If you’re on a mission to purchase the best keyboard for home office like the rest of us, you’ll want to keep the following in mind before buying:
1. Wireless vs. Wired – What Do You Prefer?
One of the first factors to consider: wireless vs wired… what should you choose?
If you’re a cable-hater, then you’re probably going to go for a wireless keyboard. Tech has been improving and the old short-range wireless keyboards are now a thing of the past. There are some great options out there that offer excellent range and reliability.
However, it’s good to choose wisely as even some rechargeable ones have their drawbacks and you could risk not being able to work because of forgetting to recharge them… of course, it also makes a great excuse for an extended coffee break.
If you’re an environmentalist and want to keep batteries out of landfills or you’re one of those people that hates buying batteries every month, you’d probably want to go for the wired keyboard or a rechargeable one. Wired keyboards are very reliable and do make life simpler in many ways. Plus, you don’t need to remember to recharge them.
In the end, it’s totally up to your personal preference. If you don’t mind wires, then wired keyboards are great! But, if a desk full of wires makes you see red… then opt for wireless.
2. Wireless vs. Bluetooth – What’s the Difference?
Keyboards are usually classified as wireless, Bluetooth compatible, or both.
This may be confusing, as you would think that Bluetooth falls under the wireless category. However, there is a difference.
Keyboards designated as wireless usually come with a dongle that can be plugged into your computer.
This dongle is what links wirelessly to your keyboard. But, there is a catch.
With some brands, losing the dongle will render a wireless keyboard useless. Trust us, some of these dongles are tiny and can easily join the land of odd socks!
With other brands, to solve this problem, you can use another dongle from another wireless keyboard of the same brand. But, most of us don’t have multiple wireless keyboards and their dongles lying around so, although this can be a solution, it’s not always viable. If you go the wireless route and get a dongle, be sure to keep an eye on it.
Bluetooth technology, on the other hand, is not dependent on tiny, dongle-like accessories to operate. They also don’t take up an extra USB port which can be limited on some devices.
With this kind of technology, your keyboard can connect to any device considered Bluetooth-compatible.
This is a useful option for a wireless keyboard as you don’t have to keep an eye on a tiny accessory. You can also potentially use it on multiple devices that are also Bluetooth compatible.
3. Scissor, Mechanical, or Rubber-Dome… ?
This might sound like some strange terminology from the world of hairdressing but these are actually terms used to classify the keyboard’s switch.
In other words, it’s the gadget underneath the letters that not only supports the key but is also responsible for registering each stroke. Aka, the thing that goes clack-clack and makes sure that the correct letter appears on your screen.
The three most common switch designs to choose from are scissor, mechanical or rubber-dome.
First on the list, scissor-switch. These switches give perceptible feedback but make the keys whisper-silent. If you’re secretly gaming at night or writing the next great novel while everyone is asleep, this might be the option for you. You’ll usually find scissor-switch on the more expensive keyboards.
Mechanical switches, on the other hand, are those that require the user to press down a bit more on the keys to get a response. (In other words, the “clack-clack” ones.)
This is the preferred switch design by touch-typists because it gives the most feedback upon key activation. These are also usually the preferred weapon of keyboard warriors … aka those people who take great delight in enthusiastically hitting “enter” with a triumphant look when making a point on social media or in emails.
Lastly, there’s the rubber-dome switch. These are collapsible rubber domes, a bit like soft buttons, that makes the keys soft and very tactile. Rubber-dome switches are actually the most common switches used in keyboards as they are more affordable and are also quiet.
These keyboards are perfect for those who like to feel like they’re up to something mysterious like cracking the code that solves the world’s greatest mysteries or programming the latest AI to solve traffic problems. You might even hear them muttering….”Just a sec” tap, tap, tap… “The password is…” tap, tap, tap… “Okay, I’m in!” You get the picture.
The downside is that they might not be as precise or as tactile as the other switches. But they do get the job done and if that’s what presses your buttons, then go for it!