For many programmers, having a good keyboard can significantly improve workflow. Spending countless hours coding requires a keyboard comfortable to type on, switches that feel light and responsive, and features like macro-programmable keys. Of course, as with any keyboard, the most important factor is your personal preference, so our recommendations cover a wide range of keyboards, from compact mechanical models that are easy to bring around to full-size units with a Numpad for numerical data entry as well as everything in-between.
We've tested over 180 keyboards and below are our top recommendations for the best keyboards for programming. Also, make sure to check out our recommendations for the best keyboards or the best wireless keyboards, or if you find yourself typing more than you're programming, check out the best keyboards for typing.
The best keyboard for programming that we've tested is the Dygma Raise. Currently, this keyboard isn't available on Amazon or Best Buy, but you can get it directly from Dygma's website. At first glance, this sleek unit looks like a standard compact board with attached wrist rests. But, it's a split keyboard with two distinct halves that you can place apart from each other for a more natural posture while you work. Regardless of your preferred configuration, you'll be rewarded with an excellent typing experience thanks to its lightly textured PBT keycaps, well-stabilized keys, and gel wrist rests that provide comfortable ergonomic support while you breeze through lines of code. What makes this board stand out is its customizability, both for the hardware and software. It has a hot-swappable printed circuit board, so you can easily change the stock switches with whatever ones you prefer.
Using the companion software, you can create a nearly endless amount of profiles, each with their own macros, assigned keys, and RGB lighting effects. Impressively, you can assign multiple inputs to one key based on the pattern you press the key, which is a great way to streamline shortcuts from multiple keys to a single key. Since you have to order directly from the manufacturer, shipping times can be a little long. However, it's well worth the wait for a comfortable and customizable unit like this, especially if you tend to work long hours and want something with a more ergonomic design that's still approachable and won't take too long to get used to.
If you find the Dygma Raise too small and its split design seems a bit intimidating, the Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro is a more traditional option. It also comes with a comfortable wrist rest, onboard memory, and macro programmability on every key, but its design and layout are more typical. Plus, it's wireless, so it's a good choice if you want to avoid any cable management, as you can use it with a USB receiver or Bluetooth, while the Dygma has multiple wires to connect the two halves to the PC. As this is designed to be a gaming keyboard, it also has incredibly low latency, so every keypress feels responsive and instantaneous. The low latency also makes it a very versatile choice if you tend to work during the day and game during the night. It's available with your choice of Razer's linear Yellow or clicky Green switches. The Yellow switches offer a smooth and quiet typing experience and are very sensitive due to the short pre-travel, while the clicky Green switches offer great tactile feedback with a distinct "ping" that may be too loud for the office.
However, if you find these switch options too limited, you may prefer something like the compact GLORIOUS GMMK PRO or the full-size GLORIOUS GMMK 2. Like the BlackWidow V3 Pro, these keyboards have gaming in mind, but they're also designed for customization with your favorite switches and keycaps. Both options are available on GLORIOUS' website as a barebones kit, where you install the switches and keycaps yourself, and you can use their configurator to design a bespoke keyboard that fits your style.
Maybe you'd prefer a more compact unit, one that's easier to carry around, especially if you're in a hybrid working situation with a few days at the office and a few days at home. You'd certainly have a tough time lugging around a full-size board like the Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro or the solid metal GLORIOUS GMMK PRO, so a portable unit like the NuPhy Air75 is a better choice. Thanks to its low-profile design, it feels very similar to typing on a laptop keyboard, though it has a more premium feeling with the rounded PBT keycaps and mechanical switches. Plus, if you plan on bringing this around, NuPhy offers a nice carrying pouch on their website for an additional cost.
It offers excellent wireless versatility, as you can pair it with up to three devices using Bluetooth and can use it with its USB receiver for a total of four devices at once. Using the toggle on the top of the keyboard, you can switch the connection type, and there's an additional toggle for operating system compatibility. Although the companion software is only available on Windows, the keyboard has onboard memory, meaning your saved profiles are still easily accessible even if you use Linux or macOS systems without the software. However, while its 48-hour battery life will surely last throughout a work week, it's still pretty low when compared to the 192 hours you get with the BlackWidow V3 Pro or the nearly 300 hours with the next pick, the Keychron K8 Pro.
Like the NuPhy Air75, the Keychron K8 Pro also has excellent system compatibility thanks to a toggle at the top. Unlike the NuPhy, the VIA companion software is available on all desktop operating systems, including Linux, making the K8 Pro a better option if you use Linux for coding. Since this keyboard has onboard memory, you don't need to have it running in the background to access your key layouts, macros, or other customized settings. Plus, it has a very solid build quality with specialized PBT keycaps and sound-dampening foam inside the case to reduce extra noise.
In addition to its great compatibility and build quality, this wireless unit is pretty versatile. You can pair it with up to three devices using Bluetooth, which is great for multi-device setups, and its battery life is incredible: around 300 hours with the backlighting off and 100 hours with it on. So, you don't have to worry about charging it very frequently. As it's a heavier unit, it's better suited to permanent desk setups, and since it has a rather thick profile, you might want to opt for a wrist rest at checkout to help keep your wrists supported during long periods of use.
We've covered the best mechanical keyboards for programming, but not everyone likes the feel or sound of using a mechanical board. If that seems like you, the budget-friendly Corsair K55 RGB PRO XT is a solid, non-mechanical option. It uses rubber dome switches that are extremely quiet to type on, making this a good choice for open-office or other noise-sensitive environments. The downside to these switches is that they're a bit heavy to press, so you'll have to be wary of finger fatigue until you get used to the typing experience.
Despite its budget price point, this unit is chock full of features like a detachable wrist rest for added support, a column of dedicated macro keys, and even onboard memory so you can save your customized settings directly to the board without the iCUE software running. Plus, you can record macros directly onboard without even requiring the software, great if you're using Linux as iCUE is only available on Windows and macOS.
Sep 15, 2022: Overhauled article to better reflect user needs and current market trends. Removed Notable Mentions that are no longer relevant.
Jul 13, 2022: Overhauled categories and picks to better align with user needs.
May 05, 2022: Swapped Ducky One 2 in Notable Mentions to Ducky One 3 to be consistent across articles; no changes to main picks.
Mar 07, 2022: Verified picks for availability; updated text for clarity; no changes to picks.
Jan 06, 2022: We've converted our 'Compact Alternative' into a new category, 'Best Compact Wireless Keyboard For Programming,' with the Obinslab Anne Pro 2 remaining as our pick. We've also added the Razer Pro Type Ultra to Notable Mentions.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best keyboards for coding for most people. We factor in the price, feedback from our visitors, and availability.
If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here is the list of all our keyboard reviews. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no keyboard is perfect for every use, most are good enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.