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Best Keyboard for Programming 2017 | (Updated May 2017)

best keyboard for programmingAs a programmer, you spend most of the time pressing keys. Therefore, it only makes sense that you invest in the best keyboard for programming in 2017.

The idea behind this is very similar to that of a car mechanic. A car mechanic never compromises on the quality of his/her tools; therefore, neither should you as a programmer.

The best keyboard for programming can go a long way in giving you a comfortable experience and could even enhance your productivity.

So, without further ado, lets dive right into it.

This list was updated on May 2017.

Best Keyboard for Programming 2017 Reviews

There is so much variety in keyboards that it sometimes become crazy to find the best one. There are the mechanical keyboard, membrane keyboards, programmable keyboards, ergonomic keyboards, etc.

If that is not confusing enough, each of the sub-type has more categories like tactile mechanical keyboard, soundless mechanical keyboards, etc.

In this list of the best keyboard of coding, we will break it down in terms of features so that it is easier for you to find your best pick.

Best Mechanical Keyboard for Programming

Mechanical keyboards really need no introduction. If you have the money to afford, these are perhaps the best type of keyboards to get. Every keystroke on these keyboards gives you immense pleasure.

They are generally high quality, expensive, and come in many switch types. Depending on your preference, you can choose the weight, actuation point, tactile or smooth feel, and even sound and no sound.

Corsair K95 – Extended

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This is the flagship mechanical keyboard from Corsair featuring Cherry MX Red and Brown switches. It has the options for customization and programming.

Although this is by a gaming brand, if you are looking for one of the best values in the market for a quality mechanical keyboard for programming, this is it.

Speaking of durability and quality, this keyboard uses aircraft grade aluminum for its construction.

There is nothing remotely close to the durability this keyboard would give you.

The keyboard offers high-quality features. You would normally expect a keyboard to have ten key rollover – this is typical enough for any keyboard as you do not have more than ten fingers.

This keyboard; however, boasts 122-key rollover, so if you were to sleep on it, the keyboard would still be able to register each press separately.

Sometimes a product truly is so great that its pros would heavily out weight cons. This is such a product. However, nothing is perfect, so here you go: This keyboard has no USB hub despite the fact that it uses two of them itself to power.

This is a full-size keyboard meaning it has the NUM pad on its right but it also has 18 G-Keys. These 18 programmable keys are great for those who appreciate customization.

The programmable keys can be set to three different profiles which in total can give you 54 programmed keys. The control that this keyboard provides and the precision of the key actuation is flawless.

The construction of the keys themselves is such that you will seldom miss judge them.

The basic version of this keyboard offer Cherry MX RED switches. These offer smooth actuation without any audible click.

Specs at a glance: Detachable Wrist Grip, wired, 100% Anti-Ghosting, 122-Key Rollover, 18 Programmable keys with different profiles, Key-by-Key Back light, Media Control, Aircraft Grade Aluminium Chassis

Pros

  • Offers one of the best value for money
  • A lot of options for customization
  • A solid build quality that can withstand a good beating

Cons

  • Uses two USB connectors to power up
  • No USB Hub
  • Not supported on MAC
  • Does not come with a cover or a sleeve

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Best TenKeyless Mechanical Keyboard

The TenKeyLess mechanical keyboards, as the name suggests, have fewer keys as compared to a normal sized keyboard. Specifically, they lack the num pad on the side. This is highly essential for those who are short on space or for those who like to carry their keyboard around.

Corsair Vengeance K65

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The best one in this also happens to be the one from Corsair.

It has the same rugged, anodized aluminum chassis as the Corsair K95 above, but obviously, has ten keys less.

If you are looking for solid and best tenkeyless mechanical keyboard for programming, then this should be on the top of your list.

Unfortunately, there is one drawback. There are no programmable keys on this keyboard.

Being a much smaller keyboard, it is also quite affordable as well as portable. You can take this around with you all the time in your travels. It even has a detachable USB with cable routing.

Despite being a 10-keyless keyboard, it uses the standard key sizes. Therefore, the typing still remains comfortable.

The keyboard uses MX Red Switches. It has Anti-Ghosting and Full Key Roll over features too.

However, if you like to customize your keyboard, then this isn’t the perfect choice for you. This is for those who prefer precision and comfort.

Specs at a glance: Cherry MX RED, 100% Anti-Ghosting, 100% Key Rollover, Aluminium Chassis

Pros

  • High grade build quality
  • Cable routing
  • Precision with linear MX Red switches.

Cons

  • No wrist grip
  • Lacks programmable keys
  • Does not offer back light.

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Best Budget Mechanical Keyboard

Let us face it, we all want a mechanical keyboard. However, they are generally quite expensive. This is also true for programmers who are on a type budget.

Therefore if you are looking for the best keyboard for programming at a budget with mechanical switches, you are in luck.

TOMOKO Mechanical Keyboard

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Granted, it does not use the best of construction material, but most of us don’t really care as long as the keyboard works and feels great.

That is basically the idea behind this keyboard.

This keyboard uses Cherry MX Blue switches that will provide you with a tactile feedback. Meaning, you feel the click and noise. This is generally said to improve speed and precision.

This is a tenkeyless mechanical keyboard, so it lacks a num pad. However, it has an FN key with which you can gain access to media controls.

Other than that, this is a very simple keyboard. It is compatible with both Windows and MAC.

One of the best features of this keyboard is that it is water-resistant. Therefore, if you accidentally spill something over, you can rest assured that it’ll still get the work done.

It also comes with key-cap puller so that you can clean the insides of the keys sometimes.

Specs at a glance: Cherry MX Blue, Anti-Ghosting, Water-Resistant 

Pros

  • One of the most affordable mechanical keyboard for programming
  • Water-Resistant
  • You get a Key-Cap Puller
  • MAC Compatible

Cons

  • No wrist grip
  • Lacks programmable keys
  • Does not offer back light.
  • No cable management

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Best Professional Keyboard for Programming

If you are serious about your programming career, then you need to get a keyboard that is designed for professionals. These are the keyboards that have some of the highest quality switches.

WASD Code 87 Keys – High-Quality Keyboard for Coding

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This back-lit illuminated mechanical keyboard is considered to be one of the finest among professionals. For that reasons, it is also one of the best keyboard for programming.

This is a simple looking keyboard; however, it greatly balances its look with its performance. There are two Switch types that you can get: Clear and Green. Green are more expensive because they come pre-installed with O-ring dampeners.

The clear switch gives you a tactile feel to the keystrokes. Everything about this keyboard speaks of quality.

That also comes with a hefty price tag. This has to be one of the most expensive tenkeyless mechanical keyboards in the market.

You get a lot of other goodies with this keyboard. You get a 6ft micro USB cable, a USB – PS/2 converter and also a Keycap Puller.

Unlike some of the high-end keyboards mentioned here, this particular keyboard is not made out aluminum, but of rigid plastic that feels solid. You will have no flexing issues caused by strains.

In terms of versatility not only does this keyboard have the function key, but offers something else that is unique, a DIP switch. This is there to give you hardware level configurable output.

For example, one of the functions it provides is the ability to switch to other keyb.oard layouts like DVORAK and COLEMAK.

Specs at a glance: Cherry MX Clear/Green, Anti-Ghosting, N-Key Rollover, Keycap Remover, USB – PS/2 converter.

Pros

  • A clean a simple keyboard without any logo.
  • DIP switch for hardware level control
  • High build quality
  • Backlight
  • Comes with several goodies.

Cons

  • Keycaps use the standard plastic that becomes smudgy and shiny after a while.
  • Expensive keyboard option.

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Best Wireless Keyboard for Programming

If you like to have a clean desk space, then your keyboard of choice will definitely be a wireless keyboard. Whether you should go for a wired or wireless keyboard is entirely up to you. However, there are a few more things you need to consider as compared to a wired keyboard.

  • What is the wireless range of keyboard?
  • Does it connect through a dongle or can it connect directly via Bluetooth?
  • How long does the battery last and which batteries do you need.

Microsoft L5V-00001 – Best Valued Wireless Keyboard for Programming [Package]

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This is one of the best keyboard for programming if it is comfort that you are after. I know this is not just a keyboard but an entire package, the value that it gives is phenomenal.

This is a highly ergonomic keyboard for programming. It fashioned in a way that your wrist and hand posture remains in a comfortable position while you type.

Most of the typists are increasingly moving towards ergonomic keyboards and due to the health hazards a conventional keyboard provides for prolonged typing.

Warning: Do not loose or break the dongle, this will render your keyboard and mouse useless.

With this keyboard, you get an ergonomic mouse as well as a separate numpad. The mouse itself is among the most beautiful and comfortable piece of peripheral that I have seen.

Specs at a glance: Split-Curved ergonomic design, comes with Microsoft Sculpt Mouse and a separate numpad, battery lasts 36 months, cushioned palm rest, 2.4 GHz radio frequency wireless

Pros

  • Ergonomic shape for high level of comfort
  • Simple and elegant design
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • Cannot connect via Bluetooth
  • If you loose the USB receiver, you are in big trouble

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Best Membrane Keyboard for Programming

Membrane keyboards are your average affordable keyboards; the kind of keyboard that you would normally see in schools, offices or on laptops. The chances are that if you do not know the difference, you possibly are using a membrane keyboard right now.

Most of the membrane keyboards are very cheap to find. You can only find high-quality membrane keyboards in the gaming models.

The only high-quality membrane keyboard that is built for typing and programming is the Apple Wired Keyboard.

Apple Wired Keyboard

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Apple products don’t really need an introduction. They are not to be the cream of the their pack. The Apple Wired Keyboard has a signature white on gray color and a simple texture.

The best part about this keyboard are the keys themselves. I am not talking about their actuation points or their sounds; I am talking about the pure feel of the keys.

If you have ever touched the keyboard on a Macbook, then you will have a very good idea about how this keyboard feels too.

Unfortunately, there is one drawback. This keyboard can only be used on MACOS perfectly.

If you want to use it on Windows, you will need to tweak it a bit.

The keys are soft with shallow actuation points. The are made of material and coating that gives you extensive grip so that you do no accidentally miss the key.

This keyboard is optimized for key travel. Meaning there is a thorough research done on how the keyboard is supposed to type. This type of perfection is typically expected from Apple anyways.

The keyboard also comes with multimedia control. It also incorporates two USB ports. It is slim and highly stylish. The keyboard is made of aluminum for highest durability.

Specs at a glance: Membrane keyboard, ultra-thin, two USB ports, multimedia controls, aluminium chassis.

Pros

  • It an Apple product, quality is guaranteed. Plus it the most famous keyboard for Mac users.
  • Shallow keys makes typing faster, the key design and feel guarantees precision
  • A plethora of function keys to control your MAC OS and multimedia.
  • Offers a USB Hub

Cons

  • Does not work well with Windows unless you tweak some settings
  • Lacks programmable keys.

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Deciding Between Mechanical or Membrane Keyboards

So basically when looking for the best keyboard for programming, you need to decide between a mechanical or a membrane keyboard.

Many programmers prefer membrane keyboard because they are affordable. Now membrane keyboards have their subsets such as Rubber Dome, Conductive Rubber, and Scissor-Switch Membrane Keyboard.

Best programming membrane keyboards are mostly rubber dome membrane keyboards.

However, a vast majority of professional programmers, even professional typists, would recommend going for mechanical keyboards. To simply define them, they are the keyboards that make a clicking noise when the keys are pressed.

A membrane keyboard is simple to purchase; you just have to choose whether you like the design and form factor mostly and that is it.

With mechanical keyboards, it is a bit different because mechanical keyboards have different switch types. Switch types differ in the kind of sound the make when pressed and also their feel and actuation point is different.

With mechanical keyboards, you can find the type of keys that suit your needs the best. Some keys are fast; others are more precise. Some are soundless; others have a clicking sound.

We have talked further about different switch types further below in this article.

Other Accessories for Programmers

You will be delighted to hear that you can further improve your coding experience by investing in accessories and peripherals designed specifically for software developers. You can find monitors, mice, and even keyboard dedicated to improving your professional life.

FAQ & Guide

Before you buy something, it is always a good idea to know as much as about the product as you can. This makes you a smart buyer and plus it enlightens you about the terminologies and the aspects of a product.

For buying the best keyboard for programming, you need to consider the follow key features.

Now you should note that you cannot expect all of the features to be on one keyboard. There will always be trade-offs.

  • Build Quality: This has a great impact on your use and it is proportional to the amount you are willing to pay. You get different build qualities for chassis and keycaps. Chassis are made out of Aluminium, Rigid Plastic or Flimsy Plastic. The Keycaps generally use the cheaper ABS plastic or the high-quality smudge or shine proof PBT plastic.
  • High Customization: This is a personal preference. Do you want to have programmable keys? Do you want to have key-by-key backlight coloring?
  • Types of Switches: If you are getting a mechanical keyboard, then they type of switch you get matters the most. There is a short infographic further down below explaining different switches.
  • Feedback: This is the feeling that you get from the key presses. Do you want a tactile/bumpy feel or do you want a smooth and linear feel?
  • Switch Between Keyboard Layouts: The ability to switch between different keyboard layouts is also important especially for programmers. Layouts include: Qwerty, Mac, DVORAK, COLEMAK
  • Color Schemes: This is again a personal choice. Most would go for the simple black color others would want the keyboard color to match the color scheme of the rest of their gadgets.
  • Key Travel: This is the distance a key travels before the computer registers it. This depends on your choice and is generally a big consideration with mechanical keyboards.
  • Actuation Force: This is the amount of force or pressure you need to apply to press the key. This is yet another function of the different key switches of mechanical keyboards.
  • Compatibility for OS: You need to make sure that the keyboard that you get is compatible with your OS of choice.
  • Backlight: This is an important feature if you work in dark environments.
  • Portability: If you travel a lot or if you have a small desk space, you will like keyboards that are portable. Generally, the Tenkeyless keyboards are excellent for portability.

What are Switch Types?

Switch types basically define the type of feel and feedback you would receive from key presses on mechanical keyboards.

There are many different switch types, and they are differentiated by their color. You would typically find them in Blue, Brown, Red, Black and also in propriety designs such as the ones on Razer BlackWidow keyboards.

Each different switch type (color) has different Key Feel, Feedback and Actuation Point. These are the three important parameters that a gamer would choose the switch type from.

Key feel can range from tactile and smooth; feedback can range from bump to click; whereas, the actuation point can range from 45 g to 80 g.

This Infographic should help you further with choosing switch types.

best gaming keyboard

How Do You Silence Mechanical Keyboards?

There are many reasons why one would want to silence their mechanical keyboards.

  • You like everything about the keyboard except the noise. So you don’t want to replace it.
  • Perhaps you bought the keyboard not realizing the amount of sound that it’ll make.
  • Maybe you though having the sound would be cool, only to later grow tired of it.
  • Your family just cannot withstand that sound anymore.

There are many other reasons. However, the good news is that there is a very easy way to turn the sound off.

You simply have to get O-rings and Key-Cap puller. Then you remove the keys one-by-one and place that rubber O-ring on the plungers of the keys. This dampens the sound.

There are many types of O-rings that you can get. Each has its own level of reduction.

dampners

WASD O-Rings - Best There Are

Not only WASD makes amazing keyboards, but they also make awesome O-Rings for the Cherry MX switches.

Best Cherry MX O-Rings

They have two variants

You will also need a Keycap Puller.

Best Keycap Puller

This is not a highly technical tool. Therefore, you don’t really need to think twice about it.

best keycap puller

WASD Wire Keycap Puller

Define Anti-Ghosting and Key Rollover?

Ever experienced the phenomenon where you type really fast, and the keyboard accidentally registers and extra keystroke out of nowhere. This is ghosting.

Most of the advanced, and in fact all of the keyboard listed here have the feature called anti-ghosting. 

Anti-ghosting basically gets rid of this problem. So if you are programming and you are pressing the keys really fast, the keyboard will not go crazy and accidentally press the Windows key, for example, for you.

Key Rollover pertains to how many keys you can press at a single time before the keyboard locks out.

If a keyboard has 6 Key Roll Over, it means you can press six keys, and the keyboard will register all 6 in sequence, on the seventh simultaneous press, the keyboard will lock out.

You can sometimes know this when the computer makes a beeping sound.

Most of the gaming keyboards have a good number of Key Roll Over. A 10 key rollover accounts for all ten fingers on our hands. A number greater than this is commonly featured on gaming keyboards. Wonder why you would need more than that – perhaps when you are raging and you happen to slap all the keys on your keyboard.

Conclusion

There are many types of keyboard available in the market. If you are looking for the best keyboard for programming, you first need to define your needs.

Do you need a wireless or a wired keyboard? The decision can most certainly change once you have looked at the vast variety of keyboards that you can get.

It is without a doubt that mechanical keyboards for programming are still the reigning king. The best thing about them is that you can get to choose exactly the type of feel you want thanks to the different switch types.

You can also look into other or more common and cheaper keyboard types like the membrane keyboards.

What to Expect from the Best Keyboard for Programming 2018?

Only time will tell what new technology the next year brings. We can see a trend that the mechanical keyboards are finally getting cheaper. This means we can hope to find more under $50 mechanical keyboards next year in 2018.

We are also seeing a growing trend for getting ergonomic peripherals. We can expect this trend to continue.

The trend for modular keyboards is on the decline. Therefore, we do not expect them to show up in 2018. In fact, with the current trend, the simpler the keyboard, the better it is.