Best Keyboard Type for Programming: A Buyer’s Guide for 2024


Updated: 05/11/2023

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A programmer's workspace featuring a mechanical keyboard, a large monitor, highlighting the essential tools for productive coding.

Do you spend hours typing code every day? If so, you know how important it is to have a suitable keyboard.

The best keyboard type for programming is the one that best suits your individual needs and preferences. However, there are a few factors that all programmers should consider when choosing a keyboard, such as switch type, layout, features, and price.

In this article, we’ll look at the best keyboard types for programming and discuss the factors to consider when choosing a keyboard. We’ll also provide tips for choosing the right keyboard for your needs.

Table of Content
  1. Why is it Important to Choose the Best Programming Keyboards for Programmers or Developers?
    1. What are the Different Types of Keyboards Available?
  2. Best Keyboard Type for Programming
  3. Mechanical Keyboards
    1. Pros and Cons of Mechanical Keyboards for Programming
    2. Popular Brands and Models of Mechanical Keyboards for Programming
  4. Ergonomic Keyboards
    1. Pros and Cons of Ergonomic Keyboards for Programming
    2. Popular Brands and Models of Ergonomic Keyboards for Programming
  5. Low-profile Keyboards
    1. Pros and Cons of Low-profile Keyboards for Programming
    2. Popular Brands and Models of Low-Profile Keyboards for Programming
  6. Custom Keyboards
    1. Pros and Cons of Custom Keyboards for Programming
    2. Popular Brands and Models of Custom Keyboards for Programming
  7. Best Portable Keyboard for Programmers: The Glorious GMMK Pro
  8. Best Compact keyboard for Programmers: Obinslab Anne Pro 2
  9. Best Wireless Keyboard for Programmers: Logitech MX Keys
  10. Best Mac Keyboard for Programmers: Apple Magic Keyboard with Keypad
  11. Best Keyboard for Programmers on a Budget: EVGA Z15
    1. Tips for Choosing the Right Keyboard for Programming
      1. Conclusion:

Why is it Important to Choose the Best Programming Keyboards for Programmers or Developers?

A person programming on a computer keyboard, a crucial tool for coding.

Choosing the best keyboard for programming is essential for several reasons. First, it can help you to improve your typing speed and accuracy. This is important because programmers and developers spend a lot of time typing, and increasing your typing speed and accuracy can increase productivity.

Second, the right keyboard can help to reduce fatigue and discomfort. This is important because programmers and developers often spend long hours typing and using a keyboard that needs to be better suited to your needs can lead to hand pain and other problems.

Finally, the right keyboard can help to improve your overall typing experience. This is important because typing should be enjoyable, and using a keyboard you like will make you more likely to want to type.

What are the Different Types of Keyboards Available?

Three main types of keyboards are available: membrane, mechanical, and optical.

  • Membrane Keyboards: Membrane keyboards are the most common type of keyboard. They are relatively inexpensive and quiet but less durable and responsive than mechanical keyboards.
  • Mechanical Keyboards: Mechanical keyboards use individual switches for each key. This makes them more durable and responsive than membrane keyboards, but can also be more expensive and noisy.
  • Optical Keyboards: Optical keyboards use light sensors to detect key presses. They are similar to mechanical keyboards in durability and responsiveness but generally quieter.

In addition to these three main types, several specialized keyboards are available, such as ergonomic, gaming, and multimedia.

Best Keyboard Type for Programming

Finding the right keyboard type for programming is essential for improving your typing speed, accuracy, and comfort. This can lead to increased productivity and reduced fatigue. This section will explore the best keyboard types for programming, their pros and cons, and popular brands and models.

1. Mechanical Keyboards

A mechanical keyboard designed for programming, featuring tactile switches and customizable keycaps.

Mechanical keyboards are the best type of keyboard for programming because they are durable, responsive, and customizable. They use individual switches for each key, which makes them more durable and responsive than membrane keyboards. Mechanical keyboards are also customizable, so you can choose the type of switches, keycaps, and other components to create a perfect keyboard.

Why are Mechanical Keyboards Good for Programming?

  • Durable: Mechanical keyboards are built to last. They use individual switches for each key, which can withstand millions of keystrokes.
  • Responsive: Mechanical keyboards are very responsive. When you press a key, it registers immediately, without any delay.
  • Customizable: Mechanical keyboards can be customized to your liking. You can choose the type of switches, keycaps, and other components to create a keyboard that is perfect for you.

Pros and Cons of Mechanical Keyboards for Programming

Pros
  • Mechanical keyboards provide tactile feedback, which helps programmers type more accurately and efficiently.
  • They are customizable so that programmers can choose their preferred components.
  • It can help programmers type more efficiently, allowing for faster keystrokes and less fatigue.
  • They are generally more durable than other keyboards and withstand more wear and tear.
Cons
  • Mechanical keyboards can be expensive, especially high-end models.
  • They can be loud, especially when using clicky switches.
  • It can take some time to get used to typing on a mechanical keyboard, especially if you are coming from a membrane keyboard.
  •  Not all mechanical keyboards support all switches, so programmers may have difficulty finding a keyboard with their preferred switches.
KeyboardProgrammingSizeHot-Swappable SwitchesConnectivityPriceFeatures
Cherry MX Board 6.0GoodCompact (60%)YesWireless$150Backlighting, programmable keys, macros
Corsair K70 RGB MK.2 Low ProfileGoodFull-sizeNoWired$175Backlighting, programmable keys, macros
Logitech G Pro Mechanical Gaming KeyboardGoodTenkeyless (TKL)NoWired$120Backlighting, programmable keys
Razer BlackWidow LiteGoodTenkeyless (TKL)NoWired$130Backlighting, programmable keys
Ducky One 3 SFExcellentCompact (65%)YesWired$140Backlighting, programmable keys
Keychron K2 V2ExcellentCompact (65%)YesWired/wireless$100Backlighting, programmable keys
Leopold FC750R PDExcellentCompact (75%)NoWired$160Backlighting, programmable keys

2. Ergonomic Keyboards

A keyboard and mouse set featuring an ergonomic keyboard for programming purposes

Ergonomic keyboards are designed to reduce fatigue and discomfort during prolonged use. They often have split layouts and curved keybeds, which help keep your wrists and hands more natural. This can be especially beneficial for programmers, who often spend hours typing daily.

Pros and Cons of Ergonomic Keyboards for Programming

Pros
  • Reduced fatigue and discomfort
  • Improved posture
  • Increased productivity
  • Reduced risk of repetitive strain injuries (RSIs)
  • More comfortable to use for extended periods
Cons
  • It can be more expensive than traditional keyboards.
  • It can take some time to get used to the split layout.
  • It may not be compatible with all software programs.
  • It may not be as portable as traditional keyboards.
KeyboardProgrammingSizeHot-Swappable SwitchesConnectivityPriceFeatures
Kinesis Advantage27.3SplitYesWired$349Fully customizable layout, programmable keys and macros, tenting and tilting options
ErgoDox EZ7.5SplitYesWired$349Curved keybed, split spacebar, palm lift, tilt, and tenting options
Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard7.2Full-sizeNoWired$129Curved keybed, split spacebar, cushioned palm rest
Logitech Ergo K8607.4Full-sizeNoWireless$129Curved keybed, split spacebar, palm lift, tilt and tenting options
HHKB Professional Hybrid Type-S7.6Compact (60%)NoWired$259Topre switches provide tactile feedback with quiet operation, compact design is portable and saves space

3. Low-profile Keyboards

A sleek, low profile keyboard in purple with vibrant blue lights, designed for programming

Low-profile keyboards have shorter key travel distances and a lower overall profile than traditional ones. This makes them more comfortable to use for long periods and can also help to reduce the risk of repetitive strain injuries (RSIs).

Pros and Cons of Low-profile Keyboards for Programming

Pros
  • More comfortable to use for long periods
  • Can help to reduce the risk of RSIs
  • Portable and lightweight
  • Stylish and modern design
  • Available in a variety of sizes and layouts
Cons
  • It can be more expensive than traditional keyboards
  • It may not be as durable as traditional keyboards
  • It may not offer the same level of tactile feedback as traditional keyboards.
  • It may not be compatible with all software programs
KeyboardProgrammingSizeHot-Swappable SwitchesConnectivityPriceBest Features
Cherry MX Board 6.0 Low Profile7.8Full-sizeNoWired$175Cherry MX low-profile switches, RGB backlighting, programmable keys
Corsair K70 RGB MK.2 Low Profile7.7Full-sizeNoWired$169Corsair low-profile switches, RGB backlighting, programmable keys, aluminum frame
Logitech G915 TKL7.6TenkeylessNoWireless$249Logitech GL low-profile switches, RGB backlighting, wireless connectivity, long battery life
Razer BlackWidow Lite7.5TenkeylessNoWired$130Razer low-profile switches, RGB backlighting, compact and portable design
Ducky One 3 Mini7.460%YesWired$119Cherry MX low-profile switches, RGB backlighting, hot-swappable switches, compact and portable design
Keychron K37.375%YesWired/wireless$89Optical low-profile switches, RGB backlighting, hot-swappable switches, affordable price
NuPhy Air757.265%YesWired/wireless$129Gateron low-profile switches, RGB backlighting, hot-swappable switches, wireless connectivity

4. Custom Keyboards

Custom programming keyboard with vibrant illuminated keys.

Custom keyboards are keyboards that are designed and built by the user. This allows the user to choose the exact components and features they want, such as the type of switches, the keycaps, and the layout.

Pros and Cons of Custom Keyboards for Programming

Pros
  • Customizable to the user’s exact needs
  • High-quality components
  • Unique and personal design
  • It can be more durable than traditional keyboards
Cons
  • It can be more expensive than traditional keyboards.
  • It can be more difficult to build and maintain
  • It may not be compatible with all software programs.
BrandModelSwitchesKeycapsPriceFeatures
Keeb.ioSincMXDye-sub PBT$150Fully customizable layout, hot-swappable switches, high-quality components
Kinesis Advantage2Cherry MX BrownABSSplit$349Ergonomic split design, hot-swappable switches, programmable keys, and macros
ErgoDox EZGateron YellowPBTSplit$349Compact and portable design, hot-swappable switches, programmable keys, ortho-linear layout
Sentraq S65-XKailh Speed SilverPBT65%$250Aluminum frame, hot-swappable switches, RGB backlighting, programmable keys
PlanckGateron BrownDSA40%$150Compact and portable design, hot-swappable switches, programmable keys
PreonicGateron BrownDSAOrtholinear$175Compact and portable design, hot-swappable switches, programmable keys, ortholinear layout
MinivanGateron BrownDSA40%$125Compact and portable design, hot-swappable switches, programmable keys, split design
CorneGateron BrownDSASplit$125Compact and portable design, hot-swappable switches, programmable keys, split design
NovelKeys NK87 ProGateron YellowPBT80%$200Aluminum frame, hot-swappable switches, RGB backlighting, programmable keys
Keychron Q2Gateron Phantom BrownPBT65%$160Aluminum frame, hot-swappable switches, RGB backlighting, programmable keys, gasket mount
Akko ACR Pro 67Gateron YellowPBT67%$180Aluminum frame, hot-swappable switches, RGB backlighting, programmable keys, gasket mount

5. Best Portable Keyboard for Programmers: The Glorious GMMK Pro

A portable green keyboard with a cord, designed for programming purposes.

The Glorious GMMK Pro is a tenkeyless keyboard perfect for programmers on the go. It features a durable aluminum case, removable braided cord, and Gateron brown switches. The GMMK Pro is also highly customizable, allowing you to swap out the switches and replace them with any Cherry, Gateron, or compatible switches. You can customize the RGB lighting and remap all the keys using the manufacturer’s software or the open-source QMK firmware.

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Form factor: Tenkeyless (87 key) – The keyboard is compact and portable but still has all the essential keys you need for programming.
  • Numeric keypad: No – This is ideal for programmers who don’t need the numeric keypad, as it saves space on the desk.
  • Switches: Gateron Brown – These switches are tactile and quiet, making them ideal for typing and coding.
  • Ports: USB-C – This is the latest and greatest USB connector, and it is reversible, so you don’t have to worry about plugging it in the wrong way.
  • Other features:
    • A removable braided cord makes the keyboard more portable and more accessible to pack.
    • Swap out the switches, keycaps, and RGB lighting to create a perfect keyboard.
    • QMK firmware support gives you even more customization options, such as remapping keys and creating macros.

REASONS TO AVOID

  • No dedicated media keys: This is not a major drawback, as you can still control media playback using the function keys. However, if you frequently use media keys, this may be a deal-breaker for you.

6. Best Compact keyboard for Programmers: Obinslab Anne Pro 2

A compact, purple keyboard with vibrant, colorful keys designed for programming tasks

The Obinslab Anne Pro 2 is a 61-key keyboard perfect for programmers needing a compact, portable keyboard. It features a durable aluminum case, hot-swappable switches, and RGB backlighting. The Anne Pro 2 is also highly customizable, allowing you to remap keys and create macros using the manufacturer’s software.

Specifications:

  • Form factor: 61-key
  • Switches: Gateron Brown (default), but hot-swappable with any MX-compatible switch
  • Backlighting: RGB
  • Connectivity: USB-C
  • Other features: PBT keycaps, programmable macros, QMK firmware support

Reasons to avoid:

  • No dedicated media keys
  • A 61-key layout may be too small for some users

7. Best Wireless Keyboard for Programmers: Logitech MX Keys

An image of a black wireless programming keyboard placed against a white backdrop.

The Logitech MX Keys is a wireless keyboard perfect for programmers who need a comfortable and reliable keyboard. It features a comfortable key layout, long battery life, and multi-device support. The MX Keys are also highly customizable, allowing you to remap keys and create macros using the Logitech Options software.

Specifications:

  • Form factor: Tenkeyless (87 key)
  • Switches: Logitech Perfect Stroke switches
  • Backlighting: Yes, white
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth Low Energy and USB-C
  • Other features: Palm rest, multi-device support, Logitech Options software

Reasons to avoid:

  • Expensive
  • Some users have reported issues with the Bluetooth connection.

8. Best Mac Keyboard for Programmers: Apple Magic Keyboard with Keypad

Mac Apple Magic Keyboard for programming: A sleek and efficient keyboard designed by Apple for programming tasks.

The Apple Magic Keyboard with Keypad is the best Mac keyboard for programmers thanks to its comfortable and efficient typing experience, sleek and stylish design, and specifically designed features. These features include a dedicated numeric keypad, function keys, and a Touch ID sensor for quickly logging in to your Mac.

Specifications:

  • Form factor: Full-size
  • Switches: Scissor
  • Backlighting: Yes
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth or Lightning
  • Other features: Numeric keypad, function keys, Touch ID sensor

Reasons to avoid:

  • Expensive
  • No hot-swappable switches

9. Best Keyboard for Programmers on a Budget: EVGA Z15

EVGA Z15 keyboard with vibrant rainbow backlighting, ideal for budget-conscious programmers.

The EVGA Z15 is the best keyboard for programmers on a budget. It offers a comfortable typing experience with tactile and quiet Gateron Brown switches, a durable construction with an aluminum frame and polycarbonate top plate, and features specifically designed for programmers like a dedicated numeric keypad, function keys, and media keys. All of this is available at a very affordable price.

Specifications:

  • Form factor: Full-size
  • Switches: Gateron Brown (default), but hot-swappable with any MX-compatible switch
  • Backlighting: RGB
  • Connectivity: USB-C
  • Price: $100
  • Other features: PBT keycaps, programmable macros, QMK firmware support

Reasons to avoid:

  • None at this price point

Tips for Choosing the Right Keyboard for Programming

  • Set a budget before shopping
  • Consider features like switches, layout, backlighting, wrist rest, and media controls.
  • Try out keyboards in person to get a feel for them
  • Read reviews to learn more about the pros and cons
  • Look for keyboards with a dedicated numeric keypad
  • Consider keyboards with mechanical switches for more tactile and responsive typing.
  • Look for keyboards with programmable macros to automate tasks
  • Consider keyboards with a split layout for a more ergonomic posture. I hope this helps!

Conclusion:

Choosing the right keyboard for programming is important, as it can significantly impact your productivity and comfort. When choosing a keyboard for programming, it is important to consider the switch type, layout, features, and price.

Mechanical keyboards are generally the best choice for programmers, offering a more tactile and responsive typing experience. Consider a keyboard with a layout that is comfortable for you and includes all the keys you need for programming. Features include backlighting, programmable macros, and a dedicated numeric keypad.

Set a budget before you start shopping so that you don’t overspend.

I hope this article has helped you to choose the best keyboard for your programming needs.

Which type of keyboards are best for coding?

Mechanical keyboards are generally considered the best coding type, providing a more tactile and responsive typing experience. This can be helpful for programmers who spend long hours typing code.

Which keyboard switches are the best for programming?

Some popular keyboard switches for programming include:

  • Cherry MX Brown: An excellent all-around tactile and quiet switch.
  • Gateron Brown: A similar switch to Cherry MX Brown, but slightly less expensive.
  • Kailh Speed Silver: A light and linear switch good for fast typing.
Can you use a 65% keyboard for coding?

Yes, a 65% keyboard can be used for coding. It has all the essential keys for programming, and its compact size can save space on your desk.

Do you need numpad for programming?

You do not need a numpad for programming, but some programmers find it helpful for entering numbers and symbols. If you do a lot of work with spreadsheets or mathematical equations, then a numpad may benefit you.

What features should I look for in a programming keyboard?

When choosing a keyboard for programming, consider the following:

  • Switch type: mechanical keyboards offer the best typing experience.
  • Layout: choose a layout that is comfortable for you.
  • Backlighting: not essential, but helpful in low-light conditions.
  • Programmable macros: can help automate repetitive tasks.
How much should I spend on a programming keyboard?

Programming keyboards can range from around $20 to $200 or more. Set a budget before you start shopping so that you don’t overspend.

Where can I buy a programming keyboard?

Programming keyboards can be purchased online or at retail stores. Some popular online retailers include Amazon, Newegg, and B&H Photo Video. Some popular retail stores that sell programming keyboards include Best Buy, Microcenter, and Fry’s Electronics.


Shifa Tariq

Shifa Tariq

Hi, I'm Shifa, the CEO and Co-founder of Best Keyboard Tester, the go-to website for comprehensive keyboard guides, in-depth reviews, and top recommendations. As a huge keyboard enthusiast and tech lover, I created this website to help everyone find the perfect keyboard, whether you're a casual typist or a hardcore gamer. Our unique online keyboard tester tool lets you virtually try different switches and layouts before buying. I'm passionate about helping people discover the joy of an excellent keyboard and always looking for ways to improve our website.

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