Finding the best keyboards for your home/work set up is more important than ever right now, after a year in which working from home became the norm for many. And while it might be one of the most basic items you need, it's also one of the most important.
Sure, even the best keyboards aren't the most glamorous of tools (unless used as air guitar substitutes, of course). But they're the essential method of input for the majority of people at work, creatives included, so they'll inevitably be used for hours on end. Choosing wisely when it comes to the best keyboard will help you stay productive and comfortable, and safe from annoying injuries like RSI.
In the following guide to the best keyboards, we've looked at ergonomics, price, aesthetics, and compatibility to bring you the very best keyboards for your needs, whatever they are. Need to upgrade your PC too? Don't miss our round up of the best computers for graphic design.
The best keyboards available now
Logitech's pitching squarely at designers, illustrators and digital artists with this frankly excellent wireless keyboard, Logitech Craft, which could give a tidy boost to both your creativity and your productivity, if you can afford it.
The real game-changer with this keyboard is its multi-function dial (the 'Crown') at the top-left, which enables you to control parameters in your favourite Adobe applications – including Photoshop CC, Illustrator CC, InDesign CC and Premiere Pro – as well as Microsoft Office packages.
You can zoom in and out, tap to show and fine-tune tool parameters quickly and easily, and adjust everything from scale and opacity of objects to size, leading and tracking of text.
Targeting both smartphone and tablet owners, Logitech's K780 keyboard expands on its earlier iteration, the K380 – quite literally. This newer version is longer, and includes a handy number pad.
Like its predecessor, the K780 can pair with up to three devices at once using Bluetooth or wireless, so you can toggle between them as you type on the comfortable rounded keys.
Slot your iPhone, iPad and/or Android device into the perfectly-placed slot in the keyboard's base – which can hold devices up to 11.3mm thick in an upright position – to make everything more comfortable.
There's nothing quite like the feel of a good-quality mechanical keyboard, giving you proper crisp, tactile feedback on every keystroke by substituting the rubber domes used by cheap models for proper, functional switches – usually from the Cherry MX range.
As well as lasting longer, mechanical keyboards also enable faster, more accurate typing. Step up the Corsair K95 RGB Platinum. Ostensibly a gaming keyboard, complete with RGB backlighting, it's also great for designers keen to assign macro functions to the six dedicated keys – for your most-used Adobe actions, for instance.
Thanks to its 8MB of onboard memory, these macros can be saved onto the keyboard itself, making it perfectly portable between machines once programmed (although the complex software makes this a little tricky). Like the Logitech Craft, this is certainly not a cheap option, but if you make full use of its capabilities, it's worth the initial hit.
If you're using a Mac for your design work (and there's a good chance that you are), then Apple's own Magic Keyboard remains an excellent option. This is a thin keyboard that still manages to be comfortable to use, with a satisfyingly tactile feedback when used.
It manages this feat thanks to Apple's 'scissor' mechanisms, which gives the keys plenty of travel while keeping the overall size of the keyboard down. It's so successful, in fact, that Apple now uses a version of its 'scissor' mechanisms in the keyboards of its new MacBooks.
It's not just a nice looking keyboard, either, but one that lasts long as well, thanks to Apple's excellent build quality. It's easy to set up - just turn it on near your Mac and it will pair instantly with it. It's also got a battery that lasts a month before needing a charge.
If you're a designer, then aesthetics are important, which means the Roccat Vulcan 120 Aimo could be for you, as it's one of the most beautiful keyboard we've ever seen. This is because the key caps only cover the top of the key, leaving the switches exposed.
Along with the almost mandatory RGB lighting (this is a keyboard primarily aimed at gamers, after all), this gives the Roccat Vulcan 120 Aimo a unique and eye-catching look. It's the kind of keyboard you can have sitting in your home office or studio and be proud of.
It's not all about looks, however. Those switches are Rooca't own 'Titan' switches, and they are tactile with plenty of travel, which means this is a keyboard that feels as good as it looks.
Another offering from Corsair, the K83 Wireless Entertainment keyboard brings that something a little extra. Not just a wireless keyboard, the K83 also includes a number of game and media-focused features, including a small joystick control with click buttons, an integrated touchpad featuring tunable settings and a volume roller to fine‑tune your audio.
But the features creative pros will be most interested in are a lot more native. For example, convenient hotkeys for easy media playback and navigation and USB convenient charging for up to 40 hours of continuous use. There's also built-in 128-bit AES wireless encryption to help protect keystrokes from wireless eavesdropping.
Add to that Bluetooth support for mobile devices and entertainment consoles and you've got an all-in-one keyboard solution that's hard to beat.
Easily the most 'fun-sized' and compact keyboard on the list, Microsoft's Universal Foldable Keyboard is roughly the size of a pack of cards when folded in half (at just under 15cm), making it perfectly pocket-sized and ideal for travelling.
It works with Android, Windows Phone and iOS over Bluetooth, and has USB charging. While it's perfectly portable, however, you will still need a flat, stable surface to type on as you won't be able to use this on your lap very comfortably.
This is a solid mechanical keyboard with a winning minimalist look, and a high-quality aluminium casing that we like a lot.
There are many features to be found, like the seven stage white LED backlight, it's N-key rollover and easy to use energy saving function. It's got a great side-lit media control and USB passthrough for easy connection. There are cheaper options on this page, but this is one of top ten favourites.
Mechanical keyboard are fantastic in many ways, as they are accurate, dependable and feel satisfying to type on. They can also be very noisy as well, which can be annoying to you (or your co-workers), especially if you're a fast typer. The Topre Realforce 104UBS Silent variable is a brilliant keyboard that's been designed to be as quiet as possible. Hitting the 104 UBS’s keys produces sound on par with a membrane keyboard, so it’s going to be great if you work in a busy office or a shared workspace. The ‘dampened’ feel of Topre’s silenced switches can feel kind of like typing on sandpaper compared to a non-silenced board, but we found that it’s worth the trade-off if you need a quieter keyboard.
How to choose the best keyboard for you?
So which is the best keyboard for your needs? Should you choose a mechanical keyboard, wireless keyboard or an ergonomic keyboard? Can you get all of these in one? What if your budget is low? Whatever your reasons for hunting out a new keyboard – or your specific needs – you'll find one in our guide to the best.
On this list of the best keyboards are the nice chunky mechanical keyboard options, and also the more slender keys, found on the Apple Magic keyboard, for example. Which one of these styles you want is really up to taste, so we've included a bunch of options here.
And, obviously, it goes without saying that if you're prone to repetitive strain injury, be sure to seek out those models here that have been particularly created with ergonomics in mind.