Best mechanical keyboards for Mac iMore 2021
The best keyboard for Mac can be very subjective. While a lot of people are just fine with the Apple Magic Keyboard (or similar alternatives), there are others out there who prefer to feel and hear every single keystroke. This is when mechanical keyboards come in. A mechanical keyboard uses physical switches and even allows you to change out your entire keycap set to suit your personal tastes and preferences. I mean, once you discover the magic of mechanical keyboards, it's hard to go back, really (plus you feel so much more productive.) Here are the best mechanical keyboards for Mac you can check out right now.
- Great introduction: Keychron K2 V2
- RGB light show: Womier K87 Hot-Swappable Mechanical Keyboard
- Fully modular: Glorious Modular Mechanical Gaming Keyboard GMMK TKL
- Professional clack: Das Keyboard 4 Professional for Mac
- Full but compact: Keychron K4 V2
- Powerful gaming: Logitech G915 Lightspeed Wireless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
- Professional but cool: Drop CTRL TKL Mechanical Keyboard
- Just the basics: Macally Backlit Mechanical Keyboard for Mac
- Go low: Keychron K1 V4
- Built from scratch: Glorious GMMK Pro
- Have it your way: Keychron Q1
Great introduction: Keychron K2 V2Staff Favorite
The K2V2 from Keychron offers flat edges on the frame and slim bezels around the keys. It also features a 75% layout, making it a great choice for travelers or those who prefer minimalism. You can also choose between Gateron Red, Brown, or Blue switches, and there is a hot-swappable version as well, making this one of the best mechanical keyboards for beginners.
RGB light show: Womier K87 Hot-Swappable Mechanical Keyboard
This mechanical keyboard features a transparent glass material for the case body, allowing a full-on RGB underglow light show at your desk. The Womier K87 is also a TKL board, giving you a lot of practicality, though there are 60% layouts available as well. It comes equipped with Gateron Red, Blue, Brown, or Yellow switches, but you can change them later if desired since it's hot-swappable.
Fully modular: Glorious Modular Mechanical Gaming Keyboard GMMK TKLFully customizable
Glorious' GMMK comes in three sizes: Compact, TKL, and Full. These keyboards are also available as a barebones DIY kit (once you add in your own switches and keycaps, it could cost more than pre-built) or pre-built with Gateron Brown switches. You can customize pretty much everything about these, making them a great starting board.
Professional clack: Das Keyboard 4 Professional for Mac
Das Keyboard 4 Professional gives you a choice between Cherry MX Brown or Blue, depending on how loud you like your keyboard, and it even has dedicated media controls, including an oversized volume knob, as well as a number pad. Two USB 3.0 ports make it perfect for ultra-productive folks.
Full but compact: Keychron K4 V2
If you need a 10-key numpad but still want something relatively compact, then the Keychron K4 is perfect. It is like the K2 V2 that I use daily, but it includes a 10-key on the right side. It offers 100 keys in a 96% format, so it maximizes space while still giving you all of the necessities. It also comes with Gateron Red, Brown, or Blue switches, white or RGB backlighting, and an optional aluminum frame, as well as a new hot-swappable option.
Powerful gaming: Logitech G915 Lightspeed Wireless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
When money isn't so much a concern, there's the G915 TKL, which uses an aircraft-grade aluminum alloy to deliver a thin but rigid and durable design. You can choose between GL Linear, Tactile, and Clicky low-profile switches. Experience up to 30 hours on a single charge, and you can customize your colorful RGB lighting and macros with the G-HUB software.
Professional but cool: Drop CTRL TKL Mechanical Keyboard
Drop CTRL TKL is a good choice to consider if you want something that looks professional but cool at the same time. It also comes with your choice of Cherry MX Blue RGB, Brown RGB, Halo Clear, Halo True, Kaihua Box White, or Kaihua Speed Silver switches. The body is aluminum, there is an RGB strip for cool lighting effects, it's hot-swappable, and you can fully program it to your liking with QMK software.
Just the basics: Macally Backlit Mechanical Keyboard for Mac
This mechanical keyboard from Macally is full-size, so you get everything, including the number pad. It has a simple and clean aesthetic that will go perfectly with your Mac, and it features Kailh Brown switches (another Cherry MX clone) for a satisfying, tactile feel. It uses a USB wired connection and has four adjustable brightness levels for the backlights.
Go low: Keychron K1 V4
Keychron's K1V4 is a low-profile mechanical keyboard with your choice of Gateron Low Profile Red, Brown, or Blue switches. This is like a hybrid of an Apple Magic Keyboard with a mechanical keyboard, so you have relatively short keycaps, though this restricts customization. You can also choose between a TKL or full-size (with numpad) if you need, and white or RGB backlighting.
Built from scratch: Glorious GMMK Pro
Glorious GMMK Pro is making waves in the mechanical keyboard community. This is a highly affordable gasket-mounted 75% layout keyboard with a built-in rotary knob. You pick either Black Slate or White Ice for the body; choose your own switches, keycaps, plates, and more. This is a mass-produced mechanical keyboard that allows you to dive into the world of building from scratch with a reasonable price tag.
Have it your way: Keychron Q1A solid and hefty choice
The Q1 from Keychron has a 75% layout and is also gasket-mounted like the GMMK Pro. It has an all aluminum body that feels hefty and premium, and you can choose from several different color bodies while choosing your own switches, keycaps, and more. It also comes with a premium coiled cable, and you can customize it with VIA and QMK software.
Type better with the best mechanical keyboards
The dissatisfying Magic Keyboards that come with Macs aren't enough for some people, though there are some good alternatives. But if you prefer real key feedback and the satisfying click or thock sound, or just want the ability to fully customize your keyboard the way you want, you really ought to consider one of the best mechanical keyboards for your Mac.
If you need a little more guidance on the hobby, don't miss out on our Mechanical Keyboards 101: Beginner's Guide for a deep dive into mechanical keyboards as a whole.
Choosing the right keyboard for you
If you want some recommendations for mechanical keyboards, I've personally tried a few here. My first mechanical keyboard is the Keychron K2V2, and it's a great starting board if you want to get your toes wet, and it includes Bluetooth wireless connectivity. The Keychron K2V2 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, then the Keychron K4V2 is a great option — the 96% layout means you get a full number pad for data entry. Those who want a hybrid between a Magic Keyboard and a mechanical could try the Keychron K1V4, 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.
Since Keychron is a fairly established brand for mechanical keyboards, especially for Mac users, the most recent release, the 75% layout Keychron Q1, is a great choice if you want a premium mechanical keyboard. It has a full aluminum body that comes in several different colors, so it is hefty and 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 and use your own switches, keycaps, and other accessories with it. It also comes with a coiled cable that matches your keyboard's case color, which is a nice touch. To top things off, you're able to fully customize the programming for every key with VIA or QMK software. However, the Q1 does not currently have Bluetooth wireless connectivity, and a rotary knob version is coming later.
Another good alternative to consider is Glorious' GMMK, which comes in three sizes: Compact, TKL, and Full, allowing you to pick the one that best suits your needs. These are also available fully assembled or barebones, where you can bring your own switches and keycaps for it. You could also go for the GMMK Pro, a Glorious' 75% layout premium keyboard that is all about customization, and it includes a rotary knob that you can program. This one has been highly popular in the mechanical keyboard community because it's a great board for the price. It is considered a good introductory point for custom keyboards, at least until the Q1 came along.
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