It’s tough to beat the durability, tactility, or good looks of a mechanical keyboard, but if you’re hoping to get one, it can be hard to know where to start.
Here are a few wired and wireless models: compact keyboards with laptop-style layouts to full-size keyboards complete with Num pads.
It’s very full-featured for its cost, with shine-through hot-swappable & RGB lighting switches, and it even contains a built-in USB hub, with a pair of USB Type-A ports to seal extra accessories into your computer.
On the other hand, its controls feel slightly less fluffy and scratchy with each press, there’s a slight rattle to the stabilizers on bigger keys like the space bar, and it sounds a bit hollow overall. It’s created of plastic and reprogrammable; its companion software is only available on Windows. The LTC Nimbleback is available with linear, clicky, or tactile switches.
The $110 NuPhy Air75 is the best. It senses excellent to type on, is equally at home on Mac or Windows, and connects over Bluetooth, or an included 2.4GHz wireless USB dongle. We employed the keyboard with linear Gateron Red low-profile switches, but it’s also available with tactile or clicky chances. It’s also hot-swappable, which offers the NuPhy Air 75 a slight edge. Hot-swap sockets aren’t as crucial on low-profile keyboards. Unfortunately, there aren’t as viable low-profile switch options.
The Epomaker TH80 is a 75 percent keyboard with hot-swap switches and a volume knob. It has a moldable case and steel switch plate, and while it doesn’t sense as a bonus as Keychron’s Q-series keyboards, it’s got nice crisp PBT keycaps in the MDA profile and smooth stabilizers.
Epomaker has a more extensive version with a Numpad and a smaller 65 percent model. Unfortunately, it’s more costly at $189, not easily remappable, and includes a loud color scheme that won’t be to everyone’s tastes. Cherry-style stabilizers don’t have a clue of rattle and up to 200 days of battery life over Bluetooth with the backlight off.
Kinesis Freestyle Pro
It doesn’t have hot-swappable switches, so you’re stuck with the Cherry MX Brown, or Cherry MX Silent Red switches that it comes with unless you’re willing to do some soldering. It’s relatively affordable by the often exorbitant prices of split keyboards, and it has a layout much closer to a traditional keyboard than many other ergonomic options.
ZSA’s Oryx configurator software offers many options to create highly customized designs. Optional accessories like an angled stand and tripod mounting kit mean you can tailor the keyboard to your needs. It also offers hot-swappable switches, which we usually consider an essential part of a modern keyboard.
It is an excellent split-keyboard option, which allows you to keep your arms in a more neutral position while typing. It’s not hot-swappable, but it has a more easy-to-learn layout and a more affordable price than other ergonomic options.
The $140 A.jazz AK966 is our pick if you want a wireless keyboard with a Numpad. It uses an 1800 layout, which means it has most of the keys of a full-size keyboard, albeit in a structure that squishes them together a little to reduce its overall footprint.
This larger layout also corresponds to a larger 10,000mAh battery is rated to offer up to 1,200 hours on a single charge. The AK966’s keycaps are PBT, with friendly and clear legends. Once again, no secondary functions are printed on its keycaps, so keep its manual in your hands.