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The Ultimate Guide to the Best Keyboards for Programming

Ergonomics and customizability are just a few of the considerations when you’re choosing a keyboard for programming.

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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.

Will I miss anything on a smaller keyboard?

Ten-key pad

The biggest cut to a 60% keyboard. If needed, pick up a USB ten-key attachment to provide additional functionality when you need it while being easily stowed when you don’t.

Function keys

The entire function row of keys is removed, but most keyboards combine them with the number keys on the top row and allow you to activate them with combination key presses.

Arrow keys

Some keyboards try to cram arrow keys in the bottom right corner of the keyboard by replacing the secondary Alt and Ctrl keys, while others omit them entirely.

Split keyboards and alternate layouts go beyond QWERTY to provide a uniquely ergonomic typing experience. Read What's the Best Keyboard Layout for Programming Ergonomically? for more information.

Customizable features


Some keyboards opt for Cherry Blue switches and their trademark click-click-click, while keyboards like the HHKB Professional HYBRID Type-S use virtually silent Topre switches. There’s a wide variety of switch types in between that offer different levels of volume, tactility, and even actuation pressure. Some keyboards require soldering skills if you need to swap out switches on your keyboard, while others are built to be hot-swappable so you can change them out on the fly.


If you get bored with the look of your current keys, swapping them out for a different set couldn’t be easier. Keycaps come in a variety of colors, designs, and even materials. ABS plastic keycaps are less expensive than PBT plastic keys, but are more prone to wear and shine after extended exposure to your skin’s natural oils. Find a set that matches your mood and swap them out in minutes.

Reprogrammable layouts

The best programmer keyboards include software that allows users to fully remap their keyboard layouts. That way, you can build a keyboard that fits fully into your daily programming workflow, without sacrifices.

Check out our guide Are Mechanical Keyboards Good for Programming? to learn more about the benefits of programming with mechanical keyboards.

Macro key examples

However they’re implemented, macro keys allow you to set up custom actions that activate whenever pressed and can be used in a variety of ways:


Keyboard shortcuts

Do you copy and paste a lot of text throughout your day? Set up a macro for each to reduce multi-finger keyboard use.

Paste code snippets

If you find yourself writing a lot of the same functions or loops and making minor tweaks, set up a macro that pastes the framework for you in a snap.

Automate complex actions

Depending on the software, macros can also be set up like mini-scripts. Open a program, paste in a command, run it, send the results to your printer, then close the program, all with the push of a single button.

For more information on what you should look for in a good keyboard for programming, be sure to read The 5 Best Mechanical Keyboards for Programming.

Did You Know? Customize your HHKB to your liking with different keycap colors, travel bundles, and more. Click here to learn more.

Things to consider when looking at Mechanical Keyboards

For maximum efficiency

The HHKB Professional HYBRID Type-S makes some small changes to the conventional 60% compact key layout, putting important keys like Ctrl and Delete within close reach of the home row to increase productivity.

Unconventional comfort

Split keyboards like the Kinesis Freestyle Pro allow for custom placement on your desk to better match your natural wrist resting angle. Optional palm supports and tenting accessories allow for further ergonomic adjustment.

On a budget

While mechanical keyboards can be pricey, good budget keyboards know how to make the right tradeoffs. The EVGA Z15 provides a quality keyboard for programming with a solid feature set for an affordable price. 

RGB lighting

If you want to show off a bit, check out the Corsair K95 Platinum XTand its per-key RGB lighting and near-limitless customization options. 

Read 4 of Best Keyboards for coding for our full breakdown of these keyboards.

Read The 6 Best Keyboards for Programmers and Developers for more good programming keyboard recommendations.

High-quality keys, a compact design, and ample customization options make the HHKB the best keyboard for programmers looking to maximize comfort and efficiency. For a premium upgrade, check out the HYBRID Type-S for whisper-quiet typing action, and discover the full line of HHKB keyboards for more options

Shop Happy Hacking Keyboard Now

Designed for those who type to live.

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