From maximum efficiency to best value, find the keyboard that suits your needs
The typical programmer spends an inordinate amount of their work life typing away in front of a set of monitors. This aspect of their job makes it incredibly important for them to optimize every facet of their environment: If you’re going to sit in one place for eight hours a day, five (or more!) days a week, you want that spot to be as perfectly suited to your body and work style as much as possible.
This article helps programmers on their journey to the perfect workspace, listing the best coding keyboards by efficiency, ergonomics, and value.
For more expert advice, check out The Ultimate Guide to the Best Keyboards for Programming, a comprehensive resource for programmers.
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Invented by the pioneering computer scientist Dr. Eiiti Wada in 1996, the Happy Hacking Keyboard (or HHKB) was designed to maximize the typing efficiency of coders. One of Wada’s significant innovations was the HHKB’s novel keyboard layout, which rearranges keys (like the control key) so that programmers can keep their fingers on the home row as much as possible — boosting typing speed.
The keyboard face design and switches are two more unique ergonomic features that ensure typing on an HHKB keyboard is super-efficient.
- Keyboard face design: Instead of holding a uniform keycap angle from the top to bottom key rows, the HHKB keyboard’s concave face positions each key at the ideal angle for easy typing, even across extended sessions.
- Unique switches: The keyboard’s exclusive Type-S Topre silent switches significantly reduce keystroke noise. They are also renowned for their comfort (each keypress is incredibly smooth) and accuracy (unlike other keyboards, its keypress detection mechanism is largely separate from resistance provisioning, boosting precision).
The HHKB Professional Hybrid Type-S also includes the extra features enthusiasts look for in top-of-the-line mechanical keyboards like complete keymap customizability and Bluetooth connectivity. And, being both compact and lightweight, the keyboard is highly portable.
The bottom line: HHKB Professional Hybrid Type-S is one of the best coding keyboards, especially for programmers who want the most efficient and smooth typing experience possible.
The only split keyboard on this list, the Kinesis Freestyle Pro gives you a tremendous amount of ergonomic freedom. Each half has three incline settings (5°, 10°, and 15°) and can be rotated independently to match the natural angle of your arms as they rest on your work surface. This adjustability means that users don’t have to bend their wrists to adapt to a rigid keyboard layout: Instead, they can tweak the keyboard’s placement to keep their wrists in a more healthy, straight position. The keyboard’s layout — particularly with the Home, End, Page Up, Page Down, and Arrow keys — also supports effortless and natural typing.
Outside of superb ergonomics, the Kinesis Freestyle Pro also features dedicated office hotkeys (cut, copy, etc.), Cherry MX Switches, and a handful of media keys.
The bottom line: For developers who put ergonomics above all other considerations, the Kinesis Freestyle Pro is a coder keyboard worth testing out.
Few coding keyboards can match what the EVGA Z15 delivers for the money. This premium mechanical keyboard regularly goes for under $70 — making it perhaps the most budget-friendly option in this notoriously expensive space.
While you might expect the low price point is indicative of some deficiency, the EVGA Z15 is a top-notch keyboard: It features a comfy wrist rest, three incline settings (including laying flat), customizable RGB lighting, hot-swappable switches, and full keyboard macro-assessment. The keyboard also has incredibly low latency, ideal for speedy typers and gamers alike.
The EVGA Z15 is a good-looking keyboard overall, with beautiful and subtle backside patterning, tall, crisp keycaps, and a brushed metal top plate. The large silver branded plate is the only thing that prevents this board from getting perfect marks in the aesthetic category.
The bottom line: Even if the EVGA Z15 had a higher price point, it would be worth the money. Make sure to add this to your list of coding keyboards options.
The K95 Platinum XT is stacked with features. The keyboard gives you complete multimedia control via its media keys and convenient volume wheel. It maximizes comfort with a super-soft leatherette palm rest. It makes physical uploads effortless with its USB passthrough. And it provides a high degree of customizability with six dedicated macro keys.
But where the Corsair K95 Platinum XT really shines — both literally and figuratively — is its lighting. The keyboard boasts RGB backlighting on every key, a slick 19-zone LightEdge, and practically infinite lighting program design. In other words, if you’re looking for a keyboard that allows you to dial the lighting to absolute perfection, the K95 Platinum XT is the model of your dreams.
When it comes to performance, the keyboard is no slouch either. The K95 Platinum XT’s Cherry MX RGB Blue switches have a super short actuation point (1.2 mm) making it a great get for programmers who prioritize keystroke speed.
The bottom line: The K95 Platinum XT is an excellent coding keyboard, especially if you’re a developer that values a bit of aesthetic freedom.
We hope this list of the best keyboards for coding has helped you find the ideal solution for you. Are you looking for a keyboard with gorgeous lighting? Maximum efficiency? Or do you just need the keyboard that’s most adapted to the life of a professional coder?
If either of the last two options speaks to you, try out the HHKB Professional Hybrid Type-S. An industry standout that’s consistently ranked as the best keyboard for coders by experts, this keyboard has the efficiency, ergonomics, and portability that programmers need to do their best work. Click here to get a close look at this or any of our other incredible keyboards.