Finding a mechanical keyboard that is compatible with Mac can be extremely difficult. Almost every mechanical keyboard currently out there is tailored to a normal OS, but we decided to dig through all of the mechanical keyboards available to find the best one for your Mac computer.
Our Top 3 Picks in Mechanical Keyboards for Mac
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Keychron K1: Low Profile Keyboard for Mac
The Keychron K1 (updated to Version 4) on the Keychron website) is available in either tenkeyless or full-sized. You also get the option of different switches: red, blue, or brown and option of white or RGB backlight as well.
The K1 is extremely portable and affordable under $100. The USB-C port and toggle switches are on the back of the aluminum frame of the keyboard. The low-profile switches are a delight to type on, and there is little wrist fatigue due to the low height of the keyboard.
The function row is the same as on Mac. If you toggle the keyboard to Mac mode, then you can access the functions without even pressing FN. They keycaps are ABS plastic, which will get shiny over time. However, after several days of typing consistently on this keyboard, there were no shiny areas at all.
The battery is about 2000mAh, which will last about 3 days without charging (your mileage will vary, of course). Whether you’re gaming or working, this keyboard works fantastically. If playing fast-paced games, remember to plug in your keyboard, put it on wired mode, and game without latency from Bluetooth.
Overall, this is one of our top three picks for mechanical keyboards for Mac. It’s similar to the Apple keyboards, except it’s mechanical and responds better.
Keychron K6: Hot-Swappable 65% Mechanical Keyboard for Mac
The Keychron K6 is one of Keychron’s newest keyboards in Spring 2020. It is a 65% percent keyboard, meaning that it has dedicated arrow keys so that you don’t need to access a second layer to move around.
Another feature of the K6 is hot-swappability. You can replace and change up the switches of your keyboard without desoldering and soldering. Also, the sockets accept 5-pin switches, which will work with pretty much any mechanical switch you can find on the internet (not optical, Alps, low-profile, or special switches like these).
You have many options, such as different switches. If you want to decrease latency, you can pick the optical switches. If you like the mechanical switch, then pick those. They’re both available in red, blue, and brown.
Like the K1, the K6 also has the Mac function row. However, the USB-C port and the switch toggles are on the left side of the keyboard, which may look strange with certain USB-C cables, but the K6 comes with a right angle USB-C cable.
Many people also complain that the K6 is too tall. However, we found the height to be perfect and quite comfortable without a wrist rest. One of the downsides is that the keycaps are ABS, which will shine over time. The sublegends are also hard to see in dim lighting because they’re not backlit.
Overall, this has been one of my most favorite keyboards for the past 3-4 months. Despite having other keyboards to use and review, I stuck with the K6 for a long time. It feels like a new keyboard every time you replace the switches and keycaps. Alongside this, being hot-swappable lets you do modifications to your keyboard such as lubing your switches and stabilizers for a better sound and feel.
Keychron K4: Compact 95% Mechanical Keyboard for Mac
For people that need the number pad, the Keychron K4 is perfect. It is compact as a tenekeyless mechanical keyboard, but it still has all of the function of a full-sized mechanical keyboard.
If you find yourself doing a lot of number entry or work in general, this may be the one for you. The switches are available in red, brown, blue, and yellow. Yellow is a heavier version of red, but they are both linear switches and very smooth, if I may add. Like other Keychron models, the K4 is Bluetooth, Windows/Mac compatible with a Mac function row, has RGB and aluminum options.
The K4 case height is actually really tall compared to their other keyboards. A wrist rest is recommended if you pick this keyboard to use with your Macbook.
It does come with ABS keycaps that shine easily, and finding replacement keycaps for this layout is more difficult than the other layouts we mentioned.
Overall, the K4 is an extremely clean and sleek looking board that you may even feel comfortable with taking to work. That is, if your work doesn’t mind thoccy keyboards. The stabilizers feel great and are pre-lubed from the factory. Can’t really complain with this one. It’s great for working.
Epomaker GK68XS: 65% For Mac With Lots of Customization Options
The Epomaker GK68XS was in a Kickstarter release earlier this year with over 2,000 backers. The GK68XS is a unique keyboard with a ton of different options. It has a 65% layout with dedicated arrow keys. Looking at the layout, the strangest thing is probably the backspace placement. A lot of people who have used this keyboard say that they get used to this relatively quickly OR they remap their backslash key to be backspace instead.
The GK68XS is hot-swappable for convenient switching between different switches without soldering or desoldering. It also has RGB lighting, an aluminum case for sturdiness and improved sound, a choice of Gateron or Cherry switches depending on your preferences, and Bluetooth 5.1 with up to 3 devices.
A really cool thing is that it also lets you switch the spacebar module from one key to three keys, letting you reprogram the different keys to FN or Shift.
The keyboard is Mac and Windows compatible, letting you switch between either operating system. It has XDA keycaps, which are a uniform profile. This means you can switch the layout of your keyboard without really worrying about the height of each row.
There is RGB, but the keycaps do not have shine-through, so it may look a bit awkward. However, you can find keycaps to replace your stock keycaps. Just keep in mind the small right shift, the small 1u keys on the bottom right, and the right column to make sure everything is what you desire.
Overall, Epomaker is doing really cool things with the different layouts of their keyboard. You can’t say very often that a keyboard has a full aluminum frame, Bluetooth, hotswap, PBT keycaps, Mac/Windows compatible, and a split spacebar module.
Keychron K2: Compact 75% Mechanical Keyboard for Mac
The Keychron K2 is the 75% version of the whole Keychron lineup. This means that it has a function row, arrow keys, and a bunch of the navigational keys except that it’s all smushed together and extra compact. This layout is very convenient if you want to obtain more horizontal space on your desk.
The K2 recently improved their case design to be less tall and more angled for ergonomic comfort. Alongside this, they upgraded the Bluetooth to 5.1 as well for the best performance available.
There is an RGB option and aluminum bezels as well to have a great aesthetic look and durability. The Bluetooth lets you connect with up to three devices and change between them easily.
The downsides are that the keycaps are ABS plastic and have RGB shine-through to show off your cool lighting effects, up to 18 of them. The USB-C port is also on the right side.
The K2 has a 4000mAh battery and lasts up to 72 hours without charging.
Overall, the Keychron K2 is a fan-favorite due to the compact layout and functionality as well. With the improved case design and Bluetooth, it rivals with the K6 and K8 quite well. Keychron also plans to update it again to include a hot-swappable option as well.
Epomaker SK61: Optical Hot-Swap 60% for Mac
The Epomaker SK61 is probably the most budget-friendly option available on this list other than the last option. It is a 60% mechanical keyboard and comes with Mac-specific keycaps as well.
It has hot-swappable optical switches. These are extremely smooth and nice to use. They are also easy to switch out because you don’t have to worry about lining up any pins or bending them. There are Bluetooth and wired versions available, with the BT option being $10 more expensive.
The detachable USB-C cable is one of the coolest stock cables I’ve ever used; it’s silver and braided with nice accents. The keycaps are PBT as well in a uniform XDA profile. The keyboard does have RGB, but the keycaps do not have any shine through.
With typing, the switches and case sound very hollow. The stabilizers are loud as well. But being hot-swappable, you can mod the stabilizers, lube the switches, insert foam inside the case, and you can get a very premium experience out of a budget-friendly mechanical keyboard.
Overall, it’s a really great keyboard for gaming with low latency with the Gateron optical switches. They’re very smooth to type on and use. The cable is really cool, and it has a lot of good features that even more expensive keyboards don’t have.
Keychron K8: Hot-Swappable TKL Mechanical Keyboard for Mac
The Keychron K8 is a tenkeyless layout and is part of the Keychron lineup as well. It is a very affordable hot-swappable TKL keyboard, and you can experiment with different mechanical or optical switches without soldering and desoldering.
Note that if you pick the optical version that it is hot-swappable with only optical switches. Same goes for the mechanical hot-swappable option as well. It has RGB lighting and up to 18 effects that will match your setup. If not, static white is my go-to for most days and aesthetics. The aluminum bezels keep the keyboard from breaking if you ever happen to break it.
The Bluetooth is 5.1 and can connect up to three devices, such as a tablet, laptop, and PC. You won’t have to worry about reconnecting and disconnecting, because who has more than three devices?
Unfortunately, the keycaps are ABS and shine quick, but you can also get replacement keycaps. With the standard TKL layout, it’s not hard to find a set that’ll fit.
The height is quite high, and a wrist rest is recommended. But the angle is nice and inclined.
Overall, many people are loving their K8s. This keyboard was also in Kickstarter in summer 2020 and did extremely well with almost 7000 backers.
iKBC W200: Wireless TKL Mechanical Keyboard for Mac
The iKBC W200 is a perfect no-frills work mechanical keyboard. It’s all black with white doubleshot legends, so you never have to worry about your legends rubbing away or wearing off.
You don’t have to worry about recharging your battery because it uses two AAA batteries. It uses a 2.4Ghz wireless dongle to connect. Unfortunately, this means it can’t connect to phones or tablets because it needs a USB port.
The W200 is compatible with Mac and Windows. It has a long battery life because of the lack of backlit options. It doesn’t drain the battery fast at all. The PBT keycaps are textured and provide a nice typing feel. Even better is that they are oil-resistant.
iKBC also focuses a lot on their stabilizers, and they feel absolutely fantastic, almost like the smaller keys. As for switch options, you get to choose between Cherry MX red, brown, or blue.
On the bottom are two dual-angle adjustable kickstands and rubber feet to prevent the keyboard from sliding around.
Overall, this is a really clean looking keyboard that doesn’t have any of the extra things that other keyboards have like RGB and whatever, but it’s nice where it counts. The battery lasts a long time, the keycaps are durable and made of PBT, the switches are rated up to 100 million keystrokes with Cherry MX switches, and the dongle lets you connect to devices that don’t come equipped with Bluetooth.
Das Keyboard 4 Pro: Full-Sized With Volume Controls
The Das Keyboard 4 Pro for Mac is easily your best option when you want to upgrade your Apple keyboard to a feature-rich, full-sized mechanical keyboard. This mechanical keyboard has the same level of quality you come to expect from your Apple products.
Das mechanical keyboards have amazing build quality with an aluminum top panel for a sturdy feel to withstand long nights of work. This mechanical keyboard has 2 built-in USB 3.0 ports, dedicated media control buttons with a volume knob, and Mac OS specific function keys which make using the keyboard extremely convenient.
If you need to plug in several USB devices, the keyboard makes it extremely easy to hook up a controller, microphone, webcam, or whatever else you may need, without having to reach for the PC. The media control keys and volume wheel make it easy to adjust your music on the fly, whether that be in-game or when working full-screen in another application.
The Das Keyboard also comes with your pick of high-quality Cherry MX mechanical switches as well, which are rated to last 100 million keystrokes and are often considered the best in terms of quality and design. You can’t beat the German engineering of Cherry MX switches. You get the choice between Cherry MX Brown or Blue switches depending on how loud you need your keyboard to be.
The Das Pro even made our best office list. With more than 1,000 positive reviews on Amazon and entire threads dedicated to it on Reddit, its no doubt that the Das is the mac daddy of keyboards. It’s easy to use dedicated media buttons and USB hubs are a few of my favorite features of this keyboard.
The Das Pro has a black aesthetic with a unique keyboard shape that can fit in with any setup. The Mac keyboard can integrate seamlessly with Mac OS and makes typing and gaming an absolute dream. If you need a keyboard for Mac, you can’t go wrong with the Das Keyboard. Check out our review of the PC version, which showcases the Das Keyboard 4’s impressive quality.
The Das Keyboard 4 Pro for Mac is the best all-around choice. It could really be the last keyboard you need to buy for 10+ years. We’ve hand reviewed this keyboard so you can be assured that this is mechanical board is the real deal. Perfect for gaming, programming, or just everyday use.
Matias Tactile Pro: A No-Frills Powerhouse for Mac
If you want to replace Apple’s original keyboard but still want to keep the sophisticated white exteriors, Matias Tactile Pro can be the right alternative for you. The keyboard will fit right in with a full Mac set-up and still has that coveted minimalistic design. The keyboard has a solid build-quality with appropriate travel distance and sound.
This keyboard goes back to the good old features of Alps mechanical switches, laser-etched keys, and USB ports for connection. It is best suitable for typists who want the throwback exteriors while still having modern features.
The laser-etched keys come with sub-legends of less used symbols and letters, that makes it ridiculously easy to find and access the key on a lower layer. If you plan on typing in a language that requires constant usage of letters with accents over them, this keyboard is the perfect fit for you.
The layout will remind you of Apple’s original Extended Keyboard and Apple Pro Keyboard to some extent. The plug and play installation is pretty convenient. You can even use Windows drivers from their website that allow you to reprogram it to the Windows keys.
It should be noted that the keys have a pretty loud typewriter sound, and it can irritate the people around you. However, if you prefer the clicky noise, nothing feels more satisfying. The Alps mechanical switches have a big tactile bump and a loud click, which is perfect for those who enjoy a lot of audible and sensory feedback when typing.
Just be aware of the loud sound and make sure it’s appropriate for your environment, whether that be working in an office with your coworkers nearby – or typing away in the comfort of your own home.
The Matias Pro is a beautiful sleek old school keyboard with amazing exterior and qualities. The keyboard could be used for gaming, but it’s not specifically made for that purpose. Overall, this Matias Tactile Pro would be excellent in an office environment or if you need a keyboard that looks aesthetically pleasing amongst your other Apple products.
Check out our full review on the Matias Tactile Pro here, where you can find our full breakdown of the keyboard and all of our thoughts on the features, build quality, pricing, and more.
Velocifire M104 – Best Bang For Your Buck Mac Keyboard
The Velocifire M104 is another excellent choice to add to your Mac setup. The M104 is a full-sized keyboard in a dark black aesthetic that looks quite professional and would make a great addition to your battlestation.
Not to mention the M104 is quite affordable, making it one of the best options available for those on a budget. The keyboard has a heavy frame construction, so although it is cheaper than some of the other options, it still feels sturdy and rigid.
The overall aesthetic is a sort of a mix between gaming and office. The black design gives it a gamer look, but the Helvetica font on the keycaps says office use. The M104 would be a great option if you need a keyboard for both gaming and office applications as it can fit into any environment.
There are media keys that you can access on the secondary layer to change volume settings and change video playback, which is nice to have. It would have been cool to see dedicated media keys instead, but at the current price point there isn’t much complaining to do.
Nevertheless, this should not be a big deal considering the other amazing features you get in this mechanical keyboard.
The keyboard is packed with several different lighting features such as Waterfall, Always-on, Breathing, Always-off, which allows you to play with the lighting more conveniently. You can even play with speeds and brightness at three different levels to really take your lighting game to the next level. Just because you’re getting a keyboard for Mac doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some good ol’ RGB lighting.
One of the downsides to this keyboard is the lack of ergonomics and adjustment settings. The M104 has no adjustable feet to change the typing angle, so you’ll be stuck typing on a flat surface. In addition, the keyboard also has no wrist rest, so you may experience some wrist fatigue over a period of heavy usage.
This of course can be remedied by getting a wrist rest separately, such as the Glorious Wrist Rest.
Overall, the Velocifire M104 is an excellent budget keyboard that works well with macOS and has an enjoyable gaming and typing experience for the price. You can check out the official product page for more information on the pricing.
Apple Magic Keyboard – Sleek, Thin, and Easy to Connect
We decided to throw one keyboard on the list here that isn’t a mechanical keyboard, but has so many other great features it’s worth considering. The Apple Magic Keyboard is a wireless keyboard that will pair automatically with your Mac. The keyboard is specifically made to integrate with the rest of your Apple setup so the design and aesthetic will match everything perfectly.
No dongles to plug-in or confusing setup process. Although not on the mechanical keyboards list, this Mac keyboard has excellent features and is compatible with just everyday work. If you’re looking at gaming, then I would suggest the other mechanical keyboards on this list and they can likely handle more force.
You can connect wireless without having to mess around with the settings too much on your computer, it’s a super simple and fast process, although we don’t recommend gaming with a wireless connection as it significantly increases response time.
The battery is long-lasting, and you’ll be able to go about a month between charges. You can plug the keyboard in via Lighting cable to use it as it charges even if the battery is completely dead. The battery is quite impressive overall, considering how thin and portable the keyboard is.
The Magic Keyboard has a lower profile, which will save your wrists from being tilted as you type. Some may find this style of keyboard to be easier on the wrists, while others prefer the feel of a thick mechanical keyboard with mechanical switches. The Magic Keyboard does not produce the clicky sound you get from a mechanical keyboard, instead, it has a quiet pressing noise.
If you’re looking for an exact replica of an Apple keyboard, then this would be your best bet with its thin keys, design, and overall layout. That being said, if you’re looking for tactility, mechanical keys are your priority. Also, if you’re a heavy typer or gamer, you may also want to check out the mechanical options. Ultimately, it comes down to what you’re looking for in a keyboard. Check out the Apple Magic Keyboard here on Amazon.
Azio Mk Mac – A Top Mac Contender
Mac users can rejoice as Azio released a mechanical keyboard designed specifically for Macs. Mac users typically have limited choices when it comes to mechanical keyboards, so another option is exactly what is needed.
The Azio MK Mac keyboard has the full Mac layout and functions you’d expect, and the silver/white styling of it will be right at home with your other Mac products. The sleek Mac-like design will fit in with all of your Mac gear. This mechanical board is an excellent buy if you’re looking for nice minimalist design with a professional feel.
The keyboard comes with a nice wrist rest to help improve ergonomics and make long gaming sessions more comfortable. The textured design is satisfying and enjoyable to run your fingers over when you’re sitting at your desk.
The dedicated media keys are always an awesome feature to have on a keyboard as they make changing music settings in-game so easy and convienent. Instead of having to exit your full-screen game to change the music, you can access them easily with the push of a button. The media keys include a volume wheel and an easy access mute button.
In addition, the keyboard has white LED backlights. The white backlights, while not the most exciting, do add an element of prestige to the keyboard as they illuminate the legends without making it look too distracting with a bunch of different colors. Some may prefer the RGB element of backlighting, but for those that want something more professional, the white backlight is a great pick.
With a sleek design, mac layout, and relatively low price, this is worthy of any Mac. You can check the price and options available of the Azio MK Mac on Amazon, here.
Why Get a Mechanical Keyboard for your Mac?
Mechanical keyboards are generally considered the best option for someone who wants to game or type comfortably. They appeal to wide audience of people and currently, there are no mechanical keyboards made by Apple. So if you’re looking for a mechanical keyboard for Mac, you’ll have to look elsewhere to find the keyboard with the proper keys and functionality.
Not to mention, Mac keyboards have taken a huge hit lately as many of them are becoming faulty and nonfunctional. The lack of durability is a major turn-off to those who want a keyboard that will last the rest of their lives. Mechanical keyboards are known to last for decades before starting to break down, so they are a much better option than the typical Mac keyboard.
If Mac keyboards are becoming faulty, why use them?
Over 25% of software developers use Mac OS X and the vast majority of people in graphical design also use Macs exclusively. So, while Mac users may be outnumbered, they’re often working very serious jobs that require serious hardware. The reason most designers and programmers use Macs is because of its good hardware and easy to use interface. That, coupled with its in-house software makes it a great machine for certain uses.
That’s why we set out to find the best mechanical keyboard for Macs, as described in this article. So the dedicated professionals who use Apple products everyday have other better options to use instead of the easily breakable Mac keyboard.
Differences Between Mac Keyboards and Regular Ones
Let’s quickly go over the major differences between a Mac keyboard and a regular one.
Some of the differences are superficial, such as using “Option” instead of “Alt”, and “Command” instead of the Windows logo key. The placement of these keys differs on the layout as well. If you like the Windows-style keyboards over Mac, that this could be a huge deal for you. You’ll want a keyboard that has the proper keys and descriptions so you don’t accidentally press the incorrect keys when typing.
Other Key Differences
There are other differences as well, listed below:
- Full-sized desktop Apple keyboards with a dedicated numpad have function keys that can range up to F15, F16, or F19. Windows keyboards function keys only range from F1 – F12 regardless of
- Apple keyboards have a “Clear” key instead of “Numlock”, which functions to remove highlighted text as well as some other special functions depending on the app.
- An “=” key on the numpad.
- A “fn” (function) key instead of an “Insert” key. This toggles the function keys to behave as normally do, and their special OS functions such as volume control, screen brightness, etc.
- Apple keyboards typically have an “Eject” key for the disc drive.
Most importantly, Mac keyboards aren’t mechanical which make them pretty bad for gaming and programming.
The switches on a mechanical keyboard make each keystroke on a keyboard extremely consistent and improve accuracy. Mechanical keyboards come standard with features such as anti-ghosting and N-key rollover, which basically guarantee that every key you press will get registered not matter how fast or how many keys you press at once.
Mac keyboards struggle when you are typing fast or entering too many keys at once, which make mechanical keyboards a much better option.
Do You Need to Have a Mac Compatible Keyboard?
In short, any keyboard will work with a Mac, but the layout may not be the same a the one you’re used to.
You can certainly get by on most tasks without a Mac-specific keyboard, but it doesn’t make much sense to own such a powerful and sophisticated machine only to hamper yourself with a mismatched mechanical keyboard. If you do feel like exploring other options, check out our list of the best mechanical keyboards (and pay particular attention to the “Best white MKs” section).
You could buy the Mac modifier keycaps separately if you want to do a partially convert your normal mechanical keyboard to a Mac one, but you’ll miss out on some of the more advanced features of using a mechanical keyboard made specifically for Mac.
We all deserve to type on a keyboard that feels comfortable and is super enjoyable. If you have a Mac computer, getting a mechanical keyboard that works perfectly for that operating system can make your overall experience much more enjoyable every time you sit down at your computer.
The improved feel for gaming and typing makes a mechanical keyboard way better than a normal out-of-the-box Mac keyboard, you’ll just have to see for yourself.
Out of all the mechanical keyboards out there, I truly believe these are the best 6. Their keyboard layout, style, quality, and functionality all match that of a standard Mac keyboard. If you’re looking for more tactility, switching to a mechanical version on this list is your best bet. I especially recommend this for programmers or gamers, as typing hard on Mac’s standard keyboards can degrade them quickly.
In addition, there have been many faulty keyboards on Mac’s laptops. Apparently, a few crumb drops will render them useless.. but that’s for another article.
If you’re interested in other potential mac keyboards, we also have a list of white mechanical keyboards that you might find match your Mac well.
Have other suggestions or questions? Feel free to leave a comment below.