Best business keyboards for 2022: Top choices for homeworkers and the office
From writers to gamers, a good keyboard is a worthwhile investment
What makes the best business keyboard? That’s not an easy question to answer, because there are so many variables involved in choosing the device that can have a massive impact on the speed at which you work.
Do you go for wired or wireless? Should you stick with a regular membrane keyboard or risk annoying colleagues with the louder, but enormously satisfying, mechanical boards? Do you want a full-size keyboard or something that’s going to save you valuable desk space?
The good news is we’ve got all the options covered here, so no matter how you answered the questions above, we’ve got strong picks to cover all office scenarios.
The keyboard is an oft-overlooked part of the computer setup, but getting the right model can really light the afterburners on your productivity. Read on to find out what to look for when buying a keyboard and our reviews of seven of the leading business keyboards on the market.
What to look for
The first (ahem) key consideration when you’re looking for a business keyboard is whether to go wired or wireless. Wired boards are more reliable: key presses won’t go missing in the ether, they won’t need to be recharged every so often, and they’re not at the whim of wireless interference in the office. If you’re opting for a wired keyboard, just make sure you’ve got a spare USB port of the right type on your computer. That’s not a given, especially on modern business laptops, which often don’t have USB-A sockets these days. At the very least, you may need an adapter - if not a full-blown hub or docking solution.
Then you need to give serious thought to the type of keyboard you want. Mechanical boards are the purists’ choice. They have that satisfying clacky noise and tactile feedback that strong touch typists will love. The notable downside to mechanical keyboards in a busy office environment is they are noisy, although some of the mechanical keyboards we review here have dampened switches that might avoid the daggers from colleagues.
The keyboard size and layout is another critical factor. Certain professions will want a full numeric keyboard on the right-hand side, to make punching numbers into Excel a lot less painful, for example. If you’re constantly on the move or switching between computers, on the other hand, you might prefer a slender compact keyboard that can easily slip into a laptop bag. Maybe you want both.
The final consideration is what we’d label the “extras”. Some keyboards have built-in shortcut keys that make it simple to mute your mic on Zoom calls or open frequently used apps. Some are programmable, allowing you to assign buttons to do complex tasks in your business apps. Some have backlighting, that can help you find the right keys in a dimly lit office late at night. All of these things could be factored into your buying decision.
What’s the difference between mechanical and ‘ordinary’ membrane keyboards?
Most of the keyboards you’ll find on office desks are membrane keyboards. When you press down on the key, you’re pressing a small contact into a rubber membrane, which gives those keyboards a cushioned, somewhat mushy feel.
Mechanical keyboards have a much more tactile feel. Each key has a physical switch beneath it, of which you can often choose varying grades of tactility. For example, red switches are often preferred by gamers, because they’re very sensitive; brown switches tend to be more quiet; blue switches offer that audible click and positive feedback. On some keyboards, it’s even possible to replace the switches if you later decide you want something different.
Do all keyboards work with any computer?
Certainly all of the keyboards we’ve tested here will work with any PC or Mac. However, there are factors that make certain keyboards better suited to one or the other.
The first is the key layout. Most will come with the Windows layout (with a Windows key between Ctrl and Alt in the bottom-left corner, for example), while others will offer the Mac layout with (Command and Option keys). Some keyboards will offer both layouts, with the keys printed with both Windows and Mac symbols. You can use a Windows layout keyboard with a Mac, but you’ll have to rely on memory to know where certain keys are.
The other factor here is software. Some keyboards come with software that allow you to customise keys, change backlighting effects etc. That software might only work with PC or Mac, so be careful to check specs before you purchase.
How long do wireless keyboard batteries last?
All wireless keyboards will run out of power sooner or later, but how long a wireless keyboard will last between recharges varies enormously and depends on several factors. Keyboard manufacturers rarely state the size of the battery inside the unit, but as a rule of thumb, the bigger the keyboard, the longer the battery will last.
The other major factor is backlighting. If a wireless keyboard is fully backlit, at maximum brightness, the battery might only last a day or two before it needs recharging. If you switch the backlight off completely, that battery may last weeks or even months between recharges.
In most office environments the backlight isn’t needed, so we’d avoid switching it on to preserve battery life. Some keyboards only engage the backlight when hands are directly over or touching the keys, which can also help to prolong the life of the battery.
Can I use a wireless keyboard if my computer doesn’t have Bluetooth?
All laptops should be fitted with a Bluetooth radio. Many desktop PCs will offer Bluetooth too, but if your computer isn’t Bluetooth-equipped, you can still benefit from a wireless keyboard.
For example, many Logitech keyboards come with a tiny USB radio dongle, which uses the same 2.4GHz wireless band as a Wi-Fi router. You plug the dongle into the PC’s USB socket and it connects automatically to the keyboard. That same dongle can sometimes be used to connect a wireless mouse, too.
Don’t assume an existing wireless dongle will be compatible with the latest keyboards and mice, though. Check the specs on the manufacturer’s website carefully.
Logitech MX Mechanical
Best for the office
Decent typing action on well-spaced keys
Doesn’t feel like a true mechanical
Great features for those using multiple PCs
Keycaps collect grubby marks
Clever, subtle backlighting
Logitech’s MX Mechanical is an attempt to bring mechanical switches to its laptop-keyboard-like MX Keys range. It involves compromises, but the more you use the MX Mechanical, the more it grows on you.
First impressions aren’t fantastic. Logitech is only offering the UK layout with its Tactile Quiet (Brown) key switches. While nearby colleagues may appreciate less clatter than you would normally expect from a mechanical keyboard, it doesn’t have that true mechanical feel. The keycaps also have a very unappealing habit of picking up fingerprint smudges, which isn’t great for anyone who regularly scoffs greasy sandwiches at their office desk.
However, once you’ve used the keyboard for a good while, its quality shines through. Quite literally, if you consider the individually backlit keys. There’s no RGB light show here, because the keyboard is intended for office work not gamers’ bedrooms, but there are six different light patterns to choose from, the best of which lights the key that you’ve just pressed. It actually comes in handy for realising you’ve mistyped a password, for example.
The degree of backlighting you choose has a major impact on the longevity of the MX Mechanical’s rechargeable battery. Go for the full-on light show and you can expect the battery to last 15 days before it will need recharging from the supplied, if short, USB-C cable. Keep the lights off entirely – and you don’t really need them in an office environment – and the battery will see you through ten months, according to Logitech.
The keys are perfectly spaced, with no obvious compromises. We were clattering away at our full typing speed in no time at all. There’s a numberpad on the right to keep the Excel-jockeys happy and a full row of function keys, which double up as shortcuts for features such as muting your mic, taking screenshots and accessing the emoji menu. A dedicated key to lock your computer in the top-right corner is another nice touch for the office.
As with all of Logitech’s MX keyboards, it can be paired with up to three devices, with dedicated keys to switch between them – invaluable if you regularly use a phone or tablet in your workflows alongside your PC. Logitech’s clever software even lets you cut and paste between computers. You can also re-assign any of the shortcut keys for specific applications, too. So, if you never use the calculator key and want to assign that to a particularly awkward keyboard shortcut in Photoshop, say, you can.
Overall, the Logitech MX Mechanical is a highly accomplished keyboard that has plenty of features for professional users. It’s not the most satisfying mechanical action on test here, and its price is the wrong side of punchy, but we’d be more than happy to use this as our everyday office keyboard.
Mechanical (brown switches)
Yes (Bluetooth and LogiBolt provided)
Price when reviewed: £142 (exc VAT)
Logitech MX Keys Mini
Best for compact desks
Light enough to slot into a laptop bag
No height adjustment
Delicate, quiet typing action
Won’t swallow desk space
Not everyone has an office desk the size of a double bed or even wants a numberpad on the side of their keyboard. The Logitech MX Keys Mini is a superb choice for someone who wants a compact keyboard that you might even sling in a laptop bag and take on business trips.
It’s certainly slender enough to sling into a laptop bag without zips bursting. Measuring only 296 x 21 x 132mm (WDH) and weighing a slice over 500g, it’s suitable for life on the road. And with dedicated keys to switch easily between three different devices, you could easily use the MX Keys Mini as a Bluetooth keyboard for your tablet too, potentially allowing you to leave keyboard covers at home.
Battery life won’t be a problem on business jaunts, either. With full backlight, Logitech claims the battery will last ten days, rising to an impressive five months if you can live without the lights. Unlike the Logitech MX Mechanical, there are no fancy backlighting effects – it’s the whole keyboard or nothing. However, ambient light sensors adjust the backlight accordingly, while proximity sensors only switch the backlight on when your hands hover over the keyboard, which is a clever battery-saving touch.
The keyboard itself is pleasing to type on. The laptop-like scissor-switch keys have just the right amount of travel and don’t make enough noise to irritate office colleagues. Each keycap is concave, cupping your fingertips and helping to avoid typos caused by your finger sliding onto an adjacent key. Despite its dinky dimensions, there are no great compromises on the key layout: the half-size cursor keys are the biggest concession, but no worse than the keyboard on a MacBook Pro, for instance.
Talking of layouts, the MX Keys Mini has both Windows and Mac layouts printed on the keycaps, and the device comes in three different colours: graphite, pale gray and a stark ‘Rose’ pink.
As with the MX Mechanical, the top row of keys doubles as both Function keys (F1, F2 etc) or handy shortcuts – it’s easy to switch the between two. Media controls, a mic mute button and buttons dedicated to adjusting the backlighting brightness are among the sensibly chosen shortcut keys.
What’s not to like here? Not a lot. There’s no option for keyboard height adjustment, though the keyboard has just the right degree of incline in our view. Despite its lightweight design, rubber feet preventing it sliding across the desk for all but the most heavy-handed of typists.
If you’ll never need the numberpad and you want a keyboard that’s equally suited to desk work or in a laptop bag, the Logitech MX Keys Mini is a superb choice. At a shade under £100, you shouldn’t have too much trouble sneaking it past an expenses claim, either.
Yes (Bluetooth and LogiBolt, not provided)
Price when reviewed: £83 (exc VAT)
Razer Pro Type Ultra
Best for power users
Authentic mechanical feel without the clatter
Not best suited for Macs
Software demands registration
Razer is best known for its gaming keyboards – and the Pro Type Ultra definitely has features that will appeal to those who like a game after work. But make no mistake, this is a serious productivity-focused keyboard.
This mechanical marvel is fitted with ‘Razer Silent Keyboard Switches’. Silent is a bit heavy on the hyperbole – there’s a gentle clack when you’re typing away, and the mechanical Keychron K7 is even quieter. Still, it has that authentic mechanical feel without the associated noise.
There’s a joyous, old-school feel to the typing action. There’s plenty of travel under each key, each press landing with a satisfying thunk, and there’s ample space between each key on this full-size board with numberpad. We were up to our full typing speed almost instantly, and with 10-key rollover you can be confident every keystroke will be registered. The soft feel of the concave keycaps is complemented by a faux leather wrist west that spans the entire breadth of the keyboard.
The keyboard does work with Macs, but you can only access the full feature set with the accompanying Windows-only software. Indeed, the backlighting simply refused to come on until we’d tweaked the settings in the Windows software. The keycaps are Windows-only too, so you’ll be relying on muscle memory if you do decide to pair it with a Mac.
That Synapse 3 software unlocks many of the keyboard’s power features, including the option to reassign keys to specific functions, to open applications or to run macros. That comes in useful for anything from accessing obscure functions in Excel to creating keyboard shortcuts for games, although it has to be said that the Synapse 3 software could be more user-friendly. And whilst we’re griping about the software, compulsory registration just to access the software feels like an unnecessary data-grab.
The software also controls the backlighting. Sliders let you control the brightness of the backlight and for how long the backlight should remain on when idle, but if you’re expecting a Las Vegas-style light show look elsewhere. There’s only two lighting patterns: full backlighting of every key or a ‘breathing’ effect where the lights fade in and out. There’s only one colour, too, but the bright white complements the Razer Pro Type Ultra’s ice-cold palette. It looks stunning in a darkened room.
Connectivity options are strong here, too. The Pro Type Ultra can be connected to up to three different computers via Bluetooth, but tucked away in a flap on the underside of the keyboard is a 2.4GHz wireless USB dongle if you prefer. The supplied 2m USB-C power cable means you can also use it as a wired keyboard. Battery life is rated at up to 214 hours with the backlights off, but as little as 13 hours with the lights on at full beam.
Overall, the Razer Pro Type Ultra is a keyboard that leaves little to be desired. It’s a delight to type on, it’s rammed with features and it looks striking.
Yes (Bluetooth and 2.4GHz wireless dongle)
Price when reviewed: £133 (exc VAT)
Best for customisability
Battery life is comparatively weak
Hot-swappable switches (on some models)
No supplied software
Great typing experience
There is definitely no shortage of options when it comes to the Keychron K7. At the point of purchase, you can choose between white or RGB backlights, three different types of switches (mechanical, optical and/or hot-swappable), and several different grades of switches (linear, clicky etc). Assuming you go for a hot-swappable model, you can always change your mind later on the switches, too.
Our review model came with the Low Profile Keychron Optical (Hot-Swappable) switch sockets, with Red switches. And given that we’re testing keyboard designed for work, we opted for the white backlight rather than the full RGB show.
That configuration is sensational for getting down to business. The Red linear switches have a smooth action, but don’t make an annoying clatter, partly because the optical switches have fewer moving parts. There’s plenty of travel under each key (2.5mm in total), which is far more than the similarly sized Logitech MX Keys Mini.
It’s a 65% keyboard which is definitely small and light enough to fit into a laptop bag, although it’s not as slim as the MX Keys Mini. It doesn’t feel the least bit cramped when you’re typing on it, but there are a few compromises. The left shift key is small, and the number row doubles as both shortcut keys (ie. increase/decrease volume) and function keys. That means you need to press Fn1 + the number keys to access the shortcuts and Fn 2 + the number keys to activate the function keys, which takes a little getting used to. The MX Keys Mini has a dedicated row of shortcut/function keys, but the board is larger as a result.
The keyboard arrived in Mac UK layout, but there are 13 spare keycaps included in the box to convert to a Windows layout, by replacing the Option key with a Windows keycap, for example. Tools are supplied to remove the keycaps and the switches that lurk beneath them (if you have a hot-swappable model), but there’s something to be aware of here. The video on Keychron’s website shows someone removing the switches by using the tool to grip them from either side – in fact, you need to grip the switch from the top/bottom to easily remove it. We almost broke a switch before we realised this.
Of course, one of the benefits of hot-swappable switches is that, should one actually break, you can easily replace it with another, giving the K7 strong repairability credentials. Replacement switches are relatively cheap ($19 for 87 optical switches) and you can also buy a host of other accessories, including a wooden palm rest ($25), travel pouch ($25) and a new set of keycaps ($20).
Keychron also provides a braided USB-C charging cable in the box, which also allows you to use the device as a wired keyboard. Keychron pins battery life at up to 34 hours, which is the lowest on test here. Battery life isn’t indicated in macOS’s Bluetooth menu, either, but a red light on the back of the keyboard blinks when the battery dips below 15%. That LED is almost impossible to see from a normal typing position, mind.
The K7 can connect to up to three different devices, and there are two physical switches on the back of the keyboard for choosing between iOS/Mac or Windows/Android devices, and cable or Bluetooth mode. There’s no software provided, with Keychron recommending Karabiner (Mac) or SharpKeys (Windows) if you want to remap keys.
The K7 is a compact delight. It’s hugely customisable, perfect for working in tight desk spaces, and has the added benefit of being repairable if a switch breaks. It’s seriously hard to fault, especially at this price.
Optical or mechanical
Price when reviewed: £53 (exc VAT)
Kensington Pro Fit USB Washable Keyboard
Best for clean environments
Won’t be ruined by liquid spills
Typing action is spongy
Can be cleaned with many chemicals
No shortcut keys or other niceities
On the face of it, this keyboard looks as bog standard as they come. There’s nothing in the way of frills: it’s a wired-only keyboard, with an old-fashioned USB-A socket (which probably suits the market it’s aimed at), and two plastic feet to allow you to adjust the typing angle, if you don’t like your keyboards lying flat.
It’s designed for a Windows audience and there are no dedicated shortcut keys for controlling volume etc; just a row of 12 function keys. There’s a numberpad on the right and that’s your lot. However, avert your gaze to the top-right of the keyboard and you’ll find an unusual label: washable.
This keyboard passes the MIL-STD-810H Method 504.3 Contamination by Fluids test, which according to Kensington means it can “be wiped down or cleaned with a wide variety of cleaners, disinfectants and solvents, including alcohol and bleach without affecting the product”. Kensington lists the specific solvents it can be cleaned with on its website, but if you’re looking for a shared keyboard that can be wiped clean after each use to minimise risk of infection, this should fit the bill.
It's also a keyboard that should survive the more mundane spills of everyday office life. To put it to the test, we doused the left-hand side of the keyboard in Diet Coke and let it sit for a couple of minutes. We then rinsed the keyboard under a cold tap for a few minutes, squirted it with washing-up liquid to help remove any sticky residue, and then left the keyboard to dry upside down for a couple of hours.
When we plugged it back in, it worked perfectly, whereas most keyboards simply wouldn’t survive such a dousing. It's important to note that the keyboard’s waterproof abilities only apply to the board itself. Do not plug a wet USB connector into the computer and expect it to survive!
When it comes to the typing experience though, this keyboard is far from exceptional. The waterproof membrane adds a spongy feel to the typing action. The keyboard also feels cheap and rattly in comparison to any of the others on test here. It’s not terrible to work on, but if you’re looking for a 9-5 office workhorse of a keyboard, we’d opt for any of the other models and take our chances with the Diet Coke cans and mugs of coffee.
This keyboard is the very definition of a one-trick pony, but that ability to wash off spills and disinfect the keyboard could be exceedingly valuable in many professional environments. At around £40 exc VAT, it’s not going to punish IT budgets, either, and Kensington offers discounts to businesses buying in bulk.
If cleanliness is paramount or you simply need a keyboard that will shrug off a spilled latte, it’s up to the job.
Price when reviewed: £41 (exc VAT)
Microsoft Ergonomic Desktop
Best for RSI sufferers
Designed to avoid repetitive strain
Has an enormous desk footprint
Cushioned palm rest feels great
Some convenient shortcut keys for Windows
An ‘Office’ key that is a cheap marketing exercise
If typing puts intolerable strain on your wrists, Microsoft’s Ergonomic Desktop keyboard offers the now-familiar split keyboard design that’s intended to minimise hand movement and keep your wrists straight. For those who type in pain, it could be a welcome relief, but there are caveats.
First, that split keyboard design will only suit competent touch typists. If you still hunt and peck your way around a keyboard, the layout will only frustrate, because everything will feel like it’s in the wrong place and you won’t feel the ergonomic benefit anyway. Even for touch typists, it will take a period of acclimatisation. We were reduced to half our regular typing speed when we first started using the Ergonomic Desktop, with typos aplenty. Don’t switch to this one on deadline day.
The other major caveat is that this keyboard is massive, partly thanks to the enormous padded palm wrest built into the body. If desk space is at a premium in your office, look elsewhere.
That wrist west does certainly add comfort, mind. It’s got a soft rubbery texture that feels lovely under your palms. In the box, you’ll also find a detachable palm rest lift that raises the height of the keyboard, allowing you to keep your wrists in the optimum position if your desk is too low to keep your wrists straight.
There’s nothing exceptional about the keyboard action. It’s a regular membrane keyboard, with a decent amount of travel under each key. Each press lands with a muted thud, apart from the oddly noisy spacebar. The letter keys are of varying sizes, depending on their position, but that somehow works. Our only real gripes about the layout are the tiny left shift key and the slimline Enter key, although we didn’t have too much trouble hitting the latter when typing at full(ish) flow.
There’s not much in the way of extras here, either. It’s wired only, requiring a USB-A socket, and there’s no backlighting for those late-night office sessions. There is a row of shortcut keys along the top with basic media controls, as well as Windows-specific shortcuts for taking screenshots, shuffling between virtual desktops and opening Windows search, which are useful. Being Microsoft, however, it couldn’t resist the temptation to include a massive ‘Office’ key next to Alt Gr on the right of the keyboard, in order to “provide quick access to your Office apps and recent documents” - which feels like a needless branding exercise.
Many of the shortcut buttons are programmable, including the three numbered shortcuts in the top left, which by default open the three left-most apps on your Windows taskbar. The software that Microsoft provides to customise your shortcut keys is on the wrong slide of clunky, however. For example, if you want to tailor shortcuts for specific apps, you have to navigate to the program’s folder in Windows Explorer, which may well baffle many users.
The Ergonomic Desktop also comes with a wired mouse, but it’s a very basic and lightweight affair that we’d substitute in a heartbeat. Overall, the Ergonomic Desktop is a keenly priced option for those who need that split-keyboard design to ward off injury. If you’re looking for something more luxurious, Microsoft’s own Surface Ergonomic Keyboard adds wireless, Surface Laptop-like keys, and a carpet-like Alcantara fabric to the palm rest for twice the price.
Price when reviewed: £50 (exc VAT)
Das Keyboard 4 Professional
Best for perfectionists
Robust build quality
Noisy for nearby colleagues
Immaculate typing action
Sharp edge digs into wrist
Delightfully weighted volume knob
If the Kensington keyboard is waterproof, the Das Keyboard 4 Professional feels positively bomb-proof. The anodised aluminium top panel feels like tank armour and there’s not a chance of this keyboard sliding from under the fingers of even the most heavy-handed typist. At 1.3kg, if you launch this out of the window in a fit of rage, you’re risking a manslaughter charge.
This is the most old-school mechanical of all the keyboards on test here. It’s fitted with blue Cherry MX switches which have that glorious clacky sound and immaculate responsiveness. You don’t have to press the key the entire way down to hit the activation point, and that audio feedback leaves you in no doubt the press has been registered. Nearby colleagues may not be quite as appreciative of the noise, mind. The quieter brown switches (which we’ve not tested) are a more considerate option.
The keyboard has full n-key rollover, which means you won’t lose a single keystroke if you jam keys together quickly. There’s a Mac version of the keyboard available, as well as the Ultimate edition which doesn’t have any lettering on the keys for that ‘stealth’ look.
The Keyboard 4 Professional feels like it’s almost tilted away from you straight out of the box, but an easily detachable footbar puts it in a more natural typing position. We did find rubbing our wrists against the almost sharp metal edge at the front of the keyboard was uncomfortable, so you might want to consider a palm rest to go with it.
The standout feature of this keyboard is the dial in the top-right corner. This is a deftly weighted volume knob that feels like it’s been lifted off high-end hi-fi equipment, although it’s a shame its utility is restricted to turning up Zoom calls or quickly dousing the Spotify volume when the boss rings your mobile. It would have been great to use that dial for adjusting contrast in Photoshop or twiddling with exposure in Lightroom - something which Logitech’s similarly-equipped Craft keyboard offers.
This is a keyboard for the purists. The media shortcut keys are restricted to the top-right corner, leaving a full row of 12 Function keys, as well as the numberpad on the right. There’s no messing around with potentially unreliable wireless connections, either: it’s USB-A only, although Das provides a 2m cable, which should be plenty for even those using standing desks with a PC on the floor.
That USB connection unlocks another power feature: the two-port USB 3.0 hub on the rear of the keyboard, which Das claims offers transfer speeds of up to 5Gbits/sec. If your PC is tucked away on the floor, this could save you from having to bend down to plug in USB sticks or other peripherals. You might even use that USB hub to charge a phone, although the power throughput is limited.
The Das Keyboard 4 Professional is amongst the more expensive keyboards on test here, but its quality shines through. It’s as solid as they come, a delight to type on, and it looks suitably subdued for work while also offering the kind of performance that gamers wouldn’t complain about. If you want a workhorse keyboard that will perform outside office hours too, it’s hard to beat.
Both (in separate versions)
Price when reviewed: £117 (exc VAT)
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