Here at HotRate, we’ve talked at length about gaming keyboards and ergonomic keyboards. We’ve talked about wireless and productivity keyboards. But it’s high time we talked about keyboards in more general terms. If you aren’t sure what you like or if you’re looking for a more general-purpose keyboard, this is the guide to start with. We cover an extensive range of different keyboard options and make sure that you understand the advantages and disadvantages of each.
But we’ll dig deeper than that, too. If this is your first time buying a keyboard, we’ve put together a guide to make sure that you understand the most important specs and features to pay attention to. Finally, we’ll address some of the most common questions we hear from readers looking to get a keyboard.
- 10 Best Keyboards in 2021
- 1. Logitech K800 Wireless Illuminated Keyboard
- 2. Kinesis Advantage2 Quiet LF Ergonomic Keyboard
- 3. Dell Black KB216 Wired Keyboard
- 4. Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2
- 5. Das Keyboard 4 Professional MX Brown Mechanical Keyboard
- 6. Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000
- 7. Corsair K68 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
- 8. Filco Majestouch 2 Keyboard
- 9. KLIM Chroma Keyboard
- 10. Unicomp Ultra Classic Model M Black Buckling Spring 104 Key USB Keyboard
- Keyboard Buyer’s Guide
10 Best Keyboards in 2021
1. Logitech K800 Wireless Illuminated Keyboard
A Best-in-Class Productivity Keyboard
Logitech offers one of the best selections of computer accessories around - with best-in-class choices for gaming, ergonomics, and productivity. The K800 is currently available for less than $60, and it's clearly built with the latter in mind. This keyboard not only comes with illuminated backlighting, but motion sensors automatically activate it when your fingers come within close proximity of the keys, making it a great choice for working at night.
And if there's one thing that Logitech understands, it's how to make a keyboard feel seamless underneath your fingertips. The PerfectStroke key system doesn't quite reach the same level of precision as a mechanical keyboard, but it does a great job of distributing the force of your fingers and reducing the amount of force and thought you need to dedicate to typing. There's even a palm rest to keep you healthy during longer work or gaming sessions.
2. Kinesis Advantage2 Quiet LF Ergonomic Keyboard
One of the Most Natural Typing Experiences Around
Kinesis has one real goal in the computer accessories space: to produce the most ergonomic keyboards and mice you'll find anywhere. Whether you're a serious gamer or a professional, this is a device that's designed to provide you with a healthy way to stick it out through longer sessions spent in front of the keyboard. This is a pricey keyboard, but that's because of the unique design. The angled keys and sloped surface prove a more naturalistic typing experience, but it may take a little longer to get used to.
And you don't need to worry about compatibility issues here. Whether you're operating on any version of Windows, Mac OS, or a Linux distribution, the simple plug-and-play design can get your keyboard up and running in just a few seconds. And with one-touch remapping and macro keys, you can create a highly customized experience ideal for your needs.
3. Dell Black KB216 Wired Keyboard
Simple and Straightforward Design on a Budget
You don't need to spend a hundred dollars or more just to get a decent keyboard. With a meager $20 price tag, this wired Dell keyboard is one of the top budget models available today. This is a slim and lightweight keyboard to help you make the most of your desk space without losing out on any care functionality.
You might assume that such a budget model would come with little in the way of customization, but VicTsing has actually done a pretty decent job here. This model comes with a number of multimedia media shortcuts for navigating music, movies, and TV. There's no need to install any drivers, either; all you have to do is plug it in and let it work its magic.
4. Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2
Peak Performance for Pro Gamers
Razer makes a wide variety of different keyboard and mouse models suited for just about everyone, but they tend to offer peak performance in models tailored towards pro gamers. That's certainly the case with the BlackWidow. The $150 price tag is a bit expensive, but the results will be apparent as soon as you place your fingers on the keycaps. The keys respond well to touch and are rated for a best-in-class 80 million clicks.
Of course, it wouldn't be a Razer product without some pretty impressive lighting options. The BlackWidow is powered by Chroma technology, which means you get access to a full 16.8 million possible color combinations, and anti-ghosting for up to 10 keys makes this among the best choices for competitive gamers and more productive typists. Adding even greater value to this gaming keyboard is the fact that five different customizable macro keys are also included.
5. Das Keyboard 4 Professional MX Brown Mechanical Keyboard
Boastful in Both Name and Performance
Das Keyboard simply means "The Keyboard" in German. That's a somewhat boastful choice of naming conventions, but the commitment to professional productivity on display in this model makes for a very persuasive argument. The Cherry MX switches are among the best choices around for precise typists, and they're connected by gold contacts for a higher level of reliability. They're also rated for a lifespan of over 50 million keystrokes and full N-key rollover with anti-ghosting in place.
This model can also serve as a hub for charging your devices and plugging in other accessories. The USB 3.0 ports on the Das Keyboard can provide 10 times the speed of USB 2.0 - a very thoughtful choice for both gamers and creative professionals who require a higher level of responsiveness. The magnetic footbar helps you adjust the height and tilt to match your specific ergonomic needs, and it can also double as a ruler as well.
6. Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000
The Microsoft Sculpt may be getting most of the attention in the keyboard space, but the Microsoft Natural is just as worthy of your attention. The split design is constructed with ergonomics in mind - minimizing the stress on both your wrist and your fingers, and it's supported by a soft palm lift that facilitates a more natural resting position.
Whether you're trying to be as productive as possible or simply listening to music and watching TV, there's a whole bank of dedicated media buttons positioned at the top of this model as well as volume keys set at the bottom for easier access. And additional hotkeys can be customized to your preferences.
7. Corsair K68 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
The Corsair K68 is one of the best gaming keyboards and remains competitive with the Razer BlackWidow despite being available for a significant discount. You can choose from Red, Blue, or Speed variants of Cherry MX switches so you can get tactile feedback for your gaming experience that's perfectly suited to your typing style.
Its value as a gaming keyboard is further improved by the inclusion of full anti-ghosting, and that makes this among the best keyboards for office productivity too. And being a gaming keyboard, it naturally comes with some high-quality and highly customizable RGB backlighting. It's also highly resistant to dust and water.
8. Filco Majestouch 2 Keyboard
Need a keyboard that's a little more compact? The Filco Majestouch 2 offers a portable keyboard design that doesn't sacrifice quality in the process. It makes use of fully mechanical switches while removing the dedicated number pad for the sake of helping you travel with your laptop. You can pick from Cherry MX red, black, blue, and brown switches.
Apart from that, this is a pretty standard keyboard. It sports a simple black design and some reliable white painted keycaps. It's probably not the number one choice for gaming, but professionals on the go can get some serious mileage out of this keyboard.
9. KLIM Chroma Keyboard
Need a keyboard but working on a tighter budget? The KLIM Chroma offers a respectable range of features and highly customizable RGB lighting, and the fact that this keyboard doesn't come from one of the biggest brands means you can get it for a song. It retails for right around $25.
For gamers distracted by tapping, the key noise comes in pretty low, and it promises a decent 2 millisecond response time for the demands of more serious gamers. This is a keyboard that's built to last too. It's rated for up to 10 million clicks and requires no additional drivers.
10. Unicomp Ultra Classic Model M Black Buckling Spring 104 Key USB Keyboard
With its black, white, and gray color scheme and traditional print keycaps, the Unicomp Ultra Classic is a keyboard designed with the demands of retro-style enthusiasts in mind. The aesthetics here may look a little threadbare to some, but a certain breed of gamer and coder will really appreciate the look.
The Ultra Classic uses a buckling spring "Model M" format that was first designed by Microsoft in the 1980s and still seems modern in terms of its effectiveness. It may not be the most modern keyboard, but it's a reliable standard that continues to rank among the best models.
Keyboard Buyer’s Guide
Defining the “best keyboard” is a tricky proposition. After all, the features that make for the best gaming keyboard are likely going to be different than what you’d look for in the best keyboard for the office. We’ve selected the best keyboards on our list with that in mind, and we’ll treat the guide the same by providing you with more specific information about what features will be most important depending on your needs.
Your typing experience can be dramatically impacted by the type of keyboard that you use. Mechanical keyboards are generally recognized as the best option around. While they’re more expensive and louder to type on, these keyboards make use of mechanical switches that provide them with a better tactile response and higher levels of accuracy. There are a number of different types of mechanical switches on the market, but the one that’s generally praised the most is Cherry MX. They come in a variety of colors that offer varying levels of resistance.
Unlike mechanical keyboards, membrane keyboards make use of circuits rather than physical switches. You’ll have no trouble finding one, and they tend to be much cheaper than a mechanical keyboard. The key caps on a mechanical keyboard tend to be a bit mushier to the touch, but you should be used to it if you’ve ever used standard keyboards before. Many come with a wrist rest for better ergonomics.
There was a time when a wireless keyboard was excluded from keyboard gaming. That’s because of increased input lag; the time it takes for the signal you type on your keyboard to reach your computer. But wireless keyboard technology has improved over the years, and all but the most professional players usually won’t notice the lag on a wireless keyboard. The two big disadvantages here are the fact that wireless keyboards cost more and require you to keep an eye on the battery life. Fortunately, battery life is somewhat mitigated by the fact that most wireless keyboards use a rechargeable battery.
Special Use Keys
The standard keyboard design makes use of 104 keys that includes alphanumerics, a dedicated number pad, function keys, control keys, and directional keys, but different manufacturers will add or subtract these depending on the needs of their customers.
- Macros are mostly used for gaming but can be a huge boon for office productivity, too. With a macro, you can assign complex functions for various software and games to a single key.
- Media controls are a typical inclusion on keyboards. Computer media controls typically include one-touch functions for adjusting your volume, turning mute on and off, and fast-forwarding and rewinding media, but may also include more complex functions like accessing your email with a single button press.
- Some models will remove the number pad. This may be a disadvantage if you work in a number-heavy field, but most users should be fine with the numbers at the top of the keyboard. The removal of the number pad can serve as a huge advantage, resulting in an overall more portable model.
Ergonomics are all about comfort, and while many manufacturers will just slap a wrist rest on their keyboards and call it ergonomic, a lot of manufacturers go a lot further. Most effective among these are keyboards which use a split design. With everything split into separate key banks, you can find a more natural way to relax your hands, and many models also make use of varying slopes to create a more convenient experience.
The goal with ergonomic keyboards is typically to leave your wrist in a resting position. You might not feel the difference in the short term, but it can put significantly less stress on your joints over the long term. Some ergonomic models can vary pretty wildly from standard design principles, so not every model will necessarily be the right choice for everyone.
Lighting is primarily a feature preferred by gamers. Manufacturers like Razer make it a high priority and allow for millions of different customization options. But lighting has a practical purpose, too. Some business users invest in a model with lighting so that they can more easily see their keys in darker offices or while working in bed. Serious gamers looking for a sense of style in particular should pursue models that offer RGB lighting and compatible software for creating custom lighting configurations.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which is the Best Keyboard for Typing?
We really like Das Keyboard. This German-manufactured model comes with Cherry MX Brown switches that are further reinforced by gold connectors. And the Das Keyboard can even serve as a hub for your other computer accessories and device charging since it offers two USB 3.0 ports.
Which Company Makes the Best Keyboards?
There’s no single company that objectively makes the best keyboards. Instead, different manufacturers make the best keyboards in different categories. Corsair and Razer make some of the top gaming keyboards, while Logitech is a good all-around choice if you want the best typing experience.
Looking for the number one keyboard of 2021? We’ve not only provided you with 10 of the top options available, but we’ve also offered you a full rundown of the specs and features you should pay attention to. W0n encourage you to give these models a test drive, and if you have some thoughts to share, we’d love for you to do so using the form at the end of this article.If you liked our article on keyboards, please share and comment below what your favorite product is.