Why get one of the best tablet keyboards? You may think that as an artist or other kind of digital creative you wouldn't have much use for a keyboard, but a good keyboard can transform a tablet in all sorts of useful ways.
Having a keyboard on a powerful tablet essentially makes it into a small laptop. If you're anything like us, your creative work probably involves a fair amount of admin as well as the fun parts, and having a portable, stowable keyboard to go with your tablet means you can get this stuff done no matter where you are.
As many of the best drawing tablets are now also multi-functional tablets like the iPad Pro or Galaxy Tab S7, having a dedicated keyboard lets you streamline your workflow and concentrate everything in one place. After all, why carry around a tablet and a laptop if you don't have to? It just makes sense!
There are two main types of keyboards for tablets: those that connect physically via pin connectors, and those that operate wirelessly using Bluetooth. Both have their advantages and disadvantages; Bluetooth keyboards are more broadly compatible, but run off batteries that will need to be recharged or replaced. Pin-keyboards, while they're only compatible with specific tablet models, are also lighter and slimmer than their wireless counterparts.
There are other features that tablet keyboards might offer. Some have laptop-style trackpads that make navigation easier, while others offer customisable function keys that you can map to your favourite functions. Some also double as stands, enabling you to easily place your tablet at the most comfortable viewing/typing angle.
Here, we've rounded up the very best tablet keyboards for every tablet (whether it's running iPadOS, Windows or Android), with options for every budget.
There is no better tablet keyboard than the Apple Magic Keyboard, and it comes with a price that reflects that. It comes with an integrated stand that lets the iPad effectively "float" in mid-air – this is what the "magic" in the name refers to, we're told, but in truth it feels pretty magic to use. The scissor-switch keys are airy and light to type on, while the inclusion of the touchpad basically transforms the tablet/keyboard combo into a laptop.
All this does add some bulk to some already hefty tablets, with the version of the keyboard for iPad Pro 12.9 weighing a whopping 1kg. As long as this doesn't bother you, you'll find that the Magic Keyboard a hugely welcome addition to life with an iPad. We've listed above the version for iPad Pro 12.9, but you can also get the Magic Keyboard for 11-inch iPad Pro as well as the fourth-generation iPad Air.
If your tablet doesn't have a proprietary keyboard cover, or your budget won't stretch to Microsoft or Apple's own peripherals, the Logitech Universal Folio could be the perfect solution. Although it's not the most stylish keyboard around, it's very versatile, working with any 9-10in tablet that supports Bluetooth 4, and holding it in place securely with adjustable corner fastenings. It's splash-proof too, in case of coffee spillages while you're preparing pitches on the train.
The Logitech Universal Folio lacks a trackpad, but you do get dedicated function buttons, which help you work more effectively and avoid having to memorize awkward keyboard shortcuts. It runs on coin cell batteries, which Logitech says will last two years, but can't be recharged once they run down.
The Apple Smart Keyboard for iPad connects to your tablet using Apple's proprietary Smart Connector, so you can simply snap it into place and start typing (there's no need to spend time pairing via Bluetooth). It works with the iPad 10.2 (2019), iPad Air (2019) and iPad Pro 10.5 (2019), and although it lacks a trackpad, it provides a full-sized keyboard for comfortable typing while adding barely any bulk or weight.
The Smart Keyboard doubles as a thin, light cover for your tablet, but it won't protect the back of the device, so it's worth investing in a proper case as well to avoid scuffs and scratches. A great choice for frequent travellers who want to get more done on public transport and in shared workspaces.
The Apple Smart Keyboard Folio is a seriously expensive piece of kit, but if you've already invested heavily in an iPad Pro for your creative work then the extra cost could be easy to justify - particularly as it'll help you get more value from your tablet. The Smart Keyboard Folio won't spoil your iPad Pro's looks thanks to its super thin design, and connecting it is a simple matter of bringing it close to your tablet's Smart Connector and letting the magnets do the work.
Unlike the standard Smart Keyboard above, this one protects both sides of your tablet so there's no need for a separate cover. It's a shame that it lacks a trackpad at this price point, but it does hold your tablet at a convenient working angle. This particular Smart Keyboard Folio is designed for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, but a version for the 11-inch iPad Pro is also available.
Though it may be a few years old now, the Logitech K380 is a perfect choice for those who like their tech to last a long time. It's still a great keyboard for pretty much any mainstream tablet, able to pair via Bluetooth to up to three devices, which you can switch between quickly. Lightweight and comfortable to use, it's powered by a battery that's rated to last around 24 months, and some users have reported it going for longer.
The lack of backlighting may disappoint some, and the round keys do take a bit of adjustment, but this is a fabulous keyboard and an absolute bargain at the price. Plus, it's available in a broad range of colours, so you can pick whichever one best matches your style!
Built from premium materials, the Microsoft Surface Pro Signature Type Cover works hard to justify its price. The glass trackpad is a particularly welcome addition, and feels pleasingly smooth under your fingertips. This top-end tablet keyboard also features mechanical keys, which many designers find more pleasant to type on than spongy switches, and the whole thing is finished with either microfiber or Alcantara (a stain-resistant fabric often used in car interiors).
There are Windows function buttons built in too, plus media keys. It's a shame that Microsoft Surface tablets don't come with Type Covers as standard, as they make using Windows applications feel much more natural. If you own a Surface Pro, it's a must-have.
The Surface Go is essentially a miniature Surface Pro, so it comes as no surprise that the Microsoft Surface Go Signature Type Cover is a smaller version of the keyboard above. It packs all of the same features as its larger counterpart, including a smooth glass trackpad for accurate navigation, a full set of function keys, and media buttons. We also particularly like the backlighting, which makes it easier to use if you need to catch up on client emails last thing before bed.
The only drawback (other than its rather steep price) is the fact that its mechanical keys can be a little on the noisy side, and might prove distracting if you're working anywhere particularly quiet. In a busy co-working space, you'll be fine.
True to its name, the Microsoft Universal Foldable Bluetooth Keyboard can connect to virtually anything, including PCs, Macs, phones, tablets and smart TVs, making it an ideal travelling companion. Once it's set up, simply opening the keyboard will put it in pairing mode so it can connect to your tablet automatically, and closing it will shut it down again to conserve battery power (it can be recharged when flat).
Any hinge is a potential weak point with regular use, but Microsoft's heritage in PC peripherals shines through and this keyboard doesn't flex in use like some of the cheaply made copies available on Amazon. If you want a folding keyboard, this is our top recommendation.
A fast and easy way to turn your Galaxy Tab S7 into a little PC, the Book Cover keyboard is svelte and sleek. Its 165° free stop hinge lets you set the tablet at pretty much any angle you want, allowing it to be used on a variety of surfaces and in different configurations. The touchpad is intuitive and pleasingly large, especially compared to previous keyboards, and the 16 function keys are a welcome addition, especially for artists who like to have preferred tools at their fingertips.
It's pretty expensive, but you do get a lot of functionality for your money, and it's an enjoyable keyboard to use. A version is also available for the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ if you've plumped for the more expensive tablet; make sure you're getting the right one before you click "buy".
The Logitech K780 Multi-Device Wireless Keyboard works with PC, Mac, Chrome OS, Android and iOS, and connects via either Bluetooth or Logitech Unifying Receiver (a tiny USB device that's included with the keyboard).
There's a lot to like about this versatile keyboard. It features a non-slip cradle for your tablet, hotkeys for switching between apps, and you a full number pad. It's powered by two pre-installed AAA batteries that are rated for three years, but can be easily replaced when necessary.
If you're thinking of upgrading your tablet soon or want something that'll work well with your phone too, the K780 is a great choice. It's whisper quiet too, though you may prefer the more solid feeling of mechanical keys.