Expert Guide To Purchase Mechanical Keyboard For Programmers

Expert-Guide-To-Purchase-Mechanical-Keyboard-For-Programmers-feature-image

In search of excellence is intrinsic to human nature. It’s obvious to constantly seek not only better tools but also superior techniques. Skills and equipment are essential for every field of the human race. The people who spend time debugging and fixing thousands of line codes having the best keyboard is essential. By the end of this expert guide, you’ll have the knowledge to select the perfect mechanical keyboard that will boost your productivity as a programmer

A mechanical keyboard is a type of keyboard that uses physical, spring-loaded switches beneath the keys to register each key press. As a programmer the mechanical keyboard you will choose needs to end up with macro-programmable keys and its switches not only feel light but also feels responsive.

Before purchasing a mechanical keyboard here are 08 key factors you should consider about –

   1. Mechanical Keyboard Key switch type

In the keyboard, various types of key switches can be found such as – membrane, scissor switch, mechanical and optical. In the scenario of a mechanical keyboard mechanical keyboard has different switches for every key which makes it more customizable, and durable and it’s much easier to repair compared to a membrane, scissor, and optical keyboard.

 In summary, mechanical switches come with 3 different section –

Key-switches

  • Linear switches: It feels so smooth at the time it’s being pressed from top to bottom.
  • Tactile switches: I have noticed a bump through the keypress, it gives you feedback that you are using a mechanical keyboard.
  • Clicky switches: Kind of similar to tactile switches but this time it adds a clicky sound that matches the tactical bump, here’s where the noisy part comes in.

As I mentioned about those key types, there are some other factors that I need to share with you as a mechanical keyboard expert. Such as how much effort it takes to activate each key and how far down I have to press each key so it becomes active.

Cherry swtiches

No worries if you don’t have any switch preferences, I recommend Cherry. The reason that I vote for Cherry is because –

1. It’s popular

2. Readily available 

3. Tactical switches that are good for most task

4.  Far good enough to do most of the office work

But for gaming, I like light linear switches which are Cherry MX speed Slivers – compared to its light to force and well known for its quick action. I repeat it’s for gaming so it’s a bit noisy like a 19s typewriter so it’s not recommended for office work.

The fact is the well-known Cherry switches as far as I mentioned expired in 2014, and various clones are based on the quality of the actual Cherry MX switches. In reality, most of them feel quite abnormal if I compare them with the traditional Cherry MX switches.

hot-swappable-keyboard

I recommend you try a hot-swappable keyboard. Swapping out switches on mechanical keyboards without hot-swap requires the equipment, expertise, and time to desolder the existing switches in new ones. Hot-swap has historically been available only on expensive, high-end mechanical keyboards but has finally trickled down to more affordable models in the past year like Keychron. I ask you to try hot-swap switches from a seller with a good return policy so you can exchange them if you don’t like the switches.

Again switch makers also make low-profile switches, that aren’t as tall, and have less travel and you can still find others, such as topre, bucking spring, and Alps clones. None of these are recommended by me.

   2. Mechanical Keybaord Keycap material

keycap-profile

As we know mechanical keyboards allow users to customize as per their demand there’s come the keycap topic. In reality the main fun lies in keycaps, so I recommend you to get some high-quality set of keycaps, and you can get different keycaps anytime. 

pbt-vs-abs

Material of Keycaps tend to be made from ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) or PBT (polybutylene terephthalate), two different types of plastic Cheaper ABS keycaps are tend to thinner and sound louder when I type; they’re also prone to wear and to become smooth and shiny with use. Keycaps made of PBT tend to be more expensive but are thicker and more durable for long use. There’s a lot more to talk about keycaps, if you are interested in that I suggest you to check my blog about 
( 13 Best Keycaps: An Expert Guide for Buyer’s )

   3. Compatibility

mac and windows

As we know mechanical keyboards have much flexibility for a spin with either Mac or Windows. So there won’t be any issue based on whatever your operating systems are. In my observation, keyboards are usually compatible with Mac or Windows setups. In the field of layouts optimized for each OS, or even extra keycaps to switch between the two mechanical keyboards are the best. Even if your keyboard doesn’t have a dedicated switch, no worries! On Mac, it’s super simple to remap keys and swap their functions in the System Preferences. Drag, drop, done.

So don’t overthink the Mac vs. Windows factor too much when picking a keyboard. Any keyboard can switch between operating systems with a little remapping magic. Just focus on finding your dream keyboard, and make it work no matter what OS you use!

   4. Size/layout

keyboard layout

Mechanical Keyboards come in all shapes and sizes these days – it can get confusing trying to tell them apart! The most popular options are the Full-Size with 104 keys, the more compact TKL (TenKeyLess) with 87 keys, and the ultra-portable 60% keyboards with 68 keys. 

It’s like the Goldilocks of keyboards – Full-Size is too big for some people, 60% is too small for others, and TKL is just right for folks in between. As the keyboard gets smaller, certain parts get chopped off. Say goodbye to the number pad and home cluster on a TKL. The 60% say see ya later to the function row, arrows, and number keys too. There are even more exotic sizes like 75%, 65%, and 40% keyboards for people who want to reclaim desk space. Itty bitty little things!

So in summary – a bigger keyboard, more keys and functions. Smaller keyboard, more portability. 

   5. Wired vs Wireless

wired vs wireless keyboard

Nowadays, wireless mechanical keyboards are quite popular. Before you cut the wire, there are a few things to keep in mind. If You want to make sure the wireless connection is rock-solid and doesn’t cut out on your mid-sentence. Another important thing is the keyboard doubling letters by accident. 

My recommendation is Logitech G G915 TKL. It can also plug in and go wired if needed. Its battery can last for 40 hours with 100% brightness. That way if the wireless gets finicky or your battery runs low, you have a backup. Because let’s be honest – as cool as wireless sounds, a lot of these keyboards still drain faster than we’d like. Just be picky and make sure your wireless works flawlessly. Or have the option to hard wire it, for those days when you need the wireless freedom but not the headaches.

   6. RGB Lighting

It’s time to talk about pretty lights!

wireless-mehcanical-keyboard

 Backlighting on a keyboard can add a fun pop of personality to your desk. It’s like a little bonus bling for your fingers. If you’re into that sort of thing, go for it!

If you wanna get fancy with rainbow RGB lighting Razer BlackWidow Elite is one of the best. Programmable colors are awesome! But all those disco lights usually empty up your pocket, customization ain’t cheap! For me, either plain white or RGB would be fine. But no random colors unless you’re going for some funky retro vibe.

Keep it classy or make it a programmable party on your desk – your choice!

   7. Extra features

As we are here we already know that mechanical keyboards are super flexible little machines. The easiest option is a switch on the back that changes a few key behaviors. Like swapping between Windows and Mac systems. Or reassigning Caps Lock to Ctrl, so you can cruise control faster. Some switches even let you disable OS keys you never use anyway (Windows key). Now, for the true keyboard artists, look for onboard programming. This lets you record macros, and set custom actions for different keys. It’s like you’re producing a keyboard soundtrack tuned exactly to your needs. And while you’re at it, customize the lights to set the mood! Most onboard programming lets you pick the color scheme, from rainbow disco to moody movie theater. 

extra-feature-wired-and-wireless

So if you want a keyboard you can really make your own, keep your eyes open for onboard programmability. Between macros, behaviors, and backlighting, you can craft a board that’s uniquely you. The keyboard is your canvas – time to get creative!

  8.  Mechanical Keyboards Reviews 

Keychron v1

keychron-v1

Pros:

  •  Overall Sentiment: Largely positive. Users like the ultra-slim, wireless design for portability and desk space.
  • Switch Type: Only comes with low-profile Gateron red linear switches. Provides a responsive, fast feel but some miss the tactile bump.
  • Design: Ultra-slim aluminum frame with low-profile keycaps praised for sleek aesthetics and portability. White backlighting provides good visibility. 
  • Bluetooth/Battery: Solid Bluetooth connectivity, long battery life of up to 10 days, and fast charging via USB-C. Allows flexibility in device pairing.
  • Ergonomics: Low-profile design takes some adjustment from full-size boards. Integrated tilt legs help achieve a more ergonomic typing angle. 
  • Keycaps: Keycaps are lower-quality ABS plastic. Many users recommend upgrading to higher-quality PBT keycaps.

Cons:

  • Drawbacks: Lacks software customization compared to other Keychron boards. No switch options. No wired use when the battery dies. 

Overall, the Keychron K1 earns praise as an inexpensive, slim wireless mechanical keyboard well-suited for productivity on Macs and PCs, especially for those seeking portability. The lack of switch options may disappoint some enthusiasts.

Keychron Q1 pro

keychron-q1-pro

Pros:

  • Overall Sentiment: Very positive. Users praise the quality and features given the relatively affordable price point.
  • Design & Build: Premium, sturdy aluminum construction with some heft. The gasket mount design allows for flex while typing. The knob feels high-quality with precise steps.
  • Switch Options: Hot-swap PCB lets you easily swap switches. Users recommend factory-lubed Gateron Pro switches or customizing with your own.
  • Keycaps: Decent ABS doubleshot keycaps, but some note PBT caps would be more durable. Keycaps are OSA profiles with uniform sculpting. 
  • Features: Bluetooth, wired, and wireless USB dongle connectivity options work great. RGB backlighting is bright and vibrant. QMK/VIA support for programmability. 
  • Ergonomics: Works well for both flat and angled typing with adjustable feet. Some want a softer wrist rest versus the basic magnetic one.

Cons:

  • overall ok

Overall, users report the Keychron Q1 Pro is an excellent “starter” premium keyboard with impressive quality given its mid-range price point. The hot-swap PCB, switch, and keycap options provide high customizability as well.

Logitech MX

logitech-MX

Pros:

  • Overall Sentiment: Very positive reviews. Average rating is around 4.5/5 stars across major retailers.
  • Switch Types: Users favor the tactile brown switch version over the linear red switch model for the tactile feedback. The feel is responsive without being too loud.
  • Design & Build: Sturdy, premium construction with minimal flex. Sloped frame is comfortable for long typing sessions. White backlighting provides stylish illumination. 
  • Features: Smart backlight auto on/off sensor praised. Multi-device Bluetooth pairing works flawlessly. Logi Options software is powerful but simple.
  • Comfort: Plush memory foam wrist rest included is a welcome addition. Keycaps have a sculpted shape that cradles fingers.

Cons: 

  • Drawbacks: Non-removable USB-C cable can limit placement. Keycaps are ABS plastic instead of more durable PBT. 

Overall, reviews indicate the Logitech MX Mechanical is a high-end wireless keyboard with excellent comfort, performance, and smart productivity features. The thoughtful design and reliable wireless performance make it a worthy, albeit pricey, investment for quality.

Drop Expression series Matcha summer

drop summer macha keyboard

Pros: 

  • Overall Sentiment: Very positive. Users report great quality for the price.
  •  Aesthetics: Minimalist seafoam green and beige colorway praised as clean and refreshing. The side lighting glow is pleasantly subtle.
  • Switches: Only available with smooth, responsive Gateron Milky Yellow switches. Great for typing but not clicky.
  • Keycaps: PBT dye-sub keycaps are lauded for durability and texture. Side legends add uniqueness.
  • Design: Compact tenkeyless form factor saves desk space. Sturdy case with some weight and minimal flex.
  • Features: Standard layout makes customizing and replacing keycaps easy. USB-C connectivity is convenient.

Cons:

  • Drawbacks: Lacks software remapping. Rattly stabilizers may need modding/lubing. No switch options.

In summary, reviewers highlight the Drop Expression Series Matcha as an affordable, high-quality tenkeyless keyboard for its premium PBT keycaps, understated aesthetics, and enjoyable typing experience catered to productivity.

Razer Huntsman MIni

Razer-Huntsman-Mini-16

Pros:

  • Overall Sentiment: Largely positive. Users praise the compact 60% form factor and overall build quality.
  • Design & Build: Sturdy aluminum construction praised for minimal flex. matte black finish is subtle. A detachable USB-C cable is convenient. 
  • Switches: Clicky optical purple switches have very responsive, snappy feedback but some find them too loud. No other switch options.
  • Keycaps: High-quality doubleshot PBT keycaps hold up well and develop shine resistance over time.
  • Features: Extensive RGB backlighting customization via Razer software. Onboard memory to save settings.
  • Ergonomics: 60% layout takes adjustment, especially losing arrow keys. The included keycap puller helps customize layers. 

Cons:

  • Drawbacks: Lacks wireless connectivity. No programmability for macros, and layers. Huntsman V2 offers more features

Overall, the Razer Huntsman Mini earns praise as a well-built, responsive 60% mechanical keyboard ideal for desktop minimalists, though it lacks some features found on pricier gaming models.

Logitech G63 

logitech g63

Pros:

  • Overall Sentiment: Mixed. Comfortable typing but flawed for gaming.
  • Design & Build: Sturdy brushed aluminum top is sleek but prone to fingerprints. The keyboard is heavy and doesn’t slide around.
  • Switches: Romer-G tactile switches are responsive for typing but lack the gaming speed of other Logitech keyboards. Non-removable keycaps.
  • Features: 6 programmable macro keys handy for productivity. Dual wireless via Bluetooth and Logitech’s Lightspeed dongle work well. 
  • Battery: Users report extremely long battery life, over a year on 2AA batteries. No RGB lighting contributes to battery savings.
  • Ergonomics: Full-size layout comfortable for long typing sessions. Integrated wrist rest provides decent cushioning.

Cons:

  • Drawbacks: No USB passthrough ports. Keycaps show oils from fingers easily. Not ideal for gaming due to the switch type.

Overall, users find the G613 is a solid wireless productivity keyboard for office use given its long battery life and comfortable design, but advise gamers to look at Logitech’s gaming-focused mechanical keyboards instead for faster performance.

Conclusion

details mechanical keyboard

Finding your dream mechanical keyboard for programming is a lot like dating – you have to search until you get your desired one! I think my guide helped you to find your desired one here. I’ve mentioned my top choice based on my uses and other reviews to provide you with multiple choices across the keyboard world. 

Finding that perfect programming keyboard means taking the time to discover what makes your heart and fingers sing. With patience and the right insight thanks a lot for reaching the end of my guide. Hope you enjoyed it! Feel free to comment on your valuable thoughts.

Yours ever – Hello World!

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