Deciding which keyboard is best for you is a subjective process that largely depends on what you'll be doing and what feels comfortable under your hands. As with your mouse, this is the peripheral on your PC you'll interact with the most and picking the right one deserves serious thought. We're here to shave off a few hours from that process, combining our own testing and experience with that of dozens of expert reviews and feedback from users across the web.
Whether you are focused on productivity, or are looking for a gaming-centric keyboard, or something that can connect to multiple devices over Bluetooth, here are our favorite devices on every category.
Best Keyboard for Productivity and Work
Our favorite keyboard on this category for the third time in a row, Das Keyboard has built a loyal following among mechanical keyboard enthusiasts since 2005. The Das Keyboard 4 Professional has been around since 2014 and despite a number of new features and additions, the board stays true to its roots in terms of aesthetics and its 104-key layout. If you have been using yours for a few years and feel no need to change, then like us you have a full understanding of why this recommendation is as solid as they come.
Over the years the Das has received a few improvements, like the media hub located on the top right corner, with an oversized volume knob and dedicated play, next track, previous track, sleep and mute buttons. The aluminum top panel which replaced a glossy plastic on previous versions is less prone to finger smudges and feels sturdier, too. The built-in USB hub was upgraded to USB 3.0, with two ports sitting on the back right edge just above the logo. That’s about it as far as extras are concerned.
Das' minimal approach to providing a first rate typing experience means this board doesn't have the bells and whistles you'll find in many competing units. There are no macro keys, no way to change the keystroke speed, no support for profiles and no backlighting.
The Das 4 Pro can be purchased with either blue or brown Cherry MX switches. The blue switches are clickier, louder and have an actuation force rating of 50 grams. The brown switches offer a softer feel and require an actuation force of just 45 grams. This is the sort of board you'd be proud to use at work -- it delivers a pleasurable typing experience in a professional looking package -- though the lack of features is bound to alienate some at its current price of $150, especially with the increasingly stiff competition.
We like to use our Das Keyboards not only for work but also play, but admitedly hardcore gamers will want more (see below) and the 4 Pro is certainly not designed with that demographic in mind.
There are numerous alternatives with plenty of great reviews, many of which we've used but don't necessarily prefer to the Das. The Code Keyboard is perhaps its most direct competitor, it uses a variety of Cherry MX switches, it's even more spartan, well built, and just as expensive. You could go either way really. Also from Das, the Prime 13 is pretty good at $129. It adds backlighting and a minimalistic design, but the single pass-through USB port frustrates us.
To round things off, if you are looking for a more affordable alternative, the Cooler Master's QuickFire XT is an amazing full-size option that costs less than $100 and uses Cherry MX brown switches.
Best Gaming Keyboard
Corsair is renown among other things for making great gaming keyboards. The K95 RGB Platinum is their latest and greatest addition to the lineup, sporting multi-color per-key LED backlighting and a design that is similar to our previous favorite gaming keyboard the K70 RGB RapidFire.
The K95 feels right at home, while adding a few more requested features. Corsair is making an expensive albeit very tempting proposition. The aluminium chassis on the K95 is sturdy and the detachable/reversible/magnetic wrist rest is great whether you're gaming on a desk or resting the keyboard on your lap. You get media controls and USB pass-through (2.0 unfortunately) just like the RapidFire.
There is an addition of six programmable macro keys placed on the left edge, ideal for quick access, and a 19-zone light bar called the LightEdge.
The K95 Platinum is all about speed thanks to the use of new MX Speed switches that reduce travel distance to 1.2mm for a lighting fast 4ms actuation speed. Coming from a keyboard with the full 2mm travel to actuation, the shorter K95 switches takes a little bit of getting used to, but it can make a difference for gamers to whom split seconds really do matter.
Corsair's Utility Engine lets you create different lighting effect thanks to the multi-color LED per-key backlighting, also making macros, reprogramming keys and linking games and apps with different keyboard profiles.
Almost the same for $100
There’s not much to criticize about the K95 RGB Platinum apart from the exorbitant price. If you want something more affordable, last year's pick, the K70 RGB Rapidfire is selling closer to $100 if you can live with single-color backlighting and forgo the macro keys -- but keep the same switches.
Affordable gaming mechanic
If you don't want to spend more than say ~$80 in a gaming mechanical keyboard, the Logitech G413 is a great option, with Logitech's proprietary Romer-G switches. They're only 1.5mm long, so, it is a serious competitor in the mid-range category. This keyboard looks good with a brushed aluminum finish and borderless design. Yes, it lacks media controls and RGB lighting, but the USB pass-through and good software make the G413 an excellent all-round package for the price. During the Black Friday weekend we saw it selling for as little as $55.
Best Wireless Keyboard
If you want more freedom and less cable clutter on your desk, the Logitech K800 Wireless Illuminated Keyboard is a versatile option that strikes a nice balance of comfort, size and features.
The keyboard has a streamlined slim design that’s thin on the front and tapered towards the rear, giving it a wedge shape that allows it stand upright whenever it’s not in use to save space -- not exactly a quality you’d look for in a keyboard but can come in handy for those with limited real estate on their desks. The portion outside the keys features a glossy black plastic finish and there’s an ergonomic palm rest to help you type comfortably.
As the name suggests this is a backlit keyboard but Logitech has added a few features to make it stand out. The first are sensors that control the level of brightness in response to ambient light (with optional manual adjustments, of course). There's also a motion sensor that triggers backlighting whenever your hands come in close proximity, and slowly fade it out once your hands leave the sensory zone in order to preserve battery life.
The K800 has your typical keyboard layout with a number pad and set of function/media keys. Typing on the keyboard’s sculpted keys is an overall comfortable experience, showing no sign of lag over its 2.4 GHz RF connection. The keystrokes strike a good balance between rigidity and softness, and compared with other keyboards, the K800 is significantly less clacky.
The keyboard will stay charged for about 10 days with the included AA NiMh batteries, which can recharge via micro-USB. The K800 can also be turned on and off with a switch located on the keyboard to conserve battery life and lengthen the time between charges.
If you're primarily looking for comfortable typing that is closer to a good laptop keyboard in terms of feel and low noise, compared to what you get from a mechanical keyboard, the Logitech K800 checks all the important boxes, is wireless, backlit, and not overly expensive. 4,000+ mostly positive user reviews on Amazon later, the K800 has tons of adepts who buy the same keyboard years later after great long term experience with it, that's why we've kept this recommendation intact as well.
Best HTPC Keyboard
The K830 is a little pricey, but if you want a carefully designed wireless keyboard built specifically for the couch then the price of admission here might be worth it.
This is a full-sized keyboard with a built in touchpad that’s ample enough for the form factor, along with left and right mouse buttons as well as three hot keys for volume control. Although its low profile keys offer a decent typing experience, the Logitech K830 is designed to be a home entertainment companion first and foremost.
Its standout feature is a backlighting system that automatically adapts to ambient light and slowly fades out when you are not actively using it. This not only saves battery, but also lets you completely focus on your movie without bright keys shining in your face. The upper row of keys feature secondary functions for helpful tasks like closing windows, showing the desktop, searching, and playing/pausing media. These are all reprogrammable using Logitech’s companion software.
A much cheaper option
For similar functionality at less than half the price, there's a great alternative on Logitech's own Wireless Touch K400 Plus. It's not as sleek looking and does not have as many bells and whistles, but it's just $20! It drops backlighting and USB charging in favor of AA batteries, but it's light and mobile enough to comfortably use on the lap while kicked back on the couch.
Best Bluetooth / Multi-Device Keyboard
Wireless? Check. Bluetooth? Check. Device switching? Check. Integrated tablet stand? Check. Logitech's K780 can manage up to three devices running distinct OS's (iOS, Android, Windows, Chrome OS, you name it) and if your desktop or laptop that doesn't have Bluetooth, Logitech includes its own Unifying receiver.
The K780 has round keys, which might feel unusual at first but doesn’t take much time getting used to, and there’s good spacing between them to keep mistypes down to a minimum, including a complete number pad this time.
Pairing to a new device is easy: you simply hold down the F1, F2 or F3 buttons until their respective lights flash rapidly. At this point, the keyboard is in Pairing Mode and will be visible to all nearby devices. Complete the connection on that device and you’re ready to go.
The K780 is comfortable and responsive enough for most people’s typing needs with a good amount of travel and Logitech’s PerfectStroke key system makes it quieter than most keyboards. Unfortunately, the K780 has a slight front to back incline to make typing more comfortable, but there’s no built-in stand to increase that incline.
It may not have backlighting or LEDs indicators, but the included pair of AAA batteries can last for as much as two years of heavy use, so forget about changing batteries.
Logitech offers a few similar Bluetooth keyboards of which we consider the K780 to be the most well-rounded, but given how similar they are and how close they're in pricing, it's worth mentioning the K810 and K811 (for Apple users) that add backlighting. And the cheaper ($30) and more basic K380.
Best Budget Keyboard
Among the sea of serviceable yet good looking keyboard & mouse combos around, we like Logitech's Wireless MK530 the most. We didn't favor the MK530 because it's wireless, but we did like its long-term reliability, appealing design and bonus wireless functionality for less than $35.
The combo gets you the wireless keyboard K520 and the wireless mouse M510 both of which connect using a single 'Unifying' receiver which can be used to connect more Logitech devices via a single USB adapter.
The keyboard is low profile and looks great, using concave keys with slightly rounded edges. Compared to a mechanical it will feel mushy, but it's as good as it usually gets for the price. Although we didn't pick this combo for the mouse, the included Logitech M510 is actually a highly regarded basic mouse that packs a "laser-grade" optical sensor and two thumb buttons.
A good wired combo for $23
As an alternative, for $10 less, if you don't like to change batteries and are simply looking for a basic keyboard you’ll be hard pressed to find something as solid as Microsoft's Wired Desktop 600. It has been around a long time, and we've seen it bundled with many PC systems over the years, though far from being a bad thing it just means it’s a proven design that has been able to withstand the test of time.