The best keyboards of 2018: top 10 keyboards compared
If your keyboard is lying around dirty, covered with grime, dirt and even has some keys missing – it might be time to go out and get yourself one of the best keyboards on the market in 2018. Even if your keyboard doesn’t look like it was a prop in some horror movie, maybe it’s just getting old – the benefits that you can gain through the best keyboards in terms of speed, style and accuracy totally make the price of entry worth it.
The best keyboard will offer you so many advantages to reliability and speed that you’ll never look back. No matter what you do on your PC – programming, writing, even playing games – the best keyboards will go a long way to making your life easier and your work less of a hassle. And if you’re a gamer, the best gaming keyboards, strapped with gorgeous RGB lighting, will let you play in style.
So, no matter what you want to do – whether you want to work, play games, or just browse Facebook, you should find a keyboard that will satisfy all of your needs on this list of all the best keyboards that have been tested by the TechRadar editorial team. Every single keyboard here has earned our seal of approval – so you should be confident that these keyboards will be reliable and worth your money.
While many of the best keyboards below have not been given full reviews by TechRadar, please know that each one has undergone extensive testing prior to its inclusion on this list.
Made by the Japanese Topre Corporation, the Realforce is, as its name suggests, a force of nature in the keyboard world. It’s all down to the Topre switches inside, which in contrast to Cherry’s MX switches, are super smooth to type on and are often compared to playing weighted piano keys. The RealForce comes in both 45- and 55-gram configurations, though which one you buy depends on the importance of key weight. Oh, and we should probably mention that neither come cheap.
- This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the HyperX Alloy Elite
So long as you don’t mind losing some of the “thock” sound associated with a regular Realforce keyboard, opting for a silenced model like the 104 UBS lets you reap real benefits. Hitting the 104 UBS’s keys produces sound on a par with membrane keyboards, so it’s perfect for busy offices or shared bedrooms. The “dampened” feel of Topre’s silenced switches can feel a little bit like typing on sandpaper compared to non-silenced Topre, but we found that it’s worth the trade-off if you want a much quieter keyboard.
- This product is only available in the US and UK. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the .
Filco’s keyboards tend to be built like tanks, and the Majestouch TKL is no different. This space-saving mechanical keyboard features a compact tenkeyless design that has less than 1cm of space between the edge of the keys and the keyboard. Its durability doesn’t simply allow it to stand up well to knocks and scrapes – it has a positive impact on its typing feel too. You can hammer away on it at speed, even bottoming out to your heart’s content, and the Majestouch 2 will take every bit of punishment.
Somewhat legendary in keyboard circles, the PFU Happy Hacking Professional 2 (or HHKB2 as it’s usually referred to) is that rare beast – a 60% Topre keyboard. Aimed at coders but fantastic for document warriors too, it foregoes traditional arrow keys, instead making use of function keys and key combinations to provide such functionality. It only takes a short while to get used to, once you’ve got there the huge benefit is that the HHKB2 is small and light enough to take anywhere, giving you access to that sweet Topre “thock” sound and feel anywhere, anytime.
- This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Das Keyboard Prime 13
Leopold’s Fc660c is more portable than the Realforce 87u, but less so than the lighter and more compact HHKB2. However, the Fc660c benefits from its extra heft and feels like the more solid board. Despite having the same 45 gram actuation force as the HHKB2, the Leopold’s keys feel slightly weightier – somewhere nearer to 50 grams. It results one of the most satisfying “thock” sounds on a Topre board.
- This product is only available in the US. UK and Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the .
Remember IBM’s legendary Model M keyboard? That’s what the Unicomp Classic 104 sets out to imitate. Available in USB and PS/2 versions, it uses a buckling spring switch that takes more effort to depress than just about every other switch type. You’re rewarded with a tactile response that recalls the classic mechanical keyboards of old, along with a noise that would drive your co-workers insane.
- This product is only available in the US. UK and Australian readers: check out a fair alternative in the .
Some keyboards just ooze class, and the Das Keyboard Prime 13 is one of them. Its features a solid aluminum top panel for added rigidity and a very minimalistic look. With Cherry’s MX Red or Brown switches under the keycaps, you’re given a choice between linear and non-linear offerings with a range of actuation points.
It’s a great option for media enthusiasts thanks to side lit media control and the inclusion of white backlighting is another bonus. It’s not the most affordable keyboard on our list, but if you’re looking for something a little bit more premium, Das is the way to go.
According to a government survey, the average British household owned 7.4 internet-connected devices in 2015. Logitech is targeting smartphone and tablet owners who prefer to see their device’s display while sat at a computer with its latest keyboard, the K780. If you liked its predecessor, the K380, there’s more to love here. (Literally thanks to its added numberpad.)
The K780 can still pair with up to three devices using Bluetooth or wireless, allowing you to chop and change between them, and it features the same comfortable rounded keycaps that remain a pleasure to type on. The star of the show, however, is the keyboard’s base, which can hold mobile devices up to 11.3mm thick in an upright position. This places them within arms’ reach to make anything from replying to WhatsApp messages or reading a digital magazine easy as pie.
Like a Surface Pro 3 Type Cover that can convert to a tent, Microsoft’s Universal Foldable Keyboard is among the most “fun-sized” on our list. Fold it closed and you have one of the most travel-friendly Bluetooth keyboards around, barely larger than a pack of cards.
Also reminiscent of the Type Cover, the Universal Foldable Keyboard is equally uncomfortable for typing on your lap (then again, most keyboards are). Nevertheless, USB charging and simple Bluetooth syncing makes the Universal Foldable Keyboard a preferred option over touchscreen display inputs – so long as you have a flat surface handy.
Almost entirely designed with keyboard enthusiasts in mind, the Happy Hacker Keyboard Professional 2 dispenses with many so-called keyboard traditions. This keyboard’s design is absolutely breathtaking, getting rid of a ton of keys in order to create a keyboard that’s sleeker and more compact than almost anything else on the market. Plus, the Topre key switches feel amazing. The only drawback, unfortunately, was the decision to remove all the function keys and arrows, relegating them to function commands on other keys – this makes switching to this keyboard a hassle to say the least. However, if you’re a fan of niche keyboards, and you don’t mind dropping a pretty penny (or pence) on a new board, you really can’t go wrong with this piece of kit.
Read the full review: Happy Hacker Keyboard Professional 2
How to determine the best keyboard for you
It goes without saying that if you demand the look and feel only mechanical switches can provide, rather than those that are slim and stealthy, we suggest perusing our best gaming keyboards round-up instead.
Gamers prioritize the actuation that clicky feeling mechanical keyboards bring, whereas traditional home and office users are more about practicality. That said, the sheer magnitude of sound produced by a lot of mechanical keyboards is offputting to some. For those folks, we have some membrane keyboards to recommend as well.
Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article
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