In modern keyboards, 2.4GHz RF offers a stable connection and, at times, a near-imperceptible amount of typing lag. And because a USB dongle is an extra part, you can lose it if you often swap it between systems or carry your keyboard around.
Some keyboards have a storage slot for their dongles, which is great, but it's still a tiny part you need to keep track of. I would urge you, though, to not count out a keyboard just because it relies solely on Bluetooth, as you may not even notice a difference if you’re using it at home.
In addition to 2.4GHz and Bluetooth, any good wireless keyboard lets you directly connect to a device using its charging cable. Without this option, there’s always a chance that you’ll forget to charge the keyboard or replace its batteries, and you may find yourself temporarily unable to use it.
Models that rely on disposable AA or AAA batteries, though, likely don't have a USB connection option. There’s nothing worse than realizing that your keyboard is out of power, so you can’t use your PC until you run out to the store and pick up more batteries (or salvage some from a TV remote).
Many manufacturers provide two battery-life estimates based on whether you use the backlighting, as it can reduce the time between charges by more than 50 percent. With removable AA's or AAA's, look for the estimated battery life to be measured in weeks or months, not hours.
Even the cheapest battery-powered keyboards should get hundreds of hours of battery life from a set, especially if they do not have backlit keys. Since LED backlighting heavily affects battery life, it’s good to look for customization and controls to help you manage power.
Most such boards are made for navigating web browsers and media players like Alex, or for PC gaming. This keeps their dimensions slim, making them more portable and helping to maintain the sleek, minimalist look popularized by Apple’s Magic Keyboard.
With that in mind, the best wireless keyboards don’t over commit to that aesthetic so much that the keys feel bunched together too closely. Generally speaking, wireless keyboards tend to come with some quality-of-life features, such as dedicated media and macro keys.
A few, like Logitech's high-end keyboards, also come with the ability to connect to multiple devices and swap among them with a single button press. Gaming keyboards will come with the same suite of media and macro perks, and some include customizable RGB lighting and advanced configuration software.
Also, without a wired connection, it would be impossible for a keyboard to offer USB pass-through ports on the body, so that’s not something you’ll find, either. Among wireless keyboards, you'll spot the occasional model using membrane or mechanical key switches.
Membrane keyboards actuate, triggering the signal that goes to your computer, by pushing down a rubber dome at the base of the key. The two major benefits to a wireless mechanical keyboard are its more decisive feedback, and the longer travel, both of which allow for more confident typing.
Last, but not least, in the last year or so, multiple companies have produced wireless ergonomic keyboards, which use an alternative key-layout shape to minimize repetitive stress injuries in your hands, wrists, and arms. The wireless ergonomic keyboards we’ve seen employ a curved, unibody design that prevents you from twisting your wrist.
They are, by and large, helpful if you experience wrist or arm pain when you type, though they can take some getting used to when you first switch to one from a standard keyboard. Whether you’re planning to use the board for work, gaming, or just everyday computing, it isn’t hard to cut the cord without compromises.
If you’re a gamer or will be doing a lot of long form writing, a mechanical keyboard is definitely the way to go. But if you’re the type who works late into the night, and you don’t want to (or can’t) switch on bright overhead lights, a keyboard with backlit keys is important.
Many of the best wireless keyboards with mechanical switches that are aimed at gamers feature RGB backlighting, letting you change the color of each key or sometimes just a few zones via software or presets using key combinations. This isn’t strictly necessary for gamers or productivity users, but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun.
Even if you’re using your keyboard just to write documents, it’s fun to change up the look of the device your fingers are banging away on for hours at a time. Many gamers prefer linear switches (often labeled as red) because they make it easier to mash the same buttons repeatedly in quick succession.
But blue switches are often fairly loud, which can bother other people nearby or even the person typing. There are dozens of other switch types, including optical mechanical and even membrane -- which tend to have a mushier feel, but are much better at surviving things like spilled drinks.
So whenever possible, get an inexpensive switch tester to try out different options or try to find a keyboard you’re considering in a store to get a feel for it before buying. While some users want every possible key, others prefer a smaller keyboard that gives them more space on their desk or is easier to travel with.
Most laptops and some desktops these days also support Bluetooth, so these are good if you want to use your bestwirelesskeyboard with multiple devices, as well. In most cases, you just plug in the dongle, turn on the keyboard, and you’re ready to start typing.
You have the option to connect via Bluetooth or a USB Type-A dongle powered by Logitech's Light speed technology. The G915 TKL, however, frees up more desk space for your mouse and makes a very expensive mechanical keyboard a tad more accessible.
You can find the G915 TKL with three different types of mechanical switches: either tactile, click or linear. Regardless, the switch will be from Logitech’s low profile GL line and have 2.7 mm travel rather than the traditional 4 mm.
Switches: Out emu Red | Backlight: RGB | Type: Tentacles | Size: 15 × 6 × 1.5 inches (381 × 152 x 38 mm) | Weight: 3.64 pounds 1.65 kg) Re dragon isn’t exactly a well-known gaming brand in the U.S., but it’s hard to argue with the $70 price of the K596 Vishnu.
This 2.4 GHz wireless gaming keyboard packs RGB, dedicated macro and media keys, a metal volume rocker, linear switches and even a wrist rest (albeit a hard plastic one) all into a tentacles package. The K596 Vishnu also feels solid and was comfortable to use while gaming and typing; although, the plastic used for the shell does look a bit cheap.
And there are light bars on either side of the keyboard that, while look cool, are only going to drain your battery faster while you’re gaming without the USB-C cable plugged in. The extra lights should default to only turning on when the keyboard is plugged in via a cable.
Still, despite its oddities and minor flaws, this is one heck of a keyboard for $70, when you consider Logitech’s G915 TKL costs more than three times as much and doesn’t include a wrist rest. If you’re after a compact, colorful wireless gaming keyboard on a budget, the K596 Vishnu easily earns a top spot in the pantheon.
Switches: Logitech GL (low-profile; tactile, click or linear) | Backlight: Per-key RGB | Type: Full-size | Size: 18.7 × 5.9 × 0.87 inches (475 × 150 x 22 mm) | Weight: 2.26 pounds (1,025g) It looks smart and mature in a manner that very few gaming peripherals are able to put off, and -- short of a wrist rest -- it's replete with anything you could ask of a keyboard.
You're not exactly slumming it with Racer or Corsair's slightly cheaper high-end boards by comparison, but for those who secretly miss the stability of the old membrane days, this low-profile keyboard is a dream come true. But Kathryn’s K2 75% Bluetooth model works in both wired and wireless modes, is compact without giving up too much in the way of functionality (that is of course, if you don’t need a number pad) and comes with your choice of three switch types, as well as either white backlighting (as we tested) or RGB.
The Kathryn K2 is also versatile, with key caps for both Apple and Windows included in the box and support for Android as well. The two-level feet lift the back-end by as much as 9 degrees for more comfortable typing, and you can choose between Patron Red, Blue, or Brown switches, as well as ABS or PBT key caps.
Corsair's K63 Keyboard /Lapboard combo may have a more cumbersome name than Racer's competing Turret One, but in many ways, it's a simpler, roomier device that delivers an excellent couch gaming experience at a lower price ($159.99 MSRP, though at this writing it was selling for about $10 more) than the $250 Racer setup. Part of that lower price comes from the fact that Corsair doesn't include a mouse, unlike Racer.
And thanks to generous padding on the bottom of the aboard, I was able to game for hours in comfort. My couch's lack of support for my back was an issue long before the K63 Lapboard was.
Charging the keyboard is as easy as plugging in to its Micro USB port. Racer's Turret One is a bit smaller and easier to stow when you aren't using it, thanks to a slide-out mouse pad.
The Corsair K63 Keyboard /Lapboard combo, however, offers up as roomy and comfortable a couch gaming experience we've seen yet. And be ready to wipe the unit down regularly, as the rubber wrist area and cloth mouse pad attract dirt, and crumbs and other tiny things easily get lodged in the seams around those parts of the Lapboard.
Switches: Racer Green (tactile and click) | Backlight: Per-key RGB | Type: Tentacles | Size: 23.6 × 7.6 × 1.5 inches (600 × 194 × 36.9 mm) with mouse tray expanded | Weight: 4.3 pounds (2 kg) The Racer Turret for Xbox One is an inspired couch keyboard and mouse setup.
Though it’s designed for the Xbox One, the Turret is still a strong option for a PC gamer who plays from the couch. If you don’t want to slip existing PC mice and keyboards into something like a Corsair Lapdog, this Turret is a great fit.
If those awkward key placements sound too painful, and you’re willing to go a little bigger, you may want to look instead at the company’s SK630 or SK650 keyboards instead. But if portability is a priority, and you want mechanical switches, RGB lighting and access to dedicated arrow keys, the SK621 is tough to beat.
Lenovo’s ThinkPad Tracking Keyboard II looks and feels like it was ripped straight from one of the company’s business laptops. The keyboard has the same smile-shaped, springy keys as a ThinkPad laptop, along with the little red Tracking pointing stick.
The typing and navigation experience is as good as you’ll find without a mechanical keyboard and mouse. The Tracking Keyboard II has both Bluetooth and 2.4-GHz wireless connectivity options, with a physical switch to toggle from one to another.
It has a 2.4-GHz wireless dongle in addition to two different Bluetooth profiles, so you can easily connect to a set-top box, a tablet and a PC.