Looking for the best keyboard for your Mac? Here are the crème de la crème!
With more people working from home than ever before, one of the most important things you can do to upgrade your home office workstation is a great keyboard. Whether you’re a fan of the low-profile boards similar to Apple Magic Keyboard alternatives or whether you like the clickity-clack of the best mechanical keyboard, having the right keyboard really makes all the difference when it comes to productivity. Regardless of where you stand on the whole mechanical-or-not world, here are the best keyboards for Mac that money can buy.
What are the best keyboards for Mac that you can buy right now?
If you’re looking for the best keyboard for Mac, then it’s hard to go wrong with the Apple Magic Keyboard. After all, this keyboard is designed by Apple and works great with your Mac, whether it’s a desktop like a Mac mini or the best MacBook on a great laptop stand. And since it’s from Apple, the F-row keys should all work without issue, which may not be the case with other third-party keyboards. Plus, you can get a compact or full-size version, according to your needs, and the Magic Keyboard has a lightweight footprint.
For those who want something like the Magic Keyboard but want more flexibility and customization, then Logitech’s MX Keys is the way to go. This is very similar to the Magic Keyboard, except it comes in a sleeker gunmetal color with black keys, and you can customize certain keys to do specific functions in your most-used apps. It also pairs fantastically well with the Logitech MX Master 3 mouse, which is my personal go-to mouse.
Logitech also makes a great budget keyboard, the K380, which retains the laptop-style typing experience. But the keys are circular with a slight curvature that makes it even more comfortable. It’s also rechargeable with two-year battery life since it lacks backlighting, and can pair with up to three devices.
Those who want to check out the best mechanical keyboard experience for Mac should consider the Keychron K2V2 if requiring something compact, or the Keychron K4V2 for a full-size board with number pad. Keychron is a good introduction to mechanical keyboards, and most of the company’s options include Bluetooth wireless connectivity with up to three devices, backlight options, multi-platform compatibility with Windows and Android, and you have three options for switch choice. And since these are traditional-style mechanical keyboards, you can easily customize your board by changing out the keycaps with most keycap sets available on the market.
Apple Magic Keyboard
The best keyboard for most users
Bottom line: Apple’s Magic Keyboard works flawlessly with your Mac and has a minimal footprint. Plus, it comes in a compact or full size, depending on your needs.
|Category||Apple Magic Keyboard|
|Size||Compact or Full|
|Width||10.98 inches for Compact
16.48 inches for Full
|Depth||4.52 inches (11.49 cm)|
|Weight||0.51 pound (0.231 kg) for Compact
0.86 pound (0.39 kg) for Full
|Battery Life||Over a month|
- Slim, lightweight, minimal footprint
- Comes in Compact or Full sizes
- Super easy to pair
- Long battery life
- No backlight
The Apple Magic Keyboard is the best overall pick for any Mac user, as long as they can deal with the quietness of the keys and don’t prefer the tactile feeling of a mechanical. And since the Magic Keyboard is from Apple, it works flawlessly with any Mac, be it your Mac mini or iMac or even a MacBook.
With the Magic Keyboard, you’re getting a low-profile keyboard that is super lightweight and slim, so it has a minimal footprint on your desk. And due to the low-profile design, it’s quiet, so you won’t bother everyone else around you. It charges via Lightning, but connects via Bluetooth, and has over a month of battery life since it’s not backlit.
There are also two sizes for the Magic Keyboard: Compact and Full, so you can go with the one that suits your needs. For those who don’t necessarily need a number pad, the Compact is $30 less, so you can even save some dough. But if you do a lot of data entry or calculations, having the number pad is an option, though for slightly more. The full size also comes in Space Gray.
Best Overall Keyboard for Mac
Apple Magic Keyboard
The Magic Keyboard provides a seamless typing experience with your Mac. It’s also quiet, minimal, and has long battery life.
Logitech MX Keys
The best for power users
Bottom line: The MX Keys is similar to the Magic Keyboard, but users can customize the F-row keys by remapping them to whatever they want. It also has smart backlighting and a slight groove on every key for comfort.
|Category||Logitech MX Keys|
|Battery Life||10 days with backlighting
5 months without backlighting
- Like Magic Keyboard but more customizable
- Comfortable groove design on each key
- Ambient backlit keys and decent battery life
- Includes number pad
- Charges via USB-C
- No option without number pad
- Requires Logitech software to customize
If you’re looking for something like the Magic Keyboard, but better, then look no further than Logitech’s MX Keys. This is kind of like the Magic Keyboard if it were on steroids.
The MX Keys only comes in one size, and that includes the number pad. So if you need a number pad for data entry, this keyboard is a no-brainer, and it’s actually $30 cheaper than Apple’s Magic Keyboard with Number Pad. Every key on the MX Keys has a nice curvature on it, making it feel more comfortable and ergonomic while you type away. Another thing that sets it apart from the Magic Keyboard is the fact that there is backlighting on the MX Keys. The backlight is also ambient, so it automatically adjusts based on how much light is in the room. Of course, you can turn off the backlighting to extend the battery life from about 10 days to five months.
The real magic with the MX Keys is the customization, as mentioned earlier. With the Logi Options software, users can remap any of the F-row, as well as the special calculator/screenshot/lock/look up keys, to something that they find more useful. However, to do this, the Logi Options software is required, so you’ll have to download it if you want to remap keys.
Best for Power Users
Logitech MX Keys
Logitech’s MX Keys is more customizable and comfortable to type on than the Magic Keyboard. It also has ambient backlighting.
The best Mac-centric mechanical keyboard
Bottom line: Keychron’s mechanical keyboards are Mac-centric and very affordable for mechanical keyboards. You can choose between white or RGB backlighting, and three different switch types. K2 is a compact 75% layout, while the K4 is a robust 96% layout with number pad — there are other models and layouts, but these two are the most popular.
|Category||Keychron K2||Keychron K4|
|Size||Compact 75%||Full 96%|
|Dimensions||13.62×6.57×2.13 inches||15.71×6.5×2.09 inches|
|Weight||2.17 pounds||2.62 pounds|
|Battery Life||68 hours with single LED backlight
72 hours with RGB backlight
240 hours without backlight
|68 hours with single LED backlight
72 hours with RGB backlight
240 hours without backlight
|Backlit||Yes, White or RGB||Yes, White or RGB|
- Different switch options
- Come in hot-swappable versions
- White or RGB backlight
- Very affordable and customizable
- Cross-platform compatibility
- Case sits a little high, may need wrist rest
- No software to remap keys
- Certain keys (1.75u right shift) make it hard to find compatible keycap sets
Keychron is a popular brand for affordable mechanical keyboards, because in general, mechanical keyboards can be quite expensive. Keychron offers decent mechanical boards that are great for starting in the hobby, and you have quite a few options to choose from as well.
With the Keychron K2, it’s a 75% layout, so it’s a fairly compact board, allowing you to free up some desk space for your mouse and other things. Since Keychron is a very Mac-centric keyboard, you get full F-row functionality as you’d expect for a Mac, but some toggles allow you to switch to Windows/Android mode if need be, and they provide corresponding keycaps (Alt and Win). The 75% layout still has the Home/End, Page Up/Down, and arrow keys in the bottom right, but they’re next to each other allowing the smaller overall size.
However, if you need a number pad, then the Keychron K4 is probably what you want. It is a full-size board that is in a 96% layout, so it’s still slightly smaller than a full size while offering the same functionality. There are no empty spaces between the Home/End, Ins/Del, Page Up/Down, arrow keys, and number pad — everything is next to each other to conserve space.
Both the Keychron K2 and K4 have hot-swap versions, which means you can change out the switches from the default Gateron Red, Blue, or Browns that you choose when purchasing. If you get a non-hot swap version, you’ll have to de-solder the switches and solder new ones in if you want to try something else. By default, Gateron Reds are linear and silent with the least amount of actuation force. Gateron Browns are a tactile middle ground that isn’t too loud but have a nice bump to them; and Gateron Blues are loud, super clicky switches. The Browns are the most popular choice for beginners.
The Keychron K2 and K4 both come in your choice of white or RGB backlighting, with the RGB option also having an aluminum frame. Unfortunately, the aluminum frame is only available with the RGB version, and it’s technically not an aluminum body, just a frame that is attached around the regular, plastic chassis. The USB-C port is on the left side of most Keychron boards, like the K2 and K4, and they give you a removable USB-C cable with an “L” shaped end. You may need an “L” adapter if you want to use a custom coiled aviator cable or something, though, for desk aesthetics.
Finally, the only real negative with Keychron is that there is no software right now that allows you to remap the keys as you see fit — you’re stuck with the default programming for macOS/iOS and Windows/Android. And if the K2’s 75% or K4’s 96% layout don’t work for you, Keychron offers several other models that have different layouts, from the 60% K6 to tenkeyless (TKL) K8 to the full size, wired C2. And watch out when getting keycap sets, since Keychron uses a non-standard 1.75u right shift, it may be hard to find sets that can cover that.
Best Mac-centric Mechanical
Keychron offers a variety of various sizes and layouts and switch options. These are good introductory mechanicals.
The best versatile keyboard on a budget
Bottom line: The Logitech K380 is a super affordable wireless keyboard that’s also slim and lightweight. It can pair with up to three devices through Bluetooth and the keys are circular with a slight curvature for ergonomic comfort.
Manufacturer | Logitech
Size | Compact
Dimensions | 4.9 x 10.9 x 0.6 inches
Weight | 14.1 ounces
Connectivity | Bluetooth
Battery Life | Around two years
Charging | Not rechargeable, takes two AAA batteries
Profile | Low-profile
Backlit | No
- Portable design that’s lightweight and slim
- Ergonomic and comfortable
- Cross-platform compatibility
- Incredibly long-lasting battery life
- Multiple colors
- Requires AAA batteries, not rechargeable
- No number pad
If you’re on a budget but want to pick up one of the best keyboards for Mac, or even iPhone and iPad, then you should not sleep on the Logitech K380. This super compact and lightweight low-profile keyboard is perfect for portability and is fully compatible with macOS and iOS, but you can also use it with PCs and Android devices too.
The K380 connects via Bluetooth, and though it doesn’t recharge itself and requires two AAA batteries, it has an outstanding battery life of two years — yes, you read that correctly! Once you pop in two good AAA batteries, the K380 will last you around two years on just those two batteries. It can connect with up to three devices, and switching between them is super easy. And the keyboard can detect when it’s not being used so it automatically goes to standby mode, or you can turn it off completely with the power button.
And while most low profile, laptop-style keys are flat, the K380 keys are circular with a slight groove in them. This makes it super comfortable to type on and fairly ergonomic for your fingers.
Best Versatile Budget Keyboard
The K380 has an outstanding battery life of two years. It’s also compact, lightweight, comfortable, and connects with three devices.
The best customizable or prebuilt mechanical
Bottom line: The GMMK comes in three sizes for your needs, and you can choose to build it yourself or go with a prebuilt option with Gateron Brown switches. No matter which you choose, they’re all hot-swappable so you can customize the switches later.
|Size||Compact, TKL, or Full|
|Prebuilt||Yes, also Barebones Edition (DIY)|
|Dimensions||11.5×4.0x1.7 inches for Compact
14×5.1×1.4 inches for TKL
17.3×5.1×1.4 inches for Full
|Weight||1.69 pounds for Compact
1.98 pounds for TKL
2.10 pounds for Full
|Cable||Removable USB-C cord for Compact and TKL
Non-removable USB cord for Full Size
- Comes in Compact, TKL, or Full-Size options
- Available prebuilt with Gateron Browns
- Has Barebones Edition DIY
- Bright RGB backlighting
- No wireless connectivity
- Full size does not have removable USB cable
- Prebuilt only has Gateron Browns as an option
Another good introduction board for mechanicals is the Glorious GMMK. With the GMMK, you get three size options: Compact 60%, Tenkeyless (TKL), and Full Size, all of which are standard. You can also choose whether you want a Barebones Edition or Prebuilt — the former is cheaper, but you’ll need to provide your own switches and keycaps. Prebuilt is slightly more, but you’ll get Gateron Browns and Glorious’ basic ABS keycaps in black or white, depending on the color keyboard you choose.
The Glorious GMMK has a solid, aluminum body that is fairly slim and sits lower than the Keychron, so you may not need a wrist rest. There is no frame around the keys, which means easier cleaning when needed. All versions of the GMMK are also hot-swappable, so you can change out the switches at any time. And it’s compatible with almost all switches out there, which usually have Cherry MX stems, and the keys are standard size, so all keycap sets should fit.
While Glorious has software to help you customize the board, it’s only available on PC. And while the Compact and TKL sizes have a removable USB cable, so you can use a cool coiled aviator cable if you want, the Full Size doesn’t give you that luxury.
Best Starter Customizable Mechanical Keyboard
Glorious GMMK comes in three sizes. You can go prebuilt with Gateron Brown switches or DIY with your own switches and keycaps.
Logitech G915 Lightspeed
The best gaming keyboard
Bottom line: The G915 Lightspeed is one of the best gaming keyboards around. With low-profile mechanical keys, dedicated media controls, RGB, macros, and separate profiles, you’re getting everything you need — and it’s all customizable in Logitech’s G Hub software.
|Size||TKL or Full|
|Dimensions||15.2×5.9×0.9 inches for TKL
20×7.24×1.72 inches for Full
|Weight||1.8 pounds for TKL
2.26 pounds for Full
|Battery Life||30 hours|
- Low-profile mechanical board
- Dedicated media controls, macros, separate profiles
- RGB backlighting
- Super sleek and slim
- G Hub software is available on macOS and PC
- Low-profile not everyone’s taste
- G Hub software required to customize
- Doesn’t use USB-C
If you want to do a little gaming on your Mac (but that’s best reserved for PCs, let’s be honest), then you’ll want a gaming keyboard like the Logitech G915 Lightspeed. It’s wireless, though you can get the G815 if you prefer Wired for slightly less. You can choose from GL Clicky, Linear, or Tactile switches, though these are proprietary from Logitech, and there is no hot-swap option. You can also choose from TKL or Full Size. It’s also one of the thinnest mechanical keyboards around, as the body is made with an aircraft-grade aluminum alloy that’s thin, but incredibly rigid and durable.
With the low-profile mechanical switches, you get fast travel time for typing and gaming. You still have tactile feedback with sound as well. To make things easier, the G915 also has dedicated media controls, and you can program macro keys with the G Hub software. Unlike other big-name companies like Razer, Logitech’s software is fully compatible with macOS, and PCs of course. The G Hub also lets you set up to three different profiles directly on the keyboard with onboard memory. G915’s RGB supports millions of colors, and you can use the software to personalize every key’s lighting or make your own backlight animations.
The G915 Lightspeed is completely wireless with two options: Bluetooth or USB receiver. The keyboard charges up with an included Micro-B cable, and you’ll get around 30 hours on a single charge — it takes about three hours to fully charge the battery once depleted. If you actually prefer a wired keyboard, the G815 is what you would need to look for, and it’s also $50 less than the G915.
Best Gaming Keyboard
Logitech G915 Lightspeed
The G915 Lightspeed is a great low-profile mechanical gaming keyboard. You can customize it with G Hub, compatible with macOS.
How to pick the best keyboards for Mac
For most users, the best keyboard for the Mac is clearly the Apple Magic Keyboard. After all, this is designed by Apple and works seamlessly with your Mac, whether it’s an iMac, Mac mini, or a MacBook. You won’t need any additional setup to get it working the way it should, so you can get to being productive immediately without having to tinker around.
To top it all off, the Magic Keyboard is very slim and lightweight, so you could easily take it with you anywhere since it’s wireless. It is also very quiet, so you won’t bother people around you. And it comes in a compact layout similar to what you get on MacBooks, or you can go for a full-size version with a number pad, in case you need to do a lot of data entry or calculations.
However, as great as Apple touts the Magic Keyboard to be, some people may want options for customization. Others may even want something that feels better to type on and gives tactile and audible feedback, which is why mechanical keyboards still exist. If you prefer to go the mechanical route, then Keychron is one of the few brands out there that work seamlessly with Macs without any extra workarounds or setup. The Keychron K2 is one of my personal favorite mechanical keyboards, and it’s the one that got me started with the hobby.
Sometimes you just need to customize
While there isn’t anything wrong with the default option, some people need to customize their keyboard to become more productive. Being able to remap keys to do macros or other app functions not only make your life easier, but can save you a lot of time in the long run. You should also be able to personalize your keyboard’s profiles, backlight settings, and so much more if you need to.
With keyboards like Logitech MX Keys or G915 Lightspeed, you can use Logitech’s software to create a personal, tailor-made experience just for you. Whether it’s creating a macro or just making a cool lighting animation as you get a headshot in your game, making your keyboard your own can take things to a whole new level.
Just keep in mind that not every keyboard will have customization software, or even have the extra keys that can be remapped. You’ll also want to make sure that the company’s software is also compatible with macOS. For example, a lot of new Razer keyboards require Synapse 3.0, which is not available on macOS (Razer hasn’t updated Synapse past 2.x on macOS). So while you could use a Razer keyboard via plug-and-play, you won’t be able to customize anything about it without a PC.
It’s a personal preference, but others like mechanical keyboards
For most people, the flat, low-profile keyboards that are similar to what you find on laptops and the best MacBook are good enough. However, other people, like me, tend to prefer being able to feel every keystroke while typing, as well as hear it. For these people, mechanical keyboards exist, and they offer a whole new level of physical hardware (not just software) customization that you can’t get with laptop-style keyboards.
With a mechanical keyboard, you’re able to build them from the ground up if you want or go with a solid, prebuilt board that you can customize later, from the switches to keycaps. Changing out switches is easier if the board is hot-swappable, but if it’s not, it’s still possible, but you’ll need to learn to de-solder and solder small electronic parts.
When it comes to mechanical keyboards, the type of switch that is underneath the keycap makes all the difference when it comes to typing feel and sound — whether you want something smooth and quiet or something with more tactile feedback and a nice thoccy or clicky sound to it, there’s a switch out there for everyone, but it may take some time to find since there are so many. It helps if you have developed a preference for the type of switch you like: Linear (smooth, quiet), Tactile (in-between with a bump and not too loud), or Clicky (loud, clicky like a pen, and obnoxious).
Another thing with mechanical keyboards is the ability to change out your keycaps. There are a lot of various themed keycap sets out there that are readily available from retailers like Amazon or even AliExpress. But there are also “group buys,” where you can purchase a kit or set for a limited amount of time, and once that window closes, then it goes into production — however, the process can take several months, and sometimes even a year or longer. This is because it’s a niche product and hobby, and these themed sets are not mass-produced. However, having a themed keycap set can really add your own personal taste to your keyboard and overall desk setup.
For the general population, the Apple Magic Keyboard is a great option that, of course, will work flawlessly with your Mac. It’s slim, lightweight, and comes in a compact or full size with number pad so all bases are covered. But if you want something similar with a little more robust features, you can’t beat the Logitech MX Keys, which allow you to customize the F-row keys as well as the other special buttons to whatever you need them to do.
Those who want to try out mechanical keyboards with their Mac should consider the Keychron K2 if they want something compact to save desk space, or the K4 if a number pad is needed. However, if you want something more standard and accommodating, then the Glorious GMMK is also good.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Christine Romero-Chan is the resident mechanical keyboard connoisseur at iMore. All she does is type all day, every day, with a vastly growing mechanical keyboard collection, so she knows a thing or two about what keyboards work best.