Ergonomic designs and programmable keys make these solid picks for your next daily driver
The keyboard is arguably the most important tool in a programmer’s arsenal. If you spend a third of your day behind a computer typing code, choosing a dependable keyboard with pleasant typing action can improve your overall comfort and productivity.
The best keyboards for programmers improve your typing experience, from ergonomic designs that can prevent repetitive strain injuries to quick access to common commands via custom layouts and programmable macros. It’s time to drop that generic office keyboard — read on for our recommendations and discover a keyboard that fits your daily workflow.
For more expert advice, check out The Ultimate Guide to the Best Keyboards for Programming, a comprehensive resource for programmers.
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Keyboards come in a variety of sizes and configurations, and aspects like key layout and switch choice can determine the quality of your typing experience. The best keyboard for hackers and coders of all stripes will strike the right balance between the following attributes:
- Size: If you need as many keys as possible, you’ll want a full-size keyboard, as these include the full complement of function and 10-key configurations. If desk space is a concern, look into 80% keyboards (which drop the 10-key layout) or 60% keyboards (which also remove function keys and compact the spacing between other keys).
- Ergonomics: Size can also impact comfort — typically, smaller keyboards tend to be more ergonomic as they reduce finger travel while typing. Split keyboards and other ergonomic designs can also increase comfort by fitting to your natural wrist resting angle.
- Versatility: The best keyboards for software developers will, at minimum, come with programmable macro keys, while some keyboards offer fully remappable key configurations.
- Durability: Sturdy frames and quality keycaps guarantee long-term use — especially if you plan on bringing your keyboard on your commute.
- Accuracy: High-quality switches ensure keys activate when pressed. A keyboard that drops semicolons or closed parentheses is the last thing you need when you’re deep into a coding session.
The HHKB Professional HYBRID Type-S offers the best combination of size, durability, and functionality for coders looking to optimize typing speed and comfort. Its unique layout replaces the Caps Lock key with the Control key and shifts the Delete key down one row, putting your most frequently used keys within easy reach of the home row. The HHKB layout complements its compact 60% size with option keys that provide the same versatility as an 80% keyboard. Plus, included software allows full layout customization across four devices over Bluetooth and USB-C. Its minimalist design and reliably smooth Topre switches make it the best keyboard for hackers, developers, and programmers, ensuring you can code with speed, style, and comfort for years to come.
Did You Know? The HHKB features high-quality, textured PBT keycaps designed to prevent wear and tear caused by your skin’s natural oils. Click here to learn more
If you need a full-sized keyboard, check out the Corsair K95 RGB Platinum XT. In addition to the full array of function keys and 10-key layout, the K95 also features dedicated media playback controls and volume wheel and six programmable macro keys within easy reach. The included detachable wrist rest provides extra typing comfort, and Cherry MX Blue switches provide tactile typing action for increased accuracy.
Primarily built for gaming, the Logitech G915 Lightspeed has many features software developers can take advantage of. Its wireless Lightspeed technology provides a snappy 1ms latency connection, and low-profile mechanical switches combine with its razor-thin design for a sleek look and accurate typing action. Plus, you get five programmable keys across three swappable profiles. If you want something a bit smaller, a ten-keyless option is also available.
If ergonomics is your number one concern, look into the Kinesis Freestyle Edge RGB. Connected by a 20” braided cable, its split design allows you to place either half wherever they’re most comfortable. Included palm supports and a Lift Kit (sold separately) provide additional ergonomic support. In addition to nine distinct macro keys, the entire keyboard is fully programmable and can be tweaked directly from the keyboard — no software required.
Did You Know? The HHKB’s unique design is tuned to give coders access to everything they need across the home row to reduce finger strain. Click here to learn more.
The Kinesis Advantage2’s design may not be as customizable as its Freestyle Edge RGB keyboard, but it makes up for it with a layout engineered to reduce strain. Concave keywells are contoured to the shape of your hand to minimize finger movement, important keys like Enter and Space are grouped near your thumbs to use their stronger muscles, and palm rests are directly integrated into the keyboard itself for maximum comfort. It also features the same key programming engine as the Freestyle Edge RGB, so you can set up your layout and macros just as you like them.
Budget-conscious coders will want to look into the EVGA Z15, which provides a solid feature set and build quality for a decent price. The included software allows for full key customization across two profiles and several dedicated macro keys — a feature often missing from keyboards twice the price. And if you don’t like the included Kailh switches and ABS keycaps, you can easily swap them out for other switches or keycaps, making this keyboard a solid base for customization.
When you spend hours a day behind a keyboard, typing shouldn’t feel like a chore. Make sure that your purchase feels good to use and fits into your workflow. Choose switches that feel and sound pleasant, and ensure the included features actually reduce the friction between your ideas and your computer, rather than adding unnecessary roadblocks or annoyances. The better your keyboard feels to you, the more you’ll want to come back to it day after day.
Looking for a keyboard that remains a joy to use even after hours of typing? Check out the collection of high-performance programming keyboards from HHKB. They’ve been finely tuned to the exacting standards of developers and hackers worldwide.