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The best keyboards of 2018: top 10 keyboards compared

If your keyboard is getting old, dirty and grimy, it may be time to go out and shop for one of the best keyboards you can buy today. Even in you don’t have a keyboard that looks like a prop out of a horror film – the benefits to speed and efficiency you can gain with the best keyboards make the price of entry totally worth it.

Once you lay your fingers on one of the best keyboards, you’ll never go back – the advantages you gain to speed and reliability are just out of this world. Regardless of the kind of work you’re trying to do – whether it’s gaming, programming or even just writing like us – the best keyboards will make your life easier and less of a headache. Plus, if you’re looking for the best gaming keyboards, we have you covered with some of the best MLG typewriters in all of their RGB glory.

So, whether you’re trying to get some work done or just trying to connect with some friends on Facebook, you should look for a keyboard that will satisfy all of your needs. And we’re here to help you do exactly that, as we’ve created this list of the best keyboards that we’ve tested, reviewed and used in-house here at TechRadar. Every single keyboard here has earned our seal of approval, so you can be confident that you won’t find any lemons here.

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.

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. 

1. Topre Realforce 87U Tenkeyless

A low-profile speed machine

Interface: Wired | Keyboard backlighting: No | Switches: Topre electrostatic capacitive (30/45/55 grams variable, 45 grams, 55 grams)

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 at the time of this writing. UK and Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the HyperX Alloy Elite  

2. Topre Realforce 104UBS Silent variable

For a quieter Topre experience

Interface: Wired | Switches: Topre electrostatic capacitive silenced (30, 45 and 50 grams)

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 Razer Blackwidow Chroma V2.

3. Filco Majestouch-2 Tenkeyless

Built like a tank and compact

Interface: Wired | Switches: Cherry MX (Brown, Blue, Black, Red)

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.

4. PFU Happy Hacking Professional 2 (HHKB2)

A coder’s dream and typist’s treasure

Interface: Wired | Switches: Topre electrostatic capacitive (45 grams)

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

5. Microsoft Modern Keyboard with Fingerprint ID

Beauty meets security

Interface: Bluetooth | Keyboard backlighting: No

 

You need only look at Microsoft’s Surface devices to know that they’re kind of killing it when it comes to style, and the Microsoft Modern Keyboard with Fingerprint ID takes it to another level. This is one of the best keyboards you can buy today if you’re running Windows 10, and especially if you’re into the Surface aesthetic. Not only does this keyboard feel amazing to type on, but it also features biometric security, by including a discrete fingerprint scanner right next to the right “Alt” key. Sure, it’s expensive, but as with everything Microsoft, you can be sure you’re getting what you pay for.

Read the full review: Microsoft Modern Keyboard with Fingerprint ID 

6. Leopold Fc660c

Has just enough keys to be useful

Interface: Wired | Switches: Topre electrostatic capacitive (45 grams)

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 at the time of this writing. UK and Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the HyperX Alloy Elite 

7. Unicomp Classic 104

The ultimate keyboard for typing nostalgia

Interface: Wired | Switches: Buckling spring

Remember those old IBM Model M keyboards? Well, that’s what the Unicomp Classic 104 seeks to emulate. Available in both USB and PS/2 versions, it uses a buckling spring switch that takes more effort to press than just about every other modern switch. You’re rewarded for this hard pressing with a tactile response that feels like the classic mechanical keyboards of old, along with a noise that will drive everyone around you mad. 

8. Das Keyboard Prime 13

Mixing minimalistic style with premium quality

Interface: Wired | Keyboard backlighting: White | Switch type: Cherry MX Red or Brown switches

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.

9. Logitech K780

A great option for mobile device owners

Interface: Wired | Keyboard backlighting: No

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.

10. Microsoft Universal Foldable Keyboard

A compact, Surface-like keyboard

Interface: Bluetooth | Features: Compact, USB charging, works with Android, Windows Phone and iOS

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.

 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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