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The best keyboards of 2024, tested and reviewed by our editors

Our top picks are compact and comfortable to use.
Keyboards come in different sizes and can elevate work and play.
Keyboards come in different sizes and can elevate work and play.Vivian Le/ NBC / Air

It may seem old fashioned, but investing in a quality keyboard and mouse can dramatically improve your computing experience. The best keyboards are not only comfortable, but help you type faster and more accurately, in my experience.

There are over a thousand different wireless, mechanical and ergonomic keyboards on the market. To find the right one for you, we tried over a dozen different models and spoke with three experts about what to look for when shopping for the perfect keyboard.

SKIP AHEAD Best wireless keyboards | Best mechanical keyboards | Best gaming keyboards | How to shop for keyboards

Selected.Our top picks

How we picked the best keyboards

We spoke with industry experts for technical guidance and shopping advice to help inform our recommendations. Here is what we kept in mind:

Size: Size is one of the most important factors to consider, according to Eric Belger, group product manager at HyperX, a gaming accessories manufacturer that has shipped over one million keyboards. Most of our picks are available in multiple sizes, the most common sizes being: 

  • Full size: includes alphabet, number row, function row, modifier keys, arrow keys and number pad
  • Tenkeyless: full size, minus the number pad cluster typically on the right side. 
  • Laptop or 75%: missing number pad cluster and some modifier keys like End, Ins and PrtSc
  • Compact: anything smaller than laptop size

Connectivity: We picked keyboards that can connect wirelessly or with a USB-C cable. Our team favored wireless Bluetooth options since they connect easily and don’t add clutter to your desk, unlike wired keyboards.

Backlighting: White backlighting can sometimes help make keys more legible in dark environments. Multicolor backlighting, while pricier, can add a fun and personal touch to any keyboard.

Membrane versus mechanical: Most keyboards use either membrane or mechanical equipment inside. Membrane keyboards are typically thin and quiet wireless keyboards that have slim rubber key switches underneath the keys. Mechanical keyboards are usually taller and louder than membrane ones and have metal and plastic switches underneath the keys. (More on this below.)

Comfort: Keys that are relatively quiet, evenly spaced and smooth to press make a keyboard comfortable to type on. We only included keyboards that remained comfortable for our hands, wrists and fingers after long days spent typing.

How we tried keyboards

I have tried various keyboards including wireless, mechanical and laptop-sized options for the past ten years. Combining my experience with expert advice, I identified twelve notable keyboards to try and connected with the respective brands to get samples in our office.

I tried each keyboard for at least one week. To get a varied perspective, I also lent keyboards to members of the NBC Select team to try for one week. If they liked the keyboard, they continued to use it for a month before sharing their impressions with me.

While trying each keyboard, our team paid particular attention to the following factors:

  • Comfort: As writers and editors, our days are filled with typing-intensive work. We paid close attention to how our fingers, hands and wrists felt after a full day using each keyboard. We also noted how many errors we made while typing.
  • Ease of use: We noted how quickly and easily each keyboard connected to our computer.
  • Battery life: We paid attention to how often we needed to charge the wireless keyboards.
  • Software: All the keyboards on our list work as expected once connected to your computer without any additional software. Some brands have software that lets you customize the keyboard for additional perks; you can change what certain keys do or add new shortcuts, for example. Others don’t make software of their own, but recommend downloading outside programs, like VIA, to enable similar customization.

Our favorite keyboards of 2024

Our top picks come from a mix of large brands like Logitech and smaller brands like Keychron. Below each recommendation, we share specs we think you should know about, like connectivity features, battery life and size options.

Best wireless keyboards

Wireless keyboards typically connect to your device via Bluetooth or a wireless dongle that you need to plug into your computer. These keyboards either use a rechargeable battery or replaceable AA or AAA batteries. In my experience, you can typically use keyboards with rechargeable batteries while charging.

Best full size wireless: Logitech Mx Keys S

What we like
  • Number pad for data entry
  • Robust software
Something to note
  • Pricey

NBC commerce analytics manager Amanda Smith, who needs a number pad cluster for data entry, uses this full-size Logitech keyboard to make her work much faster and easier. “The keys are soft and not too loud to click, and [are] very comfortable to type on,” says Smith. 

It also has an emoji key, which lets you quickly add emojis to emails and documents instead of having to search through the settings menu.

This keyboard is compatible with Logitech’s Logi Options+ software. This software takes about a minute to set up and lets you customize your keyboard’s backlighting and function keys. It also lets you change what the function keys do when you are using a specific application. In Google Chrome, for example, I set function keys to open a new tab, close a window and minimize a window.

Connectivity: Bluetooth, wireless, wired | Battery life: up to 10 days (backlight on), up to 5 months (backlight off) | Sizes available: full size | Backlighting: yes, white | Compatible with: PC, Mac

Best compact wireless: Logitech Mx Keys Mini

What we like
  • Compact size
  • Robust software
Something to note
  • Nothing at this time

NBC Select updates editor Mili Godio usually finds keyboards bulky and difficult to use, but loves this laptop-size keyboard. “It’s the most comfortable keyboard I’ve used,” says Godio. “The keys contour to the tips of my fingers and it doesn’t take up much space on my desk.”

It’s five inches shorter in length than the full-size Logitech Mx Keys S (mentioned above). Otherwise, it is more similar than different — the keys are about the same height, it has the same battery life and it uses the same Logi Options+ software.

Connectivity: Bluetooth, wired | Battery life: up to 10 days (backlight on), up to 5 months (backlight off) | Sizes available: full size, laptop (75%) | Backlighting: yes, white | Compatible with: PC, Mac

Best budget wireless: Logitech Pebble Keys 2

What we like
  • Compact and portable
  • Long battery life
Something to note
  • Iffy ergonomics

I use this small keyboard when working on a mobile device like my smartphone or tablet — though it’s also compatible with full-sized laptops or computers. Its small size, three-year battery life and wireless connectivity make it an excellent option for travelers.

That said, due to its small size and rounded keys, I make more typos using the Pebble Keys compared to other keyboards. Even after long hours of use, I find it slightly harsher on my fingers and hands when compared to larger, more expensive options.

Connectivity: Bluetooth | Battery life: up to 3 years (2 AAA batteries) | Sizes available: laptop (75%) | Backlighting: no | Compatible with: PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, ChromeOS, Android

Best split ergonomic: Kinesis Freestyle 2 Blue

What we like
  • Comfortable ergonomics
Something to note
  • Big learning curve

People with wrist and hand pains can potentially alleviate specific typing-induced stresses by using an ergonomic keyboard, says Karen E. Loesing, an ergonomic consultant and owner of The Ergonomic Experts.

This keyboard is split into two halves, allowing more separation between your hands, opening up your shoulders to a more natural position, in my experience. The cable connecting the two halves is 9-inches long, which gives you plenty of room to adjust to your needs. The keyboard does not have a number pad: Kinesis sells one separately.

Any split keyboard takes time to get used to: Godio used this keyboard for a week, and it took her two to three times longer on average to type compared to on a traditional keyboard, though she found typing light and comfortable. It has no slope, encouraging a flat handed position while typing. Both halves stayed steady and didn’t move around while typing, she says. 

Loesing recommends using this keyboard with the Kinesis VIP accessories kit, which lets you to angle the keyboard to your liking.

Connectivity: Bluetooth, up to three connected devices | Battery: up to 6 month | Sizes available: split | Backlighting: no | Compatible with: Windows, Mac (depending on model)

Best mechanical keyboards

Mechanical keyboards have metal and plastic switches underneath the keys that typically lead to a louder, more tactile typing experience. (More on how these work in our FAQ section.)

Best mechanical: Keychron V Max Series

What we like
  • Excellent typing feel
  • Multiple ways to connect
Something to note
  • Nothing at this time

The Keychron V Max series strikes a great balance between quality, customization and price, in my experience. I use the laptop-size version of this keyboard with tactile key switches (which have a slight bump as you press the key) and the volume knob in the top right corner.

Of all the keyboards I’ve tried, I typed the fastest and most accurately using this one. The keys are evenly spaced and the key switches gently push my fingers off of the keys after I press them, so I move onto the next key faster. 

At about 13-inches long and 6-inches wide, it sits comfortably on my desk and easily fits on my sliding under-desk keyboard tray. I usually listen to music while I work, and the volume knob makes controlling sound much easier than on a keyboard without one. It feels light and comfortable to type on — even the larger keys like the space bar, return key and enter key feel smooth and consistent to press.

Like most of Keychron’s keyboards, this is compatible with popular third-party websites and software that lets you customize the backlighting, individual key functions and more. I use VIA, a free website recommended by Keychron, to customize keys like “PgUp” and “PgDn” to skip and to repeat media I am streaming. Along with key adjustments, you can use VIA to customize backlighting and add special functions to your layout.

The Keychron V Max series is available in a compact model (the V2), a laptop version ( the V1), a tenkeyless option (the V3), a full-size model ( the V6) and other sizes. You can add a corner volume knob to all of these options for $10.

Connectivity: Bluetooth, wireless (USB-A and USB-C receivers), wired | Battery life: up to 100 hours | Sizes available: compact, tenkeyless, laptop (75%), full size | Backlighting: yes, multicolor | Key switch options: linear, tactile, clicky | Hot-swappable: yes | Compatible with: Windows, Mac

Best budget mechanical: Keychron C3 Pro

What we like
  • Low price
  • Comfortable typing feel
Something to note
  • Wired-only connection

The Keychron C3 Pro is a good option if you are looking for a lower-priced mechanical keyboard that still feels great to type on. It took a few days to get used to the light bounce and noise of the tactile key switches. But after that break-in period I typed at a similar speed to my usual keyboard.

Like most of Keychron’s keyboards, it is compatible with popular free websites and software, like VIA, that let you customize the backlighting, individual key functions and more.

The Keychron C3 Pro is only available in one size, with two key switch options. Unlike our other mechanical keyboard picks, it is not hot-swappable (see FAQ for more info).

Connectivity: wired | Battery life: N/A | Sizes available: tenkeyless | Backlighting: yes, red | Key switch options: linear, tactile | Hot-swappable: no | Compatible with: Windows, Mac

Best slim mechanical: Nuphy Air Series V2

What we like
  • Short, comfortable keys
  • Multiple ways to connect
Something to note
  • Pricey

NBC Select editorial project manager Rebecca Rodriguez finds typing on this keyboard faster and smoother than her previous wireless membrane keyboard. The keyboard has a much shorter key height than our other mechanical picks — it’s more akin to a laptop or membrane keyboard in size. Despite its short stature, it still has a distinct mechanical clicky sound Rodriguez loves.

Rodriguez uses Bluetooth and has never had a connection issue, but you can also connect it using the included wireless dongle or wired cable. The keyboard has nine multicolor backlighting modes that Rodriguez changes based on her mood or focus. 

The V2 version has improved speed, battery life over its discontinued V1 model, and is compatible with software like VIA that lets you customize the backlighting, individual key functions and more. It is available in a compact size (the Air 60 V2), laptop size ( the Air 75 V2) and a full size (the Air 96 V2). 

Connectivity: Bluetooth, wireless, wired | Battery life: up to 57 hours | Sizes available: compact, laptop (75%), full size | Backlighting: yes, multicolor | Key switch options: linear, tactile, clicky | Hot-swappable: yes | Compatible with: Windows, Mac

Best gaming keyboards

Gaming keyboards are typically wired and mechanical. Professional gamers typically prefer a wired connection because inputs are communicated almost instantly. Wireless keyboards can have tiny millisecond delays in communication that can be the difference between winning and losing, says Belger.

Best ergonomic gaming: Kinesis Gaming TKO

What we like
  • Adjustable height
  • Compact size
Something to note
  • No arrow keys

An NBC Select Giftable Tech Award winner, this is one of the most compact keyboards on our list — it omits the number pad, function row, modifier keys and arrows keys. Its small footprint frees up a lot of space on my desk for moving my mouse, which I do more aggressively when gaming.

My favorite part of this keyboard is its adjustable feet. Underneath each of its four corners is a foot that snaps out at two different heights, letting you prop or tilt the keyboard at different angles. I tried a range of angles for gaming, though I ended up preferring the standard, flat setup in the end — it was the most comfortable and familiar for me.

It comes with a carrying case and multiple space bar options — out of the box, it has three smaller space bars in place of the standard long one. You can reprogram the space bars to perform other actions like function keys — I ended up swapping them out for the long, traditional bar.

Connectivity: wired | Battery life: n/a | Sizes available: compact | Backlighting: yes, multicolor | Key switch options: linear, tactile, clicky | Hot-swappable: yes | Compatible with: Windows, Mac

How to shop for keyboards

You can use any keyboard to get basic computing tasks done but certain keyboards may be a better fit for your needs than others.

Below are a few things our experts’ recommend keeping in mind as you shop:

Find your preferred keyboard and keycap size

The ideal keyboard and keycap size is based on personal preference, according to both Belger and Mike Sickler, the founder of NovelKeys, a boutique keyboard manufacturer and vendor based in West Virginia. Someone typing for a few hours a day may prefer something different from someone using their keyboard for intense spreadsheet work. Even within the NBC Select team we have different size preferences: Smith needs a full-size keyboard with a number pad for her data-heavy workflow, while I need a compact one that fits on my small keyboard tray.

To find your ideal size, consider the size of your workspace and think about how often you use the number pad and function row — compact keyboards omit these keys. I recommend going to an electronics store in person, they often have models on the show floor you can try out.

Consider different key switches

If you are shopping for a mechanical keyboard, you will have to decide what type of key switch you want. Linear switches are best for gaming because the keys have almost no pushback, a valuable trait for tense moments where you might be clicking keys quickly, says Belger. Tactile and clicky switches may be a good fit for typists, because they provide physical and audible feedback. 

Most of the NBC Select team prefers tactile switches, but both Belger and Sickler say the best key switch comes down to personal preference.

Wired or wireless

Most of the NBC Select team prefers wireless keyboards in the office — wired keyboards can look cluttered and take up more desk space with their cables. Wireless keyboards, on the other hand, are typically sleeker, but run on batteries and need to recharge at some point (unless they use AA or AAA batteries).

Wireless keyboards introduce a small amount of delay in typing compared to wired ones, but for most people (outside of professional gamers), this delay is imperceivable, says Sickler.

Meet our experts

At NBC Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and without undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.

  • Eric Belger is a group product manager at HyperX, a gaming accessories manufacturer that has shipped over one million keyboards.
  • Karen E. Loesing is the owner of The Ergonomic Expert, a consulting company for ergonomic office evaluations.
  • Mike Sickler is the founder of NovelKeys, a boutique keyboard manufacturer and vendor based in West Virginia.

Why trust Select?

Harry Rabinowitz is a reporter at NBC Select who covers technology and fitness including recent stories on fitness trackers, running shoes, workout earbuds and more. For this piece, he tried a dozen keyboards from top brands for his daily workflow. He then lent 10 of these keyboards to other NBC Select staffers who tried them out for a one-month period. Rabinowitz also spoke with keyboard industry experts to learn more about key features.

Catch up on Select’s in-depth coverage of personal finance, tech and tools, wellness and more, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok to stay up to date.