Software development requires lots and lots of typing. With that in mind it’s really important to get the best keyboard for software development.
Why do programmers need a decent keyboard for writing code?
As programmers, developers, software engineers whatever you want to call yourself you’ll need a decent keyboard. A weapon of choice. You need something that’s going to be comfortable to help reduce wrist strain, stylish and more importantly, one that allows you to type with greater accuracy.
A good programming keyboard will allow you to be as productive as possible to meet those tight programming deadlines that we’ve all experienced. A pleasant typing experience will make all of those endless Jira updates and responding to silly emails less of an annoyance in your day to day work.
Let’s take a look at the best keyboards for software development! I’ve included the Amazon links so you can find them easier. Just click on the name of the keyboard or the image.
Updated for 2020
With a new year comes new keyboards. We’ve updated our recommended keyboards for developers feature to ensure you don’t miss the best ones for coding!
Table of Contents
- At a glance, our top picks
- The best Keyboards for Software Development 2020
- Bluetooth Keyboards or Wired Keyboards
- What is a Keyboard Switch
- Different Types of Keyboard Switches
- Mechanical Switches
- Membrane Switches
- The best Mechanical Keyboard Switches
- Mechanical Switches vs Membrane Switches Video Explanation
- Other factors for best coding keyboards
- Programmable Hot Keys
- Which Keyboard will you choose
Best Keyboards for Programmers at a glance
Keychron K2 Mechnical
- Bluetooth or Wired
- Gateron Blue Switches
- Very Accurate
Logitech G413 Mechanical
- Great build quality
- Great for gaming too
- Tactile Feedback
- 100% with Number Keys
Corsair K55 RGB Gaming
- Quiet Keys
- Can type fast
- Great Corsair Quality
Razer Black Widow RBG
- Premium brand
- Great typing experience
- Choice of switches
- Comfortable typing
The best Keyboards for Software Development 2020: In-depth Look
Keychron K2 Mechanical Keyboard
This is a typing thoroughbred. It’s a tenkeyless compact wireless (or wired) keyboard that’s suitable for Mac or Windows. Created by Keychron and funded via kickstarter this keyboard is sublime. The blue Gateron switches offer an audible click and a fantastically accurate typing experience. Pick one up today!
Described as a gaming keyboard but don’t let that put you off. The solid build quality of Logitech keyboards will impress you. It’s a great keyboard and has a fantastic feel to the mechanical keys. Logitech are a huge player in the PC peripheral world and come highly rated. Try it for your self.
Another gaming keyboard but perfect when used for developing software. This keyboard is the one I use and I can recommend it fully. It is an RGB keyboard so may not fit into most office environments. If you do a lot of work from home as I do then it’s ideal! The keys are mechanical and I can type extremely fast on it. The feedback you get when you hit a key is brilliant and it feels like it’ll last years and years. A wise choice.
Razer are a fantastic tech company. They make all sorts of computer gear, including of course keyboards! One of their best is the Razer Black Widow Chroma. It ticks all of the right boxes when trying to look for a keyboard to write your code.
The keys have a crisp, tactile feel and make a very nice ‘clicky’ sound when typing away. Some coders love that, others despise it! (I love a click sound on my keyboard, it feels very old school don’t you think?!) Best of all, if you manage to find one on a sale you’ll be able to pick on up for less than £50.00.
Bluetooth Keyboards or Wired Keyboards
Should you choose a Bluetooth Keyboard (Wireless) or a Wired keyboard? It depends on a number of factors. Personally, I’d go for Wired Keyboard due to how my current developer workstation is setup.
I have a fixed desk and I do most of my coding in my home office. My desk is quite narrow so I don’t have lots of room to manoeuvre my keyboard anyway. Choose a wireless keyboard if you have a large work space and can re-position yourself. Wireless keyboards are also perfect for developers working from a laptop as you can work from anywhere!
In terms of cost, they’ll be little difference between a wired and a wireless one. If you want your desk to look clean and clutter free opt for a good wireless keyboard.
What is a Keyboard Switch
A Keyboard switch in layman’s term is the switch underneath the button that you are pressing. It sends the button press to the computer it’s then interpreted by the CPU and it’ll then be spat out as letters or numbers on your screen. It all happens in less than a blink of an eye.
Different Types of Keyboard Switches
Next, we’ll take a look at the different types of keyboard switches.
When buying a keyboard for software development it’s important you buy quality. A top quality keyboard will have an awesome set of switches that compliment the feel and accuracy of your typing.
A mechanical switch is made up of the following parts, ordered from top to bottom:
- Switch housing
- Metal contact leaves
A keyboard with mechanical switches has several advantages over other types. Keyboards with a mechanical switch have a longer life than those that don’t. According to mechanical-keyboard.org they’ll last for around 70 million keystrokes.
Mechanical keys are much better for touch typing as the keys are all individually controlled via their own switch.
Another type of switch is called the Membrane switch. The differences are simple. A Membrane switch is where all of the keys on the keyboard are held on a membrane, it’s basically one big switch with all the keys being connected via pressure pads, thus providing very little feedback and making it rather difficult to touch type.
The best Mechanical Keyboard Switches for Coding and Development
Arguably, the best Mechanical Switches to go for when looking for the best keyboard for development are Cherry MX Blue. These switches are best suited to typing due to the greater tactile feedback they provide.
Mechanical Switches vs Membrane Switches Video Explanation
Other factors for best coding keyboards
- From a trusted brand with good customer service
- Made with great materials, a strong build quality
- Volume controls
- Standard Layout
- Competitive Price Point
Speaking of Razer, did you know they make laptops as well? One of the best laptops for playing overwatch is the Razer Blade Stealth, check it out!
A great keyboard that’s used for programming should definitely have programmable hotkeys. It’s pretty much expected. Programmable keyboard keys or ‘hotkeys’ make coding or even typing in general much easier. It gives you the ability to perform a task with one key press as apposed to multiple, for example copying and pasting.
Programmable Hotkey Ideas
- Cut / Copy / Paste
- Entering your email address
- Minimising all windows
- Playing music from your media library.
- Opening your code editor.
- Saving current file.
There are lots of uses for macro keys / hotkeys. All of the keyboards I’ve featured have programmable keys so if you buy one I’ve listed it’ll come with the ability to assign actions to certain keys.
Which keyboard will you choose?
So, will you go for a wired or wireless? LED or non LED? The choices are endless.
Out of the three keyboards listed I’d honestly recommend them all, I have used all of the keyboards listed and you’ll find my current keyboard the Corsair K55 RGB listed in my developer workstation setup article.
A brief Summary: An Accurate Coding Keyboard is essential
For professional software developers and intense coders a great quality highly accurate keyboard is essential. The best part of 8 hours a day can be spent writing code so a keyboard like the Corsair K55 RGB should be your go to. It’s very comfortable and with the included wrist support you won’t suffer any wrist strain. For such a high end pedigree gaming keyboard it can be picked up for a great price.
For people who aren’t spending the entire working day tapping away, something like the Logitech would be ideal, it’s less comfortable than the Corsair but still highly accurate and gives great feedback.
I hope I’ve helped with the daunting task of finding the best keyboard for software development that little bit easier.
A key point to takeaway. Just make sure to buy the best quality keyboard you can afford in your budget. If you are unsure, drop a comment below and I’ll help you find the perfect keyboard for writing code! Or even if you need a generic keyboard for home use I’ll help find you something.
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