Best mechanical keyboards for Mac 2023

Some users don't mind a shallow keyboard - one that's got little chiclet keys that feel a little mushy. These users will happily tap away on Apple's magic keyboard, blissfully unaware that there are better typing experiences to be had out there. Typing experiences that are more tactile, more satisfying, and more comfortable. Ones that click, clack, thoc even. One of the best mechanical keyboards can make you more accurate, and help you type better with more feedback under the finger.

Mechanical keyboards use physical key switches that give that vital feedback when you type. They can also be endlessly customizable, even if you don't have an electronics degree or a soldering iron. You can build one from the ground up with parts that click together with ease, letting you choose the exact key switch you want, and what you want the whole thing made out of. Fancy some fancy-looking art on your keycaps? You can do that. Want your new keyboard to sound a certain way? You can do that too. Don't want to do any of that, and just want to pick up a slick keyboard without the need to build it? you can do that too, and we've gathered up some of the best.

The best mechanical keyboards for Mac if you like tactile feedback when you type

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How to choose the best mechanical keyboard for you

Keychron K2 with blue purple pink gradient keycaps

(Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

If you want some recommendations for the best mechanical keyboards, I've tried quite a few here. My first mechanical keyboard choice is the Keychron K2 V2, which is a great starting board if you want to get your feet wet that also includes Bluetooth wireless connectivity. The Keychron K2 V2 is comfortable to type with (though a wrist rest may be needed due to the case height), its compact layout gives me everything I need in a small footprint, and there is a hot-swappable version, so you can change out the switches if desired. Since it uses standard Cherry MX stems on the switches, you can customize the keycaps to anything that can fit on a traditional Cherry MX stem.

For those who want a Keychron but need a number pad, the Keychron K4 V2 is a great option. The 96% layout means you get a full number pad for data entry, and it still has a slightly smaller footprint than a full-size keyboard. 

Those who want a hybrid between a Magic Keyboard and a mechanical could try the Keychron K1 V4, which comes in either tenkeyless (TKL) or full size. However, this one won't be hot-swappable, and you can't change the keycaps due to the low profile, which isn't standard.

Since Keychron is a fairly established brand for mechanical keyboards, especially for Mac users, the 75% layout Keychron Q1 is a great choice if you want a higher-end mechanical keyboard. It has a full aluminum body that comes in several different colors, and it is hefty; definitely feels premium. It also is gasket-mounted, so it has a bit more flex and is comfortable as you type.

You can choose to have it fully assembled, but you can also go barebones for slightly less and use your own switches, keycaps, and other accessories with it. To top things off, it does have a rotary knob version and you're able to fully customize the programming for every key (including the knob) with VIA or QMK software. 

However, the Q1 does not currently have Bluetooth wireless connectivity. If the Q1's 75% size doesn't suit your needs, there is also the Keychron Q2 with smaller 65% layout, or the Keychron Q3 with larger TKL (everything except the number pad) size.

Why use the best mechanical keyboards instead of the Magic keyboard?

The Apple Magic Keyboard doesn't cut it for everyone, although there are some good alternatives. But if you prefer real key feedback, the satisfying clickety clack, or just want the ability to fully customize your keyboard, you really ought to consider a mechanical keyboard. In fact, I would say mechanicals are the best keyboards for Mac, period. Honestly, once you discover the magic of mechanical keyboards, it's tough to go back to the flat, chiclet-style laptop keyboards like the Magic Keyboard — plus you just feel so much more productive.

If you need a little more guidance on this (expensive) hobby, don't miss out on our Mechanical Keyboards 101: Beginner's Guide for a deep dive into mechanical keyboards as a whole.

Christine Chan

Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.

When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.

With contributions from