Use a satisfying mechanical keyboard on your Chromebook instead!

Use a satisfying mechanical keyboard on your Chromebook instead!

January 14, 2022 0 By Ara Wagoner

The best Chromebooks have keyboards with great tactile feedback, but if you’re going to be typing on a Chromebook at a desk for hours and hours on end, consider swapping to a mechanical keyboard. Not only will using a separate keyboard help you avoid neck strain by letting you move your Chromebook up to a higher position, but mechanical keyboards are longer-lasting and offer better feedback for your fingers to ensure that you’re hitting the right key every time. These are the best mechanical keyboards to use with your Chromebook today, tomorrow, and for years to come.

Tiny but mighty

DIERYA DK61E 60%

Staff Pick

This compact keyboard won’t take up much desk space, but it still gives you all the comforts and choices, with four switch types available, USB-C rather than USB-A, and a spill-resistant circuit board.

$50 at Amazon

Best for the office

Das Keyboard Model S Professional

Das’s keyboards have been highly regarded for years, and the Model S is a no-nonsense full-size mechanical keyboard that should last you through your current Chromebook and likely the next.

$119 at Amazon $119 at Walmart

Pick your switch

Keychron K6 Wireless Mechanical Keyboard

Whether you want to use this keyboard via USB-C or Bluetooth, you’ll get a great typing experience with Keychon’s 65% layout. You even have a choice between popular Gateron switches or faster Optical switches.

$70 at Amazon

Classic look

Azio Retro Classic

This wired mechanical keyboard has the distinct style of a typewriter while keeping all the modern features like backlighting, USB-C charging, and a premium fit and feel on the hand.

From $182 at Amazon $220 at Best Buy (BT)

Reliable RGB for less

RK ROYAL KLUDGE RK61

This RGB backlit gaming keyboard is on the more affordable side, but still gives you 18 adjustable light modes. You get 61 keys with either red, blue, or brown swappable switches. Conveniently, you get USB-C, Bluetooth, and dongle connection methods all in one.

$55 at Amazon

The gateway keyboard

Drop CTRL

Drop is known for customized keyboards, and the CTRL offers an awesome out-of-box experience that will start you down the addictive road to custom key caps, colorways, and cables!

From $175 at Amazon

These are the best mechanical keyboards for your Chromebook

I’ve been using mechanical keyboards for the better part of a decade now, and they make all the difference in the world when you’re typing for long periods, precise and durable enough for my angriest rants. While mechanical keyboards used to inevitably mean shelling out tons of hard-earned money, you can find great keyboards for less than three figures pretty easily these days.

If you want a mechanical keyboard, but don’t want some kaiju keyboard hogging all the space on your desk, the DIERYA DK61E 60% Mechanical Keyboard has a 60% layout and skips the dedicated F1-12 function row for a 61-key keyboard that can fit small desks and crowded workspaces with ease. That’s no big loss on a Chromebook where you’d need to remember which F translates to reload (F3), full screen (F4 or F11), volume (F9-10), or others.

When it comes to full-size keyboards, the leather/wood/metal combo on the Azio Retro is hard to deny. It truly channels the original typewriter feel that inspires one to get a clacking mechanical keyboard in the first place. Despite the olde worlde look, you still get backlit keys that offer softer, less gaudy lighting as opposed to RGB for late-night typing.

Why switches make all the difference to the best mechanical keyboards

Before you figure out what keyboard is right for you, you’ll first want to figure out what switch is right for you. Mechanical keyboards can use a great and ever-growing list of switches, though most styles use the same color-specified profiles so that if you like the click sound of blues, you can get that whether you buy MX Cherry, Otemu, Gateron, or Optical switches.

If you have no clue what switch you prefer, we have a keyboard switch guide you can consult, but here’s your quick and dirty color guide:

Blue: Clicky, loud and tactile, this is considered the “classic” of the mechanical switches. You’ll love it or hate it.
Red: Quiet and linear switch, this is a popular switch type for gamers that requires less force than Black. Also nice for speed-oriented typists.
Black: Smooth and linear, this is the most popular switch for gamers because it can be faster to double-tap opponents.
Brown: This tactile switch is something of a cross between Blue and Red: you have a tactile feel to the key, but it’s quiet enough to not drive coworkers insane.

Almost all mechanical keyboards will have a Blue switch option and either Black or Red. Browns show up quite frequently, too, which is great news if you’re a tactile typist but need to work from home without driving your family to insanity.

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