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Different Types of Keyboards [With Examples]

Keyboards are different in design, purpose, and user preference. You can classify a keyboard by considering its size, connectivity, and use.  Mechanical keyboards, membrane keyboards, and several others are among the many keyboard types available on today’s market. Keyboards have unique characteristics that define their category and application.

Types of Computer Keyboards

Each keyboard serves a unique purpose and caters to specific user needs. Ergonomic keyboards, for example, have a dynamic concave design that may seem odd at first glance. Long-term use of the same keyboard might surprise you (and help explain the reasoning behind some of its more unusual designs).

Some keyboard types are more efficient than others, but the general effectiveness of each product is related to the task that suits its design. Some keyboard types are suitable for typing, gaming, entering numerical data, etc.

Others have an increased range, extensive additional features, and exceptional performance. For instance, some gaming keyboards have inbuilt batteries and backlight features to create a comfortable user experience.

You can find a variety of keyboards through online marketplaces such as Amazon, as well as reputable dealers. You will find that you can accomplish tasks much faster and with greater accuracy when you have a reliable keyboard.

Types of computer keyboards include:

Membrane Keyboards

A membrane keyboard features a unique design that stands out from others within the list. A small membrane separates individual keys from the slightly fused keys.

Membrane keyboards are highly flexible, easy to carry around, and less noisy compared to other types. Its structure consists of four layers: a top membrane layer, holes layer, bottom membrane layer, and conductive traces that transmit keyboard touches to the computer.

Unique features

  • A portable, lightweight, and flexible design- The product features a lightweight and flexible design ideal for easy portability and use. Membrane keyboards are incredibly hardy and can survive recurrent falls without much damage.
  • Durable product- The product construction involves using high-quality materials that provide longevity and service for extended periods.
  • Resistant to moisture, dust, etc.
  • Noise control – Membrane keyboards produce less noise when typing, making them an ideal choice for offices, libraries, and conferences.
  • Highly versatile- You can use a membrane keyboard with different types of computers.

Benefits

Key benefits of a membrane keyboard include:

  • Cost-effective- Membrane keyboards typically use readily available materials, which in turn makes them very affordable. You can easily purchase a quality keyboard at a very reasonable price.
  • Water and dust resistance- The top layers of individual keyboards have quality seals making it difficult for moisture and dirt to enter the sensitive areas and cause damage.
  • Light and durable- Some membrane keyboards include materials such as plastic, thin aluminum layers, etc. Membrane keyboards are easy to carry around, flexible, and can serve you for a considerable time.

Product example

The HyperX alloy core RGB membrane keyboard is an example of a quality keyboard available in the market. The product incorporates different aspects of a membrane keyboard design, including flexibility, durability, weight, etc.

If you’re interested, you can look at the product on online marketplaces such as Amazon or through a recommended dealer.

Mechanical Keyboards

Mechanical keyboards are a fairly common sight and have been around for quite some time.  The keyboard utilizes mechanical switches to engage and convert button presses to words.  

According to the design, applying pressure to an individual key completes a circuit on the electrical switch underneath the keyboard. Mechanical keyboards also include a rubber sheet (with several domes) between the electric switch specks and individual keys. This rubber protects the electronic switches and allows the user to type comfortably.

 Unique Features

Some of the unique features of mechanical keyboards include:

  • Provides you with a personalized typing experience
  • Increased speed and accuracy
  • Tactile feedback- Tactile feedback is invaluable when typing long texts and provides a user with increased accuracy.
  • Durable- Mechanical keyboards are durable products made using high-quality plastics and rubber. Some models have additional protection against dust, water damage.

Benefits

  • Quality product
  • Contributes to prevent RSD
  • Easily customizable keys

A Product Example

The Corsair K70 RGB TKL keyboard is a quality mechanical product with elaborate features and a high rating among its users. The keyboard is highly customizable. Some variants also include enhanced lighting properties that improve a user’s experience when using the keyboard.

The product has various reviews on the internet that can provide more information.

Ergonomic Keyboards

The purpose of ergonomic keyboards is to reduce instances of muscle strain among their users. Most ergonomic keyboards have a unique design that easily stands out from others within the list.

Continued keyboard use might cause muscle strains, finger injuries such as carpal tunnel, etc. Ergonomic keyboard designs help deal with such conditions and provide a comfortable typing experience.

There are different models of ergonomic keyboards. For example, there are the fixed split keyboard variety, handheld keyboard, and other modifications that hold specific features and aesthetics.

Unique Features

  • Elaborate design- There are several ways to tell an ergonomic keyboard based on its design. Each keyboard in this list comes with a unique design that makes it easy to distinguish it from others.
  • Wrist rest- Most ergonomic keyboards feature protection features for fingers, wrists, and tendons.
  • Split/ arched keyboard- Ergonomic keyboards have split/arched keyboards whose role is to improve a user’s experience. Arcs and other indentations on the keyboard reduce cramps and help position your body naturally.
  • Sloping keys- Some keyboards feature backward sloping keys, which reduce strain while typing for long periods.

Benefits

  • Improved user experience
  • Increased protection for fingers, wrists, etc
  • Customizable keyboard designs

A Product Example

The Kinesis KB600 Advantage2 Keyboard is a very comfortable keyboard for continuous use. The product features a radical design combining cherry MX brown switches that demand less energy while typing, palm pads, etc.

You can check out different reviews on the product for better information on the specific product.

Flexible Keyboards

Flexible keyboards are much like their mechanical counterparts except for their ability to bend and fold without breaking. Silicon is a common choice for the manufacture of flexible keyboards, as the material provides a balance between strength and flexibility.

Flexible keyboards are remarkably easy to carry around and are compatible with several devices, tablets, PC, etc. Some varieties also feature shorter distances between keys when compared to traditional compact keyboards.

Unique Features

  • Foldable design
  • Highly resistant to dust and moisture
  • Silent when typing
  • Some variations are ideal for use with smaller devices

Benefits

  • Easy to carry around
  • Ideal for continued use
  • Highly durable product
  • Several variations are available in the market and provide a range of choices based on a user’s preference.

A Product Example

The Mini 109-key soft keyboard is a foldable keyboard design that provides a comfortable typing experience for its users. The product also includes a USB connection, soft keypads, and a noise-free typing experience.

The keyboard variety is generally affordable on most platforms and has lots of positive feedback. You can check out different reviews on the product for additional information on the same.

Gaming Keyboards

Keyboard designers make gaming keyboards with the specific interests of gamers. The designs are customized to adjust to germs’ needs and preferences. The keyboard you use for gaming may have programmable “hotkeys,” in contrast to keyboards that use multiple keys to accomplish various tasks.

Gaming keyboards have to be stronger, faster, and more durable. Some gaming keyboards have backlighting features that provide ideal conditions when gaming. Besides, you can easily adjust the backlight to a color of your choice.

Unique Features

Gaming keyboards have several unique features. Although individual types are distinct, general features of most gaming keyboards include:

  • Highly versatile switch keys
  • Programmable keys to suit user preference
  • Faster touch-screen relay features
  • Different varieties are available

Benefits

The benefits of using a gaming keyboard to play online games include:

  • Improved performance
  • Good tactile feedback
  • Plenty of customization options
  • Relatively affordable

A Product Example

The K680 Wireless rechargeable keyboard offers a unique gaming experience. The keyboard has wireless properties supported by a 3000mAh battery for extended use. The keyboard also features several customizable features and a quality rainbow LED backlight.

You can find additional information by checking out different reviews.

Virtual Keyboards

Virtual keyboards are becoming a popular choice for users keen on their online security. It is better to use a virtual keyboard when entering sensitive information such as credit card numbers and passwords. Regular keyboards are prone to spyware, viruses, and other malicious programs that can intercept and share the data with third-party programs and unauthorized users.

Most modern computers have virtual keyboard features included in their software. If not, you can always purchase virtual keyboard software on recommended platforms online. The only downside to virtual keyboards is the lack of tactile feedback and a reduced speed when typing.

Unique Features

A virtual keyboard has several unique features, the most common include:

  • Automatic capitalization and spacing features
  • Language support
  • Word prediction software
  • Customizable keyboard layouts

Benefits

Key benefits of using a virtual keyboard include:

  • Easy to use and  maintain
  • Ideal for touch screen devices
  • Easily compatible with most devices

A Product Example

The G Board is a customizable virtual keyboard variety offered by Google. The product is ideal for use on mobile devices, laptops, and tablets. There is a good chance that if you have used an android phone in the past, you have also used the G Board virtual keyboard.

The product is highly customizable and helps you change language options,  add Predictive text, GiF, and emojis with relative ease. Besides, you can always download extra features on the platform’s app store.

How to Choose the Right Type of Keyboard

There are several considerations when choosing a good keyboard. Keyboards meet specific interests,  so check to guarantee that your keyboard option meets its intended core purpose requirements before settling on a choice.

Some of the aspects to consider when choosing the right type of keyboard include:

Type of work

Keyboard choices vary depending on the types of work involved. For instance, while a gaming keyboard may be ideal for gaming, a  freelancer on the move might prefer a flexible keyboard because of its portability.

Ergonomic keyboards are especially suited for typing in comparison to other types. Certain variations like handheld consoles have radical designs that make them unsuitable for everyday keyboard use.

Switches

Choosing the right keyboard switches is crucial for any user trying to get the best from their keyboards. One type of switch requires applying higher pressures compared to others.

Before buying a keyboard, it is crucial to run your fingers through individual keys and pay attention to how they feel. Some keyboard models are rigid, tiring, and cannot be ideal for typing over long periods without suffering excessive muscle strain.

Switches also help to generate tactile feedback (which is the feeling you get while typing). Some keystrokes are louder than others. It’s always advisable to check out different options before settling on a choice.

Wired or wireless

Keyboard varieties can be wired or wireless. Some wired keyboards also have USB ports to provide access to the main PC. Wired or wireless keyboards have their benefits and drawbacks, and a user’s preference will determine which one they choose.

If you are still unsure of the better choice, you can always consult an expert basing your options on how each affects productivity.

Compactibility

Some devices are more compatible than others. For example, older models might use outdated USB ports, while others might require additional software installations to use function keys.

Always check on the compatibility with the device before deciding on a choice.

Design

Keyboards vary in design, so make sure you check individual keyboard designs when settling on an ideal keyboard for your needs. Ergonomic keyboards have especially suited design features for continuous typing compared to the membrane and mechanical keyboards.

The choice of design varies on the intended purpose of the keyboard. Depending on the type of design you need, you may want to conduct some prior research.

Price

Some keyboards are more expensive compared to others with the same core function. Always opt for individual keyboard types that range within your budget.

Wired Vs. Wireless Computer Keyboards

There are several distinct differences between wired and wireless keyboards. If we compare wireless keyboards to wired keyboards, the main difference comes down to the plugging mechanism where wired keyboards operate only after physically plugging the device on a computer.

Wireless keyboards can connect to the computer via  Bluetooth and other wireless connections. An advantage of having a wireless keyboard relates to the range whereby you can use a keyboard at a broader reach to the latter.

Here are the pros and cons of each:

Wired Keyboards

Pros

  • Reduced input delay- Wired keyboards offer excellent feedback and are an ideal choice for typing.
  • Consistent performance- Wired keyboards are not affected by input lag and guarantee a consistent performance regardless of underlying signal conditions.

Cons

  • Wired keyboards have a limited range.

Wireless Keyboards

Pros

  • Highly versatile- Wireless keyboards come in different formats and designs to meet individual user needs.
  • Highly portable- You can move a wireless keyboard from one point to another without the fear of causing damage or tugging at wires.
  • Extended range- Wireless keyboards have a range that vastly exceeds that of the wired variety giving you more freedom when choosing an ideal working space.

Cons

  •  Limited battery life may limit performance
  • Performance is prone to signal lapses

Bottom line

The choice between a wired and wireless keyboard is a matter of user preference and type of work.  For instance, if you are looking for an easily portable variety, a wireless foldable keyboard would be a suitable choice.

Although some wireless keyboards suffer from signal lapses (which affects performance), most modern, high-quality variants have extra features that make input lag completely unnoticeable.

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