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Best mechanical keyboard for programming

Best mechanical keyboard for programming

No one spends more time behind a keyboard than modern day software engineers, which is way serious programmers use mechanical keyboards. Mechanical switches can help you type faster and more efficiently, and also help you establish a flow to your work more than a standard keyboard could.

To further illustrate the importance of a great keyboard for programming, the well-know coding blog Coding Horror has an article expressing how important typing is to programmers. Author Jeff Atwood’s thoughts can be summed up in the following quote –

What I’m trying to say is this: speed matters. When you’re a fast, efficient typist, you spend less time between thinking that thought and expressing it in code. Which means, if you’re me at least, that you might actually get some of your ideas committed to screen before you completely lose your train of thought. Again.

coding laptop

Now that we’ve made a case for getting a quality coding keyboard, let’s look at some of the criteria that would help make up such a product.


What Makes a Good Keyboard for Programmers?

It all starts with the type of mechanical switch. In our experience, the best mechanical switches for programming are Cherry MX Clear, Brown, and Blue switches. The tactile feedback that these switches offer give you a great feel for each keystroke and makes it easier to get into a flow of accurate and effortless coding.

Both Brown and Clear switches are not clicky, so they’re relatively quiet. They work great for an office setting or open floor plan where you may be worried about annoying your coworkers. Brown switches are lighter than Clears, you can check out a great comparison of the different switch types on our guide to mechanical switches page.

Blue switches are a clicky switch, which feel great to type on and offer awesome audio feedback but may be louder than you’d want for an office environment. If you’re the one dealing with a loud office environment, check out this list of the best programming music.

Here’s a list of the best mechanical keyboards for programming that we recommend.


CODE 87-Key Illuminated Mechanical Keyboard

The CODE 87-Key mechanical keyboard is a great option for programmers looking for clicky switches on a tenkeyless mechanical keyboard. CODE keyboards have a timeless font and 7 different levels of brightness for the LED backlighting. As you can tell by the name, this keyboard was designed with programmers in mind. The 87-Key also comes in Brown and Clear switches.

As a computer programmer, this is the keyboard I choose to use everyday at work. This is what I consider to be the best mechanical keyboard for programming. If you want to check out a review of the 104-key CODE keyboard, we got you covered here!

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Rosewill RK-9000v2 Mechanical Keyboard

The Rosewill RK-9000v2 with brown switches is a great mechanical keyboard for programming. This is the best value mechanical keyboard for programming. I’m a big fan of the RK-9000v2 and have called it the best mechanical keyboard under $100. It’s a great value for a full-sized mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX switches. For an in-depth review of this keyboard take a look at our RK-9000v2 review.

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Das Keyboard 4 Professional Mechanical Keyboard

The Das Keyboard 4 Professional is available in both Brown and Blue switches, and it’s a great mechanical keyboard for programming at home. The dedicated media buttons will make it seamless to skip a track or adjust your music while you’re working, allowing you to stay in the zone and productive. The aluminum chassis has a very solid and high-tech feel to it, and the build quality is superb.

Once you find the perfect mechanical keyboard, be sure to take a look at our guide to the best monitors for programming. Adding another monitor to your coding setup can give you a huge boost in productivity and efficiency, so it’s highly recommended.

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About The Author
Brendan W
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  • Esam kanadily
    December 2, 2015 at 10:18 am

    I think that programmers need programmable keys. how about cutting and pasting text with one key (each).

    • spider
      June 16, 2016 at 7:48 pm

      y -> copy
      p or P -> paste

      …if you use vim.

    • Jos
      June 27, 2016 at 8:29 am

      what about Shift-DEL and Shift-INS? 🙂

    • Aref
      July 28, 2016 at 2:32 am

      I couldn’t agree more. Retro is fine, but to have more functional practical keyboards.

    • omar
      October 14, 2016 at 11:41 pm

      sublime is awesome for all that

    • MadLovin
      October 19, 2016 at 5:24 pm

      I agree so much. In a previous job, I wrote a lot of SQL. The employer demanded that, as part of their coding practices, each table referenced in code must use the WITH(READUNCOMMITTED) keyword. My old Logitech G15 saved my life. I did some heavy comparison shopping last year and I’ve since switched to a Logitech G710. The Logitech 910 keys feel gross, the Razer keyboards are prone to break. Corsair was only offering MX Reds at the time (I prefer blue, which is why the Logitech won for me). If there’s any competitors who have come out with something new recently, I’d love to hear about it. So far, it looks like Corsair may have come out with new gear (their website is broken today for me)

  • January 15, 2016 at 8:28 am

    I can highly recommend the Filco Majestitouch 2. I have been using it every day for 4 years now, and I still love it. It has brown switched and looks very similar to Rosewill you describe.

  • January 15, 2016 at 10:10 am

    I just want a mechanical keyboard with an IBM trackpoint. Someone make this please.

  • Laura
    May 10, 2016 at 3:39 am

    Thanks for the review!

    Does anyone know why most mechanical keyboards designed for lots of typing are not ergonomic?

    I’m a programmer dying for the feel of mechanical switches, but I wonder if a flat keyboard will increase my wrist/shoulder pain and I want full size, not tenkeyless.

  • September 19, 2016 at 7:30 am

    This list is missing so many good mechanical keyboards. What about Filco Majestouch 2? What about Ducky Shine? WASD CODE?

  • mahdi
    October 1, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    How much are these two kind similar to each other … Razer BlackWidow Chroma and CODE keyborad with blue switches ???

  • December 1, 2016 at 9:00 am

    Is there any inexpensive mechanical keyboard for programmers? Say, under $100 budget?

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