Best quiet mechanical keyboard for the office (or gaming) 2017
The clicking of a mechanical keyboard can be music to your ears – but more than likely, the non-mechanical keyboard enthusiast at your workplace won’t hear it that way. What sounds like fine engineering and delightful audio feedback to you may sound like annoying chatter to your office co-workers. Some of the best keyboards on the market are pretty quiet, but even they might have some competition from models in this guide. In this buying guide, we will dive into what makes a mechanical keyboard enjoyable for work, efficient for programming, and our ‘best list’ for the office.
If you’re a gamer or just an everyday typist looking for a quiet keyboard – this list is more than sufficient to meet your needs! Some gaming or general keyboard enthusiasts may actually not like the somewhat loud clicking of mechanical boards. In that case, take a good look at this guide, which can help make your keyboards quieter than most.
This is why you need a great quiet mechanical keyboard or the right equipment to make one quiet.
Why Use a Mechanical Keyboard for Work?
If you’re a mechanical keyboard enthusiast or use it for home then I don’t need to convince you why these type of keyboards are the best. But for those of you just looking into this, I recommend you check out our beginner’s guide, which will help shed some light as to why you would want one for work. Long story short – if you’re an office worker then chances are your typing nonstop. As such, you should be absolutely comfortable with what you’re typing with on a daily basis (without it being noisy). This will not only increase the enjoyment of everyday work, but can also make it easier on your wrist, fingers, and improve productivity (not to mention making your keyboard deadly silent).
The last thing you want to do is drop $150+ on a new mechanical keyboard to bring into work, only to be banned from using it due to complaints. To help you avoid the drama, we’re going to give you some tips and our list on the best office-friendly quiet mechanical keyboards! These keyboards are designed to be silent but also have all of the other awesome features of a typical mechanical keyboard (actuation force, RGB, backlit, programmable, etc.)
If you’d like something programming specific, check out our list of the best mechanical keyboards for programming.
Criteria For a Work-Friendly Quiet Keyboard
- Cherry MX Red or Brown switches. These are the quietest of the Cherry switches with a similarly low actuation force. The Brown switch gives more feedback on your keystroke, letting you know through touch that the key press has been registered. Many people prefer Brown mechanical switches for typing.
- O-Rings. You should view these as mandatory. They make a huge difference in sound levels, as well as improving the typing experience by most people’s opinion. It will probably take you about 30 minutes to put these on your entire mechanical keyboard which is pretty damn quick considering it’ll make your keyboard a quiet and stealthy beast. Check out our article on mechanical keyboard accessories to help you as well.
- Professional Look. You probably don’t want to buy a flashy gamer-geek keyboard to bring to work, since you don’t want to distract yourself or other employees. You’d also run a higher risk of having your flashy mechanical keyboard stolen if you leave your keyboard at work overnight, so we want to stick with minimalist or ordinary looking keyboards. The ones covered in this list are professional looking and can be customized to be super quiet. Excellent for work or gaming during your breaks.
- Office friendly design and functionality. There are some subtle functions and layout forms of mechanical keyboards that can make it more optimal for an office environment. Design aspects such as compact forms, wireless or bluetooth functionality, and function keys are important aspects that you should take into consideration.
The Quiet Office Keyboards List (Updated for 2017)
Here are some great mechanical keyboards we think fit the above criteria and are quiet enough to be taken into consideration at the office (all at budget prices). Each keyboard has been tested in person and is up to date as of 2017. To make sure the keyboards are quiet, make sure you get the proper switches. That being said, this list contains some of the quietest, most 0silent, and sleek-looking keyboards on the market. We’re confident that this is the ultimate list for a quieter typing environment with a pro and sleek vibe.
Das Keyboard 4 Professional
The Das Keyboard 4 Pro is one of the best looking mechanical keyboards you’ll find, hands down. The keyboards look like it belongs in an executive office, but will be right at home in any office scenario. We recommend installing the blue O-rings on these keys, as the Cherry MX Brown switches aren’t exactly silent, but they are quiet enough for a work environment. All of the keyboards on this list are popular among gaming enthusiasts and can work just as great for any environment. By purchasing the right switches and rings, you can make just about any keyboard quiet.
You’ll certainly get a lot of compliments (and jealousy!) from your coworkers when you bring this to the office. Das is a very well known company in the gaming community. They are known for their excellent mechanical keyboard builds and quality, and have a sleek and professional look to them (excellent for the office). Once this bad boy is quiet, it’ll be low-key one of the most enjoyable keyboards you can have.
Check out our review for more information.
CM Storm QuickFire Tenkeyless
This keyboard is a great choice if you plan on taking your mechanical keyboard in and out of the office with you due to its compact size. Losing the numpad may be a deal breaker if you work with numbers all day. Available in either Red or Brown switches, the only downside I see with this keyboard is the keycap font is a little too “futuristic” for my taste.
Try to get this with red or brown switches for, the blue will be very loud for an office environment.
CODE Illuminated 104-Key
Here’s a great choice if you want more style and backlighting in your work mechanical keyboard. Also available in tenkeyless, this keyboard uses Cherry MX Clear switches, which have a tactile feel similar to Brown, but with a heavier actuation force. CODE uses a detachable micro-USB cable, which would make transportation easier between home and the office.
If you’re interested, we have a review of the CODE 104 that you can checkout here.
Rosewill RK-9000v2 Mechanical Keyboard
The Rosewill RK-9000v2 is a great low-key mechanical keyboard that will blend right into the office space. It’s available in 4 different Cherry MX switch types – Red, Black, Blue, and Brown, but you should look to stay with the Red or Brown for the office. While this keyboard won’t be a conversation starter, it will deliver a quality quiet mechanical keyboard experience.
Your everyday work environment doesn’t have to suck as much with something fun to type on. Pick up a mechanical keyboard and get the proper switches for them and voila! You’ll have a sleek, professional, and quiet mechanical keyboard that you’ll enjoy using every day. Mechanical boards make typing easier as it can require less force, can be programmed, and can also be customized to your liking. Best of all, we’ve reviewed every keyboard on this list and can attest to their quality (and quiet sound). You won’t regret investing a small amount for a high-quality keyboard that can increase how you work and type in your office environment. Another contender that didn’t quite make it on the list is the super quiet Matias lineup of mechanical keyboards. Not as popular in common gaming rigs but their keyboards are considered to be pretty damn quiet. Check out their quiet keyboards list here.