most like older keyboards and typewriters because they provide substantial tactile and auditory feedback. Buckling springs take the clicky switch to another level and are known to be revered in the typing community.
Chiclet/Island vs. Standard Keys
Traditionalists may like their keys close together and high off of the board, but chiclet keyboards, made popular by Apple, are infiltrating PC and Chromebook designs. The difference between the two comes down to spacing and key travel time.
A high key travel time is just a way of saying the keys are tall and pressing each key takes more time. This style is typical of standard keyboards, but is more of an issue with membrane keyboards than mechanical keyboards. The latter are designed to avoid bottoming out. Chiclet keys have a shorter key travel time. Key travel time can affect speed, but in terms of comfort, it's a matter of preference.
Standard keyboards can feel a little cramped, especially if you're used to a chiclet layout. Standard keys are right next to each other, but most are smaller at the top than the base Chiclet keys are generally a bit farther apart and some people find this to create a more comfortable typing environment. Not all chiclet keyboards are the same, however, so the distance between the keys can be jarring even if you're used to this design.
Standard keyboards can be mechanical or membrane, but chiclet keyboards are almost always using a membrane. A few companies are working on mechanical chiclet keyboards, but we'll have to wait to see how effective they are.
Backlight vs. No Backlight
If you're a touch typist or you plan on using your keyboard in an office or other well-lit environment, you probably don't need a backlight. If you need a keyboard for personal use, like travel, gaming, or just some late-night web surfing, illuminated keys are your best friend.
Footbars, Kickstands, and Risers: These are all ways to elevate a keyboard so it sits at an angle. Some people find typing at an angle is more comfortable, but others don't mind a flat keyboard.
Wrist Pads and Palm Rests: Another ergonomic plus, wrist pads are a continuation of the keyboard and offer a comfortable area for your palms so your wrists are a gentler angle.
How We Chose
We considered the keyboard features mentioned above and consulted expert reviews from Wirecutter, PC Mag, and several tech news publications. We also explored videos of various keyboards in use, to get a sense of their durability and the volume of typing. Finally, we cross-referenced this information with verified user reviews on Amazon to find the best keyboards for your needs.