21 Recommended Keyboards For Programmers

Welcome to a list and recommendations of keyboards for programming – By a programmer, for programmers. Now, a good keyboard can be really subjective. Some of you guys may be looking for a keyboard that is good for typing, others may want a portable one, an affordable one, or maybe the hippies are just looking for a weird keyboard…

So rather than just dumping a “single random list” of keyboards, I will try to recommend a range instead. Hopefully, that will help you to make a better choice – Read on!

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Overall Good Portable Keyboards Budget Keyboards
Funky Keyboards Stuff to Look Out The End

 

 

RECOMMENDED KEYBOARDS

Here is a list of the recommended keyboards. Please note – I have sorted these by category, but not in any recommendation order otherwise.

 

GODD FOR OVERALL TYPING

1. DAS KEYBOARD 4 PROFESSIONAL

Online Price: About $169.00
Highlights: Robust keys, volume knob, media controls, USB ports, classy and high quality.
Get From eBay: Click here

The DAS Keyboard 4 Professional is easily one of the better professional keyboards that I have laid my hands on, and it has nearly everything that a programmer will expect from a good keyboard – Robust tactile keys, 2 additional USB ports to the side, dedicated media buttons, volume knob, and a polished anodized aluminum top panel.

The price may be a small bummer for some of you guys, but you can rest assured – This keyboard is of high quality, and it is worth every cent; Programmers who looking for a good all-around keyboard, I will recommend this one.

 

2. CORSAIR K70 RAPIDFIRE

Online Price: About $170.00
Highlights: Aircraft-grade anodized brushed aluminum frame, choice of Cherry MX keys, USB pass-through port, detachable wrist rest.
Get From eBay: Click here

The Corsair F70 is a mechanical keyboard with an aircraft-grade anodized brushed aluminum frame and sleek red LED backlight… Which makes it look like a freaking airplane. Not only are the looks amazing on this keyboard, but you also get to choose the type of keys that you want – Be it light haptic, or hard tactile. It comes plenty of extras too, a USB pass-through port, and removable wrist rest.

 

3. TOPRE REALFORCE

Online Price: From $250.00
Highlights: Minimalistic professional mechanical keyboard. Japanese engineering.
Get From eBay: Click here

Cherry MX is not the only player out in the market. Japan-based Topre is another maker, and Realforce is their flagship line of keyboards. Don’t be fooled by the price tag and simple design. It has some really nice Japanese engineering and quality behind it… Plus, the white version really just looks like an upgraded IBM Model M.

 

4. CODE MECHANICAL KEYBOARD

Online Price: From $100.00
Highlights: Clean, simplistic mechanical keyboard.
Get From eBay: Click here

Made by a company called WASD, the CODE series mechanical keyboard is specially made for programmers and web developers. Even though it has a simple and straightforward design, it comes in various settings and sizes – Full-sized keyboards, TKL, and different Cherry MX switches. Of course, an adjustable white backlight for those of who to like to code in the dark…

 

5. RAZER BLACKWIDOW ELITE

Online Price: About $170.00
Highlights: Dedicated media keys, choice of mechanical switch, programmable keys, USB and audio pass-through port.
Get From eBay: Click here

Razer is a popular brand among gamers, and programmers can very well benefit from their responsive keys. The Blackwidow is offered in 3 different variations:

  • Green: Tactile and clicky, for those who like to smash.
  • Orange: Slightly lighter, quieter, but still tactile.
  • Yellow: Linear and silent.

It also has all the gimmicks – Dedicated media keys, programmable LED backlight, programmable keys, and macro. While the original intention of the macro keys is for gaming, we can kind of “convert” it for programming.

 

6. FILCO MAJESTOUCH 2

Online Price: From $150.00
Highlights: Choice of Cherry MX, minimalistic full keyboard.
Get From eBay: Click here

The Filco series of mechanical keyboards are made by Diatec, another Japanese company. Simple, minimalistic, guess we can call it the “professional Japanese style”. Although you should know by now not to judge the cover by the book. This one does not have visual bells-and-whistles, but it is touted as one of the best Cherry MX keyboards.

 

 

GOOD COMPACT PORTABLE KEYBOARDS

7. LOGITECH G PRO TKL

Online Price: About $150.00
Highlights: Sturdy Romer G keys, removable cable for portability.
Get From eBay: Click here

If you have not heard of Logitech, they are one of the good old reliables, and we can hardly go wrong with their keyboards. Some cheap portable keyboards in the market are miserably small and floppy – Not this one.

The Logitech G Pro uses their own in-house mechanical Romer G switch, which is a little on the lighter side. But they still provide good light tactile feel, and it is a good compromise for the weight profile of a portable keyboard. A big plus goes to the removable cable, so you can tuck it into a small backpack.

 

8. HHKB

Online Price: From $200.00
Highlights: Minimalistic professional mechanical keyboard.
Get From eBay: Click here

HHKB stands for “Happy Hacking Keyboard”, and it is made a Japanese company, PFU Limited. As you might have already guessed from the funky name and minimalistic professional design, these are specially made for programmers and hackers alike… Although kind of pricey, they are specialized in building these kinds of 60% “hacker” keyboards.

 

9. RAZER BLACKWIDOW X TOURNAMENT EDITION

Online Price: About $120.00
Highlights: Metal finish, medium force tactile keys, programmable backlit keys.
Get From eBay: Click here

The Razer Blackwidow X may not be a full keyboard, but it still stands out with a cool black military-grade metal finish, and that is some serious build quality for a keyboard.

They also come with Razer Green switch, which is on the “full keyboard level” of medium-feel clicky keys. The best part of the Blackwidow? You might expect this to cost a bomb, but it is only a bit off the $100 range.

 

10. HYPERX ALLOY FPS

Online Price: About $65.00
Highlights: Solid steel frame, detachable cable, choice of Cherry MX Blue or Red.
Get From eBay: Click here

This is one of the more affordable compact mechanical keyboard at around the price of $65. Given the solid steel frame and choice of Cherry MX switch – This is a steal and a very good deal.

 

11. RAPOO V500

Online Price: From $50.00
Highlights: Choice of Cherry MX switch, lightweight alloy keyboard.
Get From eBay: Click here

Rapoo is a Chinese brand, and some of you guys may cringe at the idea of a Chinese product… But let’s face it. Xiaomi, Huawei, Vivo are all Chinese brands, and they offer quality products. Rapoo is not-so-bad, given that the V500 is half the price of competitors, and it uses Cherry MX switches.

 

12. LEOPOLD FC660C OR FC660M

Online Price: From $130.00
Highlights: The “C” version uses Capacitive Topre Switch. The “M” version uses Cherry MX.
Get From eBay: Click here

From American to English to Chinese to Japanese. Now we have Leopold, a Korean brand. Their FC660 series is a no-fluff, simplistic compact 66 keys portable keyboard – In 2 different flavours of Topre Capacitive or Cherry MX.

 

 

BUDGET KEYBOARDS

13. REDRAGON K552

Online Price: $35.00
Highlights: Splash proof, gold plated USB.
Get From eBay: Click here

When it comes to mechanical keyboards, we usually talk about big brands such as Logitech, Razer, and Corsair. Redragon is just… underrated. At the price of $35, one would normally expect a “pretty good” membrane keyboard – But the Redragon K552 is an actually decent compact mechanical keyboard. Even though it does not have crazy steel frames and stuff, the build is still solid plastic and it is splash-proof. Give this one a try if you are on a tight budget.

 

14. LOGITECH K120

Online Price: About $22.00
Highlights: Decent membrane keyboard, solid build.
Get From eBay: Click here

Don’t expect any fireworks from this basic keyboard. While this one does not have mechanical keys, no backlight, no sexy finished aluminum body – The good old classic Logitech keyboard does not disappoint. It is very comfortable to use, and it will last for years. An overall mighty decent keyboard with a solid build.

 

15. EAGLETEC KG040

Online Price: About $32.00
Highlights: Budget mechanical keyboard under $50.
Get From eBay: Click here

The Eagletec is another contender for budget mechanical keyboards. This TKL mechanical is actually made from pretty sleek ABS plastic, and comes with neat blue backlight. Quite a good deal actually.

 

16. RII RK100

Online Price: $32.00
Highlights: Membrane keyboard with a mechanical feel. LED backlight.
Get From eBay: Click here

The RK100 is actually a very misunderstood keyboard. It is branded as a “mechanical feel” keyboard by some sellers, that some people misunderstood as “really mechanical”… That earned it quite a lot of 1-star reviews. Nope – This one is actually a membrane keyboard, made to feel more like a mechanical one. A pretty decent budget keyboard nonetheless.

 

17. HP USB KEYBOARD

Online Price: From $25.00
Highlights: Comfortable classic desktop keyboard.
Get From eBay: Click here

Well, this is just one of those “default keyboards” that HP bundles with their desktop computers. Keyboards these days just seem to be getting smaller, flatter, and harder to type with. No idea why, but people these days just seem to prefer small, and don’t mind having f***ed up hands. Old school keyboards are still the best.

 

 

UNIQUE KEYBOARDS

18. QWERKYWRITER TYPEWRITER KEYBOARD

Online Price: From $300.00
Highlights: Retro typewriter mechanical keyboard!
Get From eBay: Click here

Do you love the retro vintage stuff, and is looking for a keyboard that will turn heads? Look no further. The Qwerkywriter will bring back all the nostalgia, but be warned… These are not cheap toys. Fans of Resident Evil/Biohazard – There is a special limited edition as well.

 

19. AZIO RETRO KEYBOARD

Online Price: From $150.00
Highlights: Retro, vintage style mechanical keyboards.
Get From eBay: Click here

Not willing to spend too much on a typewriter keyboard? Fear not, a brand called Azio produces quite a few different variations of classic vintage steampunk-ish keyboards. Although they are still a little pricey, they are super unique and the designs are really nice.

 

20. IMPECCA BAMBOO KEYBOARD

Online Price: From $50.00
Highlights: Full natural bamboo keyboard.
Get From eBay: Click here

If you are a programmer who is also a nature lover, here is one “natural” bamboo keyboard that will go well on your desk. But please take note, the internals is still made up of electrical circuit boards, rubber, and plastics. It’s just… Less plastic.

 

21. IBM MODEL M

Online Price: From $60.00
Highlights: Classic-era keyboard.
Get From eBay: Click here

Once a common Joe back in those days, now a highly sought after item by collectors. If you have owned one of these before, don’t you wish you have not thrown this dusty old keyboard away? Who knew it would become so valuable? Anyway, these keyboards are known to be extremely durable and an absolute vintage item to work with.

 

 

STUFF TO LOOK OUT FOR

For you guys who are interested to know more, here is a section on some of the stuff to look out for while choosing a keyboard.

 

FORM FACTOR

ANSI Keyboard Layout (Source: Wikipedia)

Yes, keyboards have form factors too, and it determines the number of keys plus the general layout:

  • Full-sized keyboard – This is the common Joe keyboard that you see around everywhere, has at least 104 keys.
  • 80% keyboard – Otherwise also known as the Tenkeyless (TKL) keyboard, does not have a keypad.
  • 60% keyboard – Also known as the compact keyboard. No keypad, no function keys… Just the “bare essentials”.

In a nutshell:

  • For you guys who are looking to do some fast and furious coding, go for the full-sized keyboards.
  • The TKL is missing the keypad, but still very functional. This is a compromise between a full and compact keyboard. Get this if you want a portable keyboard that is comfortable to type with, and don’t mind a little bit of extra weight.
  • The 60% keyboard is pretty much what we find on laptops, go for this if you need portability.

 

LAYOUT & SIZE

While the form factor of a keyboard will generally determine the layout and number of keys, it is better to look at the actual keyboard itself, because manufacturers can come up with all kinds of funny designs and gimmicks.

  • Layout – You need to be comfortable with the layout of the keys. Make sure that you are not getting a weird sh*t keyboard with a small space bar, or the tab key is to the right.
  • Size – We can have a tiny “full-sized” keyboard and a gigantic “compact” keyboard. Yep… You get the picture. Choose a keyboard that has decently sized keys, and make sure you don’t get finger cramps from using it.

 

ERGONOMICS

Ergonomic Keyboard (Source: Wikipedia)

Well, most keyboards actually adopt the “standard board” rectangular design. But there are a few exceptional ones that have this crazy wavy layout that supposedly fits the natural shape of human hands… Personally, I just find them weird and hard to get used to. But who knows, it may work miracles for you.

 

BUILD, WEIGHT, LIFESPAN

Membrane VS Mechanical (Source: Wikipedia)

When it comes to keyboard constructs, there are two main kinds of mechanics:

  • Membrane – The rubbery kind. Generally cheaper, but also quieter and lighter. Lasts about 5 million key presses (as according to mechanical-keyboard.org).
  • Mechanical – Solid spring driven. Generally more expensive, robust, but noisy and heavy. Lasts between 30 to 70 million key presses (as according to mechanical-keyboard.org).

Membrane keyboards are not all bad. It is essentially up to what you want – Lightweight and portable, or a heavyweight durable.

 

HAPTIC FEEDBACK

When it comes to the haptic feedback (the feel as you type) on keyboards, there are generally 3 different groups:

  • Linear – The smooth and quiet ones. Light, kind of rubbery, not clicky nor clacky.
  • Tactile & Clacky – The heavy and noisy ones… Good for smashing.
  • Tactile & Clicky – The moderate ones, springy.

Everyone has a different preference. If you like to hulk smash, go for the heavier keys. If you like silent keyboards, go for the linear ones. Else, the tactile clicky middle-of-the-road will do well.

 

WHAT IS CHERRY MX?

If you have been poking around keyboards for a while, you will notice that Cherry MX is mentioned pretty frequently and there are several colors. Cherry GmbH is a computer peripheral-device maker that is based in Germany, and Cherry MX is their brand of mechanical keyboard switches that is adopted worldwide. The color-coded switches in general:

  • Linear – Red, and black.
  • Tactile & Clicky – Brown, and clear.
  • Tactile & Clacky – Blue, white, and green.

You can check out more on Wikipedia, and also take note – Other manufacturers also have a similar color-coded standard on their keyboard switch, for example, Razer:

  • Green – Tactile and clicky.
  • Orange – Tactile and silent.
  • Yellow – Linear and silent.

 

DESIGN

Good old retro style keyboard? Pimped like a supercar with neon lights? Or just a plain Joe?

 

EXTRAS

  • USB ports on the keyboard for convenience.
  • Macro/programmable keys.
  • Replaceable keys.
  • Volume knobs.

 

MORE

Need a more in-depth explanation of the keyboard specs? Check out this guide on WASD Keyboards.

 

A SUMMARY OF ALL THE CONSIDERATIONS

Consideration Description
Form Factor Full-sized, 80%, or compact?
Layout & Size Decent sized keys, comfortable to type with.
Ergonomics Decent layout, key spacing. Don’t have to do finger yoga to type properly.
Build, weight, lifespan. A membrane or mechanical keyboard?

  • Membrane – Cheaper, lighter, quieter, rubbery, not as robust.
  • Mechanical – Expensive, heavy, noisy, but very robust and tactile.
Design To suit your style.
Extras USB ports, programmable keys, replaceable keys, extra volume knob.

 

THE END

Thank you for reading, and we have come to the end of this guide. I hope that this has helped you to understand better, choose a good keyboard, and if you want to share anything with this guide, please feel free to comment below. Good luck and happy shopping!

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