What is the Best Keyboard for Programming? Buying Guide & Review of the Top 10 Brands

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Having the best keyboard for programming is important for coders. These people spend most of their time working on their computer to design, write, and test code. With the right keyboard, their job will be much easier and more efficient.

If you are thinking of learning how to code and get your hands on programming, it’s important that you invest in a reliable keyboard. Of course, you also need to have a good monitor, headphone, and mouse. But it’s the keyboard that you should give priority. You cannot choose any type of keyboard out there. It should be a model that can get the job done right and can withstand the daily use.

When it comes to programming, you’ll be typing on the keyboard for most of the day so choose a keyboard that will allow you to type for longer without straining your hands. Above all, it should be one that you can reprogram in so you can access the most frequently used applications in your computer with ease. The best mechanical keyboard for programming is one that should minimize your use of the mouse and boost your productivity.

Sure, it can be hard to choose the best keyboard for programming given the wide options available for you now. So here’s everything you need to know about buying a keyboard for computer programming, along with reviews of the best ones in the market.

Things to Look for When Shopping for a Good Keyboard for Programmers

PLAN - PRICE

Description

WASD Key Illuminated Mechanical Keyboard

All keycaps have sharp labels

Can be used for both Mac and PC computers

Great cable routing features

Includes Backlighting with 7 varying levels

Realforce 87U Tenkeyless 55g Keyboard

Realforce 87U is excellent for typing

This keyboard is made from premium quality materials

Topre switches

Filco Ninja Majestouch-2 Keyboard

Available in multiple options

Excellent feedback when it comes to the key press

High-quality build for both keycaps and body

NKRO accepts all kinds of key press

CM Storm QuickFire Mechanical Keyboard

Comes in various options for the user

Features a simple and clean design

Cheaper compared to other popular mechanical keyboards

NKRO via PS/2

Kinesis Advantage2 Ergonomic Keyboard

Can support various keyboard layouts

Features excellent ergonomic design

Offers excellent key response

Onboard key remapping

Before we find out the best mechanical keyboard for programming, let’s first talk about the most important factors to consider when choosing the right keyboard for computer programming.

Layout

A full-size layout is required for a programmer’s keyboard, but it must not have any cramped keys. Otherwise, it will restrict the programmer’s typing ability and efficiency. It’s best to choose a keyboard that comes with a full number pad with less extra function keys such as those used for launching certain apps and controlling music players or video players.

Keystrokes

Other important factors to think of when it comes to choosing the right keyboard for computer programming are the keystrokes or switches. These elements ensure a more efficient and comfortable typing experience for the user. It is best to choose a keyboard that features a soft and sensitive feather-like feel. You need to also choose something that offers a bit more resistance and require a bit of extra pressure as you type.

The switches used in the keyboard will have a huge impact on the overall feel of the keys. With computer programming keyboards, you’ll find rubber dome switches, scissor switches, and mechanical switches.

Each of these keyboards offers a varying level of noise, sensitivity, and comfort. Your choice will mainly depend upon your personal preferences and what you think is most comfortable for you. It’s also a good idea to go for a keyboard that gives you the ability to add keystroke shortcuts.

Ergonomics

First is the ergonomics. Remember, you’ll be using the keyboard for a longer time every single day. Therefore, choose a keyboard that will not strain your hands and will not cause injury on your wrist.

When it comes to this, consider getting a programming keyboard that comes with an adjustable height feature. A keyboard that tilts may also be an ideal choice since it will make it possible for you to align it at the most comfortable level for your wrist, allowing for a more comfortable typing experience.

Ergonomics is a very important factor since it also allows you to speed up your tasks. If you’re doing fast software development or whenever an idea pop ups in your mind, you need to be able to write the code for that particular part of the script as fast as possible. The best ergonomic mechanical keyboard allows you to get your work done faster and easier.

Wired vs. Wireless Keyboards

Both the wireless and wired keyboards have benefits and drawbacks. For instance, wireless keyboards are great since they help to save space in your desk and minimize clutter since it doesn’t come with any cord that could interfere with the other devices on your desk. However, these keyboards operate with the help of a battery and have the tendency to lag sometimes.

Your budget could also affect your decision about whether to go for wired or wireless keyboards. If you can’t decide between the two, you might as well settle in the middle and choose a keyboard that’s capable of supporting both wireless and wired configurations.

Mechanical vs. Membrane Keyboards

When looking for the best compact mechanical keyboard, you’ll find that the keyboards are classified according to how they register key presses. But of all these classifications, it is the membrane and the mechanical keyboard that are the most dominant. Most programmers would prefer to use the membrane keyboard since it’s usually the most popular choice.

The membrane keyboard is made of rubber layers with a conductive pad and with the keyboard characters written. Whenever you press a key, the pad will detect the pressure and that’s when it will register the key to the computer. Furthermore, membrane keyboards allow you to press down the key effortlessly.

However, they lack tactile feedback, which means that you may not be able to feel that the keys are being pressed down and you might have difficulty determining if a press has been registered. Nevertheless, a membrane keyboard is cheaper and can work best for programmers on a budget.

Mechanical keyboards might be a much better option when it comes to the best keyboard for programming. These keyboards rely on switches when sending signals, resulting in a faster response and more accurate results.

With a mechanical keyboard, you can always be certain when a key press registers. But there are three different types of keyboard switches that are represented by various color codes, each performing differently.

Users tend to respond differently on color codes but there’s also a drawback for each so you need to make sure that you’ll have a better understanding of the color codes. Most computer programmers opt for either clicky or tactile. The categories can also be divided into heavy and light switches depending on the pressure that’s applied to them.

How to Maintain Your New Keyboard

Upon receipt of the new keyboard, it’s highly recommended that you test each and every key and ensure that every single LED is working. If you get a dead light or switch, you should get in touch with the seller as soon as possible in order to request for a repair or replacement.

Remember that mechanical keyboards for programming require more care and maintenance compared to other keyboards. Dust, debris, skin particles, crumbs, hair, and all kinds of small particles could easily accumulate in between the keys.

It’s therefore recommended that you clean the keyboard regularly. Unplug it and flip upside down to shake all of those nasty particles out. Blow the rest of the debris and dust using compressed air. If the keys have been exposed to some oily residue, make sure you wipe it down quickly using a microfiber cloth.

Best Keyboard for Programming in the Marketplace

So now that you know the most important factors to consider when looking for the best keyboard for programming, here are a few reviews of some of the best ones in the market right now.

1 – WASD Key Illuminated Mechanical Keyboard

This keyboard from WASD is not like any typical programming keyboards out there. It’s all black and doesn’t come with any special engravings. There’s not even a logo on the front, which is what you would normally see on other keyboards for programming.

What’s great about this WASD Keyboards CODE is that the keycaps offer a smooth feeling with high-quality labels. When using this keyboard for the first time, what will really catch your attention is that the Window keys don’t have any labels.

This keyboard includes a 1.8m (70.8in) Micro USB cable with a cable tie that allows you to route the cable on any way that you prefer. But the cable isn’t braided, which might be a factor for perfectionist programmers out there. Another thing that you’ll easily recognize when using this keyboard is the LED backlighting that has 7 different levels.

You’ll have different options to choose from when buying the WASD Keyboard CODE. You can opt for Cherry MX Brown or Blue switches, Full Size or Tenkeyless. Furthermore, this keyboard can be used for Mac computers through the DIP switches. You can disable or enable the OS keys and change the keyboard’s function to Mac mode from the QWERTY mode. This product includes a user manual that can serve as your guide.

Pros:

All keycaps have sharp labels
Can be used for both Mac and PC computers
Great cable routing features
Includes Backlighting with 7 varying levels
Robust build

Cons:

A bit expensive
The USB cable isn’t braided

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2 – Realforce 87U Tenkeyless 55g Keyboard

The Realforce 87U is available in black color, which is somewhat grayish and has a sturdy built. Its keycaps are made of PBT or Polybutylene terephthalate, a high-quality material that’s known for being durable. Meanwhile, the spacebar is made of ABS.

All keys are quite rough and can definitely withstand daily use. Keycaps that are made of PBT are three times more durable than the normal ABS keycaps. Therefore, if you prefer a keyboard that will last longer, the Realforce 87U Tenkeyless 55g is definitely what you need.

The characters on the keys are printed in a dark grayish color, which might be a bit difficult to see when there’s low light. But there are two keys with different colors. For instance, the escape key has red characters in it while the Window keys feature a plastic logo of Windows. Furthermore, the space bar is placed in an angle that points towards you.

This keyboard’s USB cord is not detachable. It’s placed right at the top left-hand corner. Considered as the best ergonomic mechanical keyboard in the market, the switches of this keyboard offer the best feel possible. Typing on this keyboard is smooth and satisfying although it has the tendency to produce clicky noise whenever you press a key. Yet, the noise is pretty acceptable.

Pros:

Great for typing
Made from premium quality materials
Topre switches

Cons:

A bit expensive
The USB cable is not detachable

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3 – Filco Ninja Majestouch-2 Keyboard

Filco is one of the best mechanical keyboard brands right now. Each of the products that the brand releases comes with their own unique characteristics. This Filco Ninja Majestouch-2 is one of their most popular keyboards for programming. It features front printing keycaps and offers the look of an almost blank keycap keyboard.

This is beneficial for programmers since most are considered precision typists, which means that they can easily memorize the locations of all the keys in the keyboard. Thus, the labels that are above the keycaps will not really serve any purpose for them. Furthermore, the front printing labels help to prevent any issues like fading labels.

A lot of programmers truly appreciate the Filco Ninja Majestouch’s overall build quality. It’s no doubt one of the best mechanical keyboards in the market in terms of quality. Its overall body is quite sturdy with a little rough surface and sleek keycaps. This keyboard from Filco only comes with 3 backlit keys – Num lock, caps lock, and scroll lock. But it’s not like programmers need the backlight when using the keys.

The overall length of the cable is at 1.5 m or around 4.9 feet. That should be more than enough for all your needs. Furthermore, the Tenkeyless version of this keyboard weighs around 2.2 pounds while the full-size version weighs 2.7 pounds. Thus, if you want to be able to easily move around when using the keyboard, the Tenkeyless version would be a much better option.

Pros:

Available in multiple options
Excellent feedback when it comes to the key press
High-quality build for both keycaps and body
NKRO accepts all kinds of key press
There are front printing labels on the keys

Cons:

The packaging is not that impressive

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4 – CM Storm QuickFire Rapid Mechanical Keyboard

The CM Storm is another popular brand and is also among the best mechanical keyboard brands in the market right now. Their QuickFire Rapid keyboard offers lots of options for the users and is available in Cherry MX Red, Cherry MX Green, Cherry MX Blue, and Cherry MX Brown.

Just like with the other keyboards on this list, this particular keyboard doesn’t really come with all the bells and whistles. Instead, it offers a clean and simple design but with pretty good execution.

The CM Storm QuickFire Rapid also comes with the NKRO via PS/2 cable but the USB is only supporting 6 KRO. Furthermore, it includes a braided USB cable that’s removable and has a cable routing as well. Thus, you’d be able to easily route its cable to any direction that you prefer.

Pros:

Comes in various options for the user
Features a simple and clean design
Cheaper compared to other popular mechanical keyboards
NKRO via PS/2

Cons:

Keycaps are unattractive

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5 – Kinesis Advantage2 Ergonomic Keyboard

For programmers who tend to strain and injure their wrist when typing, the Kinesis Advantage2 might be a great keyboard to try. Considered as the best ergonomic mechanical keyboard in the market, this keyboard features a unique design incorporating various techniques that can help the user to comfortably type on the keyboard even for a much longer time.

The keys of this keyboard have been divided into two and are positioned in a slight contour on both sides of the keyboard. This design definitely makes typing in this keyboard so much more comfortable.

Plus, it increases your thumb’s functionality, thanks to the two thumb clusters that it comes with. On the left cluster is the Alt, Delete, and Backspace buttons while the right cluster has the CTRL, Space, and Enter buttons.

Users say that typing on this keyboard is so comfortable that you can keep typing in it for the whole day without straining your fingers or wrists. Furthermore, the keyboard’s split design feature means your hands can stretch straight from your shoulder instead of typing in the usual V position.

This allows for a more comfortable typing experience. Many users are also impressed with the responsiveness of the keys of the Kinesis Advantage2 Ergonomic Keyboard.

Pros:

Can support various keyboard layouts
Features excellent ergonomic design
Offers excellent key response
Onboard key remapping

Cons:

The learning curve is steep

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6 – Fujitsu Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional2

Featuring a very minimalistic design, the Fujitsu Happy Hacking keyboard is truly a great choice when it comes to the best value mechanical keyboard. Aside from the dropping of the Num pad, the keyboard also cuts through the function keys and navigation keys, making it smaller than the Tenkeyless keyboard.

One of the first things that you’ll probably notice when using this keyboard is how less strain you’ll feel in your hands as you type. It also frees up a lot of space in your desk and makes using the mouse very easy. What’s great about it is that the manufacturer didn’t make the keys smaller despite the compact design.

Those who have tried using the Fujitsu Happy Hacking Keyboard agree that it could take some time to get used to it because it includes some shifts on the key placements. For example, the Caps lock has shared the same placement with the Tab, and the Ctrl has taken the place of the Caps lock. Furthermore, instead of the backspace, what this keyboard has is delete.

Nevertheless, this mechanical keyboard gives you the option to use the DIP switches that are at the bottom part in order to change to the previous mode and modify the responses of certain keys. This might sound complicated but there’s no need to worry because it includes a guide at the bottom explaining what each of the switches can do.

Pros:

Easy and comfortable to use when typing
Features Topre switch
Saves a lot of space
Very durable

Cons:

Doesn’t come with the arrow keys

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7 – Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard

Microsoft Sculpt is another great keyboard to choose when it comes to the best mechanical keyboard for office use. It’s less complicated compared to other brands and is definitely much cheaper. But it’s worth noting that this brand has used different methodologies so it’s not really right to compare it with the other leading brands of mechanical keyboards.

You’ll absolutely appreciate the comfort and ease of use that this keyboard brings. It allows you to position your hands in a more natural way, which reduces the amount of strain involved as you type. In fact, a lot of users say that typing in this keyboard is much easier compared to the other mechanical keyboards in the market. Yet, it might require a bit of practice before you can fully adapt to it.

The keys of this keyboard are a bit bigger compared to the other mechanical keyboards for programming, which is actually great and allows for less error when typing. Another thing that’s great about this keyboard is that it comes with a separate number pad.

This is ideal for programmers who would prefer a separate Num pad due to the awkward positioning of the Num pad in a keyboard. Sometimes, you may have to stretch your arms completely just to reach these numbers. But with a separate Num pad, you’d be able to position it in a place that’s more convenient for you.

Pros:

Adjustable tilt
Comes with a separate Num pad
Comfortable ergonomic design
Includes a detachable palm rest
Wireless design

Cons:

Takes a while for the user to adapt

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8 – Das 5Q Soft Tactile RGB Smart Mechanical Keyboard

When it comes to the best value mechanical keyboard, this 5Q Soft Tactile RGB Smart Mechanical Keyboard is a great product to try. It’s very sturdy and will give you the best value for your money. The durability of this keyboard may be attributed to its top panel made of aluminum. Indeed, the brand made a smart decision to incorporate an aluminum panel to this mechanical keyboard since it’s capable of handling a number of falls.

Instead of the Cherry MX switches, the Das keyboard has moved to use the gamma Zulu switches. The manufacturer claims that these particular switches are capable of handling up to a hundred million key presses. That’s about twice as much as the MX.

Users love the wrist rest feature of this keyboard because it makes using the keyboard super comfortable and allows you to type a little bit faster. It comes with three dedicated media buttons as well as a volume knob that’s at the top right corner. These are very useful in controlling media on the computer. What’s more, it’s now possible to assign all of the 12 function keys to some other tasks.

You’re probably wondering why the manufacturer has referred to this as a smart keyboard. That’s because it’s compatible with the IFTT protocol, otherwise known as the IF THIS THEN THAT protocol.

With this feature, it’s possible to set the different keys to alert you whenever there are some activities going on around you. For example, you can set the keyboard in such a way that it will inform you whenever there’s a new comment made on the thread that you’re following in a particular stack overflow.

Pros:

Comes with dedicated media keys and knob
Incorporates Gamma Zulu switches, which are more long-lasting
Offers excellent and comfortable typing experience
Sturdy built
Supports IFTT protocol

Cons:

The knob is a bit difficult to handle

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9 – DeamMai Unicomp Ultra Classic 104 Key USB Keyboard

The DeamMai Unicomp is such a unique piece of a mechanical keyboard. Featuring an old school design that includes large prints on the keys, this keyboard is definitely a great choice for programmers who want clear visibility on their keyboard.

The keyboard case is all made of plastic that is colored in black although the buttons are all in white shade. Despite it being made of plastic, you can be sure that it’s extremely very durable. As a matter of fact, this keyboard is a bit on the heavier side and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to get broken easily.

Typing on this uniquely designed mechanical keyboard would be a totally different experience compared to typing on a normal keyboard. Sure, it would require some time to get used to, but once you finally find your way around it, you’ll appreciate how easy and convenient it is to use this keyboard. It’s an excellent choice for hard-core programmers, those that spend a good amount of time typing a huge amount of text every single day.

The buttons of the keyboard are pretty amazing and many programmers are totally impressed by them. This keyboard uses the traditional method that includes a spring inside. Once the spring causes the keyboard to register keystrokes, it produces a one of a kind sound. It’s somewhat very loud, similar to the noise that old keyboards tend to make.

If you prefer quiet keyboards, you might as well choose a different one. This product doesn’t really come with lots of special features, such as media buttons and a USB hub. But, overall, it’s still a pretty great keyboard to use that won’t really cost you a lot of money compared to the other models on this list.

Pros:

Features decent spring key switches
Old-school design
Unique design

Cons:

Doesn’t come with any special features
May not work for everybody

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10 – CORSAIR K63 Wireless Mechanical Keyboard

Corsair is definitely a great brand to consider when it comes to mechanical keyboards for computer programming. This product features a Tenkeyless design that’s equipped with the Cherry Red MX switches and a 1ms response time while in the 2.4GHz mode. The keyboard is well constructed and guaranteed to last for a long time despite the regular use.

Connecting this Corsair mechanical gaming keyboard to your computer is pretty simple. You just need a single USB port for the dongle. The battery could last up to 15 hours, making it one of the best keyboards that have a truly incredible battery life. If you want the battery to last longer, you can simply lower the brightness.

In addition, if the keyboard is switched off, the battery could last up to 75 hours! You won’t encounter any lags or latency when using this keyboard since the key press registers instantly. Furthermore, the CUE software of this keyboard allows you to make a few adjustments to the overall functionality by assigning certain keys and launching applications.

Indeed, this Corsair keyboard offers the best of both worlds. It allows you to connect easily through a simple USB if you want to use the wired mode and the Bluetooth feature allow you to go wireless without having to compromise the keyboard’s efficiency.

Pros:

Equipped with multi-color RGB backlighting
Highly compatible with Xbox One allowing you to play keyboard-enabled games
Made of aircraft-grade aluminum frame

Cons:

Could encounter problems when connecting

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Conclusion

PLAN - PRICE

Description

Fujitsu Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional2

Fujitsu Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional2 is easy and comfortable to use when typing

Features Topre switch

Saves a lot of space

It is also very durable

Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard

Adjustable tilt

Comes with a separate Num pad

Comfortable ergonomic design

Includes a detachable palm rest

Wireless design

Das 5Q Soft Tactile RGB Smart Mechanical Keyboard

Comes with dedicated media keys and knob

Incorporates Gamma Zulu switches, which are more long-lasting

Offers excellent and comfortable typing experience

DeamMai Unicomp Ultra Classic 104 Key USB Keyboard

Features decent spring key switches

Old-school design

DeamMai Unicomp Ultra Classic 104 Key USB Keyboard has a unique appealing design

CORSAIR K63 Wireless Mechanical Keyboard

Equipped with multi-color RGB backlighting

Highly compatible with Xbox One allowing you to play keyboard-enabled games

Made of aircraft-grade aluminum frame

Of all the keyboards in this list, it is the WASD Keyboards CODE that we consider the best. In fact, this keyboard is one of the best-rated keyboards online. Most programmers who have used it are very satisfied with its overall performance.

That’s because it offers a smooth feeling when typing, which is important for programmers who tend to spend most of their time typing. Furthermore, this keyboard offers different options for the user.

You can either go for the Cherry MX Brown or Blue switches, Full Size or Tenkeyless. What’s more, it’s compatible with both PC and Mac users. So if you’re on the hunt for the best keyboard for programming, look no further. The WASD Keyboards CODE is what you should buy.

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