John is an experienced freelance content writer with an eclectic employment history.
Enjoy the Many Benefits of a Great Keyboard
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to many of us working from home, and in doing so, learning hard lessons about the importance of ergonomics. Many countries have a rash of laws ensuring that employers provide work environments that are comfortable and safe, but those responsibilities often don’t translate when the employee is at home. Many home workers have learned that their kitchen counter and a breakfast stool—while fine for checking the email and watching a bit of YouTube—is not ideal for a solid eight hours of work!
For those of us who really fell down the ergonomics rabbit hole, keyboards also found themselves under the spotlight.
It makes sense. After all, most of us just use the keyboard that came with our computer, which amounts to a value of less than a few coffees at Starbucks. If a more expensive office chair can significantly improve your working experience, why not a more expensive keyboard?
How Do I Choose the Right One?
And that’s where things get a little messy. The world of keyboards is… well… vast. There are several types of keyboards, with several variations of each type, and there is the world of custom and modified keyboards that could fill several posts all on its own. In other words, it can be understandably daunting to peek into the world of quality keyboards when you’re uninitiated.
To that end, I’ve put together five of the best (in my opinion, of course) keyboards for 2021, covering a range of prices and functionality.
Let’s dive in!
1. MagicForce 68 Key Gaming Keyboard: The Budget Option
To kick us off, we have the MagicForce 68 Key gaming keyboard. Don’t let the “gaming” label fool you, there is nothing particularly “gaming” orientated about this keyboard, that’s just the manufacturers trying to appeal to a specific audience.
The MagicForce 68 is a compact keyboard with mechanical switches. In truth, there is nothing special about this keyboard other than the fact that it uses mechanical switches, which are nearly always an upgrade from the cheap membrane or rubber dome keyboards that most of us use.
It's Solid and Affordable
The difference here is that the MagicForce 68—which comes in a few flavours—can be had for almost the same price as one of those cheaper non-mechanical keyboards!
The option that features Outemu blue switches is around the same price as an average brand-less budget offering from your local electronics store, but there are also versions featuring the more popular Cherry MX switches if you want to pay more.
The keyboard is solid—none of that horrible flex that makes it feel like you’re typing on a sponge—and the board itself is quite compact, being around 65% of the size of a full-size keyboard. Of course, you are giving up your number pad for that size saving, so if your work uses the number pad, you might want to consider something else.
Ultimately, you get what you pay for, and the MagicForce 68 is a budget keyboard. But if you are determined to keep your keyboard spending to a minimum, this is by far one of the best keyboards you will find at this price range.
2. Filco Ninja Majestouch Ninja: The Workhorse Option
Moving up the price scale, we have a ten-keyless keyboard (that basically means all the keys except for the number pad) with Cherry MX mechanical key switches, an unassuming black look, and something a little different on the keys. The main differentiating factor from other keyboards—at least visually—is that the legends are on the front of the keys rather than the top.
It's Pricey, but Has a Sturdy, Quality Build
Aside from a unique aesthetic, the advantage here is that you will never wear down the legends on your printed keycaps (unless you type in a very strange way) so it’s a good keyboard for someone who plans to settle in and keep the same board for a long time. And with the sturdy chassis and superb build quality of this board, you would definitely be able to hold onto this as your daily driver for many years.
Recommended for you
There is no backlight, so that’s something to factor in. And, as with the MagicForce 68, you lose your number pad with this board. But if neither of those things are a problem for you—and you can get over the quite substantial price tag—the Filco Ninja Majestouch Ninja is a great workhorse keyboard that offers excellent typing comfort.
3. Logitech Craft: The Creative Option
If you’re a creative type who likes to keep your workspace clean and simple, the Logitech Craft fits right in with that ethos. It also has the added bonus that it is designed for creatives in terms of functionality.
It Has a Low Profile Aesthetic and a Scrub Wheel
The main feature in terms of that creative-focussed functionality is the scrub wheel in the top left of the keyboard. This dial can be used to control the volume of your computer, scrub through the video you’re editing, or any number of other uses that can be programmed into it using the software that comes with the keyboard.
The keyboard itself is sturdy, the keys are tactile, and it features a full-size keyboard, so you’re not going to find yourself wanting a particular key. The legends are also marked out for both PC and Mac computers. It is also a low-profile keyboard, which adds to the minimalist aesthetic that is often so popular with people who work in creative mediums.
4. Ergo K860: The Super Ergonomic Option
If you want to take your comfort and wellbeing to the next level when working from your home office, you might consider a split keyboard like the Logitech Ergo K860. This keyboard features a distinctive bulge in the middle, with the two halves of the main keyboard split in two and placed at slight angles to each other.
This Keyboard Reduces the Strain on Your Body
The purpose of this seemingly strange design is to get your hands, wrists, and arms into neutral positions, reducing the strain on your joints and ligaments, and lowering the chances of developing repetitive strain injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome.
The keyboard itself is relatively standard, with the usual full-size layout, and makes use of scissor switches for a crisper feel than your typical rubber dome board, but it is really the ergonomic factor you are paying for with this one. There are other boards that offer this feature, of course, but they are either cheaper and not very good, or very expensive and more of a boutique/enthusiast thing.
5. Razer Huntsman V2 Analog: The Premium Option
The Razer Huntsman V2 Analog is the most expensive keyboard in this post, and for the most part, the additional cost is justified. It is a full-size board with a comfortable wrist rest, additional media controls, RGB lighting, and swanky new Analog Optical switches.
The Luxury Option With Analog Switches
So what’s the deal with these switches?
While different types of mechanical switches offer different levels of resistance and tactility, Analog Optical switches can be adjusted to suit your preferences. And, of course, this opens up the possibility of having different settings for different uses, such as a typing profile and a gaming profile.
The build quality is as good as you would expect from a board like this, and the all-black design is stylish yet subtle enough to not look garish in a minimalist setup. If you are looking for a one-size-fits-all keyboard for many uses, you’ll struggle to find a better option than this one.
There are, of course, many more options out there. The five included in this post are five of the best for situations mentioned in my opinion, but that’s not to say there aren’t other great options out there.
In fact, if you know of a keyboard that you think should be on this list, why not drop it in the comments, so others can see it!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 John Bullock