A keyboard is one of the most essential accessories for a computer. Without one you wouldn’t be able to type, program, game, or work. While built into laptops and notebooks, keyboards are peripheral devices for PCs.
Most people in the United States have long since abandoned the noisy only mechanical keyboards that are difficult to type with and hard on your ears. Newer models are designed with efficiency and quietness in mind. Modern keyboards are as comfortable, sleek, and ergonomic as they have ever been.
- 1 Key Facts
- 2 Ranking: The best keyboards on the U.S. market
- 3 Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about keyboards
- 3.1 What is a keyboard exactly?
- 3.2 What are the types of keyboards available out there?
- 3.3 What are keyboards used for?
- 3.4 How should I use my keyboard?
- 3.5 Wireless or wired keyboard?
- 3.6 How do I connect my wireless keyboard?
- 3.7 For whom are keyboards designed?
- 3.8 What keyboard layouts are available out there?
- 3.9 What care does my keyboard require?
- 4 Shopping Criteria
- 5 Summary
- You’ll find two mains types of keyboards: mechanical and membrane.
- Different keyboard sizes and designs are available on the market. Some are developed for specific purposes, like gaming keyboards.
- Modern keyboards are also compatible with consoles and smart TVs.
Ranking: The best keyboards on the U.S. market
We have put together the following ranking to provide you with five of the best keyboards currently available in the United States. We wanted to give you a list of options that varied in terms of product features, but which always kept value-for-money at the forefront. We are sure this list will help you make the best decision possible when it comes time to purchase your keyboard.
No. 1: Amazon Basics – Wired Keyboard
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Don’t be fooled by the lack of brand name, Amazon Basics Wired Keyboard is a simply, yet highly effective keyboard that provides everything a good keyboard should. Low-profile keys make for quiet, comfortable typing, and the intuitive wired connection works with all modern Windows operating systems. It also comes hotkey enabled, so you have complete control over your media and computer.
This keyboard is sufficiently long to provide great key spacing, making typing comfortable and easy. This device is also extra slim, making it simply to transport and take with you on the go. Importantly, this product is ergonomic, positioned at an angle that makes typing easier on your hands and wrists. Frequently used functions such as volume and calculators functions are just a single touch on this keyboard.
No. 2: Razer – Cynosa Chroma Gaming Keyboard
Razer’s Cynosa Chroma Gaming Keyboard is a customizable device that provides you with attractive RGB backlighting, each one individually lit. This keyboard is made for gaming, with its 10-key anti-ghosting capabilities that allow you to execute up to ten commands simultaneously. With this product you get dead simple integration with many popular gaming titles and franchises, and it supports 16.8 million different color variations for each of the backlit keys.
It also, importantly for gamers, is made to be resistant to spills, as well as comes with a two year manufacturers warranty and is made to support up to 80 million individual clicks. The keys are soft cushioned, so they feel great on your fingers, and the tilted ergonomic design relieves gaming stress on your wrists and joints. At 50 dollars, this is a great entry-level gaming computer with enough customizability and aesthetic appeal to impress even hardcore gamers.
No. 3: Logitech – K800 Wireless Illuminated Keyboard
Logitech is an instantly recognizable name in computer accessories and has been making great keyboards for a variety of uses for years now. Their K800 Wireless Illuminated Keyboard is no exception, and the perfect stroke system makes each and every keystroke an absolute pleasure. Quiet, easy, fluid typing is what you get with this wireless backlit keyboard. It is also easy to pair with a range of Logitech devices using the universal USB port on the keyboard. It is compatible with all of the most common versions of the Windows operating system.
The backlit keys are a fantastic part of the design because it makes typing in the dark easy on your eyes. Wireless keyboards are becoming more and more popular as time goes on, because people are using their keyboards to navigate media on their televisions and home entertainment systems. In order to get the software updates for this keyboard, you will need to have an internet connection.
No. 4: Logitech – MK550 Wireless Wave Keyboard and Mouse Combo
This is another great Logitech product, this time coming with a nice, contemporary Logitech mouse as well. The Ergonomic wave design is made for people who spend a large part of their day at their computer, and the curve helps reduce stress on joints and tendons. This makes for better, more natural typing. The integrated palm rest helps to relieve the stress that constant typing puts on your palms, and the precision laser mouse makes navigating a snap.
Logitech also made this product with extended use in mind. The battery life of this keyboard is up to 3.5 years, and the mouse, up to two years. This keyboard works with all recent versions of the Windows operating system, and the set up is done in just minutes. Many modern jobs in the United States require that we spend large amounts of time typing, so having a keyboard designed to reduce wrist strain, and mitigate against things like carpal tunnel are very attractive.
No. 5: Artek – 2.4G Stainless Steel Wireless Keyboard
Artek’s Stainless Steel Wireless Keyboard is sleek, lightweight, durable, and a great look on any modern desk or workspace. It takes very little time to set up. Simply insert the nano USB receiver into your computer you are up and running. The low profile keys give you quiet keystrokes and comfortable typing, and the raised back positions your hands and wrists and the correct angle for painless typing. The rechargeable lithium ion battery lasts up to 6 months, based on two hours of use per day.
This is one of the thinnest and lightest keyboards on the market, but comes with full-size keys, and all of the shortcut keys you need to make typing effortless. This great looking and feeling wireless keyboard will work up to 33 feet away from whatever device you are using it with, making it a great option for those who utilize their television screen for gaming and web surfing. A quality stainless steel wireless keyboard at a great price point.
Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about keyboards
There are myriad options out there when it comes to keyboards, and not all of them are created equal. There are many important factors to consider when making your choice, and you should keep them all in mind before making your purchase. The below section is designed to ensure this task is as straightforward as possible, and we have answered many of the questions you are likely to have. You should be fully prepared to purchase your keyboard after taking in the below information.
What is a keyboard exactly?
Keyboards were made with personal computers in mind, and its main purpose is to enter alphanumeric information onto the screen. There are essentially two main parts of the keyboards: the keys themselves, and an encoder that translates each key stroke into a unique code that is then read and displayed by the computer.
What are the types of keyboards available out there?
You already know the two different types of keyboards: mechanical and membrane. Both offer various benefits and disadvantages that we’ve listed for you in the table below. On the one hand, mechanical keyboards usually provide better performance; on the other, membrane models are quieter and more affordable.
|Mechanical||They tend to be more expensive and their useful life is longer (up to 50 years). Their greater sensitivity can either be an advantage or a disadvantage. They are usually noisier, thicker and heavier. You can customize certain keys and they are tailored for the gaming industry.|
|Membrane||They are lighter, easier to carry, quieter and cheaper. They have a slower writing speed and a tendency of ghosting or blocking keys. Their durability is inferior and they are harder to clean as their keys are not removable.|
What are keyboards used for?
There are keyboards that are made for just about everything under the sun. From basic typing, to programming, to gaming, and even controlling multimedia content on your home entertainment system, keyboards are incredibly versatile and multi-purpose. Modern keyboards are also made to be effective graphic design tools, as well as sync up with your smart TV.
How should I use my keyboard?
If you’re thinking that there’s no mystery in using a computer keyboard, you’re dead wrong. The first thing you’ll have to do with your wireless keyboard is identifying how to connect it. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and you’ll be set to go.
You should probably also think about what keyboard configurations are going to best suit your needs, as the pre-programmed factory one might not be ideal. Keeping your keyboard dry and clean is also vital to keeping it in full working order.
Wireless or wired keyboard?
The most recommended keyboards are wired ones. Wireless models tend to be more comfortable, and you should choose a wireless one if comfortable typing is the end goal. But for most other tasks, you want something wired to eliminate lag/interference.
Wired keyboards are not going to be affected by interference, they have much better latency (meaning you can complete multiple keystrokes simultaneously), and you don’t have to replace or recharge the batteries. The last aspect is crucial, because keyboards can run out of batteries at the most inopportune times.
|With USB cable||Unaffected by interference, no batteries needed and better latency and reliability.|
|Wireless||Greater comfort, can be used from further away, and your desktop will seem much more tidy and clean.|
How do I connect my wireless keyboard?
Wireless keyboards can be connected to a PC via two methods: Bluetooth or WiFi. In the case of the latter, your keyboard and computer are connected via 2.4 GHz wireless frequencies, the most frequently used by mobile phones and Internet connections alike.
For whom are keyboards designed?
While different keyboards are made with different users in mind, everyone is going to need one if they own a computer. They are even great companion devices for smart TVs. Gamers tend to spend a considerable amount of time and money getting the best keyboard for their needs.
What keyboard layouts are available out there?
In the U.S., PC keyboards tend to be based on the QWERTY layout used by older typewriters. However, new alternatives have been developed over the years; the Dvorak design, for example, concentrates the most frequently used keys in the middle row and is therefore considered more efficient. If you grew up with the QWERTY design, however, making the change to a new model is likely going to take some getting used to.
What care does my keyboard require?
Keyboards are pretty easy to maintain. All you really need to do to make sure it works as it should is to avoid contact with liquid, and make sure it doesn’t receive much impact. If you plan on storing a wireless keyboard, it is a good idea to remove the batteries and keep them separate during storage.
Keyboards also have the tendency of accumulating dust and dirt, so it is recommended to clean them on a regular basis. A small vacuum cleaner will be particularly useful to remove that dirt. You can also get canisters of pressurized air that can be used to get dust and dirt out. Don’t forget that proper care of electronic devices can considerably extend their life.
There are a number of criteria that you should take into account when buying your very own keyboard. We’ve listed them in the section below, and we’re confident they will help you make the right decision. One thing we don’t want is for you to be disappointed with your keyboard. These are the most important factors for you to consider:
- Personal use
- Connection method
- Keyboard size
- Comfort and keys
- Additional function keys and multimedia keys
- Brand and warranty
You will typically choose your keyboard based on its intended use. If you are a gamer, a keyboard specifically designed for gaming (and, therefore, with a gamer’s needs in mind) will be preferable. Gaming keyboards tend to be mechanical. Writers and graphics designers will likely require keyboards with different features.
Gaming keyboards aren’t the only keyboards designed for specific tasks. Your frequency of use is also something to take into account, as sporadic and intensive use have very different impact on keyboards.
Mechanical or membrane
The decision between the two is very personal. For people who either write, game, or program daily, it is hard to argue against a mechanical keyboard. Mechanical keyboards offer you better performance and have much longer lifespans.
If, On the other hand, you want a cheaper, quieter, lighter compact keyboard that you are going to pair with a tablet or other wireless device, then a membrane keyboard is a great option.
Keyboards and computers can be connected with a cable or through a wireless connection such as Bluetooth or WiFi. Each of these different connections has some advantages and disadvantages. As you know, wired keyboards offer a more stable connection and lower latency rate, which is particularly useful for gamers.
Keep in mind, however, that a wireless keyboard eliminates wires from your desktop and working area, which some PC users find annoying. If this is the case for you, try and find a keyboard with Bluetooth capabilities. They are more efficient and allow you to connect a number of devices simultaneously.
If you spend a ton of time typing and using a computer every day, you are going to want something that saves your wrists and hands. You are going to want something ergonomic. Most manufacturers take into consideration that most people want to look after their joints and tendons while typing, so ergonomic design is a common feature of most new keyboards.
Not everything sold as ergonomic actually is.
Curved keys and higher wrist rests are common features found in these specific keyboards. A genuine ergonomic model helps reduce stress on your joints and tendons. In the long run, you’ll realize that a bigger investment will be best option.
Keyboards vary in size. Featuring a numeric keypad to the right, the full keyboard is the most common model. The TKL is a reduced, more compact model keyboard that goes without this numeric keypad. Other sizes available include models without system and function keys.
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Comfort and keys
It might seem counter intuitive, but Comfort and ergonomics don’t always go hand in hand. Everyone is unique, and has their preferences, so you should make sure to try out a keyboard before you purchase it (if possible). This is paramount if you spend hours at your keyboard every day. Another significant aspect to consider when using a keyboard are the keys. In that regard, remember the fact that they are mechanical or membrane truly determines the way in which they work. So make sure to check the typing sensation if you can.
The distance between the surface of the key to the bottom of the keyboard is another thing you’ll have to evaluate.
The actuating force that triggers the keys is usually measured in centiNewtons (cN). For reference, membrane keyboards usually have approximately 55 cN.
Additional function keys and multimedia keys
Some keyboards have what we call special keys. They have predefined functions and are particularly handy for controlling your media player. They let you play, pause or stop an audio or video track, as well as control the volume of your computer.
Similarly, many other models also come with special function keys. Some of the keys allow you to do things like open a home page, access “my computer”, or putting the computer on standby/turning off the screen. A keyboards keys are either predefined, or they are programmable, in which case you will need software to configure them how you want.
Brand and warranty
Here are some of the best keyboard manufacturers out there: Logitech, Dell, CM Storm, Arctic, Perixx, Revoltec and Microsoft. The two most prestigious, and we’re sure you know them, are naturally Logitech and Microsoft. But don’t forget to look beyond the brand: the warranty is just as important. A five-year warranty never hurt anyone!
The fact of the matter is, a keyboard tends to be one of the most often overlooked peripheral devices, yet, along with a mouse, it is the most important. As keyboards have been more functional, and more advanced in recent years, however, people are putting more thought and effort into selecting the one that is right for them.
As a result, more and better versions of the classic QWERTY keyboard continue to appear on the U.S. market, making the lives of American consumers easier and more efficient. If you want the absolute best keyboard for you, you will have to move beyond just the price and the brand. You will also need to think about the ergonomics of the design, and the outlay.
We hope you found this guide useful and that we helped you buy just the right keyboard for you. If so, we’d love for you to share the article with your friends, and don’t forget to leave us a comment!
(Source of featured image: Tymonko: 49063204/ 123rf.com)