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Looking for a new keyboard after your old one just finally gave up and typed up its last sentence? Maybe your long and intense gaming sessions finally took its toll on your years-old typer that you got for free? Or perhaps your fingers want something a little less rigid, a good model that will keep your hands comfortable even after long hours of use.
No matter your reason, getting a solid keyboard will give you more benefits than you’ve imagined. After all, what other components of your computer do you handle the most?
How would you know which one is the best fit for you, though? There are thousands of models available in today’s market, each with their own specific set of features. To help you make an informed buying decision, we’ve tested the latest keyboard models and observed how they held up after long-term use.
But before we get to that, you should know what kind of keyboard switches there are, and what kind of features should you look for when finding the best keyboards for typing.
Types Of Keyboard Switches
We test our keyboards through regular use and observe how useful their special features are. Different keyboard models have a specific set of key mechanisms, often called switches, and these components play a big factor in how your keyboard feels during use. Essentially, two keyboards with a different set of switches will offer a completely different typing experience.
Keyboards will have different attributes in terms of tactile feel – this includes responsiveness, the force needed for the keypress to register, key travel, and bottoming actions. This combination of factors as a whole will define your typing experience, which might be subjective. Different people might have varying preferences, where one might feel good for you, will feel uncomfortable for another.
You will see different types of keyboard switches, namely, mechanical, silicone dome, and scissor. While there are a few others, these three are the most commonly used. Each of these types will have a different set of pros and cons, and we’ll go through them one by one. Do take note that keyboards of the same type can still be different from each other in terms of performance, which is why trying them out first-hand is important.
These switches feature two membranes made of rubber, and these have dome-shapes (hence the name) that will collapse whenever you press their key. This connects the once separate circuits, which will create a signal and send it to your PC. Dome switches are usually more affordable than the other types, and manufacturers will typically include these in their pre-built computer offers.
This type of keyboard will offer less precision and feel “mushy,” and in terms of travel distance, dome keyboards make use of taller keys, so pushing them down will typically take longer compared to the other types. The difference might be pretty minuscule, but it will eventually add up over time, especially with constant use.
These keys have plastic mechanisms inside them that form a scissor-like structure. This is the part that bridges the connection of the keycaps, allowing for shorter travel distances, and in turn, creates a lower-profile model. Many consider this type to offer some of the best keyboards for typing for its potential of enabling faster performance.
The latest notebooks sport keyboards with scissor keys, resulting in more precise and “snappier” touch compared to their silicone counterparts. These keys also require much less force to register and aren’t as noisy. Some companies take it to the next level and create the thinnest keyboards possible with the shorted travel time- which had some mixed responses with its users.
Scissor-type keyboards are being used for separate models as well, not just for notebooks. There are plenty of available keyboards in the market for PC users that sport these ultra-thin designs that use scissor mechanisms. They are usually smaller and less bulky looking, which good characteristics if you want something a bit more sleek and compact compared to a regular keyboard.
This type of switch uses different sets of designs, but all of them use a basic spring mechanism that is forced down whenever their corresponding key is pressed. This results in a more tactile feel that will often create that signature “clickety-clack” keyboard noise, and depending on the design, they can generate different levels of noise and require different amounts of pressure in order to register.
Thanks to their sturdy and efficient springs and mechanisms, mechanical keys are often a gamer staple because of the precise responses that they offer and their hardwearing design. They are also a common favorite for typists who need to type in high-volumes for their work. Because of a mechanical key’s time-saving and high-precision design, they can do their job with more ease.
One minor downside to the mechanical switch is its space requirement. They’re designed in a way that requires additional vertical space compared to silicone dome keys, resulting in a thicker keyboard. It’s not often that you will find a sleek and compact mechanical keyboard. There are a few low-profile mechanical keyboards in the market, but the majority of the models you will see will have “chunkier” designs.
Mechanical keyboards fall into these three categories, each with their own unique qualities:
- Clicky Switches
Clicky switches will create distinct clicking sounds when pressed, hence the name. These switches will create some tactile resistance that you need to overcome for your press to register. This added resistance is not that all great when it comes to gaming.
Clicky switches are often used by typists who need a clear auditory indication that their presses are registered, so they don’t miss a beat, which is why many consider this switch type to be one of the best keyboards for typing. The potential barrage of clicking noises won’t be suitable in a public office setting, though, unless you want all of your workmates to hate your guts.
- Tactile Switches
These switches use a tiny tactile bump to provide a bit of resistance during key actuation. These switches are quite the opposite of its clicky counterpart since they’re almost inaudible. In terms of versatility, tactile switches can be used for different typing tasks, whether for work or for play.
The quiet performance that tactile switches offer is good for online gaming, where vocal communication is needed. Other players will only hear the sound of your voice because your microphone won’t register the low noise levels that tactile switches produce.
- Linear Switches
Linear switches are often used for the smooth and quiet performance that they offer, giving little resistance in terms of tactility. You press a key without any click or bump mechanism that increases resistance.
When keys are pressed, the material underneath them is usually the component creating the noise, not the switch. Linear switches often feature noise dampening parts like O-rings to lessen the noise. However, these parts will slightly influence how keys feel, and they will also decrease travel distance.
The Ultimate Keyboard Buyers Guide
Keyboard size heavily influences the layout, and depending on your needs; you might want a certain size when buying a new unit. Here are the more commonly used types:
- Full-size (100%)
This keyboard will sport the maximum number of keys, which will vary depending on what kind of layout it uses, namely:
- ISO (USA)- 105 keys
- ANSI (EU)- 104 keys
- JIS (Japan)- 108 keys
horizontally separated alphanumerics, number pad, and navigational clusters are the common layout for this size, with F keys found in a row on the top portion of the keyboard.
This type of keyboard will have a dedicated number pad commonly found on its right side. This is useful if frequently use numbers or simply for added convenience. Depending on your preference, a larger surface area for typing can be more comfortable, while some might see it as inefficient.
This is seen as a full-size model with a different layout, sporting the same keys found in your regular-sized keyboard but in a compact design. The free space usually located above the arrow keys is removed and is replaced by the enter key, and a few navigational keys are placed above the dedicated number pad.
This results in a unique-looking keyboard that doesn’t have any empty spaces with all the keys you will see in a full-sized keyboard. It might take a while to get used to, but the layout that comes with this size can be just as efficient as other more conventional sizes.
- Tenkeyless (TKL, 87%, 80%)
Also known as TKL, this keyboard layout is becoming more and more commonly adopted by many top manufacturers like Razer, Corsair, and Filco, owing to its very compact design.
It features a smaller build because it removes the whole number pad, which doesn’t see much use for most users anyway. This means that only 88 keys at the most are included in this size, depending on what type of layout the model is using. This is, on average, a 20% reduction of the total number of keys, hence its other names 80% and 87%.
TKLs come with some unique advantages. For instance, the smaller number of keys makes this keyboard generally easier to manufacture, which often means a more affordable price.
If you don’t mind having any dedicated number pad, then this keyboard size is a good choice. It comes in a more compact, space-saving form that’s more comfortable even with long hours of use. A smaller size will also mean less weight, so this is easier to bring along than a full-sized keyboard.
For those who want to want something tinier than TKL, a 75% keyboard size features a compact layout that’s 20% to 25% smaller than a full-sized keyboard, removing the number pad along with some other keys that aren’t commonly used.
Contrary to popular belief, 75% of keyboards will retain more keys than a TKL’s. Space is saved by placing the keys together to create a little extra space as possible (much like 1800-Compacts). This creates a different layout where the delete, insert, backspace, and enter keys, which are typically separate, will come in the same column.
Another pretty commonplace layout, this type manages to create 40% less space than a regular keyboard by removing the F keys in the top row and all navigational clusters found on the right side, where all you get is an alphanumeric zone.
Missing keys can still be used, albeit in a more roundabout way through the function key (Fn) often found on the keyboard’s bottom right. You can usually access the missing F keys by pressing Fn and the F key number that you want at the same time.
Arrow keys are replaced by pressing Fn and their letter counterparts (WASD), and the navigational keys commonly found on the keyboard’s right side can be accessed by pressing Fn and a specific letter that corresponds to each navigational key. This can vary depending on the model or manufacturer.
Keyboards of this size might take some time to get used to, but they take up a lot less space and offer a lot in terms of portability.
The best keyboards for typing will sport different layouts, but will have similar basic keys:
- Function keys
Varies depending on the model, but will typically include functions that change the brightness, volume, and other aspects of your system.
- Character keys
Includes punctuation, alphanumeric, numeric, and alphabetic keys
- Modifier keys
Includes the function (Fn), alt, and control (ctrl) keys
- Edit keys
Includes backspace, enter, and delete
- System command keys
Includes escape (esc) and print screen (prt sc)
- Navigational keys
Includes directional keys, page down (PgDn), page up (PgUp), end, and home
- Unique Keys
Manufacturers will add other keys to make certain functions more accessible. Media keys, for instance, will change the video and audio playback. Some buttons are dedicated to powering down the system or putting it on sleep mode.
The keys used per model will vary. For instance, keyboards made by Apple use option and command keys, while most keyboards will have a windows button that acts as both. There are some models that have dedicated number pads for faster numeric input.
In the past, the typical keyboard will have over a hundred keys, but this number has been shaved down to create compact designs, leaving the more commonly used keys and removing the rest.
For alphabetical layouts, the QWERTY system has remained the dominant type for many years now. This system is so named for the first few letters that begin at the top left portion of the keyboard. Another kind of layout is the Dvorak system, offering a different arrangement that many consider having more accurate and fast typing capabilities. Despite this, it remains the lesser-known alphabetical layout.
Typing is a very repetitive physical task that some people need to do for long periods of time, and this can negatively affect one’s health. You might experience something more trivial such as mild fatigue, but there’s a chance that you’ll develop carpal tunnel syndrome if you’re not careful. It’s not too common, but certainly not unheard of.
There are many models that feature ergonomic designs, placing your hands in neutral positions that impart the least amount of stress. Not only will you feel more comfortable, but the less strenuous position of your hands will also help you lessen the chances of inflammation or injury of the tendons and joints.
The best keyboards for typing will often come with extra components and specific designs such as pads to rest your wrists on or curving keyboard layouts that create a more comfortable angle. Some keyboards will be split into two and form an angle, forcing you to position your hands in a more comfortable position.
The Big Debate, Wired VS Wireless?
This is one of the most important features you need to consider when buying a new keyboard. The main advantage of a wireless keyboard is the mobility that it offers. You can use them anywhere within its allowed range without having to worry about a cable wire, and it also means less clutter.
While many consider wireless keyboards to be superior, they do come with a few drawbacks. For instance, they require charging or battery replacements. This adds an extra layer of maintenance that wired models don’t need. Users will often opt to plug their wireless keyboards indefinitely using USB cables, which completely bypasses its main purpose in the first place.
Wireless models also introduce another problem – latency. This means that you have to worry about delay times when pressing keys will be relayed to your PC via wireless means, which often isn’t as reliable as wired transmission. This can be a deal-breaker for gamers, especially those who play competitively. This is hardly an issue for modern keyboards, though. Most manufacturers have released models that have little to no latency issues, but you need it’s something you need to consider if you opt to buy a wireless keyboard.
- Type Of Data Transfer
Lastly, wireless models use two types of technology when transferring data to your main computer system. Some will have radio frequency connections (RF), which might cause interference issues with nearby wireless devices using a 2.4GHz band. Some have Bluetooth connections that don’t generally create interference but require a Bluetooth compatible system, so you might have to buy an adapter that lets your keyboard connect to your PC.
Both keyboard types come with their own set of pros and cons. Wireless models will often cost you more, and you will need to consider more factors that come with buying them, but they offer a lot in terms of mobility. Wired models are cheaper and offer the convenience of not needing any charging. It all depends on what your preferences and lifestyle are.
Getting The Best Keyboard For You Offers Plenty Of Benefits
By taking your time and considering the keyboard features that you need, you’ll start reaping many benefits that include:
- Reduced Health Risks
Typing for long periods of time will eventually take its toll on your wrists and hands. You can easily circumvent these potential risks by purchasing a well-designed model that takes ergonomics into consideration.
- Comfort And Ease
The best keyboards for typing take comfort into consideration. Models designed with palm wrests, tactile switches, customizable bases, and other features that will keep your hands cozy will prove invaluable during long hours of use.
- Improved Performance
Whether you’re a gamer or a writer, you will benefit from a keyboard that delivers solid performance through speedy response times and just the right amount of tactile resistance.
The Best Keyboards For Typing In 2019
Keyboards play a central role in our PC experience, and they have a large impact on our health as well. The best keyboard will let you type with more accuracy and speed, all while imparting less fatigue. Sadly, not all free keyboards that come with our systems will fit the bill.
Purchasing the best keyboards for typing is a complex decision-making process, which is why we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to help you make an informed buying decision. We’ve also put together our own list of the best keyboard models we have tested, taking into account all the important factors that we’ve mentioned in our guide. Here are some of the models that caught our eye:
1. Roccat Vulcan 120 Aimo
- Connection: Wired
- Type: Switch
Roccat has both the capacity for work and play. With its unique set of switches that offer ample tactile feedback, pressing on its keys give just enough resistance to create precision. It also doesn’t fatigue your hands even during extended use, making this model one of the best keyboards for typing.
All in all, it enables responsive feedback that can keep up with fast typing speeds and intense gaming sessions. You also don’t need to worry about latency since this model gives pretty fast response times. It also comes with a useful dial switch that lets you change or mute your device’s volume, and also adjust the lighting.
One minor drawback is its firm wrist set, which is not too ideal, and it leans more on the expensive side.
- Dial switch
- Tactile feedback
- Suitable for both typing and gaming
2. Corsair RGB Platinum (K95)
- Connection: Wired
- Type: Mechanical
The K95 is one of the best models for gaming. It features a detachable wrist set that helps make your long sessions more comfortable, and it has two textures that you can change to suit your preference (rough and smooth).
In terms of performance, it delivers exceptional results. Its key response was very fast, and its tactile feedback offers a good balance. It also features concave keys that help your fingers get comfortable when not pressing on the keys.
The K95 is very expensive, though, but it’s a good investment if you’re looking for a quality gaming keyboard. This very large model might also not be suitable for people who want smaller units.
- Great typing performance
- Comfortable wrist set
- Concave keys
- Beautiful RGB lighting
3. Topre Realforce Silent variable (104UBS)
- Connection: Wired
- Type: Mechanical
If you want a model that delivers smooth and quiet performance, then the 104UBS might just fit your bill. This is the best keyboard for typing if you’re going to use it in a public office setting or when you’re in a bedroom with someone you don’t want to wake up.
The level of sound it produces is similar to that of a membrane keyboard’s (models that don’t have separate keys, thus producing far less sound). However, we found that a few of our testers didn’t like the typing feel of this model, so we recommend that you try it out first before locking in your purchase.
This is also a high-end model, so you might want to opt for something more affordable if it doesn’t fit your price range.
- Good typing performance
- Extremely quiet sound levels
4. Corsair Wireless Entertainment Keyboard (K83)
- Connection: Bluetooth
- Type: Scissor
If you have a PC that’s a dedicated home theatre, then you might like this model its handy features that can help you out. The K83 is solely focused on entertainment. With its light and compact frame, you can easily move this wherever convenient.
It uses many specialized entertainment functions, making it less of a hassle when you need to change some settings. It also offers plenty of options in terms of connectivity, where it includes both 2.4 GHz wireless and Bluetooth capabilities, both of which handle well in terms of latency.
Some might find its trackpad a bit too small, though, and it’s not suited to gaming owing to its smaller design.
- Dual Connectivity
- Comfortable keys
5. Filco Majestouch-2 Tenkeyless
- Connection: Wired
- Type: Mechanical
This Filco model is created with durability in mind, maintaining its level of quality for years, even with constant use.
The Majestouch-2 is a TKL-sized unit that uses less than a centimeter of space for its edges, creating a more compact design and leaving you more room for your desk space. It is also resistant to most impacts and can take even the most rambunctious typists. It also feels comfortable to type with even after long use, and it doesn’t have any latency issues.
One qualm we have about this unit is that it doesn’t offer much in terms of extra functions, but its high-quality build is more than enough to compensate.
6. Logitech Craft
- Connection: Wireless
- Type: Scissor switch mechanism
The Logitech Craft was created for artistic people in mind, offering plenty of useful features that make creative applications much easier to do.
This unit is sufficiently tactile and handles well with long use. It’s also quite a sturdy build, so you don’t need to worry about getting a replacement anytime soon. It comes with a special dial situated in one of its corners that have a variety of different functions. For example, it can control desktop volume, change the level of Photoshop tools, and other settings for content-creating applications.
While leaning more on the expensive side, this is a great model for creators who want to make their digital work a bit easier.
- Multi-purpose dial
- Good tactile feel
7. Leopold (Fc660c)
- Connection: Wired
- Type: Mechanical
If you want something a little more solid and weighty, this Leopold model is a great choice.
It features a little bit more heft in terms of design, and the keys itself feel a bit weightier, which feels good when in use. This is because of the plate mounted switches and PBT dye subbed caps that the model uses, giving a satisfying typing experience that creates an equally satisfying “thock” sound.
Its typing feel might not be ideal for some, though. And because of its build, it has more weight compared to most of the models on our list.
- Great typing performance
8. PFU Happy Hacking Professional 2 (HHKB2)
For typists, writers, and coders on the go, this PFU model’s design will perfectly suit your lifestyle.
It uses an array of useful key combinations and function keys that make work much more manageable. While it does have somewhat of a learning curve, the time you will save knowing about the ins and outs of this model will more than makeup for the time you’ve spent learning them. Another good plus is its distinct pressing sound that almost addicting to listen to.
However, it doesn’t have any arrow keys, which may be a drawback for some, and it’s not really suitable for gaming owing to its unique layout.
- Useful key functions
9. Das Keyboard Prime 13
- Connection: Wired
- Type: Mechanical
Prime 13 is a minimalist’s dream. With its sleek build and reliable performance, this is an excellent choice for those who can afford something that’s on the premium end of the keyboard market.
This model offers two different tactile options to choose from, each offering great use for different purposes. Most products by Das have come with great warranties, and this model is no different.
However, despite having ample free surface, it doesn’t have any media controls. Overall, it might lack some features that might make certain applications easier, but this is still one of the best keyboards for typing that is suited for long use.
- 3-year warranty
- two tactile settings
- sleek design
10. Unicomp Classic 104
- Connection: Wired
- Type: Mechanical
This Unicomp creation has a unique retro feel that warps you back into that era of early technology.
Hidden within its more-than-dated exterior, though, is a high-tech switch design that uses buckling spring. It offers up a good balance of the classic, firm keyboard feel of the past that’s still suitable for modern standards.
We’ve put this last on our list because some might not appreciate the bulky and big build that comes with this retro design. And because it was inspired by older keyboards, it doesn’t offer the most optimal performance compared to other keyboards on our list.
- Nostalgic design
- Satisfying feel
We use our keyboards practically every time we open our computers. We spend long hours typing and pressing these keys, and the strain that our hands and wrists get by using a mediocre keyboard adds up and will eventually cause damage. Having the best keyboard for typing will keep your hands comfortable while allowing you to deliver faster and better typing performance.