Programming is an important skill to have these days, and choosing the best keyboard for programming is a task that is quite integral to the whole process. For many people, it’s their main source of bread and butter. For others, it is just an interesting hobby on the side. Thanks to the rise of gaming and social media, the skill is quite in demand these days. So, whether you are a seasoned veteran or a beginner, you most likely spend a lot of time on the desk. Subsequently, you get a lot of heavy use out of your keyboard. While yes, you may go through our detailed keyboard buying guide to choose the perfect keyboard for you, there are a few additional factors to consider when buying a keyboard for programming. A good keyboard is a programmer’s best friend after all.
We don’t say this lightly. As many people start to get bored from writing coding after a while. A brand new keyboard can ignite that spark again in some ways. Having a great keyboard improves your workflow and makes the coding experience a bit more enjoyable. Comfort plays a very important role here. When you’re spending several hours typing away, you need comfort. This means that the keys should be responsive, and build quality should be excellent as well. You also have to understand the differences between mechanical and membrane keyboards.
The Best Keyboard For Programming – Our Picks
|Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition||Best Keyboard Overall For Programming|| |
|2||Obinslab Anne Pro 2 60% Wired/Wireless Keyboard||Best 60% Keyboard For Programming|| |
|3||Logitech G915 TKL Lightspeed RGB||Best Wireless Keyboard For Programming|| |
|4||Redragon K552 Kumara||Best Budget Keyboard For Programming|| |
|5||Logitech MX Keys Advanced Wireless Keyboard||Best Basic Keyboard For Programming|| |
|Product Name||Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition|
|Award||Best Keyboard Overall For Programming|
|Product Name||Obinslab Anne Pro 2 60% Wired/Wireless Keyboard|
|Award||Best 60% Keyboard For Programming|
|Product Name||Logitech G915 TKL Lightspeed RGB|
|Award||Best Wireless Keyboard For Programming|
|Product Name||Redragon K552 Kumara|
|Award||Best Budget Keyboard For Programming|
|Product Name||Logitech MX Keys Advanced Wireless Keyboard|
|Award||Best Basic Keyboard For Programming|
Last Update on 2021-09-17 at 00:08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Fortunately, there are a lot of keyboards out there that fit this description perfectly. We’ve narrowed down the list and will be looking at some of the best. Coming from a hobbyist programmer themselves, this list took a lot of research. Every keyboard is different and the absolute best programming keyboards can be quite different from person to person depending on your tendencies. Hopefully, you can find something that works for you. Friendly tip, you might want to go through our selection of the best keyboard wrist rests just so you can have that extra bit of comfort. So without any further ado, here are five of the best programming keyboards in 2021.
1. Best Overall Keyboard For Programming - Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition
- Fast Opto-mechanical Switches
- Great Form Factor
- Excellent Construction
- Doubleshot PBT Keycaps
- Delightful Chroma RGB
- Quite Pricy
- Very Loud
Switches: Razer Linear Optical | Backlight: Chroma RGB | Connection: Wired | Media Control Buttons: No
Razer is one of the biggest peripheral manufacturers in the PC Gaming industry. Some would even say they are the biggest, and we’re not one to argue. Recently, they have been on a roll. The Razer Huntsman Elite was the first to introduce linear optical switches. We will be glossing over some of the highlights of the keyboard here, but to get a detailed idea you should check out our Razer Huntsman Elite review.
The Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition also follows suit, but with a better form factor. A lot of people do not prefer large keyboards. This is especially true for programmers, since you may want a minimal setup. A tenkeyless or TKL keyboard is perfect for that. The Huntsman Tournament Edition has a small footprint, detachable USB-C, a standard bottom row, and double shot PBT keycaps. Impressive stuff.
These switches are fast, linear, and optomechanical. The key is activated when a light beam is interrupted by the switch, and it ends up feeling quite fast. Apart from that, the floating switch design just adds more to the aesthetics. The aluminum top plate provides a sturdy feel. At the bottom, we have two adjustable feet with different heights.
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This TKL keyboard is compact and means business. No macro keys, no media keys, just pure focus on quality. Programmers will love this. It has standard keycaps so you can easily replace them as they use the Cherry stems. The keycaps have thick walls and no flex along with a light texture. The font looks good, and the backlighting is decent.
Helpful Read: FIX – How To Remap Keys
The Chroma RGB is a bit reserved here, and feels a bit “grown-up”. The stabilizers are excellent, but the spacebar has a small hint of rattle to it. Regardless, this is excellent quality from a mass-produced board. Razer has done a commendable job here, and this keyboard is certainly a contender for the title of the best keyboard for programming. Just know that this keyboard gets really loud, and the keycaps contribute to that.
2. Best 60% Keyboard For Programming - Obinslab Anne Pro 2
The Compact Offering
- Bluetooth Works Perfectly
- Incredible Switches
- Premium Keycaps
- Good Backlighting
- Small Footprint
- Form Factor Not For Everyone
Switches: Gateron Brown | Backlight: Addressable RGB | Connection: Wired/Wireless | Media Control Buttons: No
If you’re ever watched an enthusiast talk about keyboards, you’ve heard of this one. The Anne Pro 2 is one of the most popular 60% keyboards out there. It is second only to the Ducky One Two MIni. After all these years, the Anne Pro 2 still retains its crown as the best compact keyboard. Trust us, we don’t say that lightly.
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The Anne Pro has your standard 60% layout. This means that this keyboard doesn’t have any arrow keys. Normally you would use the “FN” button and WASD to replace the arrow keys. However, the four keys in the bottom right corner work as arrow keys if you lightly tap them. This is a surprisingly clever design from Obinslab.
You can get the Anne Pro 2 with a variety of switches. However, we feel like the Gateron Browns will feel the best to newcomers. The Anne Pro has a minimalistic design language, and that looks incredibly sleek in the white color. Once you get used to the form factor, you won’t want to go back. It saves a lot of desk space and is easy to carry around.
Related Read: Best Quiet Keyboards
But why would you carry it around? Well, because it has Bluetooth, and it works quite well. You can pair this with your tablet or laptop when on the go. You can connect up to four devices and seamlessly switch back and forth. It comes with a detachable USB-C cable and a keycap puller. The stabilizers feel amazing, and there is little to no rattle.
The Obinslab Anne Pro 2 deserves all the praise it gets. It is one of the best keyboards ever made, and programmers will love it. Just know that the form factor isn’t for everyone, but that’s not the board’s fault.
3. Best Wireless Keyboard For Programming - Logitech G915 TKL Lightspeed RGB
Cut The Cord
- Excellent Design
- Low-profile Keys
- Gorgeous RGB lighting
- Wireless Mode Works Well
- ABS Keycaps
- TKL Form Factor
Switches: Logitech GL Linear | Backlight: Addressable RGB | Connection: Wired/Wireless | Media Control Buttons: Yes
For programmers, comfortability, and convenience are both equally important. However, what if we told you could get both? Well, Logitech is hoping they can deliver on those two requirements. Meet the Logitech G915 TKL, one of the best wireless keyboards on the market.
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So what makes this keyboard so special? Well, it is the only low-profile, wireless, Bluetooth, and tenkeyless keyboard out there i.e from a reputable brand at least. That’s why it does happen to be a bit expensive. The keyboard is low to the surface, so it feels comfortable without a wrist rest. There are two rubber feet at the bottom if you want to adjust the angle.
Overall, the ergonomics feel good and the keyboard is comfortable to type on. The edges are smooth and don’t dig into your wrist. It has a pocket to store the wireless USB dongle. The round rubber media keys look unique, and the volume wheel looks good. However, it doesn’t feel the best as it has little resistance and tactility. This board still uses micro-USB which is a shame in 2021.
You might also be interested in the Corsair K55 Membrane Keyboard review.
The entire keyboard has a thin profile and a clean look. If you need something sleek, portable, and wireless, this is the one. Logitech’s GL Linear switches provide a great typing experience. The RGB also looks incredibly gorgeous. Unfortunately, Logitech is using ABS keycaps here which is a major disappointment. If you are interested in more TKL Compact keyboards, check out our Velocifire TKL71WS Wireless Keyboard Review.
The price is also quite a tough pill to swallow for most people. However, if you want a sleek wireless linear keyboard, this is the one we recommend. It is also a strong option when it comes to finding the best keyboard for programming.
4. Best Budget Keyboard For Programming - Redragon K552 Kumara Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
The Value Option
- Affordable Price
- Decent Switches
- Several Lighting Modes
- Scratchy Stabilizers
- Cheap Keycaps
- Unremarkable Build Quality
Switches: Oetumu Blue | Backlight: Addressable RGB | Connection: Wired | Media Control Buttons: No
Redragon is known for making excellent budget gaming peripherals. They are especially popular for their entry-level mechanical keyboards. Oftentimes, we don’t recommend budget keyboards for long-term use. However, the K552 Kumara is one rare exception.
The K552 Kumara is a compact 87 key or Tenkeyless mechanical keyboard. It’s a wired keyboard that uses mechanical Blue Switches. It is by far one of the cheapest TKL keyboards out there. The small form factor feels comfortable to type on, and the rubber feet provide some adjustability.
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The Oeutmu blue switches are loud and clicky. Slightly more so than Cherry MX. Newcomers will appreciate the sound and tactility. However, if you are experienced with keyboards, you’ll notice the keys are a bit scratchy. The stabilizers also need a lot of work, especially the keyboard.
More Keyboards: Corsair K63 Compact Keyboard Review
It has anti-ghosting across all the keys and N-key rollover. It’s perfect if you’re a fast typer or maybe even a gamer. The keyboard is even splash-proof. The keycaps are ABS, which is to be expected at this price point. Of course, this has RGB lighting and can be controlled via the function keys. While it’s not the best keyboard by any means, it’s a great entry-level option.
5. Best Basic Keyboard For Programming - Logitech MX Keys Advanced Wireless Keyboard
For The Office
- Quite Portable And Lightweight
- Decent Backlighting
- Multiple OS support
- Membrane Keys
- Disappointing Build Quality
- Unremarkable Aesthetics
Switches: Membrane | Backlight: White | Connection: Wired/Wireless | Media Control Buttons: Yes
Mechanical keyboards are great. The feel of a nice mechanical switch simple can not be replaced by a membrane keyboard. However, not everyone prefers the sound of these boards. Plus, if you work in an office environment, you’re co-workers will be annoyed by a clicky switch. You can look at our selection of the best keyboard and mouse combos for office use, but enthusiasts might be looking for something else. So if you need something stealthy, the Logitech MX Keys is a great keyboard.
The keys feel surprisingly good to type on. Don’t get us wrong, these are membrane keys but they don’t feel as bad as we thought. The spherically dished keys match the shape of the fingertips. This offers a satisfying response to every keypress. This makes it one of the more comfortable typing experiences. Especially for longer sessions at the office.
Related Read: CoolerMaster SK621 Keyboard Review
This wireless keyboard is backlit and it switches on automatically. This means whenever you press on a key, the white backlighting will spring to life. It works with multiple devices and operating systems. You can use it in Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android. Oh, and you can pair up to 3 devices.
Helpful Guide: FIX – Number Pad Not Working
It has a USB-C for charging and connection. A full charge can last up to 10 days with the backlighting on. When lighting is turned off, this thing can run for up to 5 months. While it may not be the best keyboard for programming overall, this keyboard definitely plays into the trend of being minimal and chic. However, the build quality leaves a lot to be desired. It’s also too expensive for a membrane keyboard.
Factors To Consider While Buying
A keyboard is a programmer’s best friend. It is the keyboard’s mechanism and quirks that allow for comfort and a confident typing experience. Programmers do tons of typing whether they are writing a code or fixing bugs in a program. You can reach your best typing efficiency with quality keyboards. With that said, there are many types of keyboards on the marketing ranging from different price points, form factors, and switch types. A backlight is not necessary but might be a convenient feature to have for working in poorly lit rooms or for a more catchy setup. Some keyboards are portable and wireless so that you can use your favorite device at home and office. Without further ado, let’s jump straight to the crucial factors so you can confidently buy your next programming keyboard.
As we said before, a programmer’s good typing experience leads to work efficiency and confidence. They have every right to enjoy typing at fast speeds, tactility, and keystroke sounds. Keyboards come in two types of switches; mechanical and membrane. Mechanical keyboards are known for their superior and satisfying keystrokes. Mechanical switches have deep travel and have the lowest actuation force making them dependable for programming. These switches come in customizable options which can become complicated if discussed here. Membrane switches on the other hand are more shallow and less enjoyable to type with.
Not all membrane keyboards are as bad or unenjoyable as many say. There are some keyboards such as the Logitech MX wireless which is one of the best membrane keyboards on the market. The MX keyboard uses a well-engineered membrane switch that allows it to be slim and hence portable for many occasions. Hence it is regarded as the best chiclet keyboard for programming. All in all, switches are both subjective and objective. Switch type is a personal preference. Some hate and like either type of keyboard switch. You may also visit our guide on the types of mechanical switches if you’d like a comprehensive guide for keyboard switches that may seem suitable for you.
Keyboards come in different sizes. The most common layout is the 114 keys keyboard, the one with inclusions of number pads. If you do programming especially on laptops, you’d realize that having more buttons isn’t exactly more advantageous for your work. It is good to have a proper keyboard, most likely it being an alternative to your laptop. If you are an office worker working at home and office or a freelancer who has a compact workspace, it is better to get a smaller keyboard instead. Your choice for the programming keyboard may be a bit different but we recommend going with TKL keyboards at max. Get a 67 keys keyboard but not less than that apart from the Anne Pro 2 wireless 60% with arrow keys overlay. It is the lowest form factor you can get without losing arrow key functionality.
Keyboards with fewer keys do have a navigation function however it can be jarring to use at times. The form factor is important if you often use your computer at different places. Last thing to note, keyboards mechanical switches are much heavier and bulkier than membrane keyboards although some manufacturers do offer keyboards with slim mechanical switches. Keyboards with Bluetooth or 2.4Ghz dongle connection can also help with portability and form factor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Keyboard layout from anywhere between Ten Keyless (TKL) and 65% keyboards (68 keys) is generally adequate for all types of programming. It is also a personal preference as some might like additional keys without minding the bulkiness which it comes with. Any keyboard layout 65% is sub-optimal as it lacks navigation keys crucial for moving the cursor around lines of code.
Honestly, this comes to personal preference. Some like mechanical, others like chiclet-style keyboards. The majority prefers mechanical keyboards as it is far superior in keystrokes and overall typing. For mechanical keyboards, we recommend Cherry or Outemu’s Red and Brown switches. Blue switches have clicky sounds but they are disturbing in work environments.
While it is convenient to have extra features, num pads aren’t necessary for programming. You are unlikely to depend on num pads as compared to alphanumeric keys. If you are adept with num pads or do data entry or coefficient equations, it may increase overall typing speed. Nonetheless, num pads for programming don’t justify themselves.
With the tactility of Blues and silence of Reds, Brown switches can be the perfect switch for programmers. Tactile switches have a slight bump with every keystroke which makes it the best overall switch type whether it is typing or gaming. Brown switches require only moderate force before registering characters on your computer’s screen.