For a lot of programmers, having a good keyboard can significantly improve workflow. Spending countless hours typing requires a keyboard comfortable to type on, switches that feel light and responsive, and features like programmable keys. Some of our recommendations for the best keyboards for programming are primarily gaming keyboards, but gamers and programmers have very similar needs.
We've tested over 130 keyboards, and below are our top recommendations for the best programming keyboards. Also, make sure to check out our recommendations for the best keyboards, the best wireless keyboards, and if you type more than you program, check out the best keyboards for typing.
The best mechanical keyboard for programming with a wired-only connection that we've tested is the Corsair K95 RGB PLATINUM XT. It's a high-end gaming keyboard with a ton of features, including six MMO keys on the left side, giving you extra buttons to which you can set macros, improving the user experience while programming.
This keyboard is available in three different Cherry MX switches: linear Speed, tactile brown, and clicky Blue switches, which we tested. They offer good tactile feedback, but they're too loud to use in an open-office environment; if you need something quieter, go for the Speed or Brown switches. Typing quality feels excellent because the doubleshot PBT keycaps are stable and feel nice to touch. Typing on it for long programming sessions shouldn't feel tiring because it has good ergonomics and comes with a comfortable wrist rest.
It has full RGB backlighting with individually lit keys, but it doesn't display pure white well as there's a hint of red. On the upside, you can reprogram all of its keys through the Corsair iCUE software, as well as customize the backlighting. All in all, if you want the best keyboard for programmers, you should be happy with this one.
The best wireless keyboard for programming that we've tested is the Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro. This full-size board connects to a computer via its USB receiver or Bluetooth, and you can pair it with up to three devices at once and swap between them using the switch on the left side.
We tested it with clicky Razer Green switches, which are fairly light and provide audible tactile feedback; however, it's also available with linear Razer Yellow switches should have no tactile feedback and should be quieter. You can customize the RGB backlighting and set macros to any key using the Razer Synapse 3 software. Also, there are dedicated media keys and a programmable volume control knob on the top right.
Unfortunately, the customization software is available on Windows only, so you can't make customizations on other operating systems like macOS. On the bright side, you can save your settings to the onboard memory, and they'll remain when you switch to macOS or Linux, but the RGB settings don't stay. All in all, if you're looking for a full-size wireless board for programming, this is an excellent option.
If you prefer a compact model, consider the Obinslab Anne Pro 2. While it doesn't have a wrist rest or any incline settings, and its customization software is harder to use than the Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro's, it's a 60% compact board that takes up less space on a desk. Also, it's available with a variety of Cherry MX, Gateron, and Kailh switches, giving you many more options. While it doesn't have a USB receiver, it can pair with up to four devices at once via Bluetooth. Unfortunately, it lacks media keys, arrow keys, and function row, which may bother some people.
If you want a full-size wireless board with a wrist rest and two incline settings, go with the Razer. However, if you're looking for a 60% compact model that will take up less space on your desk, get the Obinslab.
The best keyboard for coding with an ergonomic design that we've tested is the Kinesis Freestyle Edge RGB. This TenKeyLess model has a fully split design that allows you to position each half the way you want. Also, it comes with detachable wrist rests for both halves, and you can buy a 'Lift Kit' separately if you want to adjust the incline settings. It has good build quality, with stable keys and keycaps that feel nice to the touch.
It has hotkeys for media control, and you can remap all of its keys, whether directly on the board or using the companion software. There are also eight dedicated macro keys on the left side. Our unit uses Cherry MX Brown switches, which offer a light typing experience with subtle tactile feedback, but it's available with Cherry MX Red, Blue, or Speed Silver if you prefer.
Unfortunately, it may take you a while to get used to the split design, and the fact that there aren't any incline settings included could bother some people. You can't use it wirelessly, and it lacks some extra features like a USB passthrough or a Windows key lock. That said, it's still one of the best keyboards for programming that we've tested.
The Razer BlackWidow Lite is the best programming keyboard that you can get in the budget category. Although it's mainly designed as an entry-level mechanical keyboard for the office, it's great for programming too. It's available in black and white color schemes, so you can get the one that suits your setup the best, and both have white backlighting, but not RGB.
This keyboard is only available with Razer Orange switches, which have a low pre-travel distance and provide good tactile feedback. Typing quality is excellent because most keys are stable, the keys are light to press, and the tactile feedback helps reduce the number of typos. The ABS keycaps aren't as good as PBT, but they still feel nice and shouldn't wear out easily. All keys are macro-programmable, but since this is a TenKeyLess keyboard, it doesn't have a numpad.
Unfortunately, it doesn't come with a wrist rest, and typing may feel fatiguing after some time due to the high profile. Even though it's wired-only, latency is a bit high, but even though it's not ideal for competitive gaming, it's good enough for programming, and you shouldn't notice any delay. Overall, it's one of the best keyboards for programming that we've tested.
Sep 10, 2021: Replaced the Razer BlackWidow Elite with the Corsair K95 PLATINUM XT because the Razer is hard to find; moved the Corsair K100 RGB to Notable Mentions to avoid two categories repeating.
Jul 12, 2021: Checked product availability and updated text for accuracy.
May 13, 2021: Added the BlackWidow V3 Pro as 'Best Wireless' and moved the Obinslab Anne Pro 2 as its compact alternative. Moved the Logitech G915 to Notable Mentions.
Mar 16, 2021: Verified that picks were still available and updated text for more clarity.
Jan 15, 2021: Removed the wireless alternative for the best full-size keyboard, the Razer Pro Type, and moved it to notable mentions. Replaced the Corsair K95 RGB PLATINUM XT by the Corsair K100 RGB as the best programming keyboard with macro keys.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best keyboards for programming 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.