7 Best Mechanical Keyboards for Programmers

Getting the keyboard you like can go a long way toward improving workflow and productivity. Mechanical keyboards are often a preferred choice for programmers because of their tactile feel and size. 

The best mechanical keyboard is ultimately a personal decision, and what is best for one programmer might not be the best for another. But there are a few parameters to keep in mind with any keyboard that can help steer you in the right direction. 

This post will highlight all of the best mechanical keyboards for programmers. I’ll highlight the key features of each option to show you why they are a good choice and provide you with some important and related information. 

Let’s get after it. 

Key Takeaways

  • Mechanical keyboards can help improve workflow and productivity, making them a preferred option for some coders. 
  • The best option for a mechanical keyboard will meet any specific needs and preferences you have for programming. 
  • Various mechanical keyboards can appear similar but offer slightly different features and functions you might want or need. 
  • Mechanical keyboards can be better than built-in keyboards on a laptop because you get a larger space to work with, making you faster. 

FAQs

Here are a few quick answers to some of the most commonly asked questions related to the best mechanical keyboard for programmers. 

Are mechanical keyboards good for programming?

What is the best mechanical keyboard for programming?

Can a programmer use a 60% keyboard?

What color switches are best for programming?

Why do coders prefer mechanical keyboards?

What Makes the Best Mechanical Keyboard for Programmers? 

Here are a few of the most important factors to consider when looking for the best mechanical keyboard for programmers. All of these can help you figure out which option will work best to meet your needs and preferences. 

Programmable Keys

If you want to dial in your programming workflow, getting programmable keys on your mechanical keyboard is necessary. This will allow you to customize your setup to boost your speed and productivity across the board.

Feel

The feel of a keyboard is a personal preference for every programmer, but it can be a significant one. Each keyboard model can have a different feel based on its construction, layout, and design. You want to find the option that feels best for you. 

Size

The size of a mechanical keyboard is an important consideration. While it is possible to code on a 60% keyboard, most programmers prefer a full-size option that gives you more keys to work with. The thickness of the keyboard is another thing to keep in mind.

Switch Style

There are various switch styles to consider when getting a mechanical keyboard. Many people like blue switch options because these give you a click sound and a good feel. But some office settings might not encourage click-type switches.  

Cost

While most mechanical keyboards aren’t extremely expensive, you still want to keep cost in mind. If you need a specific type of keyboard or want more features, you’ll pay more. But you can also find plenty of more affordable options. 

The 7 Best Mechanical Keyboards for Programmers

Best Overall Corsair K100 RGB 
Best FeelRoyal Kludge RK98
Best Budget PickRed Dragon K552
Best 60% KeyboardRoyal Kludge RK61
Best for Coding and GamingASUS ROG Strix Flare II
Best for Customization NACODEX AK510 
Best Low Profile Logitech MX

1. Corsair K100 RGB

  • One of the best all-around mechanical keyboards for programming or other tasks
  • Wired design leads to reliable and effective performance 
  • RGB Backlighting and 44-zone lightning backdrop
  • Customizable features to help you dial in workflow
  • Various switch setups available 

The best overall mechanical keyboard for programmers is the Corsair K100 RGB. This very solid keyboard will deliver many of the essential features that programmers want and need from a mechanical option. 

This is a full-size keyboard, giving you 100 keys to work with. This is great for full-time programmers who want the most keys possible. More keys equate to a more effective workflow and better customization. 

The keyboard also comes with very responsive keys and switches alongside effective backlighting. You also get customizable lighting options and several switch options to get your ideal setup worked out. 

This is an expensive option, which is the only real downside to mention. But it’s definitely worth it if you are looking for one of the best mechanical keyboards for programmers. It’s also large, so it isn’t ideal for small desk setups. 

My Verdict: This is an excellent all-around option that will work for most programmers. The extended length with 100 keys is ideal for the best workflow. And many customizable features are nice to dial in workflow as best as possible.  

2. Royal Kludge RK98

  • Excellent feel that is easy to get used to
  • Affordable without compromising performance
  • Three connection modes including wired, Bluetooth, and WiFi
  • Hot swappable brown switches
  • Ergonomic design

The Royal Kludge RK98 is the mechanical keyboard to choose if you are looking for a great feel. It’s always nice to have a keyboard that is a pleasure to work on, and this one fits that bill. It types easily and just feels smooth, no matter the task. 

This mostly full-size option gives you all the keys you need to stay effective and on task. And even though it comes with all of the keys your need, it’s still relatively compact to fit on smaller desks or workspaces. 

The keys have a great bounce-back that makes it easy to type on, and an ergonomic design helps you stay engaged with good posture and form while you’re working hard. You also get the benefit of hot-swappable switches for a layer of customization that is great. 

The keyboard can feel slightly cramped if you are used to working with more full-size and more extended options. And if you prefer a somewhat rigid keyboard feel, this one will probably be too smooth. 

My Verdict: This is the keyboard for anyone who wants an option that feels nice. If you like a smaller size without giving up keys alongside plenty of other features, it’s also an option worth exploring. 

3. Red Dragon K552

  • Affordable but still works well and performs great
  • 87 keys for a full range of operations and control
  • Dust-proof mechanical switches for reliable performance 
  • Ergonomic design and strong construction 
  • Better for PC than Mac

If you are looking for a budget mechanical keyboard to meet your needs as a programmer, be sure to check out the Red Dragon K552. This one is affordable while still delivering stand-out performance and plenty of other features. 

This is a slightly compact option that still gives you 87 keys to work with. That’s enough to stay effective and engaged while programming. The keys have anti-ghosting features and a smooth feel that still gives a little resistance. 

This one also has customizable switches, so you can set things up exactly how you like them to improve workflow and productivity. An ergonomic design helps you stay comfortable, and strong construction increases the value to another level. 

You don’t get as many features with this one as with some of the more expensive options on the list. But as long as that sacrifice doesn’t bother you, you can save some money while still getting excellent performance here. 

My Verdict: Solid choice for a budget mechanical keyboard that doesn’t sacrifice performance to keep the price down. It has plenty of features, but not as many as more expensive options.   

4. Royal Kludge RK61

  • 60% size for compact performance with 61 keys
  • Affordable and another good budget pick
  • 18 backlit modes for a customized setup
  • Hot-swappable keys
  • Ergonomic design

If you are looking for a more compact mechanical keyboard, a 60% option is good to use. And the Royal Kludge RK61 is the best compact option on the list. You get 61 keys in a compact size that will work with just about any setup. 

This one also comes with 18 RGB backlit modes, so you can customize your experience to help you code to your liking. This can also come in handy if you want to use the keyboard for gaming as well. These modes are easy to use and adjust. 

I also like the feel of this one. It’s smooth but still delivers quality bounce-back for a classic mechanical feel. You also get anti-ghosting features to help prevent any unwanted keystrokes. Hot-swappable keys are another nice touch. 

You do sacrifice the use of some keys with a 60% option. There are no arrow keys on this one, which can be a downside, depending on what type of coding you do. It works well but does have limited keys. 

My Verdict: A solid 60% keyboard that will work for anyone looking for a compact mechanical option. It might not be the best option for workflow because of limited keys, but it still has all the features you want and need for effective programming.  

5. ASUS ROG Strix Flare II

  • Great option for coding and gaming
  • Many customizable options 
  • Super fast response to help increase productivity or focus
  • ROG switch stabilizer for excellent feel
  • Dedicated volume and media controls

If you work as a coder but also love to play games after you’re done, the ASUS ROG Strix Flare II is an excellent mechanical keyboard to explore. This is a highly effective option, no matter what you use it for, and it is packed full of features. 

It’s also a fantastic option if you want to customize your setup and features an AniMe Matrix LED display that lets you personalize the backlighting. You also get media and volume controls, giving you direct control over your games or workspace. 

Swappable switches are another nice touch, and all the keys feature a ROG-tuned action that provides a great feel. The response times are solid without being too smooth to eliminate any desired mechanical feel. 

This is a pretty expensive option, so it’s not recommended if you’re on a budget. It’s also pretty large, so it is only good if you have a bigger workspace. If you don’t game, this one probably has too many features that you won’t use. 

My Verdict: A solid mechanical keyboard that works well for gamers and programmers. The larger size gives you all the keys you need for effective performance, no matter what task you use the keyboard for.  

6. NACODEX AK510

  • Many customizable features to assist with programming tasks
  • Retro style that looks and feels great
  • 10 RGB lighting modes
  • Anti-ghosting keys to help with accurate performance 
  • Comes with a metal key puller to help with customization 

The NACODEX AK510 is another solid all-around mechanical keyboard for programmers and is especially good for anyone looking for lots of customizable options. It’s a larger keyboard that gives you every key needed for optimal workflow. 

You can customize this keyboard in many ways, from changing up the backlighting to deciding the hot keys, and that level of personalization can be fun to use to improve workflow. And you get reliable performance no matter what settings you choose. 

The keyboard also has a throwback look and feel, which is ideal for anyone who loves mechanical keyboards. It’s large but will fit on most desks with ample room and not too much clutter. 

The look of this one might be offputting to anyone who prefers modern designs. But even though it looks old-school, it performs extremely well. You get today’s performance with yesterday’s appeal. 

My Verdict: Many customizable options make this a good choice for anyone who likes to change up their setup or just needs options. It’s a larger keyboard, so not a good option for mobile or small-desk setups. 

7. Logitech MX

  • Low profile design while still maintaining mechanical feel
  • Several size options to choose from
  • Environmentally friendly construction
  • Customizable settings help boost workflow and productivity 
  • Bluetooth connectivity makes it a good option for mobile setups

The Logitech MX is the best low-profile mechanical keyboard for programmers. This compact but still very effective option can work well for anyone who travels often or prefers a more small-scale setup. 

Despite a slimmer profile, this keyboard still feels and functions like a mechanical one. It’s the best of both worlds, with a smaller size and steady feel that many programmers will enjoy. And it also has backlit illumination to see everything clearly. 

The keyboard also features customizable function keys to help you dial in your ideal workflow and Bluetooth connectivity to get that setup up and running on the move. It also has an environmentally-friendly construction that is a nice touch. 

A low-profile option might not be ideal for everyone who likes mechanical keyboards, so keep that in mind when shopping around. This doesn’t have the exact feel of the full-size keyboards on the list.

My Verdict: An awesome low-profile mechanical keyboard with a range of features to keep you on focus. This is a good option for programmers who travel or anyone who wants a smaller working setup.  

Final Thoughts

A mechanical keyboard can help you improve workflow and stay focused while you’re programming. These aren’t always for everyone, but if you like the feel or look of older keyboards, they are worth exploring. 

All of the mechanical keyboards in this post are high-quality and built to perform well. Read through all of the options to figure out which of the models is best for your needs as a programmer. 

What do you like the most about a mechanical keyboard? Let me know in the comments below.

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