Mechanical keyboards are tactile and satisfying, but are they the best choice for programmers?
Finding the right keyboard to program on is like finding a good pair of shoes. You’ll use it just about every day, low-quality ones are more likely to fall apart, and it’ll be a little painful if you opt for one that isn’t comfortable. These considerations leave many programmers trying to find the best possible solution in a sea of lackluster membrane keyboard options, which might make you wonder if a mechanical keyboard for programming is a better fit. Luckily, mechanical keyboards for programmers aren’t just out there, they’re likely the best tool for the job.
For more expert advice, check out The Ultimate Guide to the Best Keyboards for Programming, a comprehensive resource for programmers.
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Mechanical keyboards are good for programming, especially for those interested in a more refined experience. Programmers type for hours a day, writing, erasing, and re-writing code with enthusiasm and drive. That work dictates the right tool, and nothing can beat a customizable mechanical keyboard when it comes to satisfying typing. Concerns about noise levels, comfort, and compatibility between operating systems are understandable, but there are mechanical keyboards for programmers that meet every requirement.
One of the best benefits of a mechanical keyboard is that it can be ergonomic without looking garish. Ergonomic membrane keyboards typically have large, curved designs that take up a lot of desk space. On the other hand, mechanical keyboards will often find better ways to address ergonomics challenges, making an enormous difference for anyone who experiences wrist pain or carpal tunnel syndrome during prolonged periods of typing. These features include wrist rests and tilting components, which help keep your wrists in ship-shape while you type for extended periods. Ignoring ergonomics can have long-term ramifications on your posture and general physical wellness. An ergonomic keyboard is as important for maintaining a healthy posture as a standing desk, adjusting monitor height, and an ergonomic chair are.
Did You Know? The HHKB layout repositions the control key to make it easier to execute more time-saving commands without leaving the home row. Click here to learn more.
Many are surprised to find that mechanical keyboards are a full-fledged hobby for dedicated enthusiasts. It’s easy to sink hours into finding the perfect setup for a mechanical keyboard, whether that’s due to switches, key height, keymaps, customizing dip switch setups, or any other factors that make mechanical keyboards unique. The community-oriented nature of programming resources like Github and MDN Web Docs transfers well to the hobbyist mechanical keyboard world. In fact, the r/MechanicalKeyboards Reddit community has more than 1 million members swapping tips and builds. You’ll likely even find builds explicitly created for programmers.
The subtle clacking of a keyboard is comforting to many programmers, unless, of course, they’ve been stuck debugging an error for the past nine hours and just want to go home. In those cases, the distracting clicks from a keyboard may be more rage-inducing than soothing, and mechanical keyboards have earned a reputation for being louder than their counterparts. But that’s a misconception. While it’s true that certain mechanical keyboard switches are louder than others, there are also switches that are as quiet — if not quieter — than membrane keyboards. Considering your impact on the people around you is a noble thing, and you should think about a keyboard’s noise level when looking at options. Be sure to look for quiet mechanical keyboards if you’ll be using yours in an office setting, or if you simply prefer quiet switches for yourself. Even when you’re alone, sometimes it’s nice to have a muted sound instead of loud clicks.
Did You Know? Handy HHKB accessories such as a keyboard lid and wrist rest help make the most of your board. Click here to learn more.
Compatibility is a primary concern for programmers when it comes to finding a good keyboard. It’s not unusual for programmers to swap between macOS and Windows when working on a project, but switching workstations is cumbersome. It’s beneficial to have a keyboard compatible with both operating systems, particularly if that keyboard is capable of toggling between the two with the press of a button. Most of the time, mechanical keyboards for programming will be built with these quick swaps in mind, allowing you to switch between devices seamlessly.
If you want to leap to a more satisfying typing experience, the Happy Hacking Keyboard line can show you typing at its best. With a broad spectrum of sizes and switches, there are options for every typist under the sun — and HHKB keyboards are specifically built with programmers in mind. From top to bottom, HHKB keyboards are built to last and provide the most enjoyable tactile feel possible. Even the layout has been custom-built to provide a stellar experience for programmers as they write code. The HHKB keyboards are made for smooth, hyper-accurate typing in a compact form factor. And they deliver. For more information, check out the high-end keyboards from HHKB.