Types of Computer Keyboards (Explained with Pictures)

A computer keyboard is the most used peripheral device that we use to enter data into a computer. There are different types of computer keyboards available today.

Some people use a wired, qwerty keyboard for their daily work, while others prefer the comfort and convenience of a wireless keyboard like Gaming Keyboards or virtual ones.

The computer keyboard was invented in 1872 by Christopher Latham Sholes. Since this day, keyboards have evolved to make typing more accessible and efficient for all who use them daily!

This blog post will share information about different computer keyboards and their key features.

Types of Computer Keyboards

1. Chiclet Keyboards (Island-style Keyboards)

A Sleek Silver Chiclet Keyboard.

Chiclet keyboards are an excellent option for those who want an easy-to-use and sleek keyboard. They are stylish and minimal in design.

Laptop keyboards usually come equipped with chiclet boards because they are user-friendly and smaller in size. The keys on a Chiclet keyboard are comfortable to use and usually don’t have the loud click sound as mechanical keyboards. These keyboards are more suitable for the people having long nails.

2. Flexible Keyboards (Roll-Up Keyboards)

Flexible Keyboard Rolled.

Flexible keyboards are a good option if you’re looking for more portability. They can be rolled up and stored in your briefcase when not used so that they can be your partner in your every journey. The flexibility of a keyboard means it can take on any shape, and this feature makes it perfect for use in different environments and situations.

Most flexible Keyboards are also water and dustproof, so people who do a lot of typing in a moist or dusty environment will appreciate this keyboard type. Its keys are made from silicone and rubber instead of plastic, which means that you’ll need to take proper care if you want them to last for an extended period.

3. Ergonomic Keyboards

Black Ergonomic Keyboard with a Wrist Pad.

Ergonomic keyboards are excellent for people who want to keep their wrists and arms in a more comfortable position while they type.

These keyboards typically have two portions, one for each hand, and these portions are higher from the middle and lower from the edges. This layout provides more comfortable positions for our wrists to type and our shoulders to relax.

These ergonomic keyboards are ideal for arthritis, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Tendonitis, and other injuries due to repetitive stress. Hence using these keyboards for a long time will help you improve your typing posture and blood circulation towards your wrists and fingers.

4. TKL Keyboards

Keyboard without Numeric pad.

A tenkeyless or TKL keyboard does not have the numeric keypad that we see on full-sized keyboards. The Tenkeyless design of this mechanical keyboard makes it perfect for office workers, professionals, and those who can manage their work without the dedicated number of keys on the right side. These are also suitable for those who like compact designs of keyboards more.

5. Mechanical Keyboards

Mechanical Keyboard for Professional Use.

If you’re looking for something that feels more professional and comfortable, then a mechanical keyboard is the best option.

These Keyboards use a key switch underneath each key to register your each press. These keyboards are considered the most durable and responsive keyboards.

You may be wondering why a mechanical keyboard is better than different types of keyboards. The answer is simple: the ‘click-clack‘ sound from each key while pressing the key provides feedback that gives the user confidence and mental satisfaction, which improves typing efficiency. Due to this property, primarily people who are professional writers prefer to use laptops with mechanical keyboards.

If you want something low-maintenance yet durable, mechanical keyboards should be your top choice.

Advantages of Mechanical Keyboards

The durability of a keyboard is measured by how many keystrokes it can handle. A regular or traditional type of keyboard-only supports 10 million key presses. Mechanical keyboards are designed with more than 50 million key presses, providing an extremely long life span!

Mechanical keyboards provide a more comfortable and ergonomic typing experience than membrane ones. They are good options for gamers and people who need to type quickly on the computer all day long with their strong fingers.

6. Membrane Keyboards

Old Version of Membrane Keyboard.

Membrane keyboards are the most basic and common type of keyboard. They are typically made up of three layers: the top layer is a cover, the middle layer has the keys, and the bottom layer is a membrane that connects the keys to a controller. When we press down a key, it pushes through the membrane and contacts the controller.

Membrane keyboards are also commonly used in microwaves and remote controls. They can be prone to failure due to their delicate design. These keyboards don’t offer a very satisfying typing experience compared to mechanical keyboards.

7. Mecha-Membrane Keyboards

Combo of Mechanical and Membrane Keyboard.

The Mecha-Membrane Keyboard is the hybrid version of the mechanical and membrane keyboards.

Meca membranes combine the durability and performance of mechanical keys with a responsive surface made of membranes to make this device perfect for gamers who need both types of physical input devices in their gaming rig!

The first edition of this keyboard was released by Razer in late 2017 with its unique design to eliminate tradeoffs between typing on mechanical switches and membrane ones.

8. Wired Keyboards

Keyboard with USB cable.

A wired keyboard is a cost-efficient keyboard. Wired keyboards connect to your laptop or desktop using wires, either having a USB connector or PS2 port.

It provides an excellent working experience to the users. These keyboards does not need any battery replacement or regular charging as wireless keyboards do.

If you’re a pro-gamer, you will prefer a wired keyboard because of its accuracy and high polling rate. But nowadays, Wireless technology continues to grow in popularity. People like them for their portability. However, if you have the necessary equipment, you can also convert a wired keyboard into wireless at home by learning simple techniques..

The wired keyboard is compatible with almost all types of computers. It is straightforward to set up since you need to plug it into the computer USB or PS2 port and start using it.

9. Multimedia Keyboards

Keyboard with Multimedia Buttons.

The multimedia keyboard is a generally full-sized keyboard computer keyboard. It has unique features that make it great for those who want to watch videos or listen to music on their computer.

Multimedia Keyboard includes some extra buttons than usual like volume control (Up, Down and Mute), audio play pause function, and Next/Previous track buttons so you can easily navigate through your playlist without having any trouble.

10. Gaming Keyboards

Gaming Keyboard with WASD Keys for Professional Gamers.

A Gaming keyboard is a particular type of computer keyboard built just for playing games. You may find high-priced gaming keyboards in the market, but if you’re serious about gaming, this accessory will be well worth the price.

A gaming keyboard is more responsive than other types of keyboards, and its backlit keys make them ideal if you like playing games at night or working under low lighting conditions. Most gaming keyboards also provide an ergonomic design to improve your typing experience.

A Gaming keyboard comes in all sorts of designs with lights, colored WASD Keys, and attractive graphics, which will lift your gaming experience to the next level.

They also come in wired and wireless models. Still, most gamers recommend that you stick with a wired keyboard because the wired keyboard will provide you with high precision and a better gaming experience when compared to other types of keyboards.

11. Handheld Keyboards (Portable Keyboards)

A small Keyboard is held in hand.

A handheld keyboard (also known as a Portable keyboard) is a wireless device that can type on any computer or mobile device. This small handheld keyboard is typically composed of keys and a screen that we can hold in a single hand. Some handheld keyboards use buttons and touch screens, such as the Wii Remote or Nintendo 3DS.

Other handheld keyboards are more similar to calculators or Gameboys, being only composed of buttons and lacking screens. These keyboards provide versatility and the ability to take your work wherever you go!

Compared with traditional keyboards, these keyboards tend to be smaller and lighter. This keyboard has advantages such as increased portability but can also make them difficult to use. When we compared them to a traditional keyboard, less text entry accuracy is possible due to a small input area and decreased stability.

12. Vertical Keyboards

A Vertical Keyboard provides a natural angle for the hands to type quickly.

A vertical keyboard is a type that is not widely available in the market. In this keyboard type, keys are vertically placed instead of horizontal position.

The vertical design of this keyboard aims to reduce the strain on your hands by giving them a more natural angle. However, most people feel more comfortable while using the standard qwerty keyboard.

Vertical keyboards have a 3D shape and work just like any other keyboard. The major problem with this keyboard layout is that we cannot see all the keys at once, so there are more errors while pressing the keys.

13. Full-Sized Keyboards

Keyboard with Numeric pad.

A Full-size keyboard is the best option for those who need a more professional keyboard for practical use. A full-size keyboard provides almost all of your essential functions and comes with 106 keys.

This keyboard type has alphabets and special keys on the left side and a number pad on the right side separately, providing more convenience to users who have to type more numbers or amounts. Inspired by this keyboard layout, many companies introduced laptops with full-sized keyboards.

14. Ortholinear Keyboards

The keyboard has all the buttons of the same size and shape.

An Ortholinear keyboard has all the keys of the same size and shape, while a standard keyboard has keys arranged in a staggered manner, and certain ones such as the “Enter” or “Shift” key take up more space than others. The main objective of this keyboard is to minimize the distance between keys, so while typing, users need to travel less. Hence they feel convenience in typing their memos.

Ortholinear Keyboards typically don’t come with shortcuts or media keys, so you’ll have to use a different accessory for this kind of functionality. Still, they’re great if you want something more efficient for typing and daily tasks.

15. Wireless keyboards

Keyboard without wire.

The wireless keyboard is the ultimate choice for many users. As the name suggests, these keyboards are wireless. You can place them anywhere, and you won’t get an ugly mess of wires.

A question arises in many people’s minds how does a Wireless keyboard work? Wireless Keyboards use Bluetooth technology or Radio Frequency (RF) waves to communicate wirelessly with your computer or laptop.

It’s important to note that Bluetooth technology is best for short-distance communication, and Radio Frequency (RF) keyboards are better suited for use across a large room or office space.

These computer keyboards come in ergonomic designs and smaller notebook sizes, so you can type on them no matter where you go.  These wireless keyboards have rechargeable batteries and need to charge after days or weeks.

Wireless keyboards are of many types like Bluetooth, USB, and Magic keyboards. All the keyboards types have unique features that provide you with different typing experiences.

Bluetooth Keyboards

It is a type of wireless computer keyboard that uses Bluetooth technology to connect to your computer from a distance. All you have to do is turn on the keyboard switch and pair the device with your computer using the Bluetooth connection menu in Windows or System Preferences on Macs.

These Bluetooth Keyboards are lightweight, portable, and come with a built-in rechargeable battery that lasts for hours of typing on any day or night!

This Bluetooth wireless keyboard is available for Android, macOS (OS X), iOS, and Windows devices. However, all of them are not compatible with every operating system, so make sure that the keyboard will work with your laptop or computer before you purchase it.

USB Keyboards

A USB keyboard uses Radio Frequency waves to communicate with your computer, and it has a transmitter and receiver for the keyboard to connect with your computer.

The radio transmitter is inside the keyboard, and the receiver is a small USB dongle that connects to your computer through any available USB port. The USB dongle will remain connected to the computer and receive all the commands given by the keyboard.

Magic Keyboards

Magic Keyboard is a wireless keyboard manufactured by Apple. It connects to your iOS device or Mac through Bluetooth, and it has low-profile keys that are similar in design to the MacBook Pro’s built-in keyboard.

These apple keyboards are rechargeable keyboards with an internal battery that will last for about one month between charges. It pairs automatically to your Mac when you start using it, so there’s no need to search through settings or figure out how pairing works!

These apple keyboards include a USB-C port to Lightning cable, so you’ll never have trouble pairing your device with this accessory or charging its battery, but note that its Lightning port only supports charging. It means that you won’t be able to sync data between your iOS device and computer using the Magic Keyboard.

16. Left-hand keyboards

Keyboard for Left-Handers, having Numeric pad at the left side.

A left-handed keyboard is an excellent option for people who have lost their right hand or have a dominant left hand.

Left-hand keyboards come with numeric keys on the left side, and all other keys on the right side make it more comfortable for left-handed people to type more efficiently.

The most commonplace for the number pad on standard keyboards is usually to the right of where you would type. This type of keyboard can be uncomfortable and inconvenient if used by left-handed people, so they need a different option not to limit their typing abilities.

17. 60% Keyboards

A comparatively smaller keyboard than a full-sized keyboard.

A 60% keyboard is a mechanical keyboard that removes numeric, function, arrow, and navigation keys. By eliminating such essential keys, the function of this keyboard is lemmatized.

These keyboards are ideal for those who like minimalist layouts. Moreover, its small size is easily adjusted anywhere on the desk. We can also customize these keyboards by replacing the keycaps with our custom ones.

18. Virtual Keyboard

On Screen Keyboard.

A Virtual keyboard adds a keyboard-like feature to touch devices. They work similarly to physical ones, but instead of being tangible, they’re virtual and available on any Windows computer, whether at home or in the office.

The Virtual Keyboard is the most common and defaults keyboard for mobile devices to type messages or send emails. A virtual keyboard is a more secure keyboard because it is not visible to irrelevant persons.

Different banks also use virtual keyboards for their login information so that you won’t need to enter a password or PIN on your physical keyboard anymore!

19. Projection Keyboards

Keyboard formed by projecting Laser on the flat surface.

Projection keyboards are an excellent option for those who like virtual keyboards because they project letters on any flat surface you want. Projection keyboards are a perfect option for people who wish to be a more portable device than any other keyboard.

This Laser Projection Keyboard is an optical sensor that detects the movement of your hands and fingers. A small infrared transmitter at its bottom emits light as people type on these virtual keyboards; this process registers keystrokes accordingly when they move through it.

20. Rubber Dome Keyboards

Rubber beneath each keycap of the Rubber dome keyboard.

The rubber dome keyboard is a popular choice for people who do not like the clicky sound or feel of metal keys.

The rubber beneath each keycap makes it elastic, giving you less resistance when typing on this keyboard type.

If you want a cheaper keyboard, the rubber dome option is ideal. These keyboards are less expensive and more suitable for general use than mechanical switches!

21. One-handed Keyboards

Keyboard for disables.

One-handed keyboards are helpful for people who have limited use of one hand to enter data into a computer. People who have the dominant right or left hand can use these special keyboards.

One-hand keyboards make life easier for people with specific disabilities like amputees because they help them type more efficiently.

One Hand Keyboards for Gaming

One-hand keyboards are much smaller than ‘normal’ keyboards because they have far fewer keys, making them perfect for people who only want to use one hand. They are best for people looking to play games casually with fewer keys.

One Hand keyboards for Typing

Keyboards with One Hand are for the people who have lost the use of one hand. For instance, a person may type on a keyboard with one hand if it is difficult to use two hands and the person only needs to type occasionally.

Typing keyboards designed for one hand usually have the number keys on the top, followed by punctuation and other keys such as brackets or question marks.

Letters of the alphabet are arranged in alphabetic order. Some keyboards may also contain navigational arrow keys to enable faster navigation through longer documents.

Conclusion

Today, different types of computer keyboards are available in the market. Still, there are several factors to consider when choosing the right computer keyboard, from keys, layout, durability, comfort, size, and weight down to how light it feels. A good touch and backlight color also needs consideration.

After reading this blog post, We are confident that you will find a keyboard that stands out to you as perfect for your needs.