What to Look For in a Keyboard in 2021
You might look at the keyboard market today and be a bit shocked at the choices (and prices). A keyboard is more than just a keyboard now, and there’s a lot more going on underneath the surface that will affect how it works.
There are two main types of keyboards—membrane and mechanical keyboards. Membrane keyboards are the more typical keyboards you’re used to or something you’d see in an office setting. They’re named after the membrane underneath the keys that register key presses. These tend to be less expensive, but they’re fine for typical day-to-day office work.
On the other hand, mechanical keyboards use spring-loaded switches underneath each key instead. These switches give more direct tactile feedback when you’re typing, which leads to more accurate keystrokes and a more durable keyboard. Mechanical keyboards are, on average, more expensive as a result.
Most of our keyboard recommendations will be mechanical keyboards. While they are typically more expensive, they provide a big upgrade over a membrane keyboard for a more accurate typing experience. If you’re set on a membrane keyboard, though, don’t worry, as we still have some great recommendations for you!
Best Keyboard Overall: Razer Pro Type
- ✓ Orange mechanical switches allow for quiet typing
- ✓ Clean design will look good in an office setting
- ✓ Can be used for light gaming, too
- ✗ Battery life isn’t the best
- ✗ If you’re used to membrane keyboards, it’s still loud
If you want a keyboard that can handle both productivity and light gaming, and look great while doing it, you’ll want the Razer Pro Type. This is a mechanical, gaming-quality keyboard that will look great in any office setting. It also happens to match our favorite computer mouse, as well.
The Razer Pro Type uses Razer’s custom-made orange mechanical switches, so this keyboard will be quieter than the more common red and blue mechanical key switches. If you’re coming from a normal membrane keyboard, these switches will still be louder than what you’re used to. But you’ll get a much smoother typing experience without the loud clacking noises you’ll haer with some of our other keyboard picks.
You can use this keyboard wired or wirelessly, but the major fault with the Razer Pro Type lies with its battery life when in wireless mode. Reviews state that the keyboard’s battery can barely last an eight-hour day’s worth of work. The life can be extended by turning down the LED brightness, but it appears only to help marginally. If you need an exclusively wireless keyboard, though, we have plenty of other options for you below!
In general, though, this keyboard is great for both productivity and casual gaming, and the sublet LED makes the keyboard really shine. With a $140 MSRP, this is about average in terms of mechanical keyboard prices. Just make sure to keep it plugged in!
Razer Pro Type
The Razer Pro Type is a great mechanical keyboard that can go in any office. The orange switches ensure that your typing isn’t too loud, and the quality allows you to use it for light gaming, as well.
Best Budget Keyboard: Logitech MK270 Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo
- ✓ A keyboard and mouse for just $30
- ✓ One Bluetooth dongle works for both devices
- ✓ Decent build for the price
- ✗ Uses batteries
- ✗ Serviceable, but doesn’t do anything special
- ✗ Mouse is small
If you just need any keyboard, Logitech makes a simple keyboard and mouse combo that will get the job done. At just $30 MSRP, the keyboard is surprisingly competent. If you just need a wireless keyboard to type on, the MK270 does the job.
This is a basic silicone keyboard with a few media buttons and a small but competent mouse. That’s it!
That’s really it, though. If you want programmable buttons, mechanical switches, or anything for gaming, you’re going to need to spend a bit more money. This set is competent, but that’s all it is. It’ll get you through the workday at the office, but you owe it to yourself to spend a little more if you use your PC for anything else.
Also, unlike most wireless keyboards on this list, you’ll need to provide your own batteries to keep the MK270 powered up. The batteries don’t drain fast, but it’s something to keep in mind if you’re planning on picking this one up.
Logitech MK270 Keyboard and Mouse Combo
Looking to save some money? You can grab Logitech’s basic keyboard and mouse combo for just $30! Just don’t expect to do anything fancy with it.
Best Wired Gaming Keyboard: Razer Huntsman V2
- ✓ Customizable actuation points let you make the keyboard feel exactly how you want it
- ✓ USB pass-through lets you charge a device from the keyboard itself
- ✓ LED lighting looks great
- ✓ Dedicated media buttons and dial
- ✗ Expensive, even by gaming keyboard standards
- ✗ Louder than a typical mechanical keyboard
Razer is a well-known name among gamers for its high-quality computer accessories, and the Razer Huntsman V2 keyboard is no exception.
What really stands out about the Huntsman V2 is that you can set the actuation point of your keyboard, a.k.a, the point at which your keyboard registers a keypress. For hardcore gamers, that means you can set the exact point a keypress counts as an input, leading to better gameplay because the keyboard is customized to your exact comfort level.
You’ll also get Doubleshot PBT keycaps, which are a type of keycap made to withstand consistent use. There are also media buttons, nice-looking LEDs, a wrist rest to help prevent strain, and a USB port pass-through, so you don’t have to reach over to your computer to plug in a flash drive.
But, of course, this all comes with a hefty price tag. With an MSRP of $250, this is our most expensive recommendation on this list. If you play video games on your PC a lot and need the level of precision the Huntsman V2 provides, it’ll be worth it. But if you’re looking for something a little less hardcore, you might be more interested in our best overall pick.
Also, while mechanical keyboards are generally loud, it’s important to note that the Huntsman V2 is a bit louder than the average mechanical keyboard. Reviews state that the build of the keyboard lends to the louder clacking noises. If the noise of a mechanical keyboard is too much, you’ll want to pick up the wireless gaming keyboard we recommend instead.
Razer Huntsman V2
With the ability to set your own actuation point, the Razer Huntsman V2 provides a gaming keyboard experience like no other. You’ll also get dedicated media buttons, nice LED effects, and a premium wrist rest.
Best Wireless Gaming Keyboard: Corsair K57 RGB
- ✓ Low-latency Bluetooth promises less than 1ms of lag
- ✓ Dedicated media buttons and six macro buttons
- ✓ Membrane keyboard will be quieter than mechanical counterparts
- ✗ Must be plugged in to change LEDs
- ✗ Many gamers prefer mechanical keyboards for gaming
Interestingly enough, there aren’t many full-sized, wireless gaming keyboards. While many mechanical keyboards are gaming-quality, they’re usually either wired or smaller like a TKL or 60% keyboard. It makes sense, as gamers are typically worried that wireless Bluetooth connections open them up to input lag or dropped button presses.
But, that isn’t always the case, as the Corsair K57 RGB keyboard proves. This keyboard has what Corsair calls Slipstream Bluetooth technology, which mainly just means they made sure there’s only a 1ms delay with inputs. That’s barely anything at all!
The K57 is also a full keyboard, complete not only with all of the keys and number pad you’d expect but also dedicated media buttons. On the left side of the keyboard are also six additional keys that are programmable to whatever you may need them for. Whether you need a certain hotkey combination for productivity or a gaming macro, you can program the extra keys for whatever you need.
There is also something else that’s interesting about the Corsair K57 RGB keyboard—it’s not a mechanical keyboard. This is actually a membrane keyboard, made with gaming in mind. As most companies now push mechanical keyboards, this makes the K57 very unique. But, if you want a mechanical keyboard, you’re going to have to look elsewhere.
Also, a common review complaint about this keyboard is that you need the keyboard plugged in to change the RGB lighting on the K57. It’s a bit odd, as most wireless keyboards can update their lighting without being plugged in. Still, if the ability to change your lighting on the fly isn’t a dealbreaker, the K57 is a solid pick.
CORSAIR K57 RGB
Membrane gaming keyboards are rare these days, but the K57 proves that you can do it without giving up performance. This wireless keyboard offers low-latency Bluetooth that ensures you won’t have any noticeable input lag.
Best Bluetooth Keyboard: Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard
- ✓ Seamless Bluetooth connection with both Windows and Mac products
- ✓ Cost-effective, yet still quality
- ✓ Emoji key is handy ?
- ✗ Oddly missing Print Screen, Scroll Lock, and Page Break buttons
- ✗ Simple in execution compared to some of the other recommendations
While many of the keyboards on this list are wireless and use Bluetooth to connect, if Bluetooth functionality is your main concern, you probably aren’t interested in the bells and whistles of some of the other categories on our list. Instead, you’ll likely be more happy with something simpler, like the Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard.
This full-sized Bluetooth keyboard can sync with Windows products, Apple products, and mobile devices. Microsoft also boasts a battery life of up to two years with the keyboard, so you don’t need to keep too many sets of batteries lying around.
The Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard is, in essence, a straightforward keyboard, much like Apple’s Magic Keyboard. There is one neat addition, though, with the emoji key. Emojis have been available in Windows for a while now, but they’re hidden behind a hotkey combo. With the Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard, the right Ctrl key is replaced with an emoji key, making it easy to insert them in your posts and articles.
Oddly enough, though, the keyboard is missing the Print Screen, Scroll Lock, and Pause keys. It’s hard to tell why they’re missing, but if you use them a lot, you’ll want to grab another keyboard on this list. But overall, this is a solid, simple keyboard with a long battery life and is easy to set up.
Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard
While Microsoft makes this keyboard, you can use it to connect to Apple devices, too! This is a simple, effective Bluetooth keyboard that isn’t flashy, but also will not disappoint.
Best Ergonomic Keyboard: Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard
- ✓ Ergonomic shape reduces wrist strain
- ✓ Dedicated media and emoji keys
- ✗ Unusual shape makes it take up a lot of desk space
- ✗ Not a gaming keyboard, so it’s only good for productivity
Ergonomic keyboards, much like ergonomic mice, come in a variety of shapes and forms. Generally, if you get yourself a nice wrist rest that elevates your wrists, it’ll do a lot to help prevent injury, but you can also take it one step further and get the Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard.
This full-sized, wired keyboard has a split shape, making it so that keys are specifically set to the left and right hands. the shape places the hands in a more natural, somewhat tilted position, reducing strain. The design takes some time to get used to, especially if you’re not used to touch typing, but the adjustment is worth it for your health!
Of course, a keyboard like this is meant for the office and the workday. You can’t really use it for gaming or anything heavier than typical office work. In addition, while the Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard has dedicated media and emoji keys to add some functionality, it’s also very big.
The split keyboard design makes it take up more space than even normal full-sized keyboards. If desk space is a premium, you might want to grab our TKL recommendation instead.
But if you have desk space and you want to protect your hands and wrists, the Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard is a tested and solid choice for your next keyboard.
Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard
Featuring a split keyboard design, the Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard takes some getting used to, but will keep your wrists in a more natural position, reducing strain.
Best TKL (Tenkeyless) Keyboard: Logitech G915 TKL
- ✓ Compact design without sacrificing too many keys
- ✓ Wireless capabilities cut out the wires
- ✓ Thin and great looking
- ✓ Still has media controls
- ✗ Expensive
- ✗ Changes via Micro USB, not the more common USB-C
- ✗ Might be a little too thin, as there are reports of users breaking it
Tenkeyless (or TKL) keyboards are named as such because they’re missing the numerical keypad, similar to many laptop keyboards. TKL keyboards have become more popular lately, as many people don’t use the Numpad consistently and appreciate the extra desk space. They’ve become especially popular with gamers, as the extra room is important for mouse movements.
The Logitech G915 TKL is a gaming quality TKL keyboard that’s one of the best around. The G915 is wireless but offers Lightspeed wireless technology, which is just Logitech’s way of saying there is little to no input lag.
You’ll also still get dedicated media and volume buttons, which isn’t common in the more compact keyboard forms. Logitech’s G series also has great-looking LEDs that aren’t too bright, straddling the line between a cool gaming keyboard and one that’s not overdoing it with the lights.
The G915 isn’t cheap, with a $230 MSRP for any of the three models available. Some Amazon reviews also mention that they broke their keyboard due to its thinness. However, the G915 is still solid for most gamers—it’s just that if you’re a more aggressive player, you might want to go for something that can handle key mashes. If you’re not sure, you can also check out Review Geek’s review on the G915, as well!
Logitech G915 TKL
Looking to save a little space on your desk, but don’t want to give up too many keys? Your best initiation to TKL keyboards will be the Logitech G915.
Best 60% Keyboard: CORN Anne Pro 2
- ✓ Clean design looks good in an office or a gaming set up
- ✓ Variety of switch styles allows you to customize your keyboard
- ✓ Wireless allows for up to eight hours without being plugged in
- ✗ 60% format requires the using the Fn key for many common keys
- ✗ Lesser-known company means lesser-known software for LED customization
60% keyboards, named for having sixty percent of the keys that a full keyboard has, aren’t big with the mainstream keyboard audience yet. Many bigger, well-known companies have started to offer Tenkeyless or slightly smaller keyboard options, but 60% has been mainly left to niche keyboard makers. If you want the smallest yet still functional keyboard around, you’ll want the CORN Anne Pro 2.
You can tell CORN is a niche keyboard company because the Anne Pro 2 offers no less than 10 different switch styles to choose from. You can pick between different mechanical switch colors for different typing feels, as well as different switch creators (such as Cherry MX and Kailh) to customize your experience even further.
The white version of the Anne Pro 2, in particular, looks great too and will fit in well with an office space or home setup. If you use a lot of keyboard shortcuts for productivity, though, be careful with 60% key layouts, as common keys like the ‘F’ and arrow keys are designated to key combinations with the Function keys. It’s an adjustment if you’re used to full keyboards!
If you want just a few more keys, you might want to check out the FNATIC STREAK65. As the name suggests, this is a 65% keyboard, so it’s ever so slightly bigger than the Anne Pro 2. With the slightly bigger size comes four programmable keys, so you can set them to whatever keys you need them to be the most.
CORN Anne Pro 2
If you’re a keyboard enthusiast that wants a 60% keyboard, you’ll want the Anne Pro 2. You’ll get a variety of different switch options to make sure you love your new keyboard.
If you’re fine with a 65% keyboard, the FNATIC STREAK65 will be a great choice. The extra keys are programmable keys you can set to whatever you want them to be!
Best Mac Keyboard: Apple Magic Keyboard
- ✓ Built for Mac users, pairing automatically with devices
- ✓ Build is minimal but still comfortable to type on
- ✓ Nails the Apple look
- ✗ Expensive for what is essentially a standard keyboard
- ✗ Doesn’t work with Windows
- ✗ Not everyone is a fan of compact keyboard designs
Do you need a keyboard to go with your Mac? You’ll want to get the Magic Keyboard! Apple’s keyboard is, of course, specially made for Mac devices, and it’ll even automatically connect to your Mac device. No fiddling around with Bluetooth settings with this!
The Magic Keyboard more than just looks like an Apple device, though! It feels great to type on, too. The minimalist style is a bit misleading because although it’s compact and looks more like a laptop keyboard than a desktop one, it still types wonderfully. If you need a number pad, Apple recently released a full-size Magic Keyboard, too.
This keyboard has a distinct look and feel, but that also means that not everyone will enjoy it. If you’re looking for something for gaming or anything more than casual productivity, the Magic Keyboard won’t make the cut. It only has the minimum keys to make it a full-fledged keyboard, without any media keys or extra features that even our budget pick have.
On top of that, the Magic Keyboard is on the expensive side. Some of our gaming keyboard picks are more expensive, but they also have a lot of extra features—the normal Magic Keyboard is $99 for just, well, a compact keyboard.
Still, though, if you’re a Mac user and you’re not doing any heavy gaming, you’ll find a lot to love in the simplicity of the Magic Keyboard.
Apple Magic Keyboard
If you’re a Mac user, you will probably want to stick with Apple accessories, and the Magic Keyboard is a great typing experience in and of itself.
Apple Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad
Apple has a full-size Magic Keyboard if you need the numerical keypad and the buttons spaced out more traditionally!