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The 5 Best Keyboards For Programming - Winter 2023 Reviews

Updated
Best Keyboards For Programming

For many programmers, having a good keyboard can significantly improve workflow. Spending countless hours coding requires a comfortable keyboard, 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 185 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.


  1. Best Keyboard For Programming

    The best keyboard for programming that we've tested is the Keychron Q2. This keyboard is a programmer's dream, featuring an extraordinary build quality and design that looks, feels, and sounds great right out of the box. The real standout feature of Keychron's Q-series of keyboards is the high level of customization. You can swap out the switches for pretty much any switch out there, replace the keycaps, and even open the board up using the included toolkit to change any of its internal components.

    While we recommend the compact Q2 size here, you can't go wrong with any of Keychron's Q-lineup, which features even smaller boards like the Keychron Q4 to full-size boards like the Keychron Q6. Regardless of what size or feature set you want, with a Q-series board, you're guaranteed a highly customizable, comfortable, and premium keyboard that's compatible with VIA and QMK, meaning you can make those software and firmware-level adjustments as well.

    See our review

  2. Best Mid-Range Keyboard For Programming

    Coming in at a solid price point of not too expensive and not too cheap, the NuPhy Air75 is one of the best mechanical keyboards for programming you can get. It offers an incredible typing experience right out of the box and excellent build quality, all wrapped up in one very portable unit. Additionally, it's fully compatible with any operating system, including Linux. It connects wirelessly with Bluetooth and has an included USB receiver if you want to use it that way as well. You can also plug it in directly and use it in a wired mode, which is great as you can use it while it charges.

    Thanks to the low-profile mechanical switches and chiclet-style keycaps, you can rest your wrists directly on the surface you're working on and reach the keys without straining upwards, keeping you comfy during use. Plus, the keycaps are made of durable PBT with a slightly rough texture that feels great on the fingertips. As this keyboard is designed for portability, you can purchase a separate carrying pouch to ensure it doesn't get damaged. Additionally, you won't have to worry about charging it super frequently as it has a nice 48-hour battery life when used with the RGB backlighting off.

    See our review

  3. Best Budget Keyboard For Programming

    At a budget price point, you'll have a hard time finding a keyboard that offers you everything that the flagship unit of Keychron's V Series, the Keychron V1 does. Essentially, it's a budget version of our top pick, the Keychron Q2. But, to lower the cost, instead of a solid aluminum frame and a gasket-mounted design, you get a plastic frame that can either be solid black or a Y2K-esque frosted black and a tray-mounted style. That said, there are still the same bubbly PBT keycaps, screw-in stabilizers, and layers of sound-dampening foam inside the board to help reduce the ping and rattle while you type. Like the Q-series boards, everything, from the internal hardware components to the firmware is customizable, making a V Series board a great budget-friendly base to start with if you're interested in a truly bespoke unit for programming.

    These boards are fairly easy to deconstruct and reconstruct thanks to the included toolkit, and all said, it takes about an hour to change out the stock components. There's a bit of a compromise, though, since the V Series boards are wired only. So, if you're looking for a wireless recommendation around the same price range, we recommend the Obinslab Anne Pro 2. It isn't nearly as customizable as the V Series keyboards, but it comes in a wide range of switch options from a variety of manufacturers. It connects wirelessly with up to four devices at once using Bluetooth, so it's great for multi-device setups. Unfortunately, the battery life is pretty poor, maxing out at eight hours, so you'll have to charge it daily.

    See our review

  4. Best Cheap Keyboard For Programming

    If you need a good cheap keyboard for coding, we recommend the ROYAL KLUDGE RK61. Despite its cheap price point, this compact keyboard has a hot-swappable printed circuit board, meaning you can easily replace the stock switches with your preferred switch. It's an extremely versatile unit, connecting with multiple devices over Bluetooth, or you can get a variant that includes a USB receiver if you're planning on using it in a noisier Bluetooth environment, like an office.

    Unfortunately, the battery life on the RK61 is on the lower side, maxing out at around 10 hours when used wirelessly. Fortunately, it also includes a USB-A to USB-C charging cable, and you can use the keyboard while it charges. It's important to note that there are a few different variants of this keyboard available; some, like the unit we tested, only have Bluetooth connectivity and single-color backlighting, while other variants include a USB receiver and RGB backlighting.

    See our review

  5. Best Full-Size Keyboard For Programming

    While all the above picks are compact units, you may be one of those programmers who require a Numpad. In that case, we recommend the Razer Pro Type Ultra, a full-size wireless unit with great ergonomic features and a nice, sleek aesthetic that looks great in any setup. It includes a nicely padded wrist rest, and linear Razer Yellow switches that are incredibly light to press, so you don't have to worry about finger fatigue.

    It also has an outstanding battery life, clocking in at over 200 hours, depending on your usage. You can use its included USB receiver, which also pairs with select Razer productivity mice, like the Razer Pro Click, or you can connect it with up to three devices using Bluetooth, which is great if you're in a multi-device setup.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • System76 Launch: The System76 Launch is a compact (75%) configurable keyboard. Everything, from the design files to the software, is open-source, meaning you can take your customization to the furthest possible level. However, the layout may feel a bit cramped for some, and the non-standard sizes of the modifier keys aren't for everyone. See our review
  • Mountain Everest Max: The Mountain Everest Max is a mechanical keyboard with a modular media dock and Numpad. It's designed for complete customization, and it's been a favorite amongst programmers since its release. Unfortunately, the companion software is only available on Windows, so you can't program macros or remap keys on Linux or macOS. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Dec 01, 2022: Replaced the Obinslab Anne Pro 2 with the Keychron V1 as the 'Best Budget' pick for consistency across articles. Moved the Obinslab Anne Pro 2 to an in-text mention.

  2. Nov 14, 2022: Changed picks to opt for more mechanical and compact options. Replaced the Dygma Raise with the Keychron Q2 as the Best Keyboard for Programming due to the customizability, better typing experience, and easier accessibility.

  3. Sep 15, 2022: Overhauled article to better reflect user needs and current market trends. Removed Notable Mentions that are no longer relevant.

  4. Jul 13, 2022: Overhauled categories and picks to better align with user needs.

  5. May 05, 2022: Swapped Ducky One 2 in Notable Mentions to Ducky One 3 to be consistent across articles; no changes to main picks.

All Reviews

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.

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