The best keyboards of 2021

  • Ergonomics, wired or wireless, and other factors come into play when choosing a keyboard.
  • Our tips for choosing a keyboard will help you pick the right one for your setup.
  • The Das Keyboard 4Q is our pick for the best keyboard because of its unique notification system. 

When it comes to your home or office setup, a keyboard shouldn’t be an afterthought. You want something that’s comfortable and won’t strain your wrists, but there are also a lot of decisions to make. While there are a lot of inexpensive options, you don’t want to sacrifice comfort and support for something you use for hours every day.

If your computer doesn’t have a ton of USB ports, you might want to consider a wireless keyboard. Gamers will have a different set of priorities than someone who’s using a keyboard mainly for typing. Whatever you choose, you’ll want to make sure it’s compatible with all the devices you’ll use it with. 

Ergonomics are an important component of any good work or gaming setup. Be sure to factor in keyboard layouts and height, so they work with your typing style. Sound and key feel matter a lot to some people, with some preferring a clickier, responsive experience. Whatever your criteria are for a keyboard, you should find something on our list.

Here are our picks for the best keyboards:

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

 

The best keyboard overall

The Best keyboard Das Keyboard 4Q

The RGB backlighting on the Das Keyboard 4Q doubles as a notifications platform, you can get alerts on your keyboard.

Pros: Unique alert system, two USB ports 

Cons: Q software takes some getting used to

Many keyboards come with RGB backlighting, but the Das Keyboard 4Q puts it to use, letting the colors serve as notifications as reminders. The logo is dark and unobtrusive, so it looks more like a work keyboard than a gaming one, until all the lights start flashing. 

The Q utility allows you to set up individual keys to light up for reminders like Google Alerts and weather forecasts. You can even customize it so that the keyboard lights up if you’re tagged on social media or blinks when it’s time to take a break and move around. 

In its full review, PCMag says the Das Keyboard 4Q’s N-key rollover feature is what makes it perfect for people who need a keyboard that keeps up with them. The device packs a lot into its 18-by-6.8-inch layout. There are media controls in the top right, including a large volume knob. The switches are Cherry MX Brown, not quite as clicky as the MX Blue.

The Das Keyboard 4Q includes two USB ports and an instant sleep button, rounding out an already excellent feature set. 

The best gaming keyboard

best gaming keyboard Razer huntsman elite

The Razer Huntsman Elite gaming keyboard has optical switches designed for faster speed and performance. 

Pros: Optical switches, discrete media controls, wrist rest is very soft 

Cons: Keyboard takes up second USB port on your PC

Speed is essential for gaming keyboards, and that’s what the Razer Huntsman Elite offers with its optical switches. Instead of using metal contact leaves, it has a laser under every switch. It’s among the first gaming keyboards to feature the technology, which uses infrared light beams to detect keystroke actuation. 

While the Razer Huntsman Elite is a clicky switch, the click mechanism is separate from the switch’s actuation mechanism, making this ideal for rapid tapping. The switches have their own stabilizer bars to ensure consistent switch behavior no matter which corner you press. Each switch is rated to last 100 million keystrokes, according to Razer, compared to Cherry MX’s 50 million keystrokes.

You can easily program the Razer Huntsman Elite with Razer’s Synapse software, which allows for all keys and keypress combinations to be remapped for complicated commands. This should help with players of first-person shooters as well as various esports. 

Tom’s Guide raves that this keyboard is comfortable while maintaining a futuristic look, although they thought the light-up padded leather wrist rest was a little gaudy. The wrist rest magnetically attaches to the keyboard, so you don’t have to use it. 

For its hefty price tag, this keyboard boasts layers of personalization options and in-came effects like underglow lighting unlike any other.

The best ergonomic keyboard

Best ergonomic keyboard Logitech Ergo K860

The ergonomic design of the Logitech Ergo K860 can help support your wrists and improve posture. 

Pros: Terrific ergonomic design, comfortable palm rest, Bluetooth support for up to three devices

Cons: Ergonomic design takes getting used to, pricier than standard Bluetooth keyboards

Logitech’s wireless Ergo K860 is the best ergonomic keyboard we’ve used. Not only does it provide a more comfortable typing experience, it can help improve posture and alleviate wrist strain. 

The keyboard rises to a slope in the middle, and the layout of the alphanumeric keys is split apart. If this is your first ergonomic keyboard, you will have to get used to the different typing position, and you’ll probably make some mistakes for a bit. This design puts you in a proper typing position, as it reduces pronation, and places your arms, neck, and shoulders in a more relaxed posture as well. Logitech says the palm rest along the bottom can reduce wrist bending by 25%. Flip-out legs can tilt the keyboard even higher if needed. 

The Ergo K860 operates on two AAA batteries, which provides the keyboard with two years of power, according to Logitech. The device only connects to a computer wirelessly, either via Bluetooth or with a USB dongle that’s neatly stored beneath the keyboard. 

We tested the Ergo K860 with a MacBook Pro using Bluetooth. Set-up was quick and easy, and the keyboard quickly re-pairs every time we start up the laptop, without fail. It can pair with up to three Bluetooth devices. In addition to the MacBook Pro, we paired it with an iPhone and iPad, and we seamlessly switched between three without issues.

The keyboard is very lightweight, but the unique design does require annexing a bit of table surface. The plastic makes the Ergo K860 feel deceptively cheap, but from our experience, it’s well-made.

Insider Reviews Senior Editor Les Shu tested the keyboard for several months, and he hasn’t noticed significant improvements to his sitting posture (good workplace ergonomics requires more than just changing a keyboard), but the Ergo K860 has alleviated any pain or discomfort in his wrists. This was especially noticeable when he returned to using a non-ergonomic keyboard. While it is pricey for a keyboard, he thinks the ergonomic features are well-worth the cost.

The best multi-device keyboard

Best multi-device keyboard Logitech K780 Multi-Device Wireless Keyboard

The Logitech K780 Multi-Device Wireless Keyboard allows you to use tablets and other devices like a PC.

Pros: Easily share files among connected devices, soft keys for quiet typing

Cons: Circular keys may not be for everyone

If you want to turn your tablet into a computer, the Logitech K780 Multi-Device Wireless Keyboard could be the right keyboard for the job. At 6.2 by 14.9 inches and less than an inch in height, it has a low profile and fairly compact footprint. A built-in cradle holds smartphones and tablets right above the keypad. You can connect to your devices via Bluetooth or use a USB receiver to connect to a laptop or desktop.

A Tom’s Guide review noted that its circular keycaps will be a turn-off for some users, but also says Logitech’s software offers a lot to make up for that. Logitech’s Flow technology allows for file-sharing from one device to another, as long as both are connected to the keyboard via Bluetooth. 

The keyboard’s customization options allow you to remap keys. The keyboard already has designated keys that allow you to switch back and forth between three connected devices. It does weight just under two pounds, so you might not want to lug it everywhere.

The best large-print keyboard

best large print keyboard Nuklz N

The Nuklz N Large Print Computer Keyboard makes typing easier for novice computer users or for those with visual impairments. 

Pros: Good for new typists and those with visual impairments, easy to use

Cons: Large footprint, no backlighting

The Nuklz N Large Print keyboard has high-contrast keys in large, bold type that are easier to see in low or dim lighting. It’s lightweight, and the keys are soft and quiet. There aren’t a ton of features, so there’s no backlighting, for example.  

The Nuklz N connects via a USB cable, so you’ll need an available port to use it. In order to make it highly visible, some keys, like delete, are abbreviated, so it may take some time to familiarize yourself with them. 

The keyboard is on the large side, measuring 18 by 7 inches, and it’s 1.5 inches tall. It weighs just over a pound. 

The best portable keyboard

best portable keyboard Ikos Bluetooth Folding keyboard

When folded, the Ikos Bluetooth Folding Keyboard is smaller than an iPhone 6 Plus. 

Pros: Lightweight, folds up fairly small, good battery life 

Cons: Keyboard layout may be a deal breaker for some

The Ikos Bluetooth Folding keyboard is a bifold-style portable keyboard that has a tactile feel when typing. Slim and lightweight, it’s half a pound and measures 11.54 by 3.32 inches. It’s 0.47 inches thick when you fold it up.

A two-hour charge produces 80 hours of battery life, about two months on standby mode. Its case doubles as a stand for your phone or tablet, but it works remotely with devices that are about 30 feet away. 

If you’re using multiple devices, this keyboard’s built-in memory feature will track and remember those connections. You can switch back and forth between three devices by toggling between slots. Because it folds up, the Ikos keyboard has a gap in the middle of the keys. That may take some getting used to when you’re typing. 

Some reviewers pointed out that you’ll need a hard, flat surface to use the keyboard and noted that unfolding and folding the unit doesn’t turn it on or off; you will have to do that manually. 

The best quiet keyboard

best quiet keyboard HP Wireless Elite Keyboard V2

The HP Wireless Elite Keyboard V2 opts for quiet over clicks. 

Pros: Nearly silent typing, battery indicator light 

Cons: Uses 2 AAA batteries instead of rechargeable ones

Some people love the click and clack of a keyboard, but others will prefer the quiet of the HP Wireless Elite V2. One of the reasons this keyboard is so quiet is its scissor-style keys, which have a silent, spring-like rebound. 

The full-size keyboard is 17.28 by 6.02 inches and 0.61 inches high. It can connect to up to five devices at once and has a 16-month battery life, though it runs on 2 AAA batteries you’ll have to replace. An indicator light illuminates when they’re running low. 

This keyboard’s wireless connection allows you to move it around to find the right typing distance, within a 30-foot radius. There are hotkeys dedicated to volume control and other desktop features, as well as additional media playback controls. 

In its review, PC World noted that the V2 responds quickly and quietly to each keystroke and is very comfortable to type on.

How to choose a keyboard

Our top pick is a great keyboard, but it won’t be right for everyone. Some people might need an ergonomic keyboard or prefer wireless options. Here are some basic features you’ll want to think about when selecting a keyboard. 

What are you using it for: The first question to ask yourself is how you’ll be using your keyboard. Gamers will want responsive keyboards, while someone doing a lot of data entry won’t want a layout without a numeric keypad. Some keyboards make it easy to switch between devices, so that’s important to take into consideration if you’re looking to use yours with a laptop, phone, and tablet, for example. 

Ergonomics and layout: If you find yourself with a lot of wrist pain during the day, you might get some relief with an ergonomic keyboard. These are shaped very differently from a flat keyboard. They curve upward in the middle and separate the keys into two groups. That means you’ll have to get used to a new way of typing. Folding keyboards will also split up keys. If you’re used to typing on a Macbook, you might want to look for keyboards with a similar layout or one that you can remap; the order of some keys is different for Mac and PC keyboards. 

Wired or wireless: You’ll never have to worry about your keyboard suddenly running out of battery if you use a wired keyboard, but they also take up valuable port space. If your laptop doesn’t have room for something to be always plugged into it, then wireless might be right for you. You’ll want to make sure your devices are compatible with the keyboard as well. 

Mechanical keyboards: Mechanical keyboards are big with gamers, because of their responsiveness. Their design does make them louder, however. The type of switch will make the sound level and feel of the key different. A mechanical key tester can give you an idea of what it’s like to type with different switches. 

 

Read the original article on Business Insider